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Old 01-19-2018, 06:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Chronic Depression

Chronic Depression [-15] is a mundane mental disadvantage with a self-control roll (SCR). You're seriously depressed, with major consequences for your ability to get anything done, described below. The Maniac-Depressive disadvantage also uses these rules, for depressive phases. Chronic Depression appeared during the GURPS 3e period.

You need to succeed at an SCR to do anything beyond the basics of personal survival. You can't motivate yourself to do anything more if you fail that SCR, and if you have to make a choice, it will be the "path of least resistance." With a low SCR, it becomes almost impossible to do anything challenging. If someone pressurises you enough that complying is easier than refusing, you'll do that, so people can get you to do stuff, but it's hard work for them.

As well as taking this disadvantage at character creation, you can acquire it, at the GM's option, as a replacement disadvantage if you become ineligible for one of your current disadvantages. Possibilities for this include permanent loss of a Dependent, or major violation of a self-imposed mental disadvantage. Being forced to give up an Addiction or Alcoholism could reasonably replace them with this disadvantage.

Chronic Depression can have mitigating limitations, but I suspect these usually improve the SCR, rather than remove it entirely. However, they provide steps towards buying it off, which is necessary if you're to have an effective adventuring career. Replacing it with another disadvantage is also possible, but you tend to have to play both for a while.

While this is a crippling disadvantage for an adventurer, it's useful for modelling NPCs, the after-effects of drugs, and strange powers. In the real world, tendencies towards depression are at least partly genetic, and Bio-Tech offers gene engineering to prevent or cure it in the game. Horror has suggestions for applying it, and Madness Dossier has it weaponised via drugs. Power-Ups 6 has several quirk-level versions, and Psionic Powers another way to cause it.

I've never seen this used in a game. Personally, it would be a bit too close to reality. How have you used it?
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:36 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Chronic Depression

In my vampire campaign, vampiric slaves (ghouls, Renfields) have this with the master's blood as a mitigator. A couple of players have played such slaves before taking on their own vampire PCs.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Chronic Depression

There are mitigating medications (at least for some people - everyone's brain is different). The problem is that while they might completely remove Chronic Depression for a given person, they instead often give you other disadvantages. Absent Minded, IQ -1, Dull through Hidebound, lots of Extra Sleep, Fat, etc. It's naturally up to the patient to decide which set of disads they prefer to live with. And of course for quite a few people they only reduce the SC number AND give disads.

The GURPS disadvantage could just as easily been called "Passive" (or Extremely Passive, it's pretty severe) and can substitute for a lack of initiative from a number of sources.

Compare Lazyness, where you might actually put quite a lot of effort into not having to "work". The Chronically Depressed character can be pushed into doing things, the Lazy character pushes back.
The Lazy character will also do things they enjoy, while the Chronically Depressed character won't even do that.

Contrast Slave Mentality, where you also sit like a lump on your own but will enthusiastically do things if someone else tells you to, where the Chronically Depressed needs to be pushed into it.

"Chronic depression" (RL term, not game term) can be this disadvantage combined with a number of other disadvantages. Insomnia or Extra Sleep, Low Self Confidence, and/or some level of Killjoy are particularly common IRL, while OPH: Wallows in Self-Misery and/or OPH: Fountain Of Negative Commentary are often found in dramatic portrayals.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:14 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ventura CA
Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Chronic Depression

I haven't seen it on any player characters taken intentionally, I don't think, but I have inflicted it on PCs due to replacement of other disadvantages, and also given it to NPCs (having to get the depressed NPC to do the thing can be an interesting challenge).

I also have seen it on PCs as half of Manic-Depressive, on Sandman Chevals.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:53 PM   #5
jason taylor
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Chronic Depression

Sounds to depressing. Not just a pun either. Not really something I would want to play.
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chronic depression, disadvantage of the week

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