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Old 04-12-2011, 01:12 PM   #1
JCurwen3
 
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Default Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

I'm trying to help a player build a character that has an Alternate Form which is also a split personality.

The character can choose to change into the Alternate Form (because it's much more powerful and sometimes it will be the difference between life and death), but often won't because (1) it takes rare conditions that are difficult to meet to change back that rely on his allies / other PCs, (2) the longer he's in the form, the less likely he'll be to ever be able to come out of it (after a certain period of time it becomes impossible and he's stuck that way), (3) after he comes out of it he's basically as helpless as an infant for a couple of days, and (4) the form has a distinct personality and identity that is hostile to him and his allies, that actively seeks to take over permanently when it is activated, and will very violently and murderously attempt to thwart any attempts by allies to change him back.

The character automatically changes into this form when he takes a certain amount of injury (done with a Trigger and Uncontrollable).

Now I think I have a handle on how to build most of this.

I think an Accessibility on the Alternate Form so that he needs those special conditions (and can't / won't meet them himself but needs others to help) to change back would work for that part.

The "longer he stays that way, the more likely, up to 100% chance he'll stay that way" I'm not exactly clear on, but I think I can figure something out. Suggestions are appreciated though!

But what about the distinct personality and especially identity? I know I can put mental disadvantages on the racial template - that accounts for the different personality. I thought maybe a Delusion for the different identity (it "believes" it's a different person), but I'm not sure delusion fits because we know from the outset as part of the character concept that this "other entity" really is right, he's not the same being - more of a malevolent "possessing" entity that formed a separate mind and spirit from a fractured part of the character's soul.

The (true) belief that it is not the same person as the character seems disadvantageous enough that it warrants more than a quirk - it hates the character and his friends and actively would seek to harm or destroy them. That's why the character would barely ever willingly change into that form unless he knew his friends had a secret plan (kept secret or else the "beast" would know about it and be able to foil it) to help him "come out of it", and even then only in dire emergencies when the beast within's power was necessary to save them (and, in this case, itself). The beast would "help" them out of a desire for self-preservation and an innate hunger to murder and destroy, even the character's enemies... and then it would turn on his friends if they didn't stop it (by changing him back... or killing him). I had a crazy idea for a minute that this could even count as an Enemy... but that seems like it could be complicated to build out and resolve. Maybe it counts as an Enemy, but how would that interact with the Alternate Form and everything.

FYI, the player's a very good roleplayer and will handle this responsibly. He'll be roleplaying both personalities. All players know that one day, they might have to put the character down (or die trying), and all are cool with that.

So, any thoughts how to do that, what the best approach is?
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

So what's the reversal condition?
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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So what's the reversal condition?
Well, one would be "death", but that's more to let the character not look monstrous when they have the funeral, as if he dies in that form, he can't be resurrected.

The reversal condition is something we've yet to iron out, but the general principle is that it will be very difficult to accomplish (easier if the beast wasn't trying so hard to stop them and wasn't paranoid), require very rare circumstances or ingredients, or require extensive research for each attempt at reversal. My GM fiat will prevail on whether, occasionally, other exotic methods, if they're well-justified, can help break the curse, on a case by case basis. But each time the beast emerges, it remembers how it was subdued the last time, and it's a genius more than capable of preventing encores without exceptional craftiness on the part of the character's friends.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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My GM fiat will prevail on whether, occasionally, other exotic methods, if they're well-justified, can help break the curse, on a case by case basis. But each time the beast emerges, it remembers how it was subdued the last time, and it's a genius more than capable of preventing encores without exceptional craftiness on the part of the character's friends.
Looks to me like a character that will go rogue in next to no time.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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Looks to me like a character that will go rogue in next to no time.
That's possible, but we're prepared for that - in a way it's a very real and possible (maybe inevitable) built-in campaign endgame, the "final chapter", where they have to kill the character or find a way to trap him or cure him forever (and in the process maybe permanently stripping away all his powers. And I might allow him to spend, within reasonable limits and in the context of the plot, character points to slowly buy more control, maybe less difficulty in changing back, etc. Or allow him or his friends (probably just him, the player) to spend a character point to improve his odds or their odds of "getting him back". There are ways to do it that make it all slightly less tragic and inevitably hopeless (but not too much less because that's a big part of the tone of the campaign).
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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That's possible, but we're prepared for that - in a way it's a very real and possible (maybe inevitable) built-in campaign endgame, the "final chapter", where they have to kill the character or find a way to trap him or cure him forever (and in the process maybe permanently stripping away all his powers. And I might allow him to spend, within reasonable limits and in the context of the plot, character points to slowly buy more control, maybe less difficulty in changing back, etc. Or allow him or his friends (probably just him, the player) to spend a character point to improve his odds or their odds of "getting him back". There are ways to do it that make it all slightly less tragic and inevitably hopeless (but not too much less because that's a big part of the tone of the campaign).
Your player is a crazy person.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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That's possible, but we're prepared for that - in a way it's a very real and possible (maybe inevitable) built-in campaign endgame, the "final chapter", .
I'm thinking it's more likely to be the first chapter.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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Your player is a crazy person.
Possibly, but it's a cool idea, he's a very good roleplayer, and we all like campaigns that are heavy on drama and tragedy and more than a pinch of the dark. It'll also be kind of an experiment, to see where this kind of thing goes.

So, any thoughts on best way to handle the "my Alternate Form is a murderous psychopathic split personality that wants to take over my life and hates me, and behaves like a separate character with its own distinct identity" build (try saying that three times fast...)?

EDIT: Just as a note, his idea was loosely inspired by the manga / anime series Bleach, wherein main protagonist Ichigo has an Alternate Form that's kind of like this but a little less harsh.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
So, any thoughts on best way to handle the "my Alternate Form is a murderous psychopathic split personality that wants to take over my life and hates me, and behaves like a separate character with its own distinct identity" build (try saying that three times fast...)?

EDIT: Just as a note, his idea was loosely inspired by the manga / anime series Bleach, wherein main protagonist Ichigo has an Alternate Form that's kind of like this but a little less harsh.
Holy cow, why didn't I see that one coming...

So what's the big deal? Design the alternate form with all its ads and disads and the original character pays for the end total... Or you could go the other route and make the more powerful of the two the original and pay for the normal form as the Alternate Form.

I would assign the disad for split personality to the 'monster' form.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Alternate Form that's a Split Personality?

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Holy cow, why didn't I see that one coming...

So what's the big deal? Design the alternate form with all its ads and disads and the original character pays for the end total... Or you could go the other route and make the more powerful of the two the original and pay for the normal form as the Alternate Form.

I would assign the disad for split personality to the 'monster' form.
Designing the AF and all that I had a handle on.

It's the "split personality" part that's the problem - it's my only real point of confusion. Because really the disadvantage "Split Personality" doesn't apply here. It's a mental disadvantage with a self-control number that only gets triggered under stressful situations. It's not "always on", not even if you buy it at 2.5x so that there is no self-control number. If you read the Split Personality description, it also works sort of like a disadvantageous AF but only for mental traits as it is.

So it seems to me that Split Personality is the wrong tool for the job, that's my problem. The fact that this AF is a distinct personality and identity means that it is always that distinct personality and identity in that form, and the "Dr. Jekyll" of the two is always his own personality and identity too in his form (just an example, we're not doing Dr. J and Mr. H - although that's another good fictional example of this AF as a split personality thing!) .

Now, having the base character and the AF have two different personalities is easy - the AF gets different mental disadvantages than the base character, things like Bloodlust and Berserk and Sadism and other cute and cuddly things like that, and the base character can have his own distinct mental ads and disads. So far so good.

The problem comes in figuring out the appropriate disadvantage to represent the facts that: (1) the AF believes (correctly) that it is a distinct individual identity and not at all the same person as the base character and hence only interested in keeping "Dr. Jekyll" alive because they share the same body and (2) in fact would go out of its way and be happy and to destroy the base character's property, friends, and all other aspects of his life, actively seeking to take over and prevent the base character from being changed back, all around acting a lot like a powerful Enemy (albeit one that is controlled by the player and shares the same body).

So how do I do that? I'm really not sure I like the idea of the AF being an Enemy even if that's kind of how it acts, and I don't think Delusion (I'm a separate identity) is accurate because it's a true, not a false belief (delusions have built into their cost that if they're discovered to be true they're paid off). It's certainly not a "feature" or a "quirk". It's a big deal. The AF isn't just the base character's mind with bestial, aggressive, and violent qualities, but a different mind (one that knows everything the other knows), a different person, hostile to the first, and capable of acting on that hostility if not kept on a tight leash.
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