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Old 04-18-2024, 09:11 AM   #11
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Psychological stress

GURPS Horror's Stress and Derangement rules could fit here, although those require failing a Fright Check which may or may not be appropriate for what you're wanting. You could augment them by suggesting a steady accrual of Derangement simply from interacting with aliens. Downtime helps more with Stress than Derangement, however, and specific downtime activities (carousing, gaming, etc) only appear to help with Stresss, so you may want to adjust things a bit (or have the characters accrue both Stress and Derangement).
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Old 04-18-2024, 10:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: Psychological stress

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I don't know what hit boxes are (malloyd)
It's the other common wargame damage mechanic, most usually used for attritional warship fights. You have an array of subsystems, do something to determine which one a hit damages, check off that box, and that subsystem stops working. It's somewhat akin to the GURPS crippling wound mechanics, except there usually isn't a single hp total the hits also deplete.
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Old 04-18-2024, 11:26 AM   #13
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Default Re: Psychological stress

Chronic stress is a source of fatigue, ultimately leading to declining health. In the case of aliens, it may be a matter of constantly having to suppress the "fight or flight" response in their presence, which would be exhausting over time.

(Think of it in terms of animals in an old-style zoo or circus: shivering, off their feed, losing their hair, etc.)

So, perhaps something like periodic (ten minutes? half hour of real time?) Will rolls, with failure costing FP. Repeatedly exhausting FP would lead to HT rolls (as if for a disease, which it is in a sense) to avoid HP loss or permanent derangements.
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Old 04-18-2024, 02:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: Psychological stress

Thanks for the thread.

Digressing a bit, I am interested in this because I muse about playing a GURPS Cherryh game with her FTL jump mechanics. One feature of which is that humans must take "trank" before jump, some kind of injectable tranquilizer drug.*

Going through jump without trank is Bad For You. Exactly how and how bad is unclear because we almost never see it in the books.

One of the main things is that being in jump distorts your thinking and your senses, so that moving around is dangerous and thinking about the wrong things can screw your head up somehow.

A lot of the references suggest that trankless jump will inevitably drive you clawing-your-own-eyes-out insane for the rest of your life, but I think that is more propaganda to prevent merchanter kids from trying it than strict truth.

One case we see in Rimrunners has a rather hostile standoffish character who is rumored to have gone through jump without trank when it was expected he would be executed. But since he is a functional crew member who might have jumped trankless that means that it isn't known to be that bad. I'm not recalling any other cases of people damaged like this.

In the Mri novels the alien Mri don't need trank, apparently because of their strict stoical training and philosophy. Which can work for humans also.

Of course, in Tripoint we learn that some people can become "nightwalkers" who can go into jump without trank and move around engaging in useful activity. Nightwalking navigators are the great secret of the EC/Maizianni fleet, enabling them to do ship maneuvers no one else can. But Fleet navigators do have a reputation of being dangerous weirdos.

* And my fanon says it also slows your metabolism and other things since you basically spend several days in your bunk or chair doing nothing.
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Old 04-20-2024, 06:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Psychological stress

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
GURPS Horror's Stress and Derangement rules could fit here, although those require failing a Fright Check which may or may not be appropriate for what you're wanting.
The stress mechanics for GURPS in Pyramid #3/103: Setbacks might be a better fit.
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Old 04-20-2024, 06:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Psychological stress

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Originally Posted by cptbutton View Post
In the Mri novels the alien Mri don't need trank, apparently because of their strict stoical training and philosophy. Which can work for humans also.
And the Chanur series shows us several alien species that don't need to trank up, and some that are active during FTL jumps.
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Old 04-21-2024, 02:01 AM   #17
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Psychological stress

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
What are game systems that provide suitable mechanics for keeping track of this sort of thing? How do they do it, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
There is Eclipse Phase (which you can read for free, being CC-licensed), which tracks stress like that, but it may have the same reasons for not picking it as CoC, being more geared towards sudden exposure than slow erosion. But it might still be a good enough fit given that it actually has contact with alien stuff as one of the sources of stress. Among the downsides of the system, I would consider a rather medicalising view of the mind and its problems.
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