Karma and Insanity

What is Karma?

Karma is that certain quality that separates the hero or PC from the common man. Karma drives characters. good and evil. Karma makes Swashbucklers give their unarmed opponent a weapon. Karma makes Dr. Felonious give away his plans. Karma makes Sgt. Good run into a burning building to save Timmy's goldfish.

What is karma similar to in other RPGs?

What can I use Karma for?

Karma can be temporarily spent to allow temporary skill increase. Each temporary point of karma spent gives the character +1 to one roll.

The GM may also allow spending temporary karma for a lucky turn of events, for example you run into an old friend who knows all about the problem, a clue or convienently placed flagpole.

How quickly does temporary Karma return?

Character get back a tenth of their Karma every day, but the GM may allow some recovery for certain actions.


Character get back all of their karma every new gaming session, but the GM may allow some recovery for certain actions.

How can Karma be Lost? why?

Permanent karma is lost any time a character is exposed to: Acting against ones code - Breaking your code shows that you are weak willed and also who wants to see Clint Eastwood steal candy from a 2 year old. True Horror - these experiences rock the foundation of a characters sanity and can lead to loss of will. Its Hard to climb a ladder after seeing a man fall to his death. Its probably worse to battle a demon with your bare hands after seeing it torch a tank. Cybernetics - these items distance the character from his natural state he relies more on machines as he becomes one and machines don't have Karma.

Great(sarcastic), what do I have to do to gain Karma?

Permanent Karma is increased when the GM finds something worthy usually: Going out of your way to up hold your code. Saving the World(usually pretty big in the Karma Department). A GM may allow more Karma to be purchased.

Can Permanent Karma be spent?

That is up to the GM to decide on a game by game basis both what if anything is available and how much they cost.

Can I use my Karma to help someone else?

Yes, provided they have a similar code, you and your character wouldn't want to see them dead, and the GM doesn't oppose it. No destroying a whole story arc by preventing the king from being poisoned.

What are Karma codes?

These are some quick rules for different codes and what they might lose Karma for and gain Karma for. PCs might not be allowed to choose from all of them. I feel that hero is right for 90% of the characters out there. If you feel that your character wouldn't always act this way just remember almost no one has 100% karma. but if the game is full of PC supervillians who go around torturing each others henchmen then by all means go right ahead. WARNING The Allowed Player Character Codes can Severely Effect the Mood of a Game.

Does Karma loss result in insanity?

Yes, anytime permanent Karma drops below 4 the character must make a Resist Insanity roll with a penalty of -1 for each point below 4 or take on one insanity. Once Karma drops below zero the Character is turned over to the GM. Who can make the character a new enemy, or have the character retire or whatever? How the character goes out should depend on how the character lost so much karma.

Note: A character with a starting WIL < 2 will have a starting Karma < 4 and will start with one insanity for each point of karma below 4.

Enough what's the system?

Starting permanent Karma is equal to WIL x 2.

If a character does something aligned with his karma path: roll a d20 if its over his permanent Karma it's to low. Add some, say 1.

If a character does something against his code: roll a d20 if its under his permanent Karma it's to high. Subtract some, say 1.

If a character sees something significantly horrific or disturbing there: the amount of Resist Horror/Insanity failure divided by 5 is the permanent Karma loss.

If a character gets cybernetics: see the cybernetics section to see karma costs.

Karma Paths/Codes
Codes DOs DON'Ts
Hero Help People Kill People
Sacrifice to Keep Word Assault innocent
Encourage heroic behavior Steal Property
Chivalry Level the playing field Be disrespectful toward hosts/women
Defend/avenge helpless/innocent Lie
Show mercy to Enemies Come up lacking in loyalty
Bushido Sacrifice for Master Defy Master
Increase Renown Act less than courageously/Bravely
Show Compassion Act less than honorable
Legalistic Obey minor inconvenient Law Break Major laws
Discuss plan in bureaucracy Let might make right
Get others to obey minor laws Fail to report Major violations
Vigilante Heroically save victims Let enemies go unpunished
Assume the worst in people Kill innocents
"Go it alone" Lie to people worth respect
Megalomaniac Tell "helpless" inferiors your plan Think anyone is not inferior to you
Gloat about your superiority Dirty Self with inferior blood
Bask in worship of inferiors Tolerate failure from inferiors
Selfish Survive Battle Help Strangers
Seek Pleasure/ ease of living Pass up easy money
Keep your stuff separate Pass up "gifts"
Anarchist Disrespect Authority Accept someones word for true
Disrupt status quo Follow time honored traditions
Break laws just to annoy people Follow laws that aren't enforced
Animal Survive Battle Skip available food/ resource
Reproduce Get unnecessarily involved
Sacrifice for pack Kill unnecessarily
Recovering Demon Help People Kill People
or Free Vampire Destroy Undead Work with Evil
Act Human Act Monstrous
Maniac Roll 1 phobia
Roll 1 obsession hate
Roll 1 obsession love
Inconvenience self for insanity Ignore an insanity


Some things in the game may result in the character developing an insanity. GMs may mix this into there game to any degree they like. A Lovecraftian style game may make heavy use of this. A more light gaem might be better spent skipping this. When the character develops an insanity the GM can pick one that matches the circumstances. A phobia related to the event makes a lot sense. Or, a character could also become overly aclimated to horrific scenes and develop a more disturbing insanity. The effects of superhuman abilities whether cybernetic or supernatural could dratically alter someones view of their place in the world arounds them.

[Random Insanity Table] | | |

1-5 Obsession
1d6 Type:
1-7 Love/Desire
8-14 Hate/Destroy
15-20 Phobia/Fear
Object of Obsession
1 Aliens/Monsters(usually imaginary ones)
2 Insects(flies, bees, spiders, scorpions, Spider-demons)
3 Reptiles(snakes, lizards, man-eating Crocodiles)
4 Water(Swimming, Boating, Old Bridges)
5 Flying
6 Canines(Dogs, Coyotes, Wolves)
7 Dark places
8 Underground rooms
9 Small enclosures
10 Abandon buildings
11 Heights
12 Disease
13 Authoritative People
14 Large Animals(Elephants, Horses, Cows)
15 Strangers
16 Open spaces
17 Loud noises
18 Crime busting
19 Sticky/Slimy things(slugs, fish, melted Chocolate)
20 Small furry things
21 Burial Grounds/Cemeteries
22 Dead Corpses
23 Solitude
24 Alcohol
25 Drug
26 Food
27 Danger
28 Fashion
29 Secrecy
30 Opposite Sex
31 Wealth
32 Technology
33 Timeliness
34 Stealing
35 Appearance
36 Specific person
37 Specific item
38 Sleep
39 Violence
40 Lying
41 Gambling
42 Cats
43 Storms
44 Bullets
45 Pins Needles
46 Plants
47 Crowds
48 Blood
49 Doctors
50 Fire
6-7 Multiple Personalities
1-10 2 personalities
11-15 3 personalities
16-18 4 personalities
19-20 5 personalities
For each additional personality:
Name: choose randomly
Insanity: Each new personality gets one, determines when they take control.
1-10 Does know about other personalities.
11-20 Does NOT know about other personalities.
1-6 Same
7-13 Male
14-20 Female
Mental Attributes:
1-3 -2
4-10 -1
11-20 +1
Powers: Roll for each ability
1-10 Does have access to the power or ability.
11-19 Does NOT have access to the power or ability.
20 Has a different, but comparable power or ability.
8-9 Manic/Depressive
Roll when under pressure
1-5 Manic
6-10 Depressed
11-19 Flip
20 Remain collected
10-12 Delusions Of Grandeur
1-4 Immortality
5-8 Infallibility
9-12 Megalomania
13-16 Become a psychiatrist to save everyone from themselves.
17-20 You must cleanse the earth with fire. Kill everyone.
13-14 Paranoia
They are out to get you, and everyone is a secret member
Who are They:
1-5 The Government
6-10 Aliens
11-15 Supernatural Demons
16-20 The Illuminati
15-16 Amnesia
17-18 Catatonic
19-20 Blind Hatred Of Humanity


A potentially fun, but overly complicated set of rules that allow for dead characters to be reincarnated. This could be an interesting way to extend a campaign past complete party death, or some other intersting story element it in no way should be assumed is a base rule. A reincarnated character will be born some time after the character's death, and then must age normally. The following table gives a guideline for how the character should be reincarnated. A reincarnated character usually has no memory of there past lives. A character reincarnated as a lycanthrope may be born to a family of animals and not know anything about there dual nature unless somehow they can connect to there past life. Selecting within the category should be GM discretion based on story motivations or barring that random. Devotees should be able to shift their position on the table by +/-2. A reincarnated character loses all classes and levels, starting as an infant of the new type. Some soul, alchemical or divine effects may persist thru reincarnation as the soul remains. Artifacts may still recognize the soul of a former wielder. someone who knew the character well may be able to recoginize the character if able to see auras. The following spells modify these behaviours.

+1d20 Type Suggested Karma Path
41+ Enlightened Immortal, Character is removed from game ???
30-40 Atlantean, Fey, Super human, Giants Hero
19-29 Human, Humanoids, Djinn Hero
15-18 Subhumans??? ???
11-15 Lycanthropes, Intelligent Animals Anarchist
8-10 Animals Animal
7 Slimes or oozes Animal
5-6 Undead Free Vampire
3-4 Demons, The tormented Recovering Demon
-2 Abyss, Character is removed from game ???

Reincarnation and Magic

Reincarnate spells are a complicated combination of necromancy and calling. The target soul must be contacted thru the dead body the soul last inhabited. The lower level soul spells are mostly not very useful as the new form would follow the above rules and have only the vaguest memories of its former life. More importantly it would be an infant and need to be raised, but even this could be useful if trying to fulfill prophecy. The spells that call the mature reincarnate to the caster are far more "unnatural", as they destroy who the character will be so as to make him once again who he was. Mucking with the natural order of death can make a wizard many enemies.

Name DC Range Area Duration Save Cost Effect
Detect Soul XX Touch Target Enduring None +0 The caster knows the direction of the body containing target soul.
Contact Soul XX Unlimit Target Temporary MC +0 The caster can send mental messages to the reincarnated form of Target soul. This is often used to convince the new form to meet the caster at a prescribed location.
Reincarnation 1 XX Touch Target Instant None +0 The mature reincarnated form of Target soul is summoned across time, space or dimesions to the caster. There memories are mostly restored -20 IP.
Reincarnation 2 XX Touch Target Instant None +0 The mature reincarnated form of Target soul is summoned across time, space or dimesions to the caster. There memories are fully restored -5 IP.