Ability Scores, Skills & Languages

Ability Score

Sanity

With the focus of chaos and madness in this setting. Characters and campaigns are encouraged to include a Sanity score, described in chapter 9 of the Dungeons Master’s Guide. As with any ability score, it is determined during character generation and can only be improved through Ability Score increases or feats.

When your character’s Sanity score is determined, make sure to make a permanent note of it. Your character will experience changes in this score and the degree of madness is affected by your current level.

Sanity saving throws are generally identified if an event is not considered an everyday occurrence by a character and the event causes that character to question their reality in some way.

When you fail a Sanity saving throw, you lose 1 point of sanity and suffer the effects of madness. On a critical fail you lose 2 points and on a critical success you regain 1. If you lose more than half your score in a period between sunrise and sunset you gain one permanent madness effect. If your score drops below 10, you gain one permanent madness effect. If your score drops to 0, your character becomes indefinitely mad and becomes an NPC. You regain 1 + Wisdom Modifier points in sanity per long rest. 

Madness effects can be restricted and customised to suit the campaign but generally a madness effect ends after a short rest. 

Example Difficulties

  1. Creature Corpse / Part – DC 10
  2. Humanoid Corpse / Part – DC 12
  3. Being Frightened – DC 12
  4. Successfully Saving against being Charmed – DC 12
  5. Witnessing Abominations, Monstrosities and Undead – DC 12
  6. Witnessing Non Euclidean Geometry / Macabre Environments (Rivers of Blood ect) – DC 15
  7. Witnessing possession by evil entity – DC 15
  8. Severe Torture – DC 18
  9. Reviving from death / Death of an Ally/ Death of a Loved One –  DC 20
  10. Witness Eldritch Being DC 25

Example Madness Table

  1. Gourmand’s Compulsion – When you make a Perception (Wis) check or an Investigation (Int) check to determine details of an object or person, you must make that check with your tongue instead of your other senses.
  2. Nervous Hiccups – Before you make a Dexterity skill check, take the attack action or make a Con Save to maintain a spell, roll a D20. On 17+ you hiccup and roll at disadvantage.
  3. Frail Existence – You become hyper aware of your own mortality. Make a DC 13 Charisma saving throw at the end each of your turns or be frightened on your next.
  4. Deathly Visage – You see constant, random visions of death and decay. When you roll a Con Save to maintain a spell, you roll at disadvantage. If you fail this, Dexterity or Strength Saving throws by 5 or greater, you are frightened for one round.
  5. Whispering Hollows – Voices of the dead, insecurities and bottled emotions constantly distract you. You cannot cast spells or use abilities that require concentration.
  6. Blighted Sight Friends and Foes alike become nightmarish terrors. You suffer the effects of the spell *Enemies Abound* and end the effect when you take damage.
  7. Spinal Shivers – Your body moves without your control. You have disadvantage on all Charisma and Dexterity skill checks. You cannot cast spells with Somantic components.
  8. Entamaphobia – The unknown terrifies you. You cannot open doors or other such objects & roll at disadvantage when looking for, investigating & avoiding traps, and using Thieves’ Tools to unlock doors.
  9. Walking Dread –  The madness runs through you like icy veins. Your movement speed is halved, you cannot take the dash or disengage action and in combat you can only take an action or a bonus action or reaction on your turns.
  10. Nycttophobia – Terror lurks in the dark. You cannot move into areas of darkness unless you pass a DC 18 Sanity or Wisdom Check. If you are in an area of darkness, attacks, ability checks and saving throws are at disadvantage.
  11. Catatonic Shock – Your mind retreats into its shell. You are both Stunned and Frightened.
  12. Slaughter Shadow – Even your own shadow is trying to kill you. Whenever you move from darkness to bright light roll a D20. On a 17 or more your shadow separates from your body and comes a creature of the same name. Your shadow only returns to you when it is defeated.
  13. Jester’s Demise – If only your insane laughter made sense. You find hilairty in the most inappropriate things. You have disadvantage on Charisma skill checks, you cannot cast spells with a verbal component or communicate.
  14. Misery Mire – Life seems to slowly lose meaning. Each morning roll a D3, you suffer that many levels of exhaustion until dawn the next day.
  15.  Hysterical Senses – Your senses block out what would drive you to further madness. You are blinded and deafened.
  16. Forever Falling – The ground gives way to an infinite void. Whenever you move more than half your movement speed make a Con Save DC18 or fall prone.
  17. Dyad Decisions – Two minds make decision making harder. The GM chooses a player and a personality. When you are about take and action or make a decision and when the GM deems appropriate, you must argue with that other player to convince them to allow you to continue with your action or decision.
  18. Lethe Memory – You’re adventuring in circles. You lose all memories from either the location you are in, the past few in game hours, the session so far or determined by the GM.
  19. Capgras Curse – Are you sure you’re not a clone? You become aware that every humanoid you see has been replaced by a duplicate. The GM termines what kind of creatures you believe they are. Whenever you use an ability / cast a spell that targets a creature other than yourself that would deal damage or force the target to make a saving throw or you attack a creature, the nearest humanoid becomes the target of that spell or attack. You cannot cast spells that target just a friendly creature and friendly creatures cannot be the target of your spells.
  20.  Mortal Instrument – Whenever you take an action, roll a skill check or saving throw, roll a D20. On a 17+ the GM narrates your action instead of you rolling. While you take this action, your character becomes aware of actions being made by players, the GM and dice rolls.

Skills

Reputation

Reputation is similar to other skills but occurs in two forms personal, and party. Personal reputation comes from individual renown such as events in backgrounds or acts within a campaign that was achieved by a single character. Party reputation is the exact same but through acts as a group.

This score can be increased or decreased due to backgrounds, party interactions or other factors as determined by your GM. You should work out a suitable individual score and if your adventuring party is established, your group score as well.  

Reputation works in both passively and actively. Passively, a high reputation score increases the likelihood of social encounters starting to the benefit of the player such as advantage on Charisma skills or being offered discounts or restricted information.

Actively, a reputation skill check can be used to provide quicker access to the character or party goal. When an a character would roll a Persuasion or Deception check to access restricted areas or items, the character or party can roll a Reputation skill check instead. If successful, the character or party also gain advantage on Charisma skill checks during the encounter.

Conversely a low reputation will cause hostility and and passive aggressive attitudes towards the players and party. Players will notice an increase in prices, denial of services, suffer disadvantage on all Persuasion and Deception checks but will benefit from advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks.

Reputation = Base 10 + Modifiers

Etiquette (Wisdom)

Etiquette covers all forms of behavioral customs from knowing how to act around a figure of authority or knowing how to behave in an unknown temple. You Insight people, you etiquette check situations.

Deduction (Intelligence)

Deduction is the basis of concluding thoughts, information and evidence into a coherent theory. As a player, they may know the solution, or they may believe they have enough information to make some sort of conclusion but do not recognize what that would be, a deduction check would allow that player to formalize and collate their knowledge into a working theory. From the GM’s side, if a player has all the information they need but are struggling to reach the conclusion, you may call for a deduction check to see if their character is capable of putting the pieces together.

Languages

Mechanist 

Mechanist is full of jarring utterances and artificial and inorganic sounds, and is hard to comprehend as a language and some that understand the language find themselves unintentionally swapping a  word with a Mechanist variant causing concern and dismay in those that do not know the language and mistake it for distress or illness.

Metricious

Metricious language is sometimes hard to distinguish from babbling incoherently in a seemingly dynamic and incredibly fast paced. The language in itself is considered to be a variant of Thieves Cant with the language itself focused on shorthand for bartering, appraisal and general trade terms. The degree of skill and proficiency in those that learn the language of traders is measured speed and accuracy of their conversational skills.

Parlé

Parlé is a very simple, yet coded language that trades references and idioms for sentence structure and common understandings. Both the Corsairs and the Pirates speak Parlé as well as most dockyards, ports and other coastal communities. Some call it the Theive’s Cant of the waves but there is no additional pictograph or other forms of lexicon apart from speech.