Ray of Madness
Level: Sor/Wiz 8
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Close (25 ft + 5ft/level)
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
When cast, the spell causes a cone of invisible, silent, force springs from your hand. You must succeed in a ranged touch attack to strike a target. The spell summons the essence of the Old Ones and channels it into the mind of the victim. The sudden influx of alien knowledge and secrets men were not meant to know drives the victim insane. If the victim successfully saves, he gains a +10 enhancement bonus to Knowledge (Arcana) skills, and, if untrained, is considered to be trained.:
d100 Roll1 Result
54–61 Hallucinatory insanity
65–69 Dementia praecox
96–103 Delusional insanity
115–119 Homicidal mania
120–124 Psychic translocation
1 Acrophobia (heights)
2 Agoraphobia (open spaces)
3 Astraphobia (storms)
4 Claustrophobia (small spaces)
5 Demophobia (crowds)
6 Entomophobia (insects)
7 Monophobia (being alone)
8 Necrophobia (dead things)
9 Pyrophobia (fire)
10 Scotophobia (darkness)
Delirium: The character lapses into a state of delirium lasting for 3d4 days during which he wanders aimlessly and mumbles to himself or rants and raves. He does not recognize friends and is incapable of any rational action; he is easily frightened and flees most encounters. The character cannot cast spells, and if he is restrained or threatened by combat, he becomes catatonic for 1 to 6 hours. After the delirium passes, the character returns to normal.
Disorientation: The victim’s surroundings make no sense to him, and he is temporarily unable to recognize places, people, or even his own possessions. Unlike amnesia, the character retains command of his normal skills and abilities, although he fights with a –2 penalty to his attack rolls and has a 20% chance of miscasting spells. However, he has a difficult time initiating or following through on actions; if told to stay put, he may wander off, or if his comrades flee from a monster, he might remain behind, unaware of his danger. The character has a 5% chance per day, cumulative, of recovering from his state.
Attraction: The character develops an unhealthy obsession with a particular place, thing, or type of item. This manifests as an uncontrollable desire to be close to the subject of the attraction. Good examples might be a particular star in the sky, a mountain, a special site, the sea, an artifact or item, and so on. This desire drives the character to drop everything he’s doing and travel to the site (or in its direction, in the case of a celestial object). If the wizard’s friends stop him, he’ll become disoriented for 1d6 hours, and then bend all his efforts towards resuming his trek by whatever means are necessary. There is a cumulative 5% chance of recovery per day.
Phobia: Exposure to some terrifying stimulus leaves a lasting mark in the character’s psyche and makes him mortally afraid of some condition or creature. A character confronted with the subject of his phobia automatically flees the scene with all possible speed for at least 1d3 full turns. If the character cannot escape the condition, he lapses into a catatonic state that lasts for 1d6 days. The DM can assign an appropriate phobia, or roll on Phobia table given above..
A character does not normally recover from a phobia, but certain spells or psionic effects may desensitize him to his fear or repair his mind.
Paranoia: A victim afflicted with this form of insanity becomes convinced that the agents of the Outer Powers are abroad in his world, his homeland, and even in his home town. They could be anywhere. At first, he is merely suspicious of strangers, but as the condition progresses, his suspicion spreads to those nearest him—his friends and family—and grows in strength, so that he begins taking precautions to guarantee his own safety. These precautions eventually include lethal attacks and plots against his former allies and friends.
The paranoid’s condition only grows worse as time passes; without magical healing or psychic surgery, he will not recover. Generally, a paranoid PC becomes a NPC under the DM’s control after 1d6 months have passed, or whenever the DM feels that the player isn’t role-playing his character effectively anymore.
Alienation: The character experiences an acute sense of dislocation or wrongness in his surroundings. He is certain that he belongs somewhere else, although he cannot say where that might be. While the paranoid experiences alienation towards people, an alienated character regards everything in his surroundings—people, places, and things— as unnatural and threatening. As the condition progresses, the character loses his ability to function in society and gradually sinks into dementia praecox or catatonia over the course of 1d6 months.
Amnesia: Unable to absorb the secrets revealed to him, the instead instead purges his mind of anything that reminds him of the horrors he has explored. Only his language skills remain; everything else—his class skills, his proficiencies, knowledge of people and places—vanishes. He retains his hit point total and original saving throw values, but for all other purposes he is now a 1st-level character with no proficiencies. The amnesiac has a noncumulative 10% chance of recovery each month. During his amnesia, the character may actually begin his adventuring career all over again, possibly even changing class and alignment.
Hallucinatory insanity: The character’s insights into the true nature of things leave him with the ability to perceive sights, sounds, or sensations from the awful, alien dimensions that parallel our own. To other characters, the victim appears to be hearing things, seeing things, or experiencing things that don’t exist. Unfortunately, these hallucinations have a very tangible reality for the character himself, and for any given action he undertakes—casting a spell, making an attack, even trying to walk across a room or study his spells—there is a 33% chance (2 in 6) that one of his hallucinations distracts him, preventing him from completing the action. Each month, there is a 10% chance that the character learns how to ignore these frightful apparitions and regains control of his perceptions.
Melancholia: The insignificance of humanity in the face of the Outer Powers is a terrifying concept, and a victim afflicted with melancholia suffers endless fits of brooding and depression as this knowledge sinks into his mind. Each day, there is a 5% cumulative chance that the character experiences an acute episode that completely disables him for 1d3 days. The melancholic will have no volition to travel, fight, cast spells, or even look after his own survival, although his friends may be able to lead him along on a journey or keep him out of the way on an adventure. Melancholia persists until magically or psionically treated.
Dementia praecox: This condition is similar to melancholia, but consists of a hopelessness or loss of volition. The character just can’t bring himself to care about what is going on around him, even ignoring direct attacks or immediate threats to his life. Each time the character attempts an action, such as undertaking a journey, participating in a fight, or casting a spell, there is a 50% chance (3 in 6) that his dementia overwhelms him and he instead does nothing. If the character loses his will to fight, he will not even defend himself, losing any Dexterity adjustments to AC and suffering other penalties as the DM deems appropriate. Dementia praecox persists until magically or psionically treated.
Monomania: The victim becomes obsessed with a single goal and works ceaselessly until his goal is achieved. Depending on the alienist’s origin, it might be the summoning of one of the Outer Powers, the secret of the next spell level, or the destruction of a particular cult or occult tome. As long as the victim can pursue his goal, he can undertake any actions that further his purpose, but if he is somehow blocked or prevented from acting, he is likely to lapse into catatonia or become manic. Note that the victim’s single-minded devotion to his cause is not healthy; he ignores sleep, goes without food, and otherwise neglects both himself and others. Monomania persists through 1d4 linked, long-term goals; when the victim accomplishes them, he more or less returns to normal.
Mania: Terror of unimaginable depth turns the victim into a stark, raving madman. Every day, there is a 25% cumulative chance that he will suffer a manic episode lasting 1d6 hours, during which he attempts to attack or destroy anything around him. The maniac’s Strength is incredible; a character’s Strength increases by 6 points (count each percentile category of 18 as one point), to a maximum of 19. While the maniac is raging, he can easily turn on and kill people close to him, but he’s just as likely to run off or try to gnaw the bark off a tree. Even if the victim is temporarily in control of his senses, he cannot cast spells or embark on long or complicated tasks; the struggle to retain control consumes too much of his attention. The alienist has a 5% chance per month of recovering his stability.
Manic-depressive: This condition combines the worst features of mania and melancholia. Every 1d4 days, the character’s mood swings from the one condition to the other. A manic-depressive’s condition lasts until magically or psionically treated.
Hebephrenia: Some horrors can forever destroy the mind unfortunate enough to perceive them; a character suffering from hebephrenia withdraws from reality into a childlike state, wandering aimlessly, ignoring most external stimuli and babbling or mumbling to himself constantly. This condition is completely debilitating. The character is effectively feebleminded, unable to participate in normal society or survive without constant care. The alienist may never recover from such a profound shock and has only a 5% chance (noncumulative!) per month to regain his sanity.
Catatonia: The catatonic completely withdraws from reality, ignoring all forms of external stimulus. He cannot move, speak, or act in any way, and may even ignore food placed in his mouth or painful injuries. There is only a 5% chance per month (noncumulative) that the catatonic will recover from his state, although it is possible to provoke a catatonic into a temporary rage lasting 1d6 rounds by continuously annoying or pestering the poor fellow.
Delusional insanity: The victim believes that he is something other than himself. In many cases, he believes that his mind or persona has been placed into the wrong body, believing that he is actually a creature or entity of some distant dimension trapped in human form. The steps he takes to rectify this could range from attempts at suicide to complex summonings designed to open the “right” dimension to him. The character may refuse to recognize his former friends and companions, or seek new allies more appropriate to his “true” self, but he generally retains all his skills and abilities. There is a 5% chance per month that the delusion may end of its own accord; otherwise, only magical or psionic treatment can help the character.
Schizophrenia: A victim’s encounter with schizophrenia is an extraordinarily dangerous event. An entity or power from the outer reaches of the cosmos invades the alienist’s body, forming a second personality that has its own goals and skills distinct from the victim’s normal personality. This second persona may wish to do nothing more than observe the host’s world, or it may plot to open a dimensional gateway to the plane of its origin and bring others like itself to the mundane world.
Each day, there is a 25% chance that the second personality takes over, retaining control for 1d4 days while it pursues its own purposes, whatever they may be. During this time, the wizard is an NPC under the DM’s control. This condition occasionally corrects itself after a time (if the invasive personality finishes whatever it was doing and leaves voluntarily), but most of the time the wizard will need magical or psionic help in order to exorcise the spirit.
Homicidal mania: This resembles schizophrenia , as described above, but it’s much worse. The invasive persona is a creature that delights in mayhem and murder, and wants nothing more than to kill until it is sated. When the victim loses control of his mind, the entity begins stalking and killing its chosen victims (often those closest to the host), often employing bizarre or disgusting methods to further its enjoyment. As described above, there is a slight chance (5% per month) that the entity leaves voluntarily.
Psychic translocation: Perhaps the most jarring event that could occur to a victim, psychic translocation exchanges the victim’s mind and persona with that of some inhuman entity from beyond the stars. The effects are somewhat similar to that of a magic jar spell in that the wizard finds himself trapped in another’s body while some alien intelligence animates his own form. The invasive intelligence may simply be curious about the victim’s home, it might have forced the switch in order to escape from a precarious predicament in its own dimension, or it might have waited for eons for a chance to project its mind to the victim’s world, with some dire purpose or summoning in mind. There is a chance that the intelligence will leave of its own accord, or that the victim may find a means to reverse the situation and reclaim his own body. The DM is encouraged to be creative and malevolent.
Pursuit: There are entities in the dimensions beyond our own that are so inimical and insatiable that even speaking their names or catching a glimpse of their existence courts disaster of the worst kind. A victim who blunders across something of this nature accidentally attracts the notice of a monstrous alien intelligence, which then follows the wizard back to his home. The pursuing entity may be a powerful monster that desires to devour or possess the mortal that roused it, or it could be a forgotten abomination of formless intelligence that desires to devour or possess the alienist’s entire world. Again, the DM is encouraged to be creative and somewhat malevolent; mortals who tamper with powers of this magnitude risk catastrophes of cosmic significance.
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