"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Asylum, Silence the Dead


It is said that Albert Einstein defined insanity as follows.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This has always hit a little too close to home for me but I can see it as being the one viable definition. Asylum is a game about insanity. It is one that I have not had a chance to play and I wonder if buying games expecting to play them at some point qualifies me as a suitable case for treatment.

The idea behind the game is one of the darker ones I recall having read before. There is no darker power behind this. Being driven insane by seeing one of the Great Old Ones or finding out they are real is better than the reason for it happening in Asylum. In the game premise is that a natural disaster has caused climatic change and that is driving the entirety of humanity insane. A little more jarring as this is something that one can see as possibly happening.

I want to inject that I want to be sure that by writing about the game I do not want to make light on the topic of insanity. People who suffer with any form of mental illness are not people to make jokes about. When I first saw the game I had reservations about this but my desire to see more of what it was about eventually won out. I think the game handles it well enough though using marbles as the randomizer was something I might have avoided but then this was written a few years ago.

I really want to compare the game to what I think the gaming offspring of World of Darkness and Paranoia might look like. I am not sure it is completely accurate but the game is very much story driven and the players will each have their own issues they have to try and deal with. The motivation for the game is different than most games as well. I am note sure this game would be for everyone though. If the group is more of a roll playing one than a role playing one this might not be for them.

One of the big pluses of the game for me was that it was very rules light. This leaves the game master with the option to not only allow the game to flow in the direction the players want but also to allow them to handle the topic of insanity as they and the group need to have it handled. The system can be manipulated by those wanting to Min/Max it but this is something that the game master can perhaps handle in other ways.

This is a game I struggled with buying for sometime but in the end I am glad I did. I think it is worth picking up to read if noting else even if you are never going to play it. In the line of White Wolf games there is in game fiction that is better than most of the White Wold fictional offerings and there are even part of the rules that are written as if in game though this is not immediately apparent.

Published: 1996
Pages: 176

From the back of the book:

Paranoids. Sociopaths. Pyros. Kleptos. Delusionals. They're all here -- and you're one of them. Enter the world of Asylum, where the United States has been reduced to a collection of walled Wards, built from former cities and surrounded by desolate wastelands. The sun has been gone for over a hundred years, hidden from view by the airborne algae called Blanket Seed, and everyone has gone mad. Those in the Wards are called Inmates, and they are cared for by Staff and watched over by the Orderlies who are as insane as they are.

Fight for your survival in the violence-prone streets or up on the Beltway. Ponder who you really are, and attempt to discover if any of the equally tenuous people nearby can be trusted. Try to eke out a living with your Occupation, selling your wares or your services in the bazaar-like Mall. But, most of all, whether you revel in it or despise it, accept that the world is no longer sane, no longer ordered, no longer normal.

Insanity can be strangely liberating.

 


Spell:

Silence the Dead

Level: Zero
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Area of Effect: Corpse Touched
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Segment
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user will cause the spirit or soul of the corpse touch to become incapable of being communicated with. This will not prevent any other actions such as reanimation of the corpse or a Resurrection or Raise Dead spell from being cast.

The casting of this spell will prevent any form of communication with the spirit from the Prime Material Plane through normal spells or abilities. The use of a Limited Wish or Wish spell will allow communication though the DM may find useful ways to allow that. The spirit or soul can communicate normally on the outer plane that they were to find themselves.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.

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