fear and damnation
The 41st millennium is a dark and terrible place where mankind’s billions inhabit a universe filled with unnumbered horrors and countless dangers. Murderous aliens stalk the cold stars, rebellion and treachery fester within the shadow of the Imperium’s decaying might, and nightmarish forces eternally claw at the very fabric of reality from beyond, seeking both to feast and corrupt. A Rogue Trader and his allies must deal with all of these perils as they voyage across the void in their quest for fortune and glory.
Once per scene, if your character is confronted with one of the very real and numerous dangers that stalk the dark bowers of Mankind’s domain, the GM may require that you Defend against Fear. If successful, your character hardens their mind and steels their courage, finding the strength to journey forward untainted. Otherwise, the darkness finds a home somewhere in you and begins to grow. The fortunate find a way to cope with their Fear, shrugging off the things they have seen, able to ignore it until confronted again. Others are not so fortunate. For some the mind’s defenses buckle under the weight, giving way to the rising tide of Insanity.
FATE Core incorporates the concept of an Insanity Track pretty much without change. Fear and terror based attacks are defended with Will or other appropriate Skill. The Mental Stress Track represents a character’s ability to cope with trauma and when that track cannot absorb any more stress, the character incurs a mental disorder in the form of a Consequence. Depending on how many Shifts must be absorbed, the disorder may be considered Minor, Moderate, or Severe. Some sample disorders are listed below.
- The Flesh is Weak!
- Visions and Voices
- Horrific Nightmares
It is possible to recover from a Mental Disorder. By seeking out treatment, cleansing the mind with litanies or holy prayer, or even engaging in activity your character finds soothing, a test can be made to rename a Consequence incurred due to Mental Disorder. At this point it is considered on the road to recovery and will be removed a the next appropriate Milestone.
It is also possible to spend your bennies from a Milestone to rename a Consequence occurred due to Mental Disorder. This assumes the same kind of attention in game as seeking out treatment. However, spending bennies from Milestones does not require a successful test in order to rename the Consequence.
This works exactly the same as Insanity in FATE Core, as well as in the original system. Whenever a Consequence is added to a character as a result of an attack (Mental or Physical) from a source of Chaos, a Malignancy may manifest instead of a Mental Disorder. As with Mental Disorders these are represented by Consequences. Samples are listed below.
- Skin Afflictions
- Night Eyes
- Fell Obsession
- Irrational Nausea
- Wasted Frame
- Night Terrors
- Poor Health
- Malign Sight
- Ashen Taste
- Strange Addiction
Taking a Malignancy reflects the warping effects of Chaos upon the body. Any time you are touched by the taint of Chaos, there is a chance your character’s flesh may revolt, twisted by the Dark Gods. Such is the insidious nature of Chaos that it is constantly hunting for weakness in mind and body, testing your defenses until it finds its way into your soul.
One of the most pervasive signs of Corruption in the Imperium is the manifestation of Mutations. These subtle, or not-so-subtle, changes in the flesh can result from exposure to toxic pollutants, alien biospheres, genetic engineering, radiation, and other hazards. Others may result from exposure to the Warp, daemonic possession, and other perils of the universe.
The level of tolerance for mutants varies from planet to planet. Subtle of cosmetic changes are accepted and such beings are considered abhumans or subs, and in some worlds they form an oppressed and exploited underclass. The truly horrific mutants are purged on sight, cleansed with a flamer wherever they are found.
Any time your character is exposed to a source of Chaos strong enough to cause Mutation, the GM may choose to bestow a temporary Aspect, called “Exposed”. Humans who are exposed to the taint of chaos might purchase charms, beg absolution from priests, or even harm themselves in an attempt to purge this corruption from their bodies. Fear of those who have been exposed, and of being exposed oneself, spreads like a disease within the Imperium of Man. This phenomenon is so serious, officers aboard a rogue trader vessel must remain constantly vigilant for signs of stress disorders and lynch parties forming among the crew. This fear exists for good reason. Unless this aspect is overcome, it will eventually be renamed, turning into a permanent character mutation aspect.
While not all Mutations are entirely negative (some imbue their hosts with incredible abilities), they do come with social and cultural bias, at least within he Imperium of Man. Worse is the fact that there are few safeguards to prevent a mutation once it takes root. Mutation Aspects cannot be renamed using XP and do not recover like normal Consequences. They are a part of your character.
Below are some sample Mutations.
- Grotesquely Deformed, Scarred, or Bestial.
- Tough Hide
- Mishappen Limbs/Spine
- Feels No Pain
- Brutish Deformed Masses of Slab-Like Muscle
- Nightsider (good night vision, blinded by normal light levels)
- Mental Regressive
- Malformed Hands
- Tox Blood
- Wyrdling (and gain a +1 rating in one Psychic Discipline)
- Vile Deformity
- Writhing tentacles in place of arms
- Skinless, glistening flesh
- Re-arranged facial features
- Thousands of restless eyes studding the body
- Abberation (choose another animal or creature to hybridize with)
- Degenerate Mind
- Ravaged Body (roll 4dF more times on this table)
- Corrupted Flesh (visible any time you are wounded or otherwise reveal what’s beneath the skin)
- Hideous Strength
- Multiple Appendages or Tentacles or a Tail
- Worm (legs fuse to form a tail – now you crawl)
- Malleable (sickeningly liquid flexibility)
- Shadow Kin (as in phase in and out of the Warp)
- Corrosive Bile (you can vomit burning acid, flesh-eating grubs, or something else suitably horrific)
- Hellspawn (part daemon, invoke to cause Fear at +3)