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> SR totally needs PTSD rules + unbalanced behavior, Think of the extra flavor
Wounded Ronin
post Aug 30 2005, 06:54 PM
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So, I just read an article about a Marine whose job it was to go around picking up remains and gibs of the dead in Iraq. Psychologically, it was very difficult, and he got major PTSD. Then, one night when he was back in the US, he opened fire on some loud partiers with a shotgun because he snapped.

SR really, really needs some kind of good PTSD mechanic so that characters can become mentally unhinged after a while. I tried to address this a short while back with my "Vietnam War Sterotype Mod" but what I think would be terrific is if there were a pretty well-balanced mechanic for a wide range of real PTSD effects, with violent snappage just being one of many facets of the PTSD engine.

Now, I don't know how SR4 works, but in SR3 I felt that if a character accumulated a lot of karma pool that character really became too powerful. If, as a character got more and more karma, he or she also became increasingly mentally unstable and unhappy, that would balance things out. On the one hand you'd have a tough-as nails karma-laden vet who was real tough to take out in a firefight, but on the other hand the character would be increasingly menaced by his or her own inner demons. It would be cool because it'd also contribute a lot to a sort of tragic character development, in the long run.

I'm not really sure what the best way to create such a complex mechanic would be. Would there be a certain number of "points" of mental trauma that a character would take before taking on a symptom? Would you get "points" per kill? Per gibbed body found? Or just per battle?

Maybe there'd be, say, 20 PTSD symptoms you could derive, and each time you got a certain number of points you'd have to take one at random.

Any thoughts?


==================
Article below from: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9024782/site/newsweek/


The Military: Walking Among the Dead
A Marine won acclaim for one of war's toughest tasks. But did he try to add to the body count?



By T. Trent Gegax and Evan Thomas
Newsweek

Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, 2005 issue - On the roof of an old airplane hangar outside Fallujah, spelled out in sandbags arranged as crude letters, is the Marine Corps credo, NO ONE LEFT BEHIND. In all wars, U.S. Marines take extraordinary risks to get their dead and wounded off the battlefield. Inside the hangar, the mortuary unit tries to honor that spirit as they carefully reassemble the bodies of dead Marines ripped apart by roadside bombs or shot up in fire fights.

It is grim work. Before they do their best to clean up the dead, they must find them, or what's left of them. Traveling into combat zones, the Marines of the mortuary unit must crawl along, sifting through the dirt and blood-soaked debris of blast areas to find every piece of their fallen comrades. It takes a strong man or woman to do this work night and day. By many accounts, among the steadiest, most conscientious and duty-bound was Sgt. Daniel Cotnoir.

The senior enlisted man in the unit through most of 2004, Cotnoir, 33, visited more than 20 battle scenes, and his unit brought back the remains of 184 dead Marines, as well as numerous Iraqi civilians, policemen and some independent contractors killed in action. Last month he was named Marine of the Year by the Marine Corps Times.

But last week Cotnoir stood in a Massachusetts courtroom accused of attempted murder. He was charged with firing a shotgun out his apartment window at some unruly late-night partyers, wounding two of them. After pleading not guilty to armed assault with intent to murder, he is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Why did Cotnoir snap? According to his lawyer, he was defending himself and his family. One of the revelers threw a bottle at him, and his home (just across a gas-station parking lot from a nightclub) has been shot at before. But his lawyer says Cotnoir is considering claiming that he is suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that may affect up to a quarter of recent combat veterans, maybe more. As more veterans return from Iraq, PTSD is sure to bring the war home in some tragic ways. Few stories could be sadder than Cotnoir's.

Enlisting in the Reserves in 1999, Cotnoir's specialty was fixing weapons. But when the Marine death toll began spiking up in Iraq in 2003, Cotnoir—a mortician in civilian life—was tapped for the Corps's first mortuary unit. Marines can request to decline mortuary duty, but Cotnoir accepted. "Nobody wants to be doing that kind of job," Cotnoir's brother, John, told NEWSWEEK. "But at the same time, Dan always said there's honor in it. You're taking care of a brother."

From their base at Taqaddum in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, Cotnoir and his team would respond—often within 20 minutes—to shoot-outs and bomb blasts, arriving on the scene in Humvees and a refrigerator truck before the sun and rigor mortis could have their effect. The Marines would carefully sift though the wreckage, placing colored flags: orange for equipment, yellow for personal effects, red for body parts. Human remains would be placed in pouches (never stacked) and taken back to the make-shift mortuary in the old hangar to be cleaned up (they are embalmed, dressed and positively ID'd by DNA tests back at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware).

The Marine morticians are advised to keep their emotional distance: to cover the faces of the dead, to avoid perusing old letters or photos found in wallets, to not chatter about "what a great guy or girl" the dead man or woman was. There is no joking around: the unit's motto, also written on the hangar roof with sandbags, is HONOR, REVERENCE, RESPECT. Cpl. Garth Troescher, a buddy of Cotnoir's in the unit, told NEWSWEEK that Troescher always referred to dead Marines as "remains." "There's no soul there. That's all there was," says Troescher. But other Marines call the dead "angels."

A gruff martial-arts expert, but a softy on the inside, Cotnoir had trouble letting go, according to his brother, John. The father of two girls, he was hit hard by finding the sonogram of an unborn child on the torso of a Marine who had been torn into many pieces. He saw some horrific sights: according to his brother, Cotnoir helped cut down the charred bodies of the four contractors who were murdered and hung from lampposts in Fallujah in March 2004. (Cotnoir's e-mail to his brother began, "You'll never guess what I did today ...") He brooded over the unrecognizable remains of a Marine killed in a bomb blast. "He was telling me he was looking at it and thinking, This is a Marine, this could be somebody I know ... this is one of our guys and it looks like hamburger on the floor," recalled John Cotnoir.

Cotnoir was edgy and tense when he returned home to work at his father's funeral parlor in Lawrence, Mass. He had taken some medication, what he called "goofy pills" for his anxiety, but "they really clouded him," said John. He would call his brother at all hours of the night, "just to take the edge off," said John, who is a policeman in a nearby town. Without telling his family, Cotnoir sought psychological help at a local Veterans Affairs hospital.

Lawrence is a struggling old mill town with a changing population. The Franco-American VFW post across the street from the family funeral parlor closed down. A Latino nightclub moved in. Every weekend, noise throbs outside the bar and prostitutes work the street. For months, Cotnoir complained of the noise and commotion. "He's not one to give up," says his brother, John. "You put him into something and he'll plug away. He can be a pain in the a--." Cotnoir believed that the local police ignored him or harassed him, stopping him for minor traffic violations. Juan Pascual, owner of the nightclub, Punto Final, blocked off an entrance facing the funeral home and replaced windows with block glass to cut down the noise, but Cotnoir was not satisfied.

In the early hours of Saturday, Aug. 13, Cotnoir had a few beers and squabbled with his wife over the TV. "Why don't you go to bed?" she said, according to John Cotnoir. He tried to sleep, but the noise kept him up. Opening his curtains, he brandished a shotgun at the partyers in the parking lot. They apparently jeered at him, and somebody threw a juice bottle, shattering Cotnoir's window and cutting his hand, according to the police report. Cotnoir fired two blasts in front of the crowd, and the shrapnel wounded two people, a 20-year-old and a 15-year-old, in the legs (they were treated and released from the hospital).

When the police arrived, Cotnoir came out with his hands up. "I want to be like you, a police officer," he told the cops, explaining that he's considering joining the force. The policemen asked him why he fired his shotgun. Cotnoir explained that in 2004 someone fired several bullets into the side of his building. "I have a wife and two kids in there," Dan said, according to the police report. "If people are firing rounds into your house, where do you go?" Asked whether anyone was shooting at him on this night, Cotnoir began to sob and say that he was afraid someone would break into his house. "Do you think I was wrong?" he asked. "Yes," a policeman replied.

Local prosecutors are tight-lipped. "It's a serious case," says John Dawley of the Essex County District Attorney's Office. "People were shot at, and it's a serious case when you consider [Cotnoir's] background and history." Whatever happens in court, Cotnoir is the object of considerable local sympathy. Newspaper columnists have backed him and a support rally has been scheduled. But war has a way of making casualties far from the battlefield. Last week a NEWSWEEK reporter knocked on the funeral-home door, and a neatly dressed man answered. It was Dan's father, David. His eyes watered and his hand shook as he held a cigarette. "I can't bring myself to talk about it," he said, and politely closed the door.

With Arian Campo-Flores
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
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Velocity
post Aug 30 2005, 07:16 PM
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While I think the idea is fascinating and potentially interesting, I don't think it should be mandatory. If I'm reading you correctly (and please correct me if I'm not), you're implying that PTSD should be inevitable. I disagree, although I think that some kind of mechanism to reflect this would be cool.

That having been said, it also shouldn't be that hard to undergo therapy. I mean, looking at the possibilities afforded by BTL, Smart Frames and simsense technology in general, coming up with a series of "therapy chips" wouldn't be too hard.

The Shadowrun Supplemental has addressed some similar issues, I think...
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hahnsoo
post Aug 30 2005, 07:28 PM
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Heck, how do you know that megacorporations aren't already dumping "happy chemicals" in the water or subliminal "therapy waves" in their advertising to prevent this? *cheesy grin*

Also, PTSD and other similar disorders (Acute Stress Disorder, Specific Phobias, etc.) are hard to predict. They are more likely to occur in folks with underlying disorders (Major Depression, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Cannibis Dependence), and more likely to occur in substance abusers (but not alcohol, oddly enough, although people are more likely to become alcoholics after having PTSD). But the incidence rates are in the 10 to 20% range for true PTSD (although combined with other disorders, it may be as high as 30%).

More so on the game perspective, the reason that Shadowrunners don't get PTSD is the same reason they don't catch colds or fall and break their legs when they aren't on runs or get run over by cars. It's simply not a fun way to roleplay, and is probably more an indication of the GM being a dick if it was non-consensual. If a player wants to roleplay PTSD, then it's perfectly acceptable, but forcing PTSD on a player isn't the best way to run an SR game. If the character wasn't cut out for the biz, then he wouldn't be in the biz. Of course, this is barring Psychotropic IC or being a participant in a big Walmart, erm, Aztechnology blood ritual or whatever, but again, it should probably be done through Player-GM consent.

I'd definitely put the Combat Paralysis, Phobia, and Flashbacks flaws down as possible effects of PTSD. Perhaps Oblivious, Addiction, or Dark Secret flaws.
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blakkie
post Aug 30 2005, 07:38 PM
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Rules? Who needs stinkin' rules! The majority of PCs in our gaming group start out with PTSD symptoms and/or unbalanced behavior, and most of the rest follow down the spiral of madness soon after.

Regardless of gaming system, setting, or sobbing pleas from the GM. 8)
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Velocity
post Aug 30 2005, 07:38 PM
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Yeah, what he said. :)
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wagnern
post Aug 30 2005, 07:56 PM
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PTSD? sounds to me like a roleplaying thing not a rules thing. If drek is geting to your charictor, then play him that way. You don't need to lose sanity points whenever you witness stuff. (ok, Bob's head explodes, and brains got on me, that is 5+3 for physical contact sanity points. Oh great, that puts me down to 'twitchy' I now have to make Will rolls to avoid shooting at all moving things,)

Now if you wanted your charictor to have PTSD as a flaw, you can probably work out a cost. But you shoud play it correctly.

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Apathy
post Aug 30 2005, 08:19 PM
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I might (probably would) award extra roleplaying karma to the player who chooses to adopt PTSD behaviors in a realistic fashion, but I wouldn't force a psychological disorder on them without their consent. That'd just piss too many people off.

Player: I've created the most uber munchkin of all time! MWAHAHAAA!
GM: What's his background?
Player: ex- Special Forces/Ranger/Delta Force/Pathfinder/Ninja. He left the military because wiping out enemy divisions wasn't a challenge anymore.
GM: Hmmm...sounds like he's seen a lot of combat. By GM fiat, I'm saying that he has post-tramatic stress and is a chronic bed-wetter.
Player: AAAARRRGGHHH!!!

[edit: wagnern beat me to it...but what he said.)
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Velocity
post Aug 30 2005, 09:49 PM
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Wow... Dumpshock consensus? Isn't that fifth sign of the apocalypse?
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Nikoli
post Aug 30 2005, 11:08 PM
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only if the consensus continues for 3 or more pages before it degenerates into a discussion of obscure marsupials infected with HMHVV.

That said, I've seen a game with built in rules for PTSD, so built in it was almost impossible to start without having your character on some serious medications just to be functionally coherent.
Undergreound, as unique as it was, just wasn't that fun.
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Crusher Bob
post Aug 31 2005, 02:08 AM
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Hmm? you could be fine if you didn't go for too many genetic alterations or you shelled out a lot for therapy. The genetic alterations really promoted you going crazy.
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Nikoli
post Aug 31 2005, 02:21 AM
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Though the lack of improvement rules really hampered game play imo
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Tal
post Aug 31 2005, 06:38 AM
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QUOTE (Nikoli)
only if the consensus continues for 3 or more pages before it degenerates into a discussion of obscure marsupials infected with HMHVV.

What if the topic starts as a discussion of said marsupials? Linky to the Apocalypse.
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Crusher Bob
post Aug 31 2005, 07:08 AM
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Nah, its just a sign of the impeding awakening, have you checked the TROLL! thread? :cyber:
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Tal
post Aug 31 2005, 07:09 AM
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Yep, and there was most rejoicing to be had at the phallic jokes.
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Sabosect
post Aug 31 2005, 07:13 AM
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Yes, but what about the HMHVV marsupials? Would they also rejoice at the phallic jokes?

And, most importantly, can you dikote it?
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Supercilious
post Aug 31 2005, 09:30 AM
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Willpower tests to determine if a point is gained or not, would be the way to make it mandatory.

But that is definately more of a one-time GM fiat to screw with a player who blew up a bus full of puppies, little girls, and pie.
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Kesh
post Aug 31 2005, 03:43 PM
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Call of Cthulhu is a few shelves over. ;)

Seriously, though, Shadowrun was always meant to be a bit more over-the-top action than anything else. Adding PTSD/Madness saves could be good for some campaigns, but overall it would really alter the feel of the game.
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Ancient History
post Aug 31 2005, 03:46 PM
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What next, cyberpsychosis?
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Shadow
post Aug 31 2005, 04:42 PM
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I think a mechanic would not be fair. Not everyone suffers from PTSD. Remember the Military is a all volunteer group. A lot of people volunteer never expecting to see combat.

Shadowrunners are sort of born to the life. In most cases they have been Shadowrunning from a very young age. Or led a life previous that was similar enough to shadowrunning to make the transition smooth.

If you really want someone to have it give them flaws that represent it. Flashbacks, Combat Monsters, etc. These are all symptons of it.
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 31 2005, 04:55 PM
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I'm all for PTSD. Depressed insomniac runners with terrible nightmares it is!

Oh, wait, you meant Hollywood PTSD. Sure, as long as my heavy pistol shot can send someone flying ten feet backwards.

To expand: PTSD in most cases won't leave you gunning down a Stuffer Shack, it'll leave you still in bed sobbing to yourself when you're supposed to be at the meet, or to you nodding off on overwatch because you haven't had a good night's sleep in months. There's an element of interest to it, but it's profoundly crippling and as such generally unsuitable for any campaign not willing to basically revolve around it.

~J
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Fox1
post Aug 31 2005, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 31 2005, 11:55 AM)
To expand: PTSD in most cases won't leave you gunning down a Stuffer Shack, it'll leave you still in bed sobbing to yourself when you're supposed to be at the meet, or to you nodding off on overwatch because you haven't had a good night's sleep in months. There's an element of interest to it, but it's profoundly crippling and as such generally unsuitable for any campaign not willing to basically revolve around it.


This is my view of the subject as well.

A character could of course take this as a Flaw (as suggested in a post above) and that basically tells the GM that the player does want his part of the campaign to revolve around it.

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nezumi
post Aug 31 2005, 05:43 PM
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I wouldn't mind something similar to the CoC sanity meter. Runners deal with a lot of stuff and PTSD isn't the only mental condition they have to contend with (at least in my games). Of course, it'd be optional. I find a lot of players seem to be in Blakkie's position. Start out nuts and go on from there.
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Wounded Ronin
post Sep 1 2005, 01:07 AM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
I'm all for PTSD. Depressed insomniac runners with terrible nightmares it is!

Oh, wait, you meant Hollywood PTSD. Sure, as long as my heavy pistol shot can send someone flying ten feet backwards.

To expand: PTSD in most cases won't leave you gunning down a Stuffer Shack, it'll leave you still in bed sobbing to yourself when you're supposed to be at the meet, or to you nodding off on overwatch because you haven't had a good night's sleep in months. There's an element of interest to it, but it's profoundly crippling and as such generally unsuitable for any campaign not willing to basically revolve around it.

~J

Like in Taxi Driver! That film rocked; it had the gritty, deadly feel that I think all Shadowrun campaigns should have. :)
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hyzmarca
post Sep 1 2005, 04:27 AM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Aug 31 2005, 08:07 PM)
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 31 2005, 11:55 AM)
I'm all for PTSD. Depressed insomniac runners with terrible nightmares it is!

Oh, wait, you meant Hollywood PTSD. Sure, as long as my heavy pistol shot can send someone flying ten feet backwards.

To expand: PTSD in most cases won't leave you gunning down a Stuffer Shack, it'll leave you still in bed sobbing to yourself when you're supposed to be at the meet, or to you nodding off on overwatch because you haven't had a good night's sleep in months. There's an element of interest to it, but it's profoundly crippling and as such generally unsuitable for any campaign not willing to basically revolve around it.

~J

Like in Taxi Driver! That film rocked; it had the gritty, deadly feel that I think all Shadowrun campaigns should have. :)

Now I think we know the real reason Dunkelzhan was killed. He didn't sacrrfice himself to stop the Horrors. He was kill by a guy who wanted to get Jodie Foster's attention.
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hahnsoo
post Sep 1 2005, 06:47 AM
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Sounds like a would-be Reagan assassin to me.

Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hinckley%2C_Jr.
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