Monday, December 10, 2012

Insylum Summary

In Insylum, you play an amnesiac in a psychiatric institution.  I'm using the Brookhaven Hospital map from Silent Hill (see here and over here) which has two copies of the 2F - one for men and one for women.  It's the 2F which is where James spends all of his time.  Anyway, in Insylum you have three coloured tokens that you play with rather than dice.  As this is also a vampire game, I added a fourth colour and adapted the rules a little.  I used poker chips for all of these.
  • Blue - Fatigue.  You bet these against the Storyteller's bet to accomplish physical or social tasks by betting them.  I also sometimes allow them to be spent to accomplish mental tasks - such as dredge up an old fact dimly remembered about biology.  You earn these through fulfilling your Vice / Virtue, completing a goal, having an enjoyable time, or otherwise getting to know yourself.
  • White - Lucidity.  You can spend these to disbelieve an illusion.  If it's real, you don't lose the chip.  It costs 5 Fatigue chips to earn a Lucidity chip.
  • Black - Memory.  You can spend these to check if you have a Memory related to your current circumstances.  If so, you can lock in a skill and have access to using dice rather than relying on Fatigue bets to get these done.  This allows you to save up more Fatigue and quicker.
  • Red - Blood.  One of these can be spent with a Fatigue point to represent the fortitude of the Beast - such as in the typical blood buff of physical tasks.  This refreshes whenever he's fed but goes down by one whenever he awakens.
Now for the Dramatic Personae.  It's always tricky trying to create characters with schizophrenia in a manner that doesn't downplay the difficulties of their experiences nor which paints them all in the same brush and ignores their personality.  These characters are mostly high functioning with positive rather than negative symptoms.  As these are summaries they focus on their schizophrenic symptoms but during the roleplay I make a point to ensure that a number of them can, and do, have regular conversations that don't revolve around their symptoms.

The male patients:
  • James P.  Amnesiac Daeva who is told that he is hallucinating his blurred reflection and fangs (when they descend) and is deluded by thoughts of vampirism since he has no hunger for real food and therefore is fed a warm meat slushy every night that he reinterprets into blood.  He has had his moments of violence and has assaulted Hester (who locked herself into the bathroom), the chief orderly Sunderland, and tried to bite Dr. K.  He remembers none of this.  He has allegedly only been here two weeks.
  • Ron.  This man has a low IQ of 65 which makes it difficult for him to understand exactly what's going on sometimes, especially as he has two voices constantly arguing with each other in his head and undermining his confidence.  He can be a bit vulgar because he doesn't have the same boundaries that most people have.  He really loves birds and makes a lot of clay birds.
  • Cliff.  An American tank soldier whose suffered severe PTSD ever since a plane crashed into the side of his tank.  Luck led to the side popping and him escaping unharmed while the rest of his crew burned to death or were crushed by the initial impact.  His flashbacks are severe enough to be considered temporary delusions (as he feels he's there) and hallucinations due to what he sees.  In short, he's been misdiagnosed.  He's great at clay work, keeping other people calm, and is a generally stand up guy with a whole lot of patience.
  • Paul.  Italian.  He doesn't understand English very well but tries to get on with the others.  He's normally treated as window dressing.
  • Edgar.  Paranoid schizophrenic but the meds seem to be working pretty well with him as, while he maintains his delusions of the robot sentries and false neighbours reporting back to the Nazi-run American government, he manages to cope in social situations pretty well even though he's pretty suspicious of other people's motives.  Able to find the humor in every situation - including his own - he sometimes plays up his delusions just to make the orderlies worry before getting bored and going back to his usual behaviours.  He's a good painter.
  • Harley.  Schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur who believes that he's the chosen of God and that the apocalypse is happening in the outside world but this institution is safe because he's here.  He's very religious and the other patients tend to simply nod and smile and then get back to whatever they were doing.  He spends the most time with Edgar (who puts up with him the most).
The female patients:
  • Hester.  She takes pride in being considered a 'violent schizophrenic' and bears some of the hallmarks of being a hunter as she dealt with weird 'shadow things' that would come over things by attacking them.  She stopped and put herself into the hospital when she almost killed her mother and has since decided that the 'shadow things' can ride people but can't puppet them.  She believes that every night the 'shadow things' come for her because she did an urban legend in the mirror.  Strong, calm, capable but thought to be suicidally depressed due to attempted suicides that she says were actually attacks by the 'people in the mirror' which left a knife by her side.
  • Nora.  Catatonic schizophrenic.  She's quite pliable and will walk where led and sit if pressure is applied gently to her shoulders.  She's in her mid-sixties.
  • Molly.  Thinks she's a Mafia Moll to Al Capone and has a telephone to him in her bedroom.  Otherwise a bit of a wild and flirty young woman who indulges her passions whenever she gets the chance.  She was committed because she retreated into her fantasies to the extent that she didn't notice the hovel she lived in or the fact that her mother had died.
  • Annette.  A really good pianist who doesn't respond much and has been therefore treated as the good listener of the group though she lacks the desire to form relationships and so others have to constantly take the first steps.  She does enjoy listening to people, though, and has sort of been adopted by Hester.
  • Elizabeth.  She hasn't been interacted with yet.
  • Rita.  She hasn't been interacted with yet.
The staff:
  • Sunderland.  Orderly.  Often has to deal with James' boredom and frustrated playfulness.  Is generally not impressed but tries to be nice to the patients.
  • Dr. Kelly.  Psychiatrist.  A calm, gentle yet still quite business-like woman who gives each patient an hour of her time and leads group therapy.
  • Nurse Rachel.  She gives the patients their drugs each morning but isn't really noticed until James has a 'dream' about her.  She became a nurse to make a difference.
The visitors:
  • Sister Michael.  A nun who comes to visit James on occasion.
The Sessions

No comments:

Post a Comment