Alien sanity
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From: ScottSaylo

Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 09:22:11 EDT

In a message dated 5/14/99 7:04:20 AM EST, moc.acitamigol|oiburjf#moc.acitamigol|oiburjf writes:

« Does a Deep One loses SAN for seeing a Ghoul? (I mean, after all i am just a poor Deep One, respected in my community, living w/ my 'wife and children'(spores?) , those Human thingies are so annoying (specially the Ones w/ the Big Guns and shouting), and I go to worship Cthulhu every Sunday… but more or less everything fits in a coherent plan.)

…still losing SAN… »

From a game point of view none of the beasties HAVE a SAN attribute


From: "David Farnell"

Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 13:33:19 +0900

From: Fco. Javier Rubio:

a) What is the Mythos percentage for a 'common' Deep One or Ghoul?
(Specially if we talk about Ghoul-converted Human beings, what the heck can
they know about what's behind the whole of this?)

Hmm, I'd say it would be pretty high, but then for them, it would be something like History or Geography for us. Some of them would study harder than others, I suppose. ;-)

b) Does a Deep One loses SAN for seeing a Ghoul?

Uh-oh. I got into this maybe 3 months back. OK, my take on it is that SAN is what makes us human. SAN is, essentially, a veil which blocks us from seeing the cosmos as it really is. With it, we are human. If we lose it, we begin to see the cosmos as the aliens see it (not exactly, because, as Shoggoth recently pointed out, their brains work differently and they have different perceptions than ours). If we lose all of it, we become alien, in mind if not in body—although we sometimes become physically alien, too (ghouls, Shubby rebirth, etc.). However, in the process of "losing the veil," our fragile minds are often damaged. We see the cosmos as it really is, but our resistance to the truth takes the form of a terror so extreme that our minds can shatter, leaving us drooling idiots or homicidal maniacs. Thus, there is a difference between going insane and losing all one's SAN, but they both usually happen concurrently.

Now, most aliens do not have this veilthey are born without it. As such, they are perfectly adjusted to the Cosmic Order. (Which means we are notSAN is itself an insanity from the perspective of these aliens, preventing us from perceiving our place in the scheme of things.) Deep Ones are, I believe, born without italthough hybrids are not, obviously, but they may be able to adjust to the loss of SAN more easily than most humans. Ghouls born and raised in ghoul society may never develop it, and people who become ghouls will likely not be accepted into ghoul society until they have lost their SAN and "adjusted"there may even be "ghoul culture-shock therapists" who help new ghouls lose their SAN in a controlled manner (imagining the methods used could spark a great adventure idea!).

Mi-Go are perfectly adjustedno SAN there. And we obviously don't have to consider Shoggoths or lesser gods or anything like that. But back when this came up before, someone was arguing that the Elder Things exhibited SAN loss in "At the Mountains of Madness." I didn't agree that the evidence conclusively supported that assumption, but more recently someone raised the fascinating idea that the Elder Things may have created us and, in doing so, endowed us with brains (and thought-processes) similar to their own. Which probably means that ETs may have SANand may have methods of preserving it and still interacting effectively in this cosmos. Considering that they fought the local Mythos bad boys (Cthulhu and his rubbery cousins) and won makes them a role model for us, in any case. This could also mean that the ETs have a concept of "good" and "evil," although it would be just as situational as ours is. Anyway, I'm REALLY looking forward to the long-awaited /At the Mountains of Madness/ adventure book…

Dave


From: "fatum"
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 17:19:17 +0200

Hmm, I'd say it would be pretty high, but then for them, it would be
something like History or Geography for us. Some of them would study harder
than others, I suppose. ;-)

I see this from another point, what do you know about Old Testament, probably most people know a little about the creation, some about Moses (Heston), Noa and a bit more, a lot of this information comes from films, and that stories are our myths, just like the Cthulhu Mythos are the myths of the Deep Ones, and Disney have produced "Prince of Egypt" but I don't think they are planning "Lord of R'lyeh". I mean probably most of them really have only a superficial idea of the Mythos but only some of them probably the priests only have a deep one [sorry : )]

I don't know if in Deep Ones have a R'lyeh Primary School, but in my opinion most of them will know about the Mythos the same of a midle age servant about his religion, basic information gived by the priest and some of this in Latin a language that hi didn't spoke.

> b) Does a Deep One loses SAN for seeing a Ghoul?

You lose SAN when your reallity is broken for the Truth (or just some other reallity), I mean a Virgin's apparition could provoke in a Deep One the same efect that a Cthulhu one in a cristian, wich would be the pope´s reaction to an apparition of, for example, Kali that would say to him "all that you belive its not true, you have wasted your live for a false good only Hinduism knows the truth". ( Sorry if some one have taken offence, I only want to be graphic).

Sanity is just how much you are normal for human standarts, Deep Ones would have their own Sanity, I mean, are "praying mantis" sexual psycopaths? or its just the kind of thimk you could expect from a normal mantis?. If you become a Ghoul you don't just lost all your Sanity you gain "ghoulish" Sanity.


From: "David Farnell"

I don't know if in Deep Ones have a R'lyeh Primary School, but in my
opinion most of them will know about the Mythos the same of a midle age
servant about his religion, basic information gived by the priest and some
of this in Latin a language that hi didn't spoke.

Makes sense to me.

You lose SAN when your reallity is broken for the Truth (or just some
other reallity), I mean a Virgin's apparition could provoke in a Deep One
the same efect that a Cthulhu one in a cristian, wich would be the pope$B%((Bs
reaction to an apparition of, for example, Kali that would say to him "all
that you belive its not true, you have wasted your live for a false good
only Hinduism knows the truth". ( Sorry if some one have taken offence, I
only want to be graphic).

That would be the case if, in your game universe, the Christian Mythos (just to call it that) is real. Certainly, if a Deep One suddenly found its whole worldview turned on its headif it discovered that Mother Hydra and Yog-Sothoth and such were only legends, and Christianity was realit would suffer mental shock of some sort. Or maybe nottheir brains are pretty different from ours, after all. But I run on the assumption thatIN THE GAME—the Lovecraftian view is real, and all the normal human religions are nothing but fairy tales. When humans discover the truth of the Mythos (which includes the fact that they were wrong all along), they go nuts. If a Deep One saw a vision of the Virgin, he'd probably just figure it was Nyarlathotep playing around.

OTOH, if you have a cosmos where Kali and Buddha and Allah and the Bright Mother and Zeus and Azathoth and all the rest are real (using some of the Dreamlands ideas that sprang from Dave K's post a while back, perhaps), then learning these things will likely not upset Deep Ones very much. If the various Truths all fit into the Mythos Truth, then the Deep Ones and others will just see these gods as part of the Mythos—perhaps some of them being enemies of Cthulhu, but nothing to cause insanity.

Now, you can go ahead and get all postmodern and say there are multiple truths, but that brings in many problems of its own. And I think it fits more with the feel of Kult (a good game, BTW) than CoC. But it's all up to your individual game—stir well and season to taste.

Sanity is just how much you are normal for human standarts, Deep Ones
would have their own Sanity, I mean, are "praying mantis" sexual
psycopaths? or its just the kind of thimk you could expect from a normal
mantis?. If you become a Ghoul you don't just lost all your Sanity you gain
"ghoulish" Sanity.

Ah, here's where we get to the difference between SAN (the game characteristic of Sanity) and sanity (mental stability). Aliens may sometimes act in a way considered irrational by their fellows (conventional insanity)this may get them locked up, killed to protect the alien society, whatever. Then again, a particular alien society may prize irrationalityevery individual acts radically different. Conformists are the insane ones. Anyway, my theory (and it's only that—we don't have the opportunity to psychoanalyze a Mi-Go here) is that SAN, the veil that protects us by clouding our vision of the true cosmos, sets us apart from most aliens. It protects us, but also handicaps us.

Since this ties in somewhat with O'Laughing's ideas, it's a good place to mention that there's a rule (not sure how "official" it is) in CoC that if a character goes to SAN 0, he/she may never again enter the Dreamlands. Now, is this because those annoying Egyptian priests won't let crazy Dreamers through, or is it because SAN is what lets us Dream? Makes sense, really: if SAN is a veil of fantasy that keeps us from perceiving The Horrible Truth, it may also allow us to use the "fantasy" part of our minds that lets us into the Dreamlands. There may be a connection. Now if this also connects with those mental abilities that the Mi=Go are so interested in (Dreaming and non-linear thinking), then it may be that insane minds are not as valuable for Mi-Go research.

Just musing in the dark,


Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 00:46:41 -0700
From: "Marco S. Subias"

« Anyway, my theory (and it's only that—we don't have the opportunity to psychoanalyze a Mi-Go here) is that SAN, the veil that protects us by clouding our vision of the true cosmos, sets us apart from most aliens. It protects us, but also handicaps us. »

"On the other hand, perhaps it is the possession of SAN that makes us so unique and yada yada that Mi-Go just can't get enough and Nyarlathotep has this sick S&M thing going with mankind.* If what makes us special to the Mi-Go (and presumably others) is our non-linear thinking and intuitive deduction, our dreaming and fantasy, maybe that's what SAN is made of.

A cult leader would have 0 SAN, but that does not necessarily imply that he is legally insane. By any of the standard measurements or criteria, sanity is unchanged. Tests would indicate a person that has poor scores in intuitive reasoning (if that's measured), is limited to linear thinking patterns, displays little imagination and doesn't remember his dreams. Who also fervently believes in the power of Cthulhu and will do anything he can to hasten that Glorious Day."

That's brilliant stuff. Maybe human ability to make creative leaps is directly tied to an ability to rationalize truths that might otherwise drive us mad. These creative leaps would be a defense mechanism that allow us to leap to the most likely "rational" explanation for an otherwise psychologically threatening event. Ironically, while this defense mechanism allows us to (often) survive traumas by helping us lie to ourselves about the supernatural, by its nature its byproduct gives us the ability to make creative leaps that give us a special sort of inventive ability.

Not that Nyarlathotep can really be understood, but if he thought like a human (or was a connoisseur) of us, perhaps he enjoys the lies that people tie their world view together with. Perhaps he has "pets" or plaything humans over periods of time so he can enjoy the delicious creative psychological process of exposure to occult forces, partial realizations, denial, partial acceptance, etc., and eventually madness. Perhaps to the Pant it is like a prolonged macabre sensual symphony of brilliantly creative self-delusion, fragmentation, degeneration, and death.

As for the cult leader at 0 SAN, as I recall the insane often tend to be very obsessive, and their thoughts and actions tend to fall within rather narrow patterns. I believe also that sociopaths have very poor at "putting themselves into other peoples' heads," and exhibit little empathy. Empathy (in the COC/DG universe) may thus be closely connected to a sort of human creative intuition. I think this falls well within the speculation we are doing here.

P.S. After a long hiatus, I should start posting again regularly at the end of the week, after my master's program is over.


From: Mark McFadden

Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 04:21:51 EDT

« Anyway, my theory (and it's only that—we don't have the opportunity to psychoanalyze a Mi-Go here) is that SAN, the veil that protects us by clouding our vision of the true cosmos, sets us apart from most aliens. It protects us, but also handicaps us. »

On the other hand, perhaps it is the possession of SAN that makes us so unique and yada yada that Mi-Go just can't get enough and Nyarlathotep has this sick S&M thing going with mankind.* If what makes us special to the Mi-Go (and presumably others) is our non-linear thinking and intuitive deduction, our dreaming and fantasy, maybe that's what SAN is made of.

A cult leader would have 0 SAN, but that does not necessarily imply that he is legally insane. By any of the standard measurements or criteria, sanity is unchanged. Tests would indicate a person that has poor scores in intuitive reasoning (if that's measured), is limited to linear thinking patterns, displays little imagination and doesn't remember his dreams. Who also fervently believes in the power of Cthulhu and will do anything he can to hasten that Glorious Day.

*don't think of the Toe-Tapper as Mephistopheles, but as the poor diplomat in M. Butterfly. There was Gnarly, doing (his) job, keeping things smooth for Azathoth, when (he) encounters mankind, and (ahem) baby got SAN. (He) becomes obsessed, starts interacting. (His) work suffers. (He) wants to break it off, go back to Chaos, but the siren allure of SAN brings (him) back again and again. You just know it's going to end in scandal and heartbreak.


From: "fatum"
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 11:37:10 +0200

On the other hand, perhaps it is the possession of SAN that makes us so
unique and yada yada that Mi-Go just can't get enough and Nyarlathotep has
this sick S&M thing going with mankind.*
If what makes us special to the Mi-Go (and presumably others) is our
non-linear thinking and intuitive deduction, our dreaming and fantasy, maybe
that's what SAN is made of.

Yes, if you know the "Truth" that is one and could not change you get into a kind of total order, you can dream, or make intuitive thinking just because you loss the ability of percive anything different to that big TRUTH. In this case a San 0 means you have achived the true order, some kind of harmony with the universe, in some way you can look bizarrous to humanity but that's just because they have a false "truth". Something like Plato's Myth of the Cavern, where the humankind are chained in a cavern looking the shadows of the reality, one man (the philosopher) reach the real world outside the cavern, firstly he is dazzled by the sun light but when he get used to it he sees the reality and understand the world, he returns to the cavern and tryes to explain the reality to the other men but they belive that he is mad and don't want to leave the security of their cavern in the search of a truth in wich them don't dare to belive.

Yes, I know, that sounds like Kult, but I think it fits in our discussion.

PS: Of course in my Game World i assume that Mythos are the truth and Christ, Buda, Allah and so on are just myth, but I was just trying to see the thinks from the other side of the mirror.

Surge et Ambula (rise and walk, Lazarus or Cthulhu?)

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