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A2CS Blessings or Dark Thoughts impact


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Hi all,

 

Does anyone know what the mechanical impact of the various blessings (Runic, Of The Caves) or Dark Thoughts are?  Do they stack?  Do they affect different things?

 

Thanks,

 

B

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Someone on the Spiderweb Software Discord server (I'm sorry I forget who) told me Dark Thoughts adds 1% Mental Effect Resistance. It's also a really cool way to include mental health concepts in the game; it is essentially PTSD, and the benefit comes not from the dark thoughts themselves but from the mental health coping skills the party had to teach themselves in order to get by from then on.

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7 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

Someone on the Spiderweb Software Discord server (I'm sorry I forget who) told me Dark Thoughts adds 1% Mental Effect Resistance. It's also a really cool way to include mental health concepts in the game; it is essentially PTSD, and the benefit comes not from the dark thoughts themselves but from the mental health coping skills the party had to teach themselves in order to get by from then on.

Huh.  I would have thought gaining a debuff from the trauma and then some sort of quest to manage the symptoms would have been more fitting (get a healer to cast EMDR!) but I guess I don't play Spiderweb games for the realism. 

 

Is the Dark Thoughts effect permanent?  

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It's permanent. Also, there's no cure for mental illness in real life, and nobody seems to be studying it in game. It ultimately comes down to the sufferer to learn to cope rather than have someone else fix it for you. In real life therapy is often available, but there are no therapists in Avernum that i'm aware of, and in the Empire people with mental illness end up in Avernum as well.

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10 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

It's permanent. Also, there's no cure for mental illness in real life, and nobody seems to be studying it in game. It ultimately comes down to the sufferer to learn to cope rather than have someone else fix it for you. In real life therapy is often available, but there are no therapists in Avernum that i'm aware of, and in the Empire people with mental illness end up in Avernum as well.

I guess.  If you're going to have trauma in the game, I don't know that I like it having an instantaneous, self-originated solution.  It has the flavour of the characters just deciding not to be ill anymore, which is an unrealistic expectation often imposed by real-life neurotypicals.  Mental health professionals can help because the strategies people improvise or learn from society (repression, aggression, self-medication etc) are often so counterproductive.  They don't "fix" people, but they can provide insight, safety and a more systematic approach than most people could manage on their own.  That said, I suspect we are using different words to describe the same thing.

 

I'm not suggesting Jeff should script out a full therapy session for the player, but there could be a quest to seek out one of the many sage or healer NPCs because they have an interest in treating non-physical injuries.  I'm also conscious that this discussion is already longer than the total text on Dark Thoughts in the game :)

 

I remember various characters that appeared to read as damaged (the Cotra refugees, the Avernite captain who couldn't wait to torture prisoners, the drunken scout), but don't recall a character being thrown into the pit for having a mental illness.  Do you have an example?

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Forgot to say, thanks @Randomizer for the link.  Per Sade: 

 

Quote

Blessing of the Caves: 3% to all resistances except Mental.

 

Neither Crystal nor Runic Blessing grant any resistance increases, or any other readily visible effects for that matter, so both of them probably simply give small damage boosts.

 

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Bernie from Formello, with The Chart, was exiled for his mental illness. It's also possible the player's party was already familiar with coping skills and just learned to apply them differently upon being traumatized by the horrifying descriptions and depictions of grotesque rituals. The description of the "item" states that they are not cured; they are haunted from then on with flashbacks and nightmares. They teach themselves skills. It's rare, but it's not something that doesn't happen. I've done it myself. I had the psychological maturity of a four year old until a couple years ago. I was traumatized by severe abuse at a psychiatric hospital and nearly commited suicide, but I ended up in the ER instead. After what happened to me they wanted to put me in their own psych unit because they could personally make sure I was safe there. When I left that ER five days later, without having actually been admitted to a psych unit, I had trained myself until my therapist told me I had matured seventeen years in those five days plus the week that followed, directing my own therapy.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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This is a really interesting discussion.  Trauma and mental health are important and personal topics for a lot of people here.  Thinking about some past threads where they have come up, the discussions can be really valuable, and they can also sometimes lead to hurt feelings.  So just a pre-emptive little mod hat reminder here -- please respect everyone else and their experiences 😊   Also, remember that google likes these forums -- anything posted here is very, very public 🙃

 

On the topic itself... I'm not sure the game really says that about Bernie.  I can see how one might interpret it that way, but all the game says is:

 

"He pulls out a sheet of paper, and start talking and writing. He describes and draws his life above, how he was thrown into Exile, and what he has learned since he arrived, throwing in on the side many opinions on life in general.

 

It is very interesting. It also makes practically no sense whatsoever."

 

Personally, I don't see any reference to mental health here -- just someone who is clearly full of ideas and communicates them in a bit of a jumble, and perhaps goes in for cabalistic theories of some sort.  Given the origin of other character names in E1, I'd put money that Bernie was based on a specific person Jeff knew, either IRL or on talk.bizarre, who was like that, and was also invested in some kind of grand Chart of everything.

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He says it elsewhere in the conversation, not in that conversation node. You need to ask him why he was exiled. He still doesn't say it directly, but it's implied more there than in his actual performance of The Chart, as I recall. I'll go check...

 

EDIT: Nope, I was remembering wrong. He says, "I think I just said more Truth than they were ready for!" Honestly I have some Chart-like ideas and experiences myself, but I won't go into them because it's Googly. Suffice to say that often, in the movies, the crazy guy with the wall covered in newspaper clippings and photos connected with thumbtacks and string turns out to be right in the end. Maybe Bernie is telling you valuable information but you're just not ready for the truth either.

But I can't shake the feeling that mental illness is mentioned SOMEWHERE. I dunno. It's at the least implied that the mentally ill would be sent down. Anyone who doesn't fit in tends to be.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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In Exile and Avernum that is the only conversation node that references it.  Exile:

 

There is a portly man with short gray hair sitting behind the counter. When you enter, he is writing haphazard notes on a sheet 
of vellum.

 

"I'm Bernie. Welcome to my shop. Would you like to hear The Chart?"

 

"I have all manner of potions and the like, which you may purchase. You can also sell me your excess magic. And, if you would like, you can hear The Chart. It's about the meaning of life."

 

He pulls out a sheet of paper, and start talking and writing. He describes and draws his life above, how he was thrown into Exile, and what he has learned since he  arrived, throwing in on the side many opinions on life in general.

 

It is very interesting. It also makes practically no sense whatsoever.

 

Avernum has some trivial rewordings and adds/replaces:

 

"Ahh, just doing some inventory.  I have all manner of potions and the like, which you may purchase. I can identify unusual items, if needed. And, if you would like, you can hear The Chart. It's about the meaning of life."

 

Bernie takes all natural ingredients and, with love and care, turns them into powerful and useful magical brews, useful during long, violent dungeon expeditions.

 

Bernie looks over your unidentified items. "Ah, yes. I can help. I will explain what each unusual item is for a mere 10 coins."

 

I guess A:EFTP could have added something, but that would be unusual.

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20 hours ago, Buzko said:

but there could be a quest to seek out one of the many sage or healer NPCs because they have an interest in treating non-physical injuries. 

 

In either A1 or 2 there was a 'quest' for lack of a better term from Walner in Ft Duvno (?the town just north of Silvar) to find a cure for a 'dread curse'.  You had to go to the Tower of Magi & talk to the Priestess of the temple there.  She could remove it for a few hundred gold iirc.

 

Not really a mental thing but sort of along the same lines as far as your quest for a cure goes (again, iirc, you could get a dread curse from among other things looting Formello's treasury)

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Thanks for all the interesting replies. 

 

I'd forgotten about Bernie and his Chart.  I think he could be read as having delusions about disparate things being interconnected, or religious beliefs that are outside the mainstream, or having done too many psychedelics, or even just an exotic philosophy that he has difficulty communicating.  I agree that it would be consistent for the Empire to banish people for having a mental illness.  

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