“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fear is defined as "a justified fright of a known external cause for worry." It is a normal response to an external threat, and usually produces disturbances manifested in the sufferer's action, and bodily changes. These disturbances are felt by the person and visible to others. Humans three different reactions to fear: we may muster up courage and fight the source of danger; we may feel terrified and flee frantically to escape; or we may become immobilized, motionless and mute.
Some things to remember about fear:
- Fear is different from one person to another (sometimes leading to phobias), and if not properly handled, could lead to social problems. Someone in the grip of fear might lose consciousness of mind and might perform stupid and/or dangerous acts.
- Terror refers to a pronounced state of fear, where someone becomes overwhelmed with a sense of immediate danger.
- Paranoia is a term to describe a psychosis of fear, related to perception of being persecuted. This perception often causes people to change their normal behaviour in radical ways. After some time, their behaviour may become extremely compulsive.
Fear may be trigged by internal or external events, conditions, or situations that signal danger. The threat may be physical or psychological. Fear may also be triggered by the presence of something threatening or the absence of something that provides safety and security. Below is a random table to determine a fear response.
|Victim is wary and suffers a -2CS to strike for the remainder of the combat.|
|50% chance that the victim flees the scene. If he stays he may only parry.|
|Victim flees as rapidly as possible away from the source of his or her terror.|
|Victim becomes totally catatonic (as if stunned).|
|Victim flies into a berserk rage and immediately attempts to attack the object of his rage. He will charge if possible and attempt to grapple. All strike chances against him are +1CS and all strike chances he makes are +1CS.|
|As before but will attack anything (including allies) that come within striking distance.|
|Victim becomes hysterical and will continue to stand in place and scream until snapped out of it (GM may determine how this occurs).|
|The victim becomes subject to terror and curl up into a gibbering ball, counting as prone target.|
|Victim faints dead away (collapsing to the ground). He remains unconscious for 1-10 minutes.|
|Victim suffers a heart attack. The target cannot move about under his own power for the remainder of the day and suffers -2CS in all physical attributes until he has spent one month resting in bed.|
|00||Victim suffers a heart attack and must have medical attention within one minute or die. If he does survive all subsequent rolls on the Fear Table are increased by 20% for the remainder of the day.|
|Victims fleeing the source of their fright will do so for 1 minute or until they can no longer see the source of their fear.|
Long Term Effects of Prolonged Trauma
If the character is experiencing at least five of the following indicators, then he may be developing long term trauma:
- Intrusive recollection of the event while awake
- Recurrent dreams of the event
- Distress as a result of any reminder of the event
- Attempts at avoiding any thought or feeling about the event, or avoiding activities that remind him of the event
- Diminished interest in meaningful activities
- Detachment from others
- Sense of impending doom
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irritability or increased anger
- Concentration and attention disorders
- Increased response upon being startled
- Sexual dysfunction
- Addiction (substance abuse)
Long term trauma is probably best used in a campaign where a particularly long and difficult battle has occurred, specifically one in which the character was severely beaten or people the character knew died gruesomely.
At the very least, this kind of trauma would make a character a little twitchy. At worst, it could make the character incredibly difficult to be around.
There is also a disorder that certain professions such as doctors, nurses and soldiers acquire after working in difficult environments (such as the emergency room or in wartime). This disorder makes the victim need that kind of stimulation again. People with this disorder are unable to find any excitement in anything that isn't as fast and furious as whatever they used to do (ER, wartime work, other kinds of adrenalin-rush occupations).