As long as I’ve known about H.P. Lovecraft’s work, one thing has held true. Characters in his world usually go insane due to standing too close to the weirdness. And I’ve played my share of Call of Cthulhu where that exact thing has happened. You can only lose so many insanity points before, well, you go off the deep end!

Well, rather than come up with a new set of tables for symptoms of madness, I thought I’d drag out Insta-NPCs #2: Quirks and Madness to see what I could come up with…

mountains-of-madness-coverIf we start with a scenario where your PCs are coming to the scene of a recent supernatural incident, perhaps I need a collection of ten random things NPCs do in the vicinity…

Random NPC Behaviors (d10)

  1. Avoids all eye contact.
  2. Nervously taps foot.
  3. Interrupts constantly.
  4. Mutters under breath.
  5. Never uses contractions (“Can’t” becomes “Cannot’; “Won’t” becomes “Will not”)
  6. Is always eating something.
  7. Deaf in one ear.
  8. Laughs at odd times.
  9. Invades personal space regularly.
  10. Paces constantly.

And if the PCs decide to get more involved with a particular one of these NPCs, you could develop them further. Perhaps a particular sign of madness hints that a particular Lovecraftian cult is operating in the area again or that something is in the water…

Signs of Madness (d10)

  1. Talks to self.
  2. Face tics.
  3. Hands twitch.
  4. Outwardly hostile.
  5. Bouts of blindness.
  6. Has fainting spells.
  7. Obsessed.
  8. Hallucinates.
  9. Has delusions of grandeur.
  10. Violent mood swings.

This might play out in a number of ways. Perhaps that guy that mutters under his breath is hallucinating that Harvey the rabbit is standing behind you, or a monster is about to attack. Or that poor lady who is deaf in one ear might pass out during a conversation. Or that kid who laughs at odd times suddenly attacks you when you say the word “squirrel.”

You get the idea. Adding a little randomness feels at home in the crazy world Lovecraft constructed. Randomness and madness seem somehow connected. And there’s plenty more crazy in Insta-NPCs #2: Quirks and Madness if you go look for it. 🙂

The Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts can be helpful in these situations as well as anything openly Lovecraftian. You may need to detail some of these places so when your PCs arrive you’re ready to throw some creatively creepy ideas at them. So be sure to check it out!

Stay tuned this week for more random madness to explore and check out yesterday’s post.

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