New mental disorders
It should be noted that not all of these are fun or easy to play, but at the very least they might help flesh out NPCs and contribute to the creepy feeling of the setting. It should be noted that many of these disorders are fairly common: the mental stresses induced by the Fall caused numerous traumas. In most people they are also controlled using medication, psychotherapy or psychosurgery, but the degree to which they have been permanently cured varies.
One useful approach is to randomly select one for every NPC, even when they are healthy: this is the disorder they are most close to, and they might have a few mild traits from it – the gerontocrat might have a minor adjustment issue she counters by collecting Earth memorabilia, the black market contact is slightly bipolar and either greets the PCs cheerfully or grumpily on different occasions, the AGI is overly concerned about its software health.
This is just a small subset of what can go wrong with the transhuman mind. I have left out disorders already in the core book or disorders too similar to them, like dysthymia and cyclothymia (variants of bipolar disorder). Some disorders like gender identity disorder are fairly trivial to fix by a morph switch and have also been left out, as well as developmental disorders, more biological disorders (e.g. narcolepsy) and many symptoms (e.g. catatonia) of other disorders.
Normally people adjust to a new situation – having lost a loved one, forced into exile, having had to change body, even the Fall. Adjustment disorders occur when they cannot get over it in a normal way. The sorrow, fear or anger remains, popping up in bad ways. When things occur that remind the character of what they have lost they act out. Victims might feel sadness or hopelessness, with crying spells, trouble sleeping or difficulty concentrating. They might engage in fighting, vandalism, reckless behavior, ignoring bills, avoiding family and friends, suicide – all activities that tend to tank their reps.
Core book p. 212
Anxiety disorders all deal with inappropriate or abnormal anxiety.
Core book p. 212
General anxiety disorder
Core book p. 213
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Core book p. 214
The person has sudden attacks of intense fear or anxiety. They cannot be predicted, and often the anxiety of anticipating that an attack could occur is almost as bad as (or can trigger) an attack. There are often physical symptoms such as rapid breathing, heart palpitation, shortness of breath, blurred vision, or nausea. In bad cases agoraphobia may develop: the person become afraid of being in places where it would be hard to get help or escape if a panic attack occurs.
Suggested game effects: panic attacks occur randomly, but more often when the person is tense or stressed. Roll a WILx3 test: if it fails, the character develops a full panic attack, during which they have -20 on all tasks.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Core book p. 214
After a traumatic event a person begins to associate anxiety or fear with an object or situation. They may avoid it to reduce their stress. Some are to a degree rational, like fear of heights, vacuum or sharp objects, but many are more emotional like fear of seeing blood, animals or disease, and some might be utterly random like fear of jewelry or the number 4. In order to count as a mental disorder rather than a quirk the target needs to be common enough or the avoidance strong enough to make life seriously hard for the person – fear of synthmorphs, quitting a job in order to avoid elevators, a tendency to hide in one’s habitat module out of fear that a spider could show up etc. might work.
Suggested game effects: Sufferers get penalties to tests related to the target of the fear, worse the more intimate and inescapable the contact is.
Social anxiety disorder
The person has a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others – everything from a gaze across the room to being reminded of surveillance. They might blush, sweat, tremble, stammer, and speak rapidly and nervously. They withdraw socially, trying to avoid situations where they will be forced to stand in the gaze of others.
Suggested game effects: Sufferers receive a -10 penalty on SAV-based skills in the perceived presence of others. They need to roll a WIL x 3 roll to do things that will make them the center of attention.
The main symptom cluster for dissociative disorders include a disruption in consciousness, memory, identity, or perception.
The person experiences a feeling of being detached from their environment, mental processes or body: a sense of automation, going through the motions of life but not experiencing it, feeling as though one is in a XP, loss of conviction in their identity, feeling as though one is in a dream or simulation, feeling a disconnection from one's body, possibly out-of-body experience or seeing oneself from a distance. The symptoms get worse in threatening situations, unfamiliar environments or during stress.
Persons with dissociative amnesia (alias situation-specific psychogenic amnesia) suffer memory gaps related to traumatic or stressful events which are too extreme to be accounted for by normal forgetting. This might be a single severe trauma, or repeated traumas.
Suggested game effects: the person will be unable to recall anything related to the trauma or events leading up to it. For all practical purposes they are having the edited memories trait in this respect.
An even more severe dissociative amnesia brought about by severe stress or trauma. The person abruptly travels away from home and their normal social network, unable to remember important aspects of their life, and the partial or complete adoption of a new identity.
Multiple personality disorder
Core book p. 214
The person has a distorted body image, where they see themselves as overweight despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They reduce their weight by undereating, purging, anorexigen drugs or instructions to medichines to cut body fat. In an era of ready biosculpting anorexia can go to extremes, especially since the health effects can be somewhat reduced. It shades over to “surgical addiction” and body dysmorphia.
Impulse Control Disorders
These disorders deal with difficulty in controlling impulses, despite the negative consequences to the character.
Core book p. 211
Core book p. 212
Impulse control disorder
Core book p. 213
Intermittent Explosive Disorder
The person suffering IED has frequent and often unpredictable episodes of extreme anger or physical outbursts that are disproportionate to the situation. Between episodes, there is typically no evidence of violence or physical threat.
Suggested effects: Roll WILx3 (or harder, depending on situation) to resist going off a handle whenever there is any provocation, whether real or imagined.
The person is bad at resisting impulses to steal things, despite the objects not being for personal use or of any monetary value – they are often minor things like paperclips, small blobjects or ectos. They usually feel anxious before the theft and then gratification afterward
Suggested game effects: The person needs to roll a WILx3 roll whenever a theft opportunity arises, with penalties based on current stress levels.
Similar to an addiction, the person cannot resist the impulse to gamble, especially when under stress, feeling sad or anxious. They feel restless or irritable when trying to cut back or quit gambling, and need to gamble larger amounts of money in order to feel the same excitement as first. In order to count as pathological (rather than merely the Addiction Trait) it has to cause serious trouble: the person borrows or steals to fund the gambling, gambles larger and larger amounts in order to win back past losses; they lose jobs, relationships, or educational or career opportunities.
Suggested game effects: The person needs to roll a WILx3 roll whenever a gambling opportunity arises, with penalties based on current stress levels. Being kept from gambling increases stress by 1d10 SV per week.
The person deliberately sets fire to things. Usually there is a build-up of tension before the act, and then relief and gratification afterwards. There is usually no real gain from the fires or the destruction they cause: they are for their own sake, not for vengeance, to express anger, to get insurance money. They can fixate on institutions of fire control like fire stations or firefighters, and often experience fascination when around fires. While XP and VR fire might satisfy a bit, they are not real: the person craves real fire.
Suggested game effects: The person needs to roll a WILx3 roll whenever a fire-setting or fire-watching opportunity arises, with penalties based on current stress levels. Being kept from setting fires increases stress by 1d10 SV per week.
Persons suffering from trichotillomania compulsively pull out their own hair, which results in significant hair loss. The behavior tends to be triggered by depression or stress. While it is easy to just remove hair using biosculpting or hairdresser nanoswarms, people with trichotillomania feel gratification by pulling out hairs one by one, often without noticing and sometimes eating the hair. Neohominid uplifts tend to be noticeable sufferers.
Suggested game effects: the habit causes damage to appearance, giving the Unattractive trait.
Disturbance in mood: inappropriate, exaggerated, or limited range of feelings
Core book p. 212
Core book p. 212
Personality types and behaviors that markedly deviates from the home culture, leading to considerable personal and social disruption. While normal people have some elements in common with the personality disorders, sufferers have personalities that are extreme enough to cause trouble. These disorders are rarely the result of an individual trauma, although severe stress may cause latent bad sides of a person to come out.
Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial people show a general disregard for the law and the rights of others. They are unconcerned by the feelings of others and lack remorse and feelings of guilt. They can be highly irresponsible, impulsive, aggressive and disregard social norms, obligations and laws. They tend to have very low tolerance to frustration and blame others rather than take responsibility for their own actions.
Avoidant personality disorder
Avoidant people are characterized by social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of social interaction. They consider themselves to be to be socially inept or personally unappealing.
Borderline personality disorder
Core book p. 212
Dependent personality disorder
Dependent people see others as more capable to deal with things than themselves. Other people are responsible, competent and able to navigate the complexities of the world, while the dependent people see themselves as inadequate and helpless. They are weak and inept in a big, cold and dangerous world and try to avoid being put into a situation of responsibility. They often play up childlike traits or are self-effacing, docile, obsequious or uncritical, trying to keep attached to strong significant others. They ignore if the other treats them badly or exploits them, doing whatever it takes to get the care and support they need.
Histrionic personality disorder
Histrionic people show excessive emotionality and attention-seeking. This often includes an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behavior. They are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious but with shallow or exaggerated emotions. They are often manipulative and use their skills to become center of attention.
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic people are self-centered, preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. They tend to have a grandiose sense of self-importance even when it is not warranted, fantasizing about unlimited success, power, love and brilliance. They feel themselves entitled, since they are “special” and unique, often leading to arrogant and exploitative behavior. At the same time they tend to lack empathy and often believe others are envious of them.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder involves a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. Rules must be followed, minute details and facts scrutinized, checklists and schedules made and implemented. People with the personality disorder tend to think in rigid categories of right and wrong, with sharp boundaries and no shades of grey.
This personality disorder should not to be confused with OCD: in OCD people have unwanted thoughts, while in the personality disorder they think the thoughts are correct.
Paranoid personality disorder
Paranoid personality disorder is characterized by suspiciousness, mistrust of others and constant scanning of the environment for clues that validate their ideas. Paranoids tend to be hypersensitive, easily slighted and have constricted emotional lives. They tend to bear grudges, distort experiences to interpret actions of others as hostile or contemptuous, be combative about their personal rights even when it does not fit the situation, jealousy, excessive self-importance, preoccupation with “conspiratorial” explanations for events in their lives and the world at large.
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid people show a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness and sometimes (sexual) apathy, with a simultaneous rich, elaborate and exclusively internal fantasy world. They are often described as aloof and cold, remaining apparently indifferent no matter what happens, but some may pretend to be social while internally remaining disconnected from everyone else. They rarely take pleasure in any activities, lack close friends or confidants because they do not desire or enjoy close relationships, and appear indifferent to praise or criticism.
Schizotypal personality disorder
Schizotypal people have a need for social isolation, anxiety in social situations, odd behavior and thinking, and often unconventional beliefs or behavior. They tend to be socially withdrawn, show inappropriate or constricted emotions, have odd beliefs or magical thinking, and occasionally experience unusual experiences ranging from depersonalisation or bodily illusions to delusions or hallucinations.
Passive-aggressive personality disorder
Passive-aggressive people are obstructionist, passively resisting doing routine social and occupational tasks while complaining of being misunderstood and unappreciated by others. They can be sullen and argumentative, unreasonably criticizes and scorns authority, voices exaggerated and persistent complaints of personal misfortune, expresses envy and resentment toward those apparently more fortunate or alternates between hostile defiance and contrition.
Psychotic disorders involve a break from reality, for example through disrupted thinking, delusions or hallucinations.
Chronic hallucinatory psychosis
The person suffers from persistent hallucinations. While they can occur in all senses, auditory hallucinations (“voices”) are most common. Often they start by being aware that the hallucinations are unreal, but over time come to accept their reality and then construct delusions explaining them.
The person has one of more non-bizarre delusions, fixed beliefs that are certainly and definitely false, but that could possibly be plausible. This could include feelings of being followed, poisoned, infected, deceived or conspired against, or loved at a distance. Persecutory delusions are most common, but the delusions can also be erotomanic, grandiose, jealous, somatic, and mixtures of the different types. They hold their belief with unusual force, often being humorless and oversensitive about the belief. An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.
Suggested game effects: decide on the delusion when taking the disorder. The character will then act as if this was true no matter what the evidence is. Being forced into a situation where the delusion is proven false induces 1d10 SV (but does not remove the disorder).
Core book p. 213. Corresponds to catatonic symptoms.
Core book p. 213. A possible symptom of paranoid schizophrenia or various personality disorders.
Core book p. 214
Shared Psychotic Disorder, “Folle a` Deux”
The person shares delusions with another person (or, more rarely, an entire group). This may occur if one dominant person develops delusions and imposes them on the weaker person, or that a close pair develops them together.
Sexual Disorders and Dysfunctions
These disorders involve impairment in normal sexual functioning, given the culture of the person.
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
Deficient or absent sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity. The lack of desire must result in significant distress for the individual and is not better accounted for by another disorder or physical diagnosis. A related disorder, Sexual Aversion Disorder, is more like a sexual phobia: when presented with a sexual opportunity, the individual may experience panic attacks or extreme anxiety.
Sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of what would normally be regarded as stimulating. In the modern world things are complicated by switchable morphs, and the presence of radically different and fairly tolerant cultures. To count as a mental disorder the person has to be stimulated by something that causes them significant distress or social impairment, typically the suffering or humiliation of oneself or others, children, non-consenting persons or obsessive behavior that impacts their life. Examples include becoming aroused by paedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, more extreme masochism or sadism, mesh scatologia (contacting others to use sexual or foul language), necrophilia, zoosadism, or being in life-threatening situations.
Excessive sleepiness, not just in the form of sleeping late but an urge to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or in conversation. These naps usually do not give any relief of the tiredness. After waking up they feel disoriented and lacking in energy.
Suggested game effects: daytime tiredness has similar effects as in insomnia, but less strongly. At random points during the day the character has to succeed with a WILx3 roll to avoid falling asleep.
Core book p. 213
Nightmare and Night Terror Disorder
The person suffers horrifying dreams (nightmares) or wake up in panic without being able to recall anything (night terrors). During a night terror the person might appear awake but is actually hallucinating and unable to recognize anybody. People with nightmare disorder experience nightmares frequently, and may be afraid of going to sleep.
Suggested game effects: each night, the character takes 1d10 “virtual” SV (and temporary traumas) that go away after a short while if they succeed with a WILx3 roll. Otherwise 1 point remains.
Disorders in this category include those where the symptoms suggest a medical condition but where no medical condition can be found by a physician.
Core book p. 212
The person has neurological symptoms such as numbness, blindness, paralysis, fainting or fits without a neurological cause. The real cause is underlying stress or conflict, which is expressed as a bodily state.
Suggested game effects: decide on the neurological symptom and their penalties when developing the illness. These cannot be removed using augmentation or changes in the morph.
Core book p. 213
Conditions in which a person acts as if he or she has an illness by deliberately producing, feigning, or exaggerating symptoms. The primary aim is to obtain sympathy, nurturance, and attention accompanying the sick role. This is in contrast to malingering, in which the patient wishes to obtain external gains such as disability payments or to avoid an unpleasant situation, such as military duty.
The person feigns disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome. They either feign or exaggerate symptoms, or deliberately induce them. This can shade over into somatoform disorders or self-harm, but unlike hypochondria the patient know they are faking it.
Münchausen syndrome by proxy: The person feigns a medical condition in somebody else such as a child in order to get attention and support.
Münchausen by Mesh: the person feigns a condition – medical, psychiatric, or as victim of accidents or violence - on mesh forums in order to get support.
Pathological lying involves habitual or compulsive lying that is disproportionate to any discernible end. The stories are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth. They are not due to true delusions, since the liar knows they are untrue. They are not responses to a particular situation, but rather develop over a long time. Typically they present the liar in a favorable light, such as being brave, having visited exotic locations, interacted with famous people.