Sunday, January 3, 2010

We're Here to Help You--Asylums in the Campaign


The Asylum is used as a strange setting adventure site in my campaign. The Vallorean Empire has many asylums throughout the land, providing a relatively safe and secure place for the insane to live, separate from the rest of the *good* society. Families often send their nutjob relatives and problem-children to live forever in Asylums, where they cannot escape and interact with others, or cause problems and embarrassment. Not to mention that many of those that are afflicted with various kinds of insanities are quite dangerous to others--as well as themselves. Asylums are supported two-fold--from support from the Provincial Governor or King, as well as private donations from family members, and other citizens.

Asylums vary greatly in the amenities they provide, as well as the standard of care and the quality of staff training. Many asylums are the final destination professionally and socially for maladjusted social-misfit psychological care-providers, quasi-medical and healer professionals, quack doctors and surgeons, and mad alchemists. Add in the borderline criminally-insane, as well as other assorted freaks and social and sexual predators and that is a large portion of the staff at any given asylum.

Many of the workers and staff at asylums are themselves afflicted with numerous neurosis and insanities; however, they are simply better able to minimally function within the society so as to go unnoticed, or at least somewhat so, enough for them to maintain relative personal and professional independence.

The particular nature and conditions of asylums naturally tend to attract the bizarre and predatory, appealing to those who have an interest in degrading, exploiting, or experimenting on other people afflicted with strange insanities and mental conditions, as well as physical deformities that typically make them incapable or unlikely to voice complaints about how they live or how they are treated. Naturally, as most of society is generally indifferent or even fearful and scornful of mentally ill people, as well as deformed, and maladjusted misfits, most of society turns a deaf and unbelieving ear to most complaints that are made, consigning them to wild imagination and insane ramblings of the damned, demon-possessed, or those who are otherwise seen as unlucky, and cursed by fate and abandoned by the gods.

However, there are some that do enter professions dealing with caring for the mentally ill, the insane, the deformed, and other social maladjusted misfits with a sincere desire to provide care and comfort, if not solutions and healing. Unfortunately, even many such people become overwhelmed with the workload, the lack of financial funds for the institution, poor pay, and little social or professional respect. Many become depressed themselves, and disillusioned, and leave the medical care and healing professions and services entirely. Some do manage to stay, out of personal dedication, or religious devotion and self-discipline, and strive to provide the best care they are able to do.

Some few still, are not only sincere and professional, and selflessly dedicated to the welfare of the people entrusted into their care, but also are gifted with enormous empathy for those that suffer, and also have some talent of brilliance or inspiration that allows them to develop and provide truly enlightened care to all those that live within the asylum.

Asylum Size
01-20%: Small
21-50%: Medium
51-75%: Large
76-90%: Huge
91-00%: Palatial

Asylum Estate Quality
01-20%: Poor
21-70%: Standard
71-85%: Good
86-95%: Excellent
96-00%: Outstanding

Asylum Professional Quality
01-25%: Poor
26-75%: Standard
76-85%: Good
86-95%: Excellent
96-00%: Outstanding

Asylum Operational Quality
01-25%: A House of Damnation
26-45%: A Diabolic Zoo
46-65%: A Delirious Playground
66-70%: Indifferent and Experimental
71-85%: Roughly Adequate
86-90%: A House of Discipline
91-95%: Devout and Professional
96-98%: Empathetic and Sincere
99-00%: Enlightened and Noble

A House of Damnation
The House of Damnation is much like the Diabolic Zoo--except it actively seeks to use regular humanoid sacrifices to open and control mystical gates, create new races of creatures, and draw upon a plethora of philosophies of the damned, the most lascivious and wicked wizards, physicians and philosophers, as well as other staff that have otherwise honed some particular skill set...these institutions are a carefully constructed charade enclosing a gathering of wicked criminals, sociopaths, wizards, and a range of other brilliant individuals that are otherwise ostracized or feel distant or out of sync with the larger community. A House of Damnation seeks out and attracts such individuals, seeking to locate, and gather them in such places so as to organize, and use their combined evil knowledge for grander schemes and plans, both often from a practical level, though also from a philosophical, and theoretical level.

A Diabolic Zoo
An institution such as this is a huge upgrade from a delerious playground. The Diabolic Zoo actively cultivates and attracts insane, though brilliant mages, physicians, and philosophers, and zealously pursue all manner of wicked schemes, insane theories, and blood-drenched, horrific experiments. While it has much in common with the Delerious Playground, the Diabolic Zoo possesses a much larger degree of actually skilled and talented staff.

A Delerious Playground
This kind of institution maintains the appearance of an appropriate and professional institution--though all of that is a carefully designed charade. In reality, when the last visitors leave for the day, and the doors are closed by the muscular, stern guardians--the staff is engaged in wildly preying upon the patients, conducting evil and cruel jokes, tortures, and experiments, and generally indulging every whim they can, at the expense of the patients, and the families and taxes that pay for such support. However, there are occasionally sincere individual staff members that seek to actually accomplish something positive--though they are greatly outnumbered and typically outranked--by other staff that are more or less morally bankrupt, careless, lazy, and possessed with various insanities and embrace an assortment of socially maladjusted beliefs.

Indifferent and Experimental
Such an institution often provides care at a considerable discount--though the staff are largely indifferent to the overall welfare of the patients. Certainly, basic care is provided, and the appearance of an adequate environment is there--though behind the scenes, the staff is typically far more involved with their own entertainments, or in conducting genuine, and perhaps even sincere experiments on the patients, in the belief that their experiments and research is ultimately more important in the bigger scheme of things than the immediate care and consistent welfare, of the patients.

Roughly Adequate
An asylum such as this is operated by a mixed staff--some are dedicated and sincere, while others are often lazy, apathetic, or generally uninspired--as well as some being malevolent and predatory. The institution has a basic mix of equipment, supplies, and so on, to provide a roughly adequate environment for most patients staying at such an asylum. Naturally, occasionally accidents occur, as well as various incidents of neglect or abuse, and the occasional scandal of lewd debauchery is uncovered. However, such an institution provides care at a considerable discount from more well-funded and well-established institutions, and thus they attract and maintain a large customer base.

A House of Discipline
An asylum such as this is operated by a strict, disciplined staff of professionals that provide basic, orthodox care in a strictly supervised manner governed by extensive protocols and regulations. While generally competent, and generally safe for patients--such an institution generates little empathy, and lacks the capacity to embrace any new ideas or unorthodox techniques or practices.

Devout and Professional
An asylum such as this is operated by a staff of highly trained, religiously and professionally devout practitioners and healers. The staff seeks to provide the best possible care, though no breakthrough research or wild new ideas or techniques would be typically used or developed in such an institution. Such asylums are often deeply influenced by particular religious doctrines that inspire and guide the philosophy of the care provided at such an asylum.

Empathetic and Sincere
An asylum such as this goes to extraordinary efforts to provide excellent, effective care for their patients. Such an institution--even when the best supplies or skills are not available--seeks to always protect and comfort the patients in a genuinely empathetic environment with sincere, highly dedicated and professional staff.

Enlightened and Noble
An asylum such as this is led by either a single enlightened visionary, or perhaps a group of brilliant physicians and philosopher-healers that are intense and always vigilant for providing the best possible care for the patients--and furthermore, are committed to providing such care in a manner that is ethical and protects and maintains the dignity of the patient as much as is possible--and often such care is provided in ways combining the best as well as novel approaches with magic, science, technology, herbs, as well as philosophy.

Semper Fidelis,


1 comment:

  1. Ugh. :(
    --Well-wriiten and conceived, but terribly depressing.

    Also, the Madhouse Asylum, run by loonies and wherein the patients are free to run amok in a delusional fantasyland. Woe betide the only marginally ill, or simply mis-placed individual unfortunate enough to be placed within its confines. Often isolated both geographically, as well as from the scrutiny of officials.