Madness in Darkness Moon Chronicles | World Anvil
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In a typical story, characters aren’t driven mad by the horrors they face and the carnage they inflict day after day, but sometimes the stress of being an adventurer can be too much to bear. Since the Darkness Moon Chronicles has a strong horror theme, Amelia Nite is using madness as a way to reinforce that theme, emphasizing the extraordinarily horrific nature of the threats the characters' face.  

Going Mad

Various magickal effects can inflict madness on an otherwise stable mind. Certain spells, such as Contact Other Dimension can cause insanity, and you can use the madness rules here instead of the spell effects of those Spells. Diseases, poisons, and planar effects such as Void dysphoria can inflict madness. Some artifacts can also break the psyche of a character who uses or becomes attuned to them.  

Resisting a madness-inducing effect usually requires a Wisdom or Charisma saving throw.

Madness Effects

Madness can be short-term, long-term, or indefinite. Most relatively mundane effects impose short-term madness, which lasts for just a few minutes. More horrific effects or cumulative effects can result in long-term or indefinite madness.   A character afflicted with short-term madness is subjected to an effect from the Short-Term Madness table for 1d10 hours and takes 1d4 psychic damage every hour.   A character afflicted with long-term madness is subjected to an effect from the Long-Term Madness table for 1d10 × 10 days and takes 1d10 psychic damage for each day.

Table of Contents

by Reza Hasannia
A character afflicted with indefinite madness gains a new character flaw from the Indefinite Madness table that lasts until cured and takes 1d20 psychic damage each day.  
Short-Term Madness
1d100 Effect (lasts 1d10 hours)
1-20 The character retreats into his or her mind and becomes paralyzed. The effect ends if the character takes any attack damage.
21-30 The character becomes incapacitated and spends the duration screaming, laughing, or weeping.
31-40 The character becomes frightened and must use their action and movement each round to flee from the source of the fear.
41-50 The character begins babbling and is incapable of normal speech or spellcasting.
51-60 The character must use their action each round to attack the nearest creature.
61-70 The character experiences vivid hallucinations and has disadvantage on ability checks.
71-75 The character does whatever anyone tells them to do that isn’t obviously self-destructive.
76-80 The character experiences an overpowering urge to eat something strange such as dirt, slime, or offal.
81-90 The character is stunned.
91-100 The character falls unconscious.
Long-Term Madness
1d100 Effect (lasts 1d10 days)
1-10 The character feels compelled to repeat a specific activity over and over, such as washing hands, touching things, praying, or counting coins.
11-20 The character experiences vivid hallucinations and has disadvantage on ability checks.
21-30 The character suffers extreme paranoia. The character has disadvantage on Wisdom and Charisma checks.
31-40 The character regards something (usually the source of madness) with intense revulsion, as if affected by the antipathy effect of the Antipathy/Sympathy spell.
41-45 The character experiences a powerful delusion. Choose a potion. The character imagines that they are under its effects.
46-55 The character becomes attached to a “lucky charm,” such as a person or an object, and has disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws while more than 30 feet from it. 56–65 The character is blinded (25%) or deafened (75%).
66-75 The character experiences uncontrollable tremors or tics, which impose disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws that involve Strength or Dexterity.
76-85 The character suffers from partial amnesia. The character knows who they are and retains species traits and class features, but doesn’t recognize other people or remember anything that happened before the madness took effect.
86-90 Whenever the character takes damage, he or she must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be affected as though he or she failed a saving throw against the Confusion spell. The confusion effect lasts for 1 minute.
91-95 The character loses the ability to speak.
96-100 The character falls unconscious. No amount of jostling or damage can wake the character.
Indefinite Madness
1d100 Effect (lasts until cured)
1-15 “Being drunk keeps me sane.”
16-25 "I keep whatever I find."
26-30 “I try to become more like someone else I know—adopting his or her style of dress, mannerisms, and name.”
31-35 “I must bend the truth, exaggerate, or outright lie to be interesting to other people.”
36-45 “Achieving my goal is the only thing of interest to me, and I’ll ignore everything else to pursue it.”
46-50 “I find it hard to care about anything that goes on around me.”
51-55 “I don’t like the way people judge me all the time.”
56-70 “I am the smartest, wisest, strongest, fastest, and most beautiful person I know.”
71-80 “I am convinced that powerful enemies are hunting me, and their agents are everywhere I go. I am sure they’re watching me all the time.”
81-85 “There’s only one person I can trust. And only I can see this special friend.”
86-95 “I can’t take anything seriously. The more serious the situation, the funnier I find it.”
96-100 “I’ve discovered that I really like killing people.”

Curing Madness

A Calm Emotions spell can suppress the effects of madness, while a Lesser Restoration spell can rid a character of a short-term or long-term madness. Depending on the source of the madness, Remove Curse or Dispel Evil might also prove effective. A Greater Restoration spell or more powerful magick is required to rid a character of indefinite madness.  


After getting rid of the madness effect, the character suffers from exhaustion. Exhaustion is measured in six levels. An effect can give a creature one or more levels of exhaustion, as specified in the effect’s description.   Short-term: 1-2 levels of exhaustion   Long-term: 3 levels of exhaustion   Indefinite: 4 levels of exhaustion  
Exhaustion Effects
Level Effect
1 Disadvantage on Ability Checks
2 Speed halved
3 Disadvantage on Attack rolls and Saving Throws
4 Hit point maximum halved
5 Speed reduced to 0
6 Death
  When a creature fails a saving throw against exhaustion, they gain one or more levels of exhaustion, depending on the effect. If a creature already has a level of exhaustion, they continue to gain additional levels.   If an already exhausted creature suffers another effect that causes exhaustion, its current level of exhaustion increases by the amount specified in the effect’s description.   A creature suffers the effect of its current level of exhaustion as well as all lower levels. For example, a creature suffering level 2 exhaustion has its speed halved and has disadvantage on ability checks.   An effect that removes exhaustion reduces its level as specified in the effect’s description, with all exhaustion effects ending if a creature’s exhaustion level is reduced below 1.   Finishing a long rest reduces a creature’s exhaustion level by 1, provided that the creature has also ingested some food and drink.  

For example, when your Berserker Barbarian comes out of their Frenzied Rage, they will gain one level of exhaustion. They are then exposed to extreme heat and fail their CON saving throw. This means your Barbarian now has two levels of exhaustion and suffers from both the first level and second level’s effects.

What Causes Exhaustion 5e?
There are a number of effects that cause exhaustion. The following is more of a reference than a complete list:   Spells That Cause Exhaustion: As of now, only Sickening Radiance can inflict a level of exhaustion on another creature. The only other spell that causes exhaustion is Tenser’s Transformation, which can cause a level of self-inflicted exhaustion if you fail a saving throw when the spell ends.   Exhaustion While Travelling 5e: As mentioned previously, exhaustion is primarily a mechanic to address overexertion while adventuring. This means that any extreme circumstances can cause a level of exhaustion. This includes, but is not limited to:  
  • Not eating or drinking enough
  • Exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold
  • Traveling for longer than 8 hours in a day
  • Going 24 hours without a long rest
  • Falling into frigid water
  • Swimming for more than 1 hour
  • Rowing a boat for longer than 8 hours
Ways to Remove Exhaustion
The simplest way to remove a level of exhaustion is by completing a long rest, assuming that food and water is also ingested as part of the long rest. Keep in mind that if you are still exposed to extreme heat or cold during a long rest, saving throws against exhaustion will need to be made.   Barring magickal artifacts, the only other way to fix exhaustion is to use the Greater Restoration spell, which can reduce the target’s exhaustion level by one.

Cover image: by Amelia Nite (Canva)


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