D&D General With enough planning could Schizophrenia be used to allow A Pc to unknowingly also be The campaigns true and final villain?

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JMISBEST

Explorer
I've had A Idea for A Unique Campaign and The Main Villains ID has a unique twist to it, sadly it won't get used for at least 5 years, that with a little modification could be used in almost RPG Setting, what do you think of my idea?

Since Schizophrenia is a condition were the same person has 2 personalities, in all case's the 2 personalities can never recall what happened whilst the other personality was in control and in most case's they believe that they have some condition that cause's them to forget hours if not days

So what do you think?, with enough planning could Schizophrenia be used to allow A Pc to unknowingly also be The campaigns true and final villain?

Here is 2 ideas of mine about this. What do you think

The 1st idea

I'm not sure if its legally classed as a mental issue, but if is then why not make it curable by magic, but this would involve The 7th level Spell Limited Wish and I don't know enough about 1st edition DAD to know if it would work

The idea is that if possible no one learns the truth until The Pc Magic User reach's 14th level, in case your wondering as far as I know 1st edition DAD is the only edition of DAD were Magic Users, or the editions equivalent of Magic Users, for example Wizards in edition 3.5, gain access to 7th level spells at 14th level not 13th level, then he or she could, and in my opinion, should have A Magic User, and ideally The Groups Magic User, use A Limited Wish Spell to destroy the evil personality whilst leaving the good personality unaffected and if they can afford it earlier they should pay for it to be cured. Would it work?

I will admit that even though they could pay someone to cure them it would be very expensive and in all likelihood by the time they could afford it its very likely that their Magic User will be 14th level so they should let him/her cure them and save a fortune, after all the caster would need to have A INT of at least 10+7 or and he or she would need to be at least 14th level, which means it would cost at least 17+14x3,500 Gold Coins or at least 103,500 Gold Coins, so the odds are they won't be able to afford to pay someone to cure them

1 think your likely thinking is how would the Character find out in game that they had schizophrenia? Is there a psychologist, or a cleric/healer, that diagnoses mental issues? And is Limited Wish a known cure for mental issues, or just something that someone would suggest as a "well, you could try this, since nothing else has worked, what harm can it do?"

The 2nd idea

What if the Players know more than the GM about the disorder, and were confused when the symptoms and manifestations don't match the real disorder

This could be resolved by The GM deciding that the differences are due to the fact that The DAD version of Schizophrenia is very different to what Schizophrenia is like in real life
 

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Schizophrenia is a real thing. What you are describing is not schizophrenia. Or even multiple personality disorder, to the best of my (very imperfect) knowledge.

You could run a similar sort of plot in a fantasy world via possession, curses, mind control, unusual magic, etc etc etc.

But just don't hijack the name of a real-world mental condition and tack it onto something you've invented for the plot. As you've said, it might confuse (or more to the point, deeply offend) players who actually know about schizophrenia or have had something to do with it in real life.
 

delericho

Legend
Sounds like all kinds of troublesome.

If a DM pulled that on my PC without discussing it with me first, that would be the final time I played with that DM. But if a DM did discuss it with me first, my answer would be a hard "no". And if a DM and another player pulled that on the rest of the group, I'd have to strongly consider whether to stick with the group.

I hate to be so negative about the idea, but I'm afraid that is my reaction to it.
 

I think a story like that could work in a fantasy novel, but in an RPG campaign it would require all kinds of railroading to explain why nobody notices anything before the final reveal, resulting in a very unsatisfying experience for the players.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Schizophrenia is not what you describe. What you're thinking about, in the real world, may be known as Diassociative Identity Disorder.

I would not go this route. You never know when a player has had a prior experience with something from the real world that can be traumatisizing. You can achieve similar results using magic, if you really want to go this route, including clone spells, simulacrum spells, doppelgangers, magic jar spells, time travel, etc... None of these is free of risk either, but they seem less likely to be triggers.
 
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I've done something like this, but the PC was just one of a triumvirate. It required a specific aspect of the setting plus the player's decision to do something strange in his background. In Rokugan, there's a prophesy about the dark god returning, along with the 7 Thunders to face him, and the CCG covered this in the first arc. The player decided that his monk uncovered this prophesy, but he'd interpreted it wrong, believing the party was the Thunders. Unknown to the player, there's a rule about false paths to enlightenment that lead to madness if embraced, and his background fit it perfectly. I decided to have him split into two personalities, the NPC one would become active when he slept, and he worked towards evil goals that occasionally opposed the party. He wasn't a primary villain, but he'd occasionally mess up one of their plans.

When the reveal occurred, the player was pissed. Not only because it explained how they never found this villain, but because he didn't get to participate in the final conflict. I considered letting him take over the evil persona, but I knew he would deliberately throw the fight for the other players. Tread carefully if you want to go down this route.
 

aco175

Legend
Might be better if the PC was in some sort of possession by the BBEG and acted more like a mini-boss that the group uncovered and now would have a good hook to seek out the BBEG. A level 1-5 arc would be fine with something like this. Longer than this I think would take a lot of railroading like what @Sorcerers Apprentice said. The PC would need to be missing large amounts of game time and not be able to explain it would set alarms off for the other players.
 

Oofta

Legend
There are many reasons I wouldn't do this. As others have stated, you misunderstand what schizophrenia is and mental illness in general is a touchy subject to say the least. It's also an unnecessary justification in a world with magic.

While I don't think I'd do this at all, if you choose to go down this path there is a way to do it. I'd limit the time spent on this and then at some point have the big reveal, but also have a literal split personality and PC. Somehow an evil doppelganger of the PC came along and at times possessed him. In the big reveal, they are magically split into two separate individuals, magical identical twins except that one is evil. That means that the original PC is now completely "clean" and can also help take down his evil twin.

Really though, the only way I would consider this would be if the player of the PC was in on it from the beginning. It can be trickier to pull off and you have to know your players, but if you did it with the players knowledge it could be interesting.
 

Reynard

Legend
In short: when you run a campaign, you are not writing a novel so you cannot rely on your ability as an author to make sure all the right things happen. RPG campaigns are largely about discovering the story -- even when you use a big predefined adventure like a Paizo Adventure Path or a WotC hardcover adventure. It is best to abandon the notion of knowing where and how the campaign is going to end.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I think it's doable. It can actually make a great campaign, and it works best as a reveal if the players don't know about it. You'd have to carefully plan it as you go to avoid blatant railroading, but I believe you know that already. I'd add a few caveats however:

1) Make sure this kind of shenanigan flies with your group. You know them better than we do but even from the small sample you have in this thread, it's clear not everyone would enjoy this. This assessment should be continuous throughout the campaign and accept that you may have to pull the plug halfway through.
2) Don't put it on the back of schizophrenia (or any mental disorder or divergence), make it a curse or possession or something. This is important because...
3) Make the condition curable somehow, even if it means the character has to fight its dark reflection in the land of mirrors or whatever. The player's trust (as opposed to the character's) cannot be betrayed, and the player cannot feel like they have to redeem themselves for something they've done. It needs to be somebody else's fault. Not as an excuse, but as a plot highlight. Even better, give the player the possibility to use it to their advantage. Possessions/curse sometimes work both ways.
4) The characters need a chance to repair/undo the wrongs done by their nemesis without becoming pariahs. This goes in line with the previous point.
5) Be ready for the possibility of players figuring it out before the moment you planned your big reveal. It needs to be something better than "you guys figured it out; you win". It should be a highlight in the campaign; not the end of it.
 
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TheSword

Legend
It sounds like more of a Manchurian Candidate/Bourne Identity situation. Brainwashing in essence. I see no reason why this wouldn’t be possible… drop clues in as the campaign progresses. Might be fun if your team are into it.

However it’s definitely not schizophrenia. Really nothing like it at all.
 

JMISBEST

Explorer
It sounds like more of a Manchurian Candidate/Bourne Identity situation. Brainwashing in essence. I see no reason why this wouldn’t be possible… drop clues in as the campaign progresses. Might be fun if your team are into it.

However it’s definitely not schizophrenia. Really nothing like it at all.
Clearly schizophrenia doesn't meant what I thought it meant, but I didn't know that and that's why I called it schizophrenia. I just realized that when I initially posted I forgot to say thank you and sorry for any unintended upset. So thank you and sorry for any unintended upset.
 
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GuyBoy

Hero
I would strongly advise against going down this route. The potential for hurt and damage is significant and for what gain? There are plenty of great campaign concepts out there.
 

Schizophrenia is a real thing. What you are describing is not schizophrenia. Or even multiple personality disorder, to the best of my (very imperfect) knowledge.

You could run a similar sort of plot in a fantasy world via possession, curses, mind control, unusual magic, etc etc etc.

But just don't hijack the name of a real-world mental condition and tack it onto something you've invented for the plot. As you've said, it might confuse (or more to the point, deeply offend) players who actually know about schizophrenia or have had something to do with it in real life.
this...

Have a hidden evil in a PC is cool. Having a real world element in the game as a villain excuse is not cool

I already dislike how personalities are handled even when people say they want good representation (moon knight)
 

Absolutely not, and you should not use this mental illness in that way in your game. You can use some magical made up illness, but this is not a function of Schizophrenia, and you're basically just using its name and nothing else about it. This perpetuates weird ideas about the disease that in fact seems to be stemming from your lack of understanding.

For reference, I grew up with a mother suffering from this, and it is not what you describe. Please just making something else up for it.
 

Possible ways to pull this off while protecting some against bad player feelings:
Future version of the PC
Alternate Dimension Variant
Clone

Beyond the bad feelings, trust that the logistics to explain how all the actions of the villain could be accomplished by the PC without them knowing is likely to be a huge headache.
 

I would emphasize (in addition to having it be a magical condition) having the player of the particular PC be in on it. That's the only way to make sure they aren't going to be frustrated/upset with the outcome. It will also allow them to help you keep it secret from the rest of the group. Obviously, it needs to be the PC of a player that is good at keeping a secret.

For instance, if you proposed this to me before I had finished my character concept for a campaign, I would absolutely be willing to run a character knowing his evil alter-ego/possessing force was the BBEG. Sounds like a really fun new thing to try. Very creative.
 

JMISBEST

Explorer
Absolutely not, and you should not use this mental illness in that way in your game. You can use some magical made up illness, but this is not a function of Schizophrenia, and you're basically just using its name and nothing else about it. This perpetuates weird ideas about the disease that in fact seems to be stemming from your lack of understanding.

For reference, I grew up with a mother suffering from this, and it is not what you describe. Please just making something else up for it.
Sorry, I didn't mean any harm and I truly believed that Schizophrenia means what I said it means, clearly it doesn't mean what I thought it meant and even though I never intended to upset people its clear that I unintentionally upset at least 1 person and likely more then 1 person, my deepest apologies
 

JMISBEST

Explorer
Possible ways to pull this off while protecting some against bad player feelings:
Future version of the PC
Alternate Dimension Variant
Clone

Beyond the bad feelings, trust that the logistics to explain how all the actions of the villain could be accomplished by the PC without them knowing is likely to be a huge headache.
I really like the alternate dimension variant but I'd call it alternate reality copy

I've just had 3 idea's

The 1st idea is that 1 of The Pcs is A Lawful Good Paladin, so I could make him the victim and have his Alternate reality copy be A Chaotic Evil Anti-Paladin

The 2nd idea is that I could have A 1 of the main villains Lieutenants be A Chaotic Evil Anti-Paladin whose from our universe, but his alternate reality copy could be A Lawful Good Paladin

The 3rd idea is that if needed, meaning it'll never be a planned part of a adventure rather it is something that will happen if needed, if the characters are losing a fight or have lost 1 but were captured and are about to be executed then they could be saved by A Lawful Good Paladin whose A Alternate Reality Version of 1 of their realities most dangerous, by which I mean its possible that's he's not the most powerful, Chaotic Evil Anti-Paladins
 

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