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World of Darkness: Asylum is a sourcebook for the Chronicles of Darkness. It focuses on the insanity of the World of Darkness, and providing rules and information to bring this into a story.

Summary

From the Onyx Path catalog:

You people! You people! Listen to me! I know all about this — I know what is going on here. You aren't healers — you're jailors! They're all terrified of us, so they let you treat us any way you like! But I know what goes on in here, what goes on behind those doors, when the secretaries and the orderlies go home! You think we're the monsters, because we don't think like you do? You haven't seen monsters, until you’ve been in HERE. WITH US!— Red Samuel, Bishopsgate inmate
This book includes:
  • A look at insanity and its use as a Storytelling tool for horror games — including comprehensive rules for gaining and curing derangements, as well as systems for the treatment of madness.
  • A history of institutions and asylums, as well as useful advice for players and Storytellers in using these locations either as backgrounds or as the setting for an entire chronicle.
  • Bishopsgate, a fully detailed insane asylum ready to be place anywhere in your World of Darkness chronicle.

Diamonds

Diamonds is a short fiction piece introducing the setting of the sourcebook. It details the struggles of those working within an overburdened, underfunded mental health system, and the oddities of the Warren Whalen Mental Asylum in specific: that is, the entrapment of the patients and staff both by the administration, a shadowy group of unknown supernatural beings, for reasons unknown.

Introduction: Institutional Thoughts

This chapter introduces the contents of the book, as well as its theme, mood, and inspirations. It also provides the basic jargon used later.

Chapter One: Total Bedlam

This chapter explores the history of asylums, institutionalization, and the concept of madness. This includes the less comfortable aspects of their history.

Chapter Two: Putting the Pieces Together

Chapter two rules details rules for playing as medical personal, as well as an examination on medical procedures, and provides new derangements and Merits.

Chapter Three: Bishopsgate — Built on Secrets

This chapter provides a setting for use in any Chronicles of Darkness game: Bishopsgate Mental Asylum, a terrible institution whose history is rife with tragedy and atrocity.

Chapter Four: Case Reports

Chapter four provides ten patients each of which bears a mystery with two possible pre-generated explanations.

Chapter Five: Staff Records

The Staff Records provide archetypes that a Storyteller may use as the base of asylum characters, be they patients or staff.

Appendix: Reaping Madness

The appendix explores madness as relates to the supernatural beings inhabiting the World of Darkness.

Background Information

Memorable Quotes

"We know the images. They are familiar in all histories of psychiatry, where their function is to illustrate that happy age when madness was finally recognized and treated according to a truth to which we had too long remained blind" - Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization

"We have much to be judged on when He comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the results of our failures in love." - Madeleine L'Engle, The Irrational Season

"Of course, Behaviorism ‘works’. So does torture" - W.H. Auden, A Certain World

"Years passed and no one in our town, no one I could name, allotted a single word to that great ruin which marred the evenness of the horizon. Nor was mention made of that darkly gated patch of ground closer to the town’s edge. Even in days more remote, few things were said about these sites. Perhaps someone would propose tearing down the old asylum and razing the burial ground where no inmate had been interred for a generation or more; and perhaps a few others, swept along by the moment, would nod their heart’s assent. But the resolution always remained poorly formed, very soon losing its shape entirely, its impetus dying a gentle death in the gentle old streets of our town" - Thomas Ligotti, Dr. Locrian's Asylum

"I have nothing to say on this point except that no madness of mine could account for all the evidence." - H.P. Lovecraft, The Thing on the Doorstep

"In the name of Hippocrates, doctors have invented the most exquisite form of torture ever known to man: survival." - Luis Buñuel, My Last Sigh

"My homicidal maniac is of a peculiar kind. I shall have to invent a new classification for him, and call him a zoophagous (life-eating) maniac. What he desires is to absorb as many lives as he can, and he has laid himself out to achieve it in a cumulative way. He gave many flies to one spider and many spiders to one bird, and then wanted a cat to eat the many birds. What would have been his later steps?" - Bram Stoker, Dracula

Characters

Ghosts

Mortals

Other Supernatural Beings

References

Bishopsgate Mental Asylum, Room 202, Warren Whalen Mental Asylum


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