Stockholm Syndrome?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Considering there are a lot of kidnapping/slaving rings in Golarion I would think this would is a fairly common affliction. That said, there aren't any rules for it in madness so I'm wondering how might it work, mainly because I think it would make an interesting moral dilemma if the PCs show up to free a bunch of slaves, only to find said slaves willing to fight to the death in order to save their masters.


My players faced a similar dilemma when taking on a local gang, who had inducted a captive and forced him to fight with them.

We dealt with this through RP, and my players picked up on the captive's behavior and held off killing him in the general melee. There was a long period of suspicion and mistrust, but by now he's a trusted companion, if still not especially effective in combat.


As the GM, you decide it works and the indentured servants fight for their "employers." If the PCs choose to spare the lives of these lost souls, once free of their oppressors decide what fits the plot best: 1. the freed convert to friendlies/cohorts/contacts of the PCs; 2. the freed remained confused and distant, considered Indifferent towards the PCs until Diplomacy checks and such are used to enhance the relationship; 3. the freed seethe with vengeance towards the destroyers of their rulers and plot the characters' downfalls

If you want hard-and-fast mechanics, perhaps just make opposed Leadership checks or something.


Could casting remove disease fix them? It usually works on mental as well as physical illness.


It's a myth that this is a thing that commonly happens. Only about 8% of kidnapping victims show any signs of Stockholm syndrome.

Something along the lines of a slave deciding to protect his master in the hope of receiving future favors, rather than risk getting executed for not trying to defend him, isn't an example of mental illness. It's a decision that makes sense in the context of their life experience. Remove Disease wouldn't work on that. (Or if it did work, it should also work on people who worship demon lords or make similar questionable decisions.)


OK. how exactly do you "talk people down"? I thought that's what diplomacy was for but someone pointed out a while back that it says it usually doesn't work in combat.


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I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

Scarab Sages

I removed the no diplomacy in combat option. Sure I can see where they're coming from but there's been a lot of "Throw down your weapons and you'll be spared" examples in real life.

That said and given magic exists in Golarion + things like belts of gender switching, helms of alignment switching. If I were running a slaving ring I'd have any captured slaves who might resist put through a training cycle to break them to their new role so they don't want to fight. Chains in the mind making them desire to serve, to obey.


blahpers wrote:
(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

I suppose you could say that while alcoholism is easy to treat, it doesn't remove the person's reasons for drinking... so they will continue to get drunk on every occasion, just with proper application of magic they won't drink themselves dead.

On the subject at hand, remember even slaves still have some self preservation instincts so unless they were trained to fight to protect their master they are more likely than not to run and hide. Any punishment the master will dish out is still preferable to death at the hands of their "saviors". Similarly with helping the heroes it should take some serious Diplomacy checks.


Senko wrote:

I removed the no diplomacy in combat option. Sure I can see where they're coming from but there's been a lot of "Throw down your weapons and you'll be spared" examples in real life.

That said and given magic exists in Golarion + things like belts of gender switching, helms of alignment switching. If I were running a slaving ring I'd have any captured slaves who might resist put through a training cycle to break them to their new role so they don't want to fight. Chains in the mind making them desire to serve, to obey.

I would call "throw down your weapons and you'll be spared" more of an intimidate check.


blahpers wrote:

I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

Agreed. Trivializing mental illnesses leads to all sorts of problems. If it works, and megalomania is the (primary) mental illness of the evil emperor, can they win by default?


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Senko wrote:
I removed the no diplomacy in combat option. Sure I can see where they're coming from but there's been a lot of "Throw down your weapons and you'll be spared" examples in real life.

That sounds like an intimidate check, not diplomacy.

Re: Stockholm syndrome - a lot of this could be roleplayed, it doesn't necessarily need rules for it since the effect is a behavioural one. Unoess you're planning on giving one of the PCs stockholm syndrome you probably don't need it.

Also - Charm person is a thing, look there.

Also also - some monsters (eg. Kobolds) send the slave caste out to fight, so chances are most PCs have already fought slaves who were fighting their masters. I'd make sure this is something the players are interested in playing before hitting them with it. (It's probably fine, just make it clear that these "enemies" are innocents defending their cruel master, rather than telling them after the fact that they just murdered the people they were sent to rescue)


Personally I'm in the camp "magic cure what magic causes." If the GM says someone is insane, then certain spells should work. If magic causes an insanity then it should also fix it.

But if the GM has a NPC turn against the party, that isn't normally considered insanity. Most NPCs that are enemies can't be 'cured' without using magic that basically lets you rewrite a character's personality or act against their nature.

And honestly, is that where you want to take your players? Does that make for an enjoyable game? I don't think it does. Lets not forget why we're running a game.


Stockholm Syndrome is completely RP.

I have allowed Diplomacy to trivialize some combat encounters, but the checks were huge, and the story/RP was exquisite and wonderful and screw that encounter you now have a friendly and allied Barbarian Orc tribe... well F!ck!ng played!!!

Scarab Sages

Depends on where you go from the throw down weapons and be spared I've read quite a few books where a defeated by hard to kill foe negotiated decent terms for their surrender.


As for Diplomacy in combat, I don't usually allow it. If attacks are already being exchanged, especially with lethal intent, you'll have to suspend that activity if you want to try to change their attitude using Diplomacy.

But then there's monologuing.

My players roll their eyes when a villain monologues or if a group of foes tell their sob story before combat starts, but that doesn't have to be the case. I once made a homebrew adventure, had the players roll initiative on the first encounter, and since the villains got the highest initiative they spent their time using some buffs and also monologuing as they descended from some willow trees.

The villains in question were sprites re-skinned with different magical powers and advanced to CR 1/2 each. There were three. Their mission was to take a fallen NPC's body and give it a "natural" burial.

The first PC to act was a paladin. The player gave a few impassioned words, then asked if he could use Diplomacy to change the sprites' attitudes. What followed was a master course in communication with a 20 on the Diplomacy check I allowed him to roll, more impassioned words and an aid another check from the party's rogue using the Sylvan language.

The sprites, moved by the words of the paladin, abandoned their attempted theft of the corpse from a mortal mausoleum. These same types of sprites were later encountered in another adventure and again the paladin used Diplomacy successfully there. After those 2 the fey creatures used their At Will Arcane Mark ability to give the paladin a "faerie mark" as a sign of mutual respect and the paladin, in exchange, gave the sprites a masterwork dagger he'd crafted himself.

2 adventures after that, the paladin PC died in an epic way, saving his entire party from a wyvern. The sprites magically appeared at the time of his death, crafted a magical bower around his corpse, and used his own +1 sword (which he'd crafted himself and later gotten enchanted) as the headstone. This became a minor shrine and bestows the effect of a Bless spell on any who pray within 30' of it, the effect lasting 1 hour, and also adds +1 HP to any healing magic or skill used within that aura.

I guess the point of my tangent here is: Diplomacy can't be used IN combat, but even if weapons have been drawn if combat hasn't actually started yet, it's still an option.


Rules wise as I understand it, there's nothing that prevents using Diplomacy in combat. The limit is that you can't use diplomacy to make requests unless their attitude is "indifferent" or better, which isn't likely for people in a fight, and it takes a minute to try to change someone's attitude. A minute in which they don't have to stop fighting you if they don't want to.

If they're willing to stop fighting and listen, you can use diplomacy, otherwise the fight is likely to be over before the minute is up and it has any effect.


blahpers wrote:

I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

How does it trivialize mental disorders? Any more than having the regenerate spell being able to grow back limbs trivializes amputation?

Scarab Sages

Yqatuba wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

How does it trivialize mental disorders? Any more than having the regenerate spell being able to grow back limbs trivializes amputation?

Personally I would treat them as falling into 3 categories.

Unhealable e.g. autism casting heal or the like isn't going to fix this, a miracle would but that isn't curing the person its changing their entire brain structure like using a miracle to turn a man into a cat.

Temporarily Healable: These are the ones we can treat in the real world with medication. Heal spells will fix the issue temporarily but it'll return as whatever was causing the issue develops again. Also the same with things like degrading sight you heal their vision but over time it degrades again because thats what their bodies set up to do.

Permanently Healable: This is for things like someone driven mad by seeing an Migo or Indiana Jones and snakes. You cure the phobia/insanity though the person may still be very uncomfortable or have an odd tic. The difference between to use Ranama "yah cat, Meow" and "I can do this". In fanfics a single cat sends him into the nekoken whereas in the anime at one stage he was freaked out but able to hold it together when walking through a room full of cats until the tiger showed up.

Then again I tend to treat healing spells as curing a problem nothing more. So if someone survives the black plague they have anti-bodies to resist it in the future, if you cure them they don't and can catch it again.


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Yqatuba wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

How does it trivialize mental disorders? Any more than having the regenerate spell being able to grow back limbs trivializes amputation?

Yes, because that's not the kind of trivialization in question.

Should remove disease cure clinical depression? Megalomania? Orthorexia? Autism? Dyslexia? High-functioning sociopathy? Sex addiction? Anxiety? ADHD? Face blindness? A mild obsession with eating tiny snacks?

Addressing such questions honestly involves litigating which disorders are actual diseases and which are simply atypical mental or neural configurations, and that's something that we can't even manage to agree on in real life. All of these are conditions that afflict actual players. Trivializing them by hamfistedly pigeonholing them into "it's a disease it must be cured" is likely to cause actual harm.

I find that changing remove disease to affect only diseases caused by the introduction of an external substance, pathogen, or magical effect to be much simpler (though still prone to ambiguity). It avoids confronting delicate problems head-on with a sledgehammer. It leaves mental disorder tropes intact. As a bonus, it leaves internal diseases as not easily curable, so there are still reasons for people to die natural deaths even if they have easy access to 3rd level spells.


blahpers wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

How does it trivialize mental disorders? Any more than having the regenerate spell being able to grow back limbs trivializes amputation?

Yes, because that's not the kind of trivialization in question.

Should remove disease cure clinical depression? Megalomania? Orthorexia? Autism? Dyslexia? High-functioning sociopathy? Sex addiction? Anxiety? ADHD? Face blindness? A mild obsession with eating tiny snacks?

Addressing such questions honestly involves litigating which disorders are actual diseases and which are simply atypical mental or neural configurations, and that's something that we can't even manage to agree on in real life. All of these are conditions that afflict actual players. Trivializing them by hamfistedly pigeonholing them into "it's a disease it must be cured" is likely to cause actual harm.

I find that changing remove disease to affect only diseases caused by the introduction of an external substance, pathogen, or magical effect to be much simpler (though still prone to ambiguity). It avoids confronting delicate problems head-on with a sledgehammer. It leaves mental disorder tropes intact. As a bonus, it leaves internal diseases as not easily curable, so there are still reasons for people to die natural deaths even if they have easy access to 3rd level spells.

We're pretty much in agreement, here. I suffer from crippling depression, and I build characters that are often...off-center. Do they need curing? Is it really sickness, or just a difference in perspective? Where is the line drawn?


Exactly. I mean, a psychosis is usually only diagnosed as such when it becomes disruptive, harmful or causes distress. Everyone has everything, just not necessarily to the level that it is deemed necessary to treat.

Scarab Sages

EldonGuyre wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I specifically removed the ability for remove disease to remove strictly mental disorders because questions like these rapidly became intractable and trivializes both encounters with "insane" NPCs and the concept of mental disorders in general. Plus I'm not really comfortable with saying "*BAM*, now you're not, e.g., autistic anymore" just because something is in the DSM-5. If the disorder in question is caused by a magical effect or pathogen, then it's fair game.

(Edit: I know this goes against Paizo's treatment of alcoholism as an easily-treatable condition in-game, but I stand by my stance on this.)

How does it trivialize mental disorders? Any more than having the regenerate spell being able to grow back limbs trivializes amputation?

Yes, because that's not the kind of trivialization in question.

Should remove disease cure clinical depression? Megalomania? Orthorexia? Autism? Dyslexia? High-functioning sociopathy? Sex addiction? Anxiety? ADHD? Face blindness? A mild obsession with eating tiny snacks?

Addressing such questions honestly involves litigating which disorders are actual diseases and which are simply atypical mental or neural configurations, and that's something that we can't even manage to agree on in real life. All of these are conditions that afflict actual players. Trivializing them by hamfistedly pigeonholing them into "it's a disease it must be cured" is likely to cause actual harm.

I find that changing remove disease to affect only diseases caused by the introduction of an external substance, pathogen, or magical effect to be much simpler (though still prone to ambiguity). It avoids confronting delicate problems head-on with a sledgehammer. It leaves mental disorder tropes intact. As a bonus, it leaves internal diseases as not easily curable, so there are still reasons for people to die natural deaths even if they have easy access to 3rd level spells.

...

If I were DMing a game with you personally I'd let you draw the line about which category your character fit into. Probably the untreatable (casting spells short of wish does nothing) but if you wanted temporarily treatable (casting healing temporarily fixes the condition but it comes back) or even fully healable. You would know a lot more about the condition than I would and where best to place it.

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