Mind Rape
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Basic Information

A character is attacked by a villain in the most painful non-physical way possible. Their mind and soul are assaulted with painful, horrifying visions and memories, and broken until they're powerless and numb, but not dead, although afterwards they may wish they were. Nothing sexual occurs, but everything else is there to resemble a rape - violation, helplessness, and the poisoning of what could otherwise be a source of joy. The physical attacks won't go very far; all of the agony is inflicted mentally and emotionally, and it's chilling to see a villain be that cruel. The traumatized victim suffers all of the side-effects afterwards: isolation, depression, insomnia, and paranoia.

Comes in two variations: one is a completely "mundane" but no less horrifying brand of torture that nonetheless breaks a characters mind. The other is the above, but done via Mind Probe, Psychic Powers, illusions, or seeing something Man Was Not Meant To Know. All too frequently the consequence of encountering an Eldritch Abomination. This could also result from possession, various forms of magical mind control or the handling of an artifact of doom. Some forms of divination may have similar effects in the even of a serious misfire.

Related Tropes



Game and Story Use

  • Many players would be very uncomfortable with this. Not only is the event itself unpleasant to play, but the long term effects could render a character unplayable (or just less fun to play). Some players, put in dire situations, respond with flippant remarks or humor, or insist their character wouldn't be phased by whatever you threw at them. None the less, it's definitely a possibility in certain systems or settings. The GM should decide in advance of such a situation coming up whether they want to hand wave this sort of thing off, or make it a definite danger within the campaign.
    • Should you choose to utilize such a plot device in your campaign, it'll be worth putting some thought into what to do if a player's response is to just blow it off. It may be worth borrowing a page from a game with detailed psychology (or insanity) rules to apply in this situation.
    • Damage to appropriate stats (those reflecting personality, judgement and intelligence for example) might also be appropriate, as might stacking on a pile of mental disadvantages.
    • Of course, many players relish this sort of trauma, seeing it as an acting challenge. One possibility is to go either way depending on the desires of the player(s) whose PCs get subjected to it.
  • Can be a way to balance very potent psychic or magical powers - by saying those powers open you up to shenanigans (or worse) from other beings with similar powers. Those who lack magic might be immune to some very dark things that spellcasters or psychics must actively avoid.
  • Mystery plot: A serial mind raper is in town. His victims suffer psychological trauma or even complete mental collapse. They are unable or unwilling to tell the police what happened, and have no physical symptoms, but clearly some evil is about. Only the PC heroes can get to the bottom of this.
    • For slight subversion, the mind-raper may be oblivious to the damage they are causing (especially if they are some creature that feeds on emotions or something), or pursuing a laudable cause in an unacceptable way (for example searching for a kidnapped dependant or concealed villain). Alternatively they may be doing this as a punishment, or some kind of "medical treatment" (and similar things have been done by way of treating mental illness in the past) … if the PCs find that most of the victims were also villains, the mystery may take on an interesting twist.
  • Careless psychic investigation of this sort of thing could lead to the investigators tripping a brain mine.
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