All characters have a level of sanity, and given how hard this new world is to survive in, trying to retain that sanity is not always easy. This is referred to as your Sanity Points, or SP.
A full night of rest will regain all your sanity, unless you are informed otherwise by a Ref. There are other IC methods to regaining sanity, such as having a session with someone who has Counsellor abilities.
Breakdown State occurs when your character loses all of their sanity points. Every character reacts in a different way to breakdown. Unless you are given specific instructions by a Ref on how to react, you should refer to the Breakdown Card included in your character pack, which will instruct you on how you should act while in this state. You end your Breakdown state after thirty minutes, at which point 1SP returns to you. There are characters who will have special skills that allow them to calm characters in a Breakdown State.
INCREASING AND DECREASING SANITY
There are ways to increase your maximum number of Sanity Points, and this must be discovered in play.
Similarly, there are some methods that can be used to permanently decrease the amount of Sanity you have, such as suffering from Breakdown State too often! Trying to retain your sanity is a very important part of We Are Legends.
Some effects are triggered by pre-determined sounds, which affect anyone in the area unless they have skills which help them ignore or resist it. These sounds are an out-of-character indicator that something that affects a person's sanity is in the area. For this reason, having a character who is deaf or is covering their ears does not prevent these effects from taking place.
Violins: The screeching sound of violins cause characters to lose 1SP per thirty seconds. This sound effect symbolises a scene so horrific or gory that simply being in it's presence brings you closer to having a breakdown.
"Horror" music: Horror-movie style ambient music which causes characters to be unable to use damage-causing skills (i.e. anything that would do hit-point damage). This symbolises a scene that makes a character feel particularly scared, anxious or nervous.
Tolling church bells: The sound of a single repeated church bell ringing, which causes characters to be unable to move from where they are standing/sitting. This symbolises a deep feeling of impending doom which causes characters to freeze in place, though they can still move their upper bodies and speak.
Miscellaneous Effects: There are times when event-specific sound effects will be in use. Players will be informed of these effects either in the pre-event brief, or at the event before Time In is called.
THE "ATLAS" SKILL
The ATLAS skill possessed by Counsellors is not a magical or super-powered skill. It represents the character's ability to manipulate the thoughts of others through their charisma and understanding of the human psyche. If a counsellor uses the ATLAS skill on you, they will show you a card to tell you that they have done so. Under the effect of ATLAS, you should roleplay the suggestion as if it were natural to you.
However, it is not a foolproof skill. If you feel that the roleplay to convince you was exceptionally weak (for example, someone saying "Just do as I say. Please? Come on..." for five minutes) or that it hugely objects with something essential to the core beliefs of your character (for example, you have taken an oath as a doctor to never kill another person, and the counsellor is trying to convince you to murder an innocent) then you can resist the effect by stating "You can't convince me on this". That said, please keep in mind that the player has spent a character skill on having this ability, and resisting it should be no easy task.
You can be under two ATLAS effects at once. If a later use of ATLAS directly opposes an earlier suggestion made to you (for example, on Friday you were given the ATLAS suggestion of "You should stay indoors" and on Saturday you were given the ATLAS suggestion of "You should be brave and go outside"), the newer suggestion will over-ride the old one.
If you are subjected to the CLEAR MIND call, all suggestions given to you using ATLAS are removed.
If left untreated, an ATLAS effect will last until the end of the event, unless you are told otherwise by a referee.
The "Clear Mind" call represents something happening which brings people to their senses. If you are under an ATLAS suggestion/s then they end if you are targeted by this call. Similarly, you may have received a Mental State card, which will state whether or not the effect can be broken by the Clear Mind call.
Some characters will experience unpleasant or difficult scenarios that may leave them with temporary changes to their personalities or reactions. These will be detailed on a MENTAL STATE card provided to you by a Ref. They require a Counsellor to fully diagnose and treat.