This is largely inspired by the Mythos rule (really just stolen wholesale and changed the name) in Hobbets of Hornpipe
Weirdness ranges from 0 (not weird) to 6 (Lost to the Weird).
PCs start at WEIRD 0, with the following optional modifications:
Weird is used in two ways:
As you get Weirder, you get a substantial advantage in the understanding of the Weird but … if Weird ever reaches 6, the character is removed from play & becomes a Monster under the ref’s control.
Those Lost to the Weird may be redeemed – e.g. if a Weird 5 character voluntarily plays & loses a game of chess with a Gothrog (thus becoming the creatures Pawn), the rest of the party might redeem the character by finding the same Gothrog and challenging it to another game for the Lost character’s sake.
Commentary (see #characters 2020.10.09):
Specifically, as the parties begin to delve deeper (to lower levels), the dungeon grows more strange and less like the conditions on the Surface. This mechanic is an optional “interface” between the party and the dungeon. People who spend too much time down there grow strange, and this would be a mechanical representation of that. It would also give us a mechanical hook for such abilities as Szork’s 6th sense.
To be clear, I think the Weird Save is almost always an offer from the ref, not a requirement. This is why reading the runes in the Swamp Ruin is a good example. I’ll make it clear that the whatever is very Weird, and that interacting with it will bestow a Weird Save. The player gets to choose: interact (read the runes), and potentially Weird up a point, or avert one’s eyes and move on.
The only exception I might write into the rule is this: once Weird is 5, I no longer tell the player whether a Weird Save will come as result of their action or not.
So a player could choose to let their Weird rise to 4 and then no higher. They’d have the benefit of that level of Weird (and occasional drawbacks on the Surface), but would not be in danger.
If a player is interested in testing the boundary of Weird, they could let it rise to 5. The "Lost to the Weird" state would only be of interest to me if it's of interest to the player.