Mental break

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A mental break may occur randomly when a pawns's negative thoughts outweigh their positive thoughts enough to push their overall mood below their Mental Break Threshold. Note that this is related to the sum of all the thoughts a pawn has, so small penalties can quickly add up to large effects on a pawn's stability.

During any break, a colonist cannot be given priority orders, be drafted, nor controlled in any way; the colonist is acting completely beyond the control of the player until they recover from their break.

Mechanics

Thresholds

A specific colonist's mental break thresholds are affected by various traits, which can raise or lower those thresholds depending on various permanent personal or variable environmental factors. Different traits are all additive, but the minor break threshold is capped between 1% to 50%; it can't get any better or worse than that.

The major break threshold is 4/7 of the minor break threshold, while the extreme break threshold is 1/4 of that (1/7 of the minor break threshold).[Fact Check/Clarification] The default mental break thresholds are:

  • Minor break threshold: 35%
  • Major break threshold: 20%
  • Extreme break threshold: 5%

Severity

The severity of a mental break depends on how far below their threshold they are:

  • Below their base mental break threshold, they will have an extreme break in a mean time of 0.7 days.
  • Below their major break threshold, they will have a major break in a mean time of 3 days.
  • Below their minor break threshold, they will have a minor break in a mean time of 10 days.

During

Colonist icon while breaking

While a colonist is experiencing a mental break, you have no direct control over them, but you can draft another colonist to attempt to arrest said colonist. The broken colonist has a chance based on the arresting pawn's stats to either go berserk, or come quietly and be escorted to the nearest available prison bed - immediately ending their mental breakdown. However, this will cause the loss of his/her colony membership status, removing the pawn from your colonist bar. Releasing them will return them back to the colony, but eliminates the catharsis bonus, instead yielding a 'was imprisoned' negative thought that can lead to further mental breaks.

Another more extreme way of ending a mental break is by inflicting unconsciousness, such as by beating the pawn with blunt-damage melee weapons until they are incapacitated by pain, or by inflicting brain shock. This is the only way to stop a berserk pawn. However, direct violence causes the victim to have a negative opinion of the colonists who beat him up, and you risk killing the pawn if he is already injured. It is ineffective if the pawn feels reduced pain, like those with the Painstopper implant or high on Go-juice. This also does not grant the Catharsis mood buff unless the pawn is going berserk.

The Word of Serenity Content added by the Royalty DLC psycast will instantly end any mental break by forcing the target into a 6 hour coma. The psyfocus cost depends on the level of the mental break the target is experiencing. This cannot be used on babiesContent added by the Biotech DLC or childrenContent added by the Biotech DLC.

While having a break, at the top of the game screen, a colonist will be designated with a small "lightning bolt" icon over their image; yellow for minor breaks, red for major or extreme.

Aftermath

Once a pawn's mental break ends, they'll revert to your control as normal, though different experiences during the mood may carry over in the form of long-term moods. Afterwards, they'll usually get the 'catharsis' thought, granting a +40 mood for the next 2.5 days. This will generally prevent a pawns from entering a spiral of mental breakdowns in all but the worst scenarios.

Colonists with the Tortured Artist trait will also have a chance to receive an inspiration after a mental break ends. It is currently unknown if this applies to non-colonist pawns.

Minor break

Food binge

Food Binge

Causes the pawn to pig out on whatever meals they can get their hands on.[Details]

This break can only occur when the map the pawn is currently on contains more than 10 human-edible nutrition in a stockpile zone, however an already ongoing binge will not end if all the food is consumed or otherwise removed. Pawns with the Gourmand trait will experience this more often.[Details]

A binge will end as soon as the affected pawn goes to bed, or after a certain amount of time has passed.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 25,000 ticks (6.94 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 45,000 ticks (12.5 mins)
Commonality: 0.8

Sad wander

Sad Wander

Causes the pawn to wander around aimlessly, eventually recovering on their own. Like the Psychotic wandering (Daze) event, but shorter.

Wandering colonists can be arrested, which can be useful if they are in imminent danger.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days (4 hrs)
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 0.5

Hide in room

Hide in Room

Causes the pawn to wander about in their room, refusing to come out and refusing to satisfy their needs.

This break can only occur if the breaking pawn has a bed assigned to them.

This break is relatively short, and usually does not put the pawn in harm's way. At worst, the pawn may suffer from mild starvation or exhaustion.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 0.5

Insulting spree

Causes the pawn insult nearby colonists at random, making moods worse for everyone affected.

Insults can lead to a social fight, which would then lead to the end of the break.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 25,000 ticks (6.94 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 45,000 ticks (12.5 mins)
Commonality: 0.5

Targeted insulting spree

Causes the pawn to follow and repeatedly insult one other colonist in particular.

This can totally ruin the victim's mood with an up to -33 mood penalty through 10 stacked insults, which can potentially trigger a mental break in the victim as well.

Insults can lead to a social fight, which would then lead to the end of the break.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 25,000 ticks (6.94 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 45,000 ticks (12.5 mins)
Commonality: 0.5

Crying

Under 50% mood, babies may randomly cry while awake. This mental break is silent and can only be seen if the name is temporarily changed to green, emitting a random crying surrounding around itself.

Colonist near the baby will experience a negative mood effect "Baby crying" -4 unless they are a "Psychopath". Parent's opinion when near the baby drops by -11 per crying.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 25,000 ticks (6.94 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 45,000 ticks (12.5 mins)
Commonality: 0.5

Giggling

Above 50% mood, babies may randomly giggle while awake. This mental break is silent and can only be seen if the name is temporarily changed to green, emitting a rainbow of colorful drawing around itself.

Colonist near the baby will experience a positive mood effect "Baby giggling" +4 unless they are a "Psychopath". Parent's opinion when near the baby raise by +13 per giggle.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 25,000 ticks (6.94 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 45,000 ticks (12.5 mins)
Commonality: 0.5

Major break

Social drug binge

Social Drug Binge

Causes the pawn to drink or smoke their problems away by binging on social drugs (i.e. ambrosia, beer, smokeleaf joints, psychite tea).

This can only happen if you have social drugs present in your colony.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.133 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 1

Psychotic wandering (Daze)

Daze

Causes the pawn to wander around aimlessly, eventually recovering on their own. The letter informing you of this break refers to it as a "Daze."

Affected colonists can ignore food restrictions. This can push the colony to collapse, especially with few colonists and without enough automation.

Dazed colonists can be arrested, which can be useful if they are in imminent danger.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days*
Minimum time until Recovery: 70,000 ticks (19.44 mins)*
Maximum time until Recovery: 90,000 ticks (25 mins)*
Commonality: 1 (See next)

Note: It has been observed that if a "dazed" colonist falls asleep, the recovery timer appears to pause until they wake up again.[Verification]

Daze

Psychotic wandering (Daze) Short

Identical to the above, but with a shorter minimum time. Combined with the above break, this effectively doubles the chance of getting a "Psychotic Wandering" break.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 2,500 ticks (41.67 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 90,000 ticks (25 mins)
Commonality: 1 (See previous)

Tantrum

Causes the pawn to take out their anger on the structures in the colony, randomly punching at (and possibly destroying) them. The attacks may create building rubble in the process.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.033 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 8,000 ticks (2.22 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 12,000 ticks (3.33 mins)
Commonality: 0.333

Targeted tantrum

Causes the pawn to take out their anger on a single structure or stack of items, punching at them until eventually destroyed. The tantrum will redirect to another structure or stack of items if that structure or stack of items is destroyed or made inaccessible.

Targeted tantrums are significantly more dangerous than the non-targeted variety, as the pawn has a much higher chance of actually destroying things instead of simply damaging them. They are especially dangerous when the pawn targets mortar shells (beware the antigrain warhead), which explode upon destruction.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 0.333

Bedroom tantrum

Causes the pawn to hide in their bedroom and randomly punch at structures within.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 0.333

Sadistic rage

Causes the pawn to melee attack prisoners until they are downed (or killed).

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 30,000 ticks (8.33 mins)
Commonality: 1

Corpse obsession

Corpse obsession

Causes the pawn to go to a grave or sarcophagus, dig up a corpse and drop it on a high-traffic spot, such as a table in a dining room. The obsession will then end.

This break can only occur if you have a filled grave or sarcophagus.

While this break is somewhat quick, it can potentially bring "Observed a corpse" mood debuffs to whoever sees the corpse, and can trigger a colony-wide "Colonist left unburied" mood debuff if the corpse was of a colonist.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 50,000 ticks (13.89 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 70,000 ticks (19.44 mins)
Commonality: 0.4

Extreme break

Berserk

Berserk

Can cause the pawn to go berserk, melee attacking any living creature near them. The pawn will not intentionally kill anything, although unlucky hits may still result in death, instead redirecting to another target once their current target is downed.

Pawns that are incapable of violent can still go berserk. Berserk colonists are able to use doors that are forbidden, and don't close doors behind them (auto-doors included). Berserk prisoners will bash at doors until they break.

Subduing the berserk pawn with bare fists or a blunt weapon poses the least risk of killing them. Once a berserk pawn is subdued, the break is over. They do not need to be arrested, and can be immediately rescued to recover from their injuries. If the berserker is not in danger and can be safely avoided, it can be best to leave them to rampage by themselves until their berserk rage wears off to avoid injuries.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.166 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 1

Fire starting spree

Fire Starting Spree

Causes the pawn to go on a fire starting spree, targeting flammable materials and setting them ablaze.

Pawns with the pyromaniac trait will occasionally suffer this mental break regardless of mood (though it will happen less frequently as mood increases). As of Beta 18, pyromaniacs no longer gain the Catharsis thought after fire starting sprees.

Fire-starting sprees are very short and can easily be dealt with by having somebody else "babysit" the pyromaniac, putting out fires as the pyromaniac pawn starts them.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.033 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 6,000 ticks (1.67 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 10,000 ticks (2.78 mins)
Commonality: 1

Hard drug binge

Hard Drug Binge

Causes the pawn to binge on hard drugs (i.e. flake, yayo, go-juice and wake-up).

Hard drug binges are considerably more dangerous for the affected colonist's health than social drug binges, as hard drugs contribute towards overdoses which are potentially lethal, and can easily lead to an addiction. As with social binges, hard binges will either end when the affected colonist goes to bed, or after a certain amount of time has passed. Colonists taking penoxycyline and luciferium have nothing to do with the drug binge they are on.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.133 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 1

Catatonic breakdown

Causes the pawn to enter a catatonic breakdown state, where they become incapacitated and need to be rescued.

This is one of the least immediately harmful of the extreme breaks as it does not result in injury or damage to colonists or structures. However, the affected colonist will be down for quite a long time, and unable to perform any work. This can be especially detrimental if the colonist performs a vital task in the colony.

Since catatonic breakdown is technically a health condition, usage of the healer mech serum can instantly bring the affected colonist out of the mental break.

Only colonists can experience this mental break. Pawns from other factions, not under the players control, will not. Temporary colonists from quests or from permits Content added by the Royalty DLC can experience this mental break.

This mental break does not trigger the Inspired Creativity mental inspiration from the Tortured artist trait.

Minimum time until Recovery: 100,000 ticks (27.78 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 300,000 ticks (83.33 mins)
Commonality: 1

Jailbreaker

Jailbreaker

The pawn will move to the targeted prisoner, and upon reaching them, a prison break event will trigger. Afterwards, the mental break will be changed to something else.

The pawn can be arrested or incapacitated before reaching the prison cell.

Minimum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (16.67 mins)
Commonality: 1

Slaughterer

Causes the pawn to slaughter tamed animals at random.

If you have a lot of tamed animals this usually won't cause major losses, but there's a chance the maddened colonist may decide to butcher a bonded animal, a boomalope, or your favorite tamed thrumbo, none of which are "good" outcomes.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.033 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 8,000 ticks (2.22 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 12,000 ticks (3.33 mins)
Commonality: 0.75

Murderous rage

Murderous rage

Causes the pawn to select a random colonist or prisoner and melee attack them until they are dead. Once the target is killed the break is over.

This requires intervention from other colonists if the life of the victim is to be saved.

  1. This can be interrupted by attempting arrest. If it is successful, the colonist will quietly submit and go to prison along with the warden. Otherwise, the colonist will instead go berserk and will lash out at nearby colonists instead, which may be easier to deal with as the colonist is no longer hellbent on killing one person.
  2. Immediately rescuing the murder target once they are downed causes the murderous pawn to select a new victim.

This break can occur in pawns placed temporarily under your control, such as those provided by quests or from permits Content added by the Royalty DLC.

Minimum time until Recovery: 100,000 ticks (27.78 mins)
Maximum time until Recovery: 100,000 ticks (27.78 mins)
Commonality: 1

Run wild

Causes the pawn to run into the wild and start acting like an animal. While acting like an animal, the pawn will subsist on wild sources of food, usually berry bushes or agave in arid biomes. They may wander across spike traps and randomly trigger them.

Unlike other breaks, this one lasts indefinitely without intervention. The only way to end it is to have another colonist tame the broken colonist and convince them to act like a human again. Taming a wild man is equivalent to taming an animal of 75% wildness, equivalent to an elephant or fox, and requiring an Animals skill of 7 or greater.

Damaging them until they are downed isn't an advisable option; since they don't belong to your faction anymore, they will most likely die upon receiving enough damage to incapacitate.

Upon taming, they will have their usual Catharsis moodlet, and will have their Beauty and Comfort needs set to 50%, while their Outdoors needs is set to 100%.

Additionally, it appears that this mental break does not trigger the Inspired Creativity mental inspiration from the Tortured artist trait, however more testing is needed.

Commonality: 0.5

Given up and leaving

Causes the pawn to decide they've had enough with the colony, and leave entirely.

This can be countered either by arresting the colonist, or incapacitating them by force. Sometimes a pawn can decide to return the colony after having this break, but before they have left the map. It is currently unclear what controls the rate of this occurance. [Detail needed]

Commonality: 1

Crisis of belief

A pawn undergoes a crisis of faith in their ideoligion, losing 50% of their Certainty. Unlike many forms of Certainty loss, this value is not modified by the pawn's their Global Certainty Loss Factor.

Should this loss be sufficient to reduce the pawn to 0%, they will instead immediately convert to a different ideoligion. This ideoligion is randomly selected from all ideoligions in the current world, including the player's, with weighting based on the following factors:

  • Every ideoligion has a base value of 1.
  • +1 for each faction with that ideoligion that is allied to the breaking pawn's faction
  • +1 for each spawned pawn with that ideoligion, on any map, that is the same faction as the breaking pawn

AND EITHER

  • +1 for each spawned pawn on the same map from the same faction as the breaking pawn, or from a non-hostile faction.

OR

  • +1 for each pawn with the ideoligion currently on a caravan, if the breaking pawn is currently on a caravan.

The random generator will never return the pawn's current ideoligion.

Commonality: 1

Special

These mental states aren't mood-related, and have certain circumstances required to trigger them.

Confusion

Confused and wandering

Similar to the 'Sad Wandering' mental state, except confused wandering only occurs on a pawn with Alzheimer's or Dementia, as well as those still woozy or recovering from anesthesia.

This mental state is similar to psychotic wandering in the respect that confused pawns are prone to wandering into dangerous situations, however they do not strip off their equipment. This mental state ends after a certain period of time, or when the affected pawn is downed or killed. All normal thoughts are blocked during this time frame.

It can also occur in animals after their bonded master dies.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.2 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 3,500 ticks (58.33 secs)

Social fighting

Traders social fighting

Social fighting is triggered when one pawn slights or insults another (significantly more likely with insulting than slighting), and the affected pawn gets angered. While very brief and usually only resulting in minor-moderate injury, social fighting can also end up with much worse results including a pawn getting downed, disfigured, or uncommonly even outright killed. Social fighting ends after a very short time, or when one of the fighting pawns gets downed or killed.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.02 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 420 ticks (7 secs)

Fleeing in panic

Fleeing in panic

This sort of mental break happens when half (rounded up) of a group of non-colonist humanlikes are killed; whether it be hostiles, traders, or the likes. Pawns affected by this mental state will attempt to leave the map by any means possible as soon as they realize that they're not going to win whatever battle they got caught up in.

This mental state will end once the affected pawn leaves the map, or when they're killed.

Pawns in this state will run indiscriminately towards the closest edge of the map, completely disregarding any hostiles in the way (such as your colonists firing at them), trying to smash down doors even when there is a clear path out next to them.

Fleeing fire

This sort of mental break happens when a pawn with "Pyrophobia" Gene happens to be near the fire. It will cause them to flee far away from the source of fire.

This mental state will end once he or she no longer see fire within their field of vision.

Manhunter

Animals may suffer a manhunter mental break, similar to berserk. A manhunter animal will seek out and attack any humans and Mechanoids. Animal pulser maddened animals will attack mechs on the map it can reach, regardless of faction, but will ignore tamed animals.

Manhunters will not spontaneously attempt to break through obstacles to hunt down pawns, but will attack doors if they see someone go through them. They will cease their attack after a short period, but may still successfully break it down in that time. If strong doors are not available to hide behind, try to get out of line of sight before ducking into a nearby building, be ready to repair the door from the inside, or simply accept that the door is only a temporary barrier.

The mental break can be triggered in several ways:

  • Via the Mad Animal event. Affects 1 wild animal.
  • Via the Psychic Wave event. Affects all wild animals on the relevant map.
  • Via the use of a psychic animal pulser. Affects all non-player owned animals on the relevant map.
  • Via injury inflicted by any humanlike pawn. Chance is controlled by the animal's "Manhunter Chance", the hunting stealth of the injuring pawn, and the distance between the pawn and the animal. Affects the injured animal, and in the case of certain herd animals, any nearby animals of the same species.
  • Via a failed taming attempt angering the animal. Chance is controlled by the animal's "Manhunter Chance (Taming)". Affects the targeted wild animal.[Herd?]
  • Via the death of their bonded master.[Chance?] Affects any tamed and bonded animal

An animal's manhunting rampage will end after a certain amount of time, upon the animal sleeping, or once downed.

Manhunter animals with Scaria can not be tamed. Attempts to prioritize task will result in hints Animal busy.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.3 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 10,000 ticks (2.78 mins)

Manhunter Permanent

Permanent manhunter is randomly applied to animals that are part of a manhunter pack. Affected animals will never snap out of this mental state under normal circumstances, and completely neglect their own needs. Animals in this state will generally leave the area within a few days.

Some manhunter animals, such as boomrats, will typically starve to death due to their hunger rate combined with the typical manhunter animal duration.

Minimum time until Recovery: 99,999,999 ticks (27,777.78 mins)

Roaming

Introduced in 1.3, farm animals (animal species that cannot be controlled via zones) can randomly get this mental break if they are outside of an enclosed pen. This can cause them to leave the map if not roped in immediately. If they are enclosed in a pen, or if they are roped in by a colonist after a valid pen is placed, this mental break will immediately end.

This does not occur on maps where they have recently been brought in, or on maps the other colonist are raiding in.

Minimum time until Recovery: 99,999,999 ticks (27,777.78 mins)

Tips

Version history

  • 0.3.410 - Mental break probability is much lower.
  • 0.9.722 - Binge mental break added
  • 0.12.906 - Dazed broken pawns will now randomly strip off clothes and drop things.
  • 0.14.1234 - Added new class of “minor” mental breaks. Added minor mental break: food binge.
  • 0.18.1722 - Added the following mental breaks: Insulting spree, Targeted insulting spree, Tantrum, Bedroom tantrum, Targeted tantrum, Sadistic rage, Corpse obsession, Catatonia, Jailbreaker, Slaughterer, Murderous rage, Run wild.
  • 1.1 - the way the different mental break thresholds were calculated was changed. Previously the major break thresholds and minor break thresholds were locked to base threshold + 15% and +30% respectively, with the base threshold at 5% for normal pawns; as a result, the mental break thresholds could be reduced by a maximum of 4% only, leading to the Iron-willed and Steadfast traits being weaker than expected.
  • 1.2.2753 - Disable corpse obsession break for prisoners, as it's very unlikely to happen and is not implemented around this possibility.