What is the SHU?
The SHU, or Special Handling Unit, is machine developed by the Central Division of Department 4 that draws on the power of the Collective Unconsciousness. It allows those who use it to perform what is effectively 'psychic surgery' on a subject.
It is used not only to help people who are experiencing psychic distress, but also to detain and 'adjust' people with supernatural powers deemed to be a threat to society.
How does the SHU work?
At its most basic level, what the SHU does is section off a piece of the Collective Unconsciousness, called Kadath, and shatters the subject's psyche into that place. The subject is unconscious for this. By being hooked into this 'cage', the other users can be rendered unconscious and inserted into the piece of Kadath, where they can relocate and piece together the psyche again.
The parts of the psyche are protected by Guardians, archetypes relating to the subject's mental makeup. There are eleven piece of the psyche in total; these are referred to as 'Trapezohedrons' or 'Gems'.
What is Kadath?
Kadath, as stated above, is a section of the Collective Unconsciousness, the accumulated unconsciousness of all humanity. Specifically, it is where Personas and other archetypes may be found. As the name suggests, it comes from the name of H.P. Lovecraft's home of the gods.
Demons, which are effectively themselves archetypes, are also found here, and may be caught up in a SHU dungeon. Other things, natives to Kadath itself, may also be found here. Examples of these are best found in Lovecraft's Dream Cycle, and include things like cats from Ulthar and the rodent-like Zoog. What they might do if caught in a SHU is uncertain at this time and should be explored in RP.
What are the Trapezohedrons, the elements of the psyche?
As mentioned, there are eleven and everyone has all of them. They may be deficient in certain people of course!
- Perception: This quality reflects an individual's ability to retrieve and make sense of the world around them. Perception is important because it allows a person to gain information about the world in which they exist.
- Knowledge: This quality reflects an individual's ability to learn and begin to understand the world around them. Knowledge is important because it allows a person to identify concepts and familiarize themselves with aspects of their world. Knowledge can be thought of as 'applied perception'.
- Memory: This quality reflects an individual's past experiences. Memory is important because it gives a person context for who they are and what they have done. Memory can also be thought of as 'stored knowledge'.
- Perseverance: This quality reflects emotional and psychic resilience and stamina. Perseverance is important because it allows a person to endure setbacks and hardships in pursuit of their goals.
- Emotion: This quality reflects the depth and breadth of feelings. Emotions are important because they give people reasons to act or not act in various situations.
- Passion: This quality reflects not just impulses and basic instincts, but desires. Desires are important because they give a person reason to live and to work to achieve things.
- Wisdom: This quality reflects insight drawn from experience and understanding. Wisdom is important because it allows a person to see what needs to be done without being told what it is.
- Will: This quality reflects inner drive and determination. Will is important because it allows a person to set out to accomplish their goals and obtain their desires.
- Reason: This quality reflects the ability to apply logic to themselves and the world. Reason is important because it allows a person to justify or change ideas and institutions.
- Ethics: This quality reflects morality and the perception of right and wrong. Ethics are important because they give a person guidance for their actions and their interaction with the rest of the world.
- Introspection: This quality reflects the ability to examine oneself and the world. Introspection is important because it allows a person to attempt to determine if things are as they really are.
What are Guardians?
Guardians are archetypes that pertain to a person and manifestations of aspects of their psyche. Interactions with them may be violent or nonviolent. Some want a question answered or pose a puzzle to be solved, while others will just attack those they see on sight; it depends on the archetype.
Some basic examples of what archetypes might exist are:
- The Persona - the character's Persona, if they have one (or even if they don't!) may show up
- The Shadow - their Shadow or repressed self. This tends to be more unhinged than the one in the Midnight Channel, mostly because there is no ego for them to confront.
- The Anima/Animus - The Anima/Animus - A man has an Anima and a woman has an Animus. It represents their masculine/feminine side. Note, this depends on the gender the character identifies as.
See also here for some other archetype concepts!
As for what can be an archetype, well, almost anything! We ask that you please don't use anyone who is still alive, and don't use concepts or figures you yourself made up. Other than that, anything goes!
What's a SHU dungeon like?
Anything the player likes. They tend to be far less overtly personal affairs than dungeons in the Midnight Channel, but they still do allude to the character. They draw more from universal symbolism to make their points.
Some examples include:
- The walkways are roiling ocean waves, suspended in a void from which indistinct faces can be almost discerned.
- The paths drawn in crayon above an ocean of paper shreddings.
- Rooms where gravity seems optional connected to one another with Escher-like staircases.
What can someone gain from a SHU session?
A character can gain any of the below. Note that these outcomes are contingent upon consent -- IC and OOC. A character who truly does not want to change on any level will not change.
- They may recover from Shadow-Possession.
- They may have psychic damage or memory loss repaired.
- They may receive criminal rehabilitation (for example, a player of a dyed-in-the-wool villain who decides that they would like their character to change sides).
A character may or may not remember the events within their SHU, depending on the player's decision.
Is there anything else I should know?
- Since the SHU is a Department 4 resource at this time, players should contact that faction if they are interested in using it.
- Not all eleven Trapezohedrons need to be collected to complete a dungeon, if the player doesn't want to use them all.
- A Guardian can hold multiple Trapezohedrons if desired.
- If Trapezohedrons are directly interacted with, it's possible to witness memories reflecting that element of the character's psyche. For example, interacting with an Ethics Trapezohedron may allow someone to learn about a character's views on morality.
- A character changed by a SHU session can revert, if their player chooses.