I’m with Leogrim on this. I have no idea how our characters have a shred of sanity left if they aren’t using all sorts of coping methods, healthy and otherwise. I mean, it’s sort of left up to the player how much foreknowledge your character has of the secret world, so the answer could very easily be ‘none’ when they abruptly swallow a bee in their sleep, have some deeply unsettling dreams, and get thrown headlong into this mess in an ungentle fashion.
They learn, in a VERY short period of time, that magic is real. Secret societies are real. Zombies are real. All the monsters from myth and legend are real. Gods are real. That this might be the end of the world. Again. Except for real this time.
And oh yeah. They can’t die. Not really. Not permanently. Doesn’t matter if they get eaten by zombies, shot in the head, lost in time, poisoned, drowned, burned, buried alive, etc. They get. Back. Up. Whether they want to or not. Because it’s expected of them. Because they have a job to do. A job they probably didn’t ask for. A job no one else can do.
But just because you’re damn near unkillable doesn’t mean you don’t suffer the trauma of everything you’ve seen, learned, done, and experienced. You carry that trauma with you. You think your character is ever going to forget their first encounter with a monster that their parents told them wasn’t real? Their first encounter with the Filth? Their first death? You think they’re going to sleep well ever again after meeting a certain redhead?
I had always assumed, after learning firsthand the darkness this game puts your character through, that the whole ‘party hard’ vibe of the Illuminati was partly due to needing SOMETHING, ANYTHING to help cope with this horror show. Drugs, alcohol, tail, and obscene amounts of money are pretty standard go-to distractions when you just want to forget what happened in Maine. Or Egypt. Or Transylvania.
This is why the idea of a party doesn’t bother me a lick. I’m an adult, and I still celebrate my birthday every year, even though it shouldn’t be ‘important’ like it is for a kid, because now? Every year I survive with my health, finances, relationships, and sanity intact is like a freaking accomplishment, and I will absolutely acknowledge that. I wouldn’t begrudge our characters that same acknowledgement:
"Hey look. You’ve been through absolute and literal hell of various flavors, all of them tinged with diet cola. You’ve seen and done and suffered things that should never have to be asked of anyone, and because of that, we might have a glimmer of a shot at survival. You’ve made it a year. That’s an accomplishment. Here’s a party. It’s not grim. It’s not serious. The fate of the world does not, for this brief time, rest on your shoulders.
Have some candy. Break a pinata. Have a drink at the bar. Watch some little golems do a funny dance. REST for a little while. Because resting is just as important as the work you’re doing. If you burn out, you’ll lose your marbles, or give up the fight as hopeless, or even… turn to the dark side.
So rest. Party. Recover a little. Because if you don’t, Gaia may fall.
No pressure, sweetling. It’s just a party."