I am still turning this one over in my head.
A large part of sword & sorcery literature is the instinctive fear of unnatural things— magic and creatures that defy explanation. Such things are unwholesome and evil; therefore, they should be feared.
I am always leery about taking the actions of a character out of the hands of the player but I think a large part of the genre is heroes overcoming this fear and defeating supernatural horrors. To reflect this I am considering the following rules regarding Fear Checks. This would also have the side effect of giving Sorcerers and Priests a bit of a bump in power.
Some monsters, spellcasters, and unusual magical items or situations may force a Fear Check. If the monster is ordinary (wolf, lion), no check is necessary. A check is made the first time the monster is encountered at close range, the first time a spellcaster does something involving magic (casting a spell or using a magical item), and whenever the DM calls for a check.
To make a Fear Check, the character should roll a saving throw vs. Spells (to which the Wisdom modifier applies).
A Character who fails the saving throw loses his action for that round (he stops in horror or awe at the sight of the thing). They cannot move or act until they are either attacked, distracted by another person, or successfully roll in a subsequent roll. Only one attempt can be made each round. If a natural 1 is rolled, additional effects are possible, depending on the DM’s judgment such as insanity or even dying of fright (for Normal Men).
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