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Insanity Immunity
"Strong or weak, in the long run all of them break down. All, that is to say, of those who are initially sane. For, ironically enough, the only people who can hold up indefinitely under the stress of modern war are psychotics. Individual insanity is immune to the consequences of collective insanity."
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

When a character is already so crazy that none of the traditional Go Mad from the Revelation-type phenomena or Brown Note will affect them in the slightest; they can speed read The King in Yellow and the Tome of Eldritch Lore, get into a Staring Contest with Cthulhu, contemplate the Void without any negative mental effects, and get caught in the Throat of Madness, simply because they can't get any crazier. This can also mean that they can wield/absorb any powers with these effects without any problems, either; powers that would drive a normal man insane simply won't affect them in any negative fashion.

They also cannot be controlled, predicted, or otherwise influenced by others: psychics will recoil in horror from the rotting offal that is their minds, those who can see the future will find their expectations dashed as destiny is royally screwed over, martial artists with Combat Clairvoyance will be no match for their Confusion Fu, etc.

This is a Disability Superpower, more specifically a Disability Immunity. See also Crazy Sane, Too Dumb to Fool, Too Kinky to Torture and Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth.

Examples

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     Anime  

     Comics  

  • In Lucifer, Fenrir manipulates a man with a mental disorder into thinking that he's gone crazy and killed his wife and daughter. This is so he and his companions can "ride his coattails" towards Yggdrasil. By tricking the man into thinking his wife and daughter are at the tree, he gets there without having his mind torn to shreds by the sanity-ripping "thorns" on the path there. The man is more or less immune both by virtue of his insanity and single-minded Heroic Resolve to rescue his family. Don't worry, they were reunited and lived Happily Ever After. (Fenrir, for his part, almost undid all creation.)
    • You must have missed the part where Fenris kills the guy so he can leave Yggdrasil. The guy does in fact lose pieces of himself on the way- some memories, an arm, but his insanity means he's used to surrendering pieces of himself, and thus he can serve as another's chariot.
  • This is about as close as The Joker gets to a superpower. For example, in a Batman / Judge Dredd Crossover, Judge Death tried to possess his body, flowing into his head only to fly out through the other ear, Joker's mind completely incompatible with his mind control powers.
    • J'onn J'onnz was actually able to replicate this effect during Grant Morrison's run on JLA; when he and Superman are trapped in a pocket dimension created by The Joker (which reflects his madness), J'onn uses his shapeshifting abilities to literally change the shape/function of his brain to resemble The Joker's, enabling him and Supes to navigate their way out without being consumed or driven mad.
    • Also, in DC and The Mask crossovers both Joker and Lobo put the titular mask on their faces, and it didn't affect their personalities at all.
      • Not at first, but Joker becomes much more destructive. When Batman points out that this isn't funny (by Joker's standards anyways), Joker realizes that this is true and promptly takes the mask off.
    • Another Elseworld comic had a mass depowering event take place; Joker loses his trademark insanity, leaving him quiet and remorseful over everything he's done.
    • On one team-up with the Scarecrow, Dr. Crane ended their alliance by gassing Joker to see what he was afraid of. Sadly, Joker turned out to be immune to the Scarecrow's gas. So he beat him with a chair.
  • In Nextwave Dirk Anger was so crazy that when he died and was resurrected as a zombie, his behavior hadn't changed at all (only his diet).
  • In Endless Nights, a companion book to The Sandman, one of the stories is about Delirium becoming lost in her own realm and insane people being the only ones that can enter and leave her realm unscathed.
  • A slight variation - in Dilbert, Wally reacts to news his new bosses can read and control his mind by shrugging and saying if they try to read his mind, they'd go blind.
  • Bullseye and Doctor Octopus have both been shown with resistance to mind-control that could either be the result of cybernetics in their heads or sheer insanity.
  • Also from the Marvel Universe is Deadpool, who's healing factor combined with his cancer causes his brain to be in a constant state of flux, so much that even ultra-powerful telepaths like Cable usually can't get a grip on his mind. He's also defeated Taskmaster who pretty much defines Awesomeness by Analysis by simply being naturally unpredictable to the point where even he isn't sure what he's going to do next.
  • This happens in The Darkness when Darkness host Jackie Estacado encounters a Monster of the Week witch / Eldritch Abomination that performs Mind Rape for a living, psychically feeding off people's desires and memories. This backfires horribly on her when she tries it on Jackie and sees the the darkness and depravity that is the mind of a demonically-possessed Professional Killer.

     Fan Works 

     Literature  

  • In Alan Dean Foster's To The Vanishing Point, Burnfingers Begay can deal with the shifting realities matter-of-factly because he's already crazy.
    • In the same author's Paths of the Perambulator (fifth in the Spellsinger series) Sorbl the drunk is undisturbed by the constant Reality Warping around them because it's no worse than his usual hallucinations.
  • The Magic The Gathering novel Final Sacrifice involves a Mind-Control Device in the form of a helmet that lets a wizard summon and control another wizard the same way wizards can summon and control ordinary creatures. (Interestingly, this novel was written long before the card Mindslaver was printed.) The druid Greensleeves, having once been insane, finds the effects of the helmet to be similar to the insanity she conquered and is able to ignore its commands - and is also able to access the vast amounts of information stored in it.
  • Billy in Remnants has a mind that clearly does not work normally—he seems to be mildly psychic, has an eidetic memory and rarely interacts with anyone. It turns out he is the only one able to mentally interact with Mother, a Sapient Ship who has Gone Mad From The Isolation, without going crazy. He explains it as his mind being malleable, like rubber, while other people's are like sticks that break if you bend them.
  • In The Sea of Trolls, berserkers are immune to trolls' mind-reading powers because their mindless, frenzied style of fighting is impossible for the trolls to decipher.
  • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox's survival of the Total Perspective Vortex is an interesting sort-of example: the Vortex destroys its victims' minds by making them fully aware of the smallness of their place in the universe. But Zaphod comes out smiling, saying it had just shown him what he already knew: that he's a pretty cool dude. So it appears that his narcissism saved him — that his ego really is big enough to appear significant on the scale of the entire universe. But this is subverted when it's later revealed that the encounter had taken place in a pocket universe that had been created for his benefit. I.e., he was that universe's reason for existing, and hence literally the most important person in it, and this is the only reason it went so well for him. Still, his fearlessness on entering the Vortex (while not knowing about the pocket-universe thing) qualifies: he was crazy enough to expect such an outcome. ("Hey, I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox, man!")

     Tabletop RPG  
  • Call of Cthulhu. When characters lose Sanity points they can go temporarily insane, which impairs their abilities considerably. Once people lose all of their Sanity points (and become permanently insane), they can no longer go temporarily insane, either due to Sanity loss or certain attacks such as the Mind Blast spell. If this happens to an NPC who is a Cthulhu Mythos worshipper, they can act effectively even though they're completely nuts.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition. Psionic attacks could cause various forms of mental disorders in their victims, but insane creatures were immune to psionic attack.
    • There's a "Cloak of Insanity" spell in the Forgotten Realms sourcebook Menzoberranzan that emulates this effect. It shields the caster's mind from being influenced or read by both magic or psionics, but isn't completely safe in itself.
    • Several 3.5E feats or Prestige Class abilities have effects that are basically this with different names, usually with a fixed modifier. Bonus points go to the Tainted Scholar Prestige Class for casters. The Clarity of True Madness Secret that the Tainted Scholar can learn lets him add his Depravity score to his Will save once per day, which means that the more insane and mentally twisted he becomes, the better the modifier that Secret grants is.
    • Many monsters in 4th edition are immune to charm or daze effects because they're aberrant or insane.
  • Witches and sorcerers from Pokethulhu, who are immune to anything that requires a sanity save, because they have no sanity at all.
  • Vampires in the OldWorldOfDarkness who drink Changeling blood or otherwise become Enchanted (infused with Fae Glamor, allowing them perceive and otherwise be affected by Chimerical reality) must, due to the inherently Banal nature of vampirism, make a Courage roll in order to avoid succumbing to Bedlam (Glamor induced insanity). The vampires of Clan Malkavian are explicitly said to be immune to this effect as they are already mad.
  • In Dark Heresy, characters ignore fear effects that equal their (insanity points/10)/2: Their minds have simply seen so much sanity-blasting horror already that they've gone insensitive to the little stuff. A character with 80 or more insanity points is literally immune to fear and can stare down a Eldritch Abomination with no ill effects, although at that point that's peanuts compared to the effects the cumulative mental derangements has on that character's mind anyway.
    • In mainline 40k, because of the Blood Angels and their successor chapters' need to feed on blood and tendency to lose their minds and degenerate into slavering beasts one would think they're all a fucking Khorne cult waiting to happen, but it turns out that because of the particular way in which the Red Thirst and Black Rage work, they're actually immune to Chaos. Not that this is much comfort to them or any innocent bystanders who happen to get between them and whatever monsters the Imperium has sicced them on.
  • One standout example from Exalted is Lilith, a Lunar who spent most of the First Age married to Desus, who kept her in line with regular doses of Mind Rape. She fled into the Wyld after the Usurpation, and actually got better over the centuries. That's how bad her marriage was — years after years spent in the heart of screaming, primordial madness were effectively therapy.
    • The Fair Folk —natural inhabitants of the aforementioned Wyld— are all insane, and their interaction with reality revolves around masking their insanity to the Creation-born. When the masks are exhausted they reveal their true nature in a state known as Bedlam, and there are charms that specifically makes good use of this state.
  • In Ironclaw, the Enraged status effect makes the character unable to defend, focus or do mental actions, however it also negates the next mental debuff they would be affected with, (removes Enraged as well). It's more harmful version, Berserk, also does this, but also causes the character to attack the nearest target. Note that for Avarist, Enraged is important for some of their abilities, but helps compensate their low Mind stat.
  • Derro in Thirteenth Age are considered immune to confusion effects because, being crazy dwarves, they are already insane. Well, kind of - if they particularly want to murder one of their allies, which isn't uncommon, they might still take a stab at one of them, just for the hell of it.

     Video Games  

  • In the Touhou game "Imperishable Night", when Cute Witch Marisa Kirisame is exposed to "pure" lunar rays, which can drive humans mad, she isn't concerned because, in her own words, "I'm insane to begin with." This is the only time she comes out and says this, however.
    • Later in the official manga Forbidden Scrollery, Marisa is able to read an original copy of the Necronomicon with no apparent ill effects.
    • Similarly, in the fangame Touhou Mother, the party is forced to eat some strange mushrooms to get their strength back. While everyone else goes on a Mushroom Samba, Marisa is unaffected due to "experiencing this sort of thing all the time", and takes over as party leader.
    • In addition to Marisa, Sakuya was exposed to the "pure" lunar rays as well. Even Remilia, who knows Sakuya better than anyone, was afraid and yelled at Sakuya not to look at them - naturally she already was and merely remarked how beautiful the moon was. Given how mysterious Sakuya already is, this naturally fueled some belief that Sakuya may actually be insane before the story begins, either from working in the Scarlet Devil Mansion or just naturally from before she started working there. This gets a sort of follow up with "Phantasmagoria of Flower View" where Sakuya returns after the incident is solved with a whole bunch of interesting flowers to make tea with; when she notes that she should sort out which ones are poisonous first Patchuli notes that it's quite rare for Sakuya to show that much care/forethought.
      • Of course, given that the lunar rays only work on humans this also lends considerable evidence to the large parts of the fandom that firmly believe Sakuya is actually a Lunarian, whether she remebers it herself or not...
  • Implied in Batman: Arkham Asylum, when Scarecrow's fear serum doesn't drive Batman insane, either because of his indomitable will... or his own insanity is strong enough to withstand it.
    • On the villainous side of things, Joker's mind proves immune to the side-effects of Titan serum, probably because he's already way crazier than the serum would make him.
  • Likewise, in Eternal Darkness Pious Augustus cannot go insane as he completely lacks the Sanity Meter that all other characters have. So he's immune either because he's a battle-hardened Roman centurion, or because he was already insane to begin with.

     Web Animation  

  • One Halloween episode of Homestar Runner featured a creepy, animate painting that gave everyone who looked at it a paralyzing case of "The Jibblies". Except for Homestar, who was such a ditz that he was completely unaffected. And, according to the Easter Egg, resident Cloud Cuckoolander Homsar was also unaffected... and even managed to turn the tables and scare the painting.

     Web Comics  
  • In an early Sluggy Freelance plotline (before Bun-Bun's power level really got established), Gwynn's botched magic drove most of the cast insane with violent romantic jealousy. Bun-Bun was largely unaffected. His explanation: "These lightweights just can't hold their evil."
  • Implied in Captain SNES when Kefka is at ground zero of the Final Fantasy VI world getting "touched" and is unaffected by it.

     Web Original  

  • Medibot made it through pokecapn's Let's Play of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) in considerably less psychological distress than the other three who made it to the end (there was a fifth guy, John Condit, but he wisely bailed partway through). This was partly because he left to take a nap partway through, but mostly because:
    Kung-Fu Jesus: He seemed really out of it.
    pokecapn: As he always does?
  • Ecila Mason of the Whateley Universe. She's been interacting with monsters for so long that she is no longer able to interact normally with humans.
  • Dave Smith, the Unfazed Everyman of City Of Angles, had childhood anxiety so bad that he punched right through to the other side. When an Eldritch Abomination tries to drive him mad, he politely apologizes and explains.
    Bedlam: ... What.
  • One short story on /tg/ gave humanity the Humans Are Cthulhu treatment by revealing that humans live in the galactic equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle called the "Veil of Madness". Every sentient race that spends time there goes suicidally insane, except humans for some unknown reason. Humanity took advantage of their new bogeyman status to make relations with other races easier. They claimed that the Veil didn't destroy them because they were already a little crazy. Considering humans are basically playing a huge practical joke on the rest of the galaxy, maybe they really are crazy.

     Western Animation  

  • Notably subverted in Justice League: the Joker was using Ace, a girl with telepathic powers, to drive crazy as many people as possible. It turned out he only claimed and/or thought he was immune, until Ace focused her attention specifically on him.
    • The Joker holding onto Ace's control headband, which ironically was what turned Ace against him in the end, shows that Joker may have at least suspected that Ace would be powerful enough to affect him.
    • It revealed in Batman Beyond that he recovers from this, so The Joker might not have been too far off.
  • Completely inverted in Batman The Brave And The Bold, when Joker gains the powers of Batmite. After torturing Batman the entire episode, Batman tricks him into trying to drive Batman insane by entering his mind. Turns out Batman is so sane even the reality warping powers Joker now has are completely useless in there, and Batman ultimately uses it to show Joker his worst nightmare - a world where Batman doesn't exist and, consequently, the Joker is a no-name average joe.
  • In Gravity Falls, a secret society determined to uphold The Masquerade through Laser-Guided Amnesia attempt to erase the memories of the Mystery Shack crew- but are stopped by Old Man McGucket ("Local kook") Taking the Bullet from their Memory Erasing ray gun, which doesn't work on him since he already used it so much on himself in the past.
    "YOU CAN'T BREAK WHAT'S ALREADY BROKEN!"


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