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In Trail of Cthulhu characters have three Pillars of Sanity. As their Sanity drops, these can 'crumble from within' and are lost. Is there a mechanic for pillars to be destroyed without the dropping of Sanity?

I have a PC who has 'the theory of evolution' as one of their pillars. They've just seen something so alien that it is impossible for the theory to explain it. However, they passed an associated Stability check when they saw the monstrosity.

Does this mean that they've effectively managed to fit what they've seen into their understanding of the world so the pillar stays intact, or would it be reasonable for the pillar to be destroyed despite them passing the Stability check?

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There are two ways for a Pillar of Stability to go away.

First, when an investigator loses 3 points of sanity, they may choose to crumble a Pillar of Stability. They don't have to. You don't lose anything from crumbling a Pillar, per se; this is a player decision, used when it's justifiable that a Pillar would go away, and moreover, when it's clear that events will eventually be directly targeting the Pillar.

Alternatively, whenever a Mythos shock directly targets a Pillar, there's no roll. The pillar shatters, causing a loss of 6 Stablity and 2 points of sanity.

Functionally, if a player is losing a lot of stabilty and taking Sanity damage, they'll probably be able to crumble pillars before they shatter, since in general there should be some warning before you shatter a pillar. But if the character is deep in denial and fending off Mythos shocks left and right, shattering a pillar is an alternative way of getting people right in the sanity; when a shock directly hits a character where they're vulnerable, no Stability spend will save them. If your Pillar is, say, "The World is ultimately Comprehensible" and you're presented with an Yog Sothian time paradox (or the like), you might be able to present an appearance of equanimity (if you have more than 6 Stability), but you've just lost a pillar of your existence and there's going to be an effect.

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They passed the Stability check, so they need to narrate how they fit the monstrosity into the pillar.

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Pillars of Sanity crumble when an investigator loses 3 points of Sanity. The only time an investigator would lose Sanity from failing a Stability check is if a Mythos shock lowers Stability below 0 (per page 74 of the Player's Guide). You said the test succeeded, so unless the player spent enough Stability on the test to go that low, the rules don't require the pillar to crumble.

Perhaps you should suggest something like Denial, and entice the player to destroy the evidence of the alien being in order to keep her Pillar intact (and to prevent her from having evidence of the truth). Maybe later Stability tests involving the creature are harder to pass until she acts.

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