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Author Topic: Starting a game and quite lost...  (Read 19434 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2006, 04:53:43 PM »

http://www.iddl.vt.edu/rcd/accessibility/images/workshop/rule_a/phrenology.gif

Troy: Like one of these, used as a Memory Map? Maybe as part of the character sheet? All of the character sheet?
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2006, 05:11:17 PM »

I can't begin to tell you what an awesome idea that is Troy!

Thanks from the link, Joe.

I think using that as a character sheet would be phenomenal! 

Kudos!

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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2006, 06:57:29 PM »

Phrenominal.

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Tim M Ralphs
Member

Posts: 44


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« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2006, 06:06:16 AM »

I love games about memory, but there are definitely two camps, and I'm having trouble working out which one this game fits into. (Although I may well have missed something or got confused by other people posting.)

Does the GM have any preconceptions of what the characters memories are before we sit down and play? Are we as players discovering our characters memories, or are we making them up?

I'm sure you can see the two are very different. In, for example, Insylum the characters have no history. The players are encouraged to spend memory points to have memories, and as these are added the GM fleshes them out and character history is built retrospectively.

The other option is that the GM knows the history of the characters, and that they reveal little bits off the sheet as and when it's appropriate.

I think you're tending toward the former. But I think it's important to realise that if you want the players to be running flashback scenes and the like it's worth explicitly stating that the GM should try not to have any backstory planned out before the game starts.

I also think that it's worth working out how long you expect play to last. It seems to me that the most exciting bits of play are going to be after the first few flash back scenes, when players start pushing for flashbacks and then tie elements from other character's flashbacks together to create some sort of continuity. Now if the game is going to be a short one, designed to be played in a couple of hours, you don't need a lot of stuff going on in the present except to drive people into paying for flashbacks. If it's intended for campaign play then mechanically things will go slower, you may want only give people a few memory points per session to control how quickly they can build their past.

Best of luck, this is a really intriguing idea
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...the Mystery leads to Adversity and only Sacrifice brings Resolution...
earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2006, 10:06:55 AM »

The GM handles the city, the players handle the Flashbacks.

Ideally, the GM plays the city and it's background almost like a character.  The GM knows nothing of the characters pasts at the start of play.

Once the game gets going, the players "purchase their skills" with memory points, and play out a flashback (run by the other players).  They can spend additional Memory Points in order to override certain facts about their character that the other players may present, but must role-play such changes.

However, these folks on the board here have shown me some pretty slick ideas and theories, which I am now looking into while putting together a system.

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John Harper
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« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2006, 04:18:14 PM »

I just want to say that this game sounds very cool. I'm glad it's getting some traction here.

Memory points and the memory maps are supreme awesomeness. Here's a random idea: maybe players get memory points by creating nodes and paths on their memory maps (by having flashback scenes)? So the more past stuff you create the more points you get to flesh out your abilities.

And maybe when you connect one of your memory nodes to someone else's node, you get to share memory points somehow.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your ideas here. I'm excited to see this game develop.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2006, 07:34:54 PM »

Quote
The GM handles the city, the players handle the Flashbacks.

"handles the city".

Do you wanna define HOW this happens?

Maybe write up a script of play for a scene that happens in the city, and one that happens in flashback.

Something like, or example:
GM: The room is lit by a small candle in the far corner. The cold wind makes you shudder.
Tom: What's in the room?
GM: X, Y, and Z.
Jill: I want to remember if I've ever seen Z before. *spends memory point and rolls*


Something like that... but a detailed scene (for both the city and the flashback).
Fill the scenes with good players and cool stuff... and also give us a good idea who has narration rights at what times.
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2006, 10:07:40 PM »

Okay, here goes...this is going to be very basic...



****
Tom, Dick, and Harry have just come out of an altercation with some street thugs in an alley way after leaving the factories in The Drones.  Harry was beaten pretty badly and isn't doing so well.

GM: Harry has lost conciousness and bleeding profusly from the stab wounds.

Tom: I'm going to prop him against the wall and see if I can stop the bleeding.

Dick: I'm keeping a watch in the alleyway to make sure those thugs aren't coming back with reinforcements.

GM: Okay.  Tom props Harry against the wall, examining the damage.  He's been beaten up pretty badly, but worse yet is the blood that is seeping through the slits in his workshirt.  Dick, give me a roll.

(dick rolls some dice.  success)

GM: Dick, in the background you can hear someone...no a group of someones approaching.  However, from the echoing sounds of the hollowed heels against the pavement, it sounds more like a Police Patrol than common thugs.

Dick: Shit.  The cops are coming.

Tom: What are we going to do?  We can take him to the hospital.  Too many questions.

Dick: Well, he's going to bleed to death here.  This is bad. 

Tom: Dick, go distract them somehow.  Let me think.

Dick: Alright.  But think fast.  I'm going to approach the Police.

GM: Alright.  Tom, what are you doing?

Tom: Looking at the blood and the wounds, I think I might remember something about this.  I'm not sure this is the first time I've ever been in this situation.  I might know something about dressing these wounds.

GM: You want to attempt to remember.

Tom: Absolutely.

GM: Okay.  Roll against your current memory points.

Tom rolls.  A good success.

GM: Tom, this isn't the first time you've seen this.  In fact, you're starting to remember...Alright, we're going to Flashback.  Harry, you're in on this too.

Harry: Finally. 

(Not sure how it will be determined what order it goes in, but right now we'll just go Dick and Harry)

GM: Alright, set the scene.

(Again, this is a temporary mechanic, but each player other than the flashback player has 5 Flashback points to spend on setting the scene.)

Dick: Alright.  Spending one point to set the location.  Tom, enclosed in the back of an ambulance. A youth lays on a stretcher , hooked up to oxyegeon.  He is is drifting in and out of conciousness.

Harry: I'm going to spend 2 points to add a new character.  (If this was a character from a previous Flashback it would only be 1 point).  Across from you a large man, in a paramedic's uniform is yelling.  You remember his name is Bernie. 

Harry (as Bernie): Damn it, Tom!  We're losing him.

Tom: I lean forward, working my magic.  Not sure what exactly a paramedic actually do in this situation, but it seems Tom would, so I'm going to work to stabalize him.

Dick: Spending my remain four points to add a situation.  Tom, as you lean forward, your head swims a bit.  Apparently you'd been drinking.  Your hands fumble.

Harry (As Bernie): C'mon Tom, for cris'sake!  This is the third time this week!

Tom: I'm not digging this.  I'm going to spend Four Memory points to override Dicks situation.

GM: Alright, but you have to role-play it.

Tom: Four's a lot of memory points.  Tell you what, I'll spend 2 and partially override it. 
Tom: Christ, Bernie.  You take things to far.  Get over here and help me, instead of sitting there with your bullshit.  That's what happens when your so goddamn understaffed you start pulling folks out of a New Years Eve party.

Harry (As Bernie): Bernie looks down at the youth as he helps Tom.  "Hell of a way to kick off the NEw Year, eh Kid?

GM: Okay Tom.  Do or die time.  How many Memory Points you want to spend on the Paramedic skill?  With the success of your original roll, you can buy up to a Good rating?

Tom: I'm going to do that.  I'll buy it as Good.

GM: Alright, Good it is.

Tom: Cool.  I'm going to stabilize this kid.

Dick: You're going to face a penalty, due to your drunkeness.

Tom: I agree. 

Harry: But with Bernie there, I imagine there'd be a bonus for having help.

Tom: Good enough for me. 

Tom rolls.  Terrible.

Harry (as Bernie): Tom, what the hell are you doing?!  We're losing him!

Tom: I'm doing the best I can.  Hang in there kid! 

Harry (as Bernie): It's too late, Tom.  We've lost him.

Tom: Sonofabitch!  Tom slams his fists into the walls of the ambulance.

Harry (as Bernie): Tom, calm down.  It happens.

Tom: How is it that you can say that?  Nothing bothers you, does it Bernie?  Nothing ever bothers you.  You just...Wait...I think I saw his eye twitch.

Harry (as Bernie): Just a reaction.

Tom: No.  No, I definately saw it twitch.

Tom: Spending a memory point to alter this outcome and roll again.

Tom: There's still a chance!  I work feverishly to save this kid.

Harry: Due to your sudden inspiration, I'll spend my last Flashback Point to give you a bonus.

Dick: Sorry, buddy, but I'm thinking the drunkeness is still in effect.  There's going to be a penalty.  But with Bernie helping you and the Flashback point Harry spent, I'm thinking that'll bring it back to a base roll.

Tom rolls, this time success.

Tom: THe kid's breathing!  He's going to make it!

GM: If everyone's satisfied, I think this would be a good time to cut back.

Agreed.

GM: Okay, Tom as you look at Harry bleeding in the alleyway, you realize that there is something you can do. 

Tom: I'm going try to stop the bleeding. 

GM: You don't have any equipment, so there'll be a penalty.

Tom: Fair enough.

GM: Now Dick, you're approaching the Police Patrol.

(the game continues)


******

Anyway, the gist of how I see it going.  Obviously this is real basic, with no hardcore mechanics, but it gives you all an idea of where I'm going with this.



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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2006, 08:04:01 AM »

I am contemplating the phrase "Powerful Memories."

So if Tom buys a Paramedic skill of 1, then his flashback will emotionally insignificant,
and he won't remember much about some bland training classroom.  Thus, he won't
be able to help Harry very much in the present.

If Tom spends 3 memory points on 'Paramedic', then he'll remember having been
a Boy Scout-- and this flashback to his childhood will really get under Tom's skin.
"I...had a younger brother.  My god, I wonder where he is now? I don't even know his name!"
But at least Tom's memory of boy scout first aid will be fairly vivid and thus useful.

For 5 memory points, Tom remembers being in an ambulence, trying to save a bleeding woman,
making a medical error, and accidentally killing her!  This will haunt him in the present.

SO... (ta-dah!)...

The number of memory points spent on a memory 'node'-- equals the number of relationship-lines
eminating from that node on the flashback map.   When playing-out the Flashback; that-which-is-at-the-
end-of-those-lines must be discovered, before the flashback can end.   And something-- like a random roll--
dictates how many of those lines are Bad Memories: ugly stuff like the woman dying.  Stuff the character
has to confront in the present.




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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2006, 08:19:21 AM »

Yeah.  That's interesting. Let me just make sure I'm reading this the right way.  So the more points spent, the more powerful the memory.  The more powerful the memory the more potent the skill.  But even more importantly, the more powerful the memory the more backstory and depth.  I like that a lot!

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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2006, 08:31:32 AM »

Yeah, you've got it.

I'm not sure about my final paragraph in the last post, tho.

I like having the number of lines from extending from a given memory node correspond to how significant that memory is.

But the result of that-- will be that a Size 5 memory is significant in the backstory map.
Which may not be the same thing as being significant in the ongoing game.

A better way to do it, might be to give the character some type of -5 flaw in the present.
"The good news is you're a +5 paramedic.  The bad news is you're now -5 in any situation involving women;
until your character does something to shake-off his lingering feelings of guilt."

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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2006, 09:37:40 AM »

Quote
For 5 memory points, Tom remembers being in an ambulence, trying to save a bleeding woman,
making a medical error, and accidentally killing her!  This will haunt him in the present.

Idea: The more memory points, maybe the more guilt you have associated with the memory.
So I can totally remember being the world's greatest driver, but if I do then I also remember crashing and killing my wife...

Quote
A better way to do it, might be to give the character some type of -5 flaw in the present.
"The good news is you're a +5 paramedic.  The bad news is you're now -5 in any situation involving women;
until your character does something to shake-off his lingering feelings of guilt."

Beautiful. I didn't even see that post at first.

Quote
GM: Tom, this isn't the first time you've seen this.  In fact, you're starting to remember...Alright, we're going to Flashback.

I don't like that the GM controls when a flashback occurs.
This whole, "Alright, we're going ot Flashback." feels awkward.

I think players should spend memory points to determine when they get to flashback.

Also: I think a skill can be remembered without the scene being remembered... Like, I can remember how to shoot without remembering the context IMMEDIATELY... but at some point the flashback comes.
Maybe the longer I put the flashback off, the more guilt is associated with it (as suggested up above, sorta).

But yeah: I don't like how the GM controlled the flashback setting.

Quote
Harry: I'm going to spend 2 points to add a new character.  (If this was a character from a previous Flashback it would only be 1 point).

This promotes building on the same characters... building a single story arc in the past.
I don't, personally, like that idea.

I don't want to keep flashing back to Bob and Carver, simply because it's cheaper.
I want to flash back to Bob and Carver, then Nicholai and Constance, then Ringo, then that man in the diner, then...
Make it so that the more flashbacks you have... the MORE confused you get ultimately...

But then if you WANT a grand finale where the flashbacks all come together, you then learn that Bob and Carver were working for Ringo, and the man in the diner was pimping Constance, and Nicholai was your brother.

To me, that'd be more exciting than:
-a flashback with bob and a gun
-a flashback with carver and a rock climbing session
-a flashback with bob and carver and I at the hospital
-a flashback with carver and...

Quote
Harry (As Bernie): Bernie looks down at the youth as he helps Tom.  "Hell of a way to kick off the NEw Year, eh Kid?

This feels very hardboiled-noir, which I absolutely love.
In fact... I want to suggest that the flashbacks all be in a black-and-white, smokey, noir feel.

Ex.
Tom: It was a morning like any other. Birds chirping too loud. All the colours in the sky far too bright. Ambulance discovering the victims of last night's mob raid. The only difference was that this time, my wife was one of those victims.
Dick: I spend 2 points to become a doctor in this scene.
Dick: Listen, tommy boy. This is as hard for me to say as it is for you to hear. I just want you to know -
Tom: Spit it out.
Dick: Your wife didn't make it. We did everything we could.
Tom: I knew this hadn't been no random gang attack. This was a well-planned, well-articulated mob hit. They were trying to get to me through my loved ones, but it wasn't going to work. The debt wasn't mine to pay, and I wasn't gunna pay it.

If you had all this gritty, totalitarian, SLIGHTLY cyberpunky feel... and then juxtaposed it with noir pulp flashbacks...
It'd be hella, hella cool.
In my personal opinion.
Just sayin'.

Quote
Anyway, the gist of how I see it going.  Obviously this is real basic, with no hardcore mechanics, but it gives you all an idea of where I'm going with this.

Good work man!
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2006, 09:47:24 AM »

Have you read The Shadow of Yesterday?

There is something in it called Keys.
Basically, if I pursue one of the Keys I've selected for my character, I get XP.

I don't get XP for killing monsters unless I've selected a Key that lets me get XP for that.

In this game, maybe flashbacks could either give me skills or create Keys.

Keys like "What is the significance of Room Twenty?" or "Why did Raffi Gustano want me dead?"
The more I pursue these mysteries that my flashbacks have uncovered, the more memory points I gain.
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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2006, 11:45:41 AM »

Joe & I both came up with examples using 'Guilt' as the present-day effect of a memory.

But 'Guilt' seems too constrained as a concept.

I think 'Despair' might work better. 

So Tom could remember how to stop Harry's bleeding by remembering being present at his own son's birth.

And even that happy, guiltless memory could incapacitate Tom-- due to the Despair of not knowing where his son is.

Tom needn't solve the mystery of the son, to shake-off the Despair.  Doing something thematically-related; like
helping another parent or a child-- could remove the negative effect.

Whatever the heck the negative effect would actually be.  Any ideas?

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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2006, 12:08:47 PM »

I don't like that the GM controls when a flashback occurs.
This whole, "Alright, we're going ot Flashback." feels awkward.


I doubt this is how it would go down in a true game.  I was just pointing out the transition.  Actually (and maybe this wasn't clear), Tom initiated the Flashback while trying to remember.  I imagine, the first few times a group plays (especially if it is a novice group) the GM may need to announce the transition (though perhaps a bit more subtly that "Alright, we're going into flashback"), but with time the transactions will be become more and more seamless.

I do like the idea of the Flashbacks not having to be immediate.  The reason I had it set the way it was is the player can gauge how much of the relevant skill he wants to "purchase" during the flashback.  This could also swerve the outcome of the Flashback as well.  In the above example Tom purchased Paramedic up to Good.  He still lost the youth on his initial roll, but he used memory points to modify the flashback and re-roll.  This time he was successful.  If he had only purchased it at poor, the results may have been different, both in the Flashback and In the City.

That being said, I did not incorporate any of the new ideas you good folks gave me either.  I really like the idea of "powerful memories" and modifiers based on the outcome of the Flashback.  The whole guilt/despair thing is very intriguing.

I'm also really digging the "keys" idea Joe said.  I don't think that flashbacks should be for just buying skills.  I would want them to shape your character, not just fill out a character sheet. 

I appreciate the ideas and support.  I am amazed at how welcoming and supportive everyone at The Forge is thus far.

Let me mull over a few of these ideas for a little while, and I'll post another example incorporating them as well.  This was just a basic "skeleton" example to show how the two "Settings" intermingle.
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