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Old 10-13-2017, 11:56 AM   #11
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

I've played and run Amnesia games a few times... most were just the "lack of past memories"* version.

Each time either the Amnesia wasn't that important (it was a plot lever to get the campaign rolling and was 'solved'** rather quickly) or it wasn't that important in that the past never came back to haunt anyone. I blame my GMs for the last one and myself (mostly) for the first (though I also didn't give the PCs points for the Amnesia as it was a 'setting switch' type thing).


* The only one I've ran that was Total Amnesia was a 'build your PC through their actions' style. So by the end of the third session the PCs sheets were filled out.
** I've made several amnesiacs over the years. Not once has the past ever ended up as an issue. I think the GMs just didn't want to play with it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Probably worth pointing out here the closely-related trait of Delusion (False Memories), detailed in Horror. Rather than the usual obvious Delusion where you believe something false or apparently-false that causes people to react poorly to you, you instead don't remember an important event and have false, innocuous memories in their place. It pairs extremely well with Partial Amnesia if whatever you've forgotten will not only affect the plot but also your own character traits.
I did this once in a Horror game. The PCs went to dinner at a local diner (in separate groups as they were a disparate lot, but it was at the same time) and half-way through the meal, they woke up in the Emergency Room at a near-by hospital (along with several other diners). Sketchy looking interns and nurses were asking them and the other survivors what they could remember. A few characters couldn't remember anything, but most remembered a car smashing through a wall into the room and then... well they woke up here. It was a bit of a blur really*.

Except one of the other diners. He distinctly remembered a large furry or scaly thing smashing through the wall and it had bitten and clawed up people and, and... then he was sedated and the 'nurses' were worriedly checking everyone and making sure everyone knew that "trauma scan sometimes do that"...

The PCs eventually checked out a few days later... and compared notes. One clearly knew the "car smashing through a wall" was not a real memory... and besides their wounds were odd and healed too fast... so the PCs decided to go investigate...


* Each Player was given a different note card with what they remembered. The first one to be 'interviewed' had noticed that every NPC questioned had said "it's a bit of a blur really" so when he read his card, he just read it verbatim, along with that line to be funny (each note ended in that line). The second Player decided to play it cute and not read that last line. So I asked for a Will roll. She failed, and I told her to say the line.

Every Player immediately realized what was going on, realized the medical staff weren't really medical staff, and got extremely paranoid.



I did this for another game, more CoC based (but still GURPS) that had a Player who wanted to have magic, when I was explicitly forbidding magic. So I gave it to him. And secretly gave him the delusion that he had magic and it worked... and clued in the other Players of what was really going on so they'd help keep the charade going as long as possible. The Amnesiac/Delusional PC didn't catch on till the end of the game. He loved it. A few other Players weren't as enthused, but it worked. Not sure I'd ever try it again, bit of a miracle it worked the first time.



Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Call the police and get professional medical help. This is actually a bit of a problem with Total Amnesia - characters with it by definition don't remember any reasons why this might not be a good idea, so many of them ought to do something like this. Which isn't going to lead to an *adventure*.
Did this one as well, it wasn't a dumpster though and the PCs did immediately go to the police and then the hospital... and along the way a few PCs overheard just enough to start cluing them in that they couldn't trust all the Police or hospital staff... or other people in general...

It was Secret Alien Invasion Horror game where the Reptilians had successfully infiltrated and taken over, but didn't like just killing people, they preferred to erase and modify memories. The PCs had woken up laid out in a warehouse strapped to gurneys and managed to free themselves and escape before their captors returned. They had distorted fragments of memories, not enough to know what was going on, but enough (that they wisely didn't mention to the cops or doctors) that they knew something was going on.

This also wasn't a 'total amnesia' game, the amnesia wore off by the time they were released form the hospital as they were able to remember who they were, but not how they ended up in the warehouse. The memory implants were not 'taking hold' properly so they had fragments of two sets of memories, which began at first as 'inconsistencies' with what they remembered (the false memories were what they thought were their real memories).

Interesting game, never managed to finish it properly. It just sort of wound down and petered out.
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Call the police and get professional medical help. This is actually a bit of a problem with Total Amnesia - characters with it by definition don't remember any reasons why this might not be a good idea, so many of them ought to do something like this. Which isn't going to lead to an *adventure*.
If going to the police really is a bad idea, isn't doing so definitely going to lead to adventure? "Refusal of the call" is one of those Campbellian monomyth elements, and can result in the hero being forced across the threshold into adventure. Realizing that the authorities aren't trustworthy and having to escape from them after contacting them is a pretty common trope in conspiracy fiction.

You are right, if you are a person without Social Stigma and you are in a society with CR 4 or less, and you just have ordinary amnesia from some accidental medical cause, then you probably aren't in an adventure story (you might still be in a romantic comedy though). The GM probably ought not do this if an adventure story is wanted.

Last edited by sir_pudding; 10-13-2017 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

The recent Dark Matter tv series (which I understand is based on a graphic novel, but I've not been able to find it) features six people waking up from stasis on a starship in flight, with no memories of who they are or how they got there. They even call themselves by the numbers One through Six, in the order they awoke, in lieu of names.

The rest of the series is essentially their working out who they used to be and dealing with how that differs from who they have become.
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

I've used Total Amnesia as a mandatory disadvantage to intro into a game (with some very trusting players). They woke up in a strange facility and had to use clues on their persons to sort out who they were, and they had a lot of fun discovering their identities while dealing with the effects of a government black site experiment and conspiracy.

It was also the first time I saw anyone with Contact Group (Conspiracy Forum).

As for play, the players were great at falling into a group and working together to survive and figure out who they were. They also knew going in they'd all have amnesia and were cool with not making their own sheets. I think they wanted the challenge of rooeplaying random PCs.
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:38 AM   #15
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

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The recent Dark Matter tv series (which I understand is based on a graphic novel, but I've not been able to find it)...
It's a four issue series that never made it past four issues. The last issue wraps up about the halfway point of Episode 1... so you aren't missing anything.
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:34 AM   #16
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

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...Each time either the Amnesia wasn't that important (it was a plot lever to get the campaign rolling and was 'solved'** rather quickly)...
"Solved" is a good word. These Disadvantages are requests for mysteries to solve in play, and an implied pledge on the player's part to investigate. If we're demanding the GM design all or part of our backgrounds, we need to do our best as players to uncover those secrets so that effort won't be wasted--not just to fill out the character sheet, but to make good story.

It's a lot of work for that GM. Whereas the honor system is fine for other players who are making their own voluntary control rolls, the GM is going to need to puppet you a bit. S/he'll make secret rolls for you, and direct you to hang back, invert, or lunge for certain activities that your character is attempting. Maybe you spent points in First Aid or doctoring, but if Callous is one of your secrets, the GM should belay your attempts at a good bedside manner, or urge you to move on from danger despite the presence of wounded innocents. Eventually, you figure it out and start making your own control rolls and decisions, taking back that duty from the GM.

Rule Zero says we should also make that journey fun for the other players, too, and not just use Amnesia as an excuse to be an uncooperative jerk/snowflake.
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Amnesia

I've used a lot of the Amnesia tropes in a series of "Escape From Hell" scenarios, where the PCs are trapped in a prison dimension roughly based on "The Hole" from Pyramid #1, Vol 1 IIRC.

The more energy used on each break out attempt created more resistance to the next attempt, so clever inmates try to use minimal forces like telepathy and Communication and Empathy spells to scout for weaknesses, allies, and new spells and abilities to exploit.

This allows many opportunities for PCs to operate as forgetful Quantum Leapers, to retain their own memories but visit incompatible histories, to try to pass as a normal inhabitant of a dimension with abnormal physics, and they can also be revived former PCs who can't quite recall how they survived their final battle*.




*(They didn't, and their remains were commended to the void, or the Warp, etc. and came to rest in the prison dimension where the confining forces eventually collected enough of the original being to return it to rudimentary function. Explaining/rationalizing signs of embalming from different cultures can be lots of fun, along with discovering which grave goods are real vs for show.)
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