Mnemonic (1998)

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RPG Item: Mnemonic
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Year: 1998
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Mnemonic is the second Alpha-Zulu rpg. It basically popped into my head one night when I was trying to work on a magic system for Alternacy. This was back in April, 1998, and I had the basics of the system written up within about a month. A couple of helpful members of the Alternacy Update Mailing List provided some feedback over the summer and the current edition was written and revised during September, October, and November.

While I suppose there are shades of Mnemonic that can be detected in Alternacy, it is a significantly different type of roleplaying game. It's basically my attempt to create the fastest, lightest rules I possibly could while still retaining a useful, not-too-grainy system. Very little rules awareness is required of players; while there's a system present, it strives for transparency. It’s an odd goal, but I also wanted to create a game that could be played while one was on a road trip. I don’t really take that many road trips anymore, but that’s still the benchmark that got stuck in my mind and wouldn’t leave. I believe I succeeded.

There are three fundamental points about Mnemonic that should help you decide if it’s the type of game for you:

  • It’s Simple. Mnemonic falls into the “minimalist” rpg camp. It’s built to provide basic ratings of character traits, a means for referees to determine the difficulty and outcome of attempted actions, and a very general system for tracking health and vitality. That’s about it. This means the rules don’t get in the way of play, but they also can’t provide much detail or ambience.
  • It’s Portable. Mnemonic is designed to be playable while traveling, sitting at lunch, or even stranded on the proverbial desert island. It can be played with little or no equipment while still retaining the random element of diced gaming. I'm hoping this will also make it highly suitable for online gaming.
  • It Can Be Memorized. The rules contain mnemonic devices that allow players and refs to memorize everything necessary for play. Once you learn them you’ll have a complete (though simple) roleplaying game in your head.

Like Alternacy, Mnemonic is a universal system. You can use it for play in any type of setting, and suggestions are included for handling everything from warships to dragons with the same rules.

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