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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » Game Masters

Subject: Need ideas for recovered memories rss

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Professor of Pain
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So I'm trying to develop a one-shot adventure, probably in a fantasy setting, that starts with the PCs in the middle of a battlefield where they seem to be the only ones still alive. The catch is that they've lost their memories. I think part of the set up would that although they can't remember who they are or why, exactly, they are where they are, they do recognize the effects of a powerful "mind wipe". In this world there is a magic used to temporarily alter or suppress the memories of enemies. Often this results in enemy forces wandering off the battlefield, retreating, or even attacking the wrong target(s).

So, the PCs realize their memories have been wiped and/or altered and must piece together who they are and their mission. I thought I would have a couple types of memories and a couple ways to recover memories.

Memories can be recovered either intentionally (with some sort of save or check, i.e. a roll with modifiers) or just with the passage of time.

Types or memories would be PC specific and some would be general memories.

What I was thinking to do is have a set of cards for each PC with relevant PC specific memories to hand to a player whenever their PC recovers a memory. Some would be specific and predetermined, e.g. rank and role in the army, and some would be vague and up to the player, e.g. "the war has brought personal tragedy to you. Name the tragedy and how it affects your current mission"

I would also have a set of cards with general memories to hand out to players that would help develop the world, the current conflict they are fighting in, and their mission. Ideally, the PCs would end up with slightly different memories, some conflicting, that they would then need to discuss to figure out whether they were on the same side and what their mission is or should be.

So, general thoughts would be appreciated but what I really need is ideas for PC specific memories and general memories.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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The Minister of Sinister
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Top of the head...

Have each player write down a couple/few memories. Mix them up and hand them out randomly.

Wait, PbF game? Even better. Each player geekmails you some ideas and you randomly assign them.


The general thoughts are easy. Your question isn't. Let's see.

PC Specific.

I only joined up to fight because I was running away from a bigger problem.
I am wearing a disguise. I am not a soldier.
I'm a spy from the other side but not by choice.
I failed to act when those beside me were falling before the enemy.
I can make fire appear in my hand.(Edited to move to PC specific.)


General


I came here from far away.
I am trained in the martial arts.
I buried a pocketful of gold in the hills nearby.
I know the secret of one of the others here.
I forgot to wear pants today.

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Professor of Pain
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No, this is face to face although it would work well as a PbF game...
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David Callahan
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Jason Bourne is one of my favorite movies using this type of story telling.

For this type of one-shot, I would suggest Pre-gens, which you hold the master copy of who the PCs really are and what they can do. The PC's should get character sheets that are missing information at what they're good at (e.g., proficiency, type of skills, spells, etc), until they attempt it (muscule memory kicks in) or some kind of sensory trigger initiates a "memory check". The only thing they know is they are alive and what they are carring. Seeing each other may trigger some memories of general information about each other.

This would get the PC's trying to discover who their characters are as well as discovering why this happened to them and what they need to do for the over arching story.
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Professor of Pain
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Just two responses!? And here I thought this community was both helpful and creative...



Attempting some guilt tripping...
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Just another Steve
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Does this work?

One of the players wears a uniform similar in style to some of the dead soldiers on the battlefield. Based on badges, he appears to have ourtranked many of them.

As he moves through perhaps some of the faces would trigger memories.

Recent memories
Yelling at a young soldier to hold his ground - the soldier is now dead.
Relaying the order to attack
An argument with his superior about tactics. He disagreed with the superior's plan but the superior gave the order and he followed it. His way might have saved lives.

Older Memories
Fight practice with other soldiers; he is better than most.
An act of heroism where he was the only survivor and saved someone important -- he can't initially see or remember that person.
A peck on the cheek from a beautiful woman
A darkened barracks room and the sound of men snoring.
A classroom setting where he studies old battle maps with arrows and lines depicting tactical movements.

The full story:
The soldier has the favor of an important noble after he saved the noble's kid from assassins. His career has been looking up since this noble looks out for him. He was recently promoted to an officer's position but his commander was an idiot who ordered them to pursue a stupid plan. He knew better but didn't want to jeopardize his career so he went ahead. The beautiful woman was his sister congratulating him on his promotion.

The officer who ordered him to his death might still be alive and he might be a rival who did it out of malice rather than stupidity. Seeing him might trigger all his memories in a rush.

I think with more story details, you could extract more memories if you needed them.
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Eric Jome
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Reminds me of Dark Matter.

A good practice is to have pivotal moments of enlightenment when certain sensory experiences happen.

Upon seeing a person, remembering their relationship.
Upon hearing a song, remembering a time when it was heard previously.
Upon smelling cooking, remembering a person who shared a meal.
Upon feeling cold, remembering a frightening encounter.

Also, attempting tasks can evoke muscle memory. "I just knew I could make that jump. I feel like I've practiced for it a lot."
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Joseph Hellar
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don't forget to give them some random weird items, a bottle of colored sand , a poker chip, etc...

some weird marks, lipstick lip mark on cheek, hand stamp from a club, bandage on their leg with either a wound, a fresh tattoo or something like a floppy disk hidden underneath
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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"All history is made up. Good history is made up by good historians; bad history is made up by the others." -David Macaulay
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"We talked a little more of Milesians and Firbolgs; but I do not write what he told me here, as it is at variance with things I have written already, as is often the case with legend, whence comes a pleasing variety." -Lord Dunsany
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They discover they each have an innate magical ability. Minor, such as partial shapeshifting (claws only) or innate cantrips.
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Professor of Pain
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sdonohue wrote:
Does this work?

One of the players wears a uniform similar in style to some of the dead soldiers on the battlefield. Based on badges, he appears to have ourtranked many of them.

As he moves through perhaps some of the faces would trigger memories.

Recent memories
Yelling at a young soldier to hold his ground - the soldier is now dead.
Relaying the order to attack
An argument with his superior about tactics. He disagreed with the superior's plan but the superior gave the order and he followed it. His way might have saved lives.

Older Memories
Fight practice with other soldiers; he is better than most.
An act of heroism where he was the only survivor and saved someone important -- he can't initially see or remember that person.
A peck on the cheek from a beautiful woman
A darkened barracks room and the sound of men snoring.
A classroom setting where he studies old battle maps with arrows and lines depicting tactical movements.

The full story:
The soldier has the favor of an important noble after he saved the noble's kid from assassins. His career has been looking up since this noble looks out for him. He was recently promoted to an officer's position but his commander was an idiot who ordered them to pursue a stupid plan. He knew better but didn't want to jeopardize his career so he went ahead. The beautiful woman was his sister congratulating him on his promotion.

The officer who ordered him to his death might still be alive and he might be a rival who did it out of malice rather than stupidity. Seeing him might trigger all his memories in a rush.

I think with more story details, you could extract more memories if you needed them.

Perfect!


Great ideas all around. Thanks!
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Just another Steve
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One of the players wears chainmail and carries a mace or other blunt weapon. Around his neck is a holy symbol, but he may not remember it as a holy symbol or which god he worships.

Recent Memories
He awoke from a dream and knew he had to join this battle but he doesn't remember the dream, only the march to join the battle with 2-3 others of his kind.
He remembers being attacked in this battle and knocked out while he was trying to help someone.
His gear includes a bag with bandages, herbs, and unguents. He doesn't remember what they're for.
He remembers someone rallying the troops in a last ditch effort but not who and it doesn't seem like it worked.


Older Memories
He remembers touching someone while holding his necklace and speaking some words. The person heals.
He later remembers healing others, but he's convinced that memory was his first.
He remembers speaking in public, possibly under a tent to a group of seated people.
He remembers being told that his weapon is better than a sword because his deity chose it.

The Full Story
This character is a devout follower of a god. He might be a cleric or war priest. He joined the battle after receiving a vision from his god and was joined by several of his friends. He doesn't remember who rallied the troops but he knows that person is why they are alive at all.
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Steve, I love you. kiss
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Just another Steve
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Elfbane wrote:
Steve, I love you. kiss


It's kind of fun honestly. How many characters are you looking for?
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Professor of Pain
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My group has 6 players, including the GM, so 5-10...
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Danny Stevens
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For each PC create a small "memory crawl", like a D&D dungeon but each room is a memory, corridors are links between memories.
Each door is guarded by a lock - time related, some incident happening, whatever. A locked door can only be opened from a memory that has been activated.

When a memory activates you can tell the player how many connections there seem to be from that new memory to other forgotten memories. As players encounter things and do stuff, or time passes you can indicate which "doors" are weakening and they can maybe choose just one to try and force open in any given time period. Perhaps they can "surge" if they break into a memory that already has active doors.

Maybe for inactive doors they get a clue about what might activate it.

Oh, and one PC activating a particular memory and telling others might be a key for other PCs doors.
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Just another Steve
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One of the players wears a simple shirt, breeches and soft shoes. His face is tanned and lined and the outside of his hands are rough, like a farmers but his palms are soft like those of a scholar. He carries only a few pouches with herbs and a bedroll. He has no weapons or armor of any kind.

Recent Memories
He has been on a long journey from somewhere far away.
He has a message for someone. He believes the message is important as is the person who must receive it.
One of the players told him he would soon see the person who needed the message.
He remembers men attacking him, but not hitting him. He knocked some of them down.

Older Memories
He spends time balancing on bamboo (okay that's just for Spleen23).
He does not eat meat of any kind.
He is taught to defend himself from attacks mostly without a weapon.
He takes a pebble from his masters hand.

The Full Story
He is a monk from some far off temple. He has a message to deliver to someone. The message, if delivered, might have stopped this fight or it might stop it from continuing. It could be for the opposition or for his own side. Perhaps one of the two is also a monk of his temple who has forgotten something.
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Just another Steve
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Another character clad in simple garb save for an odd pendant worn inside his shirt. There are also tattoos on both his wrists. They are similar but slightly different and both of are of mountains. His weapon is a hammer, but it seems little used.

Recent Memories
You recall being unhappy at leaving the cave you were exploring near the battlefield but the need some urgent.
You see people around you falling as the ground itself seems to turn against them.
You have your hammer out but do not strike with it often.

Older Memories
The hammer is as much a badge as a weapon. It works but you mostly use it to focus your energy.
You spend more time in your adult life underground than above it.
You are studying with another person. They give you the tattoos when they feel you've earned them. It feels like a ceremony.

The Full Story
He is a sorcerer of the deep earth bloodline. He was exploring a cave near the battlefield and came out to investigate the racket. He was recruited to join the other players to see if they could do some good. He has a bonded item (the hammer) rather than a familiar.
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Just another Steve
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The character's clothing and armor is of better quality than most. His sword is shiny and his armor, despite some recent damage is also clean and well-cared for. He wears a tabbard over his armor and it bears the token of an eagle in gold and blue.

Recent Memories
He fought well in the battle, but of course he did for these creatures are mishapen and ugly.
He is angry because blood spattered on his shin guards.
He is fighting in this war because his family has always these enemies.
Despite his skill with a sword he can also heal with the same hands he uses to kill.

Older Memories
He has spent hours honing his physique and practicing with his weapons.
He believes that to strike weil, one must pose well, so his fighting style is very distinct.
His armor was a gift from his order.
He knows his family history back to his great-great-great-great grandparents on one side.
He serves a power greater than himself.

The Full Story
The character is a paladin of Myr, the god of Charity, Nobility, Lineage, and physical perfection
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Professor of Pain
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Awesome!
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