Monday, August 11, 2014

The perfidy of memory, or, At least we have pants

I dusted off an old idea and ran a Star Wars game where everyone woke up with amnesia. Nothing innovative there. But the execution worked so well, so smooth and unnerving, that it might interest people who aren't me and/or aren't running Star Wars games.

The session started with everyone waking up, dazed and with a weird taste in their mouths, surrounded by garbage. Nobody knew why. Everyone was wearing matching coveralls and had no shoes. Nobody knew why. All their equipment was gone, which is a great way to terrify players and motivate swift action. The one thing they were sure of was that they had agreed to do... something? With a deadline? Probably?

That took all of 30 seconds. Then I told them they could roll to remember things -- I like it when people are rolling dice. So they rolled dice for their Knowledge stats. Alas! Nobody had prioritized that stat! But they limped along as best they could, and for every 5 points in their total, they got a memory back. I mean, I actually handed them a tangible memory.

I had a deck of index cards. Each card had a sentence or two written on it. Got enough points? Get a card. Every now and then they could take time to try remembering more. Of course, time was in short supply. Eventually they stitched together an idea of What They Were Doing and did it. It even ended up being close to What They Had Agreed To Do.

These are the cards available. The players ended up with about 2/3 of them. It might make more sense with more campaign information, like knowing about the sinister purple-lightsaber-wielding Jedi who's hunting them, but the general flavor of the cards is there:

  • The code phrase is "The Jawa flies at midnight."
  • Someone in Engineering was flirting with you.
  • You snuck one of the droids on board with you.
  • After the jump to hyperspace, security will be much tighter.
  • Zal Duster is alive! AND HE'S A WOMAN!
  • Someone kept saying the name Ventik Doha.
  • The Engineering section is on lockdown.
  • Security Code 303736. That must mean something.
  • Desti Daven is pretty harmless for an Imperial bigwig.
  • You hid some gear in a cabinet in the Engineering sector.
  • Is that her? Dammit! That's her -- the angry one from the junkyard planet!
  • The ship's self-destruct has been activated.
  • Hold on... that guy's not "auxiliary security." He's a bounty hunter!
  • The most influential governor in this sector is Jessa Makepeace.
  • Garbage is dumped before every hyperspace jump.
  • That guy. Purple. Purple... That guy.
  • It's a diplomatic ship. Violence is not a good idea.
  • His "assistant" is an agent of Imperial intelligence!
  • Yes, but WHY was Dash wearing hooker makeup? And where did Hawke find that banjo?
  • Someone in Engineering is helping you save the governor.
  • The ship's main lounge has no security or monitoring.
  • Someone has poisoned the ration bars.
  • When it's done, you should escape on his ship.
  • You have to contact him BEFORE the jump to hyperspace.
  • Jessa Makepeace is the governor of the Oolooda sector.
  • A grinning face, big teeth, two horns...
  • Diplomats from the Lycu system smuggled you on board.
  • Gas. Yellow. Smelled like burning soil. Big smile... horns...
  • Governor Tarvo of the Lycu system has some Rebel sympathies.
  • Rogan A'Gamar is also Desti Daven.
  • An Imperial governors' conference? Could you be on a duller mission?
  • She has a hooked nose and you shouldn't trust her.
  • Boolan Sector. Good. Tovian Sector. Bad.
  • The counter-code is "Not without his golden slippers."
  • Then the R5 droid aimed its firefoam nozzle at you and chattered menacingly...
  • Yellow means unlocked. Red means locked.
  • One of the Zzohren brothers was seen talking to Imperial intelligence agents.
  • The command center is at the top deck of the bow.
  • One of the ship's security officers seemed to recognize Victarian.
  • While you were unconscious, they implanted cybernetic weapons in your face.
  • Someone in Engineering is helping you set the bomb.
  • If you persuade him to defect, several other Imperial governors may follow.
  • Jessa Makepeace can drink enough to kill a Gundark.
  • You don't have your ship. Why do you not have your ship? How will you escape?
  • Garbage pods aren't locked unless they're full.
  • The ship's captain is marrying... someone to a woman who looks like Greedo.
  • Lieutenant Ariella Forn, of the ship's security detail... she's not bad looking.
We did the same thing for equipment. Since they woke up in a trash compactor, there was a lot of miscellaneous stuff they could try to use as weapons, tools, barter, shoes, etc. I usually don't run an equipment-centered game; this was a nice change of pace for everyone. Having an unreliable vibroknife was better than the alternative.

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