Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Another playtest, another list of things to resolve

So, I’m getting close to where I can’t figure out what to do anymore, because I’m tapping out my ability to sort this out. In this last playtest, we solved some of the issues surrounding the non-active roles during a point, only to then see the main issue with the active roles. I need to strengthen the idea of aggressive play for the Active Player (of which I need a better name for as well), and reworking how I present the notion of Conflicts. I need to strongly state that conflicts can never resort in stagnation, either in a success for the Active Character’s goals or a complication that still involves story motion for the Active Character.

We did a lot of weak conflicts because we were unsure of how to progress the game forward. The Impulse line was suppose to solve a lot of that, and it helps some, but it’s clear I need to bring it out more.

I don’t think there’s much more mechanically I can add, just text to really sell how to play the game. In talking today, I admitted that this is a “hard” game — not because the rules aren’t firm but because that’s the nature of the game. I accept that as a consequence of my design, but that means I need to mitigate the learning curve with my text.

Quite a bit to chew on and not much time to do so. I could use a break to clear my head, but time sits still for no man. If I were to quantify it, I think the game rules are at around 70% & the cards at 90%.

Things I need to look at based on tonight: the boundaries & guidelines of roles; interconnection between the memories gained and present-time play; an alteration of what a “conflict” is — I like the mechanic, but I think I’m using it for the wrong thing; re-evaluation of the choice between memory & outcome.  On the plus side, I think I have my end-game hammered out…unless I radically change the game, which I’m not looking to do.


July 2, 2007 - Posted by | Know Thyself


  1. Could you be more specific on some of the things that are not gelling right now?

    Comment by Daniel M. Perez | July 3, 2007 | Reply

  2. Let’s see if I can present it right: I’m certain that the social interaction the game play creates is not that of what I’m looking for. There’s a critical issue around player-character depowerment & a sense of railroading. The sense of creating conflicts is pretty weak all around, I think partly because a conflict ends a scene and partly because there’s little room for struggle — one side has to give in those cases.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | July 3, 2007 | Reply

  3. What are the interactions you’re looking for?

    Comment by misuba | July 6, 2007 | Reply

  4. At first, I thought it was about difficult choices & reactions to strange environs. However, that seems to get pretty lost right now in the game play — the decision between outcome & memory isn’t as strong as I thought it was, and the scene structure keeps getting broken because situations naturally move and we don’t always want to say “oh, yeah, that’s a conflict I guess, so you can leave.”

    The more I think about the fiction of amnesia thrillers (which is the typical form on amnesia-then, activity-now stories), the more it’s about not just discovering who you were, but who you can trust, being surprised by what you’re competent at & if you like who you were. None of those are really supported in my game currently.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | July 6, 2007 | Reply

  5. Perhaps, but then again, you are not making “Amnesia Movie: the RPG,” you are making a game about characters walking around a dream palace in search of their memories. This is why way at the beginning I mentioned to both you and Paul that your games made me think of hypnosis regression therapies being “projected” so others could see, and for you specifically, I brought the idea of the Memory Palace as something rooted in reality upon which to possibly model your structure.

    I keep coming back to this, not to be obnoxious, but to keep reminding you of what your game projects itself as to me. The “amnesiac” movie is usually a thriller of some kind, and is more about the story that’s going on around and about the amnesiac character than about the amnesia of the character. That can be modelled with a number of other games, because at the end of the day those are just action movies with a spin. KT is about the actual recovery of memory, a process going on in an unreal environment subject to the vagaries and fluidity of memories, a concept I find much more interesting. Yes, maybe there is some tightening of the concept to be done, but while it is for sure a good idea to check out those movies as research, I’d be wary of going down that path lest you dilute and ultimately lose what makes KT a special game in and of itself.

    Comment by Daniel M. Perez | July 8, 2007 | Reply

  6. The main problems are: (a) telling multiple stories is killing this game, I think because of the dream-like states, (b) the dream-like element is breaking down with every playtest. It’s this cool idea on paper that worked really, really well once, but hasn’t since. It worked because two people bought into working together as one.

    I would like to keep the nonsensical element, but I’m coming to the idea that I don’t have to enforce that mechanically to keep it going. I’m not trying to make the Action Amnesiac RPG, but there’s some stuff in there I’ve been able to write down regarding sudden realization of competency, the roles everyone else around the amnesiac has, trust issues, and memory & fact triggers.

    I’m unsure how I could work the memory palace idea into my game. What is it about method of loci that you think I could use? Granted, right now I’m just digesting the Wikipedia article and some other sites, but it seems more like a memory aid than someone with amnesia would be able to use. I don’t mean to sound dismissive (as I’m not trying to be), but I know I’m not getting something you’re trying to communicate because I don’t have a solid grasp on the material.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | July 8, 2007 | Reply

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