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Flashbacks and xp- how have you handled it?

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  • Flashbacks and xp- how have you handled it?

    Obviously a big part of Mummy is the possibility of flashbacks to previous descents. I'm going to be running a game soon and I wanted to get some ideas from outside my own head!

    How have you handled xp gained in different time periods in your games, or how would you do it? Let's say I were running something along the lines of the Destroyer of Worlds AP where there were concurrent plotlines in 2012 and 1947, and dips further back as well. This is especially important if I were using Beats and Experiences rather than doling it all out at once at the end of the session. If a player gains xp or Beats in 1947, should they be allowed to spend it on their "present day" character, or a character even further back? Like if they can expect to play in 1947 for more than one session, it seems reasonable to want to spend xp on that version of the character, but will the present day character see anything from that xp expenditure?

    Or let's say the game is primarily set in 2012 with occasional short flashbacks that don't make up a whole ongoing second story in another descent. Should xp/beats gained in those flashbacks be only spendable in the present? Or maybe beats/xp gained in short flashbacks should only function as sebayt for the "present day" character?

    Part of why i'm asking is the idea of losing skills, powers, etc between descents, and so the possibility that a character might have different stats in 1066 than 1976. Is this idea actually explained in the book at some point? Does it say "mummies lose utterances and skill dots between descents" somewhere or am I misremembering and the stats at character creation are the actual sum total of what you know without erosion?

    Hopefully this is making sense. Basically i'm looking for examples or theories about PCs having different stats in flashbacks and how to handle xp being gained outside of the "present day" plot. If i'm seeing this whole problem in totally the wrong way, please say so- I could just be overthinking this. (or fundamentally misunderstanding the premise of Destroyer of Worlds and how much time is spent outside of 2012)
    Last edited by Caladriu; 03-08-2015, 01:52 AM.


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  • #2
    Concurrent plot lines in multiple time periods is a tricky one, and not one I believe there are any guidelines on. I'm not sure how I'd rule that myself... perhaps require the players to have two separate character sheets and track the experience separately?

    In my own games, flashbacks have thus far usually been contained to no more than a third of a full session. Given that they are temporary moments out of time, I have a "basic" version of each of my players' characters saved as a word document to my computer. Whenever I run a flashback, I hand them a version of this sheet modified to include any skills/merits/Utterances that they may have lost in the intervening centuries. At the end of the session I normally award 1-3 sebayt experience for a flashback, or 1-3 regular experience if the flashback was brought on by purchasing a new level of Memory.

    As far as I recall, the book does not state definitively how a Mummy's skills/Utterances change as they forget them, although some residual skill certainly appears to be the norm. However, it does take care to mention that social merits will likely be lost between descents, so a starting Mummy character's experience allowance is definitely not the sum total of what they may have earned over the course of their existence.

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    • #3
      I am not currently running mummy, but I would let my players use the same character sheets in the past and the present, especially when you are playing two parallel story arcs. You can rationalize this parallel growth by saying that the characters forgot things in the mean time. I think this doesn't break suspension of disbelief as long as there is time in the past between the flashbacks in which the character's could have learned new things. In the present this doesn't matter as much, as you could always rationalize the characters becoming stronger as they now remember things from the past.

      But what you should do is talk it over with your player, to see which option the like and whether one of the options breaks suspense of disbelief. Maybe your players like having different character sheets in the past, or playing characters with less XP.

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      • #4
        I'd say spending experience in a flashback is no problem. The entire point of a flashback is that your current era character just remembered that this thing happened in the past. So, it makes sense that any experience spent in a prior period (in a flashback) would also be mapped to the modern character (He just remembered he knew how to do that). The real problem, now that you bring it up, comes from any xp spent by the modern character after the campaign begins. Logically, prior descents would not have those benefits (as well as having less of the starting xp). So, should pc's make two sheets at character creation and keep one as the baseline for every descent, then transfer any xp spent over to their modern incarnation as well? It's mostly a matter of taste. The latter is more realistic but far more complicated. You could always just hand wave it and say the Mummy has learned everything there is to know countless time and EVERYTHING he buys is just remembering shit he already knew.

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        • #5
          Seeing how flashbacks mostly serve as interactive exposition, mummies' memories are less than perfect, and Affinities can be gained, lost and gained again, I'd just let the players use their current cards. Any discrepancy can be handwaved away as the mummy not remembering the details perfectly, or perhaps an ability she had all the time but didn't remember until recently.

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          • #6
            I personally like the narrative questions raised by the Arisen keeping their mechanical progression across non-linear time.


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