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The Essence of Memory

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  • The Essence of Memory

    So, as part of the Age of Azar fan-made Dark Era (which you can see here: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...te-age-of-azar) Deionscribe and myself are working on a Mummy 2E Conversion, based mostly off of Pendragon and Octavo's fabulous work. We're running up against two major problems- notably how to handle Memory with the dignity it deserves, and what to do about the Shuankhsen.

    With the Shuankhsen, we happen to have a few ideas. They would use Integrity instead of Memory, be all but immune to Supernatural based Breaking Points (Because Duat and Ammut are worse than just about everything else) and possessing Bane Affinities would grant them a few 'benefits'. Like optional Vampire Banes, a Bane Affinity negates a particular Breaking Point, but at the cost of a dot of their maximum Integrity/Memory, so an Arisen or Deceived with four or more Bane Affinities can't achieve Apotheosis. We're also looking into the idea that using a Bane Affinity provokes a Breaking Point, or causes a flat penalty to other Breaking Points, or both.

    However, the main point of this thread is that I really have no idea what the core ideas of Memory as an Integrity stand-in are, and rather than do Mummy the great disservice of a fumbling attempt at conversion, I am turning to the extremely knowledgeable and passionate people of the Mummy community to explain what defines Memory. Any and all help is appreciated deeply, so thank-you in advance for reading this.

  • #2
    You could build Breaking Points for Memory off of a personal code ("I may one day forget the streets of Irem, or the paths of the stars, or even my own name, but I will never harm a child"); this could be a fun way to work in the crime that their patron Judge presides over (like how Ta-Retinhu abhors torture and sadism).

    I think they key to understanding Memory in 2e is to distance it from merely memory; as a stat, Memory is a measure of what makes the Arisen more than just a mindless automaton serving the pruposes of others. What makes this Arisen an individual? What beliefs are most core to them, the pillars of identity that they can cling to across the gulf of ages? What betrayals of the self wound her deepest, unthinkable even in moments of dire need?


    Just call me Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

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    • #3
      Part of me would like to experiment with using a single ten-dot track to both represent Memory and Supernatural Potency, the way the Demon Translation Guide tracks Torment and Integrity: read filled dots from the left for one rating, empty dots from the right for the other, so that they always sum to 10, and increasing one means decreasing the other. That would necessitate a radical reimagining of how the Descent and Apotheosis work, though, and require some renaming of things on top of that (since Supernatural Potency in this case is more like the force of the Rite of Return holding you and the world in thrall, so it probably doesn't make as much sense to associate with Sekhem).

      A sketch of a different, less radical idea. This idea is meant to maintain Mummy's play experience of discovering yourself over the course of the game, rather than sketching out who you were and then playing out your character remembering it. You start with a few core risks of Memory (let's call the breaking points "risks" for the sake of this idea). Something like "participate in the erasure of the legacy of you and your people." Possibly some other shocks, like henet or murder? Your Memory trait, however, is capped at a maximum of (5 + the number of Pillars you've raised to a high number, maybe four or five). For every Pillar you raise to meet this requirement, your Memory cap rises, you recover one free dot of Memory at that time, and you play out and experience a characteristic flashback to your initial life in the Nameless Empire or your judgment in the Duat. From this flashback, you and your Storyteller will agree upon a new risk, a denial of one of the values dearest to your character, from which you drew the strength to withstand judgment by the Judges of the Duat. That risk is yours and yours alone. Actions that rebuke the risk and reaffirm those values are rewarded with sebayt. As you cultivate the depth of your soul, the road to guard your Memory becomes stricter, but clearer and more defined.

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      • #4
        I like the idea of maybe tying Memory & Sekhem the way that Torment & Integrity are tied, but that would require a ton of legwork to completely restructure how Sekhem and the Descent work. The ideas or themes behind it, I can really get behind, it really fits with how Apoetheosis works in the fluff, but I'm not sure we're qualified enough to try a ground-up reworking of it.

        I love the idea of it being deeply personalized- aspects of their identity that, when rediscovered, can't be wiped away entirely by the Rite. There's a very strong possibility of tying this in to Pendragon's Memorial mechanic, and I also like the idea of tying the Judge's (or Temakh's) crimes to their Memory- it makes the choice of Judge a bit more personal than just 'starting Affinities that I like and fit with my Decree'. I also like the idea of tying raising Memory implicitly to raising Pillars, but then that revokes canon cases like the White Jackal having Memory 10 in the DC questline. That being said, getting a free dot of Memory for raising a Pillar sounds like a great idea. Raising Pillars is implicitly rebuilding your soul.

        Stupid Loserman, could you elaborate more on the proposed method of adding Breaking Points via flashbacks to your trial in Duat or your life in the Nameless Empire?

        Also, does anyone have ideas on how to handle the Shuankhsen?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
          Stupid Loserman, could you elaborate more on the proposed method of adding Breaking Points via flashbacks to your trial in Duat or your life in the Nameless Empire?
          Let's say your Storyteller flashes you back to an audience with one of your holy guildmasters. You probably gain some world-building information about life in the Nameless Empire in your chronicle, but more importantly, you're issued instructions that sound contradictory to the teachings of the Shan'iatu and the stated devotions of your guild, and learn of how, if carried out, they would impact your loved ones – your parents, your children, your lovers, your neighbors. You have your own ambitions and projects, and defiance will set you back. How do you handle the situation? What, ultimately, ends up most important to you, in a way that rings true to your character from the ancient past up into the present?

          Do you confront the priest-king and publicly offer your own head for your insolence if he is not swayed by your appeal against his orders? Risk Memory when you stay silent in the face of a figure of power challenging your values.

          Do you bow in obeisance to the priest-king as avatar of Azar and the gods, placing proper behavior over temporal suffering? Risk Memory when you choose an expedient course of action over that which glorifies the sacred as you understand it.

          Do you defy your guildmaster and sacrifice your standing in your guild for the sake of those you hold dear? Risk Memory when you abandon or take advantage of those who have put their trust in you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ooh, I see. That makes a lot of sense- it gives you a real chance to make character decisions while still feeling like you're discovering something that was already there. The first time you hit that level of Memory, you're really discovering something new, and then every Descent thereafter, you can determine who your Mummy is without that critical piece of information- I love it. It also allows for more nuanced characters with varying levels of Memory- like the trans Mummy who prefers low Memory because then they are affected more by how they feel (especially in their sahu) than how things literally were. It also gives you the chance to, essentially, have more than one character and it really emphasizes how each Descent really is a new 'incarnation' of the Mummy.

            This also ties in to the Monuments mechanic, because the idea behind Monuments is that they are signposts of identity, markers that let the Mummy know who they truly are, and guide them to the answers they once had. That's actually really quite elegant.

            I had another thought- what dice pool should Mummies roll for Breaking Points? I was thinking Resolve + Composure as per usual, but then I really thought about it, and the first thing that popped into my head was Decrees. A Mummy's Decree reveals what within them refused to break, what enabled them to stand totally resolute and unmoved before the Judges and come out of that ordeal triumphant. What held them strong, and the context through which it did, determines Decree and Judge. What if their dice pool for Memory Breaking Points was Decree Attribute + Resolve?

            Comment


            • #7
              Resolve + Decree Attribute for the breaking point dice pool sounds interesting as a concept. It certainly reflects the changes to the Mummy's psyche done by the Rite of Return.

              That said....

              Ab - Resolve + Presence
              Ba - Resolve + Wits
              Ka - Resolve + Stamina
              Ren - Resolve + Manipulation
              Sheut - Resolve + Composure

              Or should it be more dynamic than this? I would have pegged at the higher of the Mummy's Decree Attributes, but that could duplicate Resolve for two Decrees.


              "My Homebrew Hub"
              Age of Azar
              The Kingdom of Yamatai

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              • #8
                Also, I remember reading that Deceived cannot take Bane Affinities, due to the Temakh refusing to let their hosts be corrupted.

                This is offset by the fact that Decieved can 'trade' Affinity slots in other Pillars for more Ren-based Soul Affinities.

                As for Breaking Points, would they be Resolve + Composure, by default? They do not have Decrees like the Arisen do, and I remember an Affinity of theirs made them come off as Serpent-Headed to supernatural scrutiny.
                Last edited by Deionscribe; 02-13-2016, 12:30 AM.


                "My Homebrew Hub"
                Age of Azar
                The Kingdom of Yamatai

                Comment


                • #9
                  Why not use the Pillar rating directly? It rewards players for investing heavily into one Pillar and makes sense, as a Breaking Point roll is the Arisen affirming who and what they are.


                  Just call me Lex.

                  Female pronouns for me, please.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                    I had another thought- what dice pool should Mummies roll for Breaking Points? I was thinking Resolve + Composure as per usual, but then I really thought about it, and the first thing that popped into my head was Decrees. A Mummy's Decree reveals what within them refused to break, what enabled them to stand totally resolute and unmoved before the Judges and come out of that ordeal triumphant. What held them strong, and the context through which it did, determines Decree and Judge. What if their dice pool for Memory Breaking Points was Decree Attribute + Resolve?
                    Honestly, I'd just stick to one dice pool. Resolve + Composure sounds fine. I had a similar idea about the Decrees, but every time you introduce a new complication you have to ask yourself whether it's gameable, and I think however artistic, this distinction in the dice pool just gets in the way of a simple and easy to remember rule. Plus, while one Decree was paramount in your strength to withstand judgment, the active cultivation of Memory is about rounding yourself out. A strong soul stands on multiple Pillars, and Resolve + Composure is the foundation of your Willpower.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like the idea of using the Decree Pillar rating + Resolve, but I also agree that making the mechanics overly complicated just serves to make the game more obtuse, which is exactly the opposite of what the second editions are supposed to do.

                      So, what I'm gathering is that the core themes of Memory are identity, compassion, and self-discovery. Developing Memory is addressing and healing the grievous damage done to your soul.

                      Does what we have for the Shunankhsen work, or does anyone have other suggestions?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I've run a bit of 2e-Conversion Mummy (some of my own rules, some of the stuff on this forum); I will say that Memory works better when you use a dice pool based off the level of the infraction instead of a combination of traits.
                        This is for a few reasons:

                        1. Much like Vampire, the game (and it's themes) benefit if you can't power a pair of Attributes and then have an absurdly high pool to stave off Memory loss; everyone is supposed to be equally good/bad at it. Keeping the number of dice tied to the level means you avoid, also, arisen who just hemorrhage Memory, something which starts at 3 and is a constant struggle to raise (even taking into account that they lose one every time they return, they have a whole experience track devoted just to Memory to keep that character economy going).

                        2. Mummies have the potential to raise every stat, and - by default - can raise their Pillar Affinity Attribute. So even though you could make a rule of "can't buff for Breaking Points," that'd be the only case they can't increase that trait, and - since they have Affinities which let them raise non-Physical Attributes at Physical rates - if you do let them raise them, you are potentially looking at well over 10 dice for these types of rolls.
                        (I'm aware that the default rate for Pillar Attribute is bad, but the rules I was using made it more favorable; either way, it's potentially a massive bonus and only one Affinity besides to make it very, very easy).

                        Leaving the pools tied to the actual Memory rating allows for more RP/Situation-based awards when Breaking Points happen, and it also neatly moves around these little issues.

                        EDIT: I do like the idea of Bane Affinities both providing the power and functionally removing a given Breaking Point from the chart; it may actually incentivize my players to take them.
                        Although, that said, as Memory goes up, the Breaking Points really become about "be yourself, not a slave or a dick; you can still be a jerk, if you're a jerk, but don't just flay people for funsies guy have some compassion." There's the obvious complications with Apotheosis, as well, but that's less an issue (I think) than making them more appealing.
                        Last edited by Ben Quo; 02-13-2016, 04:37 AM.


                        My Promethean Homebrew.

                        Yes, I made it the same way as a Promethean. No, the authorities haven't found me yet.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ben Quo View Post
                          So I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I've run a bit of 2e-Conversion Mummy (some of my own rules, some of the stuff on this forum); I will say that Memory works better when you use a dice pool based off the level of the infraction instead of a combination of traits.
                          This is for a few reasons:

                          1. Much like Vampire, the game (and it's themes) benefit if you can't power a pair of Attributes and then have an absurdly high pool to stave off Memory loss; everyone is supposed to be equally good/bad at it. Keeping the number of dice tied to the level means you avoid, also, arisen who just hemorrhage Memory, something which starts at 3 and is a constant struggle to raise (even taking into account that they lose one every time they return, they have a whole experience track devoted just to Memory to keep that character economy going).

                          2. Mummies have the potential to raise every stat, and - by default - can raise their Pillar Affinity Attribute. So even though you could make a rule of "can't buff for Breaking Points," that'd be the only case they can't increase that trait, and - since they have Affinities which let them raise non-Physical Attributes at Physical rates - if you do let them raise them, you are potentially looking at well over 10 dice for these types of rolls.
                          (I'm aware that the default rate for Pillar Attribute is bad, but the rules I was using made it more favorable; either way, it's potentially a massive bonus and only one Affinity besides to make it very, very easy).

                          Leaving the pools tied to the actual Memory rating allows for more RP/Situation-based awards when Breaking Points happen, and it also neatly moves around these little issues.

                          EDIT: I do like the idea of Bane Affinities both providing the power and functionally removing a given Breaking Point from the chart; it may actually incentivize my players to take them.
                          Although, that said, as Memory goes up, the Breaking Points really become about "be yourself, not a slave or a dick; you can still be a jerk, if you're a jerk, but don't just flay people for funsies guy have some compassion." There's the obvious complications with Apotheosis, as well, but that's less an issue (I think) than making them more appealing.
                          When you put it that way, it makes sense. And Mummies are undead, like Vampires. And their connection to the Judges is as persistent as the Kindred struggle with the Beast.


                          "My Homebrew Hub"
                          Age of Azar
                          The Kingdom of Yamatai

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                          • #14
                            I think the idea of taking too many Bane Affinities corrupting your chances at Apotheosis is rather fitting. Anyways, thank-you so much for the feedback everyone, this is incredibly helpful.

                            At the moment, I'm leaning towards rolling Memory with various bonuses or penalties as appropriate for Breaking Points. There's not many things a starting character Mummy can do to cause a Breaking Point anyways.

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