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D&D 3E
I'm going to run a one-on-one which will begin with my player's… 
16th-Aug-2005 07:31 am
I'm going to run a one-on-one which will begin with my player's character awakening in a dungeon (or some comparably forboding and isolated structure) without memory of who she is, who she was, where she is, or how she got there; it'll probably turn into a revenge story as things unfold. Now here's where I need some advice: How do I deal with her knowing her character class, since it would make sense for some of her abilities to be lost to her? So, in her state of memory loss, would the various skills that make up her character be at her disposal as soon as she awakens, would they be ingrained so deeply in her brain that they are like walking and only become apparent when they are needed, or are they forgotten entirely? I am going with the second option, but would like some input on how to actually handle the divulging of her character details? I could turn out to be fun if I withhold things until they're needed, save for skills (we listen how we listen whether we're concious of it or not, or so I think for purposes of this campgain). For example, if she was a rogue before, and now wishes to kill some unaware monster or person, maybe just before her finger triggers the bolt in her crossbow to fly she instinctively shifts her aim and fells the thing with startling efficiency (a sneak attack). Something like this, but with every abilitiy, gradually revealing everything to her. I have a lot of time for this campaign as well, so I can spend as much time on it as I want.

(edited from first post)
Also, I was thinking of implenting the alternate rules for gaining feats and special abilities, requiring an instructor and time to learn, or at the minimum time to learn, since some people are excellent autodidacts like that. I want things to make sense basically. Anyways, thanks folks.
Comments 
16th-Aug-2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
It need not be total memory loss. The brain does not necessarily lose all memory stored within it if there is trauma enough to make any sort of memory loss at all.

A perfect example of not remembering who you are, or anything about yourself, but still retaining class abilities and functions comes from Final Fantasy IX, Irontail Fratley. =) He lost all memory of himself and his homeland, but still continued his journey, even though he didn't even remember that he was a Dragon Knight. Even though he didn't remember it, his muscles remembered their previous ways and he still had all of those instincts that he had beforehand.

Of course for a character class in D&D, Wizards would be totally screwed if they lost their memory, because their power comes from study, and they may only get fleeting memories of being able to cast spells if nothing else (having a spellbook would help, though).

Basically...look at the character class, and even the feats and skills that you take, and take into account on whether or not you have to actually use them, or if they could be used as a reflex reaction in a given situation.
16th-Aug-2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
It won't be total, but all events leading up to her memory loss, and much before will not be present. Chances are that I'll feed her snippets here there, maybe have a few surreal, symbolic dream sequences dealing with certain events, and be vague about many things, such as introductions to people she might have known, etc...

And what the hell... I actually got started on this idea when a few months back, when on a family trip to Texas, I hit my head really hard in a hotel room (long story) and seemingly woke up the next day without memory of anything that happened to me the day before, even though I wasn't unconcious at any point. In fact, all the events of the day before seemed like a long dream sequence, and for days after the event I was asking my girlfriend and family if I had said and done certain things because I wasn't sure if they actually happened, as if it were a dream. Needless to say, my head hurt like a bitch, but I gained back all my memory. As a funny note, during my stupor I thought I was Zoolander sent on a mission to kill the Prime Minsister of Malaysia.

Anyways, I still have yet to figure out all details (such as character classes), but thanks for the advice!
17th-Aug-2005 01:23 am (UTC)
Anytime. :D

Also, lol on the Zoolander bit. Interesting story, and I can only imagine how hard you actually hit your head for something like that to happen.
16th-Aug-2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
First of all, love the concept.

Second, the problem only arises if she is a magic user. I had a guy in a campaign I played in who didn't want to know anything about his character, so the dm made him. He would make skill checks, and either succeed or fail.

If she sees a lock, it is common long term memory that locks can be picked. If she has appropriate tools, she can try it no problem. While the skill is trained only, anyone can wiggle probes around in a lock... but a rogue's muscles have "muscle memory" which will make certain motions more familiar and easy, so the things she "just tries" will turn out to be the right ones because her mind and body know the right ways. With sneak attack, the areas she chooses to attack could happen to be critical areas because the logical part of her brain (the same part that tells you pants go on legs, shirt goes on top) would also tell her where to aim. And really, if I was alone in a dungeon, I would probably try to stay hidden and incapacitate monsters from the shadows quietly if I could. With traps, she would just happen to notice them if she (read: you) roll correctly.

A cleric or Paladin would be impossible, realistically. A Paladin would probably need to atone for something or another, and without Pious faith, a cleric has nothing.

Wizards would be almost impossible too, but muscle memory could put certain gestures and movements together more than others. Or she could open the spellbook she finds and discover that whatever this is, she can read and understand it. However I still suggest a non spell user.

Hope some of this helps.
16th-Aug-2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
You clarified a few vague ideas whose wordings I didn't really have worked out in my head. I'll probably not reveal abilities to my player so much as storytell their use in such a way as to hint that she has/had exceptional talents there, like with the lock picking example you used. Also, as far as classes, I was thinking more of a tangible class like a fighter ,rogue, or ranger, so that I don't have to fuddle with magic, but you get the idea. The story will probably be low magic, too. Thanks for the comment!
16th-Aug-2005 03:36 pm (UTC)
For most actions, abilities and voluntary funtions, there are several, parallel pathways in the brain that control what you experience and do. For example, there is the phenomenon of "blindsight" where a person who is blind can still "see" without knowing it. Hold a picture in front of them and ask "what is it and where am I holding it?" They'll answer "Dude...what part of 'blind' don't you get?" Give them options, though, "Is it a square, circle or triangle?" and ask them to point to it, and they'll regularly "guess" right.

My point...what was my point? Right, even complete memory loss would leave unconcious memory. The character would probably find herself acting on knowledge that she doesn't seem to have, doing things without knowing why she does them and "accidently" doing a lot of things right.
16th-Aug-2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
Personally, a sorcerer strikes me as a fun one to do with this, because a sorcerer works with wild magic anyway. When she gets angry, a thunderstorm strikes, etc. and she has no idea how she does it.
16th-Aug-2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
One more thing: I'm thinking of just giving my player a blank character sheet filled with items, armor, weapons, ability scores, and movement. The rest, maybe after each throwback usage of something, will be written in after I reveal details like skill ranks and special ability/feat rules, just so I don't have to keep track of so much. Also, I think having that written-on character sheet is just one the most satisfying things in the world; scribbling, making notes on it, reporting rolls, and I don't want to rob my player of that pleasure for too long. Good idea, bad idea? Unforeseen ramifications?
16th-Aug-2005 08:01 pm (UTC)
Well i dont know what class she is and such but those abilities are ingrained in to her memory (Able to do them without thinking about it) in which case a character who is a theif knows how to pick pockets even with total memory lose (Although she may find the idea repulsive now). A monks till would know martial arts and so on.

The only problem I foresee is a Wizard (She doesnt know exactly what that book is for) or a cleric (No memory = no memory of her god). They could still casts the spells in her head (If they ahd any) but would have problems relearning them although in the long run a wizard woiuld still be able to read her code if she could read common.

There isnt really a class ability except Clericsand perhaps Paladins (Depending on how you run them) that would have problems.
16th-Aug-2005 09:01 pm (UTC)
A Cleric who has forgotten his/her god...that could make interesting story. I'll save that one.
16th-Aug-2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
Ok its copyrighted....yeah thats it. LOL
17th-Aug-2005 08:07 am (UTC)
I can't say much more than others have said, except to reference the Bourne Identity. He didn't know he had the skills until they came into play. It might be useul in this case to force a little survival instinct on your guy and activate certain class abilities for him when the time comes.
22nd-Aug-2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
dont do the dream sequences its too cliche but when the person escapes have maybe some npcs recognize her and maybe have the people startat level 1 as if all their classes were forgotten and needed to be awakened. this idea helps that characters gain practically four levels a year if not more which is how many levels most people gain in a lifetime.... a problem i always had in d&d. the speedy leveling would be becasue she is quickly remembering past achievements and abilities.... i like the idea
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