Thursday, January 23, 2014

In development: mem:RE - 3rd glimpse

mem:RE - 3rd glimpse
As I mentioned last year, one of the games I'm working on is mem:RE a real-time super spy game where what you can do is as flexible as what you can recall. Here's another glimpse on the coming system for that game.



The mem:RE function
Every Agent, when they need to, can activate a special function called mem:RE which works by pressing their left thumb against the wrist of the right arm. When mem:RE is activated, the Agent can reallocate the dots he had earlier set, allowing every Agent to modify and adjust themselves to better fit a situation.

However, mem:RE is not a foolproof system.
Each time mem:RE is engaged, the player rolls dice equal to the number of dots that have become newly gained stats. Every die that comes out a one is at the risk of being lost. An Agent can lose only as many Ones as he had used mem:RE times in a mission (so the more often the function is used, the bigger the amount of possible lost Memory Dots). Abuse the function too much and you might just fail to recall what you're supposed to do.
Example:
Adam is in a Mission and realizes he does not have the Physique to parkour down the side of the building safely.  He uses MEM:RE and reallocates his dots, giving himself a three on Physique.  He nets two Ones, however, but since this is the first time he MEM:REd in the Mission, only one dot is lost.

Secondly, while dots in Stats can be reallocated each time the Agent MEM:REs, dots alloted to Short Term Memories cannot be replenished when removed.  Short Term Memories can only have dots allocated to them during the initial Formatting phase.

Example:
Adam has Loyalty, Bill at 1 and one dot in every Mission Parameter, when he is forced to MEM:RE.  This being his fourth time to do so, he sadly rolls four Ones, bringing his dots down big time.  Knowing he needs them in Stats to succeed, he decided to risk removing the dots in Mission Parameter, Kill Clause and Loyalty, Bill.  These dots cannot be replenished in later MEM:REs during the Mission.   And now Adam cannot recall the Kill Clause, nor remember who Bill is in relation to him!  But he still remembers enough of the mission to continue.

This can lead to issues of trust and danger which the Agent will have to manage one way or another.

Each time an Agent succeeds in a mission, he is given a point of Recognition.  Additional Recognition points are earned for rolling doubles during a Mission. (Yes, rolling multiple 1s does give Recognition!)  Recognition can be cashed in to purchase "permanent" stats to reflect Long Term Memory.

Lost dots during a Mission are replenished once the Agent is Reformatted with the new correct number of dots for a new Mission.


The game's dice system:
When performing actions, the player need only roll a 4 or higher on a six-sided die.  Each dot in the appropriate Stat allows him to roll a six-sided die.

When a player fails the roll, the GM narrates the outcome, which may or may not have the player still succeed in the action.  Typically, failing to reach 4 or higher means things get worse for the Agent.  Any six-sided die that match allows the GM to add an additional detail to the outcome.

When the player makes the roll, the player can narrate the outcome.  Any six-sided die that match allows the player to add an additional detail to the outcome.

Example:
Adam is sneaking past the enemy guards to gain access to the control room. He has Ghost at 2 but no Access, so while he can get close enough, he will have to figure out a way to get past the locked door.

He rolls two six-sided dice for his Ghost and gets a 1 and a 3.  The GM narrates, "You get to the door, slipping past the sleepy guard, but as you do, you realize there is a second guard inside the control room."

Adam realizes he will have to wing it and tries to lure the guard out.  He taps on the door gently, hoping to lure the second guard out.  The GM deems this Charm and he has Charm at 2.  He rolls 5 and 5.  Adam describes how he taps on the door,  and this catches the guard's attention.  The guard not only moves to check, but actually opens the door enough to stick his head out (this being the detail added by the matching 5).  The GM tells Adam to now roll Physique to knock the guard out before he can call out in alarm.

Equipment:
Certain equipment and tools can give the player a +1 to one of his dice.  Better equipment can grant +1 to more than one die, but clearly this bonus only helps those who are skilled enough to benefit from it.  The best equipment in the world actually grant an extra bonus die.

Injury:
When the player gets injured, he has two options:  the first is to assume the injury is Painful.
A Painful injury raise the target number by 1.  You can have a number of Painful Injuries equal to your Physique.  If the number ever exceeds the Physique, excess Injuries become Damaging instantly.

The second option is to assume the injury is Damaging.
Damaging injuries do not affect the target number, but remove one dot of the player's choice.

Unless otherwise stated, a player can always choose which type of injury he receives.  At times, it may be advantageous to have multiple Painful injuries.  In other instances, it may be better to simply take a Damaging injury instead.  Thankfully, your training allows you to choose between the two.  Once the choice is made and the damage is applied, however, they can no longer be readjusted.

Flat-lined:
If you ever lose your final dot in Physique, you are Flat-lined.
Flat-lined agents are on the verge of dying.  For some, being Flat-lined might mean having far too many physical wounds that the agent can no longer act.  For others, the agent being Flat-lined might be due to brain hemorrhaging or mental degeneration from abusing the mem:RE.

Agents who are Flat-lined and suffer another Damaging injury, or are forced to lose their last Memory dot, are Killed In Action.   Such agents can no longer engage in future Missions.
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