A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

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A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Hopeless » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:06 pm

Okay you're just started playing a Traveller game where you've created a 54 year old navy veteran alongside a 42 year old merchant officer, a 24 year old dielettente and a 46 year old scout and your gm starts off by saying...

You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Captain Jonah » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Hopeless wrote:Okay you're just started playing a Traveller game where you've created a 54 year old navy veteran alongside a 42 year old merchant officer, a 24 year old dielettente and a 46 year old scout and your gm starts off by saying...

You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
Option 1 PAAAANNNNNIIIIC :wink:

Option 2 Very much depends on which character I was. Am I flying the boat in which case very first thing is make sure we don't crash. Then look around and ask the others what the “beep” is going on. If I'm not flying then check to see if whoever is flying is in control then ask the people around me what the “beep” is going on :lol:

Beyond that it very much depends on the character. The navy character or scout are likely to look for threats and assess the situation from that point of view, the merchant tries to work out what is going on and who stole his ship and cargo.
The dilettante will probably be trying to remember who he bought his last lot of leisure drugs from and who slipped him a bad batch. :shock:

Oh and having done this as a ref and having had it done to me as a player there will be some hard looks and a deal of suspicion directed at the ref and anything he/she/it says :roll:
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby GamerDude » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:48 pm

Hopeless wrote:You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
doesn't matter to me who/what the characters are...

This is a classic tale of the GM ripping control of the characters from the players, tossing them in some crisis, and sitting back while the players go "WTF? We know NOTHING? Have NOTHING?"

I do here what I've done every time a GM has done this (which means a local GM saw myself and a few others get up from his game many times, because this was his opening plotline EVERY time).
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Hopeless » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:07 pm

GamerDude wrote:
Hopeless wrote:You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
doesn't matter to me who/what the characters are...

This is a classic tale of the GM ripping control of the characters from the players, tossing them in some crisis, and sitting back while the players go "WTF? We know NOTHING? Have NOTHING?"

I do here what I've done every time a GM has done this (which means a local GM saw myself and a few others get up from his game many times, because this was his opening plotline EVERY time).
My viewpoint was that these players would ask questions and would realise that they're wearing vacc suits, datapads and the consoles would provide information but all of this is dependent on the players involved.

So how would you handle this?

For example how about the next scene takes them back say several hours and start off aboard a space station and they're led to a ship's boat and their decisions as they board the waiting spaceship will then explain why they woke up with amnesia at the very beginning of the game and leads to what will they do next?
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Hopeless » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:09 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:
Hopeless wrote:Okay you're just started playing a Traveller game where you've created a 54 year old navy veteran alongside a 42 year old merchant officer, a 24 year old dielettente and a 46 year old scout and your gm starts off by saying...

You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
Option 1 PAAAANNNNNIIIIC :wink:
Option 2 Very much depends on which character I was. Am I flying the boat in which case very first thing is make sure we don't crash. Then look around and ask the others what the “beep” is going on. If I'm not flying then check to see if whoever is flying is in control then ask the people around me what the “beep” is going on :lol:
Beyond that it very much depends on the character. The navy character or scout are likely to look for threats and assess the situation from that point of view, the merchant tries to work out what is going on and who stole his ship and cargo.
The dilettante will probably be trying to remember who he bought his last lot of leisure drugs from and who slipped him a bad batch. :shock:
Oh and having done this as a ref and having had it done to me as a player there will be some hard looks and a deal of suspicion directed at the ref and anything he/she/it says :roll:
Didn't think of that... or that... hmm leisure drugs... at least I now have a reason for what actually happened!
Must think up more threads like this, never thought I could do that! 8)
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby CosmicGamer » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:56 pm

I've always had big issue with this. Someone with memory loss doesn't even know their own name or what their career was or what they had been taught or learned along the way. With no memory, what is still instinctual?

Would piloting be instinctual? Would you just "know" what every gauge and control is?

Personally I have no experience or knowledge of what memory loss is like and would have to do research to properly role play it. Not given time to research, I would have the character know absolutely nothing until the GM tells me otherwise.

If someone came on the comm my character would get down on their knees and bow their head to some invisible god that is talking.

Why is this god telling me to avoid crashing into the planet? By the way, what's a planet? Is there something I should be doing? I don't recall. Oh, look at that round ball. Ain't it pretty. Let's sit back and watch it grow.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby GypsyComet » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:01 pm

GamerDude wrote:because this was his opening plotline EVERY time).
Probably because it has a better than average pedigree in genre fiction. I have used similar narrative hijacks on occasion, but I try to keep them rare enough that they don't get annoying OR predictable.

I actually dislike "eyes open" narrative traps more. When you can see it coming well in advance, know that you've done everything possible to avoid it, know that it will happen anyway, and that the Ref will "blame" it on PC actions, the urge to walk away from the table for good is very strong.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Reynard » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:36 pm

Well, rather than bitch and moan that MY character would NEVER get in a situation like this, I'd ask what we do know about the here and now especially the capabilities of the craft. I may not know my name but it seems we still have our skills. Get the boat down and start looking for those breadcrumbs of our lives.

Hey, it's this or being shot in the head, buried alive and dug up by a robot...
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby F33D » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:59 pm

GamerDude wrote:I do here what I've done every time a GM has done this (which means a local GM saw myself and a few others get up from his game many times, because this was his opening plotline EVERY time).
Ditto. Railroad engineers don't make for good GMs.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Captain Jonah » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:12 pm

As a few people have mentioned railroading players is never popular so could we ask what it is you intend to happen in the game that requires the characters be reduced to brain wipes. :(

How do they know that they have skills if they cannot remember names or details? Is this some sort of hand wave Psionic selective memory wipe. Option one is PANIC for a very good reason, who remembers they can fly the boat before it crashes, can they remember if they could fly if they remember how to fly? :shock:

Memory wipes to the point where you have no skills are annoying. Is it your intention to reduce the characters to 18 without any terms of skills even though they are clearly older than this. Do you intend for them to regain skills and memories over time, who decides what they get back and when?

A few suggestions.

Don’t mind wipe. They should know who they are and what they have done, what is the point of rolling all those terms in the navy, scouts or merchants only to start with no skills, money, equipment or ship. The characters may not know why they are in the ships boat but they should remember who they are and what they can do. They may not know each other but should know themselves.

A long time ago I ran an adventure that started with the players waking up after a night of heavy R&R ready for a meeting with a client. However they very quickly noticed it was 8 months later when bio clocks, implants etc all began to reset to the correct date and time.

They were on the wrong planet and had no idea how they got there. Their ship was docked at the high port and the battle damage was being repaired but they had no memory of the battle.

Months of investigation and adventure led them to find out what had happened where upon the secret Imperial agency who hired them for the super secret mission in the first place caught them and gave them the same choice they had after the end of the super secret mission which had gone wrong and allowed them to find things even the Emperor wasn’t allowed to know. Selective memory wipe or execution.

They chose selective Psionic memory wipe and woke up in a hotel only to find it was now 15 months later than they remembered and there was a note signed by all of them saying “Don’t investigate what happened over the last 15 months”

The characters retained all skills, they had all those hard earned items and the whole thing was actually entirely logical. Of course one bright spark declared as they woke for the second time that they should ignore the note and investigate why they couldn’t remember the last 15 months which nearly led to them getting shot :twisted:

If it is your intent to run the players with no skills to start with why not start them as first termers and run through their lives. Start them in the first time with starting skills, they are all on holiday or leave or whatever reason brings them together. Run the first adventure. Then they all roll a second term. Fate brings them together again for another adventure. Then roll the third term and so on. They could be a bunch of kids who gain access to a trader and form a crew of 20 year olds or it could just be that every few years they find themselves together when adventure calls.

A Traveller character does not need to start adventuring after he has finished character generation. You can easily do an adventure or mini campaign between terms. Weaving the characters histories together with both shared adventures and character generation. They may have each other as contacts but they have done the adventure where they all met as 20 somethings. Much deeper backgrounds and a lot of fun because you can see your characters grow adventure by adventure, not just getting money or paying off the mortgage but having new skills or a stat increase since the last adventure a few years ago.

Basically players don’t like having all their toys taken away from them as a plot point. Not understanding what is going on is much less of a problem as long as the characters can do stuff with skills and equipment. :wink:
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby dragoner » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:17 pm

Memory Alpha was a good play on this meme, plus you got the Corridor sector to explore.

IMO railroading is only necessary when people are dragging their feet.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Reynard » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:44 pm

"You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?"

I see nothing in the statement that the players' characters have forgotten anything but short term memories and who they are, amnesia plot. They still have their skills since they will need them in a moment and later once on the planet. That sounds reasonable enough. As to their earned gear from character generation, we haven't seen what's in the ship's locker on the SHIP'S BOAT! They have a ship's boat! Gee! Possibly a clue or there may be clues on board?

Quite frankly it sounds like the beginning of a very good scenario I'd love to play. Not every game has to be Shoot and Loot. Hopeless, if this is a real scenario, I'd love to have a copy to read.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby rust » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:56 pm

Hopeless wrote: You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
This reminds me of an old Classic Traveller adventure where the inhabitants
of a remote planet were of Zhodani stock and used psionics to mind wipe any
Imperial visitors in order to keep the existence of their colony a secret ... a
good start for a campaign of this type. :wink:
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby GamerDude » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Hopeless wrote:My viewpoint was that these players would ask questions and would realise that they're wearing vacc suits, datapads and the consoles would provide information but all of this is dependent on the players involved.

So how would you handle this?
ok, half of this is what they should be given in the opening.. .I mean you say they wake up no memory, but fail to notice any of them are in vacc suits and must ask? Again this is the age old "why bother making a character"
Hopeless wrote:For example how about the next scene takes them back say several hours and start off aboard a space station and they're led to a ship's boat and their decisions as they board the waiting spaceship will then explain why they woke up with amnesia at the very beginning of the game and leads to what will they do next?
if what you gave before is just a "teaser" at start of episode (think Firefly where Mal is lying on deck shot bleeding to death - the question is "how did we get to this? mmm).

Y'know... here's my singularly huge issue with it.. no memories, no skills. Geeze just take the their vacc suits data tabs etc too while you are at it, I mean how they gonna process info with no memories no skills? put on your helmet? oops. Not remembering how they got to this point? fine now go back and play it ..
BUT
...
TO go back and play it you need either players who do exactly what is needed to get there (players? knowing what they are trying to avoid refusing to avoid it?) or railroad them (like some particular and very crappy modules I paid for on DTRPG).


Note, if you and your players like this.. then by all means go for it. But as feedback I have to say its not my thing, and I would leave the table after hearing that opening.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby CosmicGamer » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:42 pm

Reynard wrote:"You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?"

I see nothing in the statement that the players' characters have forgotten anything but short term memories
To me "anything at all" is all memories not just short term.
Even babies that can't speak yet recognize their own name so, to me, not even knowing your name also implies total mind wipe and being unaware of any abilities.
Reynard wrote:They still have their skills since they will need them in a moment and later once on the planet.
Then I think that original statement needs to be rewritten.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:49 pm

Hopeless wrote:You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
I let the player characters talk to each other and do some quick internalizing. As the Ref, I would leave clues that would begin to trigger each characters memories and of the past few days, up to their current situation.

After they (crash) land, they'll have plenty more time to fill in their background to each other. The players have character sheets with their character backgrounds written on the back, don't they? If the Ref just handed them the sheets pre-made, it would take time for the players to learn about their characters. Part of the returning memory for each player character.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Faelan Niall » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:13 pm

I am assuming you are doing this with a long time group of players who actually trust you. If not Gamer Dudes response would be a very likely response especially amongst experienced gamers. With new gamers you often have a little more leeway regarding the flight response.

My personal recommendations for a scenario like this is to actually run a couple of micro sessions with the individual players building up to when the weirdness happens but definitely fudging it time wise so they can't be sure exactly when the lost memory begins or who is responsible. They do need some crumbs though. Naturally each micro session ends up with the player fully suited on a ships launch wondering WTF is up. Dropping them into it directly without warning is a fine literary device, but a poor roleplaying choice because the players are completely independent of the narrator/GM. GM not narrator. Of course all of this means nothing if you previously approached your players and asked them if they wanted to play a Memento style game.
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Greylond » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:52 am

Hopeless wrote: You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
Get up from the table and walk away...


That is my second most hated Adventure Plotline start.

Most hated for me is, "You are framed for a crime you didn't commit and now the person that framed you says they'll pardon you if you do a job/mission for them..."
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby Hopeless » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:16 pm

Greylond wrote:
Hopeless wrote: You wake up at the controls of a ship's boat thats heading down towards a planet and you have no idea what you're doing here and have trouble remembering anything at all even your name, what do you do?
Get up from the table and walk away...

That is my second most hated Adventure Plotline start.

Most hated for me is, "You are framed for a crime you didn't commit and now the person that framed you says they'll pardon you if you do a job/mission for them..."
I believe the only way that would happen would be because the players messed up in the previous game I've yet to read the Prison Planet adventure so starting them off imprisoned without some appropriate reason for it? No.

They wake up at the controls of a ship with no memory of whats happened, I'd be more inclined to have them spend a couple of rounds for reactions and then go back say a fortnight and start the actual game which will lead into explaining how and why they ended up on that ship's boat.

For the players' purposes the game starts there but the adventure is run so that as they play they "remember" what happened and when they get back to that start their actions should help resolve the situation as well as reveal what will happen next.

As far as Traveller is concerned your character's backstory play an important part in adventure building, when I started this thread it was to get a handle on this and I wouldn't be surprised if one of my players reacts just like you which makes the responses on this thread much more valuable.

So far they've yet to mess up on that scale but as you know no planned adventure survives player involvement...
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Re: A Question about roleplaying and viewpoints

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:33 pm

Hopeless wrote:As far as Traveller is concerned your character's backstory play an important part in adventure building, when I started this thread it was to get a handle on this
I like your idea of how this session starts out for the players. I would do the same thing as a ref. The back of each player's character sheet is their characters entire backstory. In that are the listed clues for the players. This subject gets talked a lot about on YouTube.

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