The Curse of Amnesia

The Curse of Amnesia is a serious problem in interactive narratives such as pen-and-paper campaigns. If you’re playing an old character who has lived her whole life in a particular city, it doesn’t make sense that you as a player don’t know your way around the city. We want to be able to create any type of character we wish, with any background.

  • Amnesia: How do we ensure that the player knows what the character is supposed to know?
  • Fourth Wall: How do we prevent the player from knowing what the character isn’t supposed to know, for the purpose of dramatic tension or surprise?
    • The character-player relationship in a game is different from the character-reader relationship in a book. In a book we can reveal who the bad guy is to the reader, because the character will still be in the dark, and the reader can only watch helplessly as the character stumbles into a trap. In Interactive Stories, we don’t have that luxury as storytellers.
  • Identity Crisis: How do we reconcile the personality differences between how the character would act, and how the player would (or perhaps can) act? Sometimes our acting ability does not do our characters justice, even if we have good intentions. 

If you have any thoughts, or even solutions, post them here. The ODIN Project will also be having a discussion about this tonight (Wednesday, May 8) at 8:00 US MST, if anyone is interested in chiming in.



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