Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Hazards of Metacognition

From the dreamscapes game. Ways that your mind can get fucked up, and dramatically alter how you interact with the world. Not the only way, mind you, but these can happen to you if you learn things you shouldn't.
(add a couple of 0's to the XP amounts for games where a fighter needs 2000 xp to level up)

  • Unusual events are impossible and evil. Make all d20 rolls with 3d6 instead: those you interact with do likewise for that interaction (IE saving throws, rolls to hit you, etc). Wants you to ’correct’ statistical anomalous events, IE kill those who survive what seems like certain death. 
  • Hidden forces control everything. Agent can hear the table-chatter of the players and GM, knows that admitting this results in instant death. Wants others to realise this too, to enlighten them.
  • Everything is made of numbers. Agent is aware of the game’s mechanics, including all dice rolls that happen, and their game stats (and those of their allies if the player knows them). Ackn, and knows that acknowledging this results in instant death. Wants you to take detailed numerical measurements of everything you interact with.
  • Fiction determines reality! The agent gains 1 XP every time their player spots an out-of-character reference to another work of fiction in the world. Two hints: the Orphic Institute are from WoD, Triffids are from John Wyndham. Work the rest out yourselves. Wants you to act in ways that ‘make for a good story’.
  • The thorns, the thorns! Agent perceives long sharp thorns growing out of all plants & vegetable matter. Contact with the thorns deals d4 psychosomatic damage. Can talk to plants. Wants you to tear down civilisation, spread briars and roses, exalt the green world. Likes triffids quite a lot.
  • Everything is doomed. The player starts the session with a suit of 13 playing cards, values 1-13. Whenever a dice is rolled, instead they discard one of those cards and take that as the number. Once the cards run out, go back to rolling normally. Wants you to prepare for the worst, assume that all will come to ruin. Often correct about this.  
  • It’s a conspiracy! They are everywhere! This doesn’t actually change anything. The meme-virus is quite correct. Wants you to be on the lookout for secret influences, disguises, infiltration.
  • Death is but one algorithmic step in a cosmic calculation. When the agent dies for good, their knowledge carries over, replacement comes in with 1/2 their XP total. Wants you to die, to observe and document others dying, or to die while diligently documenting it.  
  • I shall cleanse the earth in Blood! The agent gets 1XP each mission if they kill somebody ritualistically. Totally OK if this is somebody you wanted to kill anyway, so long as you make it weird. Wants you to kill people and offer their blood to dark gods.
  • Reality exists by consensus, belief powers everything. The agent can, once per session, decide one cosmetic detail of the world, overruling the GM. Wants you to focus on propaganda and persuasion to alter perception and, thus, reality.
  • Everything & everybody is made of meat! The agent can bite for d8 damage. Wants you to feed on the weak and vulnerable.
  • Time is cyclical. Agent ‘remembers’ knowledge from the future. Once per session, can get the GM to show them the most relevant page of this rulebook for 60 seconds (double this time for dyslexic players or those who otherwise have difficulty reading quickly). Wants you to make past events repeat themselves, follow the repeating precedents of history.


  1. These are cool. I have a could of ideas for others

    >Time is an illusion: Once per session the player can say "Did I imagine all this?" and move back one minute of time in the game.
    >And lunchtime doubly so..: The agent no longer needs or wants to eat. You still need water though.
    >Why is there always an odd soak: Once per hour of game time, an agent may put a small common object in a pocket or similar and put out a different small common object as desired.