Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack

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Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« on: March 05, 2014, 12:36:15 PM »
I had a big idea for my hack, which is having PCs hold assigned secrets from their pre-apocalypse life which have various game effects both while secret and if revealed. I have some cool ideas about how this might play out in game. Problem is, while I have a few secrets I really like, it's not enough to make the mechanic work. Wonder if anyone might be able to think of others.

-Prisoner: Character was in prison when the disaster happened, and got out when all the guards died (this is the obvious one, as it feels like practically all fiction in this oeuvre uses it)
-Pursued: Character is avoiding a particular NPC who is actively looking for her/him
-Quest: Character is secretly looking for a particular person or thing, and will lead the party into danger to further this search
-Addict: Character is jonesing for something, and can't function without it
-Deserter: Character abandoned some duty or obligation (professional, family, etc) the moment things started looking bad, and is wracked with guilt.

Would love help brainstorming others—what else might one not want his band of survivors to know about? Good if it's the kind of thing that either might guide the character's decisionmaking (possibly to the group's detriment) or be something an ally who knows might hold over her/him. Better yet if both.

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As If

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Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 02:32:03 AM »
Perhaps the problem is that you're drawing these secret classes a little too abstractly?  I can think of several different types of quests or deserters, for instance, which wouldn't exclude and shouldn't necessarily preclude each other.  Meanwhile, here are some more I thought of:

-Special Services: Character was involved in covert intelligence or military operations which were involved in the end of the world
-Politics: Character was involved in or responsible for political decisions which helped lead to the end of the world
-Insane in the Membrane: Character was institutionalized due to a complex psychological aberration which still exists

Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 12:15:27 PM »
Good thoughts, both the specific ideas and breaking them down more narrowly. Re the involvement in the end of the world, at the moment I have a "scientist" character archetype/class I'm working on that includes that as a (non-secret) defining characteristic, but I like the idea of incorporating some variation in a secret as well...

Thanks!

Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 12:18:31 PM »
I was also worried about some secrets being inconsistent with the class backgrounds when I was thinking they'd be randomly assigned, but the new idea is that after character introduction, the MC considers what the players have told you about their background and then passes each a secret that seems to fit with it.

Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 11:34:32 PM »
HunterJE:  Dude, no.  Put them in the playbooks and let the players choose.
That way, each playbook can have secrets that fit the archetype better, and players are more in control of their characters.


Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 11:46:44 PM »
I thought about taking that route, my concern is that I think flavor and color are served by players having diverse secrets, and I'm not sure how you would achieve that with players individually choosing (e.g., if several of the players all pick prisoner, there isn't the conflict that comes up when one player is trying to surreptitiously steer the course of action away from the camp full of former cops who are likely to recognize him while the rest are wanting to seek refuge there)...

Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 12:12:54 AM »
I think you can trust the players to choose a set of secrets that is as diverse as the play demands--as long as your willing to let the players have some out-of-character knowledge of the secrets (and I suggest that you do--I think in-character secrets are more powerful in tabletop rpgs when there's some out-of-character knowledge of their existence and even content).

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As If

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Re: Brainstorming "secrets" for apoc survivor hack
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 03:29:24 AM »
I think arscott is onto something here.  There's nothing saying you have to offer all secret types to all playbooks.  You could give a list of 3 secret types to the Driver and list of 3 different ones to the Battlebabe.  This also allows you to massage the secret types a little to suit each playbook, while still keeping them pretty abstract.  Then tell your players "choose 1 of your 3 secret types and embellish it".
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 03:36:42 AM by As If »