Jonna ran a game of Psi Run. Two amnesiac games in a row! Psi Run went really well – it was exciting and funny without never actually sliding down the gonzo/ridiculous slope (always a risk with gm-less games).
Psi Run starts with a car crash. All the players tumble out of the car, they were captives and that’s pretty much all they know. Well, they know one thing: they have a special power. Other than that, they are only equipped with a bunch of questions.
Which is what character creation for Psi Run comes down to: describe what you see in the mirror, pick a power, and list four questions about yourself, your power and your current state. That doesn’t make it easy! Those questions are hard to think of. Here’s my character for this game;
In the mirror I see a woman with straggly hair and old baggy clothing, a homeless woman with fearful eyes and a nervous manner. I appear to be in my 40s, a lot older than I actually am. I can enter people’s minds.
– What are the needle marks on my arm?
– Why do I crave chocolate SO badly?
– Why can’t I enter (one other pc)’s mind?
– Who is the person that enters *my* mind?
I thought it would be fun to take a few typical homeless symptoms that point to drug abuse and insanity, and have them turn out to be something completely different in the game. That certainly worked out.
Whenever you use your Psi Power, you roll a bunch of dice and allocate those dice to various outcomes. This way you can decide the way the story will turn next, and you have a cool dice allocation mini game (I love dice allocation!).
One of the options you can put a dice into is to reveal a memory. This means the other players will collectively answer a question about your past. This is the most awesome part of the game: back story! It can have a huge impact in shaping the story and it’s just a lot of fun.
It also creates a tenseness in the dice allocation: do you want to stay ahead of the people chasing you, or do you want to know why you are carrying two bottles of bleach with you? Tough choice!
In our game it turned out two of us had been forcibly working for the chasers: one lady (who could change cells in living beings, say from skin cells to blood cells) was their assassin and the other (who could make illusions) was their clean up guy. He had recruited her in a vain attempt to make her think she was cool.
A second story focused on me (who could look into people’s minds) and the fourteen year old girl who could get visions of the future. She turned out to be my child, and the clones who were chasing us were clones of my son who had been in preservative storage all that time and who was now quite a bit younger than his sister.
Our final character turned out to be a hacker working with Edward Snowdon who had gone undercover into the organisation to expose them. She knew she was going to lose her memory so she had his PGP key tattooed on her ankle. She ended up uncovering the organisation and sending the info to ‘Eddie’.
GM-less games are all about creating the story, but usually that story ends up being silly. A downside, as far as I’m concerned. I liked that the story here had funny points (there was a side plot involving Orlando Bloom), but it still held up the dramatic tone and sci fi genre that was intended. Nice!