False Memories – A New Power for ‘Better Angels’

Better-Angels-cover-v4-front-612pxWritten by Greg Stolze, © 2013.

False Memories (Deceit)

The ability to falsify recollection is scary on a level different from building-blasting ice-rays or hemorrhage-causing eye-beams. We rely on our memories to be solid and trustworthy because if they aren’t (and, as an aside, science assures us that they are in fact incredibly plastic), we have no basis for deciding about anything. Our ideas of judgment are irreparably compromised. Even knowing that our memories have been damaged or tampered with (or, again, just understanding the science that they were never factual to begin with), we have to treat them as if they can be trusted because the alternative is a morass of indecision and paranoia.

With this power, you can consign people who irritate you to the depths of that morass.

To work it, you touch someone and think about the lie you want them to believe.  Roll Patient Deceit. If it succeeds with sufficient Width and Height, your lie is true to the victim without even being told.

Width determines how firm the charade is, while Height determines how long it lasts.

Width Effect
2 Memory is vague and foggy, on the level of “Yeah, I think I’ve met this guy,” “Oh yeah, I saw some kind of altercation at some bar last week,” or “I took some karate classes, um… sometime…”
3-4 Memory is sturdy and has some emotional content, unless actual events and recollections contradict it.  “I remember you!  Jedda Jankes from that crazy summer working at the Pizza Shack!”  “I was coming out of the Pink Pinto Wednesday night and I saw some guy in a red and blue superhero getup pounding the crap out of this fat guy in a green shirt. It was heinous, man!”  “Oh yeah, I got my brown belt ages and ages ago, but I’m totally out of training…”
5+ Memory is vivid, detailed, and is given assumed to be factual unless and until it is contradicted by overwhelming evidence or a powerful series of other memories. “What do you mean ‘who’s this’? It’s my wife, Jedda! The love of my life!”  “Clear as day your honor.  It was Captain Daylight… er, the defendant… and he kept kicking and kicking Mr. Jericho there even though he was begging him to stop!”  “You messed with the wrong guy, punk.  KI-YAAH!”

Note that false memories don’t provide real skills, though with a 5+ result the GM may shift a Tactic one point left or right to represent motivation.  For instance, that guy who truly believes he’s a 9th Dan could shift a point from Cruelty to Courage from pure misplaced confidence.

Height Duration
1-2 1 day
3-4 1 week
5-6 1 month
7-9 1 year
10 Permanent

Memories implanted need to be something that can be written out in fifty words or less, but people tend to imagine reasonable details for them.  That’s not even part of the power: Confabulation is a function of normal cognition.  I’ve read that in like, three different books.


Written by Greg Stolze, © 2013.