The Matrix with Fate

Calibanv2

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#1
I've been re-watching the Matrix trilogy, having watched it when I was younger, and thought about how a game set in the world would be or what system to use. One of my potential players suggested D20 modern, but like most gamers I grew disenchanted with D20 as sexier engines began to show themselves.

So I'm thinking about doing a Fate game in the Matrix, maybe post third movie. Players have to physically travel to different nodes on Earth that are still running Matrix programs, but maybe a little different. This gives me and the players leeway to play with some fun alt-history settings. These nodes are run by rogue AI or Architects that wish to run experiments on the human mind or to keep their own Matrix running. It would also be fun trying to figure out how players would leave these other Matrix worlds, especially if they are set in present day or before payphones.

As far as mechanics go, I'm thinking that skills would be two worse in the real world. So you make your character and that is how he or she exists in the Matrix, but in the World of the Real, you're not as sleek and sexy. I've even been experimenting with having Aspects that only work in the Matrix, think increased agility, bullet dodging etc.

Thoughts?

The same idea could be used for a Dollhouse like game (minus the supernatural bits).
 

waitingforgodzi

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#2
FATE can do basically anything, as long as you want the PCs to seem highly competent. This sounds like a fun idea.

I wouldn't encourage people to take "aspects that only work in the Matrix," though. I'd say "aspects involving the Matrix." That way, the aspects can still be relevant in the Real, but only in very limited circumstances (e.g. impressing someone with your reputation for all the crazy shit you've done in the Matrix).

Also, aspects like "increased agility" sound a bit weak. I'd encourage stuff that's more character-defining (because lets face it, all of the PCs should probably have "increased agility" in a Matrix game). So, something like, "In the Matrix, I am always armed" (a paranoid quirk in the character's psychology - his subconscious mind finds ways to put a loaded gun in his hands at all times), or "My avatar is drop-dead gorgeous" (and maybe because of this, the character is avoiding romantic relationships in the Real), or "Before I took the red pill, I was famous," (meaning that people who've lived in the Matrix will recognise you from your former life - possibly even when they see you in the Real).
 

GoldenH

Darmok & Gilad at Tenagra
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#3
You could go for it, I would think Wild Talents would be better for this, though, check it out!
 

kyoryu

Registered User
Validated User
#4
FATE can do basically anything, as long as you want the PCs to seem highly competent. This sounds like a fun idea.

I wouldn't encourage people to take "aspects that only work in the Matrix," though. I'd say "aspects involving the Matrix." That way, the aspects can still be relevant in the Real, but only in very limited circumstances (e.g. impressing someone with your reputation for all the crazy shit you've done in the Matrix).

Also, aspects like "increased agility" sound a bit weak. I'd encourage stuff that's more character-defining (because lets face it, all of the PCs should probably have "increased agility" in a Matrix game). So, something like, "In the Matrix, I am always armed" (a paranoid quirk in the character's psychology - his subconscious mind finds ways to put a loaded gun in his hands at all times), or "My avatar is drop-dead gorgeous" (and maybe because of this, the character is avoiding romantic relationships in the Real), or "Before I took the red pill, I was famous," (meaning that people who've lived in the Matrix will recognise you from your former life - possibly even when they see you in the Real).
It would be kind of cool to experiment with different skills or uses in the Matrix. Possibly even doing something like regular skills in the Real World, but FAE-like Approaches in the Matrix, to highlight the unreality of it.

It's an interesting idea. I'm going to have to think about this a bit.
 

Roger

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Validated User
#6
I'd probably have two distinct skill pyramids (or whatever), one for the real world and one for Matrix worlds.

Maybe a third for any shared skills; there might be some.

Aspects I probably wouldn't try to split up, but probably stunts would be.



Cheers,
Roger
 

waitingforgodzi

Registered User
Validated User
#8
Actually, you should totally check out Jared Sorensen's Lacuna RPG. That game would do a great job of emulating everything that's good about the Matrix.

By that I mean, the existential dread, the "reality glitches" (deja vu, liquid mirrors, etc), the paranoid men-in-black conspiracy, the waking up in strange places, the knowledge that the reason why you can perform all these incredible feats of strength is that none of this is real and your real body is twitching on a slab somewhere...

The body-on-the-slab thing in particular is a big part of Lacuna's mechanics. Every time you roll the dice, you're trying to roll high in order to succeed at some task, but whether you succeed or fail, you increase your character's current heart rate by the result shown. If you fail, you can keep rerolling, but your character's heart rate will just keep climbing and climbing as you push yourself harder - eventually forcing you to either "eject" or risk serious health complications.

By default, Lacuna is not much of an action movie. It more closely resembles the surreal sci-fi existentialism of the original Matrix movie, or the Animatrix films World Record, Beyond, or Kid's Story. (Also, if you haven't already read it, go find Neil Gaiman's short story Goliath, which is set in the Matrix universe. Not because it's anything like Lacuna, just because it's very good.)
 

Jack Thursby

Yes, I work for Digicorp.
Validated User
#9
Interesting idea.

Frankly, if it were me, I'd design the characters with an aspect (or maybe two) related to the idea that they've been freed and are able to go between the Matrix and the Real (I guess people call it?) and, reflecting back on the concept that their skills in the Matrix are completely interchangeable, I would use a stunt or two to represent the temporary skill trees that can be activated in the Matrix. I think the first movie was the best, when the real issues happened in the Real and not so much in the Matrix. The only real threat was the Smiths or the advanced AIs (whatever they're called). Only when fighting/evading/interacting with them would I make any kind of skill rolls while in the Matrix itself.

Or maybe make the Matrix skills dependent upon how well the character could flow with the concept that everything was made up and they were in control to an amazing degree (Trinity's slow-mo killing of the cops in the first movie and so on) but there were still different "levels" of people's grasp of that concept.

Just throwing out ideas as I mull it over.
 
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