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Old September 8, 2012, 04:14   #1
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Monster Memory, take 2?

I've never been extremely fond of the way monster memory functioned. Every bit of knowledge that every one of your ancestors ever stumbled upon is perfectly preserved, awaiting your birthing in Angband Town. That is of course until a newer version of you favorite variant breaks save file compatibility. I don't care for the perfection or non-portability.

BTW, this is just me jotting down ideas for a future variant some time long in the future, but feel free to treat this as something worth discussing if you wish.

Introducing the Ancestral Tome of Knowledge or My Family's Monster Manual (tm).

The AToK is a book. It's a book that you'll find in your home in Angband Town as a freshly spawned player character. Aside, characters should start outside their home, not on the steps to the dungeon. It's a book that contains every bit of knowledge ever acquired by your ancestors, except for that knowledge that has been lost forever, probably due to the carelessness of one of your less intelligent relations.

By simply entering your home you are assumed to study the book to the best of your mental capacities. Mental capacity (INT) matters since you'll only be able to retain (INTx5) percent of the knowledge contained within. Thus a character with a 10 INT will retain full knowledge of 50% of the entries after he leaves his home.

I know what you're thinking, "but what if I'm an idiot". Well, I've got a plan for that too. You see, if you're none too bright you can always take the AToK with you into the dungeon. By bringing the book with you, you have instant and complete access to all it's secrets. It's a risky move usually contemplated, rather briefly, by those with dim wits. The risk lies in the fact that the AToK is not fireproof. Though it (probably) won't burn entirely, as those 1st edition spell book are known to, single entries, pages or even chapters of knowledge can easily be turned to ash.

Every time you return to your home, you automatically update the AToK with any knowledge gained during your recent adventure. If you're foolish enough to carry the Tome with you, then it's updated constantly (not that it matters much... unless you happen to die).

In addition to any knowledge gained from the tome, the PC always has full memory of what he has learned in the current game. His real life memories do not diminish his ability to retain the knowledge of the tome.

If the PC dies with the tome in his possession, not good, then there is an (inverse of the DL) percent chance that some benevolent adventurer will find the tome and return it to your home for future generations. This will always happen if you are killed in town.

But even if our hero is killed and the tome is lost, there is still hope. It can be reclaimed by visiting the dungeon level of Carefree McDimwitts demise and finding it. Yes, it will probably be guarded, maybe by a unique, maybe by a player ghost, but it will be there (no doubt missing a few pages).

The reality of implementation is that monster memory must be decoupled from the save file and stored separately. After that, it's pretty straight forward.
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:32   #2
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The big problem I have with new monster memory techniques is that making the memory anything other than an infallible source of notes encourages me to check out the spoilers (and/or the data files). What's really needed alongside this is some kind of procedural monster generation so such spoilers wouldn't be helpful anyway. Then one trick you could pull would be that only the monsters that are noted down in your AToK cannot change -- all other monsters may be different, since your character has no preconceived notions of what they should be. Quantum monsters!
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