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Genetic memory


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So, how would you go about representing genetic memory? There are lots of examples - Bene Gesserit, Goa’uld, Assassin’s Creed’s Animus, etc. is it just a lore skill? Is it skill points for particular broader skills?

Edited by Raleel
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Interesting. How does genetic memories differ from other memories/skills? 

They are obviously shared between all members of an organisation, but so are other Background and Career skills. Perhaps the background Bene Gesserit could include 50 hard wired skill points from genetic memories?

If it’s knowledge about the organisation and its secrets, I think a simple Lore/Knowledge skill works fine, like Lore (Bene Gesserit). 

But someone like Paul Atreides’ sister is more complex. She works more like a futuristic cyber-shell, downloading all knowledge as a fetus from her mother, being born with the mind and powers of an adult. 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bene_Gesserit has a bit

One of the 'powers' of a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother is her Other Memory: the combined ego and memories of all her female ancestors, passed on through genetic memory, and thus, up to the point where each following ancestor was born and the physical contact with the mother broken. The ego/memory combination remains a distinct identity within the Reverend Mother's mind, and is able to inject itself into her awareness at appropriate or emotional moments, though the Reverend Mother's ego is always dominant.”

they can also transfer their memories, as seen in the movie with the Freman reverend mother dying and transferring her memories to Lady Jessica. 

I don’t think this can be just raw skills - seems a little odd that you would suddenly gain Combat Style (ancestor’s combat style). Maybe one could treat it as a sort of spirit - while you aren’t exactly summoning it, you could access what it knows. *reads* oh look, there is a whole ancestor spirit, even one that can possess the shaman/Bene Gesserit if you are an abomination like Alia. Also seems like it might have elements of a fetch, in that it can’t wander away.

wandering around with a pile of these would be pretty intense. 

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You could make this some form of "Incarnate" or rather "Integrate specific ancestor (feat)", adding it to your abilities. If that ancestor had a greater skill that you had, you might get access to that skill, possibly modified or limited by how good your integration of that feat was.

A character may have the whole range of such feats at her disposal, but will be limited to one such experience per encounter. To balance this, you might demand that this awakening of an ancestral skill/ability may require an actual risk situation (i.e. one that would earn you an experience tick in BRP).

There is also the possibility that you don't earn the actual skill without activating magic, but that you get the ancestral skill value as the new maximum to which you can train that skill between adventures, by the normal training progress rates. That can be quite nifty with skills above 100%.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis


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In Revolution, this would just be an Innate Power, in Mythras the equivalent would be an ability, in Legend a Heroic Ability.

I wouldn't try and map it to a current Mythras ability or power, as it is a new thing. basically, if you rolled your skill, you can access the memories, if you critical then you access more/deeper memories, if you are looking for something obscure then it gets harder.

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Yes, I think this would be well handled using the Ancestor Spirit and Fetch rules of Animism--although at first blush I would not have identified the Bene Gesserit with Animism at all!

I think you have to decide on the flavor-balance between magic and science in your world.  As a magical power, I have no problem with this idea, but in terms of science it's utter nonsense.  If you're like me, then you probably sacrifice science for magic every time--at least in a fantasy game, which is all I actually play.  I'm not sure how I would marry these things in a modern or futuristic game...  I suppose that if I were allowing magic-type effects at all, I would just go for it and not think about it again. 😉

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