chadpants
 member, 11 posts
Wed 25 Oct 2017
at 03:24
Time travel RPGs
How many of you played in an RPG which has a primary focus on time travel as the backbone? Like C˚ntinuum or So Now You're a Time Traveler? If so, how was the experience? Of the two aforementioned, it seems like one was way too cumbersome where the other is so barebones you have to improvise mechanics most of the time.

Are there others out there that are all about fixing/altering timelines as the primary premise that are loads of fun or at least entertaining? The premise itself seems appealing...
GreyGriffin
 member, 169 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Wed 25 Oct 2017
at 19:39
Time travel RPGs
Does Transdimensional TMNT count?  It actually had interesting time travel universe metaphysics to keep the Bill & Ted shennanigans to a minimum...
chadpants
 member, 12 posts
Thu 26 Oct 2017
at 01:58
Time travel RPGs
Is that a supplement to the original for the sake of expanding the game, or is the entire intention of it to have characters whose sole purpose or function is time traveling?
Isida KepTukari
 member, 176 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Thu 26 Oct 2017
at 12:52
Time travel RPGs
*strokes chin*

The Strange might actually be a good fit for Time Travel.  It's a Cypher System game, and the original premise of the game has people moving between different worlds in order to defend the Earth from transdimensional monsters that want to eat it.  And the game mechanics reflect how you change in every world.  You might be an agile mercenary on earth, a master swordsman on a fantasy world, or a cybernetically-enhanced soldier on a sci-fi world.

For a time-travel premise, you could use the same mechanics, just saying that your time travel method of choice lets you gain some local color and knowledge so you don't scare the natives too much.  If you're in modern times, you might be a chemist.  If you go back to medieval times, you  might be an alchemist.  If you zip into the future, you might be a trans-dimensional scientist.

I know you're familiar with Numenera - Basically your descriptor and type stay the same, but your focus changes with the world/time period.
chadpants
 member, 13 posts
Thu 26 Oct 2017
at 13:12
Time travel RPGs
Heh, you were thinking what I was thinking, that they Cypher system might lend well to those mechanics. I understand Predation has a time travel aspect to it, but in that game the time travelers are actually trapped in the Cretaceous period.

The system would have to incorporate the trials of encountering oneself in the past or future, the cost of creating paradox, and such.

I may have to look a bit more into The Strange...
Isida KepTukari
 member, 177 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Thu 26 Oct 2017
at 14:23
Time travel RPGs
The cost for a paradox could be the loss of some part of the world, or an artifact, or even damage to the character (Back to the Future-Style).  Or of splitting off a parallel world to deal with the consequences, and then how do the characters find their "home" time?
chadpants
 member, 14 posts
Sat 28 Oct 2017
at 03:49
Time travel RPGs
Yeah, I've been chewing on that. Incurring paradox could function to cause a PC to "discorporate", so it would be essentially like taking damage in other games.

Since I'm looking at it from a Cypher system perspective, perhaps DTs would be determined by how near or far in the past or future you want to travel? Like traveling back in time a whole millenium would be a DT9, while 100 years might be a DT4 or 5?

There are a lot of great ideas in Continuum, but it's out of print so it's hard to find, and if you do, it's over $100 US. The feedback for those who have read it say it seems like too much work, having to keep detailed notes of what you did so you do it again perfectly without incurring paradox, or what did they call it, frag? I think it would be at least good for scavenging concepts and ideas for a homebrew time travel based game.
MalaeDezeld
 member, 23 posts
Sat 28 Oct 2017
at 04:56
Re: Time travel RPGs
chadpants:
I think it would be at least good for scavenging concepts and ideas for a homebrew time travel based game.

I think that "So Now You're a Time Traveler" is exactly that! My memories of Continuum are fuzzy, but the only thing that I think is missing from "So Now You're a Time Traveler" is the convoluted rules about time traveler conflict (like gaining a new skill, multi-punching the enemy, causing them paradox, ...)
chadpants
 member, 15 posts
Sat 28 Oct 2017
at 12:58
Re: Time travel RPGs
In reply to MalaeDezeld (msg # 8):

Have you played SNYTT (see, I'm acronyming now for the sake of cleverness)? I would agree that it's missing the high potential for messiness that mucking around in the space-time continuum can result in. I can also see how it could get too messy and migraine-inducing if you try to follow every single disrupted permutation and resulting parallel timeline.

I do think the setting could do with some skills as well; perhaps something like the ability to foresee 5 minutes into the future without having to time travel, maybe the ability to implant a suggestion into a dream Inception-style, being able to inject a micro-probability into a main arterial timeline, etc.

What is multi-punching?
Varsovian
 member, 1399 posts
Sat 28 Oct 2017
at 19:32
Re: Time travel RPGs
As for The Strange: it's a great game, but what you might need to know that it's not strictly about travelling between parallel worlds. It's a bit weirder - and more fun :)

The main idea is that these "worlds" aren't truly separate realities, but pocket dimensions created (most often) by humanity's collective imagination, fiction etc. So, for example, in this setting, you don't get to travel just a parallel Earth that evolved into a fantasy world - you can actually travel to a pocket dimension reflecting Tolkien's Middle Earth. You can also visit a zombie world spawned by the various zombie apocalypse movies, or a world modelled after noir detective stories...

Also, these worlds aren't fully functional - they tend to be small and don't actually have to make sense. Just imagine a "world" that's actually one haunted orphanage, with no door you can leave through, with food arriving out of thin air etc. Or a world consisting of one scene playing in a loop, reflecting one potent bit of fiction...

The worlds can actually be totally crazy and surreal. There's one world that was spawned by one little girl's vivid imagination - and it's flat surface inhabited by crayon drawings. And when you travel there, you *become* a drawing, too :)

The Strange is... amazing. Seriously, people, check it out :))

Anyway! Yes, as mentioned, it does have this idea that the travellers get transformed to fit into the context of the locations they travel you. So, they arrive looking like the locals, they know the language, they even have the appropriate equipment. I imagine something like that could be very useful in a time travel game...
MalaeDezeld
 member, 25 posts
Sun 29 Oct 2017
at 05:33
Re: Time travel RPGs
In reply to chadpants (msg # 9):

I didn't play it. I saw SNYTT because I follow the author on drivethru. I read it, come to the conclusion that it was the beer and pretzels version of Continuum and I ran away from it! ;) I don't have enough interest in time travel to create opportunity to play it.

I don't think many games could survive when you generate mess from time traveling every moment. It would be insane. That why I think that the making the paradox personnel was the most awesome thing about Continuum time travel.


Oh multi-punching, I didn't remember well what it was. The premise is that to time travel, you need to be conscious, so if you have a location and a time, you can "punch" your enemies out. And with time power, you can summon your elder self to join in the fight (multiple time if you feel dangerous). But I thought I remembered that it was that you summon them mid-punch, like someone that can multiply himself would do.
LonePaladin
 member, 662 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Mon 30 Oct 2017
at 04:22
Re: Time travel RPGs
For those of you looking for something a little different in a time-travel mindset, here's a really really old one that didn't get enough traction. This was from Rolemaster Companion V, published in '91. I'm not reprinting the entire text here ('cause it's long-winded), just a summary off the top of my head.

They called it "Wave Time". I'll hide it under spoiler tags for those of you who want to skip it. The tl;dr version is that you can't create a paradox with it, as changes in other times never catch up.


Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
You have to start with a visualization: imagine time is an infinite ocean, completely still, but only a couple inches deep. The sand underneath has all sorts of shapes and patterns and colors in it, but they're not moving. When you reach out and touch the water's surface, it creates a ripple that spreads out in all directions without ever fading.

The ocean is time itself; the sand is a record of every place and every event; the first ripple is the Event Horizon that starts everything moving. Because wherever this ripple -- or wave -- passes, the sand underneath it is rearranged. Sometimes it doesn't change at all, other times it is completely different.

The wave itself is the Current Time. Now. Everything behind it is the Past, where it's all been recorded. Ahead of the wave, the sand can pick up vague patterns -- we know that tomorrow is Monday, and that the day after that is Halloween, so those events establish themselves. But when they actually arrive, we can't 100% predict what's going to happen.

Okay, so you have a sort of linear timeline, but quasi-three-dimensional. Now, how does time travel fit in?

When someone travels through time, they first remove themselves from their original timeline. It moves on, recording events, but without them. When they land elsewhere, they start a new wave, concentric with the original, that moves along at the same speed and possibly changes recorded events as it passes.

That's the important point -- a traveler's "home time" continues to move along while they're away. When they go back to their home time, it's progressed however long they've been gone. If they jump back to the time they left, it creates a new wave that overwrites whatever's already there -- so changes made in the past never catch up with the future.

A traveler could go back into the past and meet himself, sure -- he's already been there. Then both of them could team up and go back farther, but neither one can do anything that'll affect their home times. A traveler can't meet himself in the future unless he's traveled there previously (establishing a new wave ahead of his own), though it's possible to do this before you know you've done it.

Regardless of what his future self has done, the moment his original wave reaches the point his future self has visited, it will overwrite anything that's there. You can't change the past by going into the future.