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Reaperbryan

Time Travellers

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My question would be, is actually timetravel, along the spacetime-continuum? And are you assuming One-Overall-Timestream?

 

I ask because time-travel stories have been moving to alternate dimension lately. It's time-travel, and dimension hopping, so change things in the past, and you can go back to your own dimension, and everythign is just the way it was. No paradoxes involved.

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A Paradox mechanic.... interesting. It flies in the face of my "the momentum of time will heal small distrubances" idealogoy, but it oculd be fun. Anybody care to elaborate???

Hmm - I know from our IRC chats that you and I have similar views on the time stream being just that - a stream or flow that will try to get back to it's natural bed.

 

That said, paradoxes should exists - if you have "bubbles" running up the time stream changing things, then you theoretically should have some situations where PCs seriously mess themselves up.

 

I'd suggest running a Paradox mechanic similar to Insanity Points in the Warhammer RPG. Certain actions and encounters net your PC an insanity point (or 2 or even d10 and in extreme situations, 2d10 or more). Once you hit a certain threshold, you have to roll a save to see if you gain some sort of insanity. Fail the roll, and you do, but you lose a certain number of points, effectively lowering your IP again. Make the save, and you don't, but the next time you gain an insanity point, you have to check again. The actual insanity is typically determined by the GM, based on the events and trauma's your PC has been through - IE, fail the save while facing a dragon, and you might end up scared of anything reptilian - but there are random charts to roll on as well.

 

You could have a paradox mechanic that fluctuated for every PC - once they hit a certain number, they start making saves to see if they've somehow messed up their own lives. As the PCs travel about time, you as a GM would award + or - points to each PC's Paradox Rating as they do particularly foolish or smart things - IE, if a PC inadvertantly steals a diamond ring from their own Grandfather, that could give him +d6 paradox Points, wheras if he walked by his grandparents and commented "you make a cute couple", that could reduce his Paradox Points by 1.

 

Then set a threshold - 10, 15, 20 or even more depending on how freely you want to give out Paradox Points, and how serious you want the consequences to be. Once a PC hits that threshold, they start seeing consequences to their actions.

 

Hrmm - you could even extend the concept to significant NPCs and orginizations - either tracking Paradox Points for them, and even having the actions of the bad guys affect the PCs personal Paradox score.

 

Overall, it could be a simple mechanic to allow the PCs to have a "danger" rating of how careful they must be, without actually getting into arguments over what effects a particular action would be - IE, if you have a PC who does steal his grandfathers diamond ring, you could end up in arguments over whether that ring was really his grandmother's engagement ring, or if it was actually for another woman, and the theft led to his grandparents actually meeting - some players would argue the specifics, while most will agree to a numerical value without argument - or at least a quicker resolution, since it's a value assessment of the consequences, rather than specific consequences.

 

OTH, it is another game mechanic and stat to track.

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My question would be, is actually timetravel, along the spacetime-continuum? And are you assuming One-Overall-Timestream?

 

I ask because time-travel stories have been moving to alternate dimension lately. It's time-travel, and dimension hopping, so change things in the past, and you can go back to your own dimension, and everythign is just the way it was. No paradoxes involved.

One reality. That's why the PCs have to set it right when the villains muck with time - it affects the PCs personally and permanently, unless corrected before the new timestream imposes itself over the old.

 

Kristof - I'm liking it so far, not too book-keeping intensive, while still allowing for paradox as a mechanic/potential plot device...... Lemme germinate on it.

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Kristof - I'm liking it so far, not too book-keeping intensive, while still allowing for paradox as a mechanic/potential plot device...... Lemme germinate on it.

Thanks - if you're interested in using it, I'd really suggest looking into the WFRP or Dark Heresy rules for Insanity and Corruption. The mechanic comes from those, and the idea to adopt it was inspired by Hamish's post.

 

Although it's changed a bit from 1st Ed WFRP (when I used it last) to 2nd Ed, the Insanity Point mechanic is easy to use and basically the same between the editions, and is actually quite fun for the Players and GM. You normally don't have to think about it unless/until something happens that would generate points. That moan from the players when they have an insanity point producing encounter is quite enjoyable - but even more fun is working with the player to decide what insanity their PC gets when they finally accumulate enough points and fail their save. I've even had encounters where I wasn't going to assign Insanity Points, and the players have prompted me to do so - "Oh, come on, fighting a dragon like that is worth an IP!" or "He ran throught he middle of the camp naked? I didn't want to see that - I'm taking an insanity point!"* My favorite so far was the PC who ended up becoming megomanical and trying to start his own church where he was the one worshipped. But I digress...

 

In a Time Travel game, I could see it as a mechanic the players could use to assess their successes and failures at keeping the time stream straight. Then when one of them does finally hit that threshold where something bad happens, it could be quite fun working it out with the player (or even letting the player themselves decide) what the actual effects were. Given what you mentioned about the PC's main villians, I could see it also used as a mechanic to gauge their respective organizations relative successes/failures against each other. You could even tie it to the flluff - IE, an event "worth" 6 Paradox points could be classed as a "level 6 event", or stuff like that.

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, question for you. When PCs travel back, and then fail at their respective mission to "fix" something, I'm assuming that everyone in the futures memories alter to fit the new timestream - right/wrong? What happens to the PCs who were back in time when time runs out? Do they remember the "old" timestream, or the "new" one? Just wondering how you were planning on working it.

 

 

 

 

 

*yes, that actually happened in one of my WFRP games, and yes, several players voluntarily took Insanity Points for the actions of another PC. One of my favorite nights of roleplaying so far.

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Kristof - I'm liking it so far, not too book-keeping intensive, while still allowing for paradox as a mechanic/potential plot device...... Lemme germinate on it.
EDIT: Oh yeah, question for you. When PCs travel back, and then fail at their respective mission to "fix" something, I'm assuming that everyone in the futures memories alter to fit the new timestream - right/wrong? What happens to the PCs who were back in time when time runs out? Do they remember the "old" timestream, or the "new" one? Just wondering how you were planning on working it.

There are to be 12 characters generated, 6 PCs. Each mission, the PCs will themselves decide which 6 of the 12 potential team members to go in to the timestream to complete the mission.

 

Team 2 would be available to go back and try again, with full knowledge of the first team's efforts and mistakes. Things get complex for me only because I have to involve Team 1 as NPCs in this event.

 

If both teams fail, we're probably looking at campaign over....

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My Paradox system would work like this. I'll break down Back to the Future as an example...

 

Marty travels back to 1955 from 1985 (before he was born), an act which generates no paradox in and of itself: If he had gone back far enough to threaten his parent's births it would have generated an extra 10 (10 points for every generation). He knocks down Old Man Peabody's pine tree which gives him a paradox score of ten or so (Changing the Twin Pines mall in the future to the Lone Pine Mall). Marty screws up the way his parents meet which gives him 35 PPs (it actually eliminates people from the normal timeline) and puts his paradox score at 45 . He reduces his paradox, though, by guaranteeing that Doc Brown invents his time machine and that reduces his score by 5 leaving him at 40 (Still in danger). He repairs the problem with his parents (-35 PPs) but in so doing changes his father's personality and outlook for the rest of his life (+10). All told Marty has a 45 point paradox (at its worst) and finishes the adventure with 15 paradox (His life is fairly different now from how it had been, but not to the point that it interferes with his existense. Marty generates A LOT of paradox, but only because he's actively interfering with the time stream.

 

In my system, a badguy's action would generate a paradox score depending on the severity of his action multiplied by his temporal distance from the origin point of the time travelling team's control point. The team can operate at personal paradox within this paradox total without endangering the timeline, because their actions to repair time counteract their own points in general.

 

Paradox points could perhaps be treated as a kind of hitpoint total for the characters. It wouldn't be that their actions cause paradoxes that effect the timestream (because after all, they've travelled back to fix someone who is screwing with history). Instead, the party has a running paradox score and when it reaches a certain threshold, the time machine back at the baseline time periond yanks them back to control before they have a stronger effect on time than the person they're trying to stop. The total paradox limit for the party would be equal to the paradox generated by the badguy, the incremental paradox penalties would be arrived at by dividing the total paradox limit by the amount of party members, and the personal paradox levels would apply penalties at increments equal to a tenth of the paradox limit.

 

Example

 

Bad Guy x goes back in time to off Truman before he can order the bombs dropped on Hiroshima. This generates a paradox score of 75. A party of 5 goes back to stop him. The party can generate Paradox totals of up to 74 before being booted back to control, can generate 15 total points before starting to cause party-wide penalties, and any given player could have seven paradox points before starting to suffer personal penalties.

 

You would have to come up with individual paradox values for acts and equipment, and come up with a way to generate the antagonists initial paradox scores in an equitable manner, but this is the bare bones for a good system, at least in my opinion.

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My intent as of now for a Paradox tracking system is this:

Each action a character engages in that has potential to alter the timeline causes Paradox. 1 point for something simple (tech more than 10 years in the future left or found), up to 1d12 points for something major (like killing someone not slated originally for death). When a Character gets Paradox like this, it's stores as Temporary Paradox - they immediately make a Spirit Roll vs. their current Paradox total (permanent and Temporary)- higher passes. Upon a pass - nothing, their Temporary Paradox remains, but no adverse affects - yet. If they fail, they IMMEDIATELY develop a Hindrance(Flaw) that has *always been there*. (time has changed, but apparently for them only!) A Spirit roll is made for Each Point of Paradox earned, not just one roll for all.

 

When the Character then leaves that time, either by returning to their "present" (Present Alpha) or by going to a new Time via the Lightning Road, they check their paradox. Each experience point earned in at that time negates 1 point of Temporary Paradox (this rules system awards 2-5 points per mission). If they have any Temporary Paradox points left over, those become Permanent Paradox. If they did not earn a Hindrance from their Spirit test before, they roll again now, and failure grants them a Hindrance. A second Pass means they are either very lucky, have a really high Spirit (like d12) or almost no Paradox already.

 

If they earned enough XP to reduce their Temporary Paradox to 0, they roll spirit and if they pass - the Hindrance is removed again. (time returned for them because they managed to negate the harm they caused.)Failure means the Hindrance is permanent.

 

The Character sheet has room for 11 Points of Permanent Paradox. When a character earns their 12th point of Permanent Paradox, it is now impossible to pass a Spirit Roll, and Time takes its Revenge. The character has managed to Paradox herself right out of existance. She will never emerge from the Road, and her companions will not notice, because she had never been born at all.....

 

 

One more thing - The Game system include Bennies. Fate Chips, Action Points, whatever you want to call 'em. The game calls them Bennies. Players get 3 per session, and they don't carry over. If they Spend all 3 Fate Chips, Lose 1 Fate Chip forever (so they only get 2 now), and 1 Permanent Paradox Point instantly, at the instant they fail any Spirit test that garners them a Hindrance, a character may instead take an Edge (like Feats, sorta). Time changed for the better, but the cost was high. *Characters with the Unlucky Hindrance get only 2 fate chips anyway and can't ever do this. (That's appropriate, they're unlucky!) *Characters with the Lucky Edge get 4 Bennies, so in theory could do this twice - which is appropriate, because they're lucky!

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My next challenge is to codify the Paradox earning guidelines. I need a "severity scale" of levels like:

1

2

1d4

1d6

1d8

1d10

1d12

 

So 6 stages of severity. Unless Random is bad.... What do yall think there?

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My next challenge is to codify the Paradox earning guidelines. I need a "severity scale" of levels like:

1

2

1d4

1d6

1d8

1d10

1d12

 

So 6 stages of severity. Unless Random is bad.... What do yall think there?

 

maybe try substituting 1d2 for 2, 2d4 for 1d8, 2d6 for 1d10 and 3d4 for 1d12 so the minimum will increase as the severity increases? Otherwise a minor paradox would be a fixed 2 points, but a severe major could roll a lucky 1 on the d12.

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The progresssion I use is kind of endemic to the system Savage Worlds. Everything is meansured in that progression. A child has STR d4. so they rolla d4 to do anything. It goes up to d6 with some training, so they'd roll a d6 to lift htings, etc. d12 STR is olympic bodybuilder.

 

The dice might not be the best paradox point award tier though.... Maybe just 1,2,4,6,8,10,12 and then I need to define the acts.

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Ok - Cobbled form the V:tm rules for Humanity, here's my suggestion to begin, please help me improve:

 

1 Accidental interference with natural history. Includes Persons witnessing use of Future Technology.

2 Purposefully inflicting injury on significant persons (Shooting but not killing General Washington, etc.).

4 Removal of Significant Objects from the timestream (stealing the Mona Lisa, or Hitler's map of Poland, etc.)

6 Introducing technology from the future, or allowing persons of the past to acquire knowledge of technology

8 Introducing Knowledge of future events

10 Intorducing knowledge of future events to persons with the power to change them

12 Negligent killing.

 

 

I must say I'm not too happy with it, overall, but would like some help with it.

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