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TimeWatch Kickstarter from Pelgrane Press


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the author, Kevin Kulp, is a friend of ours. please consider this offering when it launches in January.


he has information on a Google+ page, as well as on Pelgrane Press's blog pages,




TimeWatch, by Kevin Kulp, is a GUMSHOE game of investigative time travel that Pelgrane Press is about to Kickstart. You are a defender of history, an elite TimeWatch agent plucked out of your native era and trained to stop saboteurs from ripping history apart. Your training allows you to diagnose disruptions in the time stream and track down the cause, making conclusions that less capable investigators might just guess at. The TimeWatch rules presume that you are a highly competent badass. Who are you to prove them wrong?


If youve played other GUMSHOE games like Nights Black Agents and Trail of Cthulhu, TimeWatchs mechanics will look familiar. It uses a pared-down ability list (Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics, and various engineering abilities are all grouped under the ability Science!, whose exclamation point tells you quite a bit about the games tone) and can be played in a variety of different styles. You can play it in Pulp style if you want more dinosaurs and aliens, Rebel style if you want to be the people changing history for the better, Cinematic style if you want to emulate your favorite time travel movie, and more. The default is Patrol style, acting as time cops to save the timeline.


Traditionally, the two big road blocks to time travel games have been game research and handling paradox. The former has gotten to be surprisingly simple over the past few years; with Wikipedia for research and innumerable, excellent alternate history message boards and podcasts (such as Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff or Dan Carlins Hardcore History) out there, its easy to track down good ideas. The TW rules will contain a number of mission hooks, of course, and our plan is to offer superb guest designers the chance to write missions as part of the upcoming Kickstarters stretch goals.


In TimeWatch, paradox is handled through an ability called Chronal Stability, which takes the place of Stability in other GUMSHOE games. Cause paradox and you lose chronal stability; lose enough chronal stability and you become unanchored in time. This allows fun flexibility when solving missions; you can time travel forward to check the work of historians fifty years hence to figure out what happened in this timeline, or even have your future self leave you a cryptic note about what happens, but doing so risks chronal instability. You can plan your investigation accordingly, solving conundrums while keeping paradox to a minimum. Whether youre dealing with a rogue time traveler who gave Hitler nuclear weapons, or mongols who sacked and burned all of western Europe, you may want the extra help.


The biggest change between TimeWatch and other GUMSHOE games are stitches (as in a stitch in time), an action point mechanic that rewards fun play and allows players to decide for themselves when to refresh their ability pools. If you find yourself getting nervous about how many Shooting points to spend because you cant predict when theyll come back, youll want to give stitches a try.


Weve also worked hard to get all the joy of breakneck chases matched with time travel. Chase someone through time on your personal time machine, and youll find yourself slipping from historical chase to historical chase as you try and catch up; from Roman chariots, to riding a stegosaurus during a dinosaur stampede, to racing high altitude fighter jets after them.


Above all, TimeWatch is a game that embraces everything that time travel should be. Want your future self to come back and help you in a fight at the OK Corral? You can do that. Want to play a caveman, or a starship pilot, or Amelia Earhart, all figuring out why the Titantic didnt sink? You can do that. Want to produce a disintegrator rifle with Preparedness, just by reminding yourself to come back later and hide it under a floorboard? You can do that. This leads to some interesting solutions when solving mysteries. When you end up arranging the very same mysterious ambush that almost killed your earlier self last session, just to prove to a local bandit king that you have prophetic powers, you know youre a member of TimeWatch.


TimeWatch is an upcoming Pelgrane Press GUMSHOE RPG about time cops, by Kevin Kulp, due to be Kickstarted in January 2014. Stay in touch at @timewatchrpg. To be notified when the Kickstarter goes live, click http://bit.ly/1hSd99K

Edited by Darsc Zacal
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It sounds interesting, but the whole time paradox etc thing sounds complicated enough to give me a headache. It's as bad as trying to resolve wishes in a fantasy game.


It would be a great excuse for picking up assorted minis from Reapers Chronoscope range. There's another current thread or two discussing if there were any game systems designed around allowing usage of all the minis from that line. This sounds like it could be the answer.

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I've never actually gotten around to playing any GUMSHOE games, although I have Trail of Cthulhu, Ashen Stars and Nights Black Agents on my bookshelf, have enjoyed reading them quite a bit and would like to try out at least one of them some day.


The whole time travel thing does sound really, really difficult, though, it'll be interesting to see how this game plays out.

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This launched today and is already funded.





You've got a time machine, high-powered weapons and a whole lot of history to save. Welcome to TimeWatch!

The air smells like death, and 100,000 rotted skulls are piled up in a mountain before you. "I think this is where 13th century Paris used to be," you say. "The mongols never stopped at the gates of Vienna. No wonder history changed; they're still riding across Europe and pretty much destroying every city who doesn't submit."

Your partner draws her pistol, checks the historical record on her holographic tether, and frowns. "Looks like the Khan never died of alcoholism," she says, "Let's find whoever decided to save his life. We head back five years to Karakorum, in 1241?" You nod and fire up your autochron. Purple chronal energy snaps into shape around you, and once again you're whirling through time, headed back to save history and the future of humanity.

Welcome to TimeWatchthe new GUMSHOE game of investigative time travel from game designer Kevin W. Kulp. TimeWatch takes Robin D. Laws' superb GUMSHOE rules and tunes them for improvisational GMing and fast-paced play, including:

  • player-powered pool refreshes that keep your characters in the action by rewarding exceptional play
  • compressed, self-explanatory character abilities that provide bonuses for specialization
  • investigative abilities that encourage clever, imaginative tactics
  • an initiative system that allows time-traveling agents to choose who goes when in a fight
  • a Preparedness ability that lets your future self bring you hidden gear and nick-of-time solutions when you need them most (the "Bill and Ted" method)
  • time chases across multiple eras of history, as you race through the river of time on the heels of your fleeing foes
  • rules that embrace using paradox and time-travel to your advantage when solving mysteries and battling foes; leave yourself a note from the future, or have your future self clock in to lend a hand when you need it the most
  • campaign styles that range from serious alternate-history investigation to high-powered pulp action, with stopovers at conspiracy, horror and cinematic hilarity. If you like, recreate your favorite time travel movies or TV shows
  • customizable rules that let you jettison time travel in exchange for adventures in parallel universes
  • fast-start character templates for pick-up-and-play games
  • character creation that lets you craft an agent from any era of past, future or parallel history. That includes non-human agents such as uplifted gorillas, synthetic androids from the future, highly evolved psychic dinosaurs from the past, and more
  • Multiple alien and parallel universe adversaries, with uniquely motivated bad guys from all eras designed to give your agents a challenge
  • alternate-history-based and parallel-universe mission seeds, making it easy to build missions and run scenarios
  • extensive GMing, adventure design, and player advice designed to help you master the game and start playing immediately

You'll receive access to a PDF copy of the Jurassic Edition playtest rules immediately as part of your pledge. Details on how to get this will be in one of the first Updates.


TimeWatch will be published by Pelgrane Press in digital and physical form, with an additional digital-only Player Guide available to all pledgers. At present, the book will be perfect bound and black & white; when stretch goals allow, upgrading from softcover to hardback and upgrading from a b&w interior to a color interior will be added with no additional cost to pledgers. Upgrading to hardback will also unlock a new pledge level for a deluxe, faux leather-bound, limited edition of the game.

TimeWatch's page count will be increased by stretch goals, with superb designers contributing mission pitches and additional campaign styles for extended play.The physical product will live up to the reputation for excellence established by such games asHillfolkTrail of CthulhuAshen Stars, and Night’s Black Agents.

The game is designed, playtested, and over 80% written. We need funds for art, layout and printing to get it off to the printers and into your hands. Cover and interior art comes from 13th Age Bestiary's and Owl Hoot Trail's Rich Longmore, whose art style perfectly fits the sci-fi action of the world we're creating. Michael Chaney, the person responsible for making Owl Hoot Trail look gorgeous, continues his masterful work with TimeWatch's layout and graphic design.


As you've probably heard from other publishers, international shipping prices are currently out of control. Shipping a book the size of TimeWatch from the US to Canada now costs significantly more than $30 in shipping alone. Yeah, we didn't believe it either. It gets even worse if you add anything that isn't printed. That's why we aren't currently offering official TimeWatch dice; add a single d6 to a domestic shipping order and you can no longer send it media mail, causing the price to skyrocket.

We include shipping in pledge costs for all US and UK orders, as Pelgrane Press is located in London, and the books are being printed in the US. To (almost) cover our shipping costs, we need to charge an additional $30 shipping for customers elsewhere in the world -- Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. We're as aware as you are that that's almost as much as the cost of the book itself! If you're an international customer, you have a couple of options for avoiding the shipping charge:

  • Pledge for the PDF instead of a physical copy
  • Ask your local gaming store to order the book for you through their distribution channels once it is printed  

Neither of those is perfect, and we're sorry for that, but hopefully you'll find a solution that works for you. Believe us, we're even crankier about high shipping costs than you are.


We have plenty of stretch goals planned, including having guest designers pitch TimeWatch missions and full campaign styles. One such designer? Kenneth Hite, author of Trail of Cthulhu and Night's Black Agents, the alt-history mastermind behind the "Ken's Time Machine" segment of the podcast "Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff."

We'll reveal new stretch goals as current goals unlock.

UNLOCKED: $5000. TimeWatch Tablet edition: PDF rules are fantastic, but not when art and long books slow down your device. When we make this stretch goal, any PDF book we create will include a separate PDF version with minimal art for those times when all you need is access to the rules on your tablet. Included at the Digital Recruit pledge level and above.

UNLOCKED: $6000. Character-Building Made Easy. We'll work with designer Matthew Breen to create fully self-calculating PDF character sheets for TimeWatch, similar to the sheets he created for Night's Black Agents found here.These will be made free for download.

UNLOCKED: Stretch goal: $7000: Expanded Races. We'll add expanded background details and rules to the templates for non-human player character races. Want to play a fully developed alternate-timeline intelligent dinosaur as your TimeWatch agent, or something even more unique? We've got you covered.

UNLOCKED: $9000: Campaign Style Expansion 1: Pulp Action. Rayguns a-blazing, this two-fisted TimeWatch section gets added to the book. It gives customized rules, guidelines and plot elements for embracing pulp-style play. If you like super-scientist gorillas and dinosaur-riding Nazis, you're going to want to see this written.

UNLOCKED: $11,000: Postcards From The Past! A 4th deluxe TimeWatch postcard gets added to the Time Traveler package and above, at no additional cost to pledgers.

CURRENTLY UP: $14,000: Mission Hook 1: Kenneth Hite! The mastermind behind Time Incorporated will write a 5000+ word TimeWatch mission that will be included in the main TimeWatch rulebook, propelling your agents into mayhem and alternate history as only he can.


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You know how we keep seeing the question "What game can I use my Chronoscope minis for?" 

....this one.


Yes!  I very much want this thing now! 



ETA:  Also, re: listed shipping costs for outside US/UK - that fact, while maybe not enough to sway me from pledging (I really want this game, and don't like e-thingies), is the main reason I'm starting to think the local B&M store might make a comeback.  As an early adopter of buying online (I've been doing it since before it was cool), ridiculous shipping has seriously dumped on my funtimes. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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