Saturday, November 15, 2014


Time travel is possible in the Sertorius setting of Gamandria. It isn't something we draw a lot of attention to but it is an important assumption of play. It was a key development in one of our previous campaigns. 

There are two time traveling Thauma (miracles) characters can gain access to as they acquire more followers: Returning and Sending. Returning can send you back in time while Sending can take you forward in time. However there are some serious limitations on both these powers. 

Returning can send the caster and up to six other people back in time to a random date. The caster cannot control exactly when they will appear but is able to choose whether they go back years, decades, centuries or millennia. A character using this Thauma might decide to go back centuries, and the GM would roll 3d10 and arrange them in order to determine how many years the player goes back in time. A result of 3,6, and 8 would mean the characters goes back in time by 368 years. Had the character opted for decades the GM would simply have rolled 2d10 (if the results were 3 and 6 that would mean 36 years back in time). Sending works the same way, except it takes you forward in time. 

One major problem this presents for characters is you need both Thauma to have any hope of getting back to your own time (unless you only go back a few years and wait). Another hurdle is the problem of crossing your own timeline. Any character who interacts with him or herself risks being wiped from existence or suffering a major random change. The rules for this are relatively small and just part of the Thauma, but because time travel has factored into some of our own campaigns, I've been working on a new method for managing all changes characters make to history. 

This new approach is still a work in progress, I still need to hash out the final details and work through the tables. But here are the basics and here is the first result on the table. 

There are some basic guidelines for the GM to keep in mind first:

1. All significant actions have a chance of producing change

2. All changes to the past change the future in an amount equal to the distance in time

4. Obvious changes are determined by the GM, non-obvious changes must be determined randomly

5. Exception: A person cannot write themselves out of existence if they are operating within their own lifetime (they can cause their death though)

6.Special Rule: An obvious paradox increases the chance of large change, shifting the Outcome table by 1 to the right. 

Further Explanation
Anytime the player takes significant action in the past (significant action includes killing something, creating something, altering the outcome of an event, etc), determine whether it produces an obvious change to history or if it is unclear.

If obvious, simply decide how history is changed and if this affects any of the characters directly.

If it is unclear, then assign a percentage chance of how likely the change is to occur. As a general rule of thumb, the chance of change is arrived at by taking the distance in time between the two dates in the timeline and dividing that by 10. So a person who goes 100 years into the past and kills someone, has a 10% of changing the future, someone who goes 1000 years into the past and kills someone has a 100% chance of changing the future. Roll using this percentage chance, if the result shows change occurs, roll on the Outcomes table below. 

The further back in the past one goes, the bigger the change. Anything within 10 years, only produces Superficial Change. Anything that between 11-100 years produces Minor Change. Anything between 101 to 1,500 years in the past produces Massive Change. Anything over 1,500 years produces Catastrophic Change. This determines which column to use in the Outcomes table when you roll for change. 

2D10 Roll

Superficial Change
Minor Change
Massive Change
Catastrophic Change
A random person you know (an NPC) dies
You Die or no longer exist if possible
A random place in the world (major city for example) no longer exists
Open permanent gate between your time of origin and current position in time. Everything can move freely between these two points.

I am going to work these table results out over the course of my next campaigns and will post the final version of these rules at that time. Until then, I welcome suggestions and thoughts on the subject. 

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