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Author Topic: Managing Time Travel in TTRPG?  (Read 272 times)


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Managing Time Travel in TTRPG?
« on: August 11, 2020, 08:49:04 am »
Hi heroes!

So in Suzerain (meta-setting for SWADE), there are many realms, both those of the mortals and the gods, but some take place in completely different centuries.

How do you deal with time-travel / time-bending adventures in your TTRPGs? Or how would you if it came up? How is best to organise/track a timeline?

Going to different centuries isn't compulsory but it's a great option to have, I just wondered if anyone has any tips!

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Re: Managing Time Travel in TTRPG?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2020, 12:28:35 am »

Back in the late 80s, I ran a fairly short FASA Doctor Who campaign (with homebrew combat rules). The main thing to consider about time travel and the like is what I call Temporal Rules. What are the rules and mechanics in your game to support situations like Paradoxes, Schrodinger's Cat/Willy(is the cat alive or dead/Is the willy existant or not), and ripple effects. These are not necessary to track. Just the 'laws' of your world/universe. Once the laws are completed, then it should be a matter of creating a spreadsheet/database to track changes and new data. Mind you, the easiest law to lay down is: Time Travel Changes Nothing And Allows No Paradoxes (since changing the past is essentially a paradox).
Therefore, my advice would be to goog some SF conventional rules on Time/Temporal rules in fiction and decide on concrete rules from there.

Tl;dr: Time Travel must have rules governing what is/isn't possible before timelines can be tracked.

Here is a place to start:

Hope this helps! :)
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Re: Managing Time Travel in TTRPG?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 12:07:35 am »
A really good example of a system of Time Travel would have to be CoNTINUUM: Roleplaying in The Yet. Just know that it oozes 90s. And yes I have played it, it does work, you just need a group that handles writing notes well.
Playing: Lords of Olympus, Amber Diceless, Tales of Gor
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Re: Managing Time Travel in TTRPG?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2020, 01:34:02 am »
I'm always a fan of the 'time is a river' scheme.  You can make ripples but you can't change the flow.  So, over the course of centuries, history can't get derailed even if some of the details change.  For example, killing Hitler would not stop WWII, just change which maniac was in charge.
You can find my solo Tarot based rules for Amber on my home page.