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vicky_molokh 01-13-2011 03:14 AM

[Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
Greetings, all!

For many months I'm carrying this vague idea that I'm in no position to realize anytime soon. Inspired somewhat by - Timeshift, but intended to be Darker And Edgier (brutal and short).

A group of characters wake up, obviously after some sort of explosion on a large sealed vehicle (preferably a divergent-tech one to add to the confusion, net TL around 7 to 8, and preferably with a reactor onboard). They are all clothed in futuristic enviro-suits with HUDs, obviously experimental. With minimal effort, they find out that:
  • Unsealing the suits will break the isolation from the current timestream, is highly dangerous until the circumstances change, and for safety reasons disabled by the onboard computer.
  • The suit has intuitive controls for activating one of its abilities (each of which requires some amount of a limited chrono-resource).
  • The resource is slowly 'leaking', and if it reaches zero, effects will be equal to unsealing the suit.

vicky_molokh 01-13-2011 04:04 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
Suit's abilities all consume a limited and diminishing chrono-resource, and work in a timeframe from -30 to +10 minutes from the moment of awakening. They include:
  • ATR 1/DTR.
  • Time-Spanning Vision.
  • Time-Spanning Telecommunication with ONE other suit at a time (optionally one-way and/or limited to only future/only past).
  • Jumper (Time)
  • Bullet Time (at an enormous resource cost)
  • (Easy Mode) Enhanced Time Sense with trivial usage cost.
  • (Very easy mode) Enhanced Time Sense and ultrafast communication only with other suited PCs in the same vicinity and same time (not through time or space).
  • (Very, very easy Mode) As above, but with no resource cost.
  • (Easy mode) The suit comes with a PDW that time-jumps with it if holstered at the time of the jump.
Changes to the relative past 'reach' relative future in 'ripples' moving at a meta-temporal speed of 60. I.e. if you ask some suit in your relative past (30 minutes ago) to change stuff, you'll see the world change in your present roughly 30 seconds you opened the communication channel.
PCs retain memories of the way stuff was in the timeline without any ripple modifications; they do NOT remember the way things reached the way they are in the ripple-altered timeline. The good news is that they're sealed off from the timeline's ripple, i.e. they won't disappear due to a Grandfather Paradox.

lachimba 01-13-2011 04:14 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh (Post 1105615)
PCs retain memories of the way stuff was before the ripple reached them, but NOT how stuff IS in their recent part with the new timeline.

Easier to deal with than the opposite.

vicky_molokh 01-13-2011 04:32 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
All suits look identical, and there is no way to see who's inside a helmet. The only difference between them is the amount of chrono-resource and ablative shield charge left. The shield? It's another non-replenishable resource. If it reaches zero, temporal isolation breaks down too. The good news is that it is infinitely Hardened, and blocks anything up to and including gamma and weird-science radiation.

While in the timeframe of the adventure it is impossible to repeat, it is probably a reasonable suspicion that some or all PCs are the same character from different timelines. The impossibility is due to Jumper not working into periods already occupied by the same PC (so you can either jump into and out of some period before the 'awakening', OR into the future). It helps that there is no limit on time-watching.

By now it's probably obvious that the idea is about a temporal operation/experiment Gone Wrong, the adventure timeframe is isolated from the rest of time by it, and that T+10 is deadly unless Fixed.

vicky_molokh 01-13-2011 06:10 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
Also, it's not hard to conclude that before the isolation, PCs predicted this isolation, suited-up, randomly found (by time-sight) a relatively safe spot in the future after the explosion but before the second, ultra-nasty part of the catastrophe. Whether both did it from the same time and/or the same timeLINE should be unclear (aside from hidden faces, the comm systems mile their voices unrecognizable).

The process of Setting Things Right should probably include some repair work, bomb disposal, and shooting either the original crew or some remaining temporal terrorists, either of which should seen to blame for the event. All within the period from T-30 to T+10 minutes.

The culmination should have at least three possible outcomes, including: Rocks Fall Everybody Dies, a Heroic Sacrifice on the part of the PC(s), or a (mostly) Happy Ending (for everyone except temporal clones from 'vanished' timelines, if any).

vicky_molokh 01-13-2011 09:30 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party of short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
(Deleted obsolete data. Placeholder post for describing temporal physics.)

vicky_molokh 01-24-2011 03:20 PM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
Whoa, seems like I might be running this short module after all.

Another idea I'm considering:

Make Time-Jumps require a return jump - so if I go from +2'00" to a period of [-20'00";-18'00"], I must return to +2'00" or later. Meanwhile, I can retain communication to another suit who remains at +2'00", and can still freely talk to me (but not move), as per ETS+Rapid Telecommunication.

Makes permanent jumps backwards impossible (e.g. by eating Chrono-Resource per each second spent in the past), and a allows those players/PCs who opted not to Jump to still give advice.

Fnugus 01-24-2011 04:24 PM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
This idea actually sounds quite fun. Might tweak it and run it as a one-shot with my regular group.

vicky_molokh 01-25-2011 02:05 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers

Originally Posted by Fnugus (Post 1112095)
This idea actually sounds quite fun. Might tweak it and run it as a one-shot with my regular group.

I'm going to focus on the assumption that the module is mean for exactly two PCs (but I'll try to keep it playable for one, or maybe even three, PCs).

Currently, I have a few ideas for puzzles that require time-jumping or time-viewing to solve.

My big stumbling block is actually the rationalization for all these events: who's who, why is the time period limited to only accept between T-30 and T+10, what is the best way to make the non-suits completely hostile towards the suits plausibly (easiest if they never were allies) etc. Deciding those things will heavily influence what kind of puzzles can be done.

It's pretty obvious that the vehicle (I'm calling it a submarine, even though it could just as well be a sub-orbital deployment platform, a Kirov or whatever) should be messing with something in the past. Nuking the enemy capital city 100 years in the past is a straightforward choice, but it need not be the case. Making it unclear who was supposed to do what is important - the suits should not know whether they were supposed to stop the craft, protect it, commandeer it or whatever (the latter should result in a failure, ultimately).

Making trips innately two-way (unless the temporal seal is broken, anyway) means that if the craft makes it in good shape, the suits will travel back to the future.

Another sticky situation with my initial setup is that suits appear at T+0, but points T-30 and T+10 are impermeable to suit time travel. That almost requires the suits to have initiated the time jump at a point in a timeline where/when the craft's temporal seal would not be active in this period, but later a Time Ripple caught up with them, 'sealing them from the outside'.

vicky_molokh 01-26-2011 08:45 AM

Re: [Time Travel] Idea: party short-ranged amnesiac time-travellers
Made some homework regarding the Delayed Ripple Effect I mentioned earlier. The results aren't pretty. Well, they're geeky-pretty, but they complicate play somewhat.

I mentioned one timeline being 'displaced' by another, and a 'Ripple speed' - the number used in calculating the delay between sending something timeline-changing to the past and experiencing the changes in one's present (assuming a active time-sealed suit, or having the Temporal Inertia advantage).

I'll remind that I declared that the point in time at which the Altered Timeline displaces the Original Timeline (as observed by a Suit wearer) can be calculated as follows:

T_of_displacement = T_present_departure + ((T_present_departure - T_past_arrival)/Ripple_Speed);
Ripple_Speed is declared to be 60 ('60 seconds per second').

This means that if T_present_departure equals +5 minutes, and T_past_arrival equals +0 minutes, the difference is 5 minutes. This results in T_displacement == 5' + ((5' - 0')/60) == 5'05". 5 seconds between departure and displacement.

But one need not stop there. We can calculate the temporal coordinates of the Ripple (the displacement wave) for any given point in time after the departure point.

T_displacementwave == T_past_arrival + ((T_now - T_present_departure)*Ripple_Speed)

So let's calculate where the ripple is from our point of view of a suit left in the present (5'02").

T_displacementwave == 0' + ((5'02" - 5'00")*60) == 0' (2" * 60) == 2 minutes.

So, at this point in time, I can send an object (or jump, or timeview) into the period of time between +2'00" to +5'01.(9)" and target the Original Timeline; if I try looking into (or jumping, or whatever) further into the past, I will target the Altered Timeline instead, which may be good or bad.

But you'll soon find that if double jumps are allowed (i.e. jumping from 5'04" into 5'01", and from there to, say, 3'00"), a can of worms opens. Anyone still following this?

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