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Old 09-04-2016, 01:58 PM   #1
PTTG
 
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Default Quanta Jump campaign design: Body-hopping!

I was thinking of how so many alternates could be more interesting if the PCs are able to take over the roles of NPCs like doppelgangers. For instance, if a PC could be Grant just as an alternate civil war turns against the north, or if the PCs are random people, but centrum (or something) has taken over the king and his advisors.

There's three ways to play this, as i see it:

Safeleap: The technology finds someone who just died in this timeline and revives them under the remote control of the crosstime traveler. A second death of the revived individual, or subject, will sever the connection harshly (the PC is somehow harmed by it). If the connection is cut or shut down, the subject drops dead of apparent heart attack.

This all avoids a lot of the philosophical baggage, as the "person" one replaces was already dead and has no future. If your foe possesses a zookeeper, for instance, it's mostly OK to shoot that zookeeper in order to protect the timeline. Depending on the definition of "revive," it might also mean that every mission starts with PCs at 1hp and in a coroner's office, or it might pop you in at full health right next to a bewildered bus driver who thought for sure he ran you over. Finally, it is presumably rather difficult to find the right sort of person at the right place, so if a PC get knocked out of the timeline for some reason, he probably can't hop right back in again.

Darkleap: The system causes the traveler to temporarily overwrite the mind of a given subject. Selecting this target might be random, might be related to "Ozmic flux conduit distortion," the upshot being you get an unpredictable but historically important person, or it might be as simple as typing a name in a database and pressing enter. Regardless, for the duration of the mission, the overwritten personality is almost entire subsumed, but remembers vaguely the events of the period. It's possible that they will write off oddities as a dream, or will accept the period as their own actions, or (if they're especially out-of-character,) they might have a nervous breakdown.

As such, it presumably behooves the PCs to treat their borrowed bodies with a certain amount of respect, and to maintain some level of cover, even from themselves! Furthermore, outright action against a hidden foe is especially difficult. The addition of some kind of method to forcibly depossess someone would be appropriate.

This form has the most interesting moral limitations, and those limitations help offset the safety of this method -- getting shot might kill your host, but not you; you're just not prepared to allow that to happen.

Swapleap: The traveler and the subject either swap minds, or are physically swapped and the traveler granted a simulacrum of the subject's form. This is the most like a normal crosstime game, with the addition of reliable access to local social advantages, and the difficulty of identifying enemy agents. It also has the difficulty of putting the subjects back into their worlds without risking the Secret (or this variant of it, anyway). Negotiation, brainwashing, and simply using ultra-tech stunning are all possible.

In all cases, the traveler gets access to the subject's memories, and may use the higher of his own skill level or the subject's. Possibly OP, but the real foes here have the same advantage. Also, a generous GM might allow "learning by doing" rules to apply to using skills belonging to a subject, so someone who spends 9 months as a gladiator will come back with a few points worth of Broadsword skill.

A history-twisting opposition is a natural foe, but there isn't a clear material advantage to turning more worlds to one's side. The main driving force of the campaign may instead be ideological or moral; the enemy wants to turn worlds to privation and darkness for its' own sake. Perhaps it makes the most sense if the PCs AND foes are a small subsection from IW and Centrum who happened to discover an ancient world-jumping homeworld at about the same time. Somehow, both sides escaped with certain strange technologies bonded to them, and now these two small groups are an unusual part of the larger war.

As such, successful interventions would move worldlines back and forth normally, securing ground in the larger conflict.

Last edited by PTTG; 09-04-2016 at 11:07 PM.
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campaign design, infinite worlds, quantum leap

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