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Old 12-05-2023, 10:29 AM   #1
weevis's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default Parachronic First Aid is cool! How do I stat it?

I really enjoyed reading the TimeWatch RPG and I'd like to steal some of its great ideas for a GURPS time travel game.

TimeWatch has a "Chronal Stability" stat that reflects how many paradoxes you've caused or encountered. It also can be reduced by your time travel, functionally acting as time machine fuel. When it gets too low, you lose substantiality in a way similar to GURPS McFly's Syndrome, a.k.a. "Fuzzing Out," (in G:IW p. 181). Eventually you risk total disappearance and were never born.

A few years ago on this forum Michael Thayne modeled this by adding a new stat to GURPS ( I'd love to know how that worked out, but I think personally I'd rather stick to the built-in mechanics as much as possible. GURPS already uses Fatigue Points in similar ways. And GURPS already has Timesickness (p. B158, p. G:IW 181) which at the frequent, mild level makes FP quite close to TimeWatch's Chronal Stability. We just think about paradox and time travel damage as a special kind of fatigue. So that's fine.

Here's the great idea that I want to steal: Inspired by the way that Psychoanalysis heals Madness in Call of Cthulhu games, TimeWatch has the idea that your Chronal Stability partly comes from your own will to exist. A well-trained character skilled in time travel -- called a Reality Anchor -- can talk you back from the brink by verbally affirming your identity.

How does this work? TimeWatch says that in addition to physical insubstantiality, paradox and time travel also cause mental insubstantiality: You forget who you are. Eventually you become an NPC in the timeline you are visiting, forgetting that you are a time traveler. (Neat effect!) This is called Subsumed in TimeWatch. I'm thinking this can already be handled in GURPS by Confusion Checks and Fright Checks (which optionally are caused by time travel according to G:IW). These can already produce disadvantages like Confused, Short Attention Span, and Partial Amnesia in GURPS.

I'm less sure how to handle the "paradox mental healing" part and that's where I'm hoping for advice. I really like the Reality Anchor idea. It gives the PCs a cool new thing to do related to time travel in a time travel game. It is kind of a new occupation -- Parachronic Paradox Medic! I think it would set up interesting scenes. However fast FP recovery seems like it has implications for game balance.

In TimeWatch, Reality Anchor healing works quite like GURPS advanced TL First Aid heals HP -- it's fairly rapid to heal some damage, then you can't heal any more without some other actions. I can see why that fast HP recovery would be good for exciting gameplay. As context, to support TimeWatch gameplay paradoxes and time travel should be cheap and possible. But there needs to be some small cost on them to prevent abuse.

I was thinking at first I could just declare the new skill GURPS Reality Anchor to be a FP-restoring skill that works like GURPS First Aid at some high TL. However I don't think that will work because giving someone else First Aid does not really deplete anything major in GURPS. I guess it costs time and bandages. A player could just keep trying some time travel over-and-over every 30 minutes (time travel games are like that) if they had another character giving them parachronic first aid every time they caused a paradox.

Is there some other rapid-FP-restoring dynamic I should use here? I thought of making a Power-based Healing (FP only) solution powered by FP to limit Parachronic First Aid. However paradoxes can affect the entire party, so having a healing-FP player try to help by spending the same stat they are also trying to fix doesn't seem right. I guess I could use an energy reserve from the Powers book but I dislike adding new stats.

Are there other ways to think about this -- using existing rules if possible? I really appreciate any help.
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fatigue points, fatigue recovery, first aid, infinite worlds, time travel

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