November 12th, 2008

teggy 2


Hello my name is nataleafrost, and I've been looking for a community such as this online for awhile now.  I have been mostly roleplaying as Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing from the manga/anime/OVA series Hellsing for the past 2 years now, and just recently joined a Hellsing RPG over the summer.  It's my first serious forum based RP, and I'm an admin so I thought joining this community would come in handy.  So far I must say over the past two years I have met some excellent RPer's as well as some that were just down right horrible.  I swear it's like watching a trainwreck.  You want to look away, but you just can't.  Then it's always refreshing to come into contact with RPer's who are detailed, and always in character in their posts.  Two examples are my friends Jones, and Heinkel(I won't say her real name since she is very cautious about such information.)  Jones is the most perfect Alucard I have ever come across, and Heinkel's posts are so detailed it's like reading a story.  Well I suppose that's my roleplaying life in a nutshell.  If you have any questions about me just ask.  It's nice to find a community as nice as this.
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    curious curious
Voodoo Dolly

The Danger of Time Travel

So, stumbled upon a question of time travel in an RPG for a character's background (Changeling, if you were curious). I wound up giving my view on the dangers of time travel, and thought I'd drop it in here for discussion. The initial question is, have you handled time travel in your games, and if so, how? What do you have as your 'paradigm' for time travel in general?

For me, Time Travel works this way:
It doesn't.

A character can't travel into the past -- the moment they do, they create a parallel universe. Why? Because they weren't there before... so obviously that's not the same place they are in now that they've showed up. This, a character in Timestream A who pops back in time a little winds up in Timestream A^1. From that point on, the character is influencing that timeline, and creating greater and greater divergence as they move forward.

If a player sends their character back solo, that's it, the character has vanished. Unless they've got some elite science on being able to hone into the point of departure, they're not coming back, and most people don't consider that. They think 'I'm in the past, so I can just move forward again and I'm fine'. Doesn't work that way in my world. Instead, the character moves forward in that divergent timestream. That's all there is to it. This usually means that character's removed from the campaign. (Fortunately, I've only had to do this once, and we used a Deus Ex Machina to bring them back -- with a hefty price tag attached). If the entire PC party decides to time hop, then I'm fine with it, they vanish, they go into the past, I run them through the parallel timestream, and the campaign goes on. No fuss, no muss.

Now, this is where I become a bit of a dick.

Time Travel is dangerous unless the people involved also keep Space Travel in mind. This is the thing I've only seen addressed once in a TV series (and in fact, it was Eureka, go figure). If you are in Toronto and pop back six months into the past, what happens? Well, the simple answer might be 'you may wind up overlapping something and dying', but I go a little further than that: Congrats, You've Died.

Why? Well, simple, really. The Earth wasn't there six months ago. It was on the other side of the sun! And the Sun wasn't there either! It was a bit closer to the Middle Of All Things. Our 3rd Dimensional Space is in constant motion, the sun, the stars, the planets, all spinning and expanding and heading off in all directions. If you're going to Time Travel, you need to be able to keep these kind of things in mind, because simply popping back in time doesn't usually take into account that things weren't where you left them.

I'm nice enough that when a character is going to try the time travel trick, they get a chance to realize this might be a problem, and thus they should take the proper steps to deal with that problem. Once that's done, cool beans, you make a a spell which allows you to choose not only the time of arrival, but also the location you are arriving to, which is actually a little closer to what you see in time travel fiction. "Today, we'll go visit the Ancient Pyramids of Egypt, in 3000 BC." says the guy in New York City.

Fair enough. That's my take on the whole Time Travel thing. No paradox, high risk, but once people know the rules, they can go time travelling all they want without me having to worry.

What about the rest of you?
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    contemplative contemplative

More on time travel

tashiro asked how people handled time travel in their campaigns. This dialogue was written to help players understand how it works in our world(s):

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DISCLAIMER: I did not make a post of my own because I felt my answer was any more valid or interesting or useful than anyone else's -- it was just three times the size of allowed comments, and instead of trying to cut it up, I posted it here. Apologies to those who feel it's spam. It's cut, so scroll on by if you don't care to read it.