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Supervisor194

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I've been considering running a time travel game yet again (I usually never get past considering) and was wondering if there are any good rulesets out there specifically written for time travel. Digging through my rather large collection of PDFs I discovered that I already own two: Timemaster and Timewatch. I know nothing about either.
I know I could go with a generic system (Savage Worlds, GURPS, etc.) but was hoping to avoid what seems like extra work. I also own Doctor Who but that's too specific to the Doctor Who universe. Any thoughts?
 

Gabriel

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I guess the question would be what in your mind qualfies a ruleset as specifically written for time travel? What sort of extra work are you looking to avoid?
 

Supervisor194

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I guess the question would be what in your mind qualfies a ruleset as specifically written for time travel? What sort of extra work are you looking to avoid?
Something that takes the paradox problems into account mainly but also provides details on story building, time travel related equipment, etc. All of which is the extra work I'd like to avoid if possible.
 

Moonglum

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I would pick my favorite game system for broadly similar tech levels and play styles and then bolt on a page or two of house rules for whatever items or spells you want to have control time travel.
 

Supervisor194

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I think that's probably what I'll have to end up doing. I was hoping to discover some new TT RPG out there that I wasn't aware of.
 

ORtrail

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I think that's probably what I'll have to end up doing. I was hoping to discover some new TT RPG out there that I wasn't aware of.

Well, there are some indie Time Travel RPGs on DriveThruRPG, I can't speak about how good or comprehensive they might be. GURPS has the Time Travel book but a game focused just on time travel?

From Timeline LTD (most well known for The Morrow Project) there is Time & Time Again, a boxed RPG focused just on time travel adventures. There is a ton of excellent GM advice. The PCs are part of a French Foreign Legion-type of organization. The game system is a version of BRP, more-or-less. The very odd thing about the time travel is that past events MUST HAPPEN. The GM is supposed to stop the PCs by any means necessary if they -for example, try to save Abe Lincoln at the theater. That was a deal breaker for me when it comes to time travel adventures, as messing with the timeline is the whole point. The PCs are really just supposed to go back and witness events unfold, knowing they can do nothing to change them. The Holy Warriors supplement is focused on The Crusades and is an excellent resource.

For myself, I ran my longest time travel/dimension hopping campaign using BRP and an article by Mike Sweeney in Different Worlds #29 (Godwar: How to Run a Multiverse Campaign). The premise for my campaign was that the PCs all 'died' in their home timelines and were recruited by a mysterious entity who puts them into pivotal moments across time and space. If you have a few d100 based games, especially ones based on modern or future settings, then you pretty much have the stats and equipment you need for time travel adventures. Being comfortable enough with a game system that you can create an NPC on the fly is key.

I avoided all the time paradox issues by saying that any significant changes resulted in an alternate universe. If you want to include that though, then Pacesetter's Time Master is the way to go. Their TimeTricks supplement book is just for all the messy time travel stuff. If nothing else, all the Pacesetter adventures are handy when you need an adventure quick. They provide just enough detail for the GM to run the adventure in that particular time and place. I'm not a fan of the Pacesetter game system, otherwise this might be my go to time travel RPG.

Timelords by BTRC is a really crunchy game system (at least the first couple editions). It has nothing to do with Doctor Who, except for time travel, and the premise is the PCs have stumbled upon an ancient artifact that hurls them through time and space. The adventures are worth tracking down, no matter what game system you end up using.

I think the premise of your time travel campaign is most important. How much control do the PCs have? Can they just go off on their own across time and space? Do they have little control over where they end up? Are they protecting their own home timeline? Can they change past events? Is there a big bad or organization they are dealing with?

Also very important is the game system you choose. I'd probably still go with some form of BRP (given how well I know it), but I'd consider newer options like Tiny D6 or the Cepheus Engine.
 
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Supervisor194

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Wow, that's a lot of good information! Time & Time Again sounds like something I need to check out!

...I think the premise of your time travel campaign is most important. How much control do the PCs have? Can they just go off on their own across time and space? Do they have little control over where they end up? Are they protecting their own home timeline? Can they change past events? Is there a big bad or organization they are dealing with?
...

Those questions are why I want to run a time travel campaign. :smile:
 

Stumpydave

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I'd let them go nuts. Kill Hitler, save Lincoln, whatever but I'd shoot then with personal minor changes in return. Kind of like in Timeless when they returned from the Hindenburg and one of the characters sister had never been born. They remembered the original timeline and trying to find and fix it so she got her sister back would fuel loads of sessions.
 

Simlasa

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Not what you're looking for I'm sure... but The Whispering Vault features time-travel as part of its central concept. Weird demi-god PCs from outside of time, crossing over to various eras to evict 'Unbidden' monstrosities that threaten reality.
The 'time machines' in the setting are enormous worm-things that transport the PCs.
Enigmas created by the presence of the bad guys are either solved by the PCs or else the area will pinch off into its own pocket universe and be forgotten.
 

Fenris-77

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Lets get back to basics, do you want a TARDIS or a gate? A machine that moves or a series of portals? That's a pretty basic demarcation for time travel stuff.
 

Simlasa

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Lets get back to basics, do you want a TARDIS or a gate? A machine that moves or a series of portals? That's a pretty basic demarcation for time travel stuff.
Or maybe being able to mentally project yourself forward or backward... moving into the body of a being from that time (ala Lovecraft's 'Yithians')?
 

Fenris-77

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Or maybe being able to mentally project yourself forward or backward... moving into the body of a being from that time (ala Lovecraft's 'Yithians')?
More importantly, like the show Quantum Leap. :grin:
 

Supervisor194

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I'm looking more for the 'castaways in time' type of scenario like the classic Time Tunnel, Quantum Leap (without the silly assuming someone else's identity), or Sliders without alternate Earth stuff. Although the alternate Earths might be a good way to avoid paradoxes altogether.
 

Simlasa

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Although the alternate Earths might be a good way to avoid paradoxes altogether.
If you're good with alternate Earths then Luther Arkwright is a good one... though it's not 'castaways' so much as secret agents. But I'm sure there's room to have a few unaffiliated people crossing over the Parallels too.

There's an RPG setting called Astulae that presents a sort of dungeon of alternate realities... with it's own set of laws and characters and factions. It would be easy to get lost in.
 

ORtrail

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Or maybe being able to mentally project yourself forward or backward... moving into the body of a being from that time (ala Lovecraft's 'Yithians')?

The Netflix show Travelers is based on this premise, (well projecting your mind backwards anyway) they come back to modern times to stop their horrible future from happening. They take over bodies of people just before they historically died and join up with other travelers to complete missions that should change the future.

It's actually a good premise for an RPG setting. A lot of fun is had by the travelers having to balance their host body's life and the work they need to do as a traveler. You have old people now in teenage bodies and host bodies with drug addictions, etc. Plus other travelers have gone rogue or have a different agenda.
 

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Wasn't there a specific time travel game? I'm thinking it was called "Continuum'?
 

Rogerdee

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Odyssey 5 where their minds go back in time into their own bodies, as nothing can travel in time except information.
 

ORtrail

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Odyssey 5 where their minds go back in time into their own bodies, as nothing can travel in time except information.

Huh, I backed a Kickstarter called End Times that uses that premise; except you can only go backwards or forwards 10 years, as you work to prevent some apocalypse or at least mitigate the damage.
 

Rogerdee

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Huh, I backed a Kickstarter called End Times that uses that premise; except you can only go backwards or forwards 10 years, as you work to prevent some apocalypse or at least mitigate the damage.
That sounds cool actually. I did like the series as it had Weller & Gorman in, and they were damn good. As well as the ex-spy (Michael shot him in S7), or angel from Supernatural (cannot remember his name), but he was good too.

It was a fairly interesting series, though in some ways like Earth Final Conflict - it was a little bit too much for generic viewers unless you were a scifi nerd.
 
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