Cᴼntinuum: Roleplaying in the Yet by Mors Rattus
Intro/ContentsOriginal SA post C o ntinuum: Roleplaying in the Yet - An Exercise in Extremely Pretentious Confusion
What is C o ntinuum: Roleplaying in the Yet?
Well, it's a game about time travellers. Time travel can be confusing if done badly! Especially in interactive mediums.
C o ntinuum is very confusing.
And yes, the o does get superscripted in pretty much all game text when referring to the game itself.
What's it look like?
Well, there's the cover. Not too bad, as covers go, I guess. Kind of weird. I'm not really sure what's going on, but okay.
First page, however...well. This list? Note how long it is and how badly it might roll off the tongue.
Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet posted:
1. Information is All.
Upon whether I know or not know a thing, depends my existence. If I know a thing is to happen, it is my foremost responsibility to see that it happens. This is my Yet , or Required Future, and it is the price I gladly pay to span time. Change of the known is resisted by the Continuum ceaselessly so that our greater liberties and lives shall be fulfilled.
2. Respect Your Elders, They Know More Than You.
My elders, or Elder Selves, have been me, and more. I will show them every courtesy, and set aside anything I am engaged in to fulfill their requests. I will speak to them only when spoken to, like a well-mannered child of parents' dreams.
3. Measure Twice, Cut Once.
Discipline is the lifeblood of the Continuum. I will know when and where I am and am going, and diligently record where I have been. I will arrange corners, or meeting places, when and where my fellow spanners can rendezvous in safety, and coordinate our actions.
4. Invitations to Dance
If a Leveller, or other unfamiliar person witnesses a Spanning event, one of the following must obtain, in ascending order of rarity:
a) The witness is made to forget or never tell.
b) The witnessing was a strike against the Continuum; the witness is made to forget or never tell, and the parties responsible for the breach are sought out and brought down,
c) The witness is to become a spanner, like myself, a part of the Continuum and must be respected.
5. Never Fight for a Lost Cause.
I will assist fellow members of the Continuum to fight their fragmentation up to a clearly defined point. Beyond that point I will no longer aid that spanner to repair their fragmentation. Lost Causes are spanners who, through accident or design, through their fault, the fault of others, or no fault of anyone's, have suffered fragmentation beyond all aid, even their own. If such fragmentation ever afflicts me this severely, I will not hesitate to spend my remaining existence in assisting the Continuum.
MEMORIZE THIS PAGE. BE PREPARED TO QUOTE IT VERBATIM.
You think that's a joke.
That's not a joke. C o ntinuum does expect you to do this every time your character levels up, at minimum.
And we've not even gotten to page 2 yet. Page 2 is remarkable for the table of contents, which is as follows:
0. Introductions - page ii
I. Invitations - page 1
II. Spanning - page 29
III. Struggling - page 107
IV. Mastering - page 145
V. Knowing - page 201
VI. Details - page 209
Never played a roleplaying game before? - page 213.
Yeah, that's...that's some organization right there.
Next time: Part 0 and the start of the actual mechanics!
You would be the machine.Original SA post C o ntinuum: You would be the machine .
Okay! Chapter 0 is actually fairly innocuous. A short essay on how the best time machine is a skill that you can learn, and that the laws of time thus becomes laws of behavior. Okay! Then some dedication things from the authors, which are just as redolent with injokes as any other dedication.
Really, there's only one notable thing here, but, well.
Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet posted:
In 1977, I was playing Tunnels & Trolls when I created, quite by seeming accident, a time-travelling character that I would never stop playing. Oh, I'd get on with real life and all. But this character soon left the T&T surround, and entered EVERY work I made since.
For twenty-odd years, I've lived in the mind of this character to whom time is no natural barrier. Now, it's time to put it to good use. When Dave Fooden approached me in 1997 over whether a time travel RPG could be done, I merely extended the one character's experience to encompass a universe-long civilization.
So yeah, apparently this entire game is based on the one character.
Moving on to Chapter 1. I'm skipping the chapter fiction, which...is RPG chapter fiction. It's not all that great, but again, chapter fiction. Anyway. We are given an introduction to jargon without any explanation.
Spanners, as mentioned, are time travellers. Sometimes a leveller - which we are told is a non-time traveller - witnesses a time travel event. Usually, the books says, it is a narcissist. We have no idea what that is.
This usually results in mindwipes and so on, but sometimes they get the Invitation To Dance, which is the official name for becoming a time traveller. The jargon gets a bit thick before we get to the end of the introduction:
Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet posted:
The novice spanner will remember nothing after his invitation, until he awakens in his corner. He will recognize all his chronies, though he'll have a big whitespace in his mind with few distinct memories of what happened.
We can guess from context what 'chronies' are, but it's a terrible pun. 'Corner' is a bit harder. No explanations yet! Instead, it's off to chargen. All PCs are new spanners, and have come out of their In-Between (read: initiation ritual and hazing) 1d10*30 days ago.
Moving on past concept, to Attributes! Average human for any is 3, human maximum is 7. Zero is dead or comatose.
Body : General athleticness, muscular coordination, health, etc.
Body 1 is an infant. Body 7 is "Michael Jordan or Arnodl Schwarzenegger in their prime." So far as I know, there is no inherent extra benefit to having superhuman Body; there is for the other two stats.
Mind : Mental acuity, reason, clarity of thought, perception and hand-eye coordination.
Mind 1 is "A very young child, a functionally retarded adult. IQ 60-80." Mind 7 is "Stephen Hawking or Galileo. IQ 180-200+." At Mind 8 or higher, you automatically get Photographic Memory.
Quick : Sense of timing, insight, inner focus, chi.
Quick 1 is 'very poor reflexes, insensate much of the time.' Quick 7 is 'Billy the Kid or Bruce Lee.' At Quick 10 or higher, well:
Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet posted:
Spanners who manage to attain a Quick of 10 or higher gain a sensitivity to arrivals and departures of their fellow spanners. Called Shift Sight , it allows the character to tell within six seconds before and/or after of a span in or out, within a hundred yard radius. They can also tell which direction (Up, Down or Level) from or towards which the spanner is travelling, if they actually see the traveller vanish. Shift Sight does not allow a spanner to determine who is spanning, nor the precise point in spacetime they are coming from or going to.
That's it for attributes. Next is skills, which come in 6 ratings: None (-2 modifier by default), Novice (Ability Rating), Apprentice (+1), Journeyman (+2), Master (+3) and Grandmaster (Cumulative +1 per level of Grandmaster on top of Master's +3). A starting PC gets 25 points to spend on attributres in skills. 1 point buys a point of Body or Mind, 2 buy a point of Quick. A Novice skill costs half a point, Apprentice costs 1, Journeyman 2, Master 3. You can't be a Grandmaster at chargen.
And then no skill list. Instead, we get Benefits, which are advantages/backgrounds/what-you-like. You get one free benefit. You can buy up to two more. The second costs 2, the third costs 4. These include:
Lucid Dreamer : You naturally have the Dreaming skill at Apprentice rank. This is a natural ability, not a learned skill; if you want the character to have the Dreaming skill, it should be purchased as such. (No, we don't know what Dreaming does yet or why we might want it.)
Photographic Memory : Just so you know what it does from above - you have total recall of past events and information. For particularly complex events, a Mind roll may be called for, which you get a +3 bonus to. And, I quote: "A character with Photographic Memory my [sic] use this ability in lieu of keeping a physical Spanning diary, though the player must still record all spans [see Span card, pg 225]." We'll get there.
Psychic Potential : You could be a psychic! You need Mind 7+ to control these powers, this is just the potential. We are told to see page 114, Aquarian Skills. To find out what you might get, you roll a d10. Choices are Clairvoyance (1), Telepathy (2-3), Levitation (4-5), Telekinesis (6-7), Pyrokinesis (8-9) and Roll twice (10). Nothing on what happens if you roll 10 more than once.
And now, skills? No, not skills! An optional rule, Limits, which are...flaws, which give you 2 CP or an extra Benefit. No description of them yet. Instead, we get "One Big Score", which says that all time travellers are allowed one huge windfall under the supervision of the Moneychangers Fraternity (see page 64). You roll 4d100, and then multiply all the dice roll results together. That is how much money you have. We are told that the Moneychangers carefully monitor all this to ensure there is no possibility of Frag. Which we don't know what that is yet.
Next time: Skills? Yes, but only after we explain dicerolls and the Limit Table!
Players should fill in one of these clocks with a pencil mark.Original SA post C o ntinuum: Players should fill in one of these clocks with a pencil mark.
Okay. Action resolution. I mentioned skill titles before, and you know about attribute ratings. These are important! First, all modifiers apply to the appropriate attribute rating, not the dice roll. Rolls are done on d10, and you're trying to roll under the attribute. Difficulty is determined by title - all rolls have a title difficulty. If you have that title skill, you get no penalty or bonus. You get -1 for every title above yours the roll is, and 1 for every title below; if the roll is 2 or more titles below yours, you automatically succeed.
If you roll a 1 you automatically suceed and immediately reroll the die. If you roll a second 1, you have gotten a Victory , which is an automatic success that is extremely lucky and skilled. You know, critical success.
If you roll a die and it comes up equal to your unmodified attribute, you reroll the die. If it comes up the same again, you have gotten a Grace , which is an automatic success caused by the unseen aid of another time traveller. Only good guys can have this happen, apparently. Anyway, we are told that GMs and players will both want to take note of when Graces happen so because the favor may be called in one day.
If you roll a 10, you don't automatically fail. However, you must reroll the die. If that die is a 10 as well, you have a Blunder which is a critical failure.
Simple enough, though I think it's kind of an awkward system. There's three types of action - simple, which don't need a roll, uncontested which do need a roll and competitive which is rolling against some other guy. Again, simple enough.
But wait! We're interrupted by the Limits table. See, you don't get to pick your Limit if you take one. You roll out on a d100. The chart includes:
01-02 - No Limit : Lucky you, you get away with out [sic] having a limit applied to your character!
13-14: Diabetic (hyperglycemic) : The character must receive regular insulin injections or die.
Hope you weren't a time traveller from the past!
19-20: Facial tic : The character has developed a facial tic. One of the muscles in the character's face often twitches, especially under stress.
27-28: Phobia (uncommon) : The character has a phobia (irrational fear) of an uncommonly encountered thing or situation (sharp objects, hermaphrodites, zebras, etc...)
47-48: Sickly : -2 to all rolls involving resisting disease and/or nausea.
67-68: High blood pressure : If the character makes a Blunder on a Body roll related to exertion, they must make a second roll to resist going into cardiac arrest. +2 modifier to roll if regularly taking medication.
79-80: Infertile : The character is unable to reproduce sexually.
83-84: No arms
93-94: Narcolepsy : The character may fall asleep, unwillingly, at any time (GM's decision).
You may notice some disparities here. And general oddness. But hey! We finally get to the skills list!
Skills are divided up by Attribute. Once you get a skill, you have to pick a specialization, like Drive (Car) or Computer (Hacking). You have to re-learn from novice level for every specialization. So a guy who can drive a car has to spend more time learning to drive a truck, or a guy who throws shuriken has to spend time learning to throw knives.
Anyway, here's Body-Based Skills
Time Index: 60 days/20 days
Description: Either a sports-based discipline or a general athletic endeavor.
Example Specializations: Running, Strength Training, Running, Football, Swimming, Climbing, Gymnastics
Notes: Strength Training
This acts as a multiplier for the amount of weight a character may move or lift. To find a character's weight maximum, multiple their Body rating by 30. This is the amount they may life in pounds as a simple action. On a successful Body roll they may life up to 60 times their Body in pounds. If a acharacter has Athletics (Strength Training), the following multipliers apply instead: Novice x30/x60, Appr. x40/x80, Journ. x50/x100, Master x60/x120
This acts as a multiplier for movement speed on a successful roll (only if character is doing nothing but running for an entire combat bout or more, see pg. 22). At Novice x0, App. x2, Journ. x3, Master x4.
No, we have not been told what Time Index means. And yes, you read that right - Running is listed twice, and a Novice runner is actually worse at running than a normal person, being incapable of running .
Anyway, I'm not gonna do that for other skills, just entertaining bits. The other Body skills are:
Melee Weapon, Thrown Weapon, Toughness (it helps resist damage) and Unarmed Combat.
Anthropology, Bureaucracy, Computer, Etiquette, Finance, Firearms (yes, that does mean Steven Hawking is a crack marksman, or at least a passable one even without this skill), Games, History, Investigation, Language, Law, Locality Knowledge (Basically, familiarity with a specific time and place, like Late 20th Century LA or Victorian London), Medicine, Observation, Projectile Weapon (Steven Hawking is also an archer!), Science, Security, Survival, Teaching (which can reduce the time it takes to train a skill; we'll get to that).
Art, Dreaming - Okay, time to get out the quotebox. Remember Lucid Dreamer? You can get a skill for 1 CP, and Lucid Dreamer won't let you raise Dreaming unless you actually buy it as a skill; Lucid Dreamer is thus a completely useless Benefit, and here's why:
This Skill is unique; it encompasses the many powers listed below.
The following powers may be attempted at the Title rank indicated. For further information about the Dreaming Skill see Chapter III: Struggling - Dreaming and Communication, pg. 108.
Restfulness (Novice): With a successful Dreaming roll (Novice difficulty), the character is able to fall asleep at will. With another successful roll, a specific time, or amount of time spent asleep, can be predetermined for the character to wake up at.
Lucid Dreaming (Apprentice): This allows the dreamer to control the content and direction of dreams to reveal desired information. If Lucid Dreaming is succesful, the dreamer may automatically learn something about himself or evidence he has seen but not understood. A second roll is required to discover information about people or events the dreamer is not normally privy to. Note that this information is likely to contain primarily symbolic representation of how others currently perceive themselves, the dreamer, or events. The GM may set a difficulty for this roll based on the secrecy and obscurity of the information.
Oracular Dreaming (Journeyman): This allows a dreamer visions of other times, that are reachable from his current Level with his Span. Only on a Victory or a Grace roll will the dreamer be able to control exactly what he wants to learn of the past, the future, or his Yet.
Dreamsharing (Master): Two characters with Dreaming Skill may share dreams and information, within reason, as long as one of the dreamers is a Master, and they are both in the same Level time. Certain particulars may become clouded depending on fatigue of the dreamers; an appropriate level of difficulty should be assigned. Also, if one of the dreamers is not a Master, that dreamer must make a Dreaming success (Master difficulty) for every REM cycle of sleep (about 45 minuteS).
Transchronal Dreamsharing (Grandmaster): The same as Dreamsharing, only across spacetime. This is a remarkable feat, and is limited to being between Dreaming Grandmasters that are within each others range of Span. (I.e. A spanner of Span 2 is forty years away from a spanner of Span 4. Both are Dreaming Grandmasters, but the Span 2 dreamer is not within range to receive the other's dreams, so they may not Dreamshare.)
Don't worry, the jargon will...eventually...be explained. But yeah, just...just read that. If you're gonna do Dreaming, do the skill. Because it is massively better.
Other Quick-Based Skills:
Drive, Hypnosis, Stealth, Swindle
And Acumen, which is anything else and can be in any attribute.
You get some skills at Novice free; these are your Locality Skills, the things any person from your time and place would know. They cost points to raise in chargen as though they were a title lower than they are. Only the 20th century gets them listed, and for that they are: Drive (Car), Athletics (Sport of Choice), Locality Knowledge (Native Locality), Native Language (at Journeyman instead), Acumen (Job Skill), Acumen (Hobby Skill)
How, you ask, do I learn more? Do I spend XP? No! There is no XP in C o ntinuum! Instead, there are clocks.
Every time you make a successful roll with an attribute or skill, you fill in one of the little clocks. Victories, Graces and Blunders all raise by two clocks rather than one. Skill rolls count for both attribute and skill; the second image is the skill clock chart and the first is the attribute one. For attributes, each time you fill all the little clocks, empty them all and fill a big clock. When all the big clocks are filled, your attribute goes up one. You may, whenever you time travel, roll your Quick to get Quick clocks as well.
Each of the letters by the skill clocks is a title. When you reach the next title you don't have in clocks, you go up to that title and erase all clocks, starting again.
This is where Time Index comes in. The first number, before the slash, is how long you have to study to get Novice at a skill you don't already have. The second, after the slash, is how long you have to study to get one clock. These vary by skill. This is generally in downtime, but:
The time index listed assumes intensive, daily study, with little or no time spent on other pursuits. It is recommended that characters keep a low profile during these times, as they may be vulnerable to frag attempts. It is also required that these periods be kept track of in one's span book.
GMs wishing to create a time index for new skills are advised to determine the amount of time (usually years ) they feel are necessary to achieve Master title in the new skill and divide this amount, based on the advancement system, as if a character were studying levelly.
To study, you need a teacher whose skill is at least one title higher than yours. A teacher who is at least two titles higher and has the Teaching skill can try to halve the time you spend.
I was going to finish Chapter 1 and combat today, too, but we're getting a bit longwinded as it is.
Next time: Hitting stuff!
It is possible, though dangerous, to slipshank a Gemini encounter into the fray.Original SA post C o ntinuum: It is possible, though dangerous, to slipshank a Gemini encounter into the fray.
Okay, combat. Rounds are called 'combat bouts' because who knows why, and turns are 'stages'. There are five stages to a bout, you act on a number of them determined by your Quick. If somehow your Quick breaks double digits, you get to act twice sometimes. Ranged attacks are uncontested; you have to actively dodge to get any defense, which takes an action. If you fail the roll, your attacker gets a bonus. Melee combat allows counterattacks rather than defense if you have an open action, or you can even defend without an open action if you want, but you get a penalty.
Damage is not done in 'damage' or 'HP' but in 'impairment points (IP)'. Because. Every source of damage has one of four damage ratings, based on hit location.
Apparently, no one is ever really hit below the torso. Graces and Victories deal double damage if you hit the head. Your attack roll's results determine where you land the blow. Damage comes in two types - lethal and bruise. The only differences are healing time and shock. Bruise heals faster and takes more damage to cause a shock check.
2 lethal IP or 3 bruise IP force a Shock check, where you make a Body roll. If you fail, you can do nothing for 1d10 bouts. Remember, that's a round, not a turn. If you Blunder the roll, you go into a coma for 1d10 days, which can be reduced by a Dreaming roll. If you succeed the Dreaming roll, you divide that 1d10 by the result of the Dreaming roll and that's how many days you're under; however, if you fail, you multiply it instead.
If you get a Grace or Victory, you not only are fine but the wound doesn't bleed. 2+ IP from cutting wounds, you see, force a Body roll to prevent bleeding, which causes 1 lethal IP per bout per wound. The only other way to stop bleeding is to spend 2 full bouts tending to the character and making a skill check on a medical skill.
The rules say you can time travel in combat if you make a Quick roll, moving to whatever stage of the bout you like at whatever location you like, facing whatever direction you want - as long as it's forward. Backwards time travel causes "effectively entering one into a time combat with oneself. Only Narcissists and fools engage in such antics." You may, however, "slipshank a Gemini encounter into the fray" and have an elder self appear, following all rules for Slipshank and Gemini encounters. Which are covered later.
This course of action is considered highly risky, as seeing an elder self perish can be extremely traumatic and if the junior were to fall in such an incident, it is likely everyone involved would suffer Frag. (See Second Death, pg. 41.)
We are now told that healing is based on what type of damage you suffered! Not bruise or lethal, mind you - what type of bruise or lethal. Hope you kept track! Because cutting/piercing wounds like bladed weapons and gunshots take 2 weeks to heal per IP, burns take 9 weeks, and internal damage takes 4 weeks. Blunt trauma takes 2 days per IP, fatigue takes 3 hours. While wounded, every IP directly reduces your ability scores by 1. If your Body is at 0, you are unconscious and your last IP heals faster - 1 minute for bruise, or medical attention if lethal.
Now, weapons. Practically every weapon that isn't a derringer or a sling is likely to cause more than 1 IP of damage, which will be lethal. So shock checks and bleeding checks are very, very likely. Melee weapons don't list the chart and just have a direct damage of 'unarmed damage' plus a certain number, telling us that unarmed damage is listed on page 24. It's on 25, but is listed; you deal (Body) damage on an A shot, then reduce by a quarter for every location down.
Oh, and this picture is there!
Fuck if I know why. That's the end of Chapter I, and into Chapter II, which is written semi-in character. We'll skip the stories again. We are told that Span 1, the first stage of time travel, has a range of 1 year and 1 mile. Time travellers are 'spanners' or 'chronies' and 'span' was once 'spin' before spanners were invented. Time travellers refuse to use the words 'past' and 'future', pereferring 'Down' and 'Up' respectively. The Yet is someone's personal required future, and a person's Age is his personal past. Verb tenses, we are told, are pretty much always used in present tense when speaking in the third person, past tense refers to personal past, and future tense refers to the Yet.
Then we get a chart telling us that a Span 1 can also only travel with ten pounds of gear. All numbers go up by a factor of ten per point of Span. You can't telefrag, but trying to go somewhere you haven't been takes a Quick roll; failure means you show up somewhere inconvenient.
Every time a character travels time, no matter how briefly or innocuously, the player must note it on that character's Spanning Card. This represents the careful records all Continuum spanners keep to ensure they don't frag themselves or anyone they know. The GM is allowed to penalize characters who do not keep careful records. These penalties are detailed under the Frag rules (pg. 53).
At the end of each play session, the GM calls for all players to reckon their Age. Those that have a spotty record will have a hard time recalling their Spans, and earn themselves penalties. If the GM wishes, characters with well-kept records may earn small bonuses, raises in pay at their level job, or other signs that the universe is smoothly working around them.
Your Span is finite, too - you can go one year, total, adding up all the time you travel. You can go one mile, total, adding up all the distance. Then you have to go 24 hours without time travelling to get it back. You may make a Quick roll to go beyond your Span, wih some hefty penalties...and failure means you miss and wind up in space. And probably die. Success means you show up but are completely exhausted unless you get a Victory. On a non-Victory, you must make a Body roll against shock, a Mind roll against insanity and a Quick roll against landing in the wrong place.
Next time: The Aquarian Age!
The time of the first domestication of cats.Original SA post C o ntinuum: The time of the first domestication of cats.
We start off talking about Age. Age refers to, apparently, not just your physical age - and you do keep aging normally by your own personal time - but also what you've experienced. We learn that normally, a spanner actually keeps his job in normal life and tends, in fact, to excel due to being able to spend as much time as they like. However, you'll want to keep track of your physical age for that. We also mention corners, which means...well, we don't know yet.
At which point we are told that all time travellers memorize calendars so that they can discuss things in any time and place. And that the Continuum has its own calendars, too. Fortunately, you don't have to learn them because C o ntinuum has included calendars and instructions to use them in Appendix C!
You may want a pocket calculator to help add and subtract days, hours and minutes. But beyond this basic tool, little wrestling with math is required.
Now, we get the history. Which is based on the zodiac, for no clearly apparent reason. Each zodiacal period is roughly 2000 years, as follows:
Aquarian Era - AD 2000-4000. "The hallmark of this era is unity and self-discipline, and the inevitable control over all the forces of the universe." It is also the last time period ruled by the Continuum's Societies, and the time of the Inheritors is beginning. Don't worry, you didn't miss being told what those were.
Piscean Era - AD 1-2000. The time of Rome, Christendom and crossing of oceans.
Ariesean Era - 2000-1 BC. Era of independent states and strategic warfare.
Tauran Era - 4000-2000 BC. Cattle breeding and herd worship. The end of the Hunt of the Sun. We're not sure what that is.
Geminid Era - 6000-4000 BC. "A time of narcissist intrigue and great wars between spanners. Time of the elder human gods known to later levellers."
Cancerean Era - 8000-6000 BC. Receding ice and hard people. The Hunt of the Sun begins.
Leonid Era - 10000-8000 BC. Domestication of cats.
Virgin Era - 12000-10000 BC. "The early Societies, of which much is secret, potential, and unwritten."
Libran Era - 14000-12000 BC. Era of decision and justice. The collapse of Antedesertium and Interregnum. Lower boundary of Societies and the Atlantean Councils. Mmm, more proper nouns!
Scorpiod Era - 16000-14000 BC. Time of narcissists seeking chaos, revenge and pain. Great sickness among levellers.
Sagittarian Era - 18000-15000 BC. A "more noble time of Antedesertium."
Capricornic Era - Precedes 18000 BC, follows 4000 AD. Inheritors control Earth and rule the stars. They also forbid travel to pre-18000 BC, which was a time of incredible civilizations, many nonhuman.
Here's the map:
Have fun with that! Now we move on to 'stupid time travel tricks.' The first is Slipshank. Slipshank is the Bill and Ted trick. 'Well, I need a gun, so...I will go and put a gun under this rock later. AHA! A gun under this rock!' You get a point of Frag and putting the gun under the rock enters your Yet. If you do this while you have more than zero Frag, you take a penalty equal to your Span on all rolls and Graces count as failures until your Frag reaches zero.
No, the game has not yet explained what Frag is.
Gemini Incidents are when you meet yourself from the future. They come in two types.
Young Geminis happened before you became a spanner. Roll 1d100, divide the result by ten and drop all fractions. This is how many times you had Young Geminis. At some point in the future, you will have to enact all of these, but if you ever go above that, you get a point of Frag.
Known Geminis happen after. Each time you increase Span - including becoming Span 1, ie, making a character, you roll 1d100, divide by ten and drop fractions. You must have that many Gemini incidents before you can raise your Span. Later in life, you must actually go and do those incidents.
The GM can start one whenever he likes, playing Older You, and you play Younger You. The GM may not have Older You die before your eyes or deliberately cause Frag. He is "heavily discouraged" from acting wildly counter to your personality. When playing Older You, you must try your besst to play out what Older You did in the first incident. If you go too different, you take Frag.
Note that the actual Gemini Incident will be considered to be the last one played. If Frag is declared, action must be taken upon the junior incident. (The Continuum stresses that genuine Gemini Incidents outside the game are much the more strict in scruple.)
You may also, at practically any time, time travel out of what's happening to spend downtime learning a new skill at Novice. This is, in fact, suggested. You can also survive death - once. If you die in game, you may continue to advance up to two more ranks of Span. What happens, you see, is you warp out at the moment you would have died...and one day, you're going to have to warp back in. The death goes on your Yet, but you can keep playing, so long as you have less than 5 Frag.
If you die a second time, however, you get instantly set beyond Frag 7 and anyone involved with you at the time of your second death takes 1 Frag.
Then we get the glossary! Antedesertium is a narcissist empire that is the greatest threat to the Continuum. As/As Not is "the point during an incident of frag beyond which natural paradoxes do not heal by themselves, but collapse the universe, instead." Atlantis is a time traveller battle station. A corner is a time traveller home base. Frag is the state of inconsistency in the universe. A Narcissist is a time traveller that is against the Continuum and is trying to alter events. "Sentient Force", a term that'll be coming up a lot, is a deliberate act of will. This is an actually kind of useful if mostly IC glossary! It's just very oddly placed.
By the way, we're still in the middle of the chapter! It'll still be a bit before Frag is actually explained.
Next time: Asking the time in 26 languages!
Too much fashion sense invities trouble.Original SA post C o ntinuum: Too much fashion sense invites trouble.
We start out now by defining the Continuum: it's the entirety of all sentient life in the universe. And also the social framework that holds the universe together. And also not-a-government that is all loyal time travellers.
Then it's a surprisingly coherent explanation of how to handle paradoxes, and then off to being told that time travellers keep their day jobs.
In game terms, this may amount to noting down hours worked at a job or in school on your Span card, and nothing more. C o ntinuum games may emphasize realism, but roleplaying the office work is going too far.
No, you just have to write down that you did it. It also mentions that you'll want to have a translator around...and then we talk about clothes. You see, you have to be careful to wear simple clothes and keep to the right day for laundry, to avoid confusion! You see, the most important thing is item discipline. We'll deal with that in detail later.
First, we have to talk about how to ask the time. There is a sidebar explaining how to ask that in 26 languages, ranging from Arabic to Icelanding to Romanian to Yiddish. Oh, and this wonderful quote.
In this era of great information retrieval, keeping spanning a secret becomes more and more difficult. That is part of the reason the C o ntinuum game is becoming available at this time - to gently prepare levellers for the difficult truth of time travel.
Apparently, IDing another time traveller happens when you ask the time, and the other person repeats your exact words back at you. This is apparently subtle and doesn't make you look crazy, just really annoying, if you get it wrong. In eras that tell time by the sun, this question, we are told, is too odd, so instead one would make a line on the ground and wait for the other to finish the symbol of the Zodiac associated with the era of the time.
Now, we talk about corners. Corners, remember, are time traveller hangouts/bases. They all have names, usually known only to spanners. But, we are told, they shouldn't sound too odd if levellers hear them.
Examples include "Forest of the Euboean Satyrs"; "Bloodfist"; "Zero Falls"; "Serene Mountain Leaning"; "Wolfhead Sword Keep"; "Hank's Demolitionists"; and so on. While it's up to the mentor to name the corner, lenient GMs may allow players to invent their own.
Time traveller fighting resembles militias, apparently - you defend your own turf from paradox. Then we learn about your room in your corner.
How do you keep track of laundry, paper trash, notes to yourself, and just plain stuff? Practice, practice.
You have a special Spanner Box which is how you keep track of item discipline. It is a multilidded box which is unique to spanners because it's meant to hold multiple of the same object from different times. We are told that many sunken treasures contain spanner boxes because they are hard to recover. We are also told that often, fridges are treated like big communal spanner boxes. We are also told that many corners enjoy being burgled, because it's entertaining.
1. No spanning into the parlor, vestibule or public rooms of the corner. Spanning out is fine if no levellers are around.
2. No visiting anyone over your Span in their private home. Ever.
3. Formally, request visit via dreaming or courier; informally this is mostly ignored.
4. Never enter someone's room by surprise. Ever.
5. Know the corner's meeting habits.
6. Weird birthday events with little explanation.
7. No drugs (including alcohol) until Span 2.
8. Keep all clothes ready for when you need them, keep to laundry schedule.
And now we finally get to Frag. A quarter of the way through the book. Frag is rated from 0 to 7. It is, we are told, the effect of paradox.
Sentient force must be applied to resist the sentient force that initiated a deliberate paradox - hence the occurence of Time Combat.
The As/As Not, we are told, is the point during an incident of frag where paradoxes do not heal themselves and must be acted against. Mutually exclusive events cannot happen, you see - only the one with "overwhelming sentient force" behind it happens. We are told that the Continuum, "with its uncounted vigitillions of spanners" always wins in the end - but you still have to do it. There are three kinds of paradox: Deliberate, caused by narcissists. Accidental, caused by lack of thought b time travellers. And natural, caused by...black holes. Natural is, we are told, "the universe's woof and weave; it is where we dwell."
Then, frag chart: at Frag 2 or less, no penalties. Frag 3, grace rolls become failures and the Continuum will no longer assist in healing Frag for most people. Frag 4, -2 to all Quick rolls. Frag 5, no one will help you any more. Frag 6, -4 to all Quick rolls, -2 to Mind rolls. Frag 8+: you basically no longer exist. Frag takes the form of deja vu, nausea or partial amnesia - and you always know your Frag rating. Frag is cured by resolving paradoxes. Make the causality make sense, and the frag caused by the event goes away.
Next time: Time travel diagramming.
Some readers will be reluctant to cut or damage a book, due to cultural or investment reasons./Finally, earning Span 2 requires reciting the Maxims by heart, (which the player must also be able to do).Original SA post
ntinuum: Some readers will be reluctant to cut or damage a book, due to cultural or investment reasons. (Including bonus: Finally, earning Span 2 requires reciting the Maxims by heart, (which the player must also be able to do).)
Today is the day we talk about causality! Continuum is pretty particular about how that works, and how you have to keep it working. So particular, in fact, that they have three different examples of how it doesn't work. Example One:
This is a typical (erroneous) timeline illustration of causality, time moving from A the past to D the future. Some spanner leaves C, goes down to B, and makes changes so that C and D and up never occur. The spanner goes forward along the new timeline which holds C1, D1, and so on.
The most famous example of this is the "grandfather clause", and often includes the concept of a time machine: John's grandfather builds a time machine for the first time at C, which John steals and travels down to B, where his grandfather is a young boy having sired no offspring. John kills the boy either deliberately or accidentally, and ifnds himself with a time machine that will not be invented, and himself never being born, and therefore unable to go back in time to kill his grandfather.
This is an argument favored by many, if not all, narcissists. Therefore it is considered extemely dangerous information, even in the brief form presented here.
The illustration postulates that with every alteration of the earlier timeline, a new universe is created. This supposedly eliminates paradox, by allowing a violating spanner free reign to change anything he pleases and enter a fresh universe more tailored to his likes.
Both the foregoing examples - and many other arguments - presume the actions of a single sentient group or individual spanner acting only upon unwitting levellers and inanimate objects. This is not the state of spacetime, of course. See also Appendix A, Fallacies and Follies.
We'll get there. Eventually. We're about...oh, a third of the way in, a bit less?
As a leveller, the world just seems to take care of itself. You drop a pencil, it falls to the ground, and makes noise. This is the world of Newton's Principia . Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction.
This illustration shows the common belief that time travel would impact the universe in much the same way. Every action, however paradoxical, would recycle back into the fabric of reality through some (usually ill-defined) natural means, like a stream washing dumped poisons away.
But causality is not a renewable resource. Some narcissists hope - even expect - that the universe will either get along around their desires, or some thing will stop them from playing with the universe, and no serious harm done. "Events will conspire against you."
Events don't conspire, people do. What's more, events can't conspire and people can . This is sentient force. The price of this freedom of time is responsibility for it, and this responsibility is backed up by the fear of one's very existence. In this regard, time travel is never a game. See also Appendix A.
And now, how time travel does work.
Spanners enter and leave the timeline at will, as shown below.
The light gray lines inside the white timeline arrow represent a spanner living in level time. The dark gray lines are merely aids to visualize the direction and destination of individual spans, and are not to scale by any means.
At any point marked D, the spanner may be entering to stop an incident of frag, (as shown in Illustration D1). It is this ceaseless sequence of applied sentient force that keeps spacetime solid and on track. The thrust of the expanding universe, rushing away from the Big Bang, is why there is time.
And now, the fun part. We're only covering two pages of the book today, because they are just that weird. Bad, not necessarily, but definitely weird. Here, you can play along at home! Print out this image and follow the instructions:
A basic illustration of how causality is maintained by the Continuum. Genuine mathematical models are not available here. Some readers will be reluctant to cut or damage a book, due to cultural or investment reasons. Be assured your feelings are a part of the lesson, and proceed.
1. Without breaking through the paper, make a very light scoring with a drafting knife from A to B, increasing pressure slightly as you go along.
2. Now from B to C, making the cut through the paper.
3. At C begins what is called the As/As Not, the point beyond which natural paradoxes do not heal, but collapse the universe instead. Cut this branching area cleanly.
4. Now tear (not cut) the page up to the line at D. Fold at D, and curl the peninsula of paper so that it lifts.
An instance of paradox begins (A) and either reverts to a non-paradox state without effect at (B) or it increases effect until (C). At C comes the As/AsNot, the beginning of collapse and the tearing of causality.
A spanner who has created a paradox has the main responsibility to fix it in his Yet, even if that paradox caused him no frag. (Note that fragging the narcissist who has created a deliberate paradox is usually fixing not creating the paradox!)
5. Never let the bit of paper be torn out of the book; it's a good exercise.
Before you ask, no, the next page is not blank. In fact it deals with relatively important social rules! Actually, we'll move on to that, since there's only two more pages left to this section and they're doozies. First up, social rules of frag. Technically, you can cause frag as long as you take care of it, but fragging someone else is a bad idea and will cause them to come after you. Narcissists often make the mistake of fragging large numbers of spanners at once, leading to massive reprisal.
Don't do that!
Socially, it's cool to frag someone back as long as you make sure it wasn't an accident. If it was, they are obligated to take care of it, so. You want to be careful with your research, because knowing too much about what happened limits what you can do; it's often safer to send a third party to observe and report instead. Lastly, don't get people involved who aren't already, they already have stuff to do.
Make sure to let people know you're engaging in time combat when in their turf, and try to make sure only the narcissist you are fighting thinks the world is different than you've made it. Frag them hard. Be subtle in what you do, though - setting a village on fire could frag tons of people, for example.
Bring friends! They help. And we'll cover actual details on time combat later. Now, though. advancement to Span 2. To hit Span 2, you must satisfy the following conditions:
1. Your Frag must be 0 and you must have met all the Gemini incidents that are in your Yet for Span 1.
2. You have not travelled beyond your Span more than once in a year of Age.
3. You have spent at least one year of Age since learning to time travel.
4. You have spent at least two months real time playing Continuum, with at least three sessions of at least four hours each.
This represents the solid reality of spacetime; things happen when their time is right, not just when we want them to happen.
5. You've travelled to each year in the decade you learned to time travel in.
6. Recite the Maxims (the first page) by heart. You, the player, must do this, not your character.
The book says GMs can add to this but should not waive any of them.
Next time: Fraternities.
If a man had a sharp stick, what value would it have?Original SA post C o ntinuum: If a man had a sharp stick, what value would it have?
This box greets you as you begin the Span Two section of the rules. Well, now we have precise dating. We are told that Span Two usually involves getting a new identity and killing off your old one. Span Twos, we are told, should learn the following skills and reach Apprentice rank in at least four of them:
Bureaucracy, Computers, Disguise, Finance, Forgery, Investigation, Law, Lockpicking/Locksmithing, Observation, Security/Burglary, Stealth and Swindle.
Of these: Disguise, Forgery, Lockpicking/Locksmithing and the Burglary half of Security/Burglary aren't listed as skills .
We're told that Span Twos ALMOST ALWAYS have faking their own deaths in their Yet, usually in a way that a body would not be found. Sinister disappearances are rare; they tend to attract unwanted leveller and Narcissist attention, apparently. We are told that the Thespian Fraternity has tips on how to do this. Span Twos must also find a new place to live, to seperate themselves from their prior life. They tend to travel wide swaths of history due to being able to jump 10 years a day and are encouraged to learn new languages. They are also introduced to the Fraternities.
Fraternities are basically...guilds. They perform services (for a fee) to the whole of the Continuum, and are divided by what they do. They also represent philosophies and so on. We'll get to what they are in a bit. Span Twos are encouraged to join one, as Fraternities pay for the needs of their members and nonmembers have to work out barter and compensation on their own. Today, we'll look at the first of the Fraternities: the Antiquarians.
I won't bore you with the etymology of their name; this is given for every Fraternity. The Antiquarians are combination forgers and antiques dealers. They acquire items from history that need to be acquired, or they create carbon copies of those items. They are also known as the Reliquary and the Collectors.
Symbol: The Entwined Globwes-
We move and make and remake the things inside the universe: hence our symbol of the ever-twisting Globes - whether the piles of counting-stones of earliest man, the pots and baskets he learned to make and stack, or the pawnbroker's orbs, the Globes are the enduring symbol of the material world, and our lives bound to it.
These guys like history, and so they want to keep it whole while also appreciating objects of value. Sometimes they go hunting for lost artifacts, but mostly they're sedentary folks. They have apparently remade and replaced the Liberty Bell and the Mona Lisa many, many times, as well as ensuring that Rommel has all the munitions he's supposed to have despite narcissist saboteurs. Essentially, they can make anything . Their areas of conflict with the other fraternities are:
1. Against the Moneychangers over the value of Wealth. They basically feel that the value of an object is based on its importance to someone rather than any economic measure, and that wealth is an abstraction that isn't really worth chasing. They replace things that are lost, and don't pay attention to price; this leads to friction.
2. Against the Scribes over the meaning of Art. The Antiquarians think Art is valuable for being in the right place at the right time, rather than for the information it conveys, and that Art is therefore perfect in itself, without need to understand its historical context or record it; it needs only to be in that context. They are apparently allied with the Thespians in this.
3. They are also allied with the Engineers, due to both dealing with physical objects; the Antquarians catalog and replace, while the Engineers design and repair. They are allied also with the Foxhorn, who allow the Antiquarians to live vicariously through war stories.
There's some famous Antiquarians but frankly I cannot bring myself to care about them. Like, at all. Apparently, the Antiquarians maintain a corner in the Louvre or at least named the Louvre in modern Paris, as well as a number of other ones.
The Dreamers would be called prophets or oracles by non-time travellers. They still think of themselves that way and they're kind of pricks as a result. They are also called Mist-speakers, Sleepers and Oracles.
Symbol: The Maze-
The spiral maze is the most ancient of sacred paths. The Dreamtime is the reality of that path. As the earth spirals, so do we, so do our minds. Under hypnosis, we are at the mercy of another. In the the [sic] Dreaming, the other must listen to us.
The Dreamers say that the Dreaming skill is seen by those who don't understand it as a tool or religion; they refuse to categorize it. They claim it is the power to work miracles...and since it allows crosstime communications, I gues it is. Kind of. Their purpose, they claim, is to explore the world of dreams and listen to it, then translate their learning into human language. They also claim to police dreams and record them, because...I have no idea. I guess to police people who would invade dreams. They also claim the dead dream. Their areas of dispute and alliance are:
1. Polite rivalry with the Scribes over Communication. The Dreamers feel that written words are flawed and cannot contain the same honesty and power as dreams.
I'm gonna quote the rest.
The Foxhorn seems to be a pretty synthetic Fraternity. What they do is not hunting, it's trophyism. Like a tribal show-off looking to take the acclaim, they paint themselves.
Midwives: Where do babies come from? When we dream, we don't dream with DNA, sorry.
The Quicker explain their actions less than dreams do. When we see the dead and departed, in our sleeps, we have no great desire to pin them to a card, or shove them in a box.
They have apparently based themselves in the Delphic Oracle's cave in the time of Greece, and also in Australia.
The Engineers, as mentioned above, repair and design devices and systems. They are also called Planners, Wizards, Inventors, Scotties and Tinkers.
Symbol: The Wheel of Fire-
Fire is Man's most effective use of Discovery. The Wheel is his greatest Invention. Fire and the Wheel lead to or imply all other created things, created for purpose under intent. The material manifestation and testament of sentient force.
These guys fix machines in times that they can't be fixed normally, or for people who can't fix them. Swiss watches, artillery, VCRs, aqueducts. These guys are basically Time Traveller Maintenance Service. Their areas of dispute and alliance:
1. Versus the Thespians over the purpose of Invention. The Engineers feel the Thespians do not take invention seriously, and while they prepare themselves and verse themselves with the social mores of the eras they act in, they don't care about the need to introduce technology and invention smoothly, feeling that if they act well enough no one will ask questions. (An example is given about a thespian who took on the role of Alexander Graham Bell to introduce the telephone; I have no idea where the real Bell went.)
2. They also disagree with the Physicians over the boundaries of the Tool, mostly over what stage of bioengineering causes Man's body to become a tool.
The Foxhorn are hunters and warriors. Not of animals - well, okay, yes, of animals sometimes. But mostly men. Specifically, mostly narcissists. These are the guys you call in to help you beat someone down - hard . They are also called the Tribe Orion, the Pack, the Wild Hunt, Hunters, Woodsmen, Exterminators and Corrections.
Symbol: The Horn-
Any of the many horns and pipes known throughout the Eras can represent this Fraternity. The foxhorn itself is distinct in shape, with the bell facing the same direction as the mouthpiece, since it used [sic] by a lead horseman in a hunt to call forces to him.
These guys specialize in fighting, covert ops, weaponry of all kinds, military strategy and time combat. They also guard their information most actively of everyone but the Quicker, which can lead to grumbling. They are primarily based out of the Hunt Club, a corner in 19th century London, and avid participants in the Greatest Game (more on this later). Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus the Quicker over the definition of Death. They feel that frag is too cold and impersonal; Death means having a body, probably a ruined one. They believe in ruining lives and physically destroying people - Death is about terror to them, you see. Frag is a pale imitation of the fear of death and pain.
2. The Antiquarians are allies because they provide weapons and equipment, and also like to listen to the Foxhorn's war stories.
3. Engineers are support services and are respected and loved by the Foxhorn.
3. The Scribes disapprove of Foxhorn methods and often complain about secrecy; the Foxhorn feel this is unjustified since their reports are allowed to be read in the Aquarian Era.
I will note that there is a named character whose great pride is causing the extinction of the Dodo. Sir John Mallory of London, who adores hunting and killing, and is proud of having taken them out (barring the ones captured for the Aquarian Era). Also, they have a modern Washington, DC corner named "CIA Headquarters".
The Midwives make sure that marriages and births happen when they should in history. They also ensure that no time travellers have kids with time travellers. Ever. (Yeah, that's a rule; no, it hasn't been mentioned until now. All children must be raised level, you absolutely can't have a time traveller baby.) They are also called Hedge-witches, Match-makers, Wet-nurses, Godmothers and G-Nomes.
Symbol: The Fertile Pyramid-
Fertile because procreation of childrean is the Midwives' stock-in-trade. Pyramid because all life stands on the shoulders of other life, reaching Down and Up as far as sentient force exists to protect it.
These guys ensure that necessary births happen. Tehy make marriages, cause trysts, and generally ensure that people fall in love when history demands it. Or don't fall in love. See, it's not all good. Sometimes they remove children - causing miscarriages, generally. And sometimes they enforce marriages that are terrible, abusive or both. Because history says so. They prevent suicides or cause insanity when needed. They don't really enjoy it, but they see it as necessary. And, of course, they ensure that time travellers never, ever have children together.
A Decision of the Second Atlantean Council (12963 BC) states that there shall be no Societal Spanner marriages that bear fruit, no getting of children - else all spacetime would be instantly filled, and all of it fragged in that same instant.
In this, we are the Council's ministers, and we pursue their diktat , and our duties, fiercely.
Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus Physicians over the meaning of Life. The Midwives place little value on individual lives; while individual life is fragile and delicate, it is a short term view to see it as precious, and they feel it is impossible for them to take the short-term view. Thus, they feel that as a whole, life cannot be denied, seen over the long scale - even as they, in the small and specific, deny life all the time.
2. The Thespians think the Midwives meddle by ensuring that time travellers don't leave babies all over the place.
3. They aid the Scribes at keeping genealogies straight, and they like the Scribes, who are apparently least likely to have babies.
Next time: More frats.
You'll have to impress somebody besides yourself.Original SA post
Got bored, so here!
C o ntinuum: You'll have to impress somebody besides yourself.
The Moneychangers are...the money men. They ensure finances work for time travellers without fucking up history. They manage both legal and illegal funds and trade. They are also called Brokers and Benchmen.
Symbol: The Sun Bull-
The Bull (or Cow) is the most ancient symbol of wealth and prosperity: The fruits of the Earth. The Sun is the energy that makes the fruitful Earth possible. The buffalo hunt, the Aphis bull and Hathor goddess, the gold coin and the bull market.
First, these guys are the ones who hand you your huge lump sum when you become a time traveller. They know how to make money; they are very good at it. And they're good at doing it subtly. They're the ones who keep your little joyride trading stocks you know will make you rich in 1985 from disrupting the stock market crash they know happens in 1987. They're the ones who keep your trade caravan to China from overshadowing Marco Polo's. And they're the ones who keep you from being arrested for tax evasion. They also manage trade in time travel - because money isn't important any more. Value is.
The concept of value and economy are important to the world, and these are the men and women that oversee it. They use the other Fraternities to help them - Thespians as the public face, say, or Antiquarians to make specialty goods - but they're the ones who manage trade, not just with levellers but between time travellers. Rarity is value, and value is their stock. They're the peacekeepers, as a result, the diplomats who keep the money flowing. Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus the Antiquarians over the value of Wealth. Wealth, they say, is older than money. Sure, money was invented late in human history - for time travellers, anyway - but wealth was not. Luxuries are value, they say, what others hold to be valuable is value. That's how you make wealth. Wealth is what people want, not what some specific person cares about. If anyone wants it, it's wealth, even if it's trash or unimportant. Wealth is widely defined, not specific.
2. The Moneychangers get on with Engineers and Physicians because commerce drives progress in technology in medicine.
3. The Scribes make good allies because you need records.
For some reason, the Moneychangers, especially those of high Span, involve themselves with both the Quicker and Foxhorn more than others would feel comfortable in knowing.
The Physicians make sure you don't get sick from all the filthy diseases that the people of the past live with every day, and that the people of the past don't get sick from all the filthy diseases that you live with every day. They also help with "natural" frag. They are also called the Hippocreans, the Healers, the Angels of Mercy, the Doctors and the Medtechs.
Symbol: The Blue Skull-
Blue is the overall color representing the Continuum, as in blue shift (motion towards a point). It can always be said that the Continuum and those that heal under its auspices will always be there for you. As well, the skull is a universal symbol for medicine. Combined, a blue skull, almost never seen in leveller culture, is the perfect sign that you may want to ask the time of that doctor or barber.
These guys basically keep people healthy - time travellers and levellers. They make sure your flu doesn't destroy Sparta and the Black Plague doesn't ravage New York City. They claim frag is an illness, and that frag can be caused naturally. There isn't any source given on what natural frag is caused by, though. (Hell, they don't seem to know.)
They also manage plastic surgery for Thespians who have to go play a historic figure. Apparently, Shakespeare and Sun Tzu have had to be replaced several times. They also like to fight narcissists and remove them, comparing them to cancer. Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus the Midwives over the meaning of Life. They claim that Life is fragile, that it must be protected. Things die, people die, and all far more easily than those who talk about 'persistent' life might think. Life is weak, it gets sick - it's so easy to destroy with one little accident. The Physicians deal with the sick too much to see life as persistent. They say it is fragile and must be protected from all dangers.
2. Versus the Engineers on the boundaries of the Tool. You know this one already.
3. They are on good terms with the Quicker due to both studying frag, albeit from different directions. Even they are uncomfortable, though, as the Quicker disregard the importance of the body in instances of frag.
4. They get on well with the Thespians because the Thespians are very respectful of the people who make sure they don't die of plague and always look the part.
5. The Scribes also like the Physicians, recognizing fellow scholars.
They apparently have a corner in the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Hell if I know why.
The Quicker actually have Inheritors in their ranks, apparently. They study Lost Causes (people lost to Frag, remember) and ghosts. They claim ghosts are a psychic cry of misfortune, and that the only people who could answer those cries are time travellers. Because, uh...I don't know why! The Foxhound deal with the dead; the Quicker come in to pick up those who have been fragged beyond the point of no return. They are also called the "Life Breathers" and the Shrivers.
Symbol: The Torq-
Best known as the Celtic badge of rulership, the open band around the neck symbolizes many things to many different peoples: the memory of slavery while in freedom, the worm that refuses to swallow its tail, the connection and the separation of the spiritual from the gross, the universal symbol for an appliance's on-switch.
But to the Quicker its primary meaning is of the Unfinished. The broken dreams of fools and heroes are the Quicker's lot to sort, and to find closure for.
The Quicker...don't act all that much. They don't hunt or fight the narcissists; they claim that they work so close to the Inheritors so it's tasteless for them to involve themselves in Time Combat because there's no sport in it. They come for the fragged, even if the fragged have become invisible. They take these lost souls and store them in a mysterious place called Cold Storage.
Further information on Cold Storage is not available here.
They tend to hang out in far future...and because they have so much information access, they tend to have a lot in their Yet just by knowing too much. They also tend to use psychic powers a lot.They research ghosts because...because. I'm not sure why - ah, they explain it just after this part, in the disputes section for some reason. They tend not to talk much and come off as creepy. Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus the Foxhorn over the importance of Death. Death, they say, is the loss of sentient force. Death is being forgotten. Death is valuable, they say, as a final point where sentience and the Yet coexist. They claim that only those who die with substantial parts of their Yets undone become ghosts, and they cry out for release. They say that while the Foxhorn's argument is visceral, it ignores time travel and so is meaningless - the moment of being killed is meaningless, as many time travellers know. Death can be escaped - and they all know it. Death, they say, is not terror - it is the end of thought.
They have no others.
The Scribes record and convey information. They seek the truth of history and the truth of messages. They deliver these messages where they must go and ensure that history is kept accurately.
Symbol: The Writing Hand-
The Writing Hand symbolizes succinctly that recorded information, in its turn, creates the recorder. As keepers of the First, and translators of all Five Maxims, we hold writings to the strictest truths and accuracy, as if a sharp stick were deliberately writing upon the veins of our wrists.
These guys keep history so you know when someone changes it. This is important - they're how you tell that Frag is being inflicted on major historical events! They infiltrate history and record the truth of what happened, memorizing events perfectly. They understand how to make people trust them with the truth and ensure that it gets where it needs to go. These are the recorders and defenders of history.
They also show up when a level poet or novelist needs to write a masterpiece...but hasn't the talent for it. They write for these people. They create codes and break codes, ensuring that levellers learn what history demands they learn. They leave cave paintings where they must be left, they record everything important. They even keep some treasures - lost books from the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, secret Da Vinci notebooks...these guys keep those, because they know they are meant to never be seen again. And, of course, they resolve conflicts. They know what the outcome must be, after all - so all they have to do is find an agreeable method. Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus the Antiquarians over the meaning of Art. They argue that all Art is truly information. It conveys signals, transforms intents. It communicates. The Antiquarians care about being in the right place; but for the Scribes, it is the message that matters.
2. The Thespians annoy the Scholars because they often go off-script or don't like to study what the Scribes prepare. This can be annoying!
3. The Engineers are allies because they provide equipment in which hidden recording devices can be hidden without fear.
4. They find the Foxhorn annoying in their bravado and bragging, especially as the Foxhorn sometimes encourage the worst in the Thespians to better lure out a narcissist.
They apparently have a base in the Library of Congress, as well as one in the Library of Alexandria (primarily there to get copies of all the books and ensure that the fires happen).
The Thespians are actors. Naturally. When they have to, they replace figures from history and play out their deeds - perhaps because a narcissist has killed Hitler, say, or Charlemagne. They also love to throw parties. They are also called the 'Animal Speakers' and the Chorus.
Symbol: The Silent Mask-
Many early masks are found without mouths, and several later ones are mere eye-coverings. The mouthlessness represents how the words of history are neither tragic nor comic, but are ultimately perfect for their moments. The mask itself, of course, means a spanner is behind the face of a leveller.
The Thespians play historic figures. Apparently, the Francis Bacon thing is because the same Thespian played him and Shakespeare. There have been many, many, many Hitlers. These people play out fame and history. It's...well, all they really do. Some improvise, some play out exactly the script of a life. They also love to have fun, and since they often have some of the best politicians, generals and artists in history present (as a result of having to play those people), they can make a really, really good party.
Sometimes they even play children (temporarily) to protect them from narcissists, taking the kids off to have fun in a fantasy while they hold the fort for the attack. The kid's trip is written off as a dream since everyone can see that he was there the whole time, and everyone's happy. Their disputes and alliances are:
1. Versus the Engineers over the importance of Invention. The Thespians argue over whether information is valuable for its mechanical use or its popularity whenveer they have to play an inventor or businessman. They care more about the role than the device, and the Engineers often have to fix devices for the very people who are supposed to be playing inventors. The Thespians argue that the fame is what's important - that is what makes the device spread, not its own use.
2. The Scribe can be annoying because they need so much accuracy...but on the other hand, one should never annoy them too much because you'll stop getting parts.
3. The Antiquarians are right about Art, though.
4. The Physicians are preferable to the Midwives because the Physicians do your makeup.
5. The Foxhorn are adored - they bring in jobs to help take out Narcissists, and they're often really fun ones, where you can improvise a little without being against history.
And, lastly, earning Span 3. Yeah, that was it for this section! First, you must meet all requirements for Span 2 again - so reciting the Maxims, etc. Beyond this, you also need:
1. An Exalted's recommendation. (The Exalted are Span 5+.) And it can't be your future self!
2. A 22nd century medical exam or better, which will free you of all contagens in history and extend your lifespan to 200-400 years.
3. Membership in a Fraternity is usually but not always required. In fact, usually they're the ones to get an Exalted to recommend you.
4. You must have 0 Frag.
5. You must have Quick 6 or higher.
6. You must have Master rank in two skills from the following list:
A combat skill, a Computer skill, Diplomacy, Disguise, Dreaming, a History skill, a Medical skill, Piloting, a Science skill.
7. You must have Journeyman rank in three skills from the following list:
Any from the last list, Animal Handling (preferably Horse), an Art (especially Acting), an Athletic skill, Demolitions, Observation, Repair, Stealth.
8. Fluency in three languages at Journeyman or higher.
9. Novice rank in both Physics and Dreaming.
10. You must have spent at least three months real time playing a Span Two, with at least four game sessions of at least four hours each before advancemnt can "even be considered."
Next time: Running the show.
Your whenabouts will always be in the places you've visited.Original SA post C o ntinuum: Your whenabouts will always be in the places you've visited.
The Span 3 introduction reiterates the box from the Span 2 intro - do not ever go beyond Aquarian borders. Ever . Span 3s run corners, we are told. (Which does rather beg the question 'how do you manage a group with multiple Span 3s' since they will all be in different parts of the world running their own corners.) They...well, they're taught how to teach spanning.
Like all the information in this book, nothing is stopping you from turning to the GM's section to discover this secret except your own willpower. Make no mistake. This is a test of your own personal inclinations.
We are told to ask the GM for more information on how to teach spanning, which we should be told if this is the first time we've played a Span 3. We'll get to that eventually; it's gonna be a while. We are also told to talk to the GM about increasing lifespan.
The Span 3 then goes on to start a new corner, often far from their old one, and start teaching novices. It is suggested that new players be novices in a PC's corner if you introduce new players. Span 3s have the ability to request a dossier from the GM on anyone they hear about the moment they hear about them. They will be considered to have acquired the knowledge in the past, having read dossiers sent from the future. Dossiers usually contain aliases, general intents and whether someone is friend or foe. When you don't get a dossier from the GM, the book says, be worried, since you yourself will be the one writing those dossiers in the future .
A Span 3 can take 1000 pounds with him, so can easily do field trips; we are told this should only be done with trainees that have 0 Frag and have been spanning for a while. One should also be familiar with where they're going and send word ahead.
Then we get advice on mentoring, and on the Maxims. We are told that when you don't or can't give information, you should use the phrase 'Further information is not available here', which is perfectly information-neutral, apparently. This part is pretty handy, I suppose, both for Span 3 PCs and the GM running Span 3 mentors. We are told again that keeping a log of all time travel is paramount. I don't really have any complaints about this section, actually. It's pretty darn short, and now the requirements for Span 4.
First, of course, all other past requirements. In addition:
1. You must have successfully run either a novice or Fraternal corner for at least 100 years of Age. The GM defines successful.
2. You must have at least Novice Hypnotism.
3. You must have 0 Frag, Mind 6+ and Quick 8+.
4. You, the player, must have spent four months real time playing a Span 3, with at least five sessions of at least four hours each.
Once you're a Span 4, you get to be a major player. Now you can play the Greatest Game, run a major Fraternal corner, be a deep operative in Antedesertium or...really, almost anything. Their lifespan is extended into the millenium range. This is when we're introduced to the Societies - the time traveller civilization. The Societies are...nations, really. They control a period of time and space, ruling by one of three methods or a mix of them:
1. Crown, rule by national boundaries and divisions of space.
2. Blood, by genetic commonality.
3. Culture, by shared behavior.
Societies are recognized as permanent structures within the time and space they rule. Britain will always be Britain within its spacetime, enforced by Continuum. A recognized Society must have a level population that is recognized as thriving by the Atlantean Councils. The Greatest Game is the competition of Societies. They are the board, and the game is control. The Span 4s guide levellers and shape the things that history does not remember. The goal, you see, is to discover all of history while extending your Society's reach without risking Frag.
The Greatest Game is used to define societal borders, to entertain Span 4s and to learn all the truths of history. For time travellers, Societies give the right to send a representative to the Atlantean Council. It's also a family, as much a family as blood, apparently, for those who play the Game. A Society isn't about government, but about family watching out for its own. It also is vital to tracking Narcissists, thanks to the way it seeks out the history that never got recorded.
The Greatest Game has certain areas up for grabs by Soceities - Roanoke Island, priest-ruled lands like the Vatican, 20s Chicago (split between, I assume, the Society that claims the gangsters and the US). There are 117 rounds of the game, and a Span 4 PC can play at any time by telling the GM. You claim an area of spacetime where a leveller that is arguably a member of your Society is living. You must witness that leveller living there.
Claiming an area gives you 3 points, negotiating for an area gives 2, and succesfully resolving a dispute as a third party gives 1. You can hire other spanners to get points for you. You win when you get 200 points, and then you can retire from the game. The 117 rounds apparently correspond to the 117 Atlantean Councils, and early claims supercede later ones. You always start in round 1 and play all the way through, so you can only play the Game once.
Your opponents are other 4s, and some are v. rude and ignore time traveller etiquette because they love the game so much. Everyone is trying to earn a place as Span 5! Of course, the Game isn't all you can do as Span 4. You could also be attached as assistant to a Span 5, going on important missions. Or you could run a major Fraternal corner. Or you can be an operative in Antedesertium, for which we see later. We'll get there. But how do you get Span 5?
Well, all the things from before again...but also!
1. You must perform one of the following:
A. Win the Greatest Game.
B. Run a major Fraternal corner for at least 250 years of Age.
C. Be a deep operative in Antedesertium.
D. Any other task the Exalted deem worthy.
2. You need the approval of at least three Exalted that aren't your elder self.
3. You must have Hypnotism at at least Master, and you must also have Photographic Memory (either naturally or by having Mind 8+).
4. You must have 0 Frag, Mind 7+ and Quick 9+.
5. You, the player, must have spent at least five months real time playing a Span 4, with at least five sessions of at least four hours each.
Next time: War and maps: the end of Chapter II.
Whichever Inheritor survives the crash at Roswell will know of the famous incident, too.Original SA post C o ntinuum: Whichever Inheritor survives the crash at Roswell will know of the famous incident, too.
Span Fives are the Exalted, and now you're one of 'em. You get to command, not obey the Maxims. You have complete discretion over what must be destroyed to save the universe; your abilities are such that you are rarely, if ever, detected; you can remember all that has ever happened to you; you almost never meet your past self; and you are "eminently sane" enough to not need to hide information from yourself. And that's why we get a new map of time!
The Exalted have friends throughout spacetime and jaunt about as they will; they tend to avoid dealing with the Societies, though, having already played that game and now getting bored of it. They also tend to use overwhelming force in Time Combat to get it over with faster. The Atlantean Councils are made entirely of Exalted, one representing each Society, usually those who played and won the Greatest Game. They can argue about the Council's decisions and shape them (despite having lived all their lives under them) because, I assume, the minutiae are largely undetailed even if the overviews aren't.
The Exalted also run the war on Antedesertium. Because of their vast Span, they see an immense picture and think in lifetimes. There is surprisingly little detail here because apparently it's in Chapter III.
We learn that the Greatest Game is training for dealing with Inheritor spacetime, in which Man has spread throughout the galaxy, perhaps the universe. The Inheritors are superhuman, surpassing even the Exalted. Physically, they resemble the Grays - and that's because they are the Grays, who are descended from humans. The book chides us for being foolish in thinking they weren't, since they share the same body plan. In fact, most aliens are related to us, as the Inheritors colonize space through time . The Inheritors go to great effort to keep anyone from suspecting how many 'aliens' are out there in our era, thanks to their colonizing efforts.
Also, they crashed at Roswell. One of them got hit with a rifle and died, and knew he had to be because it was historically recorded.
To get past Span 5, you need to learn Telepathy and all other Aquarian skills, and probably Master every other useful skill. You must also spend at least five real-time months at the Span you are at (5 or above, the rules stay the same here), with at least five sessions of at least four hours each. Each time you go up in rank you need the approval of at least three Exalted of that Span; above 7, the Inheritors tap you for it.
And this guy is there, too. Why? Who knows? Off to Chapter III-
Sweet Jesus, what the hell is that? I have no idea! Off to Chapter III!
First, we are told that the Dreaming skill is priceless for allowing communication without using up Span to time travel. Learning to Dream, we are told, is like getting a cell phone. Incidentally: information passage from one time to another never directly creates Frag. Ever. Incidentally - you only have to record anything that happens in dreams, even Geminis or prophecies, if you feel like it. All negotiations (what few there are) with Antedesertium take place in dreams. Apparently the Dreamtime also has inhabitants, but they aren't detailed.
Dreamsharing is also called Dremoot. Because. You can usually Dreamshare with someone you want to unless they are busy with Time Combat at the time, in which case they may miss the chance. The most powerful Dreamer defines the area, but you control your own appearance unless four Titles below the one defining the area. Combat in dreams requires Telepathy to do real damage, which can't be done in a transchronal dream. Damage then is done directly to the nervous system. If you die in the dream, you die for real, but entering shock automatically wakes you up. You may only ever get a single clock per title by studying in dreams, unless you are a Master dreamer and your teacher is a Grandmaster. Span is not regained while using the Dreaming skill.
Then, on to Scribe libraries. Books can never be removed from them, ever, but information can be duplicated if you're willing to go through some bureaucratic questioning. The Scribes have a ton of information, including information on most Time Combats that have ever taken place, though they may not tell you all that much about them. We then get the temporal problems of sending notes to yourself. Three examples!
1. You get a note from your future self about a shootout you have yet to experience. You then take the note, travel back in time, and mail it to yourself. You take a point of Frag because this means the note is in a causal loop in which it never gets written. You will have to make sure that note never gets delivered, write a new note and deliver that one.
2. You get a note from your future self about a shootout you have yet to experience. You carefully destroy it, then write a new note, travel back in time, and mail it to yourself. This works.
3. You travel back in time and send yourself a note that you never originally received, to warn yourself about a shootout. You take a point of Frag and must go ensure the note doesn't arrive.
4. You get a message from your future self about your own death, in gory detail. You then immediately travel back in time and send the message to yourself. This works.
We are warned never to use catchphrases are slang if we can help it while time travelling; stick to simple language and you won't mess up. Most of the time you'll have a chance to learn new languages...but if you're low Span and stuck in the past, you may not! The game suggests speaking as if to a translator if one person can speak the language but others can't.
And specifically tells the GM to ignore any question not spoken in this manner, as shown:
Try having players who aren't native speakers preface everything with "Ask him" or "Tell him": This is no harder than Simon Says or the rule on Jeopardy! of phrasing answers in the form of a question. If the player fails to say "Ask him," have the native speaker politely ignore him, since no translation is assumed.
The book also notes that the only efficient translator technology is a bioimplant that can instantly download new languages; these are detailed later. Telepathy doesn't allow you to understand foreign languages, either, but is instead like watching foreign films without subtitles.
Next time: Psychic powers and time combat.
Deja vu is the scar left behind from a narcissist attack.Original SA post C o ntinuum: Deja vu is the scar left behind from a narcissist attack.
So...Aquarian skills. Translation: psychic powers. We are told that psi is often taught by the Fraternities - the Midwives have witches, the Dreamers have telepaths and clairvoyants, and the Physicians, Foxhorn and Quicker also have plenty of psi-users. Even some levellers can use psi powers, and Aquarians and Inheritors also often have psychic powers. Spanners are just better at using powers than levellers; they automatically succeed on any unchallenged action using Aquarian skills, but levellers have to roll.
Which means, yes, that it is actually easier for a spanner to be a psychic than it is for him to shoot a gun.
Information-related psychic powers are considered to be rather important; the rest are often seen as party tricks. Playing around too much in front of levellers is a bad idea and often a violation of the Fourth Maxim. Concentration is needed to maintain any powers, and pain breaks that below Master. Shock makes using any of these impossible.
The following Aquarian skills are based on Mind:
Clairvoyance . Clairvoyants can always tell if they're being watched by other clairvoyants, but can't block that - they can just try to watch back. Anything they witness is either vague or distinct. Vague readings are rapid impressions thatl ast a few seconds, similar to half-remembered recollections. You get the gist, but no real details. Distinct readings last up to several minutes, require you to be in the right location, though you can be Up or Down from the event you're witnessing, and is perfectly clear. More Mind means it's easier to see the future this way.
You may use Clairvoyance a number of times between Span-regaining rests equal to your Mind. You can only see events within your range of Span, both distance and time.
Novice - min. Mind 5 - can see events within 5 minuts Down from you, or Level, but not Up.
Apprentice - min. Mind 6 - Can see events within an [sic] day, Up, Down or Level.
Journeyman - min. Mind 7 - can see events within a year, Up, Down or Level.
Master - min. Mind 8 - can see events within ten years, Up, Down or Level.
Grandmaster - min. Mind 9 - can see events within a hundred years, Up, Down or Level.
Hypnosis . Not a psychic power, actually, since any Leveller can learn it, but it's considered to be part of these. It works, we are told, by trance or suggestion. While in a trance, the target always trusts the user, and suggestions may be planted. Hypnotists may decide how much or little a target remembers, and suggestions may be hypnotic or post-hypnotic. Hypnotic suggestions are acted on during hypnosis and have no effect after the trance ends. Post-hypnotic suggestions require the hypnotist to have Quick 5+ and Mind 5+, and they are acted on after the trance ends. If your Quick is at least 1 higher than the target and your Mind is at least 2 higher, you can entrance someone against their will.They can reisst if they have Hypnosis skill. Targets that are entranced get one attempt to resist post-hypnotic suggestion, which they get a +1 bonus on. Hypnotic suggestions can be:
A. Party tricks - making someone do something while hypnotised, which can actually be useful, the books ays, "when someone has created accidental frag or a recalcitrant narcissist refuses to help reverse a deliberate paradox. One quick suggestion, and the target sets things to rights."
B. Hypnotherapy - we're told that this can integrate forgotten periods of Age and help cope with terrors in the Yet.
C. Seduction and crime - "Would-be Svengalis and Circes can put hypnosis to all kinds of unethical use."
D. Altering memory - you can suppress memories in a target, which will then be buried in their mind.
Suggestions cannot make someone do anything against their nature, which for most people means they won't hurt or kill...but some people will. A hypnotist can also remove suggestions from the hypnotised, either allowing them to forget or remember anything you want. Hypnotising spanners, we are told, is discouraged and needing it frequently to cure frag is a sign of sloppiness. Levellers are totally okay, though.
Photographic Memory - as the Benefit.
Telepathy . Telepathy can read or shield minds...and also wipe out anything they read, either by suppressing memories or erasing them permanently. You can only use Telepathy while Level with your target, and you must be within a distance you can span across. If someone is across a city or nuclear test site, you probably want to get closer than that. Telepathy is the only defense against telepathy.
Novice - min. Mind 7 - Read/shield surface emotions, min. Mind 9 to wipe
Apprentice - min. Mind 8 - read/shield conscious thoughts, min. Mind 10 to wipe
Journeyman - min. Mind 9 - send emotions and simple thoughts
Master - min. Mind 10 - read/shield subconscious thoughts, send conversation, min. Mind 12 to wipe
Grandmaster - min. Mind 11 - read/shield deep memory, min. Mind 13 to wipe.
Pyrokinesis . You can alter molecular agitation. This does not protect you from your own uses of Pyrokinesis, but can resist other uses of it. Limited to sight range, with an area of 1 cubic foot per point of Mind.
Novice - min. Mind 6 - Temperature change 1 degree C per minute
Apprentice - min. Mind 7 - Temperature change 6 degrees C per minute
Journeyman - min. Mind 8 - Temperature change 1 degree C per second
Master - min. Mind 9 - Temperature change 10 degrees C per second
Grandmaster - min. Mind 10 - Temperature change 100 degrees C per second
The following Aquarian skills are based on Quick:
Levitation . Only spanners may learn this, and it lets them fly. You may carry a maximum load of your weight times your Span.
Novice - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 7 - Max. speed 1/10 mph
Apprentice - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 8 - Max. speed 1 mph
Journeyman - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 9 - Max. speed 10 mph
Master - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 10 - Max. speed 100 mph
Grandmaster - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 11 - Max. speed 1000 mph (Watch the g-force on that!)
Telekinesis . Telekinesis can be learned by levellers and can work as Levitation...but it can never go above 2 mph, and can only lift the user at Master level unless they are really tiny. It can also stop others' Levitation and Telekinesis. Range is sight, but you can Span with any object you lift if it's in your Spanning ability's max weight.
Novice - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 7 - Weight 1 pound
Apprentice - min. Mind 7, min. Quick 8 - Weight 10 pounds
Journeyman - min. Mind 8, min. Quick 9 - weight 100 pounds
Master - min. Mind 8, min. Quick 10 - Weight 1000 pounds
Grandmaster - min. Mind 9, min. Quick 11 - weight 10,000 pounds
And now, the madness: Time Combat
To a leveller, the only real sign of Time Combat is deja vu.
The authors' own experiences with deja vu involve the distinct element of being able to recall when one had seen or known the event befpre, all the while aware that one couldn't have had the actual experience then. There is no memory of having remembered the experience before the deja vu, either.
We are told that deja vu is caused by having witnessed a narcissist attack that was unhappened as a brainwave exists in two places at once. Also, some mental illnesses are caused by frag, and precognitive flashes can be the result of witnessing time combat. As can tintinnabus - that's ringing in the ears. They claim that's a sign of spanning going on nearby. (Full disclosure: my mother is an audiologist, and fuck no .)
Narcissists, we are told, refer to the Continuum as 'the Swarm', because of the way they team up to fight Time Combat. Spanners vanish and reappear quickly, people watch from a distance, you meet the same stranger many times over the course of a day - and all without the friendly 'what time is it' question. For a Narcissist, this is terrifying. For a Continuum spanner, it's a reason to alert a corner, but narcissists are usually not nearly this organized in time combat - the Continuum, on the other hand, is .
For them, it's like breathing slowly an ddeeply, we're told. Most Time Combats involve a cycle of Oracle/Attack, Rendezvous, Oracle/Attack, Rendezvous. They familiarize themselves with their quarry and then neutralize or frag them. Some get mercy...especially if they don't seem to know what they're doing. But not always.
Time Combat is always a test of character for a spanner. The Continuum wishes you all the Grace available for you to succeed.
We are given some rules for Time Combat preparation. First: Prepare for combat in advance. Plan out your new strategems between sessions, because...
Essentially, you must describe your invented Strategem in writing, the GM should take the time to consider its consequences before approving it. The GM may edit Strategem before it comes into use, and interpret its description during the game.
What's a strategem? We'll get there.
Second: Know your Corner and when to Rendezvous. Always be sure you know where and when you'll be meeting up during Time Combat to coordinate. This is essential. Rendezvous every other sweep of Time Combat - while inessential, it's highly useful.
Third: It's Time Combat whenever sentient force is applied to create deliberate paradox and Frag another sentient being.
You're lucky, though - before Time Combat starts, you almost always meet the narcissist. That's because he has to be sure of your whenabouts before he can smash you up, and that means you know where he was when it began. However, it's not always that lucky...and sometimes, there's more than one narcissist. If they get away, you've lost, even if you fix the Frag, because they're still out there. And if you can't fix the Frag...well, the Continuum will help you out if you can barter some services for the help. Your mentor should definitely be able to help, at least by calling in an Exalted...or an Inheritor if really needed.
You win if you beat the guy and take him down. You're generally going to want to keep the guy unconscious and dreamless if possible, and make sure the Foxhorn and Quicker know what happened. Fragging them into nonexistence is also a good plan. Now, some notes. Events of previous Time Combats shouldn't be targetted by subsequent ones. Only the most insane try this, as it brings in an army of enemies. As in 1d10*1d10 enemies per Sweep. You don't regain span during Time Combat, ever. Each turn is a Sweep, and each part of the Sweep is an Element. These measure actions, not time, because you're gonna be bouncing around time. In each Sweep, you choose a Direction and Stratagem, which you have sixty seconds real time to declare in private to the GM.
Direction is just 'are you going past, future or staying here?' Going Down often has the advantage when trying to Frag someone, staying Level has the advantage of clarity and planning, and going Up has the advantage of being able to learn more about where people were. Strategems are what you do. They come in three types: Attacks/Defenses, Information Control and Narcissist Tricks. You must scrupulously record everything you do in time combat on your Span Card. Today, we'll look at Attacks/Defenses. (Incidentally, before we do...)
Players are encouraged to send in their own successful Strategems to email@example.com - any that meet with our approval will appear on our website ( http://www.aetherco.com )
I can't find any listed on their site. Anyway: Attacks/Defenses
1. Gemini Flush: Minimum duration 10 minutes, no bonus to skill. This is dangerous, since it gives the user a point of Frag. However, it's a great way to cause physical combat - an elder arrives, played by the GM, and both you and the Elder may attack any opponents nearby. You can call in more than one Elder, but each one costs a point of Frag, which must be resolved after combat via the standard GEmini rules. They leave at the end of the sweep unless the PC tries to direct them, and you have to roll against their Quick at the end of each Sweep or they leave anyway. You must write any of their movements into your Yet; you may even want to do a sperate Span Card for this. If a junior dies in the Time Combat, all remaining elders take another 2 Frag, and if it's a second death, the character is instantly unplayable at 8 Frag, as normal.
2. Harbinger: minimum duration 1 second, no bonus to skill. This lets you attack psychologically - you leave a bloody knife, a photograph of your foe's inevitable defeat or some other thing where the junior of your opponent can find it. The elder, who you're fighting, knows the threat was made good, and is penalized -1 on all skills during the rest of the Combat from nervousness and self-doubt. Harbingers are cumulative if evidence of seperate succesful attacks are presented to the target.
3. Hit and Run: minimum duration 1 minute, no bonus to skill. You target a specified event, person or object in your foe's timeline to Frag and then move on immediately. You declare your Fragging Action ('I move the lamp so he trips and breaks it instead of switching it on') and then roll on the Frag Table. Which we won't see for a bit. You have only sixty seconds to arrange this, and your description must be convincing. The GM then decides if it works, and who gets fragged. Ifyou succeed, the target must declare his next sweep privately to the gM. This is usually how Time Combat starts - a Narcissist does this to you.
4. Patch: Minimum duration 1 second, no bonus to skill. This is a quick-fix for Frag. Once you know where the Frag was caused, you go recover it with a nonconfrontational action Up from it that resolves the problem. This must be between 15 seconds and 30 minutes after the As/As Not. You must describe how you fix the problem in such a way that the original assailant is not confronted or encountered. You then put them in your Yet to better resolve them after or later in Time Combat unless you roll a Grace or Victory vs. your Span at the time of the Patch. This is because Patch is an imperfect solution. The GM can always rule it unsuccsful or even frag-causing.
5. Hide: Minimum duration 7 days, no bonus to skill, max duration 128 days. You go to your Corner and do nothing. Oracles can find you only on a victory. Frunes are halved, round down. Attempts to Frag you get a +1 penalty to the roll. Attempts to attack you while in your Corner invite all Spanners in the Corner to join the Time Combat. If your Corner is out of span range, a local chapter of your Fraternity may accept to hide you at GM discretion or if you roll a 10 or higher on 1d10+(2*Span-2*Frag).
6. Isolate: Minimum duration 1 second, no bonus to skill. Once you find the narcissist, you can use this put his fragging actions in a temporal vacuum. This frags them severely, and should only be used with the worst offendors. What this does is coordinate information such that no one Continuum spanner knows enough to become deeply involved in the Fragging ACtion, but can pass along sufficient means to a chrony. It requires at least three spanners who Rendezvous'd the Sweep before. Each must roll Quick against the target's Quick, from highest to lowest. Each success against the target adds a penalty of -1 to Quick, so going last is easier. Losing against the target means you take one Frag. Winning gives the target a point of Frag, which they are considered to take all at once. If they aren't set past Frag 7, they are disoriented for at least 7 days and lose their next chance to perform a strategem, though they can Span normally. Beyond Frag 7, they're gone. Spanners must then return to Rendezvous next sweep after performing ISolate. Isolate heals all Frag from a specific As/As Not if targeting a spanner that caused it while within 15 seconds of the event. This includes Frag gained while performing Isolate.
Next time: MORE TIME COMBAT!
But one might Frune anything.Original SA post
Because my ISP is being terrible, I have little else to do tonight...
C o ntinuum: But one might Frune anything.
We left off on Information Control Strategems. These are:
1. Cobweb: Minimum duration 7 days, +1 to skill for every extra 14 days to a maximum of +6 at 84 days. Cobweb plants false information to fool Oracle strategem or trick someone into arriving to do a Measure. The GM secretly subtracts the Mind score of the Cobweb user from the Skill used to perform the Oracle, presumably with any bonuses from sticking around for a while added to Mind. If the Oracle succeeds anyway, the Cobweb is revealed as false and anyone can be informed of this through whatever normal means. A Measure conducted where the Cobweb is placed will also show it to be false, but will distract the Measurer enough to leave them open to physical attack - so you can use it as a baited trap that way...or as a trap to get them looking somewhere for you because you laid a Cobweb while you're busy being elsewhen. Cobweb cannot, however, affect the Dreaming skill unless the person placing the Cobweb also has Dreaming, in which case his Dreaming rather than his Mind is subtracted fro mthe Dreaming Oracle. A succesful Oracle or Frune used with Dreaming also reveals the details of the Cobweb, but not necessarily who placed it.
2. Frune: Minimum duration 7 days, +1 to skill for every 14 days to a maximum of +6 at 84 days. Frune is spanner slang for asking questions, and that's what you do - you ask around with other Continuum spanners. You probably want to take extra time because other spanners are very cautious about handing out information...and you can ask any one question you want. You roll your Span (with any bonuses) to get an answer. Failure means all you get is 'Further information is not available here.' If you succeed at Frune, however, the Continuum becomes more widely involved and will actively encourage all survivors to patch up any Frag in their Yet immediately after Time Combat finishes, in whatever form the GM wants to deliver this encouragement.
3. Iron Man: Minimum duration of 7 days. Iron Man is special . You go Up to a point in the future where you are certain you will be able to discover the outcome of the Time Combat. The GM rolls 1d10. On a 1, you are shown to be completely victorious and get +5 to all rolls this combat, will have minimal damage and gain no Frag. On a 2-5, signs are favorable and you get +3 to all rolls this combat. 6-9, signs are unfavorable and you get -2 to all rolls this combat. 10, you are going to die this combat. This enters your Yet and is considered Death as per Span and Frag rules, including Second Death if applicable. You get no negatives, but you will die. If you have successfully Fruned in a previous Swep, you may reroll if you don't like the first roll, but you must accept the results of the second roll. You may only use Iron Man once per spanner per Time Combat, and it is "strongly discouraged."
4. Measure: Minimum duration 1 day, with +2 for every 14 days extra to a max of +6 for 42 days. You go to where an assailant or victim is and study them secretly and in detail. You roll Mind (adjusted by duration, but if your target doesn't stay in place for 14 days then you can't get those bonuses). This automatically dispels any Cobweb in the area, but you're primarily gathering these bonuses for other spanners, who can then apply your bonuses, if your roll succeeds, any time they try to make or stop a fragging action at that level. You can't use those bonuses yourself because you learn too much and if you tried to change or influence anything you'd risk frag.
5. Oracle: Minimum duration 7 days, with +1 for every 12 days extra to a max of +5 for 60 days. This, we are told, is critical. It lets you use Anthropology, History, Library Science or similar skills uncover information about the past. Dreaming can also be used, and even has a chance of seeing the Future. You do this to locate an opponent who is Down from you (usually). You declare a target spanner, object or event to research - even as vague 'whoever fragged me.' Then you declare how long you're going to study. Then you ask one (and only one) of the following questions:
A. Who/What is this? (to find out who fragged you)
B. Where and when is he/it? (if you plan to go attack this Sweep, or Measure later)
C. Where and when did he/it go (if you were hit this Sweep and plan to go attack next sweep)
D. How (when/where) was it done? (if you plan to go heal Frag)
Then you roll. In addition to the bonuses from your Duration there, you get bonuses from their duration in the time you were researching; this is why long durations can be dangerous. However, only on a Victory will you find someone in their native Corner; otherwise, you can't surprise them there. If you're Up from them, you get +1 to your roll, or +2 if you are the furthest Up of all combatants. If you are Dreaming, you can get information about people further Up from you but you get a penalty of at least -2 on this roll - or more, if the GM feels like it. If you have not Spanned this Sweep and are on the same level as someone you successfully Oracle, you may span Levelly and physically attack this Sweep.
6. Rendezvous: Minimum duration 1 day, no bonus to skill. This is when you go and meet up with others at some spot for a day and share information. All information known, including Frag, Oracles, etc. are shared by all friendly parties at the Rendezvous and Rendezvousing spanners are given three minutes to discuss the next Sweep before their sixty seconds apiece to declare their plans. The Rendezvous, however, begins when the last Spanner who is going that Sweep arrives.
7. Rendezvous la Reve: Minimum duration 2 hours, no bonus to skill. This is Rendezvous, but in dreams. You must be able to Dreamshare to be there. We are told that "Happily, longer Dreaming sessions add bonuses to successfully Rendezvousing" but there don't appear to be rules for that or anything.
1. Reverse Engineer: Minimum duration 1 minute, no bonus to skill. This is forbidden to all Continuum spanners. It targets events you know are in your Yet and attempts to erase them. You must:
1. Know who the target is.
2. Oracle an event in their Yet.
3. Span to that event and perform a fragging action on it, as in Hit and Run.
4. Declare where you will be next sweep, as with all fragging actions.
You are trying to prevent that incident from occuring, and if you manage it, then you frag them. (There is a table to determine frag, we'll get there.) Anyway, it's suggested not to do this to GEmini Incidents because you'll get both Geminis on your ass. Spanners who have that happen note it in their Yet as a thing they will eventually do when they're the Elder.
2. Statue of Liberty/Cheshire Cat: Minimum duration 1 minute, no bonus to skill. This is a favorite ploy of Narcissists: you try to frag someone just before Time Combat begins by making them late for the first point of frag they got. For example, you ensure their car stalls before they get to where they were originally fragged. This causes you to lose a point of Frag if you have one and pass it on to them (or just Frag them again, if you weren't fragged). According to the rules, if you manage this, the Time Combat is over, for...reasons I don't really understand.
3. Surrender: Minimum duration 1 minute, no bonus to skill. You must have Fruned or Oracled succesffully last Sweep. Then you show up in a position of surrender and claim you want to end the Combat. This can be a trick, of course, and sometimes is - we are warned that if a narcissist doesn't immediately allow themselves to be knocked out, it is probably a trick. If you do knock them out, call in the Foxhorn or Quicker (depending on if they're not super fragged or if they are) and have them interrogated and hopefully reintegrated into Continuum life. Continuum spanners are not allowed to surrender to narcissists, and it's a bad plan anyway.
Anyway, other details!
First, if you start physical combat, the sixty-second limit for your Element is waived. Second, you must fill out your Span card as combat progresses. With each Sweep, the GM will reiterate what you've done to make that easier for you. Third, staying put in one level (except for Hide) makes it easier to Oracle you. The book also says easier to Frune, but Frune doesn't actually say it receives any benefit from this. The book now claims it gets the same benefit ORacle does. I have no idea which rule takes precedence.
Time combat ends when one of:
1. Two otherwise succesfful attempts to Oracle or Frune the whereabouts of an attacker fail to result in catching him. You lose because he got away.
2. Two attempts to Frag the same spanner by the same assailant succeed. (Apparently, further attempts is 'asking for trobule from Continuum spanners of higher Span' even though the book specifically notes here that two points is usually not enough to threaten the entire Continuum. So...I have no idea why.)
3. If everyone agrees to stop.
4. If all of one side are taken down physically
5. If all of one side is hit to beyond Frag 7.
You can reinitiate Time Combat after it ends, of course, but the book says you're encouraged to rest, heal, regain Span and maybe even heal Frag if you can before you do. Of course, that gives them time to heal, too, unless you're careful about when you jump in. Anyway, Frag tables. When you roll your Frag attempt, based on your Span, you can get several results. A Span 1 will always get a point of frag off on a roll of 1 or less, it's left up to the GM for 2-5, and 6+ result in causing no Frag. 9+ will actually frag the fragger! This all gets easier by 1 for each point of Span you have, and at Span 4 you cause 2 Frag with a result of 0 or less, and 1 or less at Span 5. You get adjustments to your Span roll if you are either higher Span or lower Span than the person you're attacking.
Next time: Do you guys want me to explain the example Time Combat, or should I move on to the dangers of Narcissism?
Okay... I dress in my SCA armor, plus a visored helmet.Original SA post C o ntinuum: Okay... I dress in my SCA armor, plus a visored helmet.
Today, we're going to take a look at the example of Time Combat so we can understand it better. This takes place between two Continuum spanners and two Narcissists. They are:
Span spent: 4 days, 7 hours
Body 3, Mind 5, Quick 6.
Relevant Skills: Dreaming Master (so net Dreaming of 8), Longsword Journeyman (net Longsword of 5)
Span spent: 9 years, 348 days
Body 5, Mind 3, Quick 4
Relevant skills: Library Science Journeyman (net Library Science of 5), Martial Arts: Karate Journeyman (net Martial Arts of 7)
Span spent: 4 days, 7 hours
Body 4, Mind 6, Quick 7
Relevant Skills: History Grandmaster (net History of 10), Firearms: Pistol Master (net Firearms of 9)
Span spent: 4 days, 7 hours
Body 4, Mind 5, Quick 6
Relevant Skill: History Master (net History of 11, which seems...off), Boxing Journeyman (net Boxing of 6)
Anyway. Sweep One is begun when Grimveldt and Mordant launch their attacks. Amber and Ben-Youssef are taken by surprise and get no actions - they're awakened when they are Fragged. Ben-Youssef is practically out of Span right now, which drastically limits his options.
Grimveldt has highest Quick, so his Element of the Sweep occurs 'first'. He is farthest Down of the lot, in May 12, 1947. 12:00 noon, Philadelophia. He is attempting a Hit and Run on Amber, purchasing her favorite gold necklace before Amber's grandmother can and throwing it into the Delaware river. He then rolls his attempt to frag her. He rolls a 1, but gets a -1 to the result for being 1 Span above Amber. The is a 0, which results on the Frag chart as causing 1 Frag. Amber takes a point of Frag. He declares to the GM (and since he's played by the GM, that just means the GM decides) where he'll be next Span, before knowing what anyone else has done. This takes him one hour.
Mordant, meanwhile, is Up from where the Continuum spanners are, in June 25, 1979. 11:37 pm, Philadelphia. He is also using a Hit & Run, but on Ben. He is entering a movie theatre that Ben was watching a movie in and cut the film. He rolls a 2 on his frag attempt, with no modifiers since they're both Span 2. This, on the table, results in 1 Frag, so Ben takes a point of Frag. Mordant declares to the GM where he'll be next Span, before knowing what anyone else has done. This takes him one hour.
Amber and Ben-Youssef both wake up; they go last this Sweep due to surprise. They are in June 14, 1976, 5:43 am, Philadelphia. They spend 17 minutes figuring out what's happening and deciding on what they'll do next Sweep. They plan to each Oracle the one that attacked them, and to meet up in Sweep 3 for a Rendezvous on July 3. They don't know who attacked them, when they were attacked or where their attackers are.
Sweep Two begins.
Grimveldt still has the highest Quick, so he goes first. He is heading from May 12, 1947 to May 12, 1975, at 2 AM, still in Philadelphia. He is attempting a Cobweb, spending 14 days to get a +2 bonus. He is planting false information saying a narcissist named Fred Blank is setting the stage to try and steal a nuclear sub from Philly during the bicentennial. He rolls a 4, which is easily enough; anyone trying to research what's actually going on gets a -9 to the roll for his Mind 9 - except for Dreamers, because he doesn't have Dreaming.
Amber has next-highest Quick, tied with Mordant. She ends up going second. She is coming from June 14, 1976 at 7 AM to head to June 14, 1978 at 7 AM, still Philly. She is spending 60 days there for a +5 to her Dreaming roll to Oracle, since she's worried that her attacker was damn sneaky. She gets a +5 to her Dreaming for this, +1 for how long Grimveldt spent setting up his Cobweb. She then rolls a 3 - easily enough, since she's using Dreaming and so the Cobweb provides no penalty. She learns that he is setting up a Cobweb, and where and when he's set it up. She does not, however, know who he is.
Mordant would go next, and he's working on an Oracle to find out where Ben is right now. He doesn't know that Ben's almost entirely out of Span, see. He went from June 25, 1979 at 12:37 am to June 25, 1976 at 12:00 noon, still Philly. He was going to spend 7 days using History to research Ben and learn where he was. However, he gets interrupted as a result of Ben's element.
See, Ben stays at June 14, 1976, at 6 AM in Philly. He's got no Span left, practically. So he performs a Library Science roll, Oracling for 12 days to find out where and when Mordant is. He gets +1 to his Library Science, and so his roll of 6 just barely makes it. He learns that Mordant is in the same time he is - and since he hasn't Spanned this Element, he is able to span Levelly into the University of Pennsylvania library to ambush Mordant. This goes to physical combat.
Ben ends up taking the guy down with two amazing punches and is only mildly wounded as a result. He knocks the guy out and notes where and when he is for later Foxhorn pickup.
Sweep Three begins.
Grimveldt again acts first. He goes from May 26, 1975 to a planned Rendezvous with Mordany on July 1, 1976, at 2 AM in Philly. He spends a day there, but Mordant never shows. Grimveldt loads up on guns as a result.
Amber goes from Auguest 13, 1978 at 6 AM to June 26, 1976 at 6 AM, still Philly. She's going to a Rendezvous for a day with Ben.
Ben is already at that time and space, so he doesn't go anywhere and meets with Amber. They share out the information - one Narcissist down, and they know when the other one was setting up his Cobweb and where. They come up with a plan: Amber is going to enact a Gemini Flush to try and take Grimveldt (whose identity is still unknown) out right after he sets up the Cobweb. Ben is stuck level, so he's going to Oracle Amber to see if she gets arrested or hospitalized; if so, next Sweep he's going to go Frune and try to get some help.
Sweep Four begins.
Grimveldt heads from July 2, 1976 to May 12, 1975, at 2 AM. Still Philly. He's going to Measure his own Cobweb because he thinks his enemies will be showing up there, and he doesn't care too much about the chance for Frag.
Amber heads from July 5, 1976, 6 AM to May 26, 1975, 1:55 AM, still Philly. She spends ten minutes there, planning a Gemini Flush. Immediately after the junior Grimveldt lays his Cobweb, Amber shows up behind him in full (SCA) armor with a sword. The elder Grimveldt takes some potshots at her, but misses. She sends him into Shock and gives him a point of Frag, since this didn't actually happen to him this way the first time around. Her elder appears on the roof to surprise the elder Grimveldt. She, too, is armored and swordwielding. The elder gets shot once, but is okay. She swings and cuts off the guy's arm, sending him falling off the roof to his death. Both enemies are down, but the local Marines are aware of what's going on. Amber jumps off the boat they're on and Spans out. Amber has taken 1 Frag as a result of the Gemini Flush.
Time Combat ends, since all the enemy spanners are incapacitated. Amber then heads back to complete the Elder half of the Gemini and thus cure the Frag from it, and then Amber and Ben realize that they may have just prevented the narcissists from interfering with President Ford and the Liberty Bell. They head out to go talk to the Foxhorn and other Continuum spanners.
Next time: Narcissists and You.
The authors believe that the seriousness of the subject does not lend itself to cute catchwords.Original SA post C o ntinuum: The authors believe that the seriousness of the subject does not lend itself to cute catchwords.
Narcissists apparently got their name from the fact that they call their elder selves 'echoes' and some Greek time traveller from Ancient Greece overheard it. And so he decided they were Narcissists. We are told they have many lines of argument to tempt loyal spanners, and these can be responded to as follows (suggested responses are bold):
You're a Mindless Drone
You're really just doing what you've been told. What is the Yet but a means of making you run the rat-maze set by the Exalted? With all this sneaking around and giving signals, you really have no way of knowing what is going on! When was the last time you did something that wasn't just for this faceless, secretive 'Continuum'?
I have friends, heroic responsibilities, cash in the bank, and a wide, wide horizon ahead of me. You're the one that looks fragged, nagged, ragged and paranoid...
Secrets and Powers Revealed
Poor thing, you don't even know how you learned to span! But I'll tell you, free of charge. And hey, if you like that, I know how you can go and rule your own world. I've seen it happen. No obligations, just hear what I have to say...
I can wait until I earn Span Three to find out further information, thank you. And when I do, then watch out for me ruling the world: I'm on the winning side NOW.
The Nightmares of History
How can you just sit there when millions of Jews, Gypsies, gays and dissenters are sent to the ovens of the Grossdeutches Reich? Or the centuries upon centuries of slavery, breeding humans to be strong and stupid, and keeping them from the dignity that freedom primises? How often can you just walk around these bloodbaths before you lose your humanity all together!?
All these tragedies pale beside eliminating these peoples' existence altogether. That is what you're suggesting, isn't it?
The Inheritor Peril
This whole Inheritor Spacetime business is just a big lie - the biggest. Mankind is being genetically erased . You're helping them do it! They gave you this little earth-bound trick of spanning, while they have vast alien fleets awaiting to absorb another planet into their empire. We have to resist with all the resources we have!
This makes zero sense. If the Inheritors are evil aliens, why give any of us the power to span? They could just smash us as levellers. (If you've made any Aquarian friends by this point, you might want to mention them, too.
Narcissists also rule several millenia via the empire of Antedesertium. They claim to have allies everywhere, but no one has ever recorded or observed a decisive strike by them. Early on, in the Sagittarian era (approximately 18000 BC to 16000 BC), they have a broadly enlightened empire that is just misled - there are approximately 70 kings who rule in relative peace and try to keep people happy. However, they do practice human sacrifice. They don't much like their descendants in the Scorpiod Era, either. Their technology is a weird mix of 20th and 21st century tech that tends to be used in weird and out-of-context ways. They don't much like the Continuum, and they value will over compassion. They have little interest in time travel, being more interested in trying to somehow escape to another universe. The Scorpiod Era is much nastier - it's full of cruelty and terror, and where most of the Narcissist attacks come from. They seem determined to destroy the universe, and while they ultimately fail, they're still really dangerous.
The worst of them ar the Seven and the Sixteen. These are powerful Narcissist spanners who lead the war against the Continuum. They seem to be trying to fracture the universe to create alternate timelines. The Seven may or may not come from and rule the Sixteen, but they're shrouded in mystery. The Sixteen are those who head into Societal spacetime and recruit narcissists; none seem to act like they're a threat, but they truly are. Nine are said to sacrifice all they are to open the way for other narcissists to go to other worlds, while the others become the Seven and return to Antedesertium mightier than they left.
Some Narcissists get fragged to a point where they should basically cease existing, but are able to bind themselves into objects to save their existences. These are called Vessels; they are fragile and hard to control - you need Frag to have even a chance. They are believed to be unable to be returned above Frag 8, just destroyed...and they're very powerful, with a tendency to destroy anything nearby when they finally die. The Vessels have no will of their own, but can be commanded by others.
Narcissists are also known to use high Frag to perform seeming magic. For example, they can reach through walls or phase through weapons, much like ghosts. Once they lose their own will, they may attempt to latch onto levellers and haunt them - either b y inciting emotional reactions or taking partial control of their minds. Of course, all these Narcissists can do is drive people mad as they seek to regain their free will, but that makes them dangerous. This is just, we are told, mindless reflexes.
Now, let's talk about mental health. Dealing with mental illness is a risk for spanners - while we can adapt to time travel, apparently, it's very easy to go crazy thanks to Aquarian weapons or frag. Here we have a list of mental illnesses that spanners might suffer:
Altimnemonosis - altered or jumbled memory; the inability to remember events in their proper order. This can be caused by injury, post-traumatic stress or lack of sleep...and also, more likely, frag. No, this doesn't immunize you to frag; memory problems don't actually do that.
Amnesia - neither does this. Partial or total memory loss. GM decides how much or how little you lose. It can be caused by hypnosis or other induced means...or by frag. If you take more than 4 frag in one Sweep, you may suddenly lose your memory. Curing the frag causes the problem to go away over a period of a few weeks.
Apathy - lack of interest in events. For spanners, it seems to result with knowing how things turn out happening. The best cure, we're told, is a surprise vacation to another Era.
Automatonosis - this one's spanner's only, and it's the compulsion to perform one's life as fated. It involves searching for every little thing in the future to fill your Yet up and never be surprised. Hypnosis at appropriate moments, we're told, may help...but if kept up too long, nothing can help because you'll map out your entire Yet and rob yourself of all spontaneity.
Glossolalia - Speaking in tongues. Often affects dreamers or those who use dreamsharing too much to speak with people who don't speak their language. Also sometimes spanners over 200 who've learned more than 500 languages. It makes you unable to maintain a conversation in one language, often mixing dozens of languages.
Multiple Personality Disorder - AKA Dissociative Identity Disorder. For Spanners, it can happen if frag is left alone for too long. They develop a personality to explain that frag. It doesn't go away, but the personality denies the need to cure it and may even blame the original personality for perpetuating it. This usually takes a year of Age to develop and only hits the fragile-minded, but excessive or repeated frag can make it more likely even in strong minds. Memories are not shared between personalities, but they can talk to each other. The GM may have you write up a new sheet for the personality, which will have different Mind-based skills and all other skills reduced to Novice rank. Attributes remain the same. Subsequent frag can create even more personalities once the first has set in - you must roll Quick every time you're fragged, and if you fail, yep, there's anyother. Curing frag will cause the personalities to slowly reintegrate, though.
Obsessive/Compulsive Disorders - Ritualized behavior and the inability to not perform events by routine - even if they're not in your Yet. This can result from desperately wanting to not know anything about your Yet, and so you hide in ritual to avoid the possibility of discover.
Paranoia - Common among narcissists, and we are told that spanners are encouraged to study from 1950-2000 when researching paranoia. It can be caused when too many coincidences, especially bad ones, begin to happen. Even good Grace rolls can become grounds for it, though.
Phobias - Phobias. A common spanner fear is barophobia, the fear of the loss of gravity. This happens most with people who have had trouble flying or spanning, especially if they've had a near-miss into the atmosphere. "A spanner afraid of spanning is about the saddest sight in the world."
Schizophrenia - Emotional withdrawal, loss of motivation and cognitive abilities, altered sense of self or reality, hallucinations...most people from earlier Eras see it as demonic possession "and knowing narcissists, they are more accurate than they know." Apparently even time travellers aren't entirely sure what causes it, but it can be caused by frag 5+, and can persist even after frag is repaired. It is especially common in those who fight Antedesertium.
Sleepspanning - sleepwalking, but you can time travel. It usually lasts between a second and thirty minutes, and is usually caused by hypnosis. It'll never send you anywhere that is instantly lethal...but you could walk up on a raft surrounded by crocodiles, or falling from 30000 feet, or in the service module of Apollo 13 sixteen seconds before launch. This is basically the GM being a dick. You don't regain Span during any sleep interrupted by sleepspanning or sleepwalking.
Taboos - This is just being a monster. Some spanners lose their sense of ethics and morality. And, well...
Sexual experimentation is to be expected in some spanners, and shunned by others. Plural marriages are illegal in the West in the 20th Century - but not in certain places in the 19th. Some spanners even become confused distinguishing between a lover of 21 years of age, and juniors of same, or elders much older, even dying or dead. Some are ill or fragged individuals that need treatment. Others are narcissists who simply refuse all ethical bounds. Another healthy reason children aren't candidates to become spanners.
The Continuum, we're told, is tolerant of you doing whatever you want up to the poin that it creates frag, at which point they will step in. However, toying with taboos is still bad, as it is "really just practice for the temptation of breaking Maxims."
Mental illness is a problem that can be helped by the Dreamers, Quicker and Physicians, depending on if you want holistic lucid dream help, mental health professionals or someone to tell you that it is, in fact, caused by frag. The Quicker believe in tough love to help the obsessive or apathetic - specifically, aggressive creepiness to get them moving. The Physicians are specialized in healing physical injury, allergies and intoxication, too. Incidentally, on that: do not span while drunk or high. Don't do it. First time you do it, you roll Span...or miss. If you miss, that first time isn't deadly...but any further attempts are treated as if you were going past your Span. Level spanning is safe while drunk, though - though you tend to be off-target by a few feet.
Next time: Aging, death and the GM section.
A senile spanner is a tough thing to corrall.Original SA post C o ntinuum: A senile spanner is a tough thing to corrall.
Spanners still age, based on...well, their Age. At high enough Span, they can get modified in the Aquarian Era to extend their age massively...but they tend to lose subtle human emotions such as nostalgia or quaintness. This emotional brittleness is rare in Aquaraians, who are more acclimated to genetic engineering. But sometimes you don't get to Span Three and earn extended life. Those spanners can still grow old, become sick or senile. Spanning doesn't go away when you do that, and so sometimes there are problems with senile old coots teleporting around. We get aging stat penalties - at half your lifespan, you get -1 body, and then later -2 Body, then -3 Body and -1 Mind and so on. Becoming a spanner increases your lifespan by about 10 years, then 300 years at Span 3, then a thousand at 4. Span 5+ are effectively immortal.
Sometimes, spanners are curios about when they're going to die. The Scribes, Quickers and Dreamers try to keep this information from people and make it hard to acquire, not least because it can be very dangerous and disheartening. The Continuum tries to keep people from asking about that sort of thing.
Spanners are actively dissuaded from seeking such discouraging information: if you try too hard, you may find the answer is "Now".
Why the hell are you here again?
Anyway, on to Chapter IV. This is the GM section, which begins with advice on how to handle players. First, on answering time travel questions. The books suggests making them ask in character whenever feasible, but that pretty much all questions fall into two categies:
1. Because It's There. If something happened, it happened. If it's in your area, it's your jurisdiction. If you did it, it's your responsibility. That's why you have to do it. Anyone who wants to hunt on your turf needs to ask...but making tensions is something for narcissists to epxloit. Oh yeah - and it's the height of arrogance to assume you can make a universe, especially by destroying everything to come.
2. Information Is All. If you witnessed or participated in it, you're subject to frag associated with it. Hearing about it? No, that's fine, that gives you leverage. This is why Dreamers and Scribes are so handy.
Any other questions, the book says, should be answerable via the Maxims and the explanations of them given earlier in the book. They are social questions, mostly, but social behavior is of paramount importance in the Continuum. Other tips suggest that if you want a plot to happen - make it happen. If your PCs smash a sculpture you had plans for...then have it show up again a few days later, perhaps with a Gemini Incident of them putting it back. Now they have to figure out why it needed to exist...and how to get a copy of it in place for their younger selves to smash without destroying the real thing.
The book says that keeping track of span cards is important, even if it's just 'I spend eight months learning to fly' - and that's because you can make adventures out of those times. For example, let's say Bill learns to fly. Later, the party heads to that spacetime...and find out his flight instructor is a narcissist trying to kill him, so they have to save Younger Bill, who just didn't mention anything yet because he's a loyal spanner who didn't pass on information they needed to not have to do this properly. Also, record-keeping helps keep track of aging.
The book says you should start a new character sheet with each increase in Span, to keep them relatively neat. Okay, I guess. Splitting the party can be a problem, it tells us, but the best way to handle it is to put a time limit on each person's actions, and then go down the party that way. Let them roleplay with each other in the same spacetime while you're busy with the next person or group.
It also tells us to smack people with frag if they keep trying to do things they know didn't happen - forcing a Gemini, say, that never happened. As it keeps up, have the other members of the corner start a time combat to deal with the frag the renegade is causing. This should, the book says, show the person why this is a terrible idea. If he does it again, don't give him a second chance.
Rewards are important too, though. Dangle plot hooks about the players' future exploits - swords with their names engraved on them from centuries ago, friends they haven't met yet greeting them warmly, their faces showing up in History Channel footage. Make sure they feel a sense of wonder or ambition for the adventures of the future.
After that, some methods to deal with problem players. These are kind of boring, so we'll skim past them; it's not bad advice, I guess, it's just...boring. On to game balance! The book claims that Continuum PCs are the most powerful ever designed for an RPG because of their abilities to teleport and time travel at will. Okay, I guess. And so dungeons aren't appropriate for them. Instead, you want them to be inventive and clever, and give them weird moments of frag and temporal mysteries to solve. Then, a discussion of plot, continuit, pacing and motivation. It's pretty good advice but again not hugely interesting. The book suggests that you start the game off a few years before the present day, whatever your present day is, to give players a sense of knowledge about their home timespace, and to invent secrets and plan out how you're going to reveal them, because that's what'll keep people coming back. It also suggests you read a lot of history books and watch a lot of documentaries to better portray the past. If you make a mistake somewhere, though - use it. Your mistakes are adventure seeds - loose ends that need to be tied up, whatever you can come up with.
Next time: the interesting part of the GM section: Weird IC Secrets!
Homo sapiens has several unguessed cousins who become wise enough to span.Original SA post
My job can get pretty boring and I've nothing else to do while here, so:
C o ntinuum: Homo sapiens has several unguessed cousins who become wise enough to span.
We begin by addressing why the Continuum doesn't actively recruit: it's essentially a rebirth into a new family for someone to join, and they don't want to force that on people. You can't raise a child as a spanner, so instead, they adopt levellers - carefully, and only from those who are quick enough to notice them and determined enough to stick with it. Drafting someone into your family just wouldn't work, and neither does drafting spanners. Besides, the Continuum wants to avoid a deterministic future, and they foresee recruiting actively as causing it, leading to kidnapping people and telling them their place in spacetime rather than letting them choose.
Narcissists, conversely, do actively recruit; they prefer to take from the Continuum's ranks, but sometimes one will have the technology needed to jump someone to Span 1...and that can be very, very dangerous. These people are called crashers, and they are almost always killed or fragged out once someone realizes what they are, even if they seem innocent. After all, you never know what post-hypnotic suggestions a narcissist has left lying in their subconscious, or what diseases they may have. Between that and being trained by narcissists, they're just too dangerous to have around in most cases. Spanners generally don't hear anything about this until Span 3. We'll talk more about them later.
Sometimes, a person invited to the Continuum will have doubts or second thoughts, especially when they learn that it involves invasive surgery - which it does, as Span 3s learn. If they've not learned too much, they'll get mindwiped and sent home. If that would leave too much of a hole in their memory, though...well, sometimes they have to be killed.
Anyway, once someone does agree to join, they get hypnotized ASAP. This is to lay in a hook for a later hypnotic command, the one that will wipe their memory of their induction until they hit Span 3. This is also handled by the Physicians - they sort and mark key neurons involved in long term memory. After that, the new spanner spends some months making friends and learning how to Span, having been given that ability by the Physicians (which we'll talk about in more detail later). The Physicians then evaluate whether the skills and names of his friends are in his "deep memory" and, if so, take him to his corner. The Physician attending will then activate the hypnotic triggers, causing the marked neurons to retract their dendrites until a specific moment; if needed, they also have machines to do this. The memory of training and being made a spanner is thus locked away.
Most spanners are from the Piscean and Aquarian eras - that's from the 1 AD onward - because that's when the most humans are actually around. In fact, the further back you go, the rarer spanners are. Almost no one from before 100,000 BC is considered bright enough to be worth teaching. Apparently, there's also intelligent apes and human offshoots that could learn to Span, though they are very rare. These, we're told, should be watched and treated as carefully as humans from the same era.
Then a short section on day jobs, and how they can be as important or unimportant as you want them to be. They suggest that running scenarios in the day job, however, can help show how stressful day-to-day interaction with levellers can be, simply from the frustration of having to keep secrets from these people and that every action can seem like an act to keep their favor.
Now we learn why Span 1 and 2 don't know the secret of spanning: temptation. They are inexperienced and would be tempted to share the secret too easily. That's why narcissists love to recruit from the low ranks. We also learn that spanning doesn't care about momentum, body positions or being tied up. You can span, and you'll take only what you want to take with you (though to take something, that thing must be either touching you, or touching something that's touching you, or touching something that's touching something that's touching you...and so on. You can take a bottle of water if you can touch the bottle, for instance), and at worst you may be a little disoriented. If you are born in one Era but become a spanner in the next - say, born in 1990 but become a spanner in 2010 - you are a Cusp spanner and are considered native to both eras. Anyone born after 2400 is considered an Inheritor and gets treated as such, rather than a potential spanner recruit...but anyone born between 2222 and 2400 can claim to be both an Inheritor and a spanner, if recruited. This can get complicated.
We get a bit on Gemini incidents, but it's not too interesting. We do learn that while it would be possible to, say, clone yourself and kill that clone to make a corpse and thus escape death more than once, it's not allowed. No Thespian will want to play a corpse, and it takes a well-respected Exalt to convince a Physician to grow up a convincing dead clone. This is a common Narcissist trick, and thus it draws suspicion. Besides, if everyone was allowed to never die, we're told, there would be dire consequences. So, instead, you will eventually have to deal with any death in your Yet by...actually dying.
We get a short discussion on an anthropological phenomenon: specifically, the first time a person comes to a place, they'll be considered a foreigner...but if they leave and come back, they will be welcomed home as a returning native, apparently. GMs are encouraged to keep this in mind when dealing with past civilizations. We also learn that the Jesus Fish is a result of early Christians copying spanners trying to identify each other by using the mark of Pisces, it being too early in history to ask the time.
Then, a discussion of paradox. It is hard to deliberately frag levellers or objects past one point, since that's likely to also get the Continuum involved and start a time combat...but some narcissists will try anyway. Most as/as nots only cause 1 frag, and then increase as you ignore them. However, really big stuff (someone tries to blow up your hometown or murder your grandfather) can cause 2. The more personal it is, the more frag needs to accumulate from ignoring it before it starts to affect others; it's a lot easier to collaterally frag by blowing up a town or destroying a house then stealing a pair of socks or killing Grandpa. Natural paradox can happen too, though - and that has no as/as not, being caused by spanning in the area of extremely high energy. Natural paradoxes happen around these things, rarely...
The Continuum must point out at this juncture that many of these observed instances are actions of sentient force, or results therefrom, and caution the level scientific community in their research. That being said, happy hunting.
...anyway, we get a brief discussion on the geon, a particle from a New Scientist article that apparently can be affected by events in its future. I have no idea why. Anyway, what causes natural frag is usually radioactivity. Spanning in or out near a uranium mine will get you 1 Frag. So will a particularly heavily electrified fence or an electrical transformer on a main line. A lightning strike within 3 yards or ball lightning within 25 will get you 2 frag, solar wind will get you 5 and spanning while within six seconds in either direction at the location of a nuke's ground zero will instantly shoot you to 8. 6 minutes is 6, 6 hours is 3, 6 days i one. A planetary axial shift will get you 9.
Don't span during these things! You can, however, span past them without incident; it's spanning at the moment they are happening that causes problems. Since there's no as/as not, you'll need to get Physician help to get rid of that frag, too. We now get into what frag feels like, "saved for the GM's section, as it can be a bit graphic and startling." It makes you feel sick, nauseous or pained because you feel the universe isn't screwed on right, as you try to relate your mind to your existence and doubting you fit. At high Frag, your Yet is so damaged that you consciousness is drawn off to fill in the missing events. This is because you are no longer human, apparently, but "a reconstituion of matter and energy". Which is explained later. Thus spanners are also more likely to disintegrate when fragged than levellers or objects. Frag can rip apart your subconscious to fill in your Yet, causing mental problems and lack of control. Fragged spanners, we are told, explain faces in windows that shouldn't be there, footprints leading nowhere, sudden terror from no source, dogs or cats bristling at things that aren't there, figures on the edge of vision that become scenery when you look, photograph blurs and more. These, we are told, are fragged people.
Next time: Secrets of the Fraternities!
To exceed one's ability to ride this spiralling dragon is to find one's soft tossies thrust into a particle accelerator filled with lightspeed electrons.Original SA post C o ntinuum: To exceed one's ability to ride this spiralling dragon is to find one's soft tossies thrust into a particle accelerator filled with lightspeed electrons.
I'm getting a bit bored, so it's time to just skim for the most interesting bits. We've seen a lot of what's completely insane already; now we're just into the parts. Some secrets! The Antiquarians? They're thieves. They steal art objects, boats, entire lakes and so on from around the world to hang in their homes. It's totally okay, they think, because they put the stuff back exactly after they took it, so no one ever knows. This is why they think that money isn't really a valuable thing.
The Dreamers believe that the Dreamtime is another universe entirely, which you access when dreaming. They want it to be apart from the Continuum, a place to rest. They refuse to ever discuss this with anyone outside the Dreamtime and will hypnotize people and scare them to keep it secret. Once the Continuum's work is finished, they may or may not plan to retreat into the Dreamtime forever.
The Engineers know how to make time machines - they just aren't allowed to do it. They sometimes make machines that can temporarily increase your Span, and they will do that ssometimes as long as they're temporary. Also they bitch about how the Physicians say the human body was always a tool and think that the human body only becomes a tool when we start actively modifying and discovering new ways to change it.
The Foxhorn can rip information out of your brain. That's...really it, they're basically what they seem to be.
The Midwives know why you aren't allowed to have kids with other spanners: a spanner's child is born a spanner, because spanners are genetically altered. While a child with a leveller will be a level, a spanner's child won't. When this happens, as it sometimes does, they take the child in and sometimes hand it off to the Inheritors to raise. Most of the time they try to stop it from happening; one of their attempts to stop a Narcissist breeding program involves introducing horrible genetic dysfunctions that nearly wipe out mankind.
The Moneychangers are running a private war on Antedesertium in the middle of the real war as one of their leading members has decided he won't allow the concept of money to be abused by the Narcissists. Other than that, well, not all that much.
The Physicians know how to cure natural frag. Radioactive frag is easiest - they have multiple treatments, all of which take five days per point of frag during which you can't span at all. Electromagnetic frag is harder - once you get diagnosed, you have d100 Spans left before you risk death with each span. Curing it takes a year per point of frag during which you can't span - and if you do, you reset back to the full frag. Most won't treat Frag 5+, and none will treat Frag 7+. The Physicians feel the human body has always been a tool, performing functions for humans from the first. They know how to cure most aging by means of genetic manipulation and nanomachines.
The Quicker are experts at memory alteration and suppression. They sometimes come for even loyal spanners who have Frag at 6 or higher, and so others fear them. They are able to track ghosts using holograms and nanomachines. They store the fragged in deep space near the beginning of time, very close to the Big Bang. Supposedly they cure people there but no one's ever admitted to witnessing a return. They are also biased against non-Aquarians, whom they think of as dead.
The Scribes record stuff. They keep track of span books and track where everyone is. They refuse to admit that any Scribe would ever lie, ever - and they harshly investigate and punish anyone caught doing so. Sometimes lethally.
The Thespians are...actually pretty darn boring, they are what they seem to be.
Now, the way spanning works: your biomagnetism gets altered such that your heartbeats are synced with the earth's magnetic cycle. The power of your heartbeats is used to make you into a burst of tachyons which travel through time. The power comes from the magnetosphere and the Van Allen Belts. When you try to go past your Span, you pull on power you aren't able to use properly and your molecules will fall apart randomly. This is also why Span 6+ involves the Inheritors directly - they have to learn to ride solar wind instead of trapped radiation. As long as you still have a brain, a spinal cord and a beating heart that are all attached to each other, you can span. However, damage to those organs may cause spontaneous combustion as your electrons arrive without proper instructions, and senility can lead to you never being able to come down from the Belts. Taking levellers on Spans - animal or human - requires special magnetic shielding for them.
You do get a Yet from the time you lost while learning to span - you just don't know what it is until you hit Span 3, so no one tells you. And, uh. Let me...let me show you the chart. This chart, uh. This chart has...some entries.
What I Forgot To Remember
Could be something good, could be something bad...
(d100: Roll once for every 4 points or fraction thereof of Quick the character has upon attaining Span Three, duplicate results are ignored but not rerolled. Add to the Benefits/Disadvantages column and the Yet, as appropriate.)
01 - Favored Exalted : You can still be injured, and suffer all kinds of terrors getting there - but you will live to see Span Five, guaranteed. This negates Death at Span Four.
02-03 - Grace on Demand : You have friends, powerful friends. You have ten free Grace rolls to change any result you (not the GM) get to roll.
04-05 - All Too Easy : Aquarian Skills (including Hypnosis) are learned in half the normal Time Index. And you will learn them.
05-10 [sic] - Save Love of Your Life - If you already have one of these, you'll be saving them from death or worse. Otherwise, hero, remember the gorgeous person that will call you 'mine'.
11-15 - Hero's Companion - You have a great career ahead, and along the way you have a mighty NPC pal who is Little John to your Robin Hood, Enkidu to your Gilgamesh. Make the GM design him now .
16-30 - Sidekick - Similar to the Hero's Companion, but less amazing. More like some novice who thinks you're hot stuff, but only has potential, not walking demigod stats.
31-50 - Liked - Fruning around, it turns out spanners think you're okay. First impressions wherever you go among spanners starts favorably. Negates Disliked. Effect lasts until and if you reach Exalted.
51-60 - Disliked - I dunno, there's something wrong or weird about you. What's your problem? Spanners initial impression of you is negative. Effect lasts until and if you reach Exalted.
61-85 - Petty Betrayal - Some cheap advantage is there, and you take it. No frag or Maxims broken, but a lot of bad feelings from old pals.
85-90 [sic] - Great Betrayal - You mess up the lives of most people who care about you for some streak of self-aggrandizement - or some one you trust does it to you (GM's call).
91-95 - Kill Loved Ones - Everyone you care about... is dead. And everyone agrees, it's your fault.
96-97 - Death at Span Four - Well, it could be a glorious Death. Overrides any limitations for Surviving Death, even if you were previously limited to Span Three. But it's not really good news, is it.
98-99 - Rape - You suffer a brutal humiliating assault from your worst enemy, with little chance of ever getting him back. You might die, too.
00 - Treason - You are destined to betray the Continuum to Antedesertium, you don't know precisely when. We do. Have a nice day.
98-99 - Rape - You suffer a brutal humiliating assault from your worst enemy, with little chance of ever getting him back. You might die, too.
Think I'll just leave that here for now.
Next time: The Comte de Saint Germain and Jeanne D'Arc.
In game terms, he is a late Aquarian from Upsilon Andromedae 3.Original SA post C o ntinuum: In game terms, he is a late Aquarian from Upsilon Andromedae 3.
Okay. We move on past advice on how to run a Span 3 because it's not that interesting. Yadda yadda, Greatest Game. The areas of conflict tend to be places like New York's Chinatown, Jewish shtetls throughout Europe, Vikings in Minnesota and so on - or areas of military conflict, like China conquering Tibet or the US in South Vietnam. Yadda yadda, moving on.
Guess what! Joan of Arc's a spanner. She's Span 4 or 5 at her peak, has five statlines for Spans 0-4, and apparently went off to fight against Antedesertium as an Exalted before going back to her death at the stake. Her Span 4 activity is, apparently, being the sum totality of Atlantis's police force during the Council eras. Personally. Okay!
You know who else is? The Comte de Saint Germain! He was in the first century BC in Gaul, became a spanner, made it to Span 2 in the Continuum as a skilled Thespian...and in Span 3, he goes narcissist. He spends his time confusing people, impersonating people and eventually going to war against Joan of Arc. She beats him soundly. He becomes a Span 5+ narcissist and remains an amazingly powerful foe. Sometimes he's fighting against his younger self, sometimes not. Six statlines, with his Span 5 stats making it so he can almost never fail rolls, ever.
Now we get to learn about the Inheritors. They have immense power: "The resources available to the Inheritors are several vigitillion times the entire available resources in the solar system throughout its entire existence. Don't even bother doing the math, they win." Having them intervene is dangerous for everyone involved - and out of game, the book suggests it's a bad option because it's not much fun. Use the Inheritors, it says, only when you need to. Of course, then we get:
One good way to tame cocky players is this: If the players ever see one [a flying saucer] far away in the night sky, and start saying over-confident things like, "Looks like someone's gonna get it," have it swing close suddenly. After a few moments of cold sweat, send it back to what it was doing.
The Inheritors are always on top.
Inheritors are then given stats. Specifically: Body 2, Mind 25, Quick 30, and any skill they may want or need at Grandmaster. They have time travelling spacecraft which can tank pretty much any gun, can keep people inside them from aging or moving but alert, can convert mass to energy for easier storage, can get rid of their hulls until needed, have mindwipe machines that function as Hypnosis or Telepathy at a skill of 50, use the magnetic fields of suns or planets to teleport in time and space...
Perhaps only a century or two in either direction before a pause for recalibration is required. See Chapter 5: Knowing - Time Travel in the Real World, pg. 208 for further information.
That sounds promising. We'll get there eventually. Oh, and they have a backup engine that runs on natural paradox. Sometimes Inheritors deliberately experience frag, when they are forced to step in when a Time Combat has gone really, really out of control. So they time-clone their own ships multiple times and deal with everyone involved. This is a very bad thing to have happen to you. They are also extremely hard to Span into, these ships, because they're full of natural paradox. Anyone who tries is liable to just die. Period.
Moving on, let's see...Time Combat actually has little of interest in the GM section. Instead, we learn about Dark Gifts of Frag, which only narcissists can learn to do. Anyone else can try, but they're untrrained and are rolling raw Quick, At Frag 6, you may not show up in photos or mirrors except in spurts. You get -2 to all Minbd rolls and -4 to all Quick rolls. However , you gain the power of Discorporation. You can see inside envelopes, through drawers, even sometimes through stone or brick, but never metal or glazed ceramic. At Frag 7, you look terrifying - a walking mess. You're a walking threat to the Continuum thanks to that, so you're in trouble. You suffer extreme disorientation and memory loss...but your Discorporation gets stronger. You can reach through walls, boxes or even thin barriers of metal (about an inch thick at most). Curing Frag while reaching through things is a bad plan, by the way - you're gonna die if you do it.
Up past Frag 7, you can no longer improve your skills and attributes. Spanning takes a roll each time to see if you make it or die in the Van Allen Belts. At Frag 8, your Body is effectively 0 for all checks, but you are immune to wounds and shock. You must make a Mind check to appear as a ghostly apparition, but all Mind checks are made at -3. You need a Quick check to move things at all - and then only small objects or minor effects to physical things, or maybe a small draft or power surge in local appliances - but you have -5 to all Quick checks. You gain the powers of Haunting (the ability to follow people around and not be stuck in one location) and Terror (the ability to cause deep, powerful emotions). At Frag 9, you are basically invisible. You need to make a Mind check to become a ball of light or pool of darkness, but all Mind checks are at -4. You need to get a Victory on a Quick roll to do what Frag 8 ghosts could do to physical things, but all Quick rolls are at -6 and you can only try this once a day. Your Haunting power becomes unable to move from one location unless you use your new power, Possession. Possession allows you to enter levellers' minds; they can't resist if they have Mind 3 or less. They do whatever you want them to do (keeping in mind that you are completely nuts), but you get driven out if you cure any frag or go beyond 10 frag. At Frag 10, you are stuck in a single object and have probably become a Vessel, which we'll go into in a while. Your Mind rolls are at -5, Quick are at -7. If you are not quite a Vessel, all you can do is Curse things - anyone who owns you get -1 to all rolls while you're within 20 yards of them. If you are a Vessel, however, you get the ability to bless them instead. Which gets more detail in the Vessel rules later. Posession is still possible, but anyone can try to resist you, and Mind 4+ automatically succeed at doing so. People you possess must keep your object with them and your ability to control them is weaker and unclear. This usually gets diagnosed as schizophrenia.
At Frag 11 or higher, you can't do shit. You're stuck at a single point of spacetime, maybe a tiny bit more, and even the Quicker may not be able to find you. Unless the as/as not of your frag is known, only a Clairvoyant can find you, in fact - and then only if their Quick is equal to or greater than your Frag.
Next time: Stupid Narcissist tricks and maybe even the True History of Earth.
14924 - Two-Horned Worm stretches to reach Luna.Original SA post C o ntinuum: 14924 - Two-Horned Worm stretches to reach Luna.
NOTE: Possibly due to tits on the map.
Okay. Narcissist tricks. First, spanners taught to span by Narcissists are called crashers. They tend to be kind of dumb and uninformed because they're basically press-ganged into this and sent out as cannon fodder. They're unlucky bastards, because they know too much, can all too easily be turned into post-hypnotic time bombs and so...can't be allowed to live. It's a pity, but what else can you do? Or something. The Foxhorn are kind of assholes.
Some narcissists will rig their own bodies as booby traps and go into kamikaze time combats. These guys are dangerous! Sometimes they carry vials of plague, or nanotech bombs or whatever. Others just mess with your span books, because they're assholes. You should always back up your Span book with the Scribes to keep this from being a problem. Occasionally they attack entire corners, but this is rare.
And...sometimes they perform the Cuckoo, which is replacing an entire corner with lookalike narcissists. And then they pretend to be loyal spanners until they have a moment to execute a coup de gras. They also do the Mirror Corner, which is a spanner team working inside a Continuum corner. Why? Sometimes to get the Continuum to fight itself, sometimes for the same tricks as Cuckoo. Moving on. We've got a few adventure seeds, yadda yadda...off to Chapter V!
I have no idea what this guy has to do with time travel. We start off talking about prehuman civilization. There are a few! One of them is the Sizizkai (pronounced ss-ss'ka-ii). They are humanoid iguanodons. They work with gems and crystals, and mostly aren't that great at Spanning, though they know how to do it. They are 15 feet high and on average have Span 1. Yes, there are naturally time travelling dinosaur people in the Capricornic Past (specifically, from 106,237,032 BC to 106,233,878 BC). We've also got the Ga'hagadrrg, no pronunciation guide. These guys are neanderthal time travellers. They are natural spanners of extreme skill, but are otherwise little-understood. They have natural Span 5 and 40 year lifespans. I...no, you know, I don't know why cavemen are so good at time travel. They are from 2,012,379 BC to 2,009,561 BC - well, for breeding. Presumably they time travel to whenever they like. Here, have a map!
Let's see...humans head off to nicer places than Africa, which is full of time travellers, and form a civilization baed around Dreaming after somehow making
t to Australia. Later, early humans set up camp elsewhere and a few become spanners. Because they aren't covered by the Atlantean Councils the spanners are allowed to interbreed however, but end up dooming themselves to extension somehow because of this. I don't quite get it. Then we reach the Eras' starting point.
Levellers are advised that this is a falsified history for use with the C o ntinuum roleplaying game and should regard it neither as prophetic nor genuine in any way. Event listings that follow are deliberately inaccurate before 664 BC and after AD 1999, but are perfectly acceptable for use within the game.
Antedesertium is actually pretty tough to fight - they're outmatched and outgunned, but have responded by altering records, inventing stupid narcissist tricks and fostering frag-happy cultures to make their home turf hard to attack. Plus, given time travel and teleporting, it's hard to fight them in a conventional manner. The Sagittairian era tells us that the earth's axis is not where it is today - the north pole is over Hudson's Bay, and the south pole is over the Indian Ocean. We learn about some of the Kings of Antedesertium - Betne Rebu of aBant, who has Span 10 or more and seems to be nicest of the Kings; he cares about the Yet still. This is rather meaningless in Antedesertium, though, especially with people like Hawassa, his greatest opponent, who is Span 0+ and may or may not be the creator of the Seven and the Sixteen. We learn little of interest about the Sagittarean Era other than that. The Scorpiod Era, we learn, is protected by radioactive and magnetic barriers to prevent easy spanning to specific areas of spacetime. Lots of radoactivity here. The Seven are the rulers of this time, extremely powerful narcissists of immense power, who also carry powerful Vessels around. The Seven are:
The Two-Horned Worm. Span 12+, Body 35, Mind 30, Quick 32, most skills Grandmastered around 50. He is most often seen as a worm or waterspout with two small tornados being sucked into the 'head'. It is male, and occasionally manifests as a warrior instead of the giant worm shape.
Dome-and-Mirror. Span 10+, Body 90, Mind 8, Quick 25. Things that get near the Dome become beautiful by her standards. She uses Body for psychic powers instead of Mind. She is immensely dense and rarely ever spans, instead rearranging matter to suit her whim. She's hard even to talk to, because of her natural powers, but she's too dumb to manage longterm strategy or even memory.
No Eyes. Span 10+, Body 15, Mind 35, Quick 25. No Eyes usually has a completely featureless face; he ignores the physical world and prefers his mental world. He arranges events mentally and then tries to enforce his imaginings.
Eight-Stars-In-A-Disc. Span 10+, Body 18, Mind 29, Quick 39. She can absorb energy, including natural paradox. She is said to be able to frag people even before they plan to attack her - in time Combat, hse gets eight Sweeps for every Sweep her opponents get. She appears as a wheel of eight stars that wobble madly, making pronouncements (generally of a martial nature). Sometimes she appears as a tall, quiet African woman.
Shadowangle: Span 8+, Body 0, Mind 40, Quick 22. It appears only as a fold or crease in spacetime, varying between six inches to a few miles long, and a tenth as wide as its length. Anything that falls into it or touches it is gone forever. It communicates telepathically by creating neurons in your memory centers directly - you remember speaking with it despite that never happening.
The Welcome One: Span 8+, Body 15, Mind 25, Quick 28. He may take any form and create illusions ath is whim. He is always remembered with fondness, and rarely noticed at all until you think of him as an old and trusted friend.
SunRender: Span 8+, Body 19, Mind 20, Quick 27. He plans to destroy the Sun, and manipulates levellers.
The Sixteen are more normal spanners, though still crazy powerful. They are not individually statted. They like to carry Vessels - the remains of fragged narcissists. These tend to have Mind 10+, Quick 15+ and Frag 8-10. They tend to look like magic items - wnads, lamps, dice...and what they do is give bonuses and curses. A Frag 8 Vessel lets the wielder penalize one Attribute or Skill score (which varies by Vessel) of a target within sight, by concentrating, for -1. Frag 9s give +1 to one or more Attribute or Skill socres, and can equally penalize one Attribute or Skill score of any target within a thousand miles, Level time, or any target engaged in Time Combat with the wielder, period. A Frag 10 Vessel gives +2 to one or more scores, and can equally penalize one or more scores of anyone on Earth within a thousand years of you or any person engaged in Time Combat. They may also do other curses, such as diseases curable only by Aquarian tech, damage, causing insanity, or even causing Frag directly. They can also have any other power the GM wants to give them.
Next time: Nearing the end of the book.
They attempt, at various points during this Era, to project the information with precision in to the Sun, as to create a Tipler cylinder out of it.Original SA post C o ntinuum: They attempt, at various points during this Era, to project the information with precision in to the Sun, as to create a Tipler cylinder out of it.
We move into the Libran Era now, and...well, it's the fall of Antedesertium. The Seven believe they have won, or something, becuase they control all of Earth at the end of the Scorpiod. This brings about the Great AsNot, as they turn on one another and tear each other (and causality) apart in an effort to control all that is. The Continuum saves the world by rescuing countless people and preventing the universe from being destroyed. The Seven wage Time Combat after Time Combat on those who come to save the world from their doom, Earth moves into its standard axis and rotation. AQtlantis is raised from the sea and turned into the greatest battleship in history.
It's a city on a hovercraft the size of an island. It can fly for short periods, float on the water...but it can't go into space. The reason for all the stories of its sinking is that when it first lifted off using solar power, it displaced immense amounts of water and flashed bright enough to be seen for hundreds of miles. The Councils work out of Atlantis and decide the laws of the Continuum...which are already decided, as most spanners have lived under them for all their lives. The real thing here is the debates over why things should be so, minor changes, etc., as the Exalted argue and debate the decisions. Selected Decisions:
Continuum, 1st Council, 12969 BC posted:
The Decisions of all 117 Councils are known to the members of the First Council, and are accepted as binding on all Councils, and throughout the spacetime of the Societies.
Continuum, 7th Council, 12964 BC posted:
Societal spanners of Span 1 and 2 achievement are prohibited from travel Up beyond the Hour of the Inheritance, (7:18:00 AM UTC, March 15, AD 2222), unless accompanied by an Exalted spanner, or an Inheritor...
Societal spanners of Spans 1, 2, and 3 are prohibited from travel beyond the borders of the Societies (6:55:26 AM GMT, June 1, 12969 BC and 12:01:00 AM UTC, January 1, AD 2400) unless accompanied by an Exalted spanner or an Inheritor...
Continuum, 88th Council, 12485 BC posted:
Accepted revelations to the level population of time travel occur in the last century of the Piscean Era and include...a simulation approximating spanner life in May, AD 1998... These are considered transitionary events to the Hour of the Inheritance, and are not violations of the Fourth Maxim to insure...
Okay. At the end of the Libran Era, Atlantis vanishes because it leaves to go assault Antedesertium; it does not return for millenia. In the Virgin Era, no history may be recorded save in memory by order of the Councils, so we get very little information. It is the era of human population growth to cover the globe. The Sphinx gets built.
The Leonid Era marks human roecvery. Atlantis is built and launched during this era, along with an agricultural platform that Plato wrote about. It departed across time in its first liftoff and headed into the past. We move into the Cancerean era, when the Hunt of the Sun began. The Hunt of the Sun is only suspected by archaeologists as an explanation for the megaliths across the world. The real reason? It's a precision network of stones set along Eurasian leylines that are used by Narcissists to try and project some information into the sun to turn it into a Tipler cylinder. We'll get there.
In the Geminid Era, the Sixteen engage in most of their battles against the Continuum. It is the time of their incursion into Continuum spacetime, and it is the time of the Great Flood and the Epic of Gilgamesh. There's some odd moments - the Midwives' Crisis of 5762 BC was when all leveller mothers started birthing twins, and the Hunt of the Sun became truly dangerous in the Engineers' Crisis of 5072. Jeanne D'Arc rises to prominence.
In the Tauran Era, peace and propserity rise following the Geminid Wars. The Continuum works to control its own people, who tend to be inclined to lavish gifts on the levellers of the period. Stonehenge is reordered, and the Hunt of the Sun's threat is ended forever. In the Ariesian Era, the leveller population begin to establish many kingdoms once more. We get some odd bits of history:
1766 BC - Ki-Kung-Shi builds a flying chariot, later destroyed
1497 BC - Khenefre sends Moses to conquer Kush (Ethiopia)
And other things of more known history. We move into the Piscean Era, with the rise of Christendom and history that we can generally get from books. And, yes, there is a recording in 1999 for the release of C o ntinuum. Then we move into the Aquarian future history. In 2006, Turkey reasserts leadership of the Muslim world. In 2020, nuclear war starts in south Asia, and by 2042 WWIII has started in an industrial apple orchard in France. It ends by 2043. In 2078, the first child is born on Mars. In 2098, a computer error destroys the last complete original human genome, and in 2119 Fenris cults are sanctioned in most countries. In 2218, childhood is eliminated entirely. In 2222, the Hour of Inheritance occurs, and the populace demand to learn spanning. In 2387, Atlantis (which has been hanging out in Aquarian spacetime) heads to the Libran Era for a final redelivery of information.
Oh yeah, and...let me quote this, this is completely ridiculous.
The nuclear exchange in south Asia (2020) abruptly destroys and discredits Islam's future as a world power.
By 2095, most people are born with genetic engineering, which is why that whole last original human genome thing can occur, leaving only synthetic births possible. We end with the Capricornic Era. We're told that when Betne Rebu first learned to span, he walked Down to 18122 BC, where he raised his eyes to see seventy-one fleets in the sky and on the ground, from every system within 10000 parsecs. They waited for him in silence and greeeted him in peace, but the message was clear: go no further; attempts at suicide will not be tolerated. This was the border with Capricorn. That is all we know.
Next time: Time travel in the real world (ahahahahaha) and appendices.
Further Information is provided here.Original SA post
I'm going to do a short bit of my own, partway down this post. We've gotten to the part of C
ntinuum that I consider deeply creepy and thematically broken.
Mors Rattus posted:
The pity is, Atlantis actually sounds like it'd be a great place to set a bunch of stories. We know very little about it, have only a mostly-blank map in the book, and there is no further information about the city itself in Further Information.
There is some other information, particularly about the Aquarian era, that is... weird. I'll get to it in a minute.
Mors Rattus posted:
We move into the Cancerean era, when the Hunt of the Sun began. The Hunt of the Sun is only suspected by archaeologists as an explanation for the megaliths across the world. The real reason? It's a precision network of stones set along Eurasian leylines that are used by Narcissists to try and project some information into the sun to turn it into a Tipler cylinder. We'll get there.
There's a lot wrong with the Hunt of the Sun. I'll wait until you tell us what the authors say a Tipler cylinder is, before maybe helping to explain why beaming "information" into the sun to make one is ridiculous.
Mors Rattus posted:
Then we move into the Aquarian future history.
In 2098, a computer error destroys the last complete original human genome
In 2218, childhood is eliminated entirely.
O-kay then. And here we get into the point at which I thought "this world is bleak and horrifying. Human beings are doomed to drive themselves to extinction through becoming something utterly alien at a frightening rate."
Think about it. Every human being on the planet, in 2098, is altered. The original human genome got fried, so now they have no records at that time of what they used to be. Then a little over 100 years later, someone decides "welp, childhood's a waste of time, let's just skip straight on to adulthood." Even leaving aside the amount of progress required to do something like that (since, y'know, time travel and the singularity are what they're betting on here), why would anyone do that?
C o ntinuum: Further Information is provided here.
There is a supplement book, about half the thickness of the main rule book, which is entitled Further Information: A Gamemaster's Treasury of Time. I'm holding in in my hands right now. It contains some more detailed information on how to handle certain aspects of the game, some example scenarios, details on how to handle things in time periods other than the modern era, and so on.
Later in the book, it gets into the Eras, starting from the Libran and working up to the Aquarian. The Scorpiod, Saggitarian, and Capicornian eras are skipped deliberately, since the information we have in the main book is all they really want to reveal. A pity, really, since more information on Antedesertium would have been fun. Anyway, the parts about Piscean and Aquarian eras are the ones that make the most sense, since they're not being deliberately obtuse to leave things open for a group, and they're also not using incredibly confusing naming schemes that half the time sound like glossolalia.
To be brief, in the Aquarian era, a lot of stuff is happening regarding biotech, alteration of the human self, and of human social networks. The world is slowly ceasing to have a real government. Everyone's united in some ill-defined global community.
There's a chart here. I'll cherry pick some information, as I don't have a scanner for it just now.
In AD 2100, the world population is about 130 billion. Primary languages are Mandarin at 37%, English at 31%, and "nonverbal" at 12%. Genetic manipulation and nanotech have eliminated all disease, and made people very long lived. It's implied they might as well be immortal. There's apparently "still echoes of resentment over plans to consolidate all cultures; but traditional wars and diseases are officially in the past."
In AD 2152, the world population is 1800 billion. Nonverbal language has reached 54%, with "Verbal" now lumped together, and in the minority. Apparently in this world, art is part of everyday activities, but not to get in the way of them. Dress is optional, and personal space and property are likewise optional as long as such things can be replaced easily and quickly. Nanotech can now reproduce and even create sentient life (i.e. more humans). Also,
The chart's mores line posted:
"If your body is giving you doubts or difficulties, it's polite to change it and not have your troubles influence friends and others."
Finally, in 2200, the world population is 27 trillion Language is dominated by a form of nonverbal communication called "Aionic interexpression" at 89%. Verbal communication is at 2%, and is probably looked down upon by the transhuman elite making up the rest of the planet. As for art in this time period?
The chart's art line posted:
"Since its acceptance in 1987, Aionic songs incorporate all forms of communication, including art."
On "dress and furnishings" it says to see "art" above.
So what are Aionic Songs? Basically, it's extreme synesthesia as an art-form, and from there a universal language.
Further Information posted:
A very early Aquarian treatise by the dreamer he'Eleihurai introduces the term chai'lur [believed to be privately invented] to stand for a thought construct which leveller art and philosophy does not previously isolate to define.
More practically, she describes chai'lur as an intricate pattern of sensations which are not governed by any one of the five known senses, but instead are apprehended as a gestalt; however, she insists that there is little intellectualism involved and that the experience is primarily sensual. She claims that this is common to all humans, and that it is what we try to describe when talking about the associations we attach to different things, or the mood of a locality. She insists that these sensations are as natural as other senses, but that since Aquarian Cusp material culture has not embraced them, we do not learn to use them as we grow up and do not have an effective thought-construct in which to place them, as we do other senses.
Contemporaries of he'Eleihurai struggle with her discussion of the horizon. She tells us that she sees the three hundred and sixty degrees that surround her as a perfect array of precise and delicious chai'lurai, each one constant and consistent, like a painter's color wheel. In a web interview, simulcast with the publication of her book, Beyond Ktaadn, she points to different directions in succession and describes their "scents" as variously as "53rd Street in the rain, over by the river"; "cold blue, very Moorcock"; and "some hard angles, and there's a noise; maybe it moves farther there". In response to the challenge that these are very subjective impressions, he'Eleihurai responds that naturally she is describing what she senses in terms of images from her own experience, but that the rarified, distinct sensation in each case is common to both the point of the horizon and the experience she connects it to.
Apparently Aioni was a psychic from much later, and her "Songs of Aioni" produced in 2187 are "a vast array of data she contains within her conscious thought, sorted with minimal artistic opinion". So now I'm not even sure how to answer that question. Are Aionic Songs these specific songs, which apparently are "syncretic triumph of all things mankind knows and achieves", or are they any form of some supposedly universal language inspired by a famous synesthete?
. . . And this replaces people's clothing and furniture?
Where was I? Oh yes, AD 2200. Apparently there are spanners swarming all over the place now, contact with them is common, and there is "remote terraforming of Mars and Venus under weigh". Um, wrong form of "way" there, editor. The only enemies of this time are Narcissists, apparently, and in the "myth" section (which normally sounds like urban myths for the other columns), 2200 has this:
The myth line posted:
Hazing: A newly born person is not given access to the information he is assumed to have— the prank reveals itself within the context of the collective conscious
So, one of these people born during a time 18 years before childhood ceases to exist will be expected, as a mewling babe, to understand certain things about reality already? Or does that not even happen? Is it possible to withhold information from someone else in a society where everyone is psychic and communication is via synesthetic dreamscapes or whatever? What does any of this even mean?
Personally, all I'm getting from this part of the game's setting is that the world heads towards an impossible technological singularity, the transhumanists win, and everyone becomes psychic space hippie time travelers who make no sense to anyone from more than a decade before. Fun!
If time travel is possible at all, it's most likely to look like this.Original SA post C o ntinuum: If time travel is possible at all, it's most likely to look like this.
I'm doing this up today because I want to be done with Continuum. I want to move on to crazy, crazy White Wolf, which is funnier. Less thought-out, but funny. So. We enter into the Time Travel In The Real World section with the following note:
First and foremost, C o ntinuum is a game. Just a game. If we at Aetherco and Dreamcatcher had the actual secret to time travel, we would not be focussing our efforts on writing this game.* At best, we would have returned after an extended period, and published an extensive anthropological dissertation on the cultures and mores of the Continuum, and what they expect out of leveller society in the coming decades. But more likely, you would never have heard from us again.
* The spanning method outlines on pg. 175 is a fictional, though not utterly implausible, means of time travel.
Okay. The first method of real-world time travel they give is the Tipler Rotating Cylinder, invented by Frank Tipler (a grad student at the University of Maryland) in 1974. It works as a theoretical device, but is impossible to build. You see:
1. Tipler made calculations assuming an infinitely long cylinder. "It has been suggested" that a cylinder of a ratio of ten-to-one might work and be "only" a few hundred kilometers long. So there's one reason you can't make the sun into one: the sun is not infinitely large. But sure, we'll assume the ratio works. Okay, the sun's big enough.
2. The cylinder must be made of superdense material, 40 to 80 times the density of nuclear matter. Incidentally, a neutron star has a density about twice that of nuclear matter. Maybe three times at the core. A black hole is infinitely dense at the singularity, but not able to be made into a cylinder. But let's take a look at some other degenerate matter. A quark star would be composed of quark matter, even denser than a neutron star. We have no idea how dense it'd be, but it's considerably denser than the Sun. One may or may not have been discovered, but no one is certain if it is one or not. So maybe quark matter would work. Maybe. I doubt it, but I am not a physicist. The Sun, needless to say, is not nearly dense enough. If made dense enough, there would not be nearly enough material for a big enough cylinder.
3. And even if it did, Tipler noted that its internal gravity might make it crush itself against its long axis before you could finish it.
4. Oh, and it has to be accelerated and spun. Specifically with a centrifugal force of 200,000,000,000 - yes, 200 billion - times Earth's gravity. All currently known forms of matter would be blown apart. Including the sun . It has to spin at half of light speed.
5. And then, once you've managed it, the furthest it is possible to go back is the time you turned it on. Okay, sure.
So yeah, the Hunt for the Sun is fundamentally stupid . I have no idea how shooting information at the Sun would at all help with anything, let alone making a Tipler cylinder, because the Sun, as the poet says, is a mass of incadescent gas, a giant nuclear furnace. It has no mind.
The game tells us that the Inheritors surely know how to build Tipler cylinders and use them for deep time travel, across millions or billions of years. Something something tachyons used to send information into gas clouds with properties of raw materials in the deep past. Something something information for rudimentary molecular restructure, commands for nanotech production. Something something instructions for replication and construction the cylinder.
Off to other 'real world' methods. Rotating black holes to create a ring singularity, which you pass through into the past. They mention that this may be the goal of the Hunt for the Sun - to turn the sun into a rotating black hole - but the Hunt claimed it was to make a Tipler Cylinder and in both cases, again, how does shooting information at a star help ? Wormholes, formed by quantum foam and somehow expended and held open with exotic matter of a density equal to that of a neutron star's core. Neutron-degenerate matter ain't easy to get, and these are apparently volatile. Then something about cosmic strings passing close to each other, but cosmic strings may not even exist and seem to be rather difficult to control, being infinite.
And then, yes, we get one of the authors gloating about the Van Allen Belts being full of radiation that wasn't expected there and how time travellers must be using it and so on. You saw that quote upthread, but here it is again:
One of the authors is very full of himself over the fact that the Van Allen Belts has been shown to be far more than just a spare anomaly of the Earth's atmosphere.
OCcasionally, over the past twenty years, this author has confided his belief to the occasional listener, when asked when and where any evidence of time travel might be found. And always the more knowledgeable listeners would insist that the Belts were just tepid fields of low radiation, nothing special about them at all. And the author would just shrug. Something about them was more important, he could tell. Maybe it was just a hunch.
He'll show those fools at University! He'll show them all!
I'm beginning to believe, as we hit Chapter VI (which is entirely made of appendices) that no one told Tony DeTerlizzi what to draw for this, or even what the game was about.
Anyway. Appendix A is on fallacies about time travel. The first: time cops. There aren't any. Instead, the Continuum has time hunters , the Foxhorn, to go find people who break the Maxims - or local militia, in the form of corners. The second is that time machines exist. And...they do, but the Societies and Continuum do not use them, excepting Atlantis, which needs to be able to time travel so that it can prevent Narcissist incursions, much like an Inheritor ship would do. Time machines would risk mechanical errors, computer malfunctions and worse - or even allow children and pets to operate them! Too dangerous. The third: time travel is lonely. It's not. There's no such thing as the 'first' time traveller, because all time travellers go to the same periods. You'r never without company. The fourth: leveller sidekicks. You don't get one. You're either in the Continuum or you're a leveller. (Or a narcissist.) You don't get to take a leveller along with you - they'd need to be made to forget, for the sake of history...or be made into a spanner and not be a levleler any more. The fourth: there's a way to attract time travellers, like holding parties for time travellers or leaving messages where one is 'sure' to find it. This doesn't help. It doesn't help at all, but it probably doesn't hurt either. You get in by witnessing time travel and passing the tests; there's no other way. The fifth: Time is the ultimate weapon. It's true in a sense - if you can go back further than a foe, you have the advantage on him ...but there's no way to go back further than everyone. The Continuum's too big, and people pass information where it needs to go. Time Combat is the truth here: just because you're furthest Down doesn't mean you're invincible. Last: The self-repairing universe. There isn't one. Causality is not a renewable resource. People have to fix it, and that's your job.
Appendix B is 'what is a roleplaying game?' And it's placed at the back of the book, after practicall everything else.
Appendix C is a calendar. A calendar from 1582 to 2222. It is three pages long and it is the most fucking thing.
Then we go to Appendix G: Rules for the Greatest Game. They are as follows:
1. No violence against Continuum spanners. You lose your claim if you do it. Fragging someone gets you kicked from the Game. "Levellers are pawns, and physical pain may be their lot, but they must not be fragged."
2. Societal turf can be claimed by one or more of the following, but requires at least one leveller of the Society present and a spanner witness: Crown (by government), Culture (by way of life) and Blood (by genetics).
3. You may play only once.
4. You may submit one claim per Spanner you've hired per round.
You win when you hit 200 points. Each round has six phases, and there's 117 rounds.
Phase 1: Roll 1d10. You gain that many points to spend.
Phase 2: You must first spend points equal to your Span to enter the Greatest Game. You may then spend points to hire other Spanners, who may operate for a certain number of rounds, and may move a certain time and distance per round, as shown on the following chart, though they may start anywhere within 500 years Up or Down of when you are in a round:
If somehow you aren't active by Round 7, you can enter the game on a roll of 1-3 but can't make decisions until the next Round. Any Span 4 not in the Game by Round 7 can't enter. Once you enter, you by anywhere on Earth within the bounds of the Societies.
Phase 3: You move your hires to new claims. They can, again, be placed anywhere within 500 years Up or Down of you, before you move this round. A claim is legitimate if at least one leveller of your Soceity is present in the area and there is a spanner witness. Abandoned or empty land cannot be claimed by spanners alone. Three types of claim exist: an original capture, which is a new claim of any place that is unsettled or uncontested. A negotiated concession, which is a claim agreed on by parties during the sixth phase, and a mediated capture, which is when the Councils must make a decision regarding a claim (usually chopping it down to a more reasonable size).
Phase 4: You turn in your report to the Councils.
Phase 5: The GM gives you the results of your claims and your points; if you had an original capture, your results are not announced to anyone else. You get 3 points per original capture, 2 per negotiated concession and 1 per mediated capture. You lose 1 point if you fail to have any claims. If you falsified a claim, you lose 5 points and are kicked from the game. You get +1 point per Span 1 hired this round, +2 per Span 2. +1 per Span 4 other than yourself that makes a claim for you, and -1 for each Exalted used to make a claim for you. You may gain between 0 and 3 points based on roleplaying during Phase 3.
Phase 6: You may bargain and make deals with other players of the Game for the next round, though you are not bound to any promise not submitted to the Councils.
Appendix R is the bibliography, which includes a few notable entries. They include Grant Morrison's The Invisibles , H.P. Lovecraft's short stories, Alvin Toffler's Future Shock , The Third Wave and Powershift , both Back to the Future movies, both Bill and Ted movies, and some other RPGs, including Mage: The Ascension. Which has a rather entertaining explanation.
A fine entry into the 'World of Darkness'. You can change reality at will, so you can try to time travel, but not much. If you change anything, this guy will show up and make you die. Other WoD players think mages are too powerful anyway.
And they cite N a rcissist, which never got released. And also John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies (as a nonfiction reference work). Appendix X is the Index, and Appendix Z is the character sheet and spanning card.
And I'm done , that's C o ntinuum.
Now I just have to decide which oWoD book to start with, since you can't lead in with Gypsies.