Introduction and the Nature Of Space and Time

Introduction

What is this game?

I wrote this game in 24 hours, which explains why it's rough around the edges. While watching a well-known British science fiction TV show I realised that, unlike many other famous works, this show had inspired no books, TV shows or movies that I could name.

So I wrote an RPG as a homage by that show.

What is this game?

This game is about a non-human but all-too-human time traveller, his allies and friends, his enemies and his dying people. It is about that certain special spark which shines in the eye of a Trojan horseman, a Berliner silversmith and an engineer on Mars Base 1. That certain indefinable quality of 'humanness'.

In this game, you play out the myths and legends of humankind from the explosive birth of the universe to its chill passing. The victory of peace over war, progress over stagnation and hope over despair occurs in a thousand different moments in a thousand different places, on Earth or in the cosmos, with aliens or humans.

The story of this strange alien is the story of humanity.

What is this game?

In this game, you and your friends craft a story around a mysterious Traveller known as the Scholar. You will do this by taking on the role of certain forces in the story, rather than certain characters. For example, one of you will play Defeat – it is your job to introduce strife, threat, turmoil and conflict. You may do this by playing a particular character (perhaps the Scholar's old foe, Caspian Drax) or several characters (perhaps the Myrmidon Host of Swuz Tahl), or simply introducing problems and dangers (perhaps an avalanche or a wounded and enraged animal).

When a character attempts something risky, you will roll dice. By distributing these dice, you decide if the Traveller or his friends suffer harm and whether or not they achieve their goal. It is possible to succeed but at great cost or fail without ramifications.
You'll also use cards to figure out who's playing what characters, and to change the results of the dice based on the Scholar's quirks.

The Nature of Space and Time

These are crib notes to introduce you quickly to the setting and its premises. Feel free to change them, ignore them, adapt them or use them depending on what you and your fellow players want. As you play, they may change or you may learn more. If you find yourself bogged down in details, you're not playing right.
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The Travellers are a lonely and dying race, avoiding their own people or clustering in small and secretive groups. Some are filled with purpose, travelling across the stars and through the hourglass accruing power, righting wrongs or delicately shaping history. They hide their names, taking on cryptic monikers like the Professor or the Chancellor. Some befriend people of other species who accompany the Traveller as he or she sifts through billions of years and millions of lightyears.

Travellers are blessed with long lives. When they are killed or finally succumb to old age, they undergo the Renewal. They return in a new body and with changes – sometimes radical – to their personality. Despite this, they keep their memories, history and purpose.
There is a limit to this immortality. As a Traveller approaches his or her ninth Renewal, he becomes more powerful but more eccentric and undisciplined. Strange temporal side effects accompany the Traveller and new dangers present themselves.

When a Traveller in his tenth form dies, he is dead forever.

The Planet Earth

  • Is very similar to our real-life world, or at least appears that way
  • Has been visited many times in the past by extraterrestial and supernatural forces
  • Is known to the Travellers
  • Is home to an extraordinary species

The Travellers

  • Are a mysterious alien people whose superscience allows them to travel through time
  • Are a dying and weakened race pursued throughout space and time by their numerous enemies
  • Are capable of strange physical and mental feats humans are not capable of
  • Are bound by oaths not to interfere with the natural flow of time, though many break these oaths
  • Keep their names secret, prefering to go by title or nickname
  • Are capable of returning to life with a new body and somewhat new personality upon death ('the Renewal')
  • Can only Renew nine times, and become increasingly powerful but damaged as they approach this limit
  • Are afraid of their own past and their own history, and so they meddle with others
  • Resemble humans, and this is for good reason
  • Often carry Wands, which allow them to manipulate machinery, create sonic and light waves and hijack computer systems
  • Often possess Boxes, which are objects that allow them to travel through space and time. Boxes are often disguised to look like mundane objects and are sometimes bigger on the inside than the outside

Time

  • Is elastic and inexplicable
  • Is difficult to travel through. It's sheer luck that lands you in a particular time or place
  • Is self-correcting. Paradoxes are shunted into parallel universes, twisted around or simply ignored.
  • Is protective. If you appear in a time and place, it quarantines that time and place until you leave; stopping you from moving back a few years and fixing all your problems

The Scholar

  • Is the Traveller you are assumed to start with
  • Still has many years to live, having just died for the fourth time
  • Is peculiar and dynamic, charming but afraid of commitment, handsome and noble. He lies with undisguised glee, but only when necessary
  • Half-human, with the faults and foibles that entails
  • Is exiled – perhaps of his own choosing – from the sacred homeland of the Travellers
  • Takes on Companions; humans, robots or aliens who accompany him