PDA

View Full Version : How would you create a world were time is non-linear and dimensions cross over?



Douche
2016-04-26, 09:43 AM
And how would you best convey that within the scope of D&D?

Lets say that a long, long time ago, there was only one timeline. Then some huge cataclysmic event happened that sundered the world into multiple dimensions, each of which has different buildings and creatures, etc.

For instance, it isn't like one timeline had Joe putting on a fedora this morning, while in another he's wearing a trilby. The changes in between each dimension are drastic. Where a giant cathedral surrounded by mountains stands in one, it may be an empty desert in another one. A dragon in one world may be a totally different creature from what they call dragons in another world.

Only then, something has caused the worlds to start to converge and fold into each other. Time has become malleable and non-linear. You may spend a week in one dimension, and return to where you started a week earlier than when you left - only you aren't there anymore so you can't even meet yourself. Trippy stuff like that. Think "The Dark Tower" series by Stephen King.

So, how would you go about implementing a world like this? What kind of event would have caused this divergence, and what is causing them to leak into each other once again? What are the results of that? And last, what would the campaign be about?

SirBellias
2016-04-27, 07:15 AM
Hmmm. Sealing an Ur God off in half of reality, then having the rest filled in madlibs style to pretend nothing happened? Or, if this happened a long enough time ago, maybe those half ideas of half creatures in each half of reality developed differently based on what the natural factors are left that's present. This could have made them evolve in different directions, or something. Then, once each of them reach a critical mass of being too real/well developed, they slam together, causing them to become entangled. Until they start to resemble each other, or some parts drop off and disappear down the cracks, the world will be pretty hectic. Whole towns could disappear without a trace, hopping between them causing time shifts, small fluffy dragons are getting massacred by giant flying bloody alligators, stuff like that.

Xuc Xac
2016-04-27, 02:27 PM
After that, you can work on the details of how to move between the different areas/eras.

Before you can really build a playable setting based on this idea, you need to work out how to "map" the differences so players aren't being randomly told "now it's a week ago". The first thing to do is plan out what the different eras are and where they cross or intersect.

SirBellias
2016-04-27, 02:34 PM
After that, you can work on the details of how to move between the different areas/eras.

Before you can really build a playable setting based on this idea, you need to work out how to "map" the differences so players aren't being randomly told "now it's a week ago". The first thing to do is plan out what the different eras are and where they cross or intersect.

Plans are good, truth be told. Will it be really noticeable? Is the grass greener on the other side? Or redder? I'm actually interested in how this will turn out. How stable will the changes be? You could have patches of overlapping world that move around over time. Or different areas can switch states at different time intervals.

Mark Hall
2016-04-27, 05:51 PM
So, how would you go about implementing a world like this? What kind of event would have caused this divergence, and what is causing them to leak into each other once again? What are the results of that? And last, what would the campaign be about?

I would play it as a survival game, with people trying to make sure the "real" stuff they like survives the coming convergence... the worlds are going to coalesce into a single world, and it's coming, and if you work hard, you can help determine some of the details of the coming world are the variations you like... that YOUR sister survives, not the person with the same name who happens to be an intergalactic assassin.

For implementing it, I would have certain things that increase the likelihood of people shuttling between worlds... magic, actions, etc. So, if you're pushing things too hard, eventually you might stop fighting your intergalactic assassin sister and wind up facing the reality where she's 20 years older and secretly your mother.

nedz
2016-04-27, 07:08 PM
A little while ago I toyed with the idea of running the first session of a new game using flash-backs, which is a simpler case of this problem. I gave up on the idea because whilst that can work in many media: it's very hard to pull off in an RPG.

I might resurrect this concept with false memories - perhaps implanted by a fat lady - because that could work, but expecting PCs to handle variations in causality is too much.

Now I suppose you could do an Amber type thing, but that's more parallel worlds rather than time lines.

I have run time travel in the past (in both senses) but I had researched all my temporal paradoxes quite well before I attempted this - and I knew how I was going to manage them.

johnbragg
2016-04-27, 08:16 PM
I have no idea how to work any of this into an RPG. But as for what caused the sundering of the timelines? The answer varies depending on what timeline you're currently in. :smallbiggrin:

Who controls the past controls the future;
who controls the present controls the past.

Kami2awa
2016-04-28, 11:32 AM
You might want to check out an old computer game called Labyrinth of Time. This game was released as a (failed) rival to Myst; it is similar in design.

The game takes place in a labyrinth that spans time and space, made up of places from many different eras. Walking out of the door in a Victorian hotel there takes you to a medieval castle, or a space station. This would work well as a dungeon crawl as most of the environments are self-contained (it is, after all, a maze).

Solving the game requires altering history in the past in order to affect the future, as in the much better-known and more cartoony game Day of the Tentacle. For example, beating one puzzle requires dropping hints for an archeologist in the past so that he can find an ancient artefact which you need, which then appears in a museum in the future.

Fable Wright
2016-04-28, 12:27 PM
The first thing I would do is create several settings to cross over.

The second thing I would do is carefully plan out a mechanism for the crossovers.

Do you just see spirits from other words, in the past or future, huddling around bonfires with you? Do you see glowing rifts in reality that you can peer through and pull others into your world? Do you see hostile adventurers invading your timeline for treasure and glory?

The easiest implementation I've seen is Dark Souls. There, you're summoned into and summon others from other worlds. It's a simple system: There's one timeline. That's your timeline. Occasionally, people in other timelines will summon you, and you remain there until an objective is completed or the summoner is killed. In turn, you can summon those who have called you for help. Sometimes, when you summon people from the past, you can see their actions on your present. Sometimes the worlds are different, and you get to explore alternate universes, and sometimes see the fate that the party had met in that world.

The event, in this case, was essentially the world ending. The fire of reality was fading, and it needed a powerful sacrifice to be rekindled. It had faded to but embers separated from each other on the log, with sparks and ash occasionally leaping from one to another. They'll all be swallowed when the flame grows big enough, of course. But here's the question: Do you want to be the kindling by which the world is restoked? Do you want to risk being erased from reality by being in the wrong timeline? Or do you want to try and break off from the linked fire entirely, and rule over the next world alone? That's what I'd center the game about, in this case.

Hida Reju
2016-05-10, 10:47 PM
This is literally the world story for Feng Shui with the Chi/time war going on to see which group gets to dictate how history goes. You have battles between mages and Techno mutants trying to keep their own timelines intact by controlling the Key points in time/space that have great power via Ley Lines. Own enough of them for your faction and you get to start molding it in your favor like magic being more common or less common.