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Aotrs Commander
2016-09-26, 10:37 AM
I need to pick the forumites brains once again.

The quest I'm currently writing calls for the PCs to be (eventually) locating three artefacts scattered across the galaxy which once belonged to a god whose dominion was/is/(will be?) time. Said deity is... kinda of an asshat, given to using mortals to do stuff for him and then not really caring what happens to them afterwards. (He calls himself "Tyme;" yes, he's one of THOSE...)

To make a very long and complex story that spans knocking on twenty years of real time, the party needs to find said artifects so that they can reverse engineer a way of breaking a particularly nasty temporal effect which is effectively making them run at Marvel-comic time to the rest of the universe.

However, the artefacts themselves were last uses ten thousand years ago, so it is uncertain exactly what they were. Thus, one of the ways in which they will know what said artefacts are is that they will have the holy symbol - or a dervivative of - said deity. (The first one of which is located in a recently-uncovered old emple located 100m down on the sea bed of a planet currently in the grip of no less than two hostile invading armies.)

So, what I need is some ideas as to what could be a simple symbol (simple enough to be runic-ish, that could be easily carved or engraved) that indicates time -


- without it being an obvious time-keeping piece (i.e. clock, sundial, sand-timer etc etc).

(Or a Doctor Who reference.)



Can anyone rise to the challenge?

Surpriser
2016-09-26, 11:30 AM
My suggestions:

- A circle
- The infinity symbol
- The ouroboros

Beleriphon
2016-09-26, 12:05 PM
The feather of Ma'at is a good choice. Its not obvious, but it is unique and can be made as simple or complex as one chooses.

There's always the symbol Shen, which looks something like an omega with a bit of a flourish where the bar meets the circle. http://symboldictionary.net/?p=557

Wyrd's Web or Skuld's Net is a Norse symbol representing time, both past, present and future. The idea is that the symbol holds all of the nordic runes, and thus posses all possible words which means that it holds all possible versions of history.

http://symboldictionary.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/sglossarywyrd.jpg

Bohandas
2016-09-26, 12:06 PM
A schlegel diagram of a tesseract

Joe the Rat
2016-09-26, 12:40 PM
It's a pity you don't like the hourglass, because a Light Cone is a lovely representation of causal space - what can influence and be influenced from a given spacetime point. Infinity gives you a similar 2-axis symmetry. Causal Roots and Branches to make a Tree? Of course FTL travel does play havoc with causality, so perhaps best not to emphasize that element.

So, how does time work in your game? How you use and define it will point you to different symbol options.

Something cyclical suggests round shapes, monodirectional gives you a distinct front and back, causality breeds networks (Beleriphon's example of Skuld's Net is a really nice bit of iconography), the warp and weft of weaving reality, time is a stream of energy, a "force" from the beginning of things that twists and cycles around, variance to entropic equilibrium, representations of speed... But you should pick something that represents how time works in your game

Beleriphon
2016-09-26, 02:44 PM
It's a pity you don't like the hourglass, because a Light Cone is a lovely representation of causal space - what can influence and be influenced from a given spacetime point. Infinity gives you a similar 2-axis symmetry. Causal Roots and Branches to make a Tree? Of course FTL travel does play havoc with causality, so perhaps best not to emphasize that element.

So, how does time work in your game? How you use and define it will point you to different symbol options.

Something cyclical suggests round shapes, monodirectional gives you a distinct front and back, causality breeds networks (Beleriphon's example of Skuld's Net is a really nice bit of iconography), the warp and weft of weaving reality, time is a stream of energy, a "force" from the beginning of things that twists and cycles around, variance to entropic equilibrium, representations of speed... But you should pick something that represents how time works in your game

On the note of branching, how about Yggdrasil:
http://symboldictionary.net/library/graphics/symbols/syggdrasil.jpg

veti
2016-09-26, 02:54 PM
A candle.

A running horse.

A skull.

Ooh, also: a crescent moon. (Well, any kind of moon really, but the crescent makes it most recognisable.)

dysprosium
2016-09-26, 03:10 PM
Tree rings

Spiral

Slipperychicken
2016-09-26, 03:27 PM
Simple runic-looking symbols, used to control time? Look no further.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/58/35/6d/58356dd3be683da482e08ebc03f3613d.jpg

Mark Hall
2016-09-26, 03:30 PM
As mentioned, variations on the moon or sun are good. You might also try things linked to seasonal natural events... the flooding of the Nile was an annual thing, and river floods have been part of timekeeping for a long time.

And, if we're gonna go with ancient timepieces, you might also look at howes and other megalithic sites.

"Yeah, it's an artifact. It's also seventeen tons of stone spread out over an acre."

Bohandas
2016-09-26, 05:32 PM
On the note of branching, how about Yggdrasil:
http://symboldictionary.net/library/graphics/symbols/syggdrasil.jpg

That's a good one because it's also kind of shaped like a Penrose diagram (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_diagram)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Penrose_diagram.svg/220px-Penrose_diagram.svg.png

Bohandas
2016-09-27, 09:18 AM
Simple runic-looking symbols, used to control time? Look no further.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/58/35/6d/58356dd3be683da482e08ebc03f3613d.jpg

That's clever. I like that.

TeChameleon
2016-09-28, 04:25 AM
Simple runic-looking symbols, used to control time? Look no further.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/58/35/6d/58356dd3be683da482e08ebc03f3613d.jpg

... you know, if you rotated it 90 degrees so that it was oriented vertically, it would be really easy to incorporate into a set of vestments in way that's not immediately obvious, but is still very clear as soon as you know what you're looking for. I could try to sketch it sometime in the next few days if you're actually interested, Aotrs.

(to try and describe it with words, the Fast-Forward symbol would be part of a sort of two-tiered hat dealie, the pause symbol would be on the tabard, the play button would be a sort of somewhat oversized belt-buckle, the stop symbol would be a pattern on the pants, and the rewind symbol would be on the boots).

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-09-28, 10:15 AM
... you know, if you rotated it 90 degrees so that it was oriented vertically, it would be really easy to incorporate into a set of vestments in way that's not immediately obvious, but is still very clear as soon as you know what you're looking for. I could try to sketch it sometime in the next few days if you're actually interested, Aotrs.

(to try and describe it with words, the Fast-Forward symbol would be part of a sort of two-tiered hat dealie, the pause symbol would be on the tabard, the play button would be a sort of somewhat oversized belt-buckle, the stop symbol would be a pattern on the pants, and the rewind symbol would be on the boots).

Or the other way round - with rewind linking to memory, and fast forward on the boots for getting the heck outta Dodge... :smallwink:

My other thought for a symbol would be a capital S with an arrow through it - Entropy is given the symbol S and is also known as the Arrow of Time.

Aotrs Commander
2016-09-28, 11:45 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, folks, sorry I haven't posted, but I've not had much time (ironically) the last couple of days.


Simple runic-looking symbols, used to control time? Look no further.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/58/35/6d/58356dd3be683da482e08ebc03f3613d.jpg


... you know, if you rotated it 90 degrees so that it was oriented vertically, it would be really easy to incorporate into a set of vestments in way that's not immediately obvious, but is still very clear as soon as you know what you're looking for. I could try to sketch it sometime in the next few days if you're actually interested, Aotrs.

(to try and describe it with words, the Fast-Forward symbol would be part of a sort of two-tiered hat dealie, the pause symbol would be on the tabard, the play button would be a sort of somewhat oversized belt-buckle, the stop symbol would be a pattern on the pants, and the rewind symbol would be on the boots).


Or the other way round - with rewind linking to memory, and fast forward on the boots for getting the heck outta Dodge... :smallwink:

My other thought for a symbol would be a capital S with an arrow through it - Entropy is given the symbol S and is also known as the Arrow of Time.

While undoubtably very elegant, this idea doesn't seem like it would fit very well with an ancient primiative (i.e. classical or even earlier) civilisation. (Or a bit meta to do so.)

But... Those suggestions are sufficiently good that one feels that one ought to find a use for them somewhere.

As I say, I do have two more adventures to go after this: the next one is going to be the homeworld of the only known FTL-capable dragon civilisation (now long extinct) - and co-incidentally, the birthplace of the Time Drake Timeshade, head of the Brotherhood of the Grey Lizard, and order of evil temporal ninja-monks who have dogged the PCs footsteps - basically since their advantures started (and who is intrinsically linked to the temporal problem in question. Like I said in the OP, the whole mess is a LOOOONG story!)

The second, however, is intended to be the penultimate adventure before I retire this party (after what will have been over twenty years real time). It is intended to be set on the planet in which the first advanture of this party took place, and that IS a world where that might fit in, since it is, to put it into the simplest phrasing a "fantasy world" that has at least one colony of "sci-fi" people in it1. In fact, such an idea practically writes the otherwise undetermined quest aside from location: the artefact lies in the hands of an isolated, current fanatical temporal cult! (With the aforementioned garb.)

Or possibly it might even play into the final adventure (as yet nebulous) or both. But it's certainly worth remembering for future (aha) reference, even if I think it is not very appropriate for THIS adventure.





As mentioned, variations on the moon or sun are good. You might also try things linked to seasonal natural events... the flooding of the Nile was an annual thing, and river floods have been part of timekeeping for a long time.

And, if we're gonna go with ancient timepieces, you might also look at howes and other megalithic sites.

"Yeah, it's an artifact. It's also seventeen tons of stone spread out over an acre."

The PCs do have to recover three of these artefacts (over the course of the next three adventures), though, so Stonehenge and it's ilk might be a little... Hard to fit in a small starship....!



Still mulling it over (so keep the suggesions coming!); at the moment, I think the idea of doing something a bit like part or all of the Penrose diagram (perhaps just the "middle" five vertical lines) has some merit.




So, how does time work in your game? How you use and define it will point you to different symbol options.

Something cyclical suggests round shapes, monodirectional gives you a distinct front and back, causality breeds networks (Beleriphon's example of Skuld's Net is a really nice bit of iconography), the warp and weft of weaving reality, time is a stream of energy, a "force" from the beginning of things that twists and cycles around, variance to entropic equilibrium, representations of speed... But you should pick something that represents how time works in your game

Time is, as far as Tyme is concerned, monodirectional rather than cyclic: some of the PCs (who later joined this party) did so after the culmination of another campaign in which they killed the aforementioned Timeshade at "the edge of time," which they were told was basically the leading edge of where "new" time was being created. Though in practise, how exactly true that was is a matter of conjecture, since Tyme was(/is/will be?) not necessarily right; deities tend not to go big into actual science - or the science of magic2. But for the purposes of what he believes, it's not cyclic, at any rate.




1Whether it is a "fantasy" world that developed FTL-travel on its own or whether it is a "fantasy" world that has been colonised by an FTL human civilisation was never addressed back in about '94-ish when I wrote that adventure. I actually still have the paper copy and intend, at some point when time is lax enough and I remember, to scan/type up for posterity.

2Contrary to popular belief, while it is often true that ancient magic can be extremely powerful and can (sometimes) be stronger than modern magic, is not "better" The "old magic" and whatnot has the problem that ancient magic is akin to basic tools and that modern magic (as wielded by the Aotrs, for example) is much more nuaced and complicated, because it has the weight of science and fundemental understanfding (and computational ability) behind it. Thus ancient magic may find itself much more easily subverted by "hacking" (necromantic control is a particular one, especially with regard to the Aotrs, for example) or negated because modern spells just have some automatic exclusions or something built into it. Essentially the difference between a pre-industrial tool and a modern machine; one is just simply better at the job because it was designed usin principles and understanding that just were not possible for the former.

(To D&Dish the issue, it's the metaphorical equivilent of an Aotrs Magic Missile punching straight through an old Shield spell because the Aotrs Magic Missile has been updated to counter than particular immunity by optimisation of the spell matrix - and modern Shield spells would have a more modern, much more advanced countermatrix to make them immune again.)

None of which has got anything to do with the problem at hand, of course, but is an interesting anecdote...

Bohandas
2016-09-29, 01:10 AM
... you know, if you rotated it 90 degrees so that it was oriented vertically, it would be really easy to incorporate into a set of vestments in way that's not immediately obvious, but is still very clear as soon as you know what you're looking for. I could try to sketch it sometime in the next few days if you're actually interested, Aotrs.

(to try and describe it with words, the Fast-Forward symbol would be part of a sort of two-tiered hat dealie, the pause symbol would be on the tabard, the play button would be a sort of somewhat oversized belt-buckle, the stop symbol would be a pattern on the pants, and the rewind symbol would be on the boots).
See, I see it more as pause and play both on the tabard, stop as the belt buckle, and rewind as some kind of codpiece (can I say "codpiece"? The forum doesn't seem to censor it.)

Bohandas
2016-09-29, 01:24 AM
Any of the diagrams from these pages:

http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/black_holes_picture/index.html
http://casa.colorado.edu/~ajsh/schww.html


EDIT:
Something similar to Day and Night (http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/switzerland-belgium/day-and-night/) might be good too, if perhaps a little bit busy for our purposes

Afgncaap5
2016-09-29, 01:41 AM
You say a sundial is out, but what about its Gnomon? A right-angle triangle used as a gnomon on a sundial was a recurring symbol in the game Trinity. It has the benefit of being a simple geometric shape, primitive technology (since it's basically "a stick that casts a shadow"), and also not immediately recognizable as time-related.

Having said that, I'm totally stealing the VCR buttons as cleric vestments idea...

TeChameleon
2016-09-29, 06:28 AM
I actually like the idea of rewind-on-top, fast-forward-on-bottom inversion, and given that the only real difference in what I had pictured would be a bit of negative space switching from tabard to pants, it wouldn't exactly be hard to adapt. Really gonna have to try sketching this, as the mental image is entertaining enough that I want to share :smalltongue:


See, I see it more as pause and play both on the tabard, stop as the belt buckle, and rewind as some kind of codpiece (can I say "codpiece"? The forum doesn't seem to censor it.)
... the idea of a serrated-edge codpiece makes me a little uneasy for whoever has to wear it <.<

Joe the Rat
2016-09-29, 09:59 AM
rewind up, play/fast forward down - uptime (past) and downtime (future). Yeah, that works.

Presonally, I'd just use the vertical arrangement as a sort of "recurring rune pattern" and wait for the players to tilt their heads 90 degrees groan from the pain (of recognition, or of pulling something when they try to shake their heads while craned over like that).

Bohandas
2016-09-29, 10:14 AM
... the idea of a serrated-edge codpiece makes me a little uneasy for whoever has to wear it <.<

It would still be shaped normal on the inside

SpoonR
2016-09-30, 10:07 AM
The iPod control, it amuses me. :smallsmile: Most of the ideas, I would have to google to figure out what they meant.

How about a timeline. Straight line, with special marks at points along the line. You could have history books or scholars that know dates important to this god (which match the marks on the line), so there could be ic hints of 'timey-wimey stuff'.

Actually, for any of the suggestions, a clue could be a Lovecraftian time-related monster that has the symbol prominently on one tentacle.

Bohandas
2016-09-30, 11:34 AM
It's a pity you don't like the hourglass, because a Light Cone is a lovely representation of causal space - what can influence and be influenced from a given spacetime point.

I've gotta agree. Even without hourglasses the hourglass shape fits as it's the shape of the light cone:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/World_line.svg/300px-World_line.svg.png
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_cone


and the Einstein-Rosen bridge


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/Lorentzian_Wormhole.svg/220px-Lorentzian_Wormhole.svg.png
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein-rosen_bridge

tantric
2016-09-30, 07:15 PM
Mayan: Hunab Ku (Mayan pronunciation: [huˈnaɓ ku]) is a Yucatec Maya word originally meaning "The One Giver of Movement and Measure".

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/5c/7d/2d/5c7d2d15c7051f94b29b8c6e98818192.jpg

Egyptian:

https://67.media.tumblr.com/ab33a858f85bc880d7c8580d03777c56/tumblr_nmal2dVr5o1rs5g28o1_500.gif

for Kanji, see this page: time (http://jisho.org/search/time%20%23kanji)

Admiral Squish
2016-09-30, 08:10 PM
I could see an edited set of 'pause/play/rewind' symbols working. I'm imagining pause in the center, a single arrow on either side, and a pair of double arrows beyond them. If you want to connect them, you could add a line through, broken in the middle at the pause symbol. So, like...
<<-<-II->->>

ComradeBear
2016-10-02, 02:25 PM
The easiest solution I cam think of is to figure out the following:

1. Who made these artifacts/the symbols on them?
2. How did this group/culture/civilization conceptualize time?
3. How did this group envision the relationship between the deity and time?

And then reverse engineer a symbology.

If time is a line, and the deity is seen as meddling with the timeline, then you could have a line being gripped by a hand.

If time is a circle, and the deity seen as an overseer of time, a ring with an eye above it would be appropriate.

The purpose of religious symbology is to communicate a doctrinal concept or story instantly.

Once you know the culture, dogma, and important stories of the culture making these symbols, the symbols should logically follow.

Aotrs Commander
2016-10-10, 10:33 AM
Back to this - I haven't forgotten or moved on, but my quest-writing day is Monday and last week I was in no state to do it!



After some careful thought, I have a couple of tentative ideas:

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u172/AotrsCommander/Quest22%20Tymesymbol02_zpsn4t4j9o0.png

Top left is a representation of the einsen-rosum bridge (not vertical since that's too obvious), followed by the Penrose diagram of a black hole.

Bottom left is the einstein-rosen bridge, onl wit the circles modeled as spheres, and the right image is the same in solid form (taking the iea from the page that Bohandas linked where it talked about the spheres being modelled as circles).

Thoughts? I might even be able to use both the Penrose and the einstein-rosen bridge somehow.


If nothing else, it occurs that the bottom right image suggests that the pillars in the temple ought to be made of a similar sort of design.