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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Dec 2018

    Default World of Multiple Timelines

    It's approximately 3 AM and while staring at the ceiling, I got an idea (I have yet to see if it's good or not)

    What if a world is sewn together out of different points in a multiversal timeline, but still part of the same material plane. Like.... take a point in history such as the middle ages, and under different timelines think about where a society would be during development. Then take a different point like the Renaissance, and observe a different society from the same timeline as before, and plop them both together.

    Prehistoric- ???
    Medieval- 1200s
    Renaissance- 1500s
    Early-Modern- 1600/1700s
    ETC

    It gives reason for ahistorical discontinuity (AKA historical mashups), and gives reasons for most things to be weird and unknown. Different technologies, languages, or other studies progress or regress, things change based on the original timeline. Theoretically things would be completely different even within the same group because the changing of what is and isn't favored by their society, environment, or anything else for that matter.

    Nobody would be able to agree on what is and isn't the current year, what the days are, where they are in existence. The study of magic (which is it's own can of worms) would throw so many more variables into the mix....

    My mind is racing with the possibilities, but this could all be a sleep deprived fever dream of an idea. What do yall think?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Jul 2017

    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    Realistically speaking, one of two things would happen here. Either technology would be imported to the places without pretty quickly (whether through trade or just through the technological haves deciding to colonize the have nots), or else you have some force that keeps anachronistic tech from working in certain places and the natives there will want to move to the places with the shiny new gadgets. Especially because in any place that understands the concept of industrialization, "technology" includes applied uses for magic. Some places will have the nicest stuff, and people will all want to live there if they can reasonably travel.

    You're going to need to explain why people haven't naturally mixed together, even if they were originally plopped down from very different points in a timeline. And keep in mind that the PCs will be affected by whatever forces too. If there are wild magical storms on the borders of these pockets that keep people from mingling too freely, PCs will also have to brave those rough magical storms any time they travel. If anachronistic tech doesn't work, you shut down any cool PC tricks that rely on said tech and encourage a lowest common denominator. Whether that's "magic works everywhere, so we might as well all be mages" or "my chainsword is buggered outside of cyberpunk city, might as well stick with a basic club", your players will quickly pick up what does or doesn't work.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

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    Feb 2016

    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    There are two things that this immediately makes me think of, the first is the shattering of time following the construction of the first Glass Clock in Terry Pratchett's novel The Thief of Time, the second is the Dragon Breaks from the Elder Scrolls videogame series

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Wizard_Lizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    this sounds... ...interesting...
    Current characters:
    Drakirr (Blue Dragonborn Warlock)
    Alyfyldyr Hyalythki (Rock Gnome Wizard)
    Harilidir (Half-elf Bard)
    Kazaharad Akaztkl (Goliath Barbarian)
    Luft (air-genasi druid)
    And of course Lizard Wizard (Lizardfolk Sorcerer)

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Millstone85's Avatar

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    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    A fun thing about 4e D&D's cosmology, the World Axis, is that it can be reinterpreted as a timeline:
    • Elemental Era. The world has just been born in an explosion of primordial energies. Titans stride around, reshaping the landscape to their whims.
    • Fey Flowering. Spirits of the fauna and flora have taken over, forcing the elements to separate into land, sea, sky and sun.
    • Draconic Days. The world has lost much of its vitality. Humanoid civilizations develop, often in awe of ancient wyrms.
    • Shadow Span. Nearly all life has died, and matter itself has become drained of colors. Haunted ruins abound.
    • Astral Age. The world has evaporated into silvery mist. Powerful minds maintain phantasmal realms, calling souls to them.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Wizard_Lizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    probably a few inbetween those aswell...
    Current characters:
    Drakirr (Blue Dragonborn Warlock)
    Alyfyldyr Hyalythki (Rock Gnome Wizard)
    Harilidir (Half-elf Bard)
    Kazaharad Akaztkl (Goliath Barbarian)
    Luft (air-genasi druid)
    And of course Lizard Wizard (Lizardfolk Sorcerer)

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Millstone85's Avatar

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    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    probably a few inbetween those aswell...
    4e doesn't have many planes. But, if it is a timeline, then intermediaries and subdivisions are countless.

    I also love the way C°ntinuum: roleplaying in The Yet represents its cosmology:
    Spoiler
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    Human history as we know it, the Societies, is sandwiched between an era that time travellers paradoxify into complete chaos, the Antedesertium, and a transhumanist future that births the Inheritors, who travel back to restore normalcy after the Antedesertium. The Inheritors also go to conquer the rest of time and space, from the Big Bang to the Heat Death, leaving only the Earth in its preserved (or well, repaired) continuity.

    Alternate timelines are the holy grail of the Antedesertium. Its people lament how humanity never makes it to the stars, only something inhuman does. They believe that time paradoxes can act as gates to other universes, ones that would not belong to the Inheritors.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Durkoala's Avatar

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    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    If anachronistic tech doesn't work, you shut down any cool PC tricks that rely on said tech and encourage a lowest common denominator. Whether that's "magic works everywhere, so we might as well all be mages" or "my chainsword is buggered outside of cyberpunk city, might as well stick with a basic club", your players will quickly pick up what does or doesn't work.
    Assuming that OP wants to have distinct timelines, I have a couple of thoughts on keeping the 'realms' seperate. This is all my immediate thoughts on the way I would make this setting, so please don't think I'm insisting that this is how it must be.

    Firstly, moving objects outside of their native times affects them strangely, causing them to instantly degrade or revert to their previous state. There is, however, a substance that prevents this (for example, a kind of oil created from the crystals of Time), but it is expensive to come by, so the PCs (and select NPCs) can invest in and use items and gear from outside certain time-realms. Living creatures are either unaffected or are unable to have offspring.

    Other possibility is to imitate Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series, and have the presence of magic be imnical to advanced technology. In the early stages of the world, the magic field is far stronger and technology more advanced than sticks, string and stone breaks down very quickly. In the late world, the magic has faded and wizardry is hard to learn, harder to cast, but futuristic technology works perfectly. Obviously, jumping through the twisted timeline will expose you to differing levels of magic strength, and the PCs and enemies can try to use this to their advantage.
    Spoiler: Pixel avatar and Raincloud Durkoala were made by me. The others are the work of Cuthalion.
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    Cuteness and Magic and Phone Moogles, oh my! Let's Watch Card Captor Sakura!Sadly on a small hiatus.

    Durkoala reads a book! It's about VR and the nineties!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Wizard_Lizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    This idea is a bit weird but...
    What if the pc's technological items transformed into useable magic items?
    Current characters:
    Drakirr (Blue Dragonborn Warlock)
    Alyfyldyr Hyalythki (Rock Gnome Wizard)
    Harilidir (Half-elf Bard)
    Kazaharad Akaztkl (Goliath Barbarian)
    Luft (air-genasi druid)
    And of course Lizard Wizard (Lizardfolk Sorcerer)

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: World of Multiple Timelines

    A bit more clarification.

    The idea was something happened within the core timeline that caused this sundering. Maybe an eldritch being came through and kinda destroyed time or mixed it around somehow, or maybe a wizard decided to experiment with the weave and made a string of time and knotted them together. Any way about it, some devastation came about and the people of these different societies have been thrust into this amalgam world of different spots in the timeline.

    The basic concept I was going to have for a campaign set here was along the lines of " x years ago this thing happened, and your characters were either born/raised in this time, or lived through it." Yadda yadda yadda. Basically this is a new thing and people still don't trust the different empires. After all, during their respective points in the timeline they could have been tyrants, or a vast range of other things you'd rather not buddy up with. There might be trade, but I can't imagine it would be as big or as frequent as in the normal. Also keep in mind tech trade doesn't happen overnight, if at all for that matter.

    I will say this might have unforetold consequences for party interactions, but I think if we can have a kind of session 0, we can talk about it and I can help them in whatever they're trying to do. I'm willing to make compromises if they try to do a weird build, because from a world standpoint the possibilities are a bit like the timeline ---- all over the place. Maybe the primal lizardfolk from the untamed isles becomes a gunslinger because he was imported to somewhere else in the world, looked at guns, something something something- profit ……. This could be stupid, but I like the idea

    As for the conquest of those with technological dominance, maybe not. All throughout history it never seemed to be about who had the most advanced tech in a given field, but what they did with it/how they used it. China had been using gunpowder since the 9th century, but the mongol warriors were still able to conquer most of it. Also, tis a fantasy game I’m pretty sure my players will accept that quantum physics came before the invention of steam power in a majority of societies.

    I like this concept, but now I have to write an adventure for it, and knowing myself this is going to be the hardest part. Do yall have any ideas, or know where to post for some help?

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