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Help! Important campaign altering question...


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Assume you're running a City-Based campaign of superheroes. JLA or Avengers would be appropriate analogies...

These things are true:

1) The group is government sanctioned and their bylaws make them adjunct members of PRIMUS (or your standard national government agency that deals with meta stuff)

2) The Earth was recently invaded by aliens leading to tens of millions of innocent deaths

3) The solution the heroes of Earth came up with was to shunt the Earth and the Mood to the Microverse (don't worry about details - this game thread took a very long time) and the result was the successful emancipation of the plant after grave losses.
4) other standard super-campaign successes and tragedies have occurs (as one would expect).


Now it gets messy...

 

5) The heroes are currently on their SECOND trip through the timeline. Previously, the heroes made a choice to travel back in time to change the future in order to avoid a cataclysm that they were unable to stop

6) There are now a selection of heroes that retain their knowledge of the future, though it is becoming evident that every second they move away from their re-emersion point into the time stream that they are creating an alternate timeline. The result is that their memories are becoming less and less accurate as they progress.

7) The supers have decided to hide their knowledge as they think it would only make things worse. However, they aren't beyond using it to help themselves help others.

7) In a moment of absent thought, during an official debriefing at PRIMUS, one of the group accidentally spilled the beans about being from the future and retaining that knowledge.

The officer in charged is beside himself with this revelation. He immediately leaves the group to meet personally with his leaders in order to sort this new revelation out...

WHAT NEXT>>>>>

For context - I recwived this from the OC that slipped up this morning:
 

"BTW, Anna want/isn't overly worried about the whole future-past thing causing her to get locked up because two things have happened very recently.

One is that our planet was INVADED BY ALIENS!

The other is that THE WHOLE EARTH WAS SHIFTED TO ANOTHER DIMENSION AND WAS BRIGHT BACK AGAIN IN ORDER TO SAVE US FROM THOSE ALIENS!!!

There's also the fact that supers are flying around everywhere. If time travel is a logical leap too far, there's some willful cognizant dissonance going on. And if the guy that's supposed to be in charge of handling the strangest of the strange is undone by that... then INSEC can't be any help in dealing with the coming storm."

I replied:

"It's less about the possibility of time travel, and more bout the duty of INSEC to do everything they can to maximize the value of such a tool. A duty that would redound to Epic Alliance - You'd all become desk jockeys as you're tasked to record every future event in excruciating detail. There's also the flurry of questions that would come that would lead to INSEC discovering that EA members were aware of Invasion before it even happened. Is not revealing it (and all of the other events EA members are hiding) treason??? Preemptive knowledge of the Amlem 3 Extinction Wave could have save tens of millions of lives.

Worst of all... What will INSEC (and anyone who attains knowledge of the future) do with such an incredible advantage? can you really say you trust INSEC to aways do the right thing? Can they even hold on to such knowledge?"

Please help - My campaign could go in any number of directions and I want to choose the best, most entertaining one. However, I want a relative "real wold logic" result.

 

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First, I suggest adding an NPC scientific expert in choronophysics (or whatever you want to call it) who can strongly advise against just chaining the time traveling supers to desks to pick their brains on all upcoming events.  This can be explained that vastly altering their actions will increase the "shift" to a more radically different timeline, rendering their future knowledge increasingly worthless.  Because the "real world logic" would be to tie them down and pick their minds, which lets face it would be no fun at all for the players... unless you want them to break with the government (which admittedly could be an interesting direction to take things).  So giving them an ally of sorts could help.

 

It's not entirely clear to me from your post - did their time travel take them back before the start of the invasion?  And if so, are they now past the start of the invasion? Past the Microverse part?  It sounds that way to me, but I wanted to be sure. 

 

Does INSEC know to which point in time they traveled back?  I mean, even if they traveled to before the start of the invasion, they could simply claim they didn't go that far back, arguing that they couldn't prevent the deaths.  How could INSEC know they're lying? 

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Of course, their future knowledge is only good up to the point they left their original timeline.  Past that, they're just as blind to future events as everyone else.  If they only went back a handful of months, the whole think will quickly become moot. 

 

Plus, things are already starting to differ.  Even if they reveal "future events," such events may not actually come to pass due to them now being in an alternate timeline and their different actions having ripple effects.  All it would really take would be for a handful of their "predicted" occurrences to fall flat, before the powers-that-be decide the whole time travel thing either wasn't true or is true but won't be as useful as they thought. 

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3 hours ago, BoloOfEarth said:

First, I suggest adding an NPC scientific expert in choronophysics (or whatever you want to call it) who can strongly advise against just chaining the time traveling supers to desks to pick their brains on all upcoming events.  This can be explained that vastly altering their actions will increase the "shift" to a more radically different timeline, rendering their future knowledge increasingly worthless.  Because the "real world logic" would be to tie them down and pick their minds, which lets face it would be no fun at all for the players... unless you want them to break with the government (which admittedly could be an interesting direction to take things).  So giving them an ally of sorts could help.

 

It's not entirely clear to me from your post - did their time travel take them back before the start of the invasion?  And if so, are they now past the start of the invasion? Past the Microverse part?  It sounds that way to me, but I wanted to be sure. 

 

Does INSEC know to which point in time they traveled back?  I mean, even if they traveled to before the start of the invasion, they could simply claim they didn't go that far back, arguing that they couldn't prevent the deaths.  How could INSEC know they're lying? 

Epic City (and INSEC [my PRIMUS] for that matter) is full of scientist NPCs that could advise or condemn the PCs. There are even and even a few mentalists around foe INSEV to call in. The advise you suggest could come from one while another argues the opposite. It could lead to an interesting situation, but I'd hate to take the game over with NPCs.

Yah, I'm looking for options that logically allow me to avoid locking down the PCs. Breaking with the Gov would be hard , but not an impossible option. They might also be able to lie their way out of this conundrum as they are currently hot on the heals of a mentalist that messes with memories...

INSEC is totally ignorant for now. But if they go down the interrogation path I'm afraid that more will come out than the heroes can simply hand wave off. Treason being the worst indictment, distrust and blame the least of that equation. Both would detract from the game or, at the very least, require me to rewrite reams of established history and relationships. At some point, the work wouldn't be worth the return, leading me to a partial (or even total) TPK as I arrest, detain for questioning, study, put in a hole and throw away the key, the PCs with knowledge of the future.

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On 12/24/2020 at 4:18 PM, GoldenAge said:

Epic City (and INSEC [my PRIMUS] for that matter) is full of scientist NPCs that could advise or condemn the PCs. There are even and even a few mentalists around foe INSEV to call in. The advise you suggest could come from one while another argues the opposite. It could lead to an interesting situation, but I'd hate to take the game over with NPCs.

Yah, I'm looking for options that logically allow me to avoid locking down the PCs. Breaking with the Gov would be hard , but not an impossible option. They might also be able to lie their way out of this conundrum as they are currently hot on the heals of a mentalist that messes with memories...

INSEC is totally ignorant for now. But if they go down the interrogation path I'm afraid that more will come out than the heroes can simply hand wave off. Treason being the worst indictment, distrust and blame the least of that equation. Both would detract from the game or, at the very least, require me to rewrite reams of established history and relationships. At some point, the work wouldn't be worth the return, leading me to a partial (or even total) TPK as I arrest, detain for questioning, study, put in a hole and throw away the key, the PCs with knowledge of the future.

 

Since there's time travel already involved, you could just have an assassin show up out of nowhere to kill the guy who's going to blab.

 

Either have the assassin show up in some surveillance as being one of the party members (who are well-documented as being elsewhere at the time) or some bad guy who the team has locked away and who everyone knows for damned sure was still in prison when the assassination happened.

 

Entire unsolvable mystery wrapped up in a tidy bow. Unless at some point in the future you want to play out the "stop the time traveling assassin" storyline.

 

I've got another idea but it's going to take a while to write and I'm in the middle of cooking at the moment.

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OUCH! Assassinate a main PC??? Dang, that's harsh! 😂... But not unthinkable. 🤣🤣🤣

Can't wait to hear your other idea!

Here's a little more about the sitch:

 

There are years of gaming I'm leaving out. Suffice to say my main villain Paradox (think Marvel's Dr. Doom mixed with DC's Epoch - and others) is stuck in a loop (of his own making) and must continue to replay history in an attempt to free himself by bringing total entropy to Reality (Reality as apposed to the echoes of Shadow - My multiverse explanation is similar to Zelazny's Amber Chronicles).
 
Unfortunately, each trip through time is different, each reset altered by the independent actions of those in Reality (particularly our Epic Alliance heroes). Thus, ironically, though Paradox has infinite experience with the future, even he has no idea what will bring him to the moment where he succeeds... or fails. (He's always failed thus far)
 
The heroes are no better off, and only a few have some recall of the future, which is diverging from actually Reality daily as they forge a brand new timeline thanks to free will.

In the last go-around, Paradox was foiled by an accident; The Crimson Doors (long story) were left unguarded (The guardian Hoi Lung, one of the 7 Dragon Kings, was (stupidly) destroyed by our very own Epic Alliance as they battled him while he was mind controlled - no coming back - They threw him into the sun!!! This allowed the strongest of entities from Shadow to breach Reality and begin its corruption - Long story short:
- The Crimson Doors were left unguarded
- Loki and many other gods returned to Reality to restake their claims
- Loki fools everyone (gods and man), allowing him to release the Elder Gods who've promised him...everything

- Loki is double-crossed by the Elder Gods who were just looking for a way back to Reality (tricking the trickster)
- Epic Alliance, who has been battling gods (who have been destroying Reality by battling each other), RALLIES the Storm/Hero Gods (including 100s of gods such as Adad, Perendi, Indra, Kapoonis, Shango, Orisha, Tawhaki, Haokah, Rai, and of course Thor & Hercules) to fight together and push back the Elder Gods and save Reality

- The gods save Reality from the Elder Gods, but take over themselves
- Due to previous game events, Athena brings Prometheus:

Athena: "I have come to see the error in my ways and am here to offer the challenger of Zeus's omniscience and omnipotence; Prometheus. Listen to him for he wields the ray of the divine wisdom from God himself, source of the supreme Light of every man…
Prometheus the Titan: NOTE: Prometheus was a challenger to Zeus's omniscience and omnipotence. Pandora (all gifts) was created by Zeus (as the first woman) to punish Prometheus.
Prometheus derived from the Greek prefix pro- (before) + manthano (intelligence) and the agent suffix -eus, thus meaning "Freethinker".
“I once again come, full throated, to the aid of man. Zues and the other gods have no sight of me if I wish it, and, as before, I will give you the one thing they have withheld for eternity… I am Forethought, the one virtue of Pandora’s never released… until now…
Sleep in your minds eye, when you awake you will have had the time to know what will come and prepare…”
- Our Heroes fall into a living torpor and move through the next 8 years as if sleepwalking. Finally they awake with the gift of Prometheus (foresight) and the knowledge of how to right Reality
- Paradix's involvement revealed - his machinations even above those of the Elder Gods

- Our heroes defeat Paradox, but set in motion the destruction of everything (the first time it wasn't Paradox's fault)
- Our heroes go back in time to correct their failure, returning to the very moment when Hoi Lung was wrested from his position as Guardian of the Crimson Doors

- Hoi Lung is saved, but the Crimson Doors were open for a short while, who knows who or what if anything got through

- Ongoing campaign........

Sorry if that's hard to 
follow. 🤣

 

Edited by GoldenAge
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I agree with Bolo that knowledge of the other timeline's future would be of little practical value now, and acting on it might inadvertently make things worse for this timeline. I don't think that needs to be sweated over. But charges of treason are a very real possibility. But of course the issue is, what would be most fun for your players, that wouldn't mean burning down the whole campaign?

 

Here's how I would go: whoever the interrogating officer's superiors are inform the PCs that they won't take any official action in regards to this revelation. They won't pass it on to their higher ups. The PCs can continue on as they have been. That is, provided the heroes will occasionally perform some special missions "off the books," as it were, for the greater good of course...

 

It isn't necessary at this point to define what those missions may be, or what the true intentions of the superiors are. That can be developed as you and your players move forward. As well as what, if anything, the PCs decide to do about it.

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4 hours ago, GoldenAge said:

OUCH! Assassinate a main PC??? Dang, that's harsh! 😂... But not unthinkable. 🤣🤣🤣
 

 

No, not assassinate the PC.

 

"The officer in charged is beside himself with this revelation. He immediately leaves the group to meet personally with his leaders in order to sort this new revelation out...INSEC is totally ignorant for now."

 

Assassinate the guy who is going back to report to the government agency.

 

If he's killed before he talks, the situation is over.

 

Even if he's given some kind of broad outline to someone, the mentalist who the PC's are chasing has obviously messed with his mind. 

 

If need be, the PC's themselves can corroborate that the guy wasn't himself and said a number of odd things at the meeting: acting somewhat dissociated with reality. If the guy's dead and hasn't given a full report and the PC's themselves don't think they're responsible for the murder, they don't really have any more motivation to out themselves than they did before.

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10 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

But of course the issue is, what would be most fun for your players, that wouldn't mean burning down the whole campaign?

This is really he center of it all... The INSEC investigator is INSEC's "mystical" agent - So I may play it off Thusly:

 

1) Agent Schonenberg comes off as a disheveled, bumbling person but, just like TV's Columbo, he's usually acting and/or trying to put others in positions where he has the secret advantage. Though unconventional, he's very good at what he does.

2) Agent Schonenberg KNOWS that the moment the PC divulged her knowledge of time travel was recorded, as is standard, in the INSEC HQ conference room.

3) Agent Schonenberg rushed out of the room in a seeming panic in order to shut the moment down before it got out of hand.

4) Agent Schonenberg rarely leaves anything to chance, so the papers that he left billowing in his wake as he rushed away actually contain a hidden message for the players to meet with him later at a secure location.

5) It's time to reveal that Agent Schonenberg is really an urban mage, maybe more. In doing so he has helped the PCs avoid any real complications from their slip-up and placed them in a sensitive spot where they owe him a favor (or 2)...

What do you think Agent Schonenberg should say/do??????????

John Schonenberg.pdf

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If this is the route you want to go, I can tell you that if I was one of your players, I would immediately strongly suspect that "Agent Schonenberg" is "maybe more" than an urban mage. In making this offer to the PCs Schonenberg is stepping 'way outside his authority, and playing a very dangerous game with very powerful people. Someone doesn't normally do that unless they're either actually a big deal, or are acting on behalf of a big deal.

 

I would suggest that John Schonenberg is not the great-great-etc. grandson of Johann von Schonenberg. He in fact IS Johann von Schonenberg. He assumes an identity purporting to be one of his descendants from generation to generation, and took his current job to keep tabs on what's happening in the supernatural world. Johann may have been cursed to remain alive on Earth until he atones for his past misdeeds; or he may have found a way to extend his life so he can continue his crusade against what he perceives as evil.

 

In any case, if this is the tack you take I would bet your PCs will investigate Agent Schonenberg to discover if he has a hidden agenda, and if he's really who he says he is. That could become a running sub-plot of the campaign.

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Characters can't be charged with treason unless they are aiding an enemy in wartime. You are sweating this too much. So one guy said something, it doesn't mean anything. Just tell the guy that the characters are getting ready for the coming invasion to try to save the contact agent before he is killed and they shouldn't have told him that

CES 

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Actually, with time travel involved, there could be alternate versions of the same team showing up, or maybe one team from some messed up future, determined to put things right.

 

Can a person twin themselves in the same timeline? It sounds like what happened was some kind of mental time travel instead.

 

Maybe agents of Istvatha V'Han show up, drawn in by all this time travel going on? Yes, the heroes saved the planet from an invasion from space, but they summoned a different kind of invasion in the process.

 

Why not have an alternate version of Paradox show up, created by this time travel mess? Or more than one? If Kang can do it, why not Paradox?

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