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Time Travel in SWRPG
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willg
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Time Travel in SWRPG Reply with quote

A thing that hardly ever comes up in Star Wars... Time travel...

Now, that being a given, anyone know if its ever been used in SWRPG..

Any ideas on how to play a Time Travel game?

Wouldnt it be interesting if an old Imperial project was developed for thst very thing...
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aegisflashfire
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's really out of genre and too easily abused as a story element for my tastes. Every time people try to mix in these other elements it just stops feeling like Star Wars to me.

The ONLY time-related phenomena I can see using in a Star Wars story would be either Time-Dilation of a low-tech ship of a pre-hyperspace society OR I like to make use of Farseeing to predict the future.

Beyond that; its just not necessary. Its a big freaking galaxy. nearly any story that can be told with Time Travel can be told in Star Wars without adding the temporal element to it, (with a single exception that you should NEVER EVER NEED) and it causes all sorts of muck ups with storytelling.

The single exception is, if your time travel is of the flavor that the players can change the past and thereby change their present.

NEVER EVER USE THIS. It rips your game apart if your players can just go back and fix poor outcomes. Beyond that, its just awful storytelling.

If for some reason, you have an uncontrollable urge to add time travel, you really have to put some serious safeguards; such as: the universe doesn't allow you to change the past. At best you can only bring about the present you know.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sparks does have a Time/dimensional force power "force travel" but using it causes a DSP.

You also have the Swarm war novels power "Flow walking".
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aegisflashfire
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. I forgot about Flow Walking, but honestly it was a Jump the shark moment.

But Flow Walking didn't actually allow people to change the past, just interact with it in a non-binding fashion iirc.
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DirkCorman
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did once, as a bit of fun, have a Time Lord and his TT Capsule cross a dimensional barrier into the Star Wars Universe..
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aegisflashfire
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And that's fine in a Time Lord game. If the PREMISE of your game is time travel then throw all this out the window. But a setting includes a set of rules for the universe. It creates expectations in your players in what can happen. When you throw out the rules for the universe, then your players lose the grasp on the universe and you as the GM have basically just cheated.
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DirkCorman
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said, it was a bit of fun at the time.. And the character was an NPC who was constrained in what he could do.

It remained a Star Wars game however.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I normally wouldn't do this. But I might consider doing so as a short-term campaign with a humorous/parody twist. If I were to do this, I'd satirize the "must kill Hitler" trope and replace it with a "must assassinate Palpatine" adventure. I've done comedic and zany games in the past with a specially picked group. It's something I could see doing with a few select gamers.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think time travel (most likely accidental) could be a way to explore deviations from canon. For example, having the PCs kill Vader during ANH or some suc. Unlikely that I would give players access to time travel at will, though.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Unlikely that I would give players access to time travel at will, though.


If that's something they wanted to do, I would be more than happy to play the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space.
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willg
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Dirk raised a good point, having a TimeLord from the Doctor Who reality visit his game...so, technically, theres time travel and heck, interdimensional tech available to your PCs, if you so desired...hypothetically.


As a big Who fan, that excites me.

Supposing he HADNT been an NPC. and supposing his TT capsule was stuck here till he could fix it.

So you have a non- SW universe character operating in the SW Universe...in RPG at least.
He would need to be statted out.

That brings me to another topic The well done X over RPG..

I dunno if you have heard of the Wold Newton universe, guys, but it allows for co- existence of various fictional characters...but with some constraints..

It allows the Thing from Fantastic Four to meet Doc Savage... as long as neither character is compromised, fairly treated, the idea is acceptable.

The bad x- over Rpg.

An example of this, not in RPG form, is the cartoon
Scooby Doo meets Batman. Its just wrong.

Like I said, all hypothetical stuff.
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DougRed4
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me time travel fits better in Star Trek than it does in Star Wars, so I'd be extremely hesitant to allow it in my campaign.

For the fun of a one-off, though, as people have suggested, it sounds like a lot of fun!
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time normally moves in the forward direction. Time dilation from the past to the future is not technically part of a "time travel story" because it doesn't involve anything opposing nature by go backwards in time. And I despise "predestination" time travel stories where you can only become a part of history and can't change anything because what is the point? If everything is predestined then there is no freewill. What a depressing philosophy, and boring story. A real time travel story involves going backwards in time and changing something, preventing an timeline alteration, preventing an undesirable future, etc.

While I agree in general that time-travel is inherently not in the space opera flavor of Star Wars, I'm too much of a sci-fi nerd to have always been able to resist the urge to do it. No, PCs were never just given the ability to travel back in time at will. What would be the point of that?

"Destiny"

The adventure's title is ironic. This epic conclusion of my very first SW campaign was a time travel adventure for 4 high-caliber PCs belonging to an infamous Rebel special ops team known as Black Squad. About 2 years after ANH, the PCs were on their way to a meeting with a Rebel privateer fleet to troubleshoot some setbacks they were having recently when the PCs' ship was attacked by Imps that chased them to a space-time anomaly, and the PCs' ship was suddenly blasted over a decade into the future, but the PCs don't realize it at first. They eventually figure out they skipped over the past 15 years of time to arrive in a depressing future where the Alliance had lost some "Battle of Endor" that lead to a systematic decimation of all Rebel forces across the galaxy. Palpatine and Vader still ruled the Empire, and now with 3 fully-operational Death Stars. The movie heroes were all dead and the Alliance's last hope against total annihilation was the teenage son of one of the PC group's deceased members, and the only known Force-sensitive remaining in the Alliance. (The kid's father had died before he was born.) The son is powerful but mostly untrained. (He had foreseen that the heroes who had disappeared in the past would reappear when they were needed the most.) I intentionally used the players' knowledge of canon to great effect to contrast with how 'wrong' everything was in ways that their characters wouldn't know, and it was suggested by the story that the PCs being absent from the Battle of Endor is what lead to the Alliance loss and thus nightmarish future they were now in.

After the PCs made it their mission to find a way to go back to their own time to prevent this timeline, they eventually discover that the anomaly that sent them there had interacted with the unique crystal from the lightsaber of the PC group's Force-user (who had been a student of the deceased comrade and inherited it). They learn that the Empire developed technology that potentially allows time travel to the past from studying the same anomaly that had blasted them to the future (after the Imps had seen the PCs' ship disappear). They find out that one of the Death Stars (on its way to the sector of the last Rebel base of course) has the technology to recreate the conditions of the anomaly but realize for it to work it must be used in conjunction with the crystal to attempt to travel back in time. (The Empire not having the crystal is how they haven't had functional time-travel capability on their own). So the PCs with the son infiltrate the Death Star and secure the technology, jury-rig it in their ship and "charge" it with the crystal's power activated by the Force (a one-shot deal because the time tech if not their whole ship will be fried in-use).

But the Death Star is approaching the final Rebel base, and the PCs consider What if they don't succeed in changing the timeline? If they are stuck here or die trying to go back, they can't just let this Alliance be destroyed. So they come up with a plan to stop this Death Star and escape, but it will be cutting it so close with the closing of their window to go back in time that the son would have to go back with them (where his younger self already exists as a newborn baby), so the son tells them he will split off from them to give them more time and still try to escape by another method, because he can't leave his time behind in case the PCs fail to make it back. The Force PC decides to go with his old mentor's son to help him, sacrificing his own chance to go back in time with his team but increasing the chances of this timeline's Alliance (and doubling their Alliance's Force-users). The Force PC argues that the past they came from still has Luke Skywalker and other good Force-users, but this future has only got this kid who needs training if this timeline remains in existence. They say their goodbyes, and the lightsaber (with crystal) stay with the Force PC. With some dramatic complications (of course) including the cyborg PC becoming severely damaged, their plan is successful, this Death Star is severely crippled, both parties escaping in two ships amidst massive explosions, and the 3 PCs (and their droid) travel back in time in their ship, arriving only a few months after they had left (but still before that "Battle of Endor" would take place).

In the future they hadn't learned any details about the Battle of Endor or the history of events in between their time and the future, but now that they were back in their own time they perform a search for "Endor" but their navicomputer had no record of any such location (which still allowed for the Alliance to eventually learn about its existence and the system's location when they did soon before attacking it) so getting a heads-up on Endor is a dead-end. The PCs return to their own Rebel base to find that it seems to have been abandoned without any conflict (probably due to the PCs being MIA and fearing they had been captured). The PCs have time to effects some repairs and scavenge some left-behind parts and equipment before they were ambushed by a small Imp force that lay waiting for returning Rebels. The PCs escape. The PCs realize that even though the crystal is in a future that will hopefully be overwritten, there could be more crystals like it in the galaxy so now they have a new mission in the present to prevent the Empire from ever developing the time-travel technology, if they can help it. They return to the area of the anomaly and find that it has completely disappeared. They find out from investigating a nearby space station that the Empire had been in the area for a couple months, temporarily declaring it a forbidden zone until recently when they had abandoned it. Recovering data from the burnt-out future-time-travel tech on their ship, they discover that the Imps had been studying the anomaly and uncover the location of a secret Imperial astrophysics research facility that would use the data to develop the tech in the future. The PCs attack the base and destroy it, but their ship gets destroyed in the process. Realizing that is the most they can do for now and hoping it was enough, and that the Imperial bounties for Black Squad are at a new all-time high, the 3 PCs agree that they should disband Black Squad - Their best chance of surviving until the Battle of Endor would be to go their separate ways and rejoin the Alliance in various capacities that will hopefully each get them into the Battle of Endor when it happens.

Thus ended the adventure and that campaign. The adventure actually turned out much better than I had imagined thanks to the PCs (They really didn't want the campaign to end but I was ready to move on.) It was a lot of fun at the time, but I have no plans for any future SW time travel adventures.
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Last edited by Whill on Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing Whill, it sounds like a great ending to a long term campaign. I have to say that your players dedication to the cause is a refreshing sight after years of playing with and running for selfish player characters.

I think doing something like Whill did is a perfect application of time travel done tastefully in a Star Wars setting. Either back or forward to save the timeline as we know it seems like a good approach to take.
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aegisflashfire
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
I think time travel (most likely accidental) could be a way to explore deviations from canon. For example, having the PCs kill Vader during ANH or some suc. Unlikely that I would give players access to time travel at will, though.


Why use the time travel angle at all? I've seen a great Alternate history RPG game (Saga edition) that postulated alternate endings to the duels in Episode III: Vader defeats Obi-Wan, but Yoda defeats the Emperor.

But there was no time travel, it wasn't necessary. Just a story told from another angle.

There's also the Star Wars Infinities comics, which do something similar. What if Luke missed at the Battle of Yavin? What if Han didn't reach Luke in time on Hoth?

But there are no time-travel elements needed.
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