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So I've been watching a lot of Heros lately (I'm sure I'm not alone) and I got to thinking about what a wonderful plot device time travel is. Any time they need to drive the plot forward Peter Petrelli or Hiro Nakamura jump forward in time, see how fucked up things are and then jump back to save the world, or at least New York (which apparently *is* the entire world if you are an NBC screenwriter).

Anyway it got me thinking: what would an astral quest to the Metaplane of Guidance be like? Couldn't it be a foreboding glimpse of a dark future (albeit only one possible permutation of an infinite number of potential outcomes?)? What if your character were swept off to the metaplane by a particularly powerful Guidance spirit with powers like Astral Gateway, Divining and Endowment (to make the character see the future)?

Am I totally crazy here, or could this actually work?
I don't think Divining is detailed enough to work, but then again I tend to drop things like actual Time Travel and Pararal Worlds (Using tech of course.) just to up the "weirdness" factor every once in a while anyways.
Possible, though I'd make it more subjective. For example, the world being reduced to radioactive wasteland ruled by Invae actually means that the Cubs will win the World Series.
Not a bad idea, depends on how you flesh this skeleton and execute the dramatic motivation. Your an old hand at this, you know the drill.
hyz: I bet your players cry themselves to sleep at night... that is evil.

Pendaric: I'm thinking about working this into an upcoming campaign pitting my players against a terrorist organization. The first few runs they would be unknowingly helping the terrorists advance their agenda until they are double crossed. Then they would go on this metaplanar quest (which they won't know is a metaplanar quest) and see the long term fruits of their labor (namely an enhanced radiation weapon being detonated in a major Middle Eastern city...). Then snap back to reality and they need to decide whether they want to be heros or not... or maybe villains... devil.gif
Getting them into the 'planes with out them realising but keeping plot integerity for when the come back is a bit tricky. I would also work in a theme of investigation into the quest to reveal the truth, to smooth the plot arc, for this reason.

Sounds workable so far. I am sure you can working some personal loss and gain for various characters to make the moral choice less clear cut.
Good point. As far as them knowing what's going on- that shouldn't be an problem because they will know that *something* is happening. I just want them to think they have traveled in time and not to a metaplane. I kind of want that jarring change of setting- transported from the world they know into a war ravaged "future" of their own making. Also, I'm thinking of having a powerful magical NPC meet them in the "future" (i.e.- someone who entered the metaplane by conventional means) and explaining to them what they are seeing (i.e.- "You guys made this happen and you better fix it").
To build off what Pendaric said I think this is a ripe opportunity to mess mercilessly with your players morality. If it's all about the money for them than perhaps things turned out well for them, but no one else. If it's a post-apoc world they're a bunch fo rich powerful warlords who used their earnings to set themselves up quiet nicely after everything went pear shaped. That's pretty extreme but some variations on that might be good. I'd certainly like to see some silver linings thrown in though, if only to muddy the moral waters. Maybe this massive disaster caused humanity to band together, maybe it helped level the playing field between corps and normal folk, etc.

How long are you planning on allowing the players to suffer in their possible future? Is this going to be a "Christmas Story" rail run or basic "You wake up and everything is different"? Are you going to resolve the quest the usual way (with all the trials and what not) or is this going to be "I have brought you all here to see cool stuff, now go back to your bodies and make good decisions."

I'm trying to think of non-cliche ways to drop them into the quest though. The first that springs to mind is the whole "Something goes wrong with the bomb and 'Strange Radiation' snaps you into another reality!" That might work considering that you want to conceal the astral quest portion of this journey. mmm... Drawing a blank, maybe something will come to me.
Waking up in a strange environment is kinda well... lame.

However, you could have as part of a run that they have to steal time-machine. The time-machine is the perfect McGuffin in transporting them across space and time. Maybe the world they inhabit now is like Harsh Realm. On one side you have a post apocalyptic world and on the other you have a dictatorship run by one of the former PCs.
Well as cliched as it may seem, I could just use ye' olde astral gateway... the players in this game have never experienced this plot device before so it might be new and exciting to them.

I was thinking more along the lines of "I have brought you all here to see cool stuff, now go back to your bodies and make good decisions." Except I don't want the good decision to be as simple as "stop the bad guy, duh!" I kind of like the idea of one of the PC's future self being an evil dictator or warlord. And I was thinking that they would need to achieve some objectives in Futureland which would translate abstractly back to the real world.

I don't know. Its all starting to feel a little too contrived...
It's time travel man, it's by nature contrived as all hell smile.gif

I think a lot of it will hang on what is motivating the astral being. If you wanted to go ridiculously creepy you could make the astral being a bug spirit (minor horror, whatever) that shows them this blown to shit wasteland and explains that it won't be able to eat if everyone is dead.

The other thing I would try to avoid is the whole Slider McGuffin, the whole "we need this item to get back to our time!" is kinda done. I'd suggest that the thing they need to "accomplish" before they can go home is a full exploration of this future world. Be that the hacker spending some time getting some basic questions answered or the sami breaking some fingers for information... they have to do something to learn more. Kind of like a reverse 12 monkeys? They go into the future to find something out about the past that will help them alter the past. I guess that's not all that groundbreaking but it does make sense.

Or you can give them a fixed window, 2 nights or something. When the sun rises on the third day they'll be whisked back to their own plane. If they want to sit by the portal and wait they can, if they want to try to figure out what the fuck is going on, that's also an option.
Time travel is always a very big trouble to put into games, at least imo.
I just stumbled on this in school and read it through since I like the idea myself, I think the idea with the spirit of guidance I think it was, if it has the power to move the PC's minds through time.
with magic present I would say that the possibilty of time travel has increased alot since magic is manipuliting reality, ofc these thoughts can relate to the improved technology of the world and therefore maybe allow time machines, but I would say that time travel is possible in SR, BUT not really long time travels imo, due to the immense power needed to power either the needed magic or machine that could do this.

Else I would say the power was meant for certain paracritters since the ability to travel through time is really obscure
Well remember that if you are talking about actual Time Travel then you have to use technology since magic simply can not touch Time/Space under current Magical Theory.
Technically, that restriction in canon only actually applies to Sorcery.
Sure, but how would conjouring a spirit help you since as far as I know the closest thing Spirits have is the metaplanar shortcut?
I wasn't proposing a solution. Merely making sure that you were aware of the canon stance. While Sorcery is barred from affecting time, no such restrictions are placed on any other forms of Magic. Everything there is to know about Magic is not necessarily already known as of 2071, and so there might yet be a possible solution in that direction, just not via Sorcery.
Multi-posting for fun and profit.
So the door has been left open for other methods of actual time travel. Interesting.

I still think you're better off using the astral quest mechanic. It's not so far out there that your players will cry murder and it's actually kinda cool if you get an interesting spirt/astral entity driving it all forward.

Plus it lets you dick with them in astral, who doesn't like that? You could have them "time travel" as spirits themselves, unable to directly effect events in the future but observe and influence people to act in a particular way. Perhaps a modified posession mechanic would be in order.

It's like Quantum Leap... with astral time travel.
You know your time travel thread is really heating up when there's a Quantum Leap reference thrown out. Interesting thought tho.
The cigar-smoking man in the gaudy suit pounds frantically on the translucent candy-colored keypad and cries out toward the heavens, as if beseeching some neglectful god "Gooshi, center me on Sam" then abruptly vanishes as if he was never really there in the first place.

I also strongly recommend having the Wyld Stallyons show up in this adventure as NPCs.

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