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Long Goodbye (with cards)

Started by Gwen, December 02, 2002, 08:54:09 AM

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I think the idea of using cards is an excellent idea and would help greatly with the organization and execution of the game.  Traditionally, I am opposed to card/dice games because it automatically forces at least two systems on a game.

However, opposed to trying to force the game to be one system, i think it might work better to design it around two systems.  After all, there's no reason combat and time travel should function the same.

So Time Travel will be entirely cards, roleplaying will be entirely dice.

Time Travel

Only one black suit and one red suit are necessary.  The red cards represent daytime, the black cards represent night.

The ace represents 1 am (red) or 1 pm (black).  The two equals 2 o'clock and so on.  The 10 equals 10 o'clock, the Jack equals 11 and the queen equals noon or midnight.

Each time a card is draw, that hour is played in its entirity (either real-time or game time; depending on gameplay).  As that hour ends, a new card is drawn.

Once the new card is drawn, the players return to their original geographic position of where they started the game.

Each card is laid out on the table.  This is the players time line.  Although the hours may be helter-skelter, this is the order the players are bound to.

If a KING is drawn, the players place the king on any hour and they may live that hour again.  The hour is not reset, but there are two sets of characters in that hour.  Kings may not be saved and used later, they must be played immediatly.  (If a king is drawn at the first of the game, it is lost)


When a character dies, they are dead for that hour and every NORMAL hour afterwards.  They may still live and play in hours preceeding their death, but never in hours afterwards.  Their conciousness does not live on, they aren't dead for just a little bit, they are dead to the world.  Their bodies are lifeless and unable to time travel, unless it is into the past.

Characters die by being attacked.  Characters begin dying after...

Being hit by a blunt object 4 times
Being hit by a firearm 2 times
Being hit by a large object (bazooka, car, etc) 1 time

If a character is brought to a hospital BEFORE THE HOUR ENDS, they do not die.


Players write down six civillian skills and six profession skills.  

Civillian skills include Driving, Cooking, Pistols, Area Knowledge, Stealth... etc.
Profession skills include Chemistry, Sub-Machine Guns, Physics, Forensics... etc.

Any task attempted by a character with the appropriate skill is rolled with 4d6 with a target equal to the hour.  (Driving a car down the road, cooking toast, finding a restaurant)  The target for hour 1 is 1, the target for hour 2 is 2... the target for hour 23 is 11 and the target for hour 24 is 12.  All target numbers are between 1-12

If, for any reason, the GM thinks a negative modifier is involved (wounded, distracted, blindfolded) then less dice are rolled.  Anywhere from 3d6 to 1d6.

Attempting to perform a task without the skill uses 1 d6.

In this manner, information can be gathered and more casual interraction can occur is the less stressful hours, but as time grows closer to hour 24, only the skilled will be able to contribute.

This represents natures natural attempt to keep time from being changed.  Essentially, the immune system of the time stream.


If the players alter the time line to such extreme points that the GM is unable to maintain continuity, feels that the time line is beyond repair, or is otherwise unable to keep gameplay moving forward, he is considered "confused."  The game ends in a Paradox.

If a player become confused, they can either keep quiet or argue.


When the time line has been so abused, torn or it otherwise doesn't make sense chronologically, the players may begin to argue.  The ultimate goal of an argument is to reach an agreement.  Unless all PLAYERS agree in a timely manner, the GM will end the game in a Paradox.

If players begin quoting Scientific American, the Bible, or otherwise begin citing examples from time-travel movies and an argument builds up, it is the GMs responsibility to:

1. Warn the players that if they don't concentrate on the game, it will end
2. End the game if gameplay comes to a halt.


I hope these rules cover mostly everything.

Let me just clarify that the MEANS of time travel are up to the GM and players.  Divine time travel from God is ok.  An agency making individuals time travel for whatever reason is fine, but there is no definitive source of time travel.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

Ron Edwards

Hi Gwen,

There's a lot to like about this structure. I agree with you that a dual system, in this case, seems like a fine thing.

The only concern I have is that you're assuming that the GM will automatically be "above" getting invested in the potential non-constructive argument. I suggest that you consider the possibility of a kind of Endgame, which kicks in when a quantitative circumstance of the Timestream occurs, after which all of the role-playing ... changes.

Changes how? Good question. You've got the existing mechanics to work with - perhaps no time-penalties occur but all effects of all actions are doubled, or something like that.

This way, Paradox isn't a big stick saying Don't Go There Or We Can't Play, but rather one of two possible, equally fun general outcomes.


M. J. Young

Gwen, your task resolution system has a glitch. The idea that tasks get increasingly difficult as time approaches the end is certainly worthwhile, but the execution is awkward. The way it's presented, tasks get progressively harder between one AM and noon, and then revert to simple at one PM, again increasing in difficulty.

Possible solutions?
    [*]Maintain the same difficulty for two consecutive hours; thus 1-2 is 1, 3-4 is 2, and ultimately 23-24=12.
    [*]Shift to a 24-point system, so that PM hours have difficulties of 13 to 24.
    [*]Scrap the increasing difficulty schema (it has the potential to cause problems, if a task that is simple in the morning is impossible in the evening) and find another resolution.

    Also, it's unclear what the "12" cards indicate. That is, assuming that the game ends at midnight, is the red queen midnight to one AM at the beginning of the game (thus being "12 AM"), or is it noon to one in the middle (thus following the red jack in sequence)?

    Interesting overall.

    --M. J. Young


    QuoteShift to a 24-point system, so that PM hours have difficulties of 13 to 24.

    Scrap the increasing difficulty schema (it has the potential to cause problems, if a task that is simple in the morning is impossible in the evening) and find another resolution.

    I suppose you're half right.  The idea that any task becomes increasingly difficult does seem unnecessarily hard.  Originally the idea here is that as the players interact with the past, the future begins to work against them to retain its normal flow.

    Opposed to this happening automatically, I think it would work better as follows.

    When a player or players causes a change in time in the past (ie killing someone, saving someones life, defusing a bomb...) and this changes the time line in a significant way, each hour following includes a negative modifier for all tasks.

    What a "significant task" is would be up to the GM and most certainly good material for an argument.

    This should also help keep characters from going around on a killing spree, because any massive changes would probably end up in equally massive modifiers later in time.

    For example, if the players killed a major political figure responsible for starting nuclear war, they might advert tragedy.  BUT, their forced changes on the past will cause the future to work against them.  So if someone else were to start nuclear war, it would be even harder for him to be stopped.  And so on and so forth.

    QuoteThe only concern I have is that you're assuming that the GM will automatically be "above" getting invested in the potential non-constructive argument.

    The only reason I felt the GM should be excluded is because they are privy to a lot of non-player knowledge.  An argument about why things are would get out of hand if one person had all the answers and everyone else just had theories.  With the GM excluded, the players are inclined to come to an agreement (which may not be necessarily TRUE) but as long as they agree, they continue playing.