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Deloreans in Time - A 'Back To The Future' Alternate Setting

Started by 14thWarrior, February 08, 2006, 10:15:04 PM

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An Alternate Setting for Dogs In the Vineyard.

This alternate setting is designed to replicate the setting of the Back To The Future movies as though it were a television series.

  • (Ideal, but optional.) The PCs are related to one or more of the movie characters; preferably protagonist characters that had direct knowledge of the time machine (i.e.: Doc Brown, Marty McFly, etc.)
  • The PCs are using a time machine based on Doc Brown's original design to travel the time continuum solving problems in their own timelines (and often creating entirely new problems in the timeline).  If there's only one or two PCs, the group can , at their option claim that they are using Doc Brown's original Delorean time machine.  If there are more than two PCs, then the group can claim virtually any kind of time machine, provided it is based on Doc Brown's original design; i.e. it should be some kind of vehicle retrofitted with the necessary time travel equipment.  The group should come to a decision together on the form of the time machine.
  • The game's origin time can be any date ranging from current to as far back as the latest date after the end of the third BTTF movie.  This restriction is mainly to prevent conflict with the original premise.
  • Each session (or rather episode), the PCs are confronted with a problem with direct line descendants in the future, or ancestors in the past, that they must correct or solve in order to either preserve their future, or ensure their present existence by correcting the past, respectively.
  • Episodes are structured thusly:
  • The Future/Present is in Danger

    • Target Time: Present the target time range endangering the characters' Present a situation in the target timeline that will affect the characters' future lives (or that of their family), or affect the characters present lives.
    • The Danger: Present the events that are endangering the characters future/present.  Alternatively, present a situation that the PCs can't, or won't, ignore; take for example Doc Brown's accidental travel to the 19th century.  Marty knows that he gets gunned down, and refuses to let that happen.
    • Proper Events: Present a likely series of events that would eliminate the danger the characters.  This is merely a guideline, the players are likely to figure out or determine what needs to happen, to correct the situation, on their own.
    • Key Indicators: Present one or more items that the PCs will have to indicate success.  This could be a photo, a newspaper clipping, a letter, some kind of audio recording, or other similar object that will change as events in the timeline diverge from the original danger timeline.
  • Conflicts pretty much work as usual. Stakes are set, and the conflict played out normally.  At the end of the conflict, however, the description of the Key Indicators may be modified if the results of the conflict has caused events that would affect the Key indicators.
  • Fallout revisions: The Back To The Future trilogy had a pretty low mortality rate (effectively zero).  The BTTF trilogy also exhibited a strong ripple effect to changes in the timeline caused by the protagonists.  In recognition of these two setting elements, fallout is revised as follows:

    • When determining fallout after a conflict, each player rolls their fallout dice, if any, and slides the two highest results to the GM; this is timeline fallout.  The player then selects the next two highest results as actual fallout.
    • The GM takes the two highest results of all the fallout dice given to him and determines what ripple effect happens and how it affects the situation, or what new situation it creates.  The ripple effect should be based on the following:

      • If the result is less than 8:  There is no unexpected or noticeable ripple effect.
      • If the result is 8 or more, but less than 12:  There is a minor ripple that causes a noticeable change in the timeline, but it does not significantly affect the divergence of the timeline from the danger line.  The ripple effect may be a nuisance effect that the PCs may want to resolve.
      • If the result is 12 or more, but less than 16:  There is a significant ripple in the timeline that has essentially cancelled out the last conflict's progress on the timeline, or aggravated the timeline if the conflict did not originally result in a successful divergence from the timeline.
      • If the result is 16 or more, but less than 20:  The conflict has caused a ripple in time that has directly aggravated the original situation and caused the new timeline to converge with the danger timeline once again.
      • If the result is 20 or more:  The conflict has rippled into an entirely new situation that directly endangers the PCs timeline.  The new situation must be resolved before the original situation can be further attended to.
    • When the GM takes fallout for the NPCs, he rolls the fallout dice and hands the two highest ones to the players.  The players may use those dice against their opponents in a subsequent conflict.
    • For character creation, the Relationships section of the character is replaced with 'Secrets'.  Secrets are bits of knowledge about the timeline that the character wouldn't normally know if he/she hadn't travelled through time.


That's all I've got so far, but it should be enough to start with. :D  I'll append more if warranted and/or when I get the time.
Leo M. Lalande