Brett Bernstein‘s request* for me to Pick Herbie Brennan‘s classic Timeship (originally published by Yaquinto Publications, part of the innovative early wargame publisher’s attempt to get into the RPG market) sets off this week’s theme – Time After Time Week. From here, we’ll look at games that deal with the very exciting and challenging idea of roleplaying stories about time travel.
Timeship was daring as one of the early games to deal with time travel, and one of its innovations was the concept of both Personal Energy and Group Energy to accomplish important things in the game. The early 80s were not known for narrative, player-facing mechanics, so Bernie gets a lot of credit for breaking some ground here.
(*) – Just a reminder that I often make Picks based on someone sending me a suggestion or request (to seanpatfan [at] gmail), and frequently those suggestions become the Theme of the week. Just please remember to choose products that are available on DriveThruRPG.
Precis Intermedia brings back this classic roleplaying game of time travel and adventure (originally published by Yaquinto Publications).
You are a time traveller, and there are no more barriers. The included time capsules immerse you in both the future and past:
- Murder at the End of Time: The date is August 25, 600,000,000ad and you stand beneath a blazing, unmoving sun. No crime has been committed on Earth for more than three hundred million years; until now! Your mission is to solve the mystery using the bizarre clues and peculiar witnesses.
- Assassinate the Fuhrer!: On June 7, 1956, World War Three began when the Nazi government of Argentina, led by Adolph Hitler, invaded Brazil. Hitler had escaped capture at the end of World War II and begun the Fourth Reich in South America. It is now April 30, 1945, and you are stalking Hitler through the bunkers beneath a city in flames. Your mission: find him, then make it look like suicide.
- The Destruction of Gomorrah: It is May 22, 1979bc and you are surrounded by the sights and sounds of the doomed city, Gomorrah, famous for its vice and corruption. You arrived on a simple Time Traveller’s Holiday, but find you must now stop the destruction to save yourself!
Timeship is also wide open to creating your own adventures. You are free to roam the ages. Journey from the days of the dinosaurs, to the mystics of the ancient world, to the glory of Napoleon. If the past is not enough, adventure in the present with its political intrigue, and brushfire wars; or, for those more adventurous souls, you may transcend the present and visit the future where man’s home is the universe, populated with all manner of strange and alien beings. The potential for adventure and excitement is only limited by your imagination.
- Utilize Personal Energy to perform various time-related activities, such as bringing anachronistic equipment to an earlier period or disguising yourself to blend into the period.
- Utilize Group Energy to open gateways to other time periods or to supplement Personal Energy.
- Players can portray themselves with a simple system that starts at average ability levels. Then, each player can evaluate himself by improving some and reducing other abilities — his gaming character mirroring both his positive and negative abilities, based on his own judgment.
- Alternatively, the Personal/Group Energy mechanics can be easily adapted for use with your favorite roleplaying game.
NOTE: This is a scanned reprint of the classic 1983 boxed set — a must-have for vintage RPG collectors.
Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, Freedom Squadron, and much more!
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!