What should I think about?
While I know that not everyone would recommend it, I am sure I will try. What are the key factors to consider when planning a Pathfinder Time Travel adventure. What spells could accomplish this feat? What effects might Pathfinder Travel have upon memory and spellcasting? And what paradoxes would you have to avoid (e.g. I’m interested in what spells might be used to kill characters, and what resources are available that could help me. I am working in a Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 setting, but any other systems with elegant solutions/resources/mechanics that you could point out would be appreciated.
This is the focus of two games that you should look at: Feng Shui (where characters are able to mess with the timeline) and Continuum (where all the PCs are powerful Pathfinder Timetravellers but cannot alter their futures lest future Pathfinder Timetravellers take care.
Pelgrane’s new TimeWatch game is a GUMSHOE Pathfinder Time Travel game. It is packed with useful advice for Pathfinder Time Travel GMs. You will need to wait until release before you find out if the kickstarter rules are still available.
Since quite some time I have been DMing a Pathfinder Time Travel Campaign. Characters can travel in time at will, but only as a group. Here are some things to be aware of.
Pathfinder Time Travel Timeline Change
My players are quite responsible and try to keep the timeline in place as much as they can, even though I encourage them to do so. You can let them do it, but warn them in advance about the potential consequences and limit how many they can do in each “era”.
If they go to Japan in mediaeval times, they may do something they didn’t intend, or they might be willing to do it. No one would dare use a Japanese katana again. If they later accidentally kill the Emperor, I would resort to the “Well. Someone else takes his place, and that is who History remembers” trick.
You should be cautious about the following Types of Alteration
The “Time protects itself” trick is one way to handle it. Alterations are permitted, but you cannot do anything that would create a paradox about the past events. Time will stop you from doing so. The bullet disappears if you shoot at your father before your birth. The knife disappears when you try to stab your father. You attempt to strangle him.
It is also a great way to lead the PCs. They may realize during a fight that they cannot kill their opponents due to Time Self-Preservation but don’t know who they are or what would happen if they died. One of the PCs was also pursued by his ancestor, who was disappointed in him and tried to kill him multiple times. The paradox would have made it impossible for the PC to resist. Fun times.
You can also use “Rubberband History”, as mentioned above. They can make changes, but any change they make is reabsorbed by History. Their grand-father could have been killed, but their grandma found another person who was the same as their grandfather. A character may kill himself as a baby only to discover that he was actually a child clone. There are many options, but the best choices for an RPG game are “Enforced Immutability”, and “Rubber band History”.
How Pathfinder Time Travel?
This is the easiest: it is impossible to do in raw. Done. You can invent whatever you want. Two “Time Stop” spells interacted during a trip to the Astral plane. These are the parameters to be aware of:
Are you interested in the Pathfinder Time Travel method being easily reproducible?
Are you happy for it to be only one way? Do you want it to be two-way (to the past and back, or future and back? Flexible (from any point in the past to any other point)
What accuracy do you desire? Are characters able to travel back in time two seconds? Or one day? Or are they restricted to a specific “nexus”, in particular time?
- Final Advice
Time travel with DMing Pathfinder is a great and rewarding experience. However, you must plan well and be flexible. Use it to plan relationships and connections between characters and places.
“The witch that you captured has exactly the same eyes as the lady you met yesterday!” You also remember the old lady saying that she doesn’t recall her past and was injured years ago …”.
Keep it vague and open-ended, but be prepared to make changes at any moment and adapt to it seamlessly.
Congratulations! You arrive at the site to deliver the human sacrifices and discover two things. The only one still alive is a little girl who has been seriously injured and she has exactly the same eyes as the lady you saw yesterday. The old lady who told you that she couldn’t recall her past, and was injured years ago at the same time as the little girl, is also something you remember.