The Time Travel Game Your Past Self Always Wanted

I am very excited about the Kickstarter for the new time travel TTRPG, Paradoxes & Possibilities. (Since they’re doing so well, you might want to scroll down and check out the Stretch Goals)

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a small role on its design team (more on that below). None of that negates what I’ve written here. Indeed, it’s the reason I got involved with the project.

In the Beginning

Gaming Old School: Die Before The First Session

I came of age, at least as far as gaming is concerned, in the late 80s and early 90s. While I’m not saying some of those games weren’t awesome, it was an era of the grognard, dominated by incredibly intricate RPGs that often seemed to revel in complexity for complexity’s sake, such as Rune Quest (where character creation could take two hours), Space Opera (which could take even longer), or Traveler (where, as an added bonus, your character could die during character creation). Even 2E D&D looked like the US Tax Code compared to its 5E descendant (THAC0? How was that a good idea?).

The niche for well-designed games that were fast, fun, and simple (as opposed to simplistic) was tiny. Oh, they were out there: Steve Jackson Games’ Toon, R. Talisorian’s Teenagers From Outer Space, West End Games’ Ghostbusters, Palladium’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For the most part, however, these were clearly labors of love that never found widespread popularity or critical acclaim.

(Time travel games were also thin on the ground. Good ones, even more so. Really, FASA’s Dr. Who and the GURPS Time Travel supplement are all I can think of.)

Why Paradoxes & Possibilities?

…a literal world of possibilities…

One of the joys of watching gaming change in the new millennium has been witnessing the explosion of clever games with flexible yet minimal systems. The popularity of such games warms my heart, as does the long overdue critical recognition that well-designed simple system is at least as much of an achievement as well-designed complex one (yes, obviously I burned my grognard card a long time ago … if, indeed, I ever had one).

It is a pleasure to welcome Paradoxes & Possibilities as the latest addition to precisely that category of game. All the more so, as it plays in one of my favorite TTRPG sandboxes: Time Travel. Every aspect of P&P has been crafted to emphasize fun, fast-paced, dynamic play while incorporating the flexibility to handle a literal world of possibilities.

So what does that all mean?

  • 15 points in 5 traits and an optional class system with each class having a cool unique feat. That’s character creation.
  • All the risks and rewards of time travel mechanics accomplished with a few throws of the dice.
  • Fast-paced combat rules designed to unleash player creativity.
  • A straightforward mechanism for paradox that makes possible anything the GM’s nasty little mind can conjure.
A child’s smile. What could be more precious? Well, how about an original Jon Black adventure?

Speaking to my age, there is something else I love about Paradoxes & Possibilities. It is an excellent option for Gamer Parents looking to introduce children or teenagers to the hobby (which is not to say adults won’t enjoy it — the same flexibility that makes P&P friendly for the young also works well for elaborate, RP-heavy story lines).

So, Back to That “Full Disclosure…”

With my background in both game design and historical fiction, the Paradoxes & Possibilities team reached out to me to design one of the adventures offered as a stretch goal for their funding campaign. A good GM knows the difference between spoilers and foreshadowing, so I will simply say that hitting the $4,000 mark will net P&P’s Kickstarter supporters some primo Gothic Silliness along the Lake Geneva shoreline).

Click here to learn more about the Paradoxes & Possibilities Kickstarter (and don’t forget to check out those stretch goals!).

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