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Campaign: CLIO’s Bastards

Campaign: CLIO’s Bastards
The High Concept: Temporal Commandos

“Daisy-Go-Round do you have eyes on the target? Repeat do you have eyes on the target?” Rose spoke quietly into her throat mike as she scanned the busy Sarajevo avenue near Schiller’s Delicatessen. People were gathered along the streets for a glimpse at the beautiful, famous and powerful. Some things never change. Checking her watch cautiously so no one nearby could get too clear a look at it, she frowned. “Damn it Daisy-Go-Round,” she hissed furiously “We’re at E minus two minutes thirty, Quit screwing around!”

Her earpiece squelched to life, “Daisy-Go-Round to Do-Si-Do, negative on target, I do not have the Englishman. I am pretty sure I’m going to kill the bastard that assigned these call signs though. Repeat, Do-Si-Do, I do not have eyes on target”

Rose frowned, “Roger that Daisy-Go-Round, I’m moving to cover Princip.” She broke into a light jog cutting across the street lined with gawkers. “Samoas do you have the Limo?”

“Roger that Do-Si-Do, I have the limo – what is a Samoas anyway? The pictures didn’t do Sophie justice by the way, she’s something now – 30 years ago I can only imagine.” Easy Pete scanned between the crowd and the limo through the scope of his sniper rifle from his vantage point on the Emperor’s Mosque. “I will have the limo right up to the turn Do-Si-Do. No sign of the Englishman, no sign of a course change, are we sure this is the right place?”

Mike moved smoothly through the crowd along the parade route scanning for the Englishman, “Thirty years ago she was 16 Samoas,” He paused to get a closer look at a small group of men across the route, “And Samoas are a Girl Scout cookie by the way – I’m pretty sure Ernie was ratcheted up about my not buying a box from his daughter when he put together our mission packet.” Mike frowned, not seeing anything suspicious about the group “I’ve got nothing here Do-Si-Do, I agree with Samoas are we sure we’re in the right place?”

“Pretty sure,” Rose said quietly into the mike as she watched a well dressed man in a bowler hat shove a taser into Gavrilo Princip’s back. The soon to be assassin convulsed violently and crumbled into a pile on the floor. Rose blinked – trying to reason out a way to salvage the situation. “Princip’s down,” she said calmly, “Time to improvise – count it out Samoas”

“E minus 30 boss”

“Daisy-Go-Round I need a man outside the deli. Move now.” Rose slowed time diving across the room towards Princip’s unconscious body, ignoring for the moment the Englishman beginning to bend down with the taser to hit the young nationalist again.

Mike broke into a run along the street behind the lines of people hoping not to alarm any of the security personnel with the limo. “En-route Do-Si-Do, twenty seconds to position”

Rose rolled up out of her dive clutching Princip’s FN model 1910 Browning and squeezed off a round in the Englishman’s direction as time snapped back to normal. She kept moving, diving behind a table as she tried desperately to remember how many bullets had been loading into the gun – praying it was at least three.

As Pete scanned the crowd he caught sight of a man drawing a Mini-Uzi, “Hello plan B,” he muttered as he squeezed off a round into the man’s forehead, “Hope you weren’t local.” He watched the crowd slowly begin to react to the falling saboteur as the Limo began its right hand turn out of his line of sight. “E minus 20, One hostile down, Limo’s out of sight. Falling back to pickup.”

Rose slammed the magazine back into Princip’s 1910, thanking God for the full clip and the cover the table provided from the Englishman’s burst fire. They sure don’t make ‘em like this anymore, she thought wryly as she rolled out from behind the table and fired three rounds, two in the chest and one in the neck. The Englishman tumbled backwards firing blindly into the ceiling and hit the floor with a wet thud, his bowler rolling across the floor.

Mike ran past the slow moving limo, the driver looked confused realizing he had made a wrong turn. “In position Do-Si-Do, E minus 5 seconds, now what?”

Rose burst out of Schiller’s holding Princip over her shoulder with one arm. Running towards Mike, she threw the 1910 in his direction, “Take Them!” she shouted.

Mike nodded, catching the pistol and spinning towards the now reversing Limo. All the time in the world, he thought as the world slowed around him. He squeezed off two rounds, one through the limo’s door that bounced about inside until it struck Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in the abdomen and the other into the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s juggular. Both would be dead in hours and the First World War would begin within a month.

Time snapped back to full speed as Rose dropped Princip’s unconscious form at Mike’s feet and he dropped the pistol to the ground. She stepped back and screamed, pointing at Princip “He shot the Duke! He shot the Duke!” As the crowd began to gather she and Mike broke quietly away and headed towards the pickup…

Campaign in Brief:

Steinmetz Consequor … it’s emblazoned on your arm patch. Steinmetz Consequor … it’s carved over the entrance to the training hall. Steinmetz Consequor … Steinmetz Knew. Welcome to the Special Operation’s Branch of the Chronology League’s Intelligence Office, our job, and now your job is to protect the world as we know it. Steinmetz Consequor, Solider!

Steinmetz Knew…He railed against time travel, against its risks, against the power that man was not wise enough to control, he destroyed his notes, and his research, there are even unsavory rumors about what happened to his assistants but ultimately Steinmetz knew. He knew and he was afraid – that some day man would unlock the secret that would send us rampaging like bulls through the china shop of history. Steinmetz knew and he prepared.

Charles Steinmetz – the inventor nobody remembers these days – discovered time travel; he also discovered that the past was terrifyingly easy to change, he created an institute to prevent people from doing that. The institute, after several near misses and one agent going public with the truth about time travel eventually became the foundation of the Chronology League – an international organization determined to prevent the past from being changed.

Any questions? Time travel, right – pay attention

The Theories and Rules of Temporal Transposition
by Charles Proteus Steinmetz

Time is a system prone to metastable states…meaning that while it is normally in a strongly stable state; virtually unchangeable, if affected by travelers it is placed in a weakly stable state; in equilibrium but subject to change with minimal interference. This is why I have destroyed the notes and records of my experiments with Temporal Hysteresis, Temporal Saturation and Remnant Flux Density in Temporal Systems, and I strongly urge all people to shun any research along these lines, failure to do so could easily result in the absolute destruction of all that man has wrought…

From the hidden journals of Charles Proteus Steinmetz
Time and particularly Time Travelers are subject to and advantaged by Temporal Hysteresis; essentially State Lag. Temporal Fields remember where they belong in Absolute Chronology, but it takes them perceptual time (Time from the Traveler’s perspective) to adjust and return to a strongly stable state. Without Temporal Hysteresis a traveler would be returned to his point of origin the instant he arrived at any point outside of his Actual Chronology. Because of Temporal Hysteresis it is possible for a traveler to move to a point outside of his Actual Chronology and spend an amount of Perceptual Time there before being returned to a point in the Absolute Chronology based upon his point of departure and the Perceptual Time spent outside of his Actual Chronology. I posit that this Temporal Hysteresis may, in some ways like magnetism, be reflected in the Travelers Environment, it may even be possible to create tools that draw upon this field to power all manner of wonders…

OK, so the old guy had it half right. The TH field does surround Time Travelers but we’ve yet to unlock a way to make gear that taps into it. On the other hand there are a few people who are sensitive to fluctuations in the field and with practice and training can even learn to manipulate it. Beginning to understand why we went out of our way to recruit you? It’s dangerous though, the more you draw on the field the less time you can spend outside of your Actual Chronology, and if you burn through the entire field you rocket back, unguided, to your actual timeline and the physical point from where you departed. You really don’t want that to happen what with the Earth tumbling through space. So get to get to a pickup point or activate your recall device before the TH field collapses or find a space suit, a really good radio and Religion.

Special Operations Group
How does it work? It’s pretty straightforward really, before his passing Steinmetz developed two very important devices, Temporal Shielding which is heavy and requires a tremendous amount of power but keeps our base in Tempe, Arizona and its occupants fixed in the Absolute Chronology, AC for short, and of course the Temporal Gate which allows us to send people into the past to repair or prevent damage to the AC.
The process of sending you back forms a TH (Temporal Hysteresis) field that essentially acts as your shot clock, the further back you go the more rapidly the field dissipates, once the field collapses you return home, violently and to the same location you departed from, which unfortunately is very likely to be in space, so you’ll want to activate your recall device before then. It will allow us to bring you back to your Actual Chronology in a place of our choosing. You’ll also be trained to use your TH field to give you some advantages while in the past – that skill is called Trepverter, kind of an inside joke, and it will allow you to make minor adjustments to your Perceptual Time while you are in the past but it eats up your TH field shortening how long you can stay so be careful.

Now I’m sure you have a million more questions so let’s get started…

Character Creation:
Race: All characters are Human and begin with the normal Bonus Edge.
Attributes: Are Purchased as Normal
Skills: Are purchased as Normal
Edges and Hindrances:
All Players begin with the New Edge Arcane Background: (Temporal Manipulation/Trepverter) for free.
You may not take the Doubting Thomas Hindrance.
You may not take the Noble, Champion, Gadgeteer, Holy/Unholy Warrior, Mentalist, Mr. Fix-It, Rapid Recharge, or Wizard edges.
Non-core edges and hindrances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

New Edge
Arcane Background: Temporal Manipulation/Trepverter:
Requirements: Novice
Arcane Skill: None
Starting Power Points: TH Field Strength (Varies)
Starting Powers: Special (3)
You are trained in Temporal Manipulation, the ability to tap into your TH field to manipulate the flow of time. While conscious, you are always aware of the strength of the field. Access to the field grants you the Speed, Quickness and Deflection powers (Self only, no skill roll to activate, all powers operate as if a standard success has been achieved) activating the powers reduces your current TH field strength by the power point cost.
Other appropriate powers can be purchased with the GM’s permission using the New Power Edge.
The Power Point Edge represents an increase in the efficiency of your use of the TH field and forms a separate pool that can be used to pay the power point cost for power activation – note that at least 1 point must always be drawn from the actual TH field pool.

The TH Field
A TH field shields anything sent back in time, temporarily. It is essential the difference in energy that keeps the universe from catching up with and returning the character to their Actual Chronology or more accurately their proper position in the Absolute Chronology. As soon as a person is moved back in time their TH field is set at 20. This begins to degrade based on how far back the Character has been sent.
Within Character’s Lifetime: 1 point per 72 hours
Within 2 Centuries: 1 point per 24 hours
Within 5 Centuries: 1 point per 8 hours
Within 10 Centuries: 1 point per 2 hours
Further than 10 Centuries: 1 point per hour
These are the normal rates of decay for TH fields these rates may vary in areas where the Absolute Chronology has been severely altered.

TH Fields and Objects
Objects brought from the future also have their own very weak TH fields, while carried they are masked by the Operative’s TH field, when left unattended most object return to their proper point in the Absolute Chronology within a few minutes. Dead travelers quickly become objects.

Recall Devices and Pickup Points
Every member of the Special Operations Branch is given a recall device, a small watch shaped item that when activated sends a signal that allows the Institute to bring the commando back. There’s a delay of up to 5 minutes so try not to cut it too close.
The Special Operations Branch also attempts to establish pickup points during critical operations that operatives who have lost their Recall Devices can get to for extraction. These are not supply points or there to provide operational assistance as they are intended for last resort extraction only (That’s not to say that a persuasive commando couldn’t get help only that it is discouraged and there can be consequences)

General Information About Time Travel
Let’s face it, Time travel’s a pain in the butt to adjudicate so here are a few guidelines about how Time Travel Works in the world of Clio’s Bastards.
Time is like a river throw a small rock into the Absolute Chronology and it more or less corrects for it, unfortunately that’s where the analogy ends as even a mediumish rock can cause massive changes in the Absolute Chronology (See Steinmetz’ notes on Temporal Metastasis). So, how do you police the entire timeline? You do the usual things but if you have a shielded location, you don’t exactly. You wait for a measurable change in the outside and then send back a team to prevent the change from occurring. There are a few problems with that, the first is that you don’t get many chances to correct the problem, the more attempts that are made to correct changes to the AC the less stable a temporal region becomes and the quicker HF fields decay. Each additional attempt by anyone increases the field decay rate by 1 level (72 hours becomes 24, 24 becomes 8, etc) levels below 1 hour break down as 20 minutes, 7 minutes, 2 minutes, and 0 minutes. There are areas in the Absolute Chronology that are currently “safe” because of repeated attempts at interference. The second problem is that no one can have more than one TH field at the same point in the Absolute Chronology. In other words you cannot travel through time and exist in the same instant twice. You can coexist with your non-time traveling self but that’s it. So if you blow an adjustment the group will need to send in another team.

Design Notes:
Yes I cheated…sort of. I really never was happy with how Esprit d’escalier came out and if I can’t go back and fix a time travel game, then what can I go back and fix…

I have deliberately not set the time period for this setting – past, present or future – it’s up to the GM – I think I’d either set in the 1950’s or the near future (~2100)







    June 2011
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