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(3 edits) (+4)

Time travel character generation idea:

All the PCs are the same historical person, but from different timelines. To begin the game, you establish 5 facts that everyone knows about that person. (These don't have to be true, maybe Napoleon really was extremely short in most timelines, just not ours. but they need to be common knowledge about that person.) So for Amelia Earhart, you might have facts like "daredevil pilot" and "disappeared flying over the ocean".

Once you have those five facts, every player will create their specific version of the character. You have several responses, that you distribute between them. "Yes, and...", "Yes", "Yes, but...", No, but..." and "No, and...". Choose one response to match each fact, then finish the sentence. e.g., "Yes, I was a daredevil pilot, but it wasn't with airplanes. On our world, we had giant insects that I helped tame and turn into useful flying mounts." "No, I didn't disappear flying over the ocean, and I became famous as the first person, man or woman, to circumnavigate the globe by air."

So everyone gets a character that is recognizably that historical person, but also is weird and different than the other PCs.

Variant: instead of always having one of each response, you could instead roll some dice. 1=No, and  2=No, but  3=Yes, but  4=Yes  5=Yes, and  6=player's choice.

Come to think of it, this is also ready made for an Into the Spiderverse / Crisis on Infinite Earths / What If...?Batman Who Laughs superhero game, where everyone can play variants of the same superhero.


The title should be 5 Napoleons! Or something else. This is great.


The idea was partly inspired by Jason Morningstar's unfinished game Nine Roosevelts Against the Impossible. And also some mechanics I had in an early draft of a completely different game, where it was used to make a family of people who were similar to each other but not the same as each other.

I like this idea so much. So how can I help it along? I was listenign to the interstitial podcast and I've heard the option for using interstitial to use that to use playbooks to form the different versions of hte same person but I like the way you're approaching it instead. Maybe a combination of this separate section on the character sheet that is also like "how this impacts actions" for example.

So my Mecha-Earhart has the her no buts and yes ands but the next step of chargen is that: 
Earhart doesn't eat, has enhanced phsyical ability, flies under her own power now, and is powered by steam and eats it. That might make it interesting. That way the changes go from "quirky observation" to "game effect"

Feel free to take it and incorporate it into any game where it fits.

I would tend to use it in games with simpler mechanisms, where it's just "If you can justify how your coldbloodedness helps Lizard Amelia escape from danger, then you get a bonus die" or something like that. Because then every statement could be relevant, in the right contexts, without additional rules overhead. 

But I could see working this into a game with more concrete, spelled out powers as well. (Nobilis 3rd edition tried something similar, with an inspirational phase of character creation and then a more concrete mechanical phase, but it wasn't really successful.)

oh i like simpler mechanisms too. i was htinking as a mental exercise to help someone see how they relate. instead of just "i brood and am lincoln" something about "broody lincoln ends up doing x" in scenes might be a helpful hint. like how the moes work in pbta or belonging. haven't seen nobilis 3. is it worht a look? 


Nobilis 3rd edition is deeply flawed, almost to the point of being unplayable. I wouldn't recommend it. 

(2nd edition Nobilis, though, is amazingly beautiful and elegant and a great game.)

Ok. My love of 2nd is why I have interest in 3rd. I wonder what went wrong.