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Cause and Effect: Traveling to the Past

Written by Chung Chow

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Here are some ideas to help create a plot for adventuring.

  • Fantasy Plot: A group of adventurers in the middle of a quest has to travel somewhere on a ship. The ship is scheduled to stop for supplies at a port island. The night before while the adventurers are sleeping, the ship passes through a time rift. Pushing them ahead 5 minutes in time. They arrive at the island only to find it deserted. Strange occurrences begin to happen. Where a trash can was standing upright, it is suddenly knocked over 5 minutes later without anyone being near it. Create tiny little clues to lead them up to the point where they must sail back the same route to the time rift before it collapses upon itself.

  • Fantasy Plot: I ran this sequence with a few friends and they thought it was pretty fun. I have a habit of crossing TV and movie plots into my games. The players are in their home city or a city which they frequent, and where they are known to be heroes. During the night, a huge fireball falls from the sky; destroying a big section of the city. They are sent to investigate by the king and the heroes are accompanied by wizards and the city soldiers. They find strange pieces of objects made from material unknown to the wizards and to this world.

    During their investigation, a figure appears before them shrouded in a cloak; challenging them. This figure is arrogant, enough to upset the players. Then the cloaked figure declares that they are on trial for crimes committed against humanity. Guess who? *grins* Q tells them that they are the ones who found the piece of technology that later defines their world into space travel. So they are off on an adventure to prove that their race is fit to exist.

    They are taken into the future where they are to help some future crew of a particular starship on some kind of mission or what have you. The idea is up to you. I ran this a couple of times with two different groups. It is a great way to test their roleplaying skills. Fantasy characters in a futuristic time. With one group, it was to stop a interstellar war that decimates thousands of worlds.

  • Paranormal: The paranormal investigators stumble upon an ancient artifact. They inveterately set it off, shooting themselves back into time to WW1. While trying to figure out how to get back to their original time, one of the investigators did something that they did not think was significant. When they finally arrive back at their own time, they find themselves on Nazi Earth. Now they have to go back in time and figure out what they did wrong and correct it.

There are many more ideas that can be created when you use a time travel plot. Brainstorm and discover some of the possibilities. Just try not to get stuck in those damned paradoxes!

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