Groundhog Day Re-Re-Visited

Until there’s an official holiday celebrating time travel (and there probably is one already), I’m sticking with February 2nd, thanks in no small part to  Harold Ramis’ classic film.

Here are a few quick ways to incorporate elements from the film and holiday into a Time & Temp game:

Phil–A man stuck in time, doomed to relive the same day over and over and over. In the early stages, if a phenomenon like a time loop can be said to have “early stages,” Phil’s menace rating on the Keeley-Sullivan Temporal Villainy Index is merely 0. He’s a threat to reality by the nature of his existence, but he has no desire nor capability to exasperate that threat. As he is slowly driven mad by his personal time loop (a persistent-benign-subtle anomaly), his destructive behavior increases his TVI rating to 1, because he is now seeking potentially paradoxical results. And towards the end, once he starts taking advantage of the time he has to better himself, his TVI rating becomes a 2 to reflect the fact that he’s now much more capable than the common man.

Punxsutawney Phil–A groundhog actually able to predict the weather with testable accuracy is an interesting case study for how anomalies work. It is clearly a persistent and benign anomaly, as it lasts as long as the groundhog does and does no immediate harm to those who experience it. But the question of whether it is subtle or obvious is a matter of when it occurs, and how accepting the general populace would be of such a phenomenon. In general, when such portents and augury was considered par for the course, the groundhog would probably go unnoticed and, more importantly, the history books would treat it as a local superstition. This would definitely be a subtle anomaly. In more modern times, when such a critter would be tested, year after year, for accuracy, and when the media would blow the story out of proportion as an example of real magic, the anomaly would be an obvious one.

And, of course, there would be times when such a beast would immediately be burned at the stake for witchery, in which case it would be an ephemeral rather than persistent anomaly.

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3 comments

  1. Epidiah · February 2, 2010

    Asked via Twitter: “But how would the temps travel between different instances of his personal time loop?”

    Time travel magic! The Domed Room is a subtle and capable device, even if the temps aren’t. So they’re able to travel within the time loop, from instance to instance, freely, but not without mistake. Make the temps roll each time they try to travel to a different instance of the loop. I would think this would be a very difficult thing to do, too, probably requiring extensive calculations (hint, hint).

    This is very much the same thing as an insertion roll, but keep the same Matrix throughout, so it all starts to pile up, and you could make a failed roll mean they end up in an instance they’ve already been to, giving them the penalty die associated with bilocation without all the benefits of actually being able to interact with your bilocated self.

  2. Emily · February 2, 2010

    Apparently since they have no groundhogs in Alaska, they just dubbed Feb. 2: Marmot Day. Like to see how their prognosticatory powers match up with our Phil!

  3. Rob z · July 18, 2011

    I have been stuck in my own groundhog day life for the last 18 years every three years. The events repeat again and again and again for three cycles can anyone please help

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