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.

Splitting Up the Party

A recent discussion with a friend bore some intriguing fruit for Time & Temp. Jason Keeley, of Pantheon Press and Imagination Sweatshop fame, was chatting with me about splitting up the party . . . in time. Time & Temp has mechanisms for dealing with situations when the temps want to remember to go back in time and give themselves a hand, but what about when the party is already split between decades? How can handle a situation when half the temps, working with a young Thomas Jefferson, wants to help out the rest of the temps who happen to be trying to save Abraham Lincoln from an antebellum assassination attempt?

Read More

Alternate Commutes

The commute in Time & Temp is rather deliberately designed. Large enough to seat several temps comfortably for the ride, but not so comfortable that they’ll spend all their time in the Domed Room and not working. The door is inconspicuous enough to hide if one is clever, but not so inconspicuous that it can’t be found again. It can be a base of operations, if needed, but it’s pretty much a single purpose tool unless the temps take the initiative to trip it out–in which case most anything is possible.

But we’re not stuck with this commute. R & D at BCE, Inc., has access to technology spanning far and wide across the arc of history. The Domed Room is but one of many options available to the temps. That is, if upper management approves the new equipment acquisition.

The TARDIS model.
One of the most easily recognizable commutes, the TARDIS model has a lot of offer. Tremendously spacious, nigh impervious to attack, comes stock with a wide array of useful tools and technology, and if fully operating, you can disguise it as just about anything. Temps will no doubt enjoy this ride, but there are some pretty significant drawbacks. This is a very temperamental machine. Operating it almost always requires major effort and to operate it with any sort of accuracy, and even with 400 years of experience, can even be extensive effort. If your chameleon circuit isn’t working, the TARDIS will be locked onto a particular shape, increasing the odds of you conspicuously popping into a time or place that shape shouldn’t exist in. Perhaps even causing an extensive effect on your insertion roll. And all that extra space means either more maintenance staff or, more likely, the temps will have to spend a lot of their precious time just cleaning and sustaining a healthy work environment. Read More

The Matrix of the Future, Today!

And now a special treat with those of you who have access to one of those calculating engines that are all the rage these days: the Matrix, in digital form!

This Excel spreadsheet designed by my friend Miguel . . .

  • Prevents illegal placement of numbers in the Matrix;
  • Automatically checks off numbers in the Anachronometrics;
  • Highlights synchronic sets when you get them;
  • And records the number of synchronic tokens you’ve earned.

It’s pretty damn handy, especially for those of you who are trying to achieve a truly paperless office.

(When using the Temporal Villainy Index, GMs can check off the higher numbers in the Anachronometrics by recording those numbers in some lonely corner of the Matrix.)

Synchronic Matter and the Ansari Anachronometer

More leaked material from Browne Chronometric Engineering. This seems to be a training presentation of some sort. Sheds a little insight on the shifty principles behind how their “anachronometer” works.

Also available in a convenient PDF.

Leaked: Sensitive Browne Chronometric Engineering, Inc., Documents!

A rare glimpse into world of a temp has just fallen into my lap. The BCE’s Employee Handbook as been leaked by unknown sources. I’m posting it here under the assumption that if it ever got back to the company, they would have stopped me from posting it already.

BCE Employee Handbook [Book Fold Ready Version: BCE Employee Handbook BF]

Please exercise the utmost discretion when sharing this with others. The consequences of this falling into the wrong, or just careless, hands is almost unfathomable.

Along with this package, I’ve been given access to a number of more mundane BCE documents, such as their Incident and Progress Reports as well as something known as the Matrix which has some rather chilling implications.

The question you have to ask yourself is: Do we trust corporate America with this kind of power? Do we trust temp workers?