Saturday, January 29, 2022

Timewatch in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge

On day 29 of the #CharactrerCreationChallenge I get all Jack Hawksmoor... IN SPAAAAAACE! and time.

This is likely the most recent game on my list for 2022, and it's one I just got for Christmas. And it's awesome. Timewatch is a game for running time travel in the sort of wild and wooly way that you see time travel in movies, and it makes use of strongly defined effects rather than causes for making the world work. In other words, your Unobtrusiveness and Burglary skills might be because you're a master thief from the streets of 500 AD Constantinople or because you're a hyper evolved brain in a jar from 3300 AD clouding men's minds, or because you're a liquid metal robot from the 22nd century. The cause doesn't matter, just the effect, and hence Timewatch sidesteps any need for complicated rules governing all this stuff. You can be anyone from anywhere, but the abilities on the sheet are the abilities on the sheet, they all play the same. 

This did present me a lot of paradox of choice because when you can have any origin you want (spoiler: you all end up as Timewatch agents, so that part's settled) it can be hard to come up with something. I knew I wanted to play with some form of Psionics and went through several ideas before realizing that back on day 8 of the challenge I had been a little bummed I'd missed the cutoff for having my Psi-World character have had space skills. If I wanted to play a Psionic PC, lets run with that. 

For some reason I decided the PC was going to be French Canadian in origin (M. Martin Rochard, last name taken from Cary Grant's character in I was a Male War Bride) but had ended up working as the police detective of an orbital habitat. His Psionic abilities are Psychometry and limited Precognition. That let me fill in most of his abilities: boost his Health and Chronal Stability to the recommended 8 minimum, give him 8 Athletics because he is in very good shape, and then 8 Preparedness and Shooting that are a combination of experience and limited precognition. His higher-than-normal Unobtrusiveness comes from a detective's skill of fading into the background, while his Vehicles comes from experience with jetpacks, space suits, shuttles, mini-rovers and so on. For everything else he has 2 points, so he's got a better than normal but not automatic chance of coming through in a clutch situation. 

This set gives him three Boosters – his Hit Threshold goes up to 4, he gets Double-tap from knowing where targets will be, and he can do a flashback scene that is based on his precognitive visions. One of the team members from the 20th century has nicknamed him "Fiver", which he doesn't understand but accepts with good grace. 

For his Investigative Abilities I pictured my game group and knew he'd be part of a group of 4, so 18 build points. My idea for his Psychometry is that it works best big to small. He can touch a street and get a feel for the whole city (Streetwise), or touch a building and know everything about it (Architecture), so 2 points in each of those, plus his other detective skills can be chromed that way on a case by case basis. He's from the late 21st century so History (Future) and Science! seemed to fit but the latter can be dropped if someone else is leaning into that niche. Everything else is in service of his detective work, including NOT having High Society so he can be a fish out of water with his former employers. It was reading the description of Forgery that clicked the last part of the PC into place – that it can be used to forge crime scenes. 

Martin Rochard was the official detective of Orléans Station, employed nomically by the station administration to help dispense justice, but more accurately but the oligarchs to do that… but also make sure their own crimes were covered up. The Gagné patriarch knew of Martin's psionic powers, knew the threat they meant to Martin's life if they were revealed on the conservative station, and used that to keep hold of him. Martin's ability to feel the whole of the station made it easy to find crime scenes, locate hot spots and ferret out conspiracies. His expertise being primary in terms of detective work his ability to forge crime scenes made cover ups simple. 

Martin hated it, but every day he saw that his breaking ranks would lead to his death. And he knew the rest of the police structure was as compromised as he was. 

Then one day he just didn't care. 

Publicly revealing a final crime of the Gagné failson led to a rebellion against the administration, but Martin never learned how it ended: he was too busy running from Gagné goons on the habitat outskirts. He turned a corner, got a moment's breathing room, and was met by a Timewatch agent who gave him an offer it would be stupid to refuse. Apparently, she had already arranged for a fake pod launch to cover his disappearance and they were gone to the Citadel. Perhaps hunted. Perhaps presumed dead. He hasn't been on the job long enough to go back and find out. 

Martin 's drive is to start cleaning up his clean ups: to stop other people from disrupting the lives of others, from getting away with crimes. Yes, he's still sometimes called on to make it look like he'd never been there, but he's not covering up someone's depravities any longer. He just as a lot of cleaning up to do. 

Damn. Now I want to play Timewatch. 

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