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%%[[caption-width:200:Cover of ''Further Information'']]

Hello. [[SpySpeak What time is it?]]

Ah, so you want me to describe Continuum here. You've picked the right [[FutureSlang chrony to frune with]], then. I'll tell you what's what.

Cºntinuum is a TimeTravel TabletopRPG by the folks at [[http://www.aetherco.com/continuum/ AetherCo]]. It starts with the question, "If you could learn to span time at will, what sort of civilization would you be entering?" It moves on from there, and the results are [[ViewersAreGeniuses very well thought out]] -- but since it requires four-dimensional thinking, it can really [[MindScrew mess with your head]]. This has led to some calling it "The best time-travel game you'll ever read, but never actually play."

Basically, all of human history leads up to us inventing time travel; this includes all of the time traveling going on before that, making sure history turns out right. That's the job of the Continuum: to keep history working smoothly.

If you'd like to join up, always remember to follow the Five Maxims. In particular, information is all; knowing too little or too much of your Yet (your subjective future) can bite you. When meeting yourself, always respect your Elders. [[TheMasquerade Never let the levellers know what's going on]]. And never, ''never'' try to [[YouCantFightFate change the known]]. That's what the Narcissists do, and you ''don't'' want the [[TimePolice Foxhorns]] after you.

Past that and the list of tropes below, well, [[ArcWords further information is not available here]].

[-''Has nothing to do with ''Film/StargateContinuum'' besides also being based on time travel. Not to be confused with the [[{{Webcomic/Continuum}} webcomic]] or the [[Series/{{Continuum}} TV series]] of the same name.''-]

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!![[TimeTravel Time Travel Tropes]]:
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Joan of Arc is a spanner; you might even get to meet her a good ways from her historical era. Other historical figures might be spanners, or be ''replaced'' by spanners if the need arises -- the Thespians specialize in this.
* CantTakeAnythingWithYou: 'Darter' Narcissists use old or crippled tech and therefore cannot take anything with them while traveling time. Not even MagicPants. In the less naked version of the trope, carrying technology Down from its original time zone is frowned upon. Trying to bring powerful nanotech Down before its invention tends to result in a visit by the Engineers or Inheritors before you leave.
* ClockRoaches: The Inheritors can act like this sometimes. They look a lot like TheGreys and they tend to show up exactly where and when things get really messy.
* ContemporaryCaveman: Rare, due to population pressures, but not unknown. Most tend to learn English further Down.
* DelayedRippleEffect: A Narc can frag you and your favorite book to oblivion years Down from your birthdate, but neither will feel the frag [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot until it's time to deal with the Frag and the Narcissist]].
* FashionsNeverChange: Averted. Ones and Twos can only travel a year and a decade at once, respectively, but most clothing will ''still'' attract attention. Threes and higher usually end up running from an angry mob if they aren't careful about keeping with the times.
* FishOutOfTemporalWater: Unprepared visits to unfamiliar levels are not recommended.
* ForWantOfANail: Since more overt actions like killing an opponent's grandfather in Time Combat tend to frag hundreds if not thousands of spanners, most Time Combat mechanics focus on smaller stuff. Stealing an opponent's newspaper three days Down is a surprisingly effective way to frag them into non-sentience, with ''really'' ugly long-term effects for every other spanner the now-fragged target had in the Yet.
* TheFuture: Up to AD 2221 is fair game, albeit a little heavy on the nanotech and implied CrystalSpiresAndTogas. Going past AD 2222 is not advised, and all eras beyond AD 2400 are the realm of the Inheritors and the Exalted. Further information is not available here.
* FutureBadass: The advantages Favored Exalted, All Too Easy, and Death At Span Four all can be earned by Span Threes and mean a known Gemini with a future and extremely powerful version of themselves. To a lesser extent, [=GMs=] may elect for a Gemini to come with a higher Span version of the character, but this is rarely done.
* FutureMeScaresMe: Most Threes and all Fours or Exalted are ''not'' friendly things to encounter as a One's Gemini. At best, they've experienced decades or centuries of the spanning life and count as human only by the loosest definition. And that's ignoring the possibility a future Narcissist self or of seeing your own demise...
* HaveWeMetYet: While spanners normally ask for the time before talking to even familiar spanners, encounters can sometimes be muddled enough for this to occur.
* HelpYourselfInTheFuture: The goal of pretty much any planned Continuum Gemini incident. Remember to respect your Elders.
* HistoricalInJoke: Strongly encouraged. See Ki-Kung-Shi's airplane, Joan of Arc, the Count Saint-Germain, most Persons of Note from the fraternities.
* HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct: Better known as the Maxims and enforced by entire teams of the ''protagonists'' of the Continuum. When killing Hitler risks the vigintillions[[labelnote:*]]10^63s[[/labelnote]] of lives of the Inheritors, the decision of the Atlantean Council seems a lot more relevant.
** Lampshaded in the rules book: the description of the Thespian fraternity says something like "Please don't ask us how many times we've had to impersonate Hitler." [[spoiler:Further information is not available here.]]
* ImMrFuturePopCultureReference: Narcissists and Thespians ''love'' this.
* InSpiteOfANail: Not all fragging actions are successful; span Down a few years and take a book from the library first, and it might not stick if the variation is trivial or if the targeted spanner replaces it. [[spoiler:The Narcissists can and do make small changes to their Yet, since the Inheritors only change back rather than change and don't put much emphasis on nonhuman things.]]
* MeanwhileInTheFuture: Doesn't apply for levellers or physical combat, but Time Combat sweeps can quite easily involve six spanners in a half-dozen different levels.
* MultipleChoicePast: The Scorpiod Kings do this intentionally to protect Antedesertium from the Continuum (as well as for ideological reasons). They know that to spanners, information is all, so they ensure that spanners have access to a lot of possible histories and no way to verify any of them, making spanners prone to fragging themselves when they try to attack.
* NeverTheSelvesShallMeet: Averted to hell and back. Meeting yourself is called a Gemini incident, and they're ''expected'' of spanners. Quite often, actually. Joan of Arc makes up 98% of the police force of Atlantis.
* OntologicalInertia: Not actually a physical attribute of the universe, but when the entire future from AD 2400 onward and every habitable planet in the universe wants history to stay the same, it ''will'' stay the same.
* OutOfTimeOutOfMind: Averted. An Exalted-Span One Gemini incident might have the two looking near identical, but the Exalted's centuries of experience ''will'' show up, even if the telekinesis doesn't.
* RetroactivePreparation: The game calls it "slipshanking," and while it is useful, your [=DM=] will insist your Elder self actually set up the preparation if he doesn't just deal you a Frag penalty.
* ScrewDestiny: Worse than blasphemy, this is a Narcissist's attitude, going against reality itself. [[spoiler:According to the physical laws the Inheritors created, at least. According to the Narcissist previews, {{Alternate Universe}}s are a bit more lenient.]]
* StableTimeLoop: Setting these up and fulfilling them makes up almost all of the action in the game.
* TemporalParadox:
** "Frag," the results of trying to change the known, or of someone changing your known Age or Yet. It starts with your memories getting mixed, then you start to fade out and the Quicker have to clean up after you.
** The Grandfather Paradox is specifically mentioned in one table. Short form: yes, you can kill your own grandfather. It'll ''immediately'' frag you to the same extent as nuking a city out of turn. Not a good idea.
** A specific situation occurs when an individual is fragged and a second individual then makes them late for the fragging event. The first individual takes both frags (the original As/As Not, and the As/As Not relating to whether or not they make it to the first frag), but the second individual may also fix a point of their own frag by doing so, so long as the point of frag was picked up in the current Time Combat. This is either called "the Statue of Liberty" or "the Fix," depending on which side you're on; for Continuum spanners, it's considered a trick play, but for Narcissists, it's a staple of their arsenal.
* TimeCrash: If you die twice (barring [[FakingTheDead cheats]] or odd circumstances), you immediately frag out and cause a point of nearly-unfixable Frag for anyone who witnesses both deaths.
* TimeDissonance: Exalted tend to start thinking of a century of Age as a few birthdays ago. Late Aquarians and Inheritors don't even think of time linearly in the first place.
* TimelineAlteringMacGuffin: A wide variety of possibilities. Oddly, some things that seem to be Almanacs are actually predestined. [[spoiler:No one cares about Ki-Kung-Shi getting a working airplane. Just don't let a Narcissist bring more than a quarter tank of gasoline back.]] Just don't lose your span book.
* TimeMaster: Spanners are these, especially at higher span levels.
* TimePolice: The Foxhorns specialize in taking down Narcissists, while it's the Quicker's job to clean up hopeless Frag-ups. However, the idea of a monolithic TimePolice is averted; it's everyone's job to fix Frag where they can find it.
* TheTimeTravellersDilemma: The reason the Inheritors won't let anyone change the future.
* TimeTravelTenseTrouble: Averted. The past and future only count from your own perspective, so if you've done something or will do it, you say that. For everyone else, you use the present tense, regardless of "when" it's happening. Since, in a second, that could be ''your'' "now" too, this makes sense.
* TimeyWimeyBall: Averted. The rules of time travel are fairly straightforward and don't deviate. [[spoiler:However, the rules for Narcissists are slightly different than the rules for Continuum spanners.]]
* TrickedOutTime: The only reliable way to cure frag. Simply preventing the fragging event itself generates ''more'' frag instead, since the character knows that the fragging event was in their Age or Yet.
* TrustPassword: Narcissists try this, although most don't respect their Elders even if they ''are'' in the Narc's Yet. Continuum spanners have their versions, as well.
* UnstuckInTime: Possible, but not the worst thing Frag can do.
* WaybackTrip: Essentially the goal of the Continuum.
* WriteBackToTheFuture: This is a common solution to being "stuck" in the past while your Span recovers; the Scribes specialize in this. Also, taken to extremes, a way of "instant messaging" with fellow spanners. [[http://web.archive.org/web/20060317064001/http://www.yamara.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=85#85 Example]].
* YouCantFightFate: Your job is to make sure reality runs smoothly. If something tries to change the known, you have to step in. If you screw up, things only get worse; then the [[TheGreys Inheritors]] show up. [[spoiler:Except when they don't. Multiple timelines can be a ''bitch''.]]

!!Other Tropes:
* AGodAmI: [[spoiler: The Scorpiod Kings of Antedesertium indeed call themselves gods, and they have the mastery of time and space to back it up.]]
* AndManGrewProud: Antedesertium is an entire time span of thousands of years where [[spoiler:Africa is ruled by Narcissist kings of time and space, granting SchizoTech to the population, and [[MadScientist performing experiments on causality itself]]. Eventually, they come to look nothing like humans, and then their whole civilization collapses at Interregnum, a massive TemporalParadox-laden no man's land, where time travelers instantly Frag out if they try to span. Interregnum caused a massive axial shift that left the Sahara a desert.]]
* {{Atlantis}}: This is a Continuum city and, though chronologically close, is not part of Antedesertium. It's a meeting place where the council decides on all the rules and guidelines of time travel. Strangely enough, after obeying these rules for most of their lives, the player characters might sit on this council and [[StableTimeLoop decide on those very same rules]].
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Neither the Continuum nor the Narcissist views of morality have much to do with leveller morals. The Continuum exists to preserve the sanctity of the timeline, but its behavioral rules only apply to spanners, sadism in hunting Narcissists is lauded, and levellers have no rights that a spanner is bound to respect. Crashers, meanwhile, have no overriding morality at all, only their own goals and a loose ideology of crashing free and trying to find Yrne, and not only levellers but ''other crashers'' may be used freely as tools towards that end.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The distinction between in- and out-of-character is completely smashed in the rules for advancing between Spans, since one of the requirements for advancing (which the GM is specifically instructed to not waive) is a certain amount of real-world time on the player's part playing ''Continuum'', including requirements for game session length. ''Not'' necessarily with any one character.
* CurbStompBattle: If Continuum spanners decide that a Narcissist has to be dealt with, that Narcissist will be fragged into non-sentience before he even knows he's under attack, and that's if he's ''lucky''.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: The Isolate stratagem, better known to Narcissists as "the Swarm": a ''carefully'' coordinated attack to frag someone multiple times in a short timespan.
* DeusExMachina: The Inheritors serve this purpose but really only come out to work when things get really, ''really'' bad. Since their mere existence back in our time could screw things up, they never ''want'' to get involved, ensuring DeusExitMachina.
* EasilyForgiven: If a Narcissist who was originally a Continuum spanner isn't killed or fragged out and they're willing to be rehabilitated, they'll usually be freely brought back into the Continuum after some correctional therapy. Incidentally, this does ''not'' apply to anyone who ''didn't'' start with the Continuum. Those are handed to the Foxhorns for disposal.
* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler:Most of the Scorpiod Kings of Antedesertium look like this. One looks like a tear in reality; another looks like a massive dome several kilometers wide. The scary part? All of them started out as ''human Narcissists.'']] The Inheritors are "good", but match up to the trope as sheer alien, unstoppable, and incomprehensibly more powerful beings.
* FakeMemories: A possible result of telepathy or hypnosis, which can be useful to fix Frag if what people remember and what actually happens don't quite match.
* FakingTheDead: Possible. [[spoiler: Using it to [[TrickedOutTime Trick Out Time]] and cheat your own death is illegal, not because it will frag anyone, but because if everyone did it, nobody would die.]]
* FutureSlang: Technically "spanner slang," since past and future are all the same to them...
** Time travelers are called "spanners," and yes, they ''know'' that means "ditz" in British slang. Down from the Industrial Revolution, they call themselves "spinners."
** Your fellow spanners are your chronies. Spanners that try to change history are Narcissists, since they don't think for anyone beyond themselves (and maybe close friends), relatively speaking.
** Your Age is your subjective past, and your Yet's what you haven't done yet.
** Meeting yourself is called a Gemini; your Elder is the one who's gone through this before, and your Junior is you the first time around (if we're talking just two of you).
** Up is further into the external future and Down is further into the external past.
** Levellers are non-time travelers, since they exist on the same "level" of time.
** Wherever you call home (in whatever part of time you frequent most) is your corner.
* TheGreys: The Inheritors, [[spoiler:who are actually post-[[TheSingularity Singularity]] ''humans''.]]
* HandWave: Hypnosis gets used a ''lot'' when people screw up. Also, the explanation for time travel feels a lot like one of these, due to the bizarre physics. Of course, it could also just be [[UnreliableNarrator false information]], since [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis the book is supposedly meant to help ease levellers into accepting time travel]].
* HopelessWar: From the crasher perspective, the war against the Swarm is this; even the Kings and Gods cannot defeat the Singularity. A crasher's objective is not to win but to escape.
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: Foxhorns are essentially a hunting club, not a police force; the stereotypical Foxhorn is [[PsychoForHire a sadist who happens to be on the Continuum's payroll]], and many of them take trophies from their kills.
* HyperspaceArsenal - Spanners can pull a Bill and Ted (in game terms, "Slipshank") and have their future self leave an item just where they need it.
* InstantExpert: Not exactly, since you have to study for it, but the rules for it are there. To your chronies it just looks like you vanished and came back a second later, and with a few more months of Age and experience.
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: The Fifth Maxim states "Never Fight For A Lost Cause." If someone is fragged too badly, step back and let the Quicker handle it.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: One of the powers of telepathy (and for some reason, hypnosis). A tool used to protect reality and the Continuum. Also, all player characters start with amnesia, since they don't remember what happened during the months of training they had learning to span.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The Continuum RPG was, in-universe, released in 1998 by order of the Atlantean Councils to assist humanity in acclimating to the time-travelling civilization that they'll enter 224 years later.
* ManaMeter: Your Span denotes how far you can travel through time before you need to sleep. It costs the same to travel Down as to travel Up.
* {{Masquerade}}: The whole point of the Fourth Maxim: don't let the levellers know if it's not time yet. Obviously, things happen, and you have to make an Invitation to Dance; this is how new spanners enter the fold.
* MeaningfulName: Due to all of the spanner activity in the Geminid Era, there are a ''lot'' of Gemini incidents that occur there.
* MindScrew: The whole game, some would say; there's plenty of examples here. Thinking in four dimensions can cause massive headaches.
* {{Muggles}}: Call them levellers.
* {{Nanomachines}}: Used extensively near TheSingularity, which may or may not have something to do with time travel. Further information is not available here.
* NotAfraidToDie: It's expected that a Continuum spanner will accept his fated death with good grace if the information has been revealed to him.
* OffTheRails: One of the creators of Continuum related this story about an early beta Narcissist session: His character had successfully [[spoiler:crashed out of the main Universe]] and was trying to evade Quicker by going further out, but got captured. His crib-mates came to rescue him but found a junior version of him pre-capture near [[spoiler:the first crash gate]] and spirited him to safety. This effectively split one character into two: the one who got captured and the one who was rescued from something ''that hadn't happened to him yet.'' It was at that point the group realized there was nothing in the rules preventing this. Take that, causality!
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: The Exalted and Inheritors are not bound by the Five Maxims and can [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do whatever they need to do]] to protect the timestream. [[spoiler:To look at it another way, they have a different understanding of the Five Maxims. They can be trusted with perfect information of the future because they won't act improperly with it, they don't have to keep a span book because they all have perfect memory, they have full discretion when dealing with {{Masquerade}} breaches, and they're allowed to rehabilitate or execute Lost Causes without breaking the Fifth Maxim.]]
* PaintingTheMedium: So much. One of the more subtle cases: several footnotes on the Inheritors advise the reader to look for further information on page 210. That's the end of the [=GM=] section, but it's also labeled "Time Travel in the Real World." Use of "further information is not available here" and the warnings about crasher propaganda throughout the rest of the book are less subtle but still very effective.
** ''Further Information'' is also the name of the game's sole supplement.
* PerspectiveFlip: Narcissist: Crash Free. Don't buy into the propaganda of the Swarm! This Universe may be lost to a joyless, devouring inhuman horde, but it is still possible to make a Gate and crash out of here! Yrne awaits those with the courage to seek it...
* PhysicalGod: Even the weakest of the Exalted can travel 10,000 years in an instant, is [[TheAgeless immortal unless killed]], and has enough mental powers and Aquarian supertechnology to kill someone or erase their mind with a thought. An individual Inheritor is, at a minimum, orders of magnitude more powerful than that. The same goes for [[spoiler:the masters of Antedesertium.]]
* PowerLevels:
** For Continuum spanners, Span serves as both power level and rank in the hierarchy, and the two are interrelated; spanners with higher Span can not only span farther and carry more than those with lower Span without having to rest, but they also receive access to better tech, longer lives, the potential for higher attributes, and (most importantly) access to [[ArcWords further information.]]
** Narcissist averts this; a crasher with low Span can easily have more and better toys and powers than one who's spent all his favors and crash points on better Span (though he should beware PhlebotinumBreakdown if his spanning tech is too crude).
* PsychicPowers: Telepathy, telekinesis, and a few others are available to those with the right tutors.
* {{Railroading}}: This game has to examine it thoroughly, both from an in-character and out-of-character standpoint. Because YouCantFightFate, polite spanners avoid giving away too much about someone else's future (the number one reason to say "further information is not available here"). The GM, meanwhile, is advised to go out of his way to avoid filling spanners' Yets. The one ''big'' exception, however, is with [[spoiler:the Yet of the In-Between, where you can be destined to die, betray the Continuum, or become an Exalted because of what you learned while you were first learning to span, which is hypnotically kept from you until you need to know.]]
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveSupernaturalPowers:
** It's mentioned that, since leveller authorities have no hope of constraining a spanner, some spanners decide to abuse them freely, including theft, rape and murder. The Continuum is more or less okay with this, so long as you don't break ''their'' laws (which govern social behavior [[WhatMeasureIsANonSuper within spanner civilization]], not between spanners and levellers or crashers). ''However'', the book also mentions that there's a [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope short step]] between abandoning social taboos and abandoning the Maxims.
** The Inheritors operate on BlueAndOrangeMorality and couldn't care less about something so minor as committing a felony if it's necessary for the timestream. They're usually not actively malevolent towards anyone but Narcissists and Lost Causes, however.
* ShapedLikeItself: The following paragraphs appear in an example of Time Combat:
-->[Alice] looks at Gary [the GM]. "Here's a question. We're allies at a Rendezvous. Can I let Ben Oracle first, then use that information to Go Down and target the guy?"
-->Gary looks over the rules. "Well, it's not spelled out, but that question does show up in the example of Time Combat."
-->"And?" Alice asks hopefully.
-->"The GM in the example points out that Oracle has a minimum duration of 7 days. If you were to wait for Ben's Oracle, Amber would have to Stay Level this Sweep, too."
* TheSingularity: Time travel itself is the end product of one of these, taking place some time in the early Aquarian period -- sorry, around AD 2222.
* SpySpeak: "What time is it?" and other variations are a callsign; other spanners know what you're supposed to respond with. Levellers will just answer how you'd expect.
** The phrase "Further information is not availiable here" could count, too; you're not supposed to ask any further questions if someone gives you that line, whether they should know or not. It's for your own good, we swear.
* {{Splat}}: The Fraternities, which all specialize in something specific.
** The Antiquarians specialize in historical objects,
** the Engineers in technology,
** the Midwives in who's born when,
** the Moneychangers in currency (and making sure all spanners start out rich),
** the Physicians in medicine,
** the Scribes in storing knowledge and communication,
** the Dreamers in communicating through dreams across eras,
** the Foxhorns in [[TimePolice Time Policing]] and taking down Narcissists,
** the Quicker in looking into hauntings and strange phenomena and cleaning up after hopeless cases of [[TemporalParadox Frag]],
** and the Thespians in disguise and the replacement of levellers or other time travelers.
* TeleportersAndTransporters: Every spanner can teleport some distance in space, whether or not they travel through time. This is treated as time travel with a length of 0, so it's "free" as far as their Span is concerned.
* UnreliableNarrator: Taken together, the Continuum and Narcissist books present the same world with somewhat different time travel rules. Each side has theories and explanations for the other side's time travel rules, but ultimately one side is telling the truth and the other isn't.
* ViewersAreGeniuses - Running/playing a game that requires 4-dimensional thinking is ''very hard''. And then there's Narcissist...
* WhatMeasureIsANonSuper: Levellers have no rights that the Continuum respects and are often reduced to pawns in spanner games. Those who find out about the Masquerade get LaserGuidedAmnesia. By the way, humans who were taught to span without Continuum approval, [[IJustWantToBeNormal even if they had no choice in the matter]], are KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade. (They're never Invited to Dance because the risk that their masters may have planted time bombs in their heads is just too great.)
* YouWillBeBeethoven - This is par for the course for the Thespians.
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