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Tabletop Game / Timemaster

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Timemaster (sometimes written Time Master) is a time travel tabletop RPG originally published by Pacesetter Games in 1984. Goblinoid Games bought the rights to both the game and the rule system in 2011, and re-released the game in 2012.

The peace treaty that ended the Time War also formed the Time Corps, an organization devoted to repairing the damage to the timestream caused by that war. Unfortunately, a lot of the mercenaries who fought in the Time War didn't see any real reason to quit living off the past, and the war had also attracted attention from an alien race known as the Demoreans. The PCs are all members of the Time Corps, whose original charter has been amended to include defending history from Demorean and renegade actions.

The game uses a combination of percentile dice and a chart to determine the results of an action, on the same line as the old Marvel FASERIP system. The same basic system was also used in Pacesetter's Star Ace (space opera) and Chill (horror/monster hunting) games.

The Timetricks supplement expanded the base rules to allow more freeform timehopping.

This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • All Deaths Final: One of the game's Laws of Time Travel. However, it only applies to time travelers; you can keep a historical figure from getting offed at the wrong time, but can't undo your partner's death.
  • Alternate Universe: Each Parallel of the Continuum.
  • Capture and Replicate: Demoreans can do a short-term shapeshift without capturing their model first, but for a shift that's expected to last any length of time the model needs to be stuffed in a sleep pod.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: A Demorean's innate time travel ability moves the Demorean, period. They have to hire renegades to move any equipment they'll need.
  • Crossover: The game includes suggested rule tweaks so you can combine this game with Chill and/or Star Ace.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: Added to the game in the Timetricks book.
  • Direct Line to the Author: Several sections of the rulebook are written "by" high-ranking members of the Time Corps.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: One renegade plot against the Time Corps consisted of dumping Al Capone in ancient Rome, on the (correct) assumption that he'd do something to seriously screw up the timeline. When one of his gambling rackets started printing betting tickets with Arabic numerals, the Temporal Disaster Wave began.
  • Grandfather Paradox: A corollary to one of the setting's Laws of Time Travel states that it is impossible for a person to kill one of his ancestors. No matter what he tries, it won't work. (Your enemies, on the other hand, will have no problem getting rid of you by blowing away Grandpa. Time Corps agents are advised not to talk about their families.)
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The Corps' "chronoscooters" are referred to as time machines, but since they travel between Parallels as easily as they travel through time they're closer to this trope.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync: A chronoscooter's "vanish" mode sends the 'scooter backwards in time at the same rate as the current forward flow, effectively putting it on the edge of existence until it is recalled.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: The Demoreans.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Justified for the Demoreans — a failed plan is clearly imperfect, and shouldn't be repeated.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: Time Corps etiquette demands that if an agent dies during a mission, someone leave a message for earlier-him to let him know.
  • Only One Me Allowed Right Now: The Law of Identity (one of the Laws of Time Travel) states that you can't "overlap" your own presence. If you were on Earth during November 1963, any attempt to investigate the JFK assassination will "loop trap" you into your previous visit.
    • Though, Timetricks provided a gadget that would let you meet up with yourself — for a limited amount of time, and assuming it worked.
    • Never the Selves Shall Meet: The different Parallels give players and GMs an "out" for this Law. You can't go back to November 1963 in Parallel T-0, because you were already there, but you can visit November 1963 in the nearly-identical Parallel T-5.
  • Planet of Hats: The Demoreans are obsessed with "perfection". Their entire motive to conquer the Continuum is to make all the Parallels closer to their home Parallel, thus making them "more perfect".
  • Public Domain Character: The high-risk mission Timestorm has the players controlling extremely powerful characters based on legendary personalities, like Hercules, Merlin, Robin Hood, Cleopatra, Boudica, Miss Marple, etc.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Paranormal Memory lets a PC remember what happened before time was changed. It's the one ability all characters must have.
  • Rubber-Band History: Time travelers can change the timestream, but the greater the change the greater the resistance from the timestream to the change. Blow away some random medieval peasant, and history will instantly change. Blow away Hitler? The resulting Significance Wave will move comparatively slowly through the timeline, changing events as it moves, like a tidal wave of history.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: More like "set right what just got altered by the Demoreans or careless renegades".
  • Spotting the Thread: A common way to identify a shapechanged Demorean. While technically a "perfect" duplicate would have the same scars and/or missing bits as the original, they just couldn't make themselves duplicate those "imperfections".
  • Take Over The Continuum: The Demorean objective.
  • Time Loop Trap: Just called a "loop trap" in-game. Sometimes it happens accidentally (if a time traveler doesn't keep track of when they've been), sometimes deliberately. A common assignment in the Time Corps is to be voluntarily looped into an important event (say, Julius Caesar's assassination) to make sure someone's on hand if the Demoreans try to alter it.
  • Time Police: Your job.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The more free-form time traveling available in the Timetricks supplement means this needs to be addressed. The game picks "pastward" to refer to any time previous to the moment you happen to be occupying in the Parallel you're on, and "futureward" for any time subsequent to that moment.
  • Universal Driver's License: A time traveler from 1920's Chicago who learned to drive on a Model T Ford would use the same skill (unmodified) to drive any other road vehicle — late 20th century semi, 30th century hovercraft, 45th century mecha ....
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: All Demoreans have this ability.
  • War Gaming: For some reason, every Pacesetter-published adventure wrapped up with the players gaming out an important battle. If you bought the box set, it even came with a supply of generic cardboard counters for the Obligatory Battle Sequence.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside / Year Outside, Hour Inside: On some Parallels, time flows at a different rate than it does on T-0 (the "home Parallel" of the Time Corps).