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 Post subject: Unlearn what you have learned
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:50 am 
Master of the Order
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I'm tinkering with a scenario that allows my players to ignore the established time-line however they want. What do you think of the idea?

The PCs aboard their ship receive a distress call and decide to answer it. It's coming from a planet in a remote sector of space. When they arrive in the sector, their ship is pulled by a tractor beam toward a nearby planet. It sets down on a landing platform. Unable to take off again, the PCs must leave the ship. The atmosphere is breathable, and they can see a jungle forest all around them. Directly outside is a long ramp leading to what looks like some sort of science facility.

A protocol droid - a very old one - greets them as they step off the ship, and introduces herself as "Tessa." She offers to lead them inside and show them around. (Jedi in the group sense no immediate danger if they check.)

Once inside the facility, Tessa leads them to an turboshaft, which descends for several minutes at a fairly high rate of speed. On the way down, she tells them she is taking them to meet the hosts, who are "too busy" to come to the surface. The work they are doing is very important. Their laboratory is close to the planet's core, the source of their experiments.

When the doors open, they discover the place is buzzing with Droids. Dressed like scientists, the machines are scurrying about and chatting in an unknown language. Tessa leads them down the hallway and up a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs, there is another hallway which leads to a set of offices. Most of the doors are closed. There is a scent of must and decay on the room, very weak, but noticeable. At the end of the hall, Tessa opens a door and calls to the person inside.

"Dr. Antilles, we have guests."

Sitting in the chair is a skeleton of a man in a supervisor's coat. The skeleton has decayed, and it's obvious it is at least a hundred years old. The Droid doesn't seem to understand that the person is dead, and when confronted about it, shuts itself down. If the PCs investigate the other offices, they discover more decayed skeletons.

From there, they begin to investigate the computer systems. All of the Droids ignore them as long as they don't attack them, and in their research they discover what the people who came here were trying to do. The unique properties of this planet's core make it possible to create temporal distortions that would allow living tissue to copy itself into other moments of time. The theories were very complex, and from the data in the system, it appeared as though the scientists were on the verge of a significant breakthrough. However, roughly two weeks before everyone died, one of the experiments caused some sort of feedback in the circuits of the test device, and it altered the properties of the core. The new properties made the planet's gravity denser, and no one was able to leave the planet. They abandoned their research in favor of finding a way to build a stronger engine capable of breaking free of the planet's grasp, but a virus that someone brought to the planet just two weeks before the accident killed everyone on the station. A distress signal was sent out by the Droids as part of their automated programming, and they continued to do the work they had been assigned to do. However, with no living beings studying the Droids experiments, the research had progressed no further. As soon as one of the players with the relevant skill or background looks at it, it is apparent that the Droids solved the equation based on the planet's new properties.

Tessa reactivates within a day and answers questions of the PCs. A secondary program has booted, and a recording plays from Dr. Antilles. He says that if someone is seeing this recording its because people have come to the planet. There is no escape on a ship. He regrets that they are trapped there.

The PCs should quickly realize the way off is to use the time travel device. They can go anywhere, to any point in time. The sky is the limit, so to speak. Of course, they can never return to the planet.

Where the adventure goes from there is up to them, and to the GM. Whether history is changed by their actions, or whether they choose to go to the future, or whether they choose to just go back and stop themselves from landing on the planet, it's all up to them.

Thanks for reading. Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Unlearn what you have learned
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:03 pm 
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Very cool idea, Dennis. Would work for just about any sort of Sci-Fi setting, not just Star Wars related. Should work nicely to have the PCs not realize that there's a time-travel element until well into the scenario for the evening. Definitely seems like a good way to start a campaign, but possibly also a good way to give the GM a headache, depending on what era the PCs choose, lol. Especially if you have to start coming up with stuff on the fly.

Might also have to find some way to discourage players from just going back in time 2-3 days and stopping themselves from landing on the planet. That would end your campaign real quick. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Unlearn what you have learned
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:24 pm 
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Well it also makes for a good middle-campaign session. Then a player could choose to go back a day or two to prevent themselves from landing on the planet.. or they can hop to a totally different era, and the campaign continues on a new track (this would of course force the session to end as soon as they have jumped unless you're an epic GM with scenarios already prepared for every possible era :) )

What happens if you have a group with no trained knowledge skills? Or if the players go nuts and kill every droid in there? Though that's only what I would expect to happen on a Wednesday night! :)

I really like it, great leap off point for anything. Would be especially good if your campaign has come to a sudden halt (players out of control, killed main enemy, etc)

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