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Currently working on a game that will most likely be free because it would have all kinds of rights issues so it’s a fan work. Based on a spinoff of Doctor Who which is darker in tone

It’s mostly Forged in the Dark, but it will be using the more traditional PbtA Moves rather than risk/quality assessments and dice pools for the progress of clocks. There’s various other mechanics from other PbtA games as well.

It does involve Time Travel

Faction Paradox game summary


Oh my, there’s a lot going on here!

I’m liking a lot of what I’m seeing here (although I’m entirely unfamiliar with these guys from Doctor Who , I don’t think I’ve seen/read any of the stuff they’re in).

I’m still rather unclear about what the PCs will … do?

I love the idea that your type of time travel is so important.

I like the (C°ntinuum-esque) possibility of implying that you will-have-been-going-to-have time-traveled to fix this problem, and that lingers over you until you go sort it out.
I have a suggestion about temporary Completion: instead of a separate box, you could use the Storyteller method of tracking Bashing and Lethal damage:
When you gain Completion, put an X in your track.
When you gain a temporary Completion, put a / in your track. If you gain another, add a \ to turn that box into an X.
Nice and simple, saves on space.

Malevolence reminds me a lot of Bad Stuff from the old Amber Diceless Roleplaying , but with no upside to taking it.

Is it intentional that martyrdom is the only method of retirement that doesn’t give a Story Point?

The “If you chose a Faction Machinations ending for your character then at some point in the future you may spend a Story Point to have that character turn up. They are controlled by the Grandfather however and my choose not to help.” sounds like a really bad deal for that Story Point.
Might be better to just make Faction Machinations NOT give you a Story Point, but guarantee that your old character WILL turn up again, for good or ill.

Are there playbooks, at present? I couldn’t find them.

The PCs in general will be given missions to do by their bosses. What those missions are depends on which Coterie Playbook they have. Much like ships in Impulse Drive and Scum&Villainy, the Coterie Playbooks have different flavours. Currently there’s 4 -

  1. Stolen Timeship (aka TARDIS) which will mostly be related to who they stole it from and the reasons why they did it
  2. Faction Shrine - the official most often used method of travel/base. It’s there for specific espionage missions
  3. Faction Embassy - unlike the first two this is stationary. This is for more diplomatic and clandestine missions with lower profiles
  4. A Minute in London - this is inside the main Faction base. Again stationary, but with a lot more access to resources - and the missions are more dangerous

Missions can range from “make sure person A is in this location at this time” up to “assassinate the agent of the Time Lords, track down all their devices and blow up their base” etc. Similar to most missions in Blades but with a scifi twist. It is less about acquiring wealth however, and more about data and significance - changing who invented something or where it was invented can be as important as changing the wording in a book. Certainly if that book is a sacred text, for example.

I think it’s a bit like any thriller where someone’s motivations objectively seem ineffable and you think it’s bad writing - but actually it’s effable because it’s the PCs who may eff it up.

On Completion and Untethered Flashbacks - I mostly have the one temporary box and it’s only used for this to stress the importance of tieing up loose ends (ie fix it before it happens again or your character will permanently be closer to retirement). Unsolved paradoxes are messy and often lead to the bad guys having methods to attack you and damage your cause. So it’s always best to fix those as soon as you can. Possibly rather than completion I could have some other sword of Damocles type foreshadowing of doom - fix this ASAP or there will be dire consequences.

Malevolence is basically Bad Stuff - but as Heat is used in Blades in the Dark. As I’m using Moves and Attributes to fuel clocks instead of position/effect and a dice pool - odds are in their favour to complete clocks. Therefore Malevolence will also be a minus to rolls in addition to Tier differences. The fluff of entropy and reasoning behind Malevolence is mostly to validate it effecting every roll.

Martyrdom doesn’t give you a Story Point because it’s basically giving the other players your Story Point to use immediately.

I like the idea of “will turn up” instead - plus it’s one of the nicer retirements.

The Citizen is the closest I have to a playbook so far, but only has its signature move which varies based on the background you choose.

Now that I think about it, Lag could work as a group Untethered Flashback buffer, so instead of you being able to each have just one, you could have a pool of “um, er, we’ll get back to that”-ness to go around, as a resource?
As it is, Lag seems too vague to do anything with.

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It could cause problems for the metatime in general and it would also give then incentives to work as a group…

I love group resources for that kind of thing.

Lag is plot important when you have two groups (or perhaps more) working on the same problem at different times. If the group in the past does something, you have to wait for it to have repurcussions in the future before you can act on it. My exemplum for this is the Split Infinitives story in The Legacy of Time - Where the 7th Doctor is in the 80s and Ace is in the 70s and they’re both going after a gang of alien criminals and working with the same members of UNIT/Counter Measures. The Doctor has to wait for the humans to remember what Ace wants him to know or what happened at the time period Ace is in.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same thing with a story like It by Stephen King. In this case there’s no unusual time travel - but the Lag is the adult character’s artificially repressed memories.

Also I’m going to use the Blades Against Darkness Gear rules becuase the main advantage of being a Faction Paradox member is often that they always have a readied weapon.

Just thinking of doing some HTML/CSS playbooks and probably going to full XML/XSLT just so it’s easy to make pretty sheets with just plain text. If someone’s done this before let me know - saves me fiddling with styles.


Cool idea. I’d love a Forged in the Dark game with time travelling and by the looks of it there’s going to be a lot of that in here. I’m just wondering: How are GMs and players going to keep track of the various timelines/ events that affect one another, without getting confused sooner or later? :slight_smile:

They don’t. It’s similar to how GMs in Blades don’t track every faction at all times. We only care about the PCs, the big picture looks after itself. They’re working on one event that will effect things for someone other than themselves (either another Faction Paradox group or more likely the greater powers)

In general missions that PCs are sent on are not linked, but with discreet goals. Much like how 99% of Doctor Who is not about time travel, it’s just a plot device to have a different location for the story they wish to tell. But then like giant robot anime - its not about the giant robots. Science fiction isn’t what the story is about, that’s just the stage.

So a few things to make it easier for the Grandfather (GM):

  • don’t have missions on the same planet, you don’t even have to have them in the same galaxy.
  • if you do, don’t have then on the same continent
  • have them occur generations apart
  • assume the larger powers fix otherwise unsolvable problems caused
  • alternate multiverses, dimensions and universes are a thing, as are alternate timelines and time loops. Time sometimes naturally fixes itself, sometimes artificially.
  • egregious paradox eats itself. Which is to say too many problems and the cause is removed. The completion mechanic and the group playbook paradox flag (usually caused by untethered flashbacks aka time travel) help with this.
  • all that being said, this is never our universe. We haven’t had dalek invasions or a UN sponsored anti-alien task force. Let them kill Hitler, then discuss what the new timeline is. Or just make it splinter off into an alternate timeline .