Time Folder : Cypher

Published October 31, 2013 by

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Time folders can be extremely useful, but also very dangerous devices. When combined with other cyphers, if the user has to make a danger check, the time folder counts double for the penalty (+20 to the roll instead of the standard +10). Also, after using the folder, if the wielder still has more than two cyphers (three for nanos), they must immediately make an additional danger check even if they have already made one today, doubling the total penalty from extra cyphers (not counting the time folder itself in this case). Users of a time folder may also experience other unfortunate short-term side effects:

  1. Extreme sensation of heat
  2. Extreme sensation of cold
  3. Nausea and/or vomiting
  4. Disorientation
  5. Black outs
  6. Incoherent speech
  7. Seizures
  8. Fatigue
  9. Difficulty with muscle control
  10. Loss of or reduced eyesight
  11. Loss of or reduced smell
  12. Loss of or reduced touch
  13. Loss of or reduced hearing
  14. Other effects befitting a GM Intrusion

Example: Revis is a Jack who found a time folder in an ancient clockwork mechanism and now has five cyphers. The next morning, he rolls D100 for cypher danger. He rolls a 17, but is three over his limit. Normally, this would result in a 47, but because the time folder adds an extra 10, his result is 57 – still safe. Later in the day, he uses the folder to go back and stop a group member’s death. Upon arriving in the past, he still has four cyphers after using the time folder, and must immediately make a check. He rolls a 97, which would then normally be 117 with the 2-over penalty. But because the time dilator amplifies the interaction, the penalty doubles from 20 to 40 – 137. The results for Revis are… unfortunate.


A bracelet, a bracer
A small, handheld tablet, a box with dials and buttons

A time folder creates a field about six feet across that allows anyone within it to return to that spot in the past up to a number of minutes equal to the device’s level.

5 thoughts on “Time Folder

  1. Ryan Chaddock says:

    I like the premise of the device, though movies tell us time travel is a complicated topic. I like that the level can get pretty high, since I’d want it pretty difficult to activate.

    Hmm. I like to simplify my effect sentences as much as possible. “when used” is generally unnecessary. You could even just say “anyone within the field” instead of mentioning the user. You might wanna specify the time travel more specifically than just the word “point”. Also, having two variables for the device’s working dependent on the level sounds repetitive and doesn’t flow well in the writing. I’d do something like: “Effect: Anyone within six feet (2 meters) of the device is transported into the past a number of minutes equal to the item level.”

    1. Michael Fienen says:

      This is one of those tools I hope GMs use intrusions on. Like you say, time travel is complicated. Even a simple jump back could have crazy implications, and I think it only fair that the GM factors that in.

      I went ahead and cleaned up the effect line with some of your suggestions.

      1. Ryan Chaddock says:

        Ohhh yeah. Intrusions would be fun with that one. I’d almost require it.

        1. Michael Fienen says:

          Right. That’s also why there’s the extra stuff about cypher interactions too. Something like this needs some danger associated with it, even when its not being used.

  2. Greg Stockton says:

    Off the top of my head, there are about 7 kinds of time travel, depending on your source. As examples, each has a different outcome for the situation “you go back in time and shoot your father.”

    – You can’t, because he wasn’t shot in the past.

    – You can’t, because his life up to your birth is now fixed in place, because you are there.
    – Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey. (Cause/Effect are not directly connected.)
    – You shoot your father; when you return, you exist, but nobody knows who you are, because you were never born.
    – You shoot your father, and cease to exist.
    – You shoot your father, which causes billions of minor interactions to be lost…each one has a chance of “butterflying”
    – You shoot your father, which means you don’t exist, so can’t go back in time to shoot him, so you are born, which…boom.

    It’s a good idea to figure out which paradigm you want to use, before you put this item into your game.

    Also, paradox and butterfly lead to great interventions.

    Edit: 5 minutes after posting this, I saw that Nature magazine took a crack at it, as a full blown article:

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