Saturday, 1 October 2011

Time is what stops everything happening all at once.

A phrase not used this week, though if there were ever a week to use it... (Or at the end of the recent run of Primeval but that’s another matter.)

The Wedding Of River Song right away and fairly briefly gives us a look at a mad parallel world where the Flying Scotsman runs through the Gherkin and Pterodactyls are not to be fed (they’re vermin, after all) and Dickens is on the BBC couch talking about his new Christmas special - just a tad post-modern there.

With a time-travel game, slamming two times together is always an option and with recurring PCs an inevitability, but slamming every single time together could lead to whimsical charming oddness here, or horror with just a bit of comedic juxtaposition, or being eaten by dinosaurs, as in Primeval (which is what most things lead to in Primeval).

And oh, such paradoxes. This was a relatively simple version, where there was only one of everybody and they apparently had pasts even though it was always 5.02 p.m.

The Doctor Who Magazine comics series currently has human history collapsing too, with people of interest to the collapser being saved, so we’ve had Alan Turing (I got to him first!) and the Bronte sisters (with laser guns!) helping save the day.

Throwing in lots of famous celebrity historicals is perfectly reasonable. Winston Churchill being Holy Roman Emperor might be a stretch but him being in a position of power seems fair enough - I’d have loved to have seen his ‘cabinet’ with the likes of Boudicca and Francis Drake. And a ‘greatest hits’ approach to monsters too, which of course includes dinosaurs.

Comparative reading: Time Storm for the nearly defunct TimeMaster RPG, in which Robin Hood, Joan of Arc, Hercules and Sgt. Rock are among the nearly-real PCs sent in to stop time unravelling completely. It’s a chase across several realities (including one from a cartoon-style boardgame the original company also published...) and ends in a big fight of sorts. Designed as a one-off, and fairly railroady adventure writing. A more personal ending, like we just saw, would have to be more carefully crafted.

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