In accordance with the post-a-day challenge by SunderedWorldDM, whose dreams bore the Orbseeker and whose deeds send the world shuddering.
So your players have gotten their characters thrown through a time portal. Or they’ve lost control of a temporal artifact. Or they’ve spent far too long in Fairyland, returning after years of time has passed in the outside world.
So something crazy has happened, and you didn’t actually plan for it. What now?
Avert! is a procedure for creating a “bad future”, one in the near future where some terrible person or group destroyed or oppressed the entire setting. It allows you to use all of your existing setting notes, just tweaked a little bit. Since this is a time-travel plot with, at most, only one round trip, it avoids most time travel complications. The whole point is to avert the horrible future you depict, so continuity is likewise no concern.
First, decide who took over the world because there was no PC to stop them. If there is no one suitable or you wish to give them an intermediary antagonist, roll on the table below.
d6 Temporal Masters (names subject to change)
- The vampire lord Strahd, freed from his imprisonment in dreams
- The returned serpent king Sszamava, resurrected from history
- The demon prince Nazvagor the Conflagrator, summoned by his cult
- Morgan Le Fey, seizing on a nation’s weakness
- The party’s closest friends and greatest force for good
- The party’s most minor foe, taking advantage of time travel magics.
For each location or encounter, simply spin things to highlight the influence of these temporal masters. If Strahd is in charge, perhaps the 2d4 bandits you encounter are bite-marked and fearful. If it’s Morgan Le Fey, their leader wields a magic wand gifted from his captain, the Green Knight.
Feel free to use this digression to foreshadow and hint at things the party has not yet learned. Secret rooms have since been busted open. Spies have since been revealed and rewarded.
If any PCs were left in the past, reintroduce them with a tweak from the following table. Do the same thing if the party meets any allies to see how they’ve fared.
d6 Unkind Years
- Lost a hand and/or eye, as well as any love in their heart. Resent whichever PCs were lost to time until now.
- Now a cyborg or half-golem, containing technology that just might save the resistance.
- Secretly a lackey of the regime.
- Raging against the new world like a feral animal, uncaring of how many innocents they hurt.
- Ostracized loser that need a pep talk before they’re ready to help anyone.
- They’re dead, murdered for speaking out against the regime. However, they’ve been replaced by someone of identical stats, ready to carry on their legacy.
Finally, introduce intel on a method to return to the past and set right what once went wrong.
d4 Last Hopes
- The same item or phenomenon that sent the PCs to the future in the first place still exists, deep in the temporal lord’s fortress.
- A temporal portal is said to exist at the bottom of a dungeon that the regime is currently raiding.
- There is a limited period during which the temporal journey can be reversed. The party must find the substance or item that will break down the phantasm of the future.
- A timejammer must be constructed by the resistance before it can be finally put down.
- Gargoyles- “Future Tense”
- Teen Titans- “How Long is Forever”
- Animorphs- “The Stranger”
- Animorphs- “The Familiar”
- Samurai Jack
- Codename: Kids Next Door- Operation FUTURE
- Our Friend Martin
- A Christmas Carol
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer- “The Wish”
- Doctor Who- “Turn Left”
- Justice League- “The Savage Time, pt. 1”
- Justice League- “Hereafter”