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We can't fail. Time is on our side.
Chronomancers are easy to recognise. If you see someone walking down the street without a care in the world, never varying their pace, not even wearing a wristwatch, then odds are they’re either a Chronomancer or trying to be one. If someone has a distaste for clocks or any measurement of time besides ‘in a little while’ or occasionally ‘around about midday-ish’, they’re probably a Chronomancer. The acid test, however, is this: someone who behaves like this and yet has never been late for anything and never will be either.
Chronomancers understand the true nature of Time, and can identify its’ two aspects: Domesticated Time (known as ‘Tame Time’ or TT to those in the know), which normal people use, and Real Time. Where Time impacts on the human realm human beings have managed to break it down and control it with chronometers and measurements of duration; the second, the minute, the day, the year, and so on and so forth. Tame Time is weak and feeble, and humans manipulate it constantly – Daylight Saving Time alters the nature of Tame Time twice every year with no effort on the part of most people other than changing their clocks. Chronomancers look down on Tame Time.
The real power of the Chronomancer is in the awareness of Real Time – that part of time which is outside of human control. Real Time defies physical laws and is in all places that exist, ever have existed or ever will exist. The most powerful Chronomancers can ignore Tame Time altogether, existing as one with Real Time. Such beings are effectively immortal, as for their physical bodies ‘Time’ no longer passes. However, with an awareness of Real Time comes a detachment from any sense of chronology. Such powerful Chronomancers live in a world where everything happens concurrently, where they experience everything they have done, are doing or will do simultaneously. They are Schrödinger’s Cat, alive and dead and everything in between, incapable and uninterested in distinguishing between the two states. A return to Tame Time under those circumstances would irreparably damage the sanity of the Chronomancer, obliterating their already somewhat detached mind.
Generate a Minor Charge: Successfully complete a Time-based task using no measurements of Time other than instinct. To put a cake in the oven without knowing or caring how long it needs to be in and to then remove it just as it is baked to perfection is an example of this sort of act. Note that even informal measurements of time (baking the cake for as long as it takes to listen to one programme on the radio, for example) will negate this effect. Other things, such as switching on the television exactly as the programme you want to watch begins, would count.
Generate a Significant Charge: Be absolutely on time for any formal, pre-planned event without using any measurements of time, whether formal or otherwise. Note that to be ‘on time’ the Chronomancer must arrive at their destination at the perfect time for them to do so; arriving at a museum in time for the doors to unlock and open directly in front of you the moment you get within stepping distance of them, allowing you to continue without breaking your stride, is an example of this.
Generate a Major Charge: Complete a single task of huge significance at the perfect time for it to happen. Disarm a Doomsday Weapon with only 1 second left on the clock, shoot down a would-be assassin of some important figure at the second they are about to squeeze the trigger, or foil an Evil Genius’ dastardly plot as he reaches the climax of his gloating speech.
Taboo: If a Chronomancer commits one of the following acts, they lose all charges they have accumulated to date: own a timepiece of any description (including a clock, wristwatch, calendar or diary); makes an arrangement for a future date using any precise measurement of time (if other PCs attempt to do this the standard Chronomancer’s line is “I’ll be there when I’m supposed to be.”); ask anybody the time or date.
Paradox: The innate problem Chronomancers face is that while they seek to deny and manipulate Tame Time, they can never quite get away from it. Their magic comes from denying the power Tame Time has over them, but if ever a Chronomancer ascends to Real Time they lose the focus necessary to even understand what Tame Time really is.
Random Magic: Chronomancers mess with the flow of Tame Time. They recognise that it is mutable and controlled by perception, and exploit concepts like ‘making time’ or ‘wasting time’ with impunity.
Blast: The Chronomatic Blast severs what little connection the victim has to Real Time for a short while. For 24 hours, the victim’s personal Time is skewed to be either fast or slow, relative to the power of the Blast. The Chronomancer may make the victim perceive and experience events one minute either before or after they happen per minor charge expended. If the victim is damaged, they take the damage only when they perceive the damage – that is, before or after, depending on if their Time is fast or slow.
Starting Charges: Chronomancers start with 5 Minor Charges
Chronomancy Minor Spells:
Procrastinate – Now!: For one hour, the target of this spell loses all awareness of Time. They are rendered mentally incapable of reading clocks or of discerning any indication that Time is passing. As well as this, they completely forget anything urgent that they are supposed to be doing unless presented with a concrete reminder that they are supposed to be doing it.
Costs 1 Minor Charge.
What’s The Time Eccles?: Upon casting this spell the caster immediately knows exactly what the Time is. The knowledge is not expressed purely in Tame Time vocabulary (so the caster would not know that it was 11:41am, for example) but is expressed in terms of one specific event, specified by the caster. So for example, the caster might know that it will be three minutes before the bomb goes off, or three days before the Apocalyptic ritual starts, or three months before the plumber starts doing any real work on his kitchen.
Costs 1 Minor Charge.
No Time To Sleep: The caster of this spell frees their body from the effects of both physical and mental fatigue for 24 hours, plus an extra 24 hours per Minor Charge spent. When the duration of the spell expires, the caster crashes and suffers the effects of all the fatigue they would have incurred normally all at once. If this spell has been continued for several days at a time, this can be rather unpleasant.
Costs 2 Minor Charges, plus 1 Minor Charge per 24 hour extension.
Clock Watcher: If the target of this spell is engaged in a task they find deeply, deeply boring, time seems to slow down to half its’ usual speed for them. While in reality the task takes only the prescribed length of time, the person engaged in the task gains benefits as if they were doing it for twice as long.
Costs 2 Minor Charges.
Chronomancy Significant Spells:
We Have All The Time In The World: The Chronomancer may cast this spell against any target who is engaged in an activity they particularly enjoy. The target instantly stops caring about anything else in the entire world, other than the immediate pleasurable activity in which they are engaged. They will continue with this activity without pause for the duration of 24 hours, only taking breaks if they are physically compelled to or if the nature of the task demands it. If the task by definition cannot be carried on all day, the target will constantly attempt to do so until the spell wears off.
Costs 1 Significant Charge.
I Don’t Have Time To Bleed!: This spell may be cast instantly whenever the Chronomancer is injured. They take the hit and are wounded as possible, but suffer no ill-effects. The effects of the wound may be delayed for no more than 12 hours, but may be suffered voluntarily before then. No more than one wound may be delayed at a time. This spell is particularly useful if the Chronomancer is far away from medical help, as they can simply delay the wound’s effects until they stagger into a hospital a few hours later and collapse on the floor.
Costs 2 Significant Charges.
The Final Countdown: Time is bound to space, space is bound to reality, and reality is bound to drama. Whenever something truly significant is happening, the Chronomancer can invoke the laws of Dramatic Time to grant themselves and their allies more time to act. Traditionally this spell cannot be invoked until the climax of an adventure, so the GM may veto its’ casting at their own discretion. For the duration of the climax, the Chronomancer’s party moves at double speed to the rest of the world. Any enemies who attempt to stop them doing something are also sucked into Dramatic Time. In a combat situation, work out the fight round by round as normal, but anyone or anything not involved counts as moving at half speed. Chanting cultists mouth their incantation at half-speed, the timer on the bomb ticks down with agonising slowness, and even that meteorite heading for the planet’s surface pauses somewhat in its’ descent.
Costs 3 Significant Charges
The Hour Draws Near: It doesn’t pay to upset a Chronomancer. Those with the mastery of time understand that deadlines really do creep up on you before you’re ready – and not always for mundane reasons either. When cast, this spell immediately reveals any one important action the target must undertake within a set timeline. The time which the target has to achieve this is instantly halved; reality warps and shifts itself to accommodate this change. The only thing which does not change is the target’s perception of how long they have to complete their task. The target may, of course, find out that they have less time than they thought at any point. Usually at the last minute.
Costs 1 Significant Charge
A Face That Would Stop A Clock: Tame Time is a weak, sickly thing, powerful in its’ own way but open to manipulation by those suitably skilled. Chronomancers have even discovered the trick of exorcising it from certain things and places, ridding it of its’ dominance over physical reality. When cast, this spell completely halts one physical effect which is caused by the passing of time. This spell is extremely dangerous – if used to halt the aging process for example, all the target’s biological functions would immediately pause, and never start again. The target would never die, but would never be alive. Otherwise it could be used for anything, including stopping food from growing mouldy, stopping a body or part thereof from decaying, stopping a piece of metal from rusting etc. Note that if the target is ever subjected to a physical force which would directly break the spell’s effects, subject to the GM’s discretion, will cancel the spell’s effect. It is powerful, but fragile. The Chronomancer may also revoke the spell’s effects at any time by expending a Minor Charge.
Costs 4 Significant Charges.
Chronomancy Major Spells:
While theoretically a Chronomancer could do practically anything time-related with a Major Charge, the only thing a true Clocker would ever do with one is Ascend – completely break free of the confines of Domesticated Time and shift into its’ Real equivalent. What happens when they do this? Nobody knows
Regis2001 | profile | Oct 29, 04 | 10:16 am
This is definitely an interesting school. I love the idea of Tame Time vs. Real Time.
Yes, it occurs to me now that this could be a problem. However, I think practicality must rule. In the case of players trying to mess about as you suggest above, I would advise asking them to remove all clocks, watches, calendars and timepieces from their house and still make it to all their appointments on-time.
Regis2001 | profile | Nov 02, 04 | 5:12 am
I've been using this school with an opposite mechanic behind it as a recurring NPC. The paradox of human temporality is our imposition of artificial divisions onto a fluid continium in order to shout out our self importance. A day is not naturally marked by twenty four divisions, it is marked by the rising and setting of the sun. The power of a chronomancer is the friction generated between natural time and our imposing time (you call it tame time) ground out of human obedience to the artificial divisions of temporality. A watch does not measure time, it captures time and makes it scream out in meaning of appointment and deadline.
Halitheres | profile | Nov 03, 04 | 4:13 pm
I would think that the "tick-tock" chronomancers you describe would get more potent charges not from counting on historically significant timepieces, but by counting in preference to experiencing personally or historically significant events. This seems to fit better with the tension you describe. It would look something more like:
Ben-San Arizona | profile | Nov 08, 04 | 12:44 am
Crap. And here I was, preparing to create a Chronomancy school where the adept charges by sacrificing (deliberately not attending) appointments and important events in his life. And then I find this. Beat me to the punch, Regis and Ben-San.