A rubbing leads back to the future
16 March 2016 & 30 March 2016

As the top psych agents introduce a 10 year old John Stoker to a world of little sense to the young boy, John presents the Time Corps with an item one of his gang lifted off the “blind old man”. It is a strange rubbing of some surface, but it appears to be just a part of whatever the original was. Half of a prominent star appears towards the supposed center, with strange symbols surrounding it, which includes images of a biped in a bulky, enclosed suit: spacesuit or hazmat potentially.

The psych guys pass it along to the Sun Tzu guys. An alarm is raised, as this appears to be a piece of an item poorly captured by image in a case file reported back to the Time Corp from 2157.

The case is a mass murder investigation on Venus within Diamond Head, a corporate city of Geo Excavation. Ten bodies, found arranged in a circle in a busy thoroughfare of Diamond Heads 3 days ago, showed signs of radiation burns from the inside out. Six separate deaths from the last 8 weeks had similar, yet less extensive causes of death. All the earlier corpses where found in the Hole, the deeper and partially abandon section of Diamond Head where many less-well-off and vagrants sustain a meager existence.

James Capstan, sent the initial report and is undercover as a Warden Agent. He followed up on the local police investigation, compiled information related to the deceased, and provided various still images that included the original rubbing of the partial provided by John.

The TimeOps team is selected to pursue this lead before attempting to identify the nuclear bomb source due to the peculiar coincidence.

After travelling to 2157 and boarding their newly allocated cruiser, [ship name], the team joins [dude they already met] and travel to Venus. They use the ship’s shuttle to travel down to the planet and meet up with Capstan. Capstan gives a rundown of the intel, and the team investigates the bazaar deaths and mentions that a significant political convention starts in a couple days.

Starting with the most recent deaths, [need team name] checks out the active crime scenes of three vacationing families and the various hotels they stayed at. With minimal evidence to work with, other than some secret code device without any code message to apply to, the team moves to the lower level sanitation personal that had the partial rubbing within his belongings.

At the corporate security’s holding locker and after discovering that nothing like the rubbing is part of the evidence, a shadow down the aisle is seen and bolts. Alex immediately gives chase and catches up with his robed quarry (that’s wrong, isn’t it?), but the strange and sickly looking fellow falls to ground and partially self-immolates.

Further investigation into earlier deaths result in a visit to a structural engineers office. Within the team finds a computer tampered with and several Diamond Head structural diagrams retrieved around the time of the engineers disappearance. A small, near-featureless box is also found. No mechanical means of opening the box can be determined, but electromagnetic analysis does indicate that an active power source within. Ox decides a little jolt could hamper what’s keeping the box shut and finds a half-eaten bag of almonds, a notebook with a stream of encoded numbers, and a business card for a mechanical repair shop down in the Hole.

With a potential treat to the entire Diamond Head facility and political and corporate official from throughout the system starting to arrive, the team and Capstan use the Warden swagger to pull in a team of the local security forces to deal with the cultist threat.

TimeOps log entry: Troubles for Presidia, Mars and something below

Sheriff Fielding from Presidia, Mars requests help from the Wardens. Presidia is a small, insular community of independent miners, their families, the maintenance teams of a nearby atmospheric processor, and the merchants supporting them. Presidia lays deep in the canyon of Coprates Chasma that runs over 900km across the Martian surface with near-sheer cliffs as high as 4 kilometers. It started as a corporate sponsored mining operation but was never profitable enough for the the coorps, and they pulled out within a decade. A small number of the more independent miners of the community stuck it out, along with a former hard-nosed cooperate security guard that soon becomes the local sheriff.

Fielding has been investigating a series of thefts and pet disappearances. Within the last couple months people started disappearing also. At first it might have been folks that could of just up and left, but there have been just too many, too close together.

The team, having recently returned from the Chiron operation, are called into the office of the local Mars Warden leadership. They are shown the video message from Sheriff Fielding. The team researches the community, preps their gear, and head down to the surface.

TimeOps log entry: The Problem of the Missing Hope

TimeGuard log entry by Jack Sparks

Dispatched to Earth, anno domini 2159
Cover Identity: Member of the Wardens, a law enforcement/troubleshooting group deployed to protect humanity from existential threats encountered as it expands into space. Brief training in a facility in the Himalayan Mountains before being sent to Warden Prime (an orbiting space station) to begin assignments.

Commanding officer: Cmdr Dearborn.

Freighter Pandora’s Hope has gone silent (17 days ago) before reaching its destination at 2060 Chiron mining colony. Colony has also gone silent. No communication in some time. Last port of call was Mars for supplies prior to the 88-day cruise to Chiron. Cargo was mining equipment, supplies for life support eqiupment, consumables. Captain: Lee Quartararo. First Officer: Carl Roslin. Chief Engineer: Nathan Adar. Approximately two dozen crew, total.

First stop: Mars. Met with a Dockmaster Higgins, retrieved manifest for Pandora’s Hope. Nothing out of the ordinary. Point of origin for food supplies is a corporation on Venus. Captain and Chief Engineer never left the ship — stayed focused on getting cargo transfer completed. First Officer and half the crew took shore leave to the Deimos Hotel. Medical staff took a trip out to a remote colony to provide basic medical services.

Roslin spent the bulk of his time at a club called the Cosmic Lounge (located on Rue d’Auseil). He held court there, dispensing pay to the rest of the shore leave crew and meeting with local businessmen…suspected shady dealings. Security video evidence of him leaving in the company of a “rat-faced” character. No additional information on the individual could be obtained.

Opted to move on with the investigation. Trip to Chiron will take more than 80 days, most of it will be spent in stasis. Warden Command advises that backup will be 32 days out in the event of serious trouble.

Awakened prematurely by ship alarm. Debris field on approach to Chiron. Pandora’s Hope docked at mining station, no energy readings from either. Freighter is heavily damaged, multiple hull breaches. Radiation leaking from ship. Colony is also damaged, hull breaches on the outer rings, no power to any sector.

Ship landed us at station. Limited atmosphere. No casualties or visible damage in receiving area. Once inside the station proper, mass casualties. Evidence of sudden decompression. Some died in midst of attempt to suit up. Others had slit throats and suit punctures — jagged cuts and tears indicate makeshift weaponry.

Aboard the ship, total catastrophe. Surviving crew kiling and eating each other. No “patient zero” obvious. Control panels on the bridge completely destroyed. Conduit ripped ree (possible source of improvised weaponry). We were ambushed by three crew with pipes and jagged bits of metal, but made quick work of them. After this attack, spider-like creatures came swarming at us…signs that they had been feeding on the ship’s structure itself. Fled the ship and left the “infected” crew to the spider things.

Located a small group of survivors holed up in a commissary. Hatched a plan to set the colony’s reactor to overload, destroying the infection and the spider things. Radioed the ship with the plan and worked out logistics to escort survivors out once the deed was done. More spiders had to be dealt with as we descended to the reactor.

Final analysis: Inconclusive. Crew behavior suggests some sort of pathological agent, but no obvious vector for its introduction to the crew. Possible lead with First Mate, who returned to the ship with “extra medicine” for the crew according to logs.

Setting Rules

Altered Edges

Improvisational Fighter
Requirements: Novice, Smarts d6
Operatives often have to fight with items not specifically designed for use as weapons: farming implements, torches, or whatever else is at hand. A character with this Edge has practiced using such improvised weapons and does not suffer the usual -1 attack penalty when wielding the. In addition, with a Notice roll, he automatically finds a Small improvised weapon (Str+d4) in the current location, a Medium one (Str+d6) if he scored a raise.

Requirements: Novice, Smarts d8
TimeGuard considers people with a knock for languages a great resource, both as trainers and as field agents. Given the special training TimeGuard linguists receive, they are far better than their standard counterparts. The Linguist knows an undefined number of tongues: in game terms, whenever she hears a language for the first time she is allowed a Smarts roll. With a success, she knows it because she has studied it or a similar tongue. In addition, when hearing a person speaking a language she knows, with a Smarts roll she can tell if he is a native or a foreigner. With a raise, she can also identify the speaker’s possible era or area of origin.

Martial Artist
Requirements: Novice, Fighting d6
Operatives are highly trained undercover agents, so many of them are taught techniques of unarmed personal defense. The reasons are many: martial arts are inconspicuous, son’t require any time-polluting gear and give an unarmed agent a better chance of survival.
TimeGuard’s martial arts are a very eclectic and pragmatic discipline containing moves from styles of many eras. This gives an additional advantage: when fighting bare-handed with another person using martial arts, the Operative is allowed a Common Knowledge roll, based on Fighting rather than Smarts. On a success he recognizes the style used by his opponent and the era where he learned it. Triad agents are known to employ martial arts too, using a cross-time style very similar to TimeGuard martial arts.

Mentalist (Wierd Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Intimidation d6, Smarts d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d10 Taunt d6
This Edge is totally different from the standard rules version. A Mentalist in TimeZero isn’t a psionic but simply a character with a great understanding of psychology and group dynamics. A Mentalist can convince you to act in certain ways, and if he is really good you believe you are acting in this way because it is your idea!
In game terms, every time the Mentalist is dealing with a person who can understand his words and the situation isn’t already in combat, he can spend a Benny to initiate a Social Conflict, pitting his Persuasion versus the opponent’s Smarts. The player must declare a single topic on which he wants to persuade his opponent (for example, convince him to put down a weapon or let him past a guard post) before rolling, and must decide a Time Interval (see below), representing the actual length of his attempt. The longer the Time Interval, the easier it is to convince the victim, but in certain cases the Mentalist must act quickly.
If the mentalist wins the Conflict with 1-4 successes, apply the normal Social Conflict results, if he wins with 5 or more, the victim is totally enthralled by the Mentalist, consider him under the effects of the puppet Power for a duration of time equal to five times the Tim Interval.
The Mentalist isn’t actually controlling the victim’s mind, he is only persuading or manipulating him, so the nature of his orders cannot be totally against the victim’s nature, and cannot be self-defeating.
The Mentalist can use this Edge against other player characters, but they have the chance to spend a Benny to negate the effects.
Having a Hypnoprobe (see Gear), is definitely a must for Mentalist, granting him a bonus of _2 on his Persuasion rolls.

  • Time Interval ______ Modifier
  • Less than one minute ______ -2
  • 1 minute ______ 4
  • 15 minutes ______ +1
  • 1 hour ______ +2
  • 1 day ______ +4

New Edges

Time Resilience
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d6
The Operative is quite impervious to the fatigue caused by Time Travel Sickness. He has a perfect biological clock or some other unknown characteristic. Whatever the reason, he adds +2 Vigor rolls against Time Travel Sickness.

Requirements: Novice, Smarts d6, must be Human
The Operative has lived in several eras and numerous cultures have permeated his way of life. This isn’t something that can be learned from books or through formal training; it is a gradual modification of tastes and perceptions that only humans can develop as they are immersed in a certain culture. That’s why this Edge is forbidden to Synths.
When the hero has this Edge, he chooses two other eras from the Origin table or from any extended list of available eras the GM has created. These are times and places where he lived for a long time, and they are considered additional eras of origin. A Cosmopolitan character has _1 to Charisma and Streetwise rolls in all his origin eras.
Cosmopolitan heroes know their chosen eras so well that they receive _2 to Notice rolls to spot anything out of the ordinary in that time (such as an undercover agent, an object not properly belonging to the current time, and so on.)

Field Technician
Requrements: Novice, Smarts d8, Repair d8
The Operative has spent some time in serious training with the latest devices from the Costume Warehouse. In addition he always reads the attached manuals carefully (usually agents junk it without even opening it). For this reason, any time he is using a special TimeGuard device mimicking a Savage Worlds Power he receives +2 to the arcane roll. He has the same Bonus if he must repair any TimeGuard device in the field.

Master of Disguise
Requirements: Novice, Notice d6, Smarts d6, Persuasion d6
“Life is a stage” is the motto of this Operative. A professional actor and impersonator, he learned his tricks pretending in his life before joining TimeGuard or from the trainers of TimeZero. Whenever the origin of his skills, even his mother cannot recognize him when he is properly disguised. He receives _2 to Smarts and Persuasion rolls in preparing and using a disguise and, given his experience, he can improvise a disguise using very basic tools and by altering his facial expressions. He can ignore the no equipment penalty while working on a disguiese, as long as he isn’t trying to imitate a specific individual.

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5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

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