Borrowed Time

Borrowed Time is set in a world no different than our real world, on the surface. Behind the scenes different factions are fighting to control and protect time.





The True20 message boards has a thread dedicated to Borrowed Time where Bruce Baugh posted addition game resources.

Our chapter in the True20 book doesn't have a lot to say about big-scale fixes to the borrowed-time problem, but that is coming - at first we weren't sure folks would want that, as a possible distraction from rough and ready-right-now action, but early feedback made it clear some do. So we'll gt you covered.


Combat Mastery (Martial)

Prerequisites: Combat Calm, Improved Combat Calm
You add your warrior levels to Concentration checks in combat and action situations. Combatants with this feat have been known to actively seek out fights and adrenaline rushes, saying that they think better in the midst of the action.

Soul on Fire (Temporal)

Prerequisite: GM approval
You can slip into the gaps between the ripples that make up time’s current and move around while the rest of the world is frozen to you. You can’t interact with the rest of the world: if a door is shut, you can’t open it, you can’t hear what anyone is saying (and trying to guess from the shape of their lips and mouth in a single instant is not a profitable use of your time), you can’t fire a gun, and so on. You can go where a trickle of water or gust of air might go, as long as there are openings big enough to accommodate your body, and you leave no marks as you pass.
The benefit to existing in this condition is, of course, what you can see and where you can go while no one can stop you. It allows you the chance get past guards, to see who’s in a meeting, and so on.
You must make a Concentration check of Difficulty 15. If it succeeds, you enter the no-time state for one turn; you may spend a point of Conviction to extend that to one turn per point of Wisdom.

Synchronization (Temporal)

Prerequisite: Between Moments
You and one or more allies can coordinate your action stacks. You pick your reference point from something in the environment: a song, the beat of a jack hammer, the pulse of traffic, anything that lets you all measure your time the same way. When you all know Synchronization, the length of your action stacks grows by half the character level of the lowest-level participant, rounded up.
The player of the character with the most difficult stack makes the check for success, and the outcome applies to all the characters using Synchronization that turn.
Example: John, Sheila, and Koshi prepare to sweep down on their enemies’ current headquarters. Koshi is the young one here, level 4 where John and Sheila are now level 7. They all know Synchronization, so their action stacks can each be (4/2) or 2 actions longer than usual. They take as their benchmark the sounds of a canal lock operating nearby, with a regular steady rhythm of pump, fill, door open, door close, drain, and so on, all echoing through this industrial district.
John has the most difficult stack, with a final Difficulty of 25, so he makes his check. His outcome is only 19. Koshi’s stack has a Difficulty of 17; he completes all of his actions just fine. Sheila’s stack has a Difficulty of 22. Some of her actions won’t go through, and she’ll suffer a -3 penalty to her initiative check next turn. John is the one who really suffers, with much of his stack not working out and a -6 penalty to initiative next turn.

Fans of Hudson Hawk, take note of that last one. Yes, it's deliberate.


The Herodian Brotherhood

Current Membership: 2,300
Headquarters: Monastery of St. Thomas, southern Lebanon
History: According to gnostic teachers of the first and second centuries AD, Jesus was a necessarily flawed incursion by God into the material world. God as pure spirit has no innate tie to Earth, which is the realm of the fallen powers of darkness and His effort to help mankind escape their clutches was doomed to end in the redeemer’s miserable death. At least Jesus managed to deliver some good teaching on his way to martyrdom. It wasn’t his fault, these sages said, it was simply the way things were. They determined that they would help God by forestalling any future incursion of the same sort. Ever since, they and their followers have wiped out bloodlines that seem to have messianic potential and killed individuals who display any of the signs of divine indwelling, so that the dark prince of this world can’t get at any more of God’s power.
Current Activities: The Brotherhood doesn’t believe there’s much truth to currently fashionable claims about families descended from Mary Magdalene’s marriage to Jesus, but its leaders also believe in not taking chances. They support a variety of terrorist organizations and their own in-house assassins to strike at alleged “Grail lineages”, and to corrupt potential messiahs with drugs and other vices that will lead to deaths that don’t look like assassinations. There’s an ongoing debate within the Brotherhood about whether civilization-ending plagues and the like would liberate trapped souls to return to God’s domain (which would be good) or give them into the care of the fallen powers (which wouldn’t). Both sides watch and sometimes contribute to natural and man-made disasters, to study the consequences in hopes of settling the argument.
As Allies: Not many groups of characters are likely to really embrace violent gnosticism as a creed for heroes, but then this is about imaginary worlds. A campaign with a heroic Brotherhood is likely one with a lot of magic and demonology flying around, so that there’s supernatural danger as a recurring challenge.

The Extra Inning

Current Membership: 80
Headquarters: The Extra Inning, Mississippi River, USA
History: After the American Revolution, many British loyalists lost everything in looting either sanctioned or supported by the revolutionary government. One such victim had several manuscripts in his library dealing with time borrowing, and one of the looters hung onto them, on a whim. Silas Whittier quickly learned the fundamentals of the art, and put it to use—not for power, which held no appeal for him, or for any grand ideology, but simply to get comfortably rich. He and a few trusted companions used their powers to manipulate races and sporting events, and the occasional market transactions. They passed the secret along, some to their children and some to younger associates who’d proven themselves the right sort.
Current Activities: Eight generations later, the group has no formal name or complicated structure. It’s just “we who know these secrets, thanks to Silas and those who’ve come after”. They do have a meeting place, a casino in a Mississippi riverboat, named the Extra Inning. It hosts face-to-face and Internet gambling of all kinds, bringing in money and crowds to cover the group’s paranormal activity. Those in the know refer to the boat as a convenient shorthand for all their people and work. As a matter of policy, none of them rise to the ranks of the Fortune 400, or anywhere close to it. They are multi-millionaires of a relatively ordinary sort, who can get what they want when they want it and so don’t need vast accumulations.
If there were no other time manipulators, the Extra Inning group wouldn’t matter to the course of world affairs at all. As it is, though, they pose an unintentional but significant threat. Their sporting tweaks create a steady flow of temporal “noise” that interferes with others’ work, leading to mysterious successes and failures that no other group currently understands well at all. The gamblers don’t suspect any of the great conspiracies. If they and the others learn of each other, there’s likely to be some very messy temporal battling.
As Allies: The Extra Inning group can be a great home for characters who just want to have a good time without worrying about global issues of morality and duty. It can also support brokers in information and other characters with more of a cyberpunk attitude of gliding through the world’s cracks and dealing between institutions for their own gain.

The Red Harvest

Current Membership: 100
Headquarters: caves in the Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky, USA
History: Late in the Cretaceous period, one of the small, obscure lineages of dinosaurs achieved self-awareness. They weren’t glamorous predators or even very interesting to look at: they remained almost entirely quadrupedal, relying on branched tails and psychic powers for what little manipulation of the environment they engaged in. They also developed an innate sense for time flow and the ability to manipulate it by force of will. When the cascading disasters came and destroyed all the dinosaurs, the Wise Ones (as they called themselves) hid themselves in pockets of borrowed time. They’ve glided through the millennia and epochs ever since, sometimes emerging in hopes of building a new home, sometimes just scavenging for what they need to continue life in their temporal dens. Humanity, the fourth intelligence race between then and now, has spurred them to new activity.
Current Activities: The Red Harvest is the Wise Ones’ name for their current goal. They want to warm the world, wipe out human civilization while retaining us as a race of savages and servants, and find some way of renewing all their time pockets and getting out of the solar system without the sort of mechanical technology we use. They don’t understand us very well, and their psychic links transmit emotions and images much more clearly than words or ideas. So their human-mingling scouts concentrate on stimulating states of mind they hope will be useful to the great plan, and on inducing particular conditions to study the results. Red Harvest teams are therefore surrounded by unstable people prone to violent rages, inexplicable depressions, unsettling nightmares, and the like. So far there’s no grander purpose to any of it, but the chaos makes everyone else’s plans that much harder to achieve.
As Allies: The Red Harvest would be difficult masters for anyone who find the prospect of dinosaur rule and human subjugation less than delightful. They really are the stuff of strange villains rather than allies or patrons.

Jonathan, "high-energy action flick" is indeed our default. It can be something else, like Twilight Zone morality tales with more kung fu, or stranger things, but our major goal was to advance the state of the art when it comes to readily accessible blowing up stuff.

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