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treatise on time (RPG/fantasy)

This is how a lot of my ideas for background and setting material occur: spontaneously. I'll be doing something like making dinner, maybe idly fretting a bit about how I don't have enough time tonight to complete the work I still have to do, and suddenly I'm thinking:

You can't truly put an object (a being) into stasis, remove it from the flow of time, because if you did then you'd have no way to ever retrieve it—if you're inside time, you can't touch something outside it. You'd have to tether the object, maintain some connection to things in the normal flow of time. But it seems like that would be very draining if you tethered it to yourself. Rather, what you'd do is tether it to something like a stone, something that resists change and endures for a very long time. So even though the tethered object wouldn't be outside the flow of time, it would change at a greatly reduced rate, being largely unaffected by the normal passage of time. An ordinary stone would probably do, but a gold object or a valuable gem would probably be better only because those endure even longer; it may depend on how slowly you want the effective passage of time to be. 

I realized as I was writing that out that I'm essentially copying the idea from the fantasy novel Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist, although he doesn't use the idea of tethering the object being put in stasis to a durable object such as a stone; in his novel it's just a magic ritual (though it does use a physical wax seal as a sort of anchor). Also in Feist's setting, magic also allows travel forward and backward through time, but I'm thinking more along the lines of the Ars Magica RPG, in which it's a fact of the setting that magic—at least the Hermetic system of magic practiced by the characters—cannot affect time, cannot change the past and can only affect the future by changing things and events in the present. 

Another follow-up thought I had while writing that out is to wonder whether the reason some fantasy races are so long-lived is because their spirits are naturally tethered in some fashion to enduring things. Dwarves of course would be tethered to the stone of the mountains they live in, elves could be tethered to the trees, and so forth. Of course in most versions of standard D&D, while dwarves live a few hundred years, elves can live two or three times that, up to a thousand years or so; yes, trees can live for thousands of years, but one would still expect dwarves to outlive elves if they were tethered to rock rather than trees. In any case, this concept gives an added nuance to the behavior of dragons: they covet and hoard gold and gems because those perpetuate the dragon's life. Scattering the hoard would be very important to ensure that the dragon is truly slain.

This gives me some neat ideas; hopefully I'll get to work them into a game someday.


Comments

( 1 wrote — Write )
philaros
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
Ooh, one idea I just had and want to jot down before I forget: if living beings can be tethered to objects to slow the effects of the passage of time, then undead beings could also be tethered, making their destruction/banishment that much more difficult.
( 1 wrote — Write )

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