First "Time Lapse" Game



Just wrapped up session 1 of my time travel game I’m currently calling Time Lapse.

Had 3 players, all brand new to tabletop RPGs, and it was a lot of fun. They picked up on the ICRPG mechanics quickly, and I’m so thankful for a system that’s easy to explain and run and doesn’t get bogged down by a bunch of edge cases and minutiae.

I added a custom “paradox die” to the mix to spice up the storytelling. Players roll it whenever they roll a d20. After watching Hank’s video on narrative dice, it gave me some ideas that eventually became this:

3 sides are blank. 1 side gives a benefit. 1 side gives a detriment. 1 side adds a paradox token. (The icons are inspired by T.I.M.E. Stories.)

It was a lot of fun coming up with “and also” moments when the benefits/detriments were rolled. The wolf bites your leg and also pulls you off your horse. You hit the outlaw and also the bullet goes through and hits the guy behind him.

For the paradoxes, when 13 paradox tokens have been triggered, a rift opens up, and something weird happens. Sometimes I go off the cuff, and sometimes I roll on a paradox table. It’s how a velociraptor shows up in the wild west or a '57 Cadillac rolls up in samurai Japan. It can lead to some fun moments and interesting choices for the players as they now have a new thing to use or interact with (or run from, haha).

We’ll hopefully be able to play weekly, and I’m excited to jump to various time periods as the story unfolds.


sounds like a setting that could be a blast. Whats the mission for your players? The story/goal of the game?


Basically, they’re time agents who get sent to different time periods to fix/prevent things. It’s Quantum Leap style, so their consciousness inhabits the body of someone in that time.

Right now, they’re in the wild west investigating strange occurrences that have been shifting the timeline. I’m dropping clues that there’s a werewolf involved, but it’s really going to be a bad guy from the future who’s searching for a crystal in the gold mines. The werewolf will really just be a steroid-ed up wolf the bad guy is using for protection.

The plan right now is for the players to have to figure out what’s going on and then chase the guy through time. The age of sail will come next.

I’d like to do one-shot style sessions where the players get called in to do side quest type missions in different time periods, and then do sessions that advance the plot of uncovering the evil organization trying to take over time and space.


Where’d you get the custom dice?

I also was inspired by Hank’s video on narrative dice, and have been using Sharpie on blank dice… It functions just fine, but looks terrible as Sharpie smears and fades over time.


I use the Game Crafter for all my custom component needs.

Here’s a link to the dice page:

They also do wooden dice. And even full color etched dice for a higher price.

I highly recommend all their products, and I’ve used their dice a lot without any issue of the images wearing off. They will eventually, but I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

And if you want to go with a cheaper option, they have indented dice with printed stickers. I’ve used this option for several prototypes.


WOW! That’s really affordable! Thanks for sharing!


Indeed. And I think, if you order 6 dice, the price goes down.

Glad to help!


cool Idea and a lot of Ways to evolve during the Campaign!
Love it


Yeah, and I’m excited that I can do lots of one-shot style sessions alongside sessions that move the main story along.


Is there a Timer set on the time travel/Quantum Leap aspect?

GM: “There’s trouble in the Wild West, possibly involving a werewolf. I’m opening the Time Portal now but it will only stay open for 3 days.”

The Players go investigate, do their thing, but get delayed and when 3 days are over they haven’t quite tracked down the big bad, but did manage to foil some of his plans.

GM: “The Time Portal closes and sucks you all back to the present time. The steroid-wolf was defeated and the timeline stabilized. Unfortunately, big bad got away and is now wrecking havoc in the age of sails…”


Nice idea to keep things moving fast forward


Ooh, I like this idea a lot. There could be some bureaucratic reason like budget concerns that limit the amount of time a traveler can be in the past. “This technology is expensive!”

And it would push the players to find answers now and not get bogged down with random side quests and wandering.


Wow. Huge fan of your board game design website/podcast and congrats on your successful kickstarter! So cool seeing you’re into ICRPG aswell.


Awesome. I’m glad you’re enjoying the show. Thanks for listening!

Yeah, I’m a huge fan of ICRPG. It got me back into RPGs and got my wheels turning on the design side of things as well.


I LOVE this idea of the riftopening up and crazy things happening…I’m starting a new leg of my campaign where the players discover the Wizard Lock and are pulled through it. They are thrown into different worlds and places and have adventures there that ultimately stabilize the worlds of the multiverse.

I plan to randomly pull from the giant bag of Story Cubes I have and use the image to inspire the weird result of the paradox. And I really like the paradox counter. I’m going to use that idea! Thank you!


Yeah, it’s great because it opens up so many possibilities. But I really like your story cube idea because it gives structure to things and finite options. Very cool.


I was about to run a game with that very premise but I ran into trouble with WHY I was doing it. Like, what’s the difference between running Ghost Mountain and running Ghost Mountain BUT you’re secretly from the future? Also, carrying characters over into different bodies had hanguos for me. What goes with? What can’t transfer?


In the game I’m running, the players are time agents sent to various time periods to fix things that people from an unknown crime syndicate are changing.

The player sheets are basically in 2 halves. The top half has all the mental traits and abilities–the consciousness of the time agent that will bounce from time to time. (Fight, Intelligence, Charisma)

And the bottom half has all the physical traits and abilities–the body in which the time agent is inhabiting. (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution)

There’s no magic in my game (only awesome technology from time to time), so I ditched wisdom in favor of “fight” which affects combat rolls.