Forgotten idea from my Google Wave: “Fragility”

Posted on March 20, 2012 by

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Google sent out an email this morning reminding folks that their Wave service was disappearing  at the end of April.  While I didn’t find much use for Wave, I did see its potential for being a neat way to brainstorm ideas with other people.  I logged on to my account for the first time since 2010, and I found something I had worked on back in June of that year, a campaign concept called Fragility, which I thought about one day for D&D 4e.

Fragility dealt with time travel and alternate worlds, and while I never followed up on it or gave it much thought, I still think the premise is pretty neat and I’m glad to have stumbled on it.  I’m going to publish it here because I think it’s pretty interesting, and may help spark someone’s imagination.  Keep in mind the nature of Wave when you read this, it is incomplete, and may be missing stuff.  I’m putting it here for fun…

Straight from a forgotten Google Wave, Fragility:

      Fragility
      What if you should never have been born?

The general idea behind a Fragility 4e campaign is the concept of realities, love and loss, and tragedy. It’s a campaign setting in which the PC’s ultimate goal is about protecting all that they know from being dispersed into nothingness, and the shocking and sad realization that comes with knowing that they probably should never have even existed to begin with.

With this knowledge, the PC’s are left to ponder questions about reality, life, the universe, their place in it, and who they are or could have been.

In this setting, rather than there being a happy ending with the PC’s eventually becoming epic heroes of the land, more than likely sacrifices and hardships will plague them on their journey as paragons.
The concept:

A Fragility campaign can take place on many of our Earths, with timelines shifting and diverging. There is an Earth Prime, holding it all together. This is the earth we would know in our future, the earth of the 22nd century. Time travel is an unfortunate reality. Discovered by accident, an attempt was made to contain it, but as with all great discoveries it was released to the wild. Governments scrambled to assess the situation and diffuse any potential abuses. The Temporal Integrity Agency was created by the United States, serving as a branch of Homeland Security, with their mission being to right the wrongs of time travel by all means necessary. They are tasked with maintaining the knowledge, and the trajectory, of the one true timeline.

With the help of the world’s top scientists, the government manipulated, advanced and reworked the technology. The TIA works on its own plane of temporal existence, watching the world’s temporal integrity and correcting the wrongs caused to history or to the future. Whether it’s the South winning the Civil War, or the current timeline splitting off into a different future, the TIA is there to correct the wrongs caused by time travel.
The PC’s role:

The PC’s are inadvertidly caught in a fight for survival. As members of the “wrong” timelines that are due to be corrected by the TIA, they should never have known that their fate was sealed, but somehow, much to the TIA’s chagrin, they do.

And they aren’t going down without a fight.
But this also begs the following question. For a party of different PC’s, from different realities who have all ended up together, what determines what reality to fix? Why work together when only one reality can exist at a time? Or can it? These are all assumptions and questions that the GM would have to take into account and flesh out for his game.
Fantasy Races in a Fragility campaign:

Standard fantasy races all have their place in a Fragility campaign. The assumption being that in the reality that they come from, they are the true “human”. So while in essence they are elves and dwarfs; in their world they are just what normal human beings look like. This could be due to genetic engeenering, the butterfly effect, random acts of mutation, the randomness of evolution, or any other sensible reason for their evolution into those races. It really doesn’t matter why, just that they are who they are and they don’t see themselves as “wrong humans”. To themselves, they are simply human beings.

It is worth noting that for example, an elf PC would not likely find many other elves as the adventures through the campaign trying to regain his or her timeline. That individual PC is the one that escaped the “fixing” of his reality, so more than likely he is the only one of his kind out in the stasis universe.