Continuum is a science fiction roleplaying game that focuses on the societal nature of time travel, and is one that has several intrinsic differences from a lot of the other similar rpgs that are out there these days. It has some rather unique building blocks to it, but what is it really all about? Here is a basic overview of the Continuum roleplaying game, that may (or may not) provide you with a good idea of what this game is all about.
If you could learn to span time at will...
what form of civilization would you be entering?
Let's make history.
Unlike other time travel games (and fiction), which usually depict time travellers as either lone explorers or as an all-powerful "time police", Cºntinuum postulates the idea that time travelers or "Spanners" would eventually evolve their own society, complete with its own laws, rules, slang, groups, art movements, and the like. Time travel would colour such a civilization in the same way that any other major technology, such as television or the automobile, had changed the human race.
Cºntinuum thus begins by asking the question "If you could learn to span time at will...what form of civilization would you be entering?"
The Cºntinuum, the main spanner civilization, extends through the whole of human history (and beyond). A primary focus is to increase the knowledge and acceptance of the possibility of time travel by the human race so that at that point on the timeline when time travel is discovered, humans will be ready for it and the next step in their evolution. Another focus is the complete documentation of all of history.
Of course, there are those whose goals are not so noble, and so the Cºntinuum has members trained to "repair" the course of history. These time criminals are called "Narcissists", because they seek to remake history in their own image. Interestingly enough, a separate game that reprints the rules and all the background material from the Narcissist point of view is in the works.
Cºntinuum is famous for its interesting solution to almost every time travel paradox created to date: the concept of fragmentation (called "frag" in the game). Rather than tolerating paradox caused by time travellers interfering, or resorting to an infinite number of parallel worlds, the universe simply begins to erase offenders.
To use the famous example of the Grandfather paradox, a Narcissist decides to travel back in time and kill his grandfather. Though in his mind he has succeeded, he returns to find his grandfather very much alive and himself beginning to fade out of existence due to the conflict between his own perception and the actual passage of history (it appears to be based partly on the ideas in Alfred Bester's "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed"). Too much of trying to change history and one simply disappears. Frag can also be generated on purpose, a favourite tactic in time combat.
The game is also noted for its immersion techniques to bring players "into the game". Players, not their characters, are required to quote the Maxims of the Cºntinuum before advancing to the next level. Much of the artwork in the books is also credited to spanners and often depicts the particular aspects of spanner culture. Cºntinuum itself claims to be an artifact of spanner culture, increasing public awareness of time travel to further the Cºntinuum's ends.