Sunday, December 29, 2019

TIMESTORM (Part III) (spoilers)

Prior to the Battle of Antietam, Union forces obtained Confederate plans.  For purposes of Timestorm, this occurred because Union Private Leroy Elkins frightened a Confederate courier into dropping said plans.  Unfortunately for Time Corps continuity, the Time Storm has deposited Elkins into the cartoon world of Wabbit Wampage before he has a chance to make history.  (Elkins has a significance rating of 300; Robert E. Lee has a rating of only 250.)  The Player Characters are supposed to encounter Elkins after they bring back Thugs Bunny and kin from ancient Rome.  Of course, the next logical step is to return Elkins to where he belongs.  However, Demorean agents have infiltrated the Wabbit parallel.  Their purpose is to “have a source of indestructible warriors – which they could in turn unleash upon all freedom-loving creatures of the Continuum, especially Time Corps agents.”

When the Time Storm removed Elkins from Maryland on September 11, 1862, it deposited “a wizard named Thutamon and three of his warrior bodyguards.”  For reasons unexplained, Thutamon and company “began rampaging toward Washington D.C., destroying whatever they found in their path.”  One of their heinous acts was to murder an entire family in cold blood.  Union forces assume this is the work of Confederate raiders and, as a result, they prepare to retreat to the nation's capital.

Meanwhile, the player characters are suspected of being Confederate spies and are brought to a house serving as the headquarters for General McClellan.  This is where the adventure gets kind of weird.  An aspect of the Time Storm – in the form of a tornado – takes the house and everyone within it to Munchkin Land.  (Oz exists as Parallel M-491.)  The player characters arrive “just before Dorothy is due” and wind up killing the Wicked Witch of the East.  The Munchkins express their appreciation by attempting to enslave the player characters and force them to work in their “armament factories.”  You see, the vagaries of the Time Storm have caused the Munchkins to become Nazis.  Don't believe me?
The only way out of Oz is to use the witch's slippers.  Mark Acres adopts a convention of the cinematic Oz in that the slippers are ruby.  (In the book, the slippers are silver.)

Assuming the player characters manage to return to Maryland, they are obliged to stop Thutamon and his warriors and return them to their point of origin:  “Aug. 27, 10198 B.C. Earth, Parallel R-259.”  It is on this Parallel that the Demoreans initiated their master plan to create the Time Storm.  To wit, they caused Thutamon to create a dimensional hole.  Arriving on R-259, the player characters and the others find themselves in said dimensional hole and are subject to attacks by Demoreans.  One of the characters is transformed “into a man-sized toad.”  This fate cannot be avoided, it is part of the plot.  After two rounds, “The PCs find themselves falling toward a grassy plain.”  On this plain, the players encounter Merlin.  Astute readers will recall that Merlin is one of the pre-generated characters players are encouraged to play.  The pre-generated Merlin is from Parallel M-212, the non-player character Merlin is from Parallel T-1 and is referred to as Merlin T-1.  We learn, “In any critical situation, such as combat, Merlin T-1 does exactly what Merlin (the PC) does . . . [but] Merlin T-1 does these things a half second later.”  Wacky hijinx ensue.  We also learn that Merlin T-1 is part of the T-1 Time Corps and “he hopped ahead of the wave effects to 5000 A.D. and read a history book.”  As a result, he knows “that a well-organized rebellion should overthrow a wizard-king named Almarius this year.”  It turns out that Thutamon is the leader of this revolt, but the Time Storm induced amnesia in him and his bodyguards.

So, the player characters are required to assist Thutamon – a cold blooded murderer – with his rebellion.  The first step is to travel to the city of Kish where Duke Tremayne – an ally of Almarius – has imprisoned the King and his daughter.  Tremayne has jokingly stated that he “will yield control of Kish to the King [if] the King shoots an apple from his daughter's head.”  The adventure tells us, “The most likely course of action is to disguise one PC as the King and have him or her shoot the apple from the Princess' head.”  The adventure assumes the player characters accomplish this.  At this time, the Princess kisses the player character who was transformed into a toad, but to no avail.  The player characters should also be able to obtain Tremayne's flying lizards – called iglanos.
A typical iglano measures 20 feet in length, stands about 10 feet at the shoulder, and weighs about 2 tons.  The beasts are normally docile, although they are carnivorous and their bite can inflict a serious wound.  They are speedy, once airborne, able to fly and glide at up to 225 feet per round (30 miles per hour).
Using the iglanos, Thutamon and the player characters can travel to Thutamon's army, which is besieging Almarius' Desert Castle.  (This is where the dimensional hole is.)  Meanwhile, Thutamon regains his memory, I guess.  The conclusion of adventure indicates:
If Thutamon's army captures the Desert Castle, the PCs have restored history on this Parallel.  They may eliminate the fact that one of them was turned into a giant toad by using the anomaly field generator or looper to warn themselves not to hop to the dimensional hole.
As part of a back-up plan, the Demoreans have established another dimensional hole on a separate Parallel.  However, clues to the next adventure can found after the battle.

The Demoreans need xantium, “a rare mineral [that] powers the type of drive required to transport magical dimensional holes.”  They obtain their xantium from “the year 101 million B.C.” on Parallel R-555.  Here, the player characters can negotiate with cavemen and/or intelligent dinosaurs.  Upon capturing the Demorean facility, the PCs find out:
The xantium is being sent to the Cassandra II system on Parallel T-6 from June 2 through June 30, 3612 A.D. [sic]  A massive time travel drive is being constructed on a space station positioned outside the atmosphere of the planet Cassandra II.  The drive, which is augmented by a dimensional hole, will be powered by the energy released when Cassandra II's sun becomes a supernova on July 2, 3162 A.D. at 10 p.m.  Destroying the space station pastward of this moment will prevent the Time Storm from occurring.
I think 3162 is supposed to be the correct year.  Anyway, the final adventure consists of a single encounter; it takes up just over two pages of the book.  The player characters use their TCA-4A chronoscooters to attack the Demorean space station.  Since the Demoreans have “Advanced Space Age Fighters,” the adventure is essentially “a board-game style battle.”  The text helpfully informs us, “This combat is to the death.”  Interestingly, at the beginning of the encounter, each player rolls 3d10 to determine his or her chronoscooter's “time on target.”  Once a chronoscooter's “time on target” is exhausted, there is a ten percent chance per round that the vehicle will run out of fuel.  Fortunately, rules are provided for rescuing pilots.

I guess at some point, Merlin T-1 drops out of the picture.