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Chronomancy & the Multiverse, version 1.1

by Roger E. Moore, with enormous assistance from Jim Butler, William Connors, Andria Hayday, Bruce Heard, Steve Miller, Jon Pickens, Bill Slavicsek, Skip Williams, and David Wise.
(C)1995 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(R) & (TM) indicate trademarks of TSR, Inc.

>Chronomancer< is a 96-page booklet for TSRs AD&D(R) game that presents, for the first time ever, a school of wizard's magic that allows player characters to travel through Time itself, in almost any campaign world.

This article is an updated and expanded excerpt from the >Chronomancer< accessory. It describes how these rules for time travel can be merged with any of the major official campaigns for the AD&D game. Many game designers, editors, and creative directors have added their comments to make this material more complete and interesting; to them I give my eternal thanks.

Time travel is known to a handful of wizards on a number of worlds, but chronomancers face restrictions in particular campaigns, especially when powerful deities and secret organisations devote themselves to preserving their worlds' histories. Deities also wish to preserve their worshipers, and those gods will fight any historical changes that would harm their faithful, who are a source of power for those gods. (Evil gods, of course, might wish to alter time and destroy their competitors.)

Particulars for using chronomancy in each of TSRs official AD&D campaign worlds follow. Dungeon Masters should very carefully examine their campaign timelines and historical notes, paying attention to possible discrepancies in dates and "blank spots" in recorded histories, if preparing a time-travel campaign therein. Considerable development of changing kingdoms and landscapes across time will be required, so DMs are advised to select a few important periods in their campaign timelines, develop those in detail, and encourage players to use those times in particular. DMs should also carefully check the limitations on how much time can typically be crossed using normal chronomancy spells; particularly remote times can be reached only with powerful magical items or by braving the dangers of multiple vortices in Temporal Prime.

((Historical Reference campaign)): The seven volumes in the HR series describe Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East of Earth across a variety of historical periods, from 2200 BC (HR6 >Age of Heroes<) to AD 1650 (HR4 >A Mighty Fortress<). Magic is assumed to be possible, though it is limited in nature and normal technological development occurs at the same time.

Certain historical figures of this "magic Earth" may have had limited knowledge of chronomancy, given their reputed predictive or magical abilities (eg., Nostradamus, Roger Bacon, Michael Scot, Dr. John Dee). Mythical figures with extraordinary magical powers might have time-travelling abilities, too (eg., Oracle at Delphi, Merlin, Morgan le Fay). Fabled Atlantis, said to have existed in the distant past, might be the home of a Guardians-like force of Temporal Champions. The legendary ogre-witch Baba Yaga has likely been time travelling as well as world-hopping (see DRAGON(R) issue #83, "The Dancing Hut," and the recent module >The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga<).

There is evidence that Heward and Murlynd (see GREYHAWK campaign) have been to this world, during this and other time periods. Elminster (see FORGOTTEN REALMS campaign) has gates in his "hideout" in Realmspace leading to various times and places in Earth history (see >Realmspace<, pages 51-52).

In the MYSTARA(R) adventure >Mark of Amber< (page 62), a wizardess from the fantastic French province of Averoigne is said to have invented >potions of time travel<, with which she explored Earth's history for her own amusement. She now lives in Glantri, maintaining her youth with other magical potions. Averoigne could be part of a magical Europe around AD 1600 in HR4 >A Mighty Fortress<, and this wizardess could be met at various times through Earth's history prior to her move to the world of Mystara.

The RAVENLOFT(R) campaign expansion, >Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales<, shows this same magical Earth in the late 19th century, though with a dark strain of horror. (The world is here nicknamed "Gothic Earth.") H G. Wells published >The Time Machine< in 1895; if this tale is assumed to be in part autobiographical, he would be the only known time traveller from this period, and his time machine would be equal to an artifact.

It is possible that a far-future group of technological time travellers will be created in an alternate future to patrol Earth's history as a sort of "time police." If encountered, these officers could be easily designed using materials from the GAMMA WORLD(R) game (eg., with grenades, powered armour, blasters, and vibroblades when travelling heavy). The GAMMA WORLD game itself could depict an alternate future of Earth; this system is largely compatible with the AD&D game. A few mutant humans or animals might have the Time Field Manipulation mutation and thus meet up with actual chronomancers (see the GAMMA WORLD 1st Edition game (1978), page 14).

Psionic time travellers with time-related psychoportive sciences and devotions are possible; these could hail from any period in human history, past or future. Non-human psionic or magical time travellers are also possible, but none are known.

((MYSTARA(R)/BLACKMOOR(R)/HOLLOW WORLD(R)/RED STEEL(R) campaign)): Chronomancy was known to the wizards of Alphatia, but all Alphatian chronomancers were destroyed by an unknown Immortal after they attempted to visit the long-lost techno-magical empire of Blackmoor during its last few years and at the time of the global disaster that destroyed that nation. One investigator of the loss of the Alphatians believes the Immortals Rafiel and possibly Rad (a k a. Etienne d'Ambreville) are defending a prehistoric secret somehow connected with the Radiance of Glantri.

Despite the dangers associated with visiting Blackmoor, some adventurers have reported actually visiting a place called the Kingdom of Blackmoor, meeting personages known to current historians to have lived at that ancient time. Such voyages were accomplished by accident; the adventurers said they were trapped in the basement of a ruined building in the Broken Lands, and were then transported to Blackmoor of 3,000 years past by a magical time gate that was possibly controlled by the rulers of Blackmoor. This ruin is of obvious interest to chronomancers; if it exists, it likely opens into a long-duration vortex in Temporal Prime. (For more information, see the D&D(R) modules DA1 >Adventures in Blackmoor<, DA2 >The Temple of the Frog<, DA3 >City of the Gods<, and DA4 >The Duchy of Ten<.)

No Guardians-like group of chronomancers is known here, as the Immortals of Time do a fine job of policing. Unobtrusive chronomancers would have considerable freedom; furthermore, they might gain the cautious notice of Immortals from Energy or Time (particularly Ixion or Khoronus), who might be bribed at tremendous expense to reveal other secrets of chronomancy or Mystaran history. Immortals of Time carefully shunt time travellers "around" critical events in history, so that all attempts to reach those times are missed by days, months, or years. Time travellers perceived as dangerously hostile to Mystaran history are located and destroyed without ceremony or delay. No chronomancer can use time-travel powers, either arriving or departing, during the Day of Dread (Kaldmont 28), from AC 1009 onward.

The most important Immortals of Time are described in the >Wrath of the Immortals< boxed set, in >Book One: Codex of the Immortals<; see especially Ixion (page 23), Khoronus (pages 25-26), Rad (pages 33-34), and Rafiel (page 34). Several major elven Immortals are from the Sphere of Time, but they are largely concerned with maintaining the elven race and the natural environment.

One curious aspect of time travel here concerns the future of magic on Mystara. Some sages believe, for reasons they will not disclose, that all magic on Mystara is doomed to fade away in the far future. (This situation seems somehow connected to the actions of Rad and the Radiance of Glantri.) Indeed, for a time there were reports of humanoid creatures called "oards" appearing across the Known World. Oards, who seemed to all look alike, were said to have been manufactured in the far future, and their bodies were both flesh and machine. They were able to disguise and defend themselves using means other than magical, and were extraordinarily powerful. A few wizards have attempted to go into the far future of Mystara to investigate these creatures and their world first-hand, but none have returned. Perhaps they were (will be?) stranded there, far in advance of our time, with no magic left in the world to bring themselves home. Or perhaps they were (will be?) caught by the oards or other beings, suffering fates that cannot be guessed. Questioning Khoronus or other Immortals on the nature of oards yields no responses. (See the 1986 edition of the D&D >Creature Catalogue<, pages 42-43, for more on oards.)

Rumours sometimes pass through Glantri that a local wizard has rediscovered the lost secrets of chronomancy, but this has never been proven. Note the mention of a time-travelling Glantri wizardess from Averoigne (see Historical Reference) in >Mark of Amber< (page 62). Though not a true chronomancer, she could be encountered all across Mystara's timeline, using her potions to cross time itself.

Humans, elves, and half-elves are the most likely chronomancer races here. However, time travellers might also meet up with a jackal-headed humanoid race also using Temporal Prime: the Hutaakans of Karameikos, who can achieve chronomancer levels roughly equal to those gained by half-elves.