This is a fleshing out of the ideas I wrote in a recent blog post about a way of making a "richer" version of RTC, still rules-ultralight but maybe just a little less so, for use in Siobhan's time travel via reincarnation campaign. The amended rules should probably have another name, but I don't know what it should be yet.
1) Change to Specializations
In RTC, each skill has a value from 1-6 and a single specialization, fairly broad (for instance, "Brawling" for Fight), which is two points higher. It is assumed that everything in the base skill is known at the skill's level, except the specialization, which is two higher.
In the new system, the base skill level applies only to things that the average person would know or be able to do, though perhaps at different proficiencies. For instance, in a modern world setting:
- Drive: drive a car; ride a bike; navigate a public transit system
- Fight: handle yourself in a barroom brawl; kick people; fire a pistol
- Heal: staunch bleeding; treat a cold; identify a stomach upset; splint a broken bone
- Know: your native language; use a library; be aware of current events; understand social conventions
- Move: run; climb a tree; play softball
- Persuade: ask someone on a date; complain to a customer service representative
- Resist: deal with an angry person; get a better price from a car salesman
- Use: make a phone call; put a shelf up; hook up a stereo system
- Drive: airplanes; motorcycles; jet-skis
- Fight: gun repair; demolitions; judo; archery
- Heal: emergency medicine; diagnostics; acupuncture. veterinary medicine
- Know: German; poetry; astrophysics and cosmology
- Move: acrobatics; track and field; mountain-climbing
- Persuade: seduction; politics; multi-level marketing techniques
- Resist: resist interrogation; sleep through anything
- Use: car repair; software programming; lockpicking
In each skill, you can have as many specializations as you have points in the skill.
You only have to decide, during initial character creation, some of those specializations. You must choose at least one per skill, but you can leave others blank. Whatever you choose reflects the knowledge of your present-day self. Any you leave blank will be filled in each time you travel into a past life, and reflect the knowledge of your past self.
2) Backstory Tokens
In addition to plot twists, there will be another token, called a backstory token and represented by a different color of chip or bead. These are handed out at the time when each character goes into his past life, and for a typical adventure, ten will given to each character. Like plot twists, these can be spent during the adventure, and when you run out, you run out; but unlike plot twists, they cannot be shared or traded between characters, and when spent, they are taken out of play.
Each backstory token can be spent at any time to add to your character something which can be discovered by revealing something of the character's backstory. They specifically refer to the backstory of the past life, and will generally provide you with a new resource. Generally, you will need to narrate something to explain it, possibly in the form of a flashback, or simply your character suddenly remembering something of their past life that could help. (You cannot contradict anything already known, but you can reveal things that it's feasible your present life didn't know about, and hasn't yet recollected.)
Some examples of the sort of thing backstory tokens can be spent for, and the corresponding costs:
- 1 token: add one more specialization to a single skill, lasting only the rest of this past life insertion
- 2 tokens: add one point to a single skill, only for the duration of this past life insertion
- 1 token: some single item of minimal value that it makes sense for your past life to have is somewhere you can get to it (e.g., a wig of just the same color as the Duchess's hair, if your past life worked in the theater)
- 2 tokens: as above, but an item of more value (e.g., an emerald earring), or an item that doesn't make as much sense (e.g., that wig, if you were a butcher -- and you still need to make up an explanation), or an item with a very specific application (e.g., the key to the butler's private passage)
- 3 tokens: as above, but it can be extremely valuable, or both valuable and unexpected
- 1 token: someone in the area owes you a minor favor, or is a casual acquaintance
- 2 tokens: an important or powerful person owes you a favor
- 3 tokens: you have serious leverage on a powerful person