A history book can give you the setting information you need about the past for your TimeWatch game but what about when the PCs head into the near future? Sketching out a world which is similar to our own but different can make it seem more real.
Presented here are a selection of potential fads that PCs might encounter. They can provide background detail or act as the basis of an adventure. Alterations to history can cause new fads to appear and old ones to vanish, acting as a further clue for observant TimeWatch members to what might have changed.
CAUSE: Mandatory birth control drugs placed in the food and drink of everyone below the age of 21.
Denied the ability to become pregnant obtaining that look becomes desirable, if nothing more for the shock value. Wearing vests with bulging gel filled pouches beneath their clothing Pregs revel in the attention they receive. Some go so far as to slowly increase the size of their bulge over the course of 9 months.
CAUSE: Domination of Social Networks
Generations of children will be born who have their entire lives recorded by their parents and other family members on social networks. Every day of their life marked by countless photos and videos. Eventually it becomes too much and once they are teens and able to exert control over their profiles they want to tear it all down.
Ghosts want to erase all record of them on the internet. They delete the past and sever all ties to online friends. Disconnecting entirely is usually a step too far but extremists can go to the lengths of going completely off the grid. This makes it difficult for the government and TimeWatch agents to track their activities.
Family and friends are often left confused and hurt by the Ghosts attempts to erase themselves from their lives.
CAUSE: Overreliance On Editable Databases
Finding it amusing to change the truth and tell lies History Wreckers spend their spare time making changes to any database that the public can edit. Administrators do their best to repair the damage but they can be everywhere and the best lie is one that goes unnoticed.
After several years it is estimated that 80% of all knowledge online is false (but then who trusts facts like that?). It becomes near impossible to know what is real and what isn’t. TimeWatch find using local data to research the past almost impossible or leads to completely incorrect conclusions. Time travellers from this era are also very surprised to find the past is nothing like they thought it was.
CAUSE: Stress of modern living
Not wanting to accept the burden of being human but not wanting to die Simps want to remove their intelligence and self-awareness. They don’t want to think or know about anything. They achieve this through mind numbing drugs and lobotomies, leaving an increasing number of drooling idiots.
In some areas Simps are put to work, carrying out menial tasks in exchange for shelter and basic nourishment. In others the practice is outlawed, with illegal lobotomies occurring in underground clinics. Criminal organisations also find use for the empty flesh shells the Simps leave behind.
TimeWatch members maybe disturbed by the presence of these unintelligent former humans. Worse still a Simp might be someone they once knew. Can there be a worse horror than encountering a Simp with your face?
CAUSE: Close proximity to Native time period of Cryptids
The current theory is that the unnatural creatures encountered throughout history are being projected through time. In this near future era there is a high number of so-called Cryptids. This is presumably because this is a short distance from their native time period, signifying a short trip or a test run.
Whatever the reason the public is well aware of their existence, even if they don’t understand their origin. Cryptos are fanatical about them, doing everything they can to observe them in a natural environment and comparing notes. They even risk their very lives to get a photo of themselves with the latest Cryptid.
This provides TimeWatch with a wealth of freely accessible information about Cryptids. The downside is that it is doing terrible things to local history and they have to deal with these horrible monsters biggest fans.
CAUSE: Disregard for the past and nothing to look forward to in the future
Progress has stalled, with nothing being achieved and the past increasingly held up as when everything great was achieved. Vandals attempt to prove their place in the world by destroying the past. They revel in destroy paintings, statues and any other piece of art held up as a masterpiece. Art galleries burn and historical landmarks are torn down.
TimeWatch is kept busy rescuing historical artefacts from destruction so they can be stored with the Citadels vault but the nightmare scenario is when a Vandal obtains a time machine. There is no end to the mindless destruction they can wreck in the past.
CAUSE: Cheap body sculpting and memory implantation
When technology allows you to change who you are people can be reborn. Few lack the ability to create an entirely new persona and so reference the past. They can become famous movie stars, powerful rulers or figures from legend.
The reborn blur the distinction between past and present. Anyone who ever existed can be recreated, their likeness and memories grafted on to countless people. Duplication, especially of a popular personality, is extremely likely. Some react with hostility to others wearing the same face while sections of a city can become a ghetto for the same persona.
This is a bewildering fad for a TimeWatch agent to encounter, particularly if they have met one of the many historical figures being impersonated. Still, it is the perfect place to find someone to act as a decoy or replacement for a famous face.
CAUSE: Popularity of Social Media and need for public affirmation
In return for online popularity the Choice/No Choice give up their free will for the pleasure of others. Streaming everything they see, hear and think every decision they make is voted upon online. An individual might have thousands of followers deciding where they go, what they do and how they live.
Those who make such a commitment can become minor celebrities. They are willing to do just about anything to stay popular. This causes a number of high profile incidents of criminal acts, physical harm and death. When the law is unable to prosecute those voting online from illegal acts committed by Choice/No Choicers things escalate.
TimeWatch may witness a Choice/No Choice carrying out random acts in public. They could also take advantage of them, rigging the votes so their chosen subject carries out tasks they need doing.