So Flynn and I have continued our discussion, and we’re changing the game a lot, making it both sleeker and more strategic. If anyone else wants t be part of this, let me know, and we will simply move discussions from email to here (or some other public place), otherwise you’ll have to be content with irregular updates….
Meanwhile, here’s an appetizer in the shape of Flynn’s suggestion for the scenario description:
It’s Vienna! It’s 1895! And Emperor Franz Joseph has decreed that, in order to face the new century with pride and a sense of progress, worthy citizens should apply themselves to making the Empire the most technologically advanced civilization that has ever existed. In four years, a Grand Exhibition will be held in which all the newest, shiniest, dazzlingest items of Austro-Hungarian ingenuity will be displayed and demonstrated to the delight of the Empire and the awe of the rest of the world.
In Vienna, a group of physicists, not content with the current batch of rather shabby time-travelling devices, meet and agree to put their heads together in order to come up with some major improvements on the time-travelling technology that’s available to them. Why is it so bad? Well, current time-travelling technology only allows a person’s mind to travel into the body of someone in another time. A traveller can’t actually be there in person but must inhabit a person who was/is/will be already there. This puts an obvious limitation on things, obviously! No one has yet been able to go back to witness the formation of the first living cell, the creation of the Earth, or any other scientific/religious (delete as beliefs dictate] thing of interest. What is needed is a time-travel device that can be used to transport bodily any intrepid time-explorer, freeing him of the need to occupy a contemporary of his intended destination!
So, the philanthropic fellows fire up their biggest time-travelling contraption and step in, a plan firmly in mind that they will visit a list of appropriate Great People, who all live or have lived in Vienna—it’s where all Great People choose to live, of course—, and pick their brains in order to obtain the knowledge and information needed to create and construct the next leap forward in time-travelling technology.
And that’s where the players enter. Transported all the way back to Roman Vindobona, the players find themselves in the bodies of Great People of the time, and it is their job to gather as much useful information and knowledge as they can from that time period so that, first, they can add another piece to their Corporeal Time-Travelling Apparatus and, second, they can find the fuel to leap them forward to the next waystation on their journey through Vienna’s glorious past. All of this happening while the clock in their bodies’ current time is ticking on towards the opening of the Grand Viennese Exhibition of 1899. If their Corporeal Time-Travelling Apparatus is not complete by then, they will have missed their chance to astound the world at the right moment. And everyone knows that everything of import in life pivots on the application of perfect timing…