2400 devlog: Tempus Diducit

Tempus Diducit (which I sure hope is Latin for “time unravels”) is a genre-bending, multiversal mishmash that welcomes you to bring in characters from any game made with the 24XX SRD. It’s available as part of the full 2400 series on Itch.io, and on its own and in the 2400 bundle on DriveThruRPG.

As I noted in the original devlog, this game was made to take advantage of the wide range of games submitted to the 24XX Jam. I’ve maintained a collection of 24XX games in the meantime, which has grown to over 100 titles, so there’s plenty to draw from.

It’s not even worth listing influences for this game because it comes from everything. I mean, yes, obviously, Rifts is in there, especially the “auric trooper.” But just glancing at it now, I can also see Max Headroom, General Zod, The Terminator, Doc Brown from Back to the Future, a random Eclipse Phase character, a space pirate or sea pirate, a side character from Dr. McNinja, a cockroach inspired by a card in Chrononauts, a “joyriding time traveler” that somehow came from both The Doctor and Bill & Ted, and more.

It is an extremely goofy game.

It doesn’t really introduce anything new to 2400, mechanically speaking. I had already done backgrounds in Exiles, but did them again because (for reasons explained in that game’s devlog) I knew this one would be weird. The tables on the back draw from a range of genres and time periods, but they aren’t anything especially revelatory or hackable. The items list squeezed in yet another Back to the Future reference (this time with a gag about the urban legend that hoverboards exist, but were recalled for safety reasons), but generally it just mimicked the Exiles approach of having you take one useful item and one interesting item. And the game as a whole is deliberately vague about how it fits into any kind of shared 2400 cosmology, or if it exists in its own, separate, tangled-up timeline.

That’s okay by me. This one wasn’t about offering a modular rules expansion. This one was about how excited I was that so many other people were expanding on 24XX. (I still am really excited about it. I really appreciate hearing when people enjoy my games, and I am ecstatic when people build on them.) And, more broadly, Tempus Diducit is a celebration of this whole, silly hobby I’ve been enjoying since I was a kid.

Not too long ago, I got to run Tempus Diducit for my 4-year-old. She combined two backgrounds to create “Star van Tastic” — a talking dinosaur with cool clothes who persuaded octopuses to not detonate a water bomb on the moon, then helped relocate them to a new home on an ocean planet, and threw a birthday party (because it’s always your birthday when you have a time machine).

I can only take credit for a fraction of that, but still: That’s why I made this game.

Featured image edited from original by Beeple (Mike Winkelmann).

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