Monday, June 30, 2014

The Timelord

Why not an anime image for them? Found this
by searching for "chronos" on Google Image
Search. Anime haters can bite me.
Another class designed for AD&D 1st edition or compatible games.

The Timelord

A timelord character is a member of an elite order found among a particular human nation. The inhabitants of that nation have lost any magical and psionic abilities (though not the ability to connect with the gods or perform illusion-type magic) in the Middle Sea world.

Selection for membership in the Order of Timelords occurs by a competition undertaken by interested 15 year old youths of that nation. In the selection process, all youths of intelligence less than 15 are weeded out. Due to the high prerequisite, timelords do not gain bonuses to experience points. Upon selection, the youths begin an intensive program of training, diet, and exercise designed to unlock the hidden chronal powers found only among humans of that nation.

When attacking or making saves, timelords use the thief tables. Weapon proficiencies and nonproficiency penalties are also as thieves, but timelords may select from any weapon as fighters may. Because it interferes with their chronal powers, timelords do not wear metal armor or use metal shields (weapons do not interfere with those powers because of their size and shape, though the DM should feel free to disallow any weapons that create a wide mass of metal over a portion of the timelord's body, such as sword-gloves, cestuses, or the like). Timelords may use any magic item usable by all classes, plus any item which affects time, such as a staff of withering or a phylactery of long years. A timelord will start play at an age of 18 plus 1d4 years. Timelords start play with 3d6x10 gold pieces.

In addition to hit points and other normal benefits, at each new level a timelord gains chronal energy, which is what allows them to use their powers. At each level, a timelord gains a number of chronal energy points equal to the new level. Thus, a timelord has 1 chronal energy at level 1, 3 at level 2, 6 at level 3, and so on. This is summarized on the experience point chart:

Experience Points
Hit Dice (d6)
Level Title
Chronal Energy
Timelord (10th level)
Timelord (11th level)

300,000 experience points per level for each additional level beyond the 11th. Timelords gain 1 hit point per level after the 10th.

As timelords gain in levels, they gain new abilities. Each ability is usable upon reaching the level equal to the ability’s level, and costs a number of chronal energy points equal to the level of the ability. Chronal energy recovers at a rate of a number of points per 12 hours equal to the timelord’s level, but can only regenerate chronal energy when not using any of the time powers. If the target of a timelord’s powers is unwilling, they are allowed a saving throw vs. wands to avoid the effects. The manipulations of time are not magical effects, and so are not affected by anti-magical measures, though the bonus to saves of, e.g., a ring of protection or similar protective item or ability does apply.

The chronal powers are as follows:

Level One

Hasten Individual – Range 6” (may affect self), duration 1d20+10 melee rounds. Recipient, who must be of size S or M, moves 50% faster, gaining three attacks per two rounds if a better ability is not already possessed. This effect does not age the recipient.

Slow Individual – Range 6”, duration three turns. One creature of size S or M may be affected. Target moves at half speed and attacks only every other melee round.

Move Self Forward In Time – The timelord disappears, then reappears some number of rounds later in the same place. The timelord may use other powers while in transit through time, change weapons, or other reasonably quick actions, but must reappear in the same place. Whatever the timelord is carrying, even another person, travels along. When the power is activated, the timelord specifies how many rounds forward to move, with a maximum of two rounds per level of the timelord.

Move Object Forward In Time – Range 6”, maximum duration 1 turn per level of the timelord. A non-living object not in very close contact with a living being (for example, a person’s armor may not be affected, though an object they are carrying might – if the object could be easily dropped, it might be affected) moves forward in time. Note that magic items are treated as “living” for this purpose. There is a maximum volume of one cubic foot per level of the timelord.

See Past Of A Place – The timelord can see the events occurring at some point in the past, as if the events were occurring. The timelord will be able to see anything as if present in the location at the time, and must move around to change viewpoints. The timelord may see events that occurred as much as five days per level ago, and may view up to 12 hours per level per use. The timelord may choose to accelerate the events viewed up to 24 times normal speed (so that 12 hours pass by in a half-hour of viewing time), but the DM may rule that some details pass by too quickly to notice when accelerated. If the viewed time catches up to actual time, the vision ends immediately.

See Past Of A Person – Similar to See Past Of A Place, the timelord may witness events that occurred to a person in the past. This requires touching the person for the entire duration of the vision, but the person need not be alive at the time.

Suspend Animation – This allows timelords to suspend their life functions as the psionic discipline of the same name, up to a week per experience level.

Level Three

Hasten Group – This is similar to the Hasten Individual ability, but may affect up to 2-16 creatures of size S or M within 1” of the timelord.

Speed Individual – Range 6” (may affect the timelord), duration 1d20+10 melee rounds. Recipient of size S or M may move 100% faster, including the gain of two attacks per round if that ability is not already possessed. When the duration expires, the recipient is exhausted for an equal length of time, but is not aged.

Slow Monster – Similar to Slow Individual, but may affect a creature of any size.

Slow Group – Similar to Slow Individual, but may affect 2-12 creatures of size S or M within 6” of the timelord.

Move Own Group Forward In Time – Up to one creature of size S or M within 1” of the timelord moves forward in time, up to two rounds per level of the timelord. Only willing creatures may so travel.

See Possible Future Of A Place – The timelord may see a possible future that will occur in the place they occupy, as if present at that time. The maximum distance into the future is a number of days equal to the timelord’s level minus two, and the maximum duration is one-twelfth of that distance (or two hours per day ahead that could be seen). The vision may be accelerated as with See Past Of A Place. The DM will describe the most likely scene, but events could easily change it. The future is very much in flux for timelords.

Age Non-Living Matter – Any matter or substance which is not currently alive may be aged through the application of this power. The timelord must be within 1” of the item to be affected. Material of up to 10 lbs per level of the timelord may be aged by up to 10 years per level of the timelord. This will ruin most food, cloth items, and so on, and even metal will be corroded somewhat.

Move Enemy Forward In Time – Range 1”. The timelord may transport a single enemy target up to one round per level of the timelord forward in time. The target reappears at the appointed time completely unaware that any time has passed.

Level Five

Speed Group – This ability is similar to Speed Individual, but the timelord may move affect up to 2-16 beings of size S or M within 1”.

Slow Group Of Monsters – This is similar to Slow Monster, but a group of targets up to 2-12 of any size may be affected.

Move Enemy Group Forward In Time – An ability that is similar to Move Enemy Forward In Time, but a number of targets up to the timelord’s level may be affected. All targets must be within 1” of the target point, which must be within 1” of the timelord. Thus, targets up to 2” from the timelord may potentially be affected. Note that all of the targets are allowed saving throws.

See Possible Future Of A Person – This ability is similar to See Possible Future Of A Place, but the timelord must touch the person (who must be alive), and can see up to the timelord’s level minus four days into the future for a duration of two hours times the timelord’s level minus four.

Age Non-Human Living Matter – Range 1”. The timelord can age any creature which is not vulnerable to the Charm Person spell, by a maximum of 2½ years per level of the timelord. The target will be aged physcially but not mentally by this power.

Level Seven

Move Spell Forward In Time – Range 1”. The timelord may move a spell with a physical manifestation (such as a Wall or a Fireball) forward in time. Fast-acting spells like Fireball or Magic Missile must be spells that the timelord has seen before. The spell gets a saving throw as though it were a magic-user of the level of the spell’s caster. The maximum interval that the spell may be sent forward is equal to the timelord’s level divided by the level of the spell (rounded down).

Partial Time Stop – This acts as the ninth level magic-user spell Time Stop, but only one creature is affected and that creature is allowed a saving throw.

Age Humanoid – Range 1”. This is similar to Age Non-Human Living Matter, but may affect any living creature.

Alter Past – Range 2”. The timelord is able to attempt to alter some action which occurred in the immediately preceding round. This usually allows the re-roll of one roll, such as a saving throw, attack roll, damage die, or the like. When a foe might be affected negatively by this power, the foe is allowed a saving throw.

Temporal Stasis – Range 1”. This has the same effect as the ninth level magic-user spell of the same name.

Level Eight

Time Stop – This is similar to the ninth level magic-user spell of the same name, but a saving throw is allowed for targets in the affected area.

Superage – Range 1”. By aging the target at a tremendously accelerated rate, this ability has the same effect as a Disintegrate spell. However, the effect can be reversed by another timelord using the reversed form of this same ability.

Level Ten

Time Stop Group – This has the effect of the magic-user spell Time Stop, but the timelord may select what targets are to be affected. The ability may affect up to one target per level of the timelord, and all affected creatures must be within a range of 1”. Affected targets are allowed a saving throw.

Reversible Powers – The four aging powers, Age Non-Living Matter, Age Non-Human Living Matter, Age Humanoid, and Superage, have reversed forms which allow a timelord to undo aging done by a timelord (only). The reversed abilities cannot reverse natural aging or aging caused by a ghost or a staff of withering, for example.

(Based on the NPC class in Dragon #65 by Lew Pulsipher, with some changes to make it more compatible with the Middle Sea world, along with some general editing and minor ability changes and clarifications.)


  1. This class would be an absolute blast to play! In a way, the powers remind me of characters from Lords of Creation (LoC). I loved the LoC concept, but the rules were a bit wonky. Your class would be a lot of fun to use instead of Moldvay's.

    1. Lords of Creation is one of the best overlooked games. I love Tom Moldvay's mind so much. The rules are a little odd, but really easy to use in play, we found. For having so little written, they were amazingly flexible, too. I remember playing a Finnish-Japanese ninja with mechanical throwing knife dispensers on his wrists. Good times.

      I hadn't thought about using it in something like LoC, but I can totally see something like that. It might need a little tweaking to cover the transdimensional stuff, but it wouldn't be difficult at all to work out.

  2. Interesting to read this after so many years. Maybe I'll find time to go back and compare the original just out of curiosity.

    In Age Non-Human Living Matter: in some 1e versions the elves are not subject to charm person. Did you mean to include them in "... any creature which is not vulnerable to the Charm Person spell"?

    While the course is aimed a little more at video game level design than RPG level design, some of your readers may have some interest in my audiovisual course "How to Design Levels/Adventures for Video and Tabletop Games" at Courses.PulsipherGames.Com. There are more general game design courses as well, and one about writing clear rules.

    Someday I'll get a PDF book out that includes the original Timelords and my other articles from Dragon, White Dwarf, and so forth, as well as some unpublished classes and rules.

    Lew Pulsipher

    1. A pleasure to hear from you!

      I drew a lot of the text from your article, changing things around in some cases, but sometimes (since this is not going to be published, but is instead only to be used in my own home campaign) took the text directly. I really hope that you don't mind that I put it here, but if you prefer I can take the entry down from my blog (I realize that this may be important since you plan to republish it yourself; speaking of that, I would be very eager to see such a work, as I have a few White Dwarf issues with articles by you, but not nearly a complete collection of that magazine, and your articles were frequently ones I enjoyed and found use for).

      Looking at the article, it seems that I took the "…any creature not vulnerable…" text directly from you. In the Players Handbook (which is the version I'm using), elves are affected by charm person, so they would not be affected by that ability.

      I have an ongoing dream of creating a computer adventure game, so I am very interested in your audiovisual courses. Now I just need to find time to a) take them, and b) work on a computer adventure game.

    2. No worries.

      Computer games are a tough business these days, if you're thinking commercially. Good luck, in any case.


    3. Oh, goodness no! I will always be a hobbyist. I like being able to make what I want to see exist, without concerning myself with what people might want to buy. Thank you for the well-wishes, and I definitely return them!