Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Timestream. Bricolage.

Posted by Nathan P. on June 9, 2005

So this post here about Bricolage is great. Also check out this forge post about it. Read at least the first one, or this won’t make any sense.

The reason that I’m so into this concept is that I see Timestream as a game that very much only works well when the group, consciously or unconsciously, is bricoling. The traditional “what do you do now” process that many RPG’s fall into isn’t going to work. I tried it, I know. That’s because, with time travel and other fun-ness literally constantly available to the characters, they have all the power to break out of GM-defined plots or just jump out of any defined situation if they’re not digging it. So how do you create conflict and tension? My advice, which I’m trying to write up in a non-theory way for the book, is basically to bricole. The GM should just pull anything they want out of the air that fits the situation, and worry about how it all coheres later.

Example: the chars are sitting around, bored. Boom. A satellite falls through the roof, and it has a TV screen on it, and on the screen is the sister of one of the characters (and, hopefully, the mom or wife or teacher or something of the others), bound and gagged. Uh – on top of a volcano. With some guy wearing an iron suit pointing a gun at her. That sounds cool. Now, the players have no idea who this guy is, or why he has the one guys sister, and neither does the GM. Now, during play, one of the players remembers that his characters former lover hated his sister, or something. Sweet. The GM pounces on that, decides that the dude in the suit is actually the jilted lover, who was abducted for a secret government experiment and went insane in the process. Later, this is dicovered, and the player goes “wait, I thought that she was way younger”. And the GM decides that this is the older version of the woman, from the future!

And so on.

So I’m not sure how great that example is, but my point is that in a gamespace where continuity is inherentely fucked, the only way to reliably pull everything together is to play off all the plot threads that have been established already and reincorporate them into the narrative. And thats why I think that Timestream is a game based on Bricolage.


4 Responses to “Timestream. Bricolage.”

  1. Ben said

    You’re going to love my next bricolage post, ’cause it is going to totally be based on this.


  2. Nathan P. said

    Aww, thanks. I look forward to it…

  3. Ben said

    Whaddaya think? Is this sort of what you were getting after?


  4. Nathan P. said


    “Other games might have everyone contributing parts, but the GM taking on the primary role of the bricoleur — assembling everyone’s parts together into a cohesive whole while the players throw new parts at him.”

    Nicely put, and this is what I’m aiming at with Timestream.

    “All play of role-playing games is bricolage, because the contents (by definition) come from multiple sources. Which means that, by Levi-Strauss, it is all myth.”

    Basically. *wink*

    More substantive comments where they belong, in your thread.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: