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Are talents stealing luck from their alternative selves?

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  • Are talents stealing luck from their alternative selves?

    A long time ago I read in a comic book, not sure which one, one story that blew my mind. It was about this space traveler who visited a utopian world in which everything was perfect. However, as the character explored the planet, he discovered the price: They were exchanging "moments" between their timeline and alternative timelines, so they could have the best timeline. For example, a dictator which would have initiated a world war in their timeline instead died in its infancy in an accident by switching that moment with another from an appropriate timeline. As you can imagine, the result is that their perfect timeline comes at the cost of making all the others worse.

    I can't help but wonder, are talents doing the same? Are they switching "moments" with their alternative selves to boost their luck? If so, are they dooming all their other versions? What do you think? Would you like an adventure in which a group of talents has to come face to face with a vengeful bunch of alternative selves?

  • #2
    It would make an interesting story to have a parallel dumping bad luck on our Earth/parallel. Both finding out who's doing the dumping and getting to them to dump their bad luck back on them or even just ask them to stop are major problems. And your foes are copies of yourself, your allies, and your foes, but all with far better luck.

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    • #3
      I don't think that's how it works canonically, but it would make for a good campaign.

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      • #4
        Canonically, I think it's more along the lines of the Talent subconsciously choosing which path into the future to take, rather than “switching moments” with alternate presents. Though I could be wrong about that.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          Canonically, I think it's more along the lines of the Talent subconsciously choosing which path into the future to take, rather than “switching moments” with alternate presents. Though I could be wrong about that.
          Sort for, yeah, but also overlaying the most convenient timeline onto ours. For example, Dramatic Editing the past so a door was built at the end of a hallway is not just picking the best future but picking the best past.

          I didn't get the feeling that it was "stolen" however, just borrowed. I too could be wrong. Just how I read the description of how it works.

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          • #6
            The way it's written in the book, it gives me the impression that they're subconsciously pulling that moment of luck from somewhere. If that's how it works, then where are they pulling it from? Do those moments exist in the flux as pure potential till the talent grabs them and makes them real? Or do the talents pull that moment from and alternative timeline? And if so, do they leave a vacuum in that timeline? Do they switch it with the moment from their timeline? I'm just curious about your interpretations. In any case, the setting would be a lot darker if talents are indeed stealing luck.

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            • #7
              To borrow a bit from file system terminology: is the moment in question moved from another timeline? Or is it copied? Both “taken” and “borrowed” implies that it was removed from somewhere, either permanently or temporarily; but there's nothing saying that it was.
              Last edited by Dataweaver; 01-15-2022, 07:49 PM.


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              • #8
                Good point, "borrowing" does imply taking it away from the other timeline, even if it's returned. I don't get that feeling from the description of Talents from the book. Especially as Onyx Path has been taking the Trinity Continuum in a far LESS dark direction than the originals.

                I don't think that the power is intended to have any dark ramifications, but with that said, it would make for an interesting "multiverse" story. Either by the idea of "stealing" the luck/events from their alternate selves or by "fraying the timeline" by repeatedly abrading away the separation of this timeline with others. Whole bunch of dark stories could be done in a setting like that.

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                • #9
                  I was under the impression that most of a Talent's Edges involve a Schrödinger's cat scenario, where they're subconsciously aware of the possible outcomes of opening the box, focus on the desired result, and cause that result as an effect of observation, since theoretical physics states that the act of observation affects the thing being observed. So they're not stealing someone else's luck so much as they're cheating at cards.

                  In the case of Dramatic Editing, they seem to be overlapping universes and overwriting part of their universe with part of another universe. There is no mention of whether this process is a copy/paste or an outright swap.

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                  • #10
                    Does a Talent steal luck? Well, why do you think you roll bad sometimes? One of your character's parallels stole the luck from them

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thedonnie View Post
                      Does a Talent steal luck? Well, why do you think you roll bad sometimes? One of your character's parallels stole the luck from them
                      XD, good one.

                      Thanks for your answers. Maybe we get more info about the nature of flux in the future.

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                      • #12
                        In one of the Discworld novels, Granny Weatherwax delays an injury until it's a good time to deal with it. Perhaps Talents borrow luck from their own futures and then deal with the consequences when they have the chance.

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                        • #13
                          Inasmuch as Talents "steal," it's not a zero-sum game.

                          That access door hidden under the stairs exists in many universes where it's never used. "Stealing" from this universe might cause someone to go "huh, I thought there was a door there, weird." But it doesn't objectively make that universe worse in any meaningful way, while it does make your character's universe meaningfully better.

                          In any case, the details of flux are wibbly-wobbly and difficult to pin down or explain, and when you're referring to quantum (not Quantum) phenomena, lines get blurry very quickly. So it's not as straightforward as "stealing" or "copying."

                          But yes, as has been pointed out, the Trinity Continuum is not a bummer universe. Making every other universe worse is a bummer. If you're making your universe better, you might be making it worse for someone -- the mook who's trying to tail you, for example -- but you're not shitting up someone else's universe by stealing their luck or anything.


                          Ian A. A. Watson
                          Onyx Path Community Manager
                          Trinity Continuum Content Lead

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