In T13 we sometimes talk about events becoming Chronoliths. Chronoliths are a form of Descendant that is similar to a Monolith, but which is based on an event with Sway, Chi or Yarn stored in it. Much of the costs of Chronoliths is covered on the Sway Table, especially the extend duration column.
Types of Chronolith
There are a few different types of Chronolith that are created by different activities during the game. All Chronoliths are essentially Inertia Descendants that have been Monolithed by a Mercari (any one else above a Goblin in power), although it is possible for Grunts to create Chronoliths with Facet Sway if the Referee is feeling lenient.
Chronoliths can occur naturally during play, they occur when a Proficiency Crisis is rolled, or a Crisis Wyrd Tarot card is played by a Character, and also occur when a Game Session ends (sometimes the Plot Dæmon will even Harden the end of a Session so that the Players cannot rewind to before the Session anymore).
Save Point Chronoliths
The most common use by Mercari of Chronoliths is to create a Save point. The Mercari can then usually travel back, in their own time-line to the last Save Point they created.
Any Mercari Character (or a Pact) can elect to create a Save Point at any time. Placing even a single point of Chi in the moment will create a Chronolith that can later be reloaded. However it should be noted that it only the Save action that is Chronolithed.
Future or Vision Chronoliths are a way of representing when a Character has a Vision of some future event. They are sometimes called Prophetic Chronoliths. They are usually created by Plot Dæmons (although Solos, Fae, and even Mercari have been known to create them too). The range of the Prophecy will increase the price of setting that Future Chronolith. So setting up a decade long prophetic vision that must come true will add 66 Chi to the cost (and I’d suggest Hardening it some — and you might want to Extend it too).
When a Chronolith is created it governs only a single Action (for a cost of 1 Chi). If you put more Chi in then you can Chronolith a longer period, allowing more time to be protected, and potentially to reach further back in time, for example creating a Chronolith with 21 Chi would create a Week long Chronolith, which could then be reloaded back to the beginning of the week.
Extended Chronoliths like this can rewrite the Character’s previous Chronoliths.
If a Character wishes they may store more than the Normal amount of Chi in the Chronolith. Without extending the Chronolith. This can create a Hardened Chronolith. Where the event that is taking place will defend itself from change, even if History is thrashing about it madly. The Chronolith becomes in effect a fixed point in time, normally immutable, but of course Mercari, Solos and weird Aliens from Irish-sounding planets, who claim to have invented Blackholes all know that some immutable things are more mutable than others.
Normally only the Character that created the Chronolith can perceive that moment as a Chronolith. Other Mercari will only recognise it as a Save Point only after the Mercari has reloaded time back to it, but this is not true of a Hardened Chronolith. The event will advertise itself to all Mercari from the moment it is created, and they will feel it’s relative presence in time. Either feeling how long ago it was, or sensing it approaching from the future (if a future event has been Chronolithed) or the Characters have travelled in time. The amount of Chi spent on Hardening creates a Duration effect that the Chronolith can be felt ‘through’ so 38 points of Chi would allow the Hardened Chronlith to be sensed up to Half a Year Away.
A Hardened Chronolith is more easily loaded than a normal Chronolith. The extra Chi stored will reduce the costs of reloading each time by the amount of Chi stored Double Reduced. So reloading that 38 point Hardened Chronolith could be reloaded for only 5 Chi.
A normal Extended Chronolith cannot extend back before a Hardened Chronolith. And when it comes to Extended Hardened Chronoliths the amount of Chi stored must be Greater to extend back (it must be a more Hardened Chronolith than the original).
When powerful beings bend reality to their will, modifying universes with Yarn powered Side-steps, they create a powerful form of Chronolith. The Side-step Chronolith is essentially a special form of Extended Hardened Chronolith that doesn’t reach back in time, but affects only a certain area. Outside of its area, it will not be detectable at all. Within it may be recognised as what it is (or as an Extended Hardened Chronolith).
The most powerful Chronoliths are those created when Solos (or Universes) Coalesce. These huge events are created for free when two Alternates Coalesce, they are essentially created with the Max Chi of the Solo (or Universe). They are similar to Side-step Chronoliths in many ways, but represent the Creation of a New Solo (and/or the merging of two Universes into another new one).
Reloading a Chronolith
A Mercari can always Reload back to the start of the last Chronolith that is accessible to them. Often this is back to the beginning of the Session, or the last Crisis. Although they can create Extended Hardened Chronoliths to go back further if necessary.
Essentially for the Mercari (and all other nearby Mercari) time winds backward to the start of the Chronolith. They all remember the future that has been rewound (as though they had a vision of the future). Grunts do not remember the ‘future’ that was revealed, and must act as though they don’t (if this is too tricky, have a Mercari, they believe, tell them).
Reloading your last Chronolith has a base cost of 8 Chi (although this is reduced for Hardened Chronoliths). However, you can access other Mercari and Solos Chronoliths, by paying the additional costs (so add their Personality Boon plus 29 for a Solo or 20 for a Mercari (already including the 8 Chi to Reload).
Reloading Future Chronoliths is similar to reloading a past Chronolith, however only those who Reload the events in their future will perceive and remember the Future Chronolith. The “vision” the Future Chronolith reveals is usually only a single action, but this can be extended with additional Chi to view longer periods, up to the full duration of the Future Chronolith. Undoing a Future Chronolith, getting out of the prophesy will require breaking it, this is called a Chronoclysm.
When a Mercari, or Time-Traveller breaks a Chronolith, either by undoing the events that led to its creation, directly countering it with Chi (or Yarn) or breaking it through the use of Facet Sway (maybe with a “Weaponised Temporal Paradoxes” Annex).
To do this you must generate more Chi than the Chronolith holds. With a roll you must score more than twice the Chi of the Chronolith.
When a Chronoclysm occurs, and a Chronolith is broken, then reality is broken too. Matter and energy become chaotic, rearranging itself to conform to another reality. Grunts and most NPCs are going to get torn apart, and re-ordered to conform to the changed history, they do not usually remember the alternate history. Mercari and Demons are usually also redistributed, they will often retain their original personality, but add an Alternate from the new universe. True Fæ, equivalent power Dæmons, Solos and Grand Mercari are not disturbed by the changes to the universe, in fact history will often instantly arrange itself to their convenience around them.
The Chi stored within the Chronolith and the Chi that broke it are added together and converted to Yarn (and occasionally Twists) and will Side-Step the universe, as the history leading up to the former Chronolith is broken. The new reality can be guided, by Yarn cards played by those present, to create some kind of stable new reality.
Sometimes the only way to really fix a truly monumental Chronoclysm is to coalesce a couple of nearby Quantum variariations of the original to create a new universe. When this happens the Solo must not only create a new Chronolith, they must also create a Province of the new reality.
If no Solos are available no doubt some Increated will take advantage of the mess left behind. Perhaps in the form of some Paradox Dæmon or another…