Ignorant Leveler
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Basic Information

Nearly everyone who ever existed or ever will exist is just another ignorant leveler. Their perceptions barely scratch the surface of reality. When some Time Ripple sweeps over the globe, the ignorant levelers fail to notice, despite the massive changes to their lives and history.

This Time Travel Characterization is actually rarely emphasized in fiction, as it has some serious potential to put off the viewer (who is, presumably, an ignorant leveler himself). If it's going to be mentioned in a movie or novel, the person being so dismissive and offensive is probably the Big Bad Evil Guy or at least one of his Henchmen.

However, give a group of player characters access to secret technology and super powers, and you'd be surprised how easily they fall into temporal elitism.

Ignorant Levelers might be cast in a noble (but gently condescending) light. From the point of view of the Time Police or White Hats they are Why We Fight, after all.

Or, they might be cast as blind fools or ignorant savages, stupidly unaware of the secret history or time war that rages on all around them. As mentioned above, such outright contempt probably denotes the mindset of a villain.

The term Leveler comes from the Continuum RPG, where it refers to anyone incapable of moving up or down in the time stream. To the game's credit, levelers are presented in a very favorable light in the game text itself. The societies they form are the back bone of time-space, and without them there would be no Time Travelers. However, since PCs in the game form a secret club of time travelers, it's rather tempting for players or GM to grow dismissive of them. The "problem" is not restricted to that game by any means.


Game and Story Use

  • As mentioned above, such crassly dismissive contempt coming from an NPC can clearly label them as a bad guy.
    • If you do so early enough in the scenario, while the PCs are still learning the ropes of time travel and still feel like an outsider, you can probably prevent the PCs from voicing similar contempt down the road.
  • Most extras and background characters will be Ignorant Levelers, but not all Ignorant Levelers are mere extras. Players could have patrons, friends, or even enemies who are unaware of time travel of the big picture.
    • Villains who are Ignorant Levelers will likely need some serious Ontological Inertia or other protection to keep players from just Ret Gone-ing them.
      • This could be supernatural in nature, or just a variation on Hitlers Time Travel Exemption Act.
      • Or, the villain might be another time traveler just feigning ignorance to lure the PCs into a trap.
    • Ignorant Leveler friends often serve as great walking MacGuffins - can you protect them without exposing the truth to them.
  • A really big paradox or PC screw up might lift the veil and remove the "ignorant" part from an entire civilization. What happens when the whole world realizes there's a secret history of time war happening just off camera?
  • Until (and unless) they discover the secrets of time travel, the PCs themselves are Ignorant Levelers.
  • Not only can this concept show up in Continuum and other Time Travel RPGs, but similar problems can crop up in Superhero genre games, Occult society, or any campaign setting where the PCs are a cut above the mundanes.
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