I'm trying to evaluate the degree to which Fate of Cthulhu is worth my time, money, and either waiting time or hassle related to buying specifically the PDF (I have no need for the dead tree version which is currently bundled with it). This evaluation hinges on two main factors: the Condensed rulebook (which seems worth it), and the handling of time travel (about which I'd like to find out more).

I have seen short reviews indicate that the book offers good ways to handle the usual concerns of time travel such as paradoxes. However, what that actually means and how useful that is to me depends on an unstated assumption/context, which I'd like to know about:

Which model of time travel has been chosen when writing the setting and ruleset, and which of the common switches and toggles related to that model are in what states? Does it even have a coherent model of time travel? (After all, some franchises resort to 'solving' paradoxes by way of a timey-wimey ball.)

If the heart of the question looks ambiguous, here's a bit of a clarification: when I talk of the models of time travel, I mean those such as in this simplified list. Note that the list is just a starting point; it doesn't go deep into exploring switches and toggles, e.g. how the Sensitive History model can be made more consistent and playable by use of Achron-style meta-time and change-propagation principles, or how adjusting the 'speed' of time waves can produce different scenarios and overall feel of a story/campaign/game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might start with “Does Fate of Cthulhu use a consistent model for time travel? If so, which one?” (It’s not a given that it does.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 8 '19 at 15:06

Have you found and read this review of an alpha version of the Kickstarter product?

I'll just go by your linked list of paradigms. The review appears to reveal that history in Fate of Cthulhu is either malleable or sensitive, and it describes the specific game mechanics which govern time travel in play.

As you play, you track [on the Timeline Sheet] the PCs successes and failures with regards to set tasks: did they take the relic, or did they hand it off to the villain in exchange for their lives? Did the kill the cultist, or did they “accidentally” post a missing ritual online? These all impact the timeline, and can either speed up or slow down the oncoming apocalypse.

Fate of Cthulhu handles this with a “Timeline Track”, which is tied to a sheet of all of the known events leading up to the Elder God Apocalypse. Once it’s full, the timeline is impacted by which side “won” that round, with the PC’s having the goal of stopping the apocalypse…or at least making the future a little bit better.

FoC rules in this Kickstarter preview version come with:

a spell that stops time on a target


limited precognition

Lastly, while this may or may not be directly related to time travel,

The Corruption Clock [...] tracks how much Corruption you have gained and how much time you have (so to speak) before something goes wrong. We get to see Corrupted Aspects (a way to track your permanent Corruption), as well as Corrupted Stunts (which work like Mega Stunts in Atomic Robo, but come at a cost).

Whether the timeline is under one of the single or multiple paradigms isn't addressed with game mechanics, but the point of view suggested by the review seems to point to "if there are multiple timelines, the player characters don't know it." They seem to be trying to fix their own timeline. However, the review does say that this early version of FoC provides, as setting material, "multiple timelines for each of the Elder Gods."

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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems the review's info is rather inconclusive. Oh well. Thanks for the effort. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh Nov 10 '19 at 10:35

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