So, I really like Anima, and I've had a lot of fun playing it. I'd like to GM it but it seems a bit overwhelming compared due to the high powered nature of the game. I've GMed Amber before, but Anima blows every other game I've ever played (including that one) out of the water when it comes to complex narrative shenanigans. I've narrowed down my GMing anxiety in the game to one specific problem, I think, which is time. Obviously there's the whole time travel thing, but there's also adding/removing aspects of existence such that they either always/never have existed or seem like they always/never existed but, presumably, real time travel/other time-based abilities would show otherwise. Given the size of the multiverse and the inter-connectivity of time I'm not sure how to picture the overall cosmology of the inter-chronicised, globalized multiverse.

I want to know:

What does the overall cosmology look like? How does reality relate to itself, especially in regards to time? The default starting setting is fine to use as an example, or your own campaign, or whatever as long as all of the system mechanics are left unchanged (no 'I don't allow magic, ki, psychic powers, summoning, any secondary ability over 30, etc. and am generally a jerk, so none of these problems come up for me' answers).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related: Have you read the Chronomancer AD&D supplement? It clearly articulates time travel concepts generally. Tangent: Death and Resurrection in a Weird World which has an effects table for what happens when you die in one timeline and an alternate you is pulled into your timeline to facilitate "resurrection". \$\endgroup\$
    – user2102
    Dec 26 '14 at 19:46

While this may or may not be a full answer, I wanted give some basis, especially since this is a wonderful yet unappreciated system:

Any of the "create thing such that it always existed" or "remove thing from ever existing" effects in anima represent extremely powerful forces not commonly available to nearly anyone. I won't bank my reputation on this to say "all", but nearly all the effects for that you see come from High/Divine Magic, High Gnosis Entities, or artifacts that run off of one of those two things.

Reality is a malleable thing in Anima, just not an easily malleable thing. Gnosis isn't just how much fate seems to like you, after a certain point it's an measure of how much ability you have to nudge reality to your wants (which is why Gnosis 40/45 entities are usually exempt from a lot of effects caused by anyone not on their level : their reality-pushing status has gotten to the point where they push back on the world so much that they can no-sell anyone else's attempts to push on them)

The powers your mentioned are the rare things that are by design meant to restructure the world. And by design, the world contorts and distorts to accommodate. For most people, you are included in that mechanism of reality restructuring. Your memories and life twisted to fit things too. So by the current rules of the world, all your memories are "100% real", and you'd never know the difference unless you're high enough Gnosis entity to no-sell the change on yourself, or tap into an artifact or magical power whose nature is to see beyond the current revision of reality (if there can be powers to change reality, it of course makes sense that some powers tap the same mechanism to give 'read-only' access to reality's revision tree).

How/if these higher beings see meta-reality is a complicated question, but it's assumed that they do see the world different than we do, which is why the Beryls and Shajads have immense but still imperfect foresight on the fate of major players in the world.

Time travel/viewing dealt with more specifically usually is stated to have the above caveats in mind:

1) High Light Magic spell Predict :

Of course, these predictions are not infallible; what is seen is only the most probable destiny, which may be changed through the intervention of higher powers or the actions of persons with elevated Gnosis.

2) Divine Destruction Magic Uncreation :

No one who knew of what was unmade remembers it, and all events it may have affected are modified as though what was unmade had no part in it; even returning to life those whose death the unmade might have caused (as long as their souls were not destroyed). Only entities with a Gnosis of more than 40 will be conscious of what happened.

3) Undo Time :

This spell makes the flow of time run backward, rewinding any event that has occurred within a period determined by the level of the spell. Thus, the caster can repeat a few turns or even restore life to someone who died in that period of time. Only the caster, beings with Natura +15 or greater, or divine creatures will remain aware of what happened in the rewound period; for the rest, those moments never passed. This spell cannot undo actions in which a being with Gnosis 40 or more was directly involved, unless the caster has an even higher Gnosis, nor return to life a soul that has been destroyed or desecrated. It is important to point out that time in general does not flow backwards, but rather the spell separates out a small part of the space-time continuum and makes it rewind briefly. This way, the short temporal distortion is less harmful to the flow of time.

4) Note about time-magic in general :

Unlike other Paths of magic, all time-related spells in Gaïa are severely restricted and controlled by the Powers in the Shadow. Therefore, any spell that might possibly cause real alterations in history or disruptions to the space-time continuum will be overridden by systems of Imperium and have no effect. As an personal interpretation : I don't think Imperium itself has Gnosis 40/45 ind

In these and other examples theres a strong note about destruction still often being irreversible : if someone's soul was destroyed it's irreplaceable. You can change reality all you want but you can't recreate what you've lost the blueprint for.

In conclusion: reality itself changes permanently, and most time magic can't see through it since reality was changed in complete past/present/future. Because this is exactly as dangerous as it sounds, access to reality warping is very restricted.

Your assumption about time viewing seeing otherwise is incorrect (most of the time, with the exceptions I mentioned), is the quickest way to explain it. Only high Gnosis entities or similarly powered effects will ever know something changed.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I like to describe gnosis as "the extent to which the world really does revolve around you." \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Aug 24 '15 at 1:05

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