Tyler Wells, Precognitive FBI agent
by Stephen Kenson
Art by Philip Reed
30 years old, 5'11", with a trim build. He has short blond hair and watery blue eyes. He wears gold-rimmed glasses when he's not in the field, otherwise he wears contacts. He often has a distant, distracted look, other times his eyes seem to years more experience.
ST: 11 
DX: 13 
IQ: 13 
HT: 10 
Speed: 6.25 Move: 6
Basic Damage: Thrust 1d-1, Swing 1d+1
Dodge: 6 Parry: 8 (brawling)
Advantages: Attractive , Intuition , Legal Enforcement Powers (FBI) , Patron (The FBI, 9 or less) , Overtime (see below) 
Disadvantages: Bad Sight (correctable) [-10], Duty (FBI, 12 or less) [-10], Secret (he's precognitive) [-20], Solipsist [-10]
Quirks: Confuses events in the present and possible futures; Reads books on metaphysics and psychic phenomena; Insists there's "nothing special" about him; Wears glasses to signify when he's "off duty"; Prefers to be alone when he's relaxing. [-5]
Skills: Area Knowledge (United States)-13 , Brawling-13 , Computer Operation-13 , Computer Programming-12 , Conspiracy Theory-12 , Criminology-13 , Electronics (Computers)-12 , First Aid-13 , Guns (Pistol)-15* , Interrogation-12 , Occultism-12 , Research-12 , Shadowing-13 
*Includes IQ bonus
Point Total: 110
FBI Special Agent Tyler Wells has a secret: he's been to the future and come back, many times. He started out as an electronics engineering student at CalTech who joined the FBI shortly after graduation. During his training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Tyler was involved in a fatal accident and died. The difference is, he came back.
After an accident at the firing range left him fatally injured, Tyler blacked out. He suddenly found himself back in class at the Academy, completely unhurt. To his surprise, he discovered it was the previous day, before he went to the firing range, and nobody else recalled the events he described. To them, Tyler simply seemed to go blank for a moment. It was like the whole thing never happened. When Tyler went to the firing range the following day he was more careful. It paid off, the fatal shot missed him "this time."
Tyler did his best to write the whole thing off as a strange coincidence or a dream. Then it happened again. He was in a bank when it was robbed; he did his best to stop the robbers, who shot him. He blacked out and found himself outside the bank, some fifteen minutes before the robbery. A quick call to the local police averted the robbery and caught the robbers.
Once he became a full-fledged FBI agent and placed himself in danger on a regular basis, Tyler's "flashbacks" began happening more often, to the point where he could no longer dismiss them as hallucinations or delusions. Something strange was definitely happening. Still, Tyler's extraordinary "foresight" served him well, allowing him to crack a number of tough cases and putting him on the FBI fast-track. In all the cases when Tyler went into "overtime" (his term for his flashbacks) everyone else reported simply that he appeared to "blank out" or become distracted for a few moments.
In his spare time, Tyler studies information about paranormal and psychic phenomena. He's developed two main theories about his "overtime" ability. The first is that he is simply an unusually powerful and lucid precognitive, who has visions about possible futures, or the ability to see into parallel timelines. He was never really shot on the firing range, for example, it was merely a vision. If this is the case, he must possess some sort of hypercognitive ability; his longest "overtime" lasted nearly three months from his point of view, but to everyone else he seemed distracted for only a matter of seconds. If this is the case, his 20 points in Overtime represent 10 levels of Precognition power with no real training.
Tyler's more radical theory is that he actually has some kind of psionic time-travel ability; in times of extreme stress he actually "jumps" into the past to a safe point where he can alter history. The "fugue-state" is disorientation caused by the jump. Of course, this theory does not explain why Tyler never shows any signs of aging or injury from his "overtime" jaunts. One possibility is that he only time-travels psychically, sending his mind or astral self back into the past. Or he may be a trans-temporal telepath, able to send telepathic messages to himself in the past, thus altering history. If this is true, then his Overtime advantage is actually the Retrogression advantage from GURPS Time Travel, with the Unconscious and Uncontrollable Limits (-50%) for a cost of 20 points.
Whatever the case, Tyler's erratic "overtime" ability is generally an asset. His overtime can sometimes be dangerous; zoning out for even a few seconds can be deadly in a firefight or other dangerous situation. Fortunately, Tyler's ability always seems to choose the safest possible moment as his "destination." It always serves to warn Tyler of choices he should avoid in some way, and it always takes the form of "visions" completely indistinguishable from real life.
Tyler's ability appears to have some other side effects. One is increased intuition. His hunches are often right, and he sometimes gets "gut feelings" about things even outside of overtime. Tyler's abilities have also taken a toll on him. He lives in two worlds: the real world and "overtime." He's somewhat paranoid, since he never really knows whether what he is experiencing is real or not. He has "died" and been horribly injured many times, only to wake up hours, days, or even weeks earlier to find out the whole thing never happened. This includes one time when Tyler's FBI team accidentally set off a powerful bomb that leveled the Federal Building in Dallas -- or would have, had it actually happened. These experiences have led Tyler to wonder if it is even possible for him to be killed. Would he die or simply "overtime" back to some point of safety? Is he really changing history, or seeing futures that might be? He's developed a certain amount of solipsism, too. His ability makes him question whether or not anything is actually real, including himself.
Despite his best efforts, Tyler has absolutely no conscious control over his ability. It generally seems to activate in situations of extreme personal danger. It has been known to activate for no apparent reason. . . at least none Tyler could pinpoint, and sometimes it doesn't activate until Tyler is fatally injured, or even "dead." In the Dallas incident, Tyler experienced being blown apart by the explosion before he overtimed back. These incidents have left some psychological scars, and Tyler cannot explain to anyone how he suffers from traumas that "never happened."
In game terms, Tyler's ability allows for some non-linear storytelling. Characters can break into a terrorist base and start shooting, then have some of the characters end up dead or dying. Tyler is shot and fatally wounded, and suddenly the scene switches to the team getting ready to leave for the base. Tyler comes out of a fugue and says, "We can't attack directly. We need to find another way." The whole thing never really happened. Of course, there's no way for anyone to know when a scene is an overtime vision, so characters can't really rely on Tyler's ability to save them from disaster.
Characters who find out about Tyler's ability may become his confidants and allies. Perhaps Tyler is not the only "overtimer" out there; the characters might have similar abilities. And what if there are criminals who have Tyler's gift? How does a precognitive catch another when they both know what's going to happen?
Of course, there is also the possibility that Tyler's power really does involve some sort of time travel, and that might attract attention: from the Time Cops (such as Stopwatch from GURPS Time Travel) or from even stranger interdimensional beings (like Hounds of Tindalos from GURPS Chthulupunk).
- Illuminati/Horror: Tyler's abilities fit just fine into an atmosphere of paranoid conspiracy or modern horror. Illuminated campaigns can emphasize Tyler's abilities to learn things he shouldn't and use that information to alter the past, plus the possibility of other government or secret psionic experiments, or the possibility that other "overtimers" are the real puppet-masters of the Conspiracy. Horror games should emphasize the living hell of a man who can be injured or killed in any number of different ways, but who keeps coming back to live it over and over again, along with the frustration of knowing the future, but not always being able to change it.
- Black Ops: Tyler would make an interesting Black Ops agent (probably a Tech or Security Op). Certainly the life of a Black Op provides more than enough opportunities for his overtime ability to show up. Tyler could be a Psi Op if he chooses to tell the Company about his ability, or he might try and keep it to himself, although it's likely the Company would find out about it sooner or later.
- Supers: Special Agent Tyler makes an interesting supporting character for a Supers campaign, since he is technically a low-level super himself. He could be an FBI agent, helping heroes hunt down super-criminals, or he might be an agent of a more four-color organization, like the United Nations of GURPS International Super-Teams. In a Wild Cards game, Tyler can be a government ace (although he probably thinks of himself as more of a deuce, or even a joker).
- Science Fiction: Simply give him some more high-tech skills and Tyler can be an agent of the Galactic Patrol or some other interplanetary or interstellar police force. His overtime ability might be a secret in settings where psionics are mistrusted or feared (such as the Imperium of GURPS Traveller), or he might work openly as a "psi-cop" (in which case his Secret can be removed). Tyler could be an interesting character in a Cyberpunk campaign featuring low-level psionic abilities.
- Fantasy: With a little work, Tyler Wells can be a lawman operating in a fantasy setting. He could be an agent of the King's Justice with a remarkable ability for having visions. Whether these visions are considered divinely inspired or evil witchcraft (and whether or not Tyler keeps his ability a secret) is up to the GM, and more than one wizard may be interested in learning the secret of Tyler's abilities. In an Old West setting with psionic or magical abilities (like Pinnacle's Deadlands), Tyler can be a Secret Service agent or a local sheriff.
Tyler Wells contacts the player characters in his capacity as an FBI agent. The PCs may be special civilian consultants, fellow agents, part of another government organization, witnesses to a crime, etc. Wells is assigned to work with them on a case. He seems very odd to the PCs from the beginning: acting like he knows them, recalling things the characters are sure they haven't told him, and so forth.
In fact, Wells has worked this case with the PCs "before." He's already overtimed back to just prior to meeting the characters twice, so he already knows a great deal about them and the case. Both times he was unable to prevent both himself and several of the characters from being killed. He does his best to protect everyone involved without revealing his foreknowledge of certain events. It's likely the PCs will become suspicious that Wells might be involved, in which case they may learn his secret.
Article publication date: July 21, 2000
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