I’ve always wanted to run a Mutants & Masterminds super named Retcon. His only power is to hit the Groundhog Day button when shit goes south. I still haven’t figured out what his sidekick Metagame does.

As far as using the power of retcon in a real game, I’m not sure I’ve ever pulled it off successfully. The problem is that you’ve got to have player buy-in, and breaking the flow of story (Never mind! None of that happened!) is a surefire way to lose player buy-in.

Case in point, I recently made a bad call in a Pathfinder game. It was a near-TPK, and only one little gnome was left un-petrified. A bunch of evil medusae were closing in, and the heroic gnome was feverishly trying to drag his stone buddies onto the group’s teleporting magic carpet. After a desperate series of potions, alchemical items, and Strength checks, he’d mostly succeeded. However, the party’s petrified cavalier was still sitting atop his petrified mount. Only two of the mount’s feet were on the carpet. When the carpet did its thing, I ruled that the cavalier got left behind.

Now if I’d handled it better, that sequence of events could have made for an interesting scenario. Suffice it to say that the way I described the scene was less than awesome. My players felt as if they’d been put into a no-win situation, robbed of their agency, and killed by GM fiat. That’s not really the point though. Once I realized that my players had crossed into not-having-fun territory, I tried to use the power of retcon to patch things up.

“OK guys. Clearly you’re not satisfied with that call. Let’s talk. How do you think it should have gone?”

We spent the next twenty minutes rattling off options. Maybe there was a teleporter mishap? We could put the cavalier in some random quarter of the dungeon. Or what if we went back and replayed the scene? Why not go full retcon and just say the cavalier got taken along after all? None of that happened though. After much discussion, the group decided to stick with the original call. I’ve said it before, but nobody wants an asterisk next to their character’s name. Even if it was a bad call, there’s something to be said for letting the ruling on the field stand. I just hope the captured-by-evil-snake-ladies cavalier feels the same!

What about you guys? Have you ever used the power of retcon in-game? Did it work for you? Tell us your tales of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey continuity in the comments!


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