Delayed Ripple Effect
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Basic Information

This Time Travel Trope deals with the notion that whatever consequences come from a Temporal Paradox will take a while to catch up with the characters who changed history. It's sort of a way to go easy on the time traveling character, by giving them a window of time in which to fix their problem.

Exactly when the consequences will kick in might be defined by the rules of time travel within the setting, or it might be left to GM fiat. It may be you'll never feel the effects as long as you don't travel into the future ever again. Such problems travel at the speed of plot, often manifesting in whatever way or time will be most dramatic. When they do kick in, they might be gradual piece-meal changes, or they might be perceived as a single visible Time Ripple.



Game and Story Use

  • The GM can use the Delayed Ripple Effect towards many ends, depending on how the setting deals with Paradox and whether or not the PCs have Ripple Effect Proof Memory.
    • It can function as a ticking clock, demanding corrective action or continual flight through time.
      • Less ominously, it could serve as a visible window of opportunity for the PCs to go back and fix the disaster they'd inadvertently caused.
    • It might also come as sudden transformation without warning, the heavy hammer of god to punish players who weren't cautious enough.
  • Delayed Ripple Effects can be an in-character explanation of why some PC is unavailable due to his player not showing up for the session. Some unresolved paradox the PCs had created before, and he's temporarily forced to go off and deal with it.
    • A wicked GM might decide the character in question no longer exists, and won't again until the other PCs go Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Of course, if the PCs don't step up to the challenge, you run the risk of just having punished poor attendance with character death. With the right group, though, it could work.
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