Future Google
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Basic Information

Let's say your life depended on you knowing, ten minutes from now, the name of the first fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte.

If you live in Europe in the 1800s, you might be able to ask around real quick, and luck out on someone nearby knowing the answer.
If you're a history buff, you might grab a book off your shelf and look it up.
If you've got the internet you can look it up on wikipedia or a quick google search.

Time Travelers have all those options (and more), and they're available all the time. They can pop off to the future and do internet search, then return when they've got the answer. They can check a future version of wikipedia that hasn't been written yet. They can spend hours pouring through a library for the answer before returning the moment before they need the answer. They can call in a favor of a friend who lived through the era, and get them to ask ol' Bonaparte personally. They can invoke the Wild Stallion Rule to figure out the solution later, and tomorrow put the answer yesterday into the one pocket of today's pants they didn't check for messages this morning. If none of that works, they can go find their future self, and ask "remember that time I nearly got killed for for calling Bonaparte's sweetie by the wrong name? How'd I/we/you get out of that?"

Of course, some of those methods come with strings and dangers attached. If you can't find any future selves, or notes in your pocket, start to worry. If all your Veteran Chrononaut buddies get really quiet and teary-eyed when you ask them how you got out of this mess, then you'd best get your affairs in order.

Sources

Bibliography
1. RPG: Continuum breaks this notion into all sorts of subtypes, and details the drawbacks and advantages of each. It even assigns Future Slang names to them, like Frune and Iron Man.

Game and Story Use

  • If the Big Bad Evil Guy can do this, the PCs are in for a hell of a ride. He'll confound them at every step.
    • Some players respond very poorly to this, as it may stink of railroading or GM bias. If you're going to use it, be careful, and make sure they understand that time travel is involved.
  • In the hands of players, this can wreck mystery scenarios. Make sure you've considered all the ramifications of how time travel works in your game, and what impact it will have on your plots.
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