This Time Travel Trope describes the situation where a time traveling character meets a future their future self, and finds that version of them to be distasteful in some way. They may have turned evil, they may be fulfilling a different character trope or role, they may have an odious personal habit or personality trait, or they might just have a lot of painful-looking scars.
Often, this results in a character wanting to change the future so that they don't have the perceived flaws. Making such a change, though, might create a Temporal Paradox.
Game and Story Use
- In a game that features Temporal Mutability, or alternate timelines, the GM could have a lot of fun using multiple different versions of the characters future or alternate self. Some versions of future you might even be your enemy, trying to prevent current you or past you from doing the thing you really want to do that eventually ruin/ruined their/your life. Every decision a PC makes might spawn a new alternate them.
- In a game that adheres to Ontological Inertia and/or the Novikov Self-Consistency Principle, there's probably nothing you can do to change your future you. See predestination paradox.
- This can be very tricky for the GM to pull off. Future you's actions have to be believable, or the player will protest, and rightly so. Know your players, and don't be afraid to sound them out on this. What you'll lose in surprise factor, you'll make up for in player enjoyment at having a veto power. Some relish the idea of playing a character that eventually goes mad, turns evil, or commits autoinfanticide. Other players would feel cheated or abused if the GM presented that as an unavoidable destiny, and springing it on them as a surprise would have made it even worse.