Out Of Time Out Of Mind
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Basic Information

This Time Travel Trope refers to the strange situation where a character experiences a great deal of time relative to everyone else yet does not act any different. He might not have aged; he might be seeing his friends again just as he left them; his house may still be there; but just living for a few extra decades, regardless of whether the world is different, should lead to a very noticeable change in personality. It just about never does, except in the most trivial way.

If the passing of the ages does result in character development, it may upgrade them into a veteran chrononaut or alienate them as a time abyss, in addition to any other character arc the specifics of their life may dictate.


That bit of text comes straight from the TV Tropes Wiki, which also provides numerous examples in fiction.

Game and Story Use

  • In general, this is on the list of things to avoid in time travel games, as it strains suspension of disbelief and will no doubt piss off the Method Actors in your group (assuming you have any).
    • Of course, if your group lacks Method Actors, it might not be worth the effort to avoid it.
  • There are at least a few ways to use this trope positively:
    • In a humorous game, it's probably no big deal if you just ignore the implications, as doing so will keep the plot and jokes flying.
    • In a game where mysteries, investigations, or problem-solving are common, this Trope could be a sign that an NPC is lying to the players about how they got stranded and had to take The Slow Path to rejoin the party. You probably want to expose the deception fairly quickly, though. If carried on too long, it'll stop looking suspicious and might be mistaken for lazy GMing.
    • The lack of change could be used to illustrate how different one PC or NPC is from the rest of the party. While everyone else undergoes massive changes and character development during their 100-year Ground Hog Day experience, one character (a programmed android, immortal sidhe, or Lennie Small-esque simpleton) remains unchanged, with the same personality and motivations they had before getting stuck in the time loop.
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