Temporal Meddler
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Basic Information

Changing history is dangerous. There's Temporal Paradox, Hitlers Time Travel Exemption Act, and all that Ontological Inertia to overcome. You might even accidentally commit Autoinfanticide or stomp on the Butterfly of Doom. Frankly, it's not worth it.

The Temporal Meddler probably knows that, but he just can't help himself. Like a moth to a flame, screwing with history is unavoidable. Maybe he's a Bewildered Time Novice, or a bad judge of risk. Perhaps she's jut curious about history, and doesn't mean to change anything… but that darned Observer Effect keeps tripping her up. Then again, he just might have an axe to grind, or at least something to prove. She might even be a Veteran Chrononaut who really ought to know better, but justifies the meddling because they have all the time in the world to fix anything they screw up.

Let's face it, the Temporal Meddler is definitely going to screw something up. Even if they set history on a better path, prevent their childhood trauma, and defeat Those Wacky Nazis, the truth remains they've changed the world for everyone else. If the setting has parallel worlds, alternate timelines, or even just Delayed Ripple Effects, somebody - probably a fellow time traveler - will notice and take affront at their actions. Anyone he's capable of noticing that history just changed, isn't someone you want to piss off. They'll probably be captured by the Time Police, consumed by Clock Roaches, or put down by some historical personage they shouldn't have messed with.

Even if the Temporal Meddler is the only time traveler in all of creation, the Meddler himself will find little things that aren't quite to his liking, and feel the need to go meddle again. After dozens of attempts to change the past, they'll eventually realize all that power still can't give them a world free from all the baggage of human nature. Nothing's more irritating being a God on paper, but still not quite being able to make the world exactly what you want. This road leads to madness, or at least becoming a bitter and jaded Retired Badass. Worse, the world they grew up in is gone, and now they're a stranger in their own time.


1. RPG: Continuum. Technically, you can't change history in Continuum, but that doesn't stop the Narcissists from trying. Narcissists are a broadly defined category of enemy that ranges from foolish Temporal Meddlers to something far more sinister.
2. Campaign: The Short Bus Spanners. Campaign log to a Continuum Campaign that this Arcanist ran. I had a Temporal Meddler NPC Villain. More interesting was the PC who went from Bewildered Time Novice to Temporal Meddler during the campaign, and provided much of the plot as the other PCs tried to pick up the pieces in his wake.
3. TV: One of the Halloween Special episodes of The Simpsons has Homer build a time machine, step on the butterfly of doom, and repeatedly go back trying to fix it. Even when he defeats the big bad and improves his family's lot in life, he just can't settle down in a world without donuts, and has to go back and try a few more changes.

Game and Story Use

  • The Big Bad Evil Guy might be a particularly precocious Meddler, resulting in a world that's constantly shifting around the PCs.
    • Or, if you like Moral Ambiguity in your gaming, the Meddler might be a good person, who doesn't mean to make a mess of history, but is in over his head.
  • Some players just can't control themselves. You give this sort of player a time machine, and they'll fall right into the Temporal Meddler role without meaning to.
    • Sit back and watch. This is a GMs dream - you never have to concoct a plot again, the Meddler will make it for you.
    • Of course, you'll have to improvise wildly, since they won't stick to a game plan or any single period of history.
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