The Temporal Physics Professor is a Time Traveler who has a very good grasp on the theoretical, scientific, or philosophical side of Time Travel. He may have built, or even invented, his own Time Machine - or he could just be someone who's really read up on temporal theory.
The important distinction between the Temporal Physics Professor and the Veteran Chrononaut is one of education vs experience. Not unlike the difference between a guy who rebuilds classic cars, and a race car driver. The professor knows what is possible, while the chrononaut knows how to do it. If you need to get some defined task accomplished, call the chrononaut, but if you need to figure out what's going on, call the professor. When something goes wrong, however, the difference is more pronounced - the Veteran Chrononaut (by definition) stays calm, but the professor just might be overwhelmed by the ramifications. The professor is still a lot more effective than a Bewildered Time Novice, 'cause once the initial panic passes he'll be able to think outside the box and come up with a solution.
Of course, some characters might fill both roles, both understanding the science and being skilled in its practical applications. This is a powerful combination - they might even be a Time Master.
Game and Story Use
- Good character type for players who like to solve puzzles, or who've read the time travel rules thoroughly, but haven't actually used them in play yet.
- When a villain dazzles you all with a new time trick, only the Professor will be able to figure out what he did and how he did it.
- Can also serve as an NPC / plot device, with or without a side of Mad Scientist.
- The PCs are stranded in the past, and need a Temporal Physics Professor to build a new time machine.