Time Traveler's Immortality
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That which did not kill me has already been retroactively aborted.

Basic Information

Time Travelers have a situational version of Immortality, being able to outlast anything that doesn't kill them instantly, and avoid anything that did kill them instantly. If it sounds paradoxical - it probably is. If it sounds like smoke and mirrors, it is - this is all just logical extrapolation of various Temporal Tricks.

  • Future Google allows for some pretty accurate self-diagnosis, at least useful as a starting point. You can find out if a cure will ever be found for your condition, and then go to a time and place where the cure is cheap. This effectively renders all chronic illness and slow-acting poisons quite impotent.
  • Tomorrow's Tech Today gives you the best medical treatment available - you can have the best doctor ever, and the pinnacle of medical technology. So, that which does not kill you instantly won't kill you down the road either.
    • This trick also provides access to the best protective measures that can reasonably blend into your current spacetime locale, which should avert at least a few things that would otherwise kill you instantly.
    • The science and medicine of the future will no doubt result in longer lifespans as well. If science ever figures out how to prevent or trivialize senescence, whether by healthy living or a telomere recharge, you'll be able to capitalize on it and become ageless.
  • Wild Stallion Rule provides a couple more ways around slow dangers. You can inoculate your infant self long before catching the disease, have the antidote or gas mask waiting behind a tree, or just arrive to give a timely warning to your younger self.
  • Tachyonic Antitelephone technology can also warn you of danger and prevent it from ever happening.
  • Tricked Out Time might let you survive even confirmed kills and instant deaths, provided some sort of warning reaches you before death does. You might be able to fake your own death to dodge fate. If nothing else, a friend who can also time travel might be able to intervene. Branching Timelines might even result in a form of Quantum Immortality just for those who can Time Travel, or their friends. Two time-travelers who watch each other's backs, and are careful about information control and not traveling linearly in reference to each other, should be able to retroactively prevent each other's deaths under nearly all circumstances.

If your time travel is instantaneous and/or controlled by thought, there's also the option of just teleporting away from danger.

Note that not all interpretations of Time Travel will make you Immortal - in some settings You Can't Fight Fate. It all depends on how Our Time Travel Is Different. If your time machine is bulky, slow to power-up, awkward, unreliable, or requires rare phlebotinum fuel, you'll be less immortal than if you time travel via psionics or godlike powers. But certainly, it should be rare (almost unheard of) for a Genre Savvy Veteran Chrononaut to die of mundane means, nothing short of homicide by a fellow time traveler is likely to do the job. Enemy action from a foe who's a Time Master may be enough to kill you, though, or even prevent you from ever existing.

See also Autoinfanticide, Delayed Ripple Effect and Ontological Inertia.


1. RPG: Continuum by Aetherco - covers some of the above, and includes a mechanic for cheating death (but you do eventually have to pay the piper).

The rest was just a little thought experiment of my own, where I brainstormed ways a time traveler could escape death.

Game and Story Use

  • Trying to kill a time traveling villain is hard work. Expect to fail a few times first.
    • Or, the GM could subvert this by having a villain who either:
      • Doesn't understand time travel enough to realize they can pull this off.
      • Thinks they're capable of these tricks, but really aren't.
  • This partial-invulnerability can be part of the charm of a Time Travel campaign - the PCs have a pretty solid version of plot armor, and can afford to screw up on their first attempts if they're willing to clean-up afterwords. That frees you up for action, heroism, and just plain goofing off.
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