Will the Universe exist forever, and one day be cluttered with sentient life filling it's every inhabitable nook and cranny? Or will it collapse or tear itself apart long before that? There's several possible answers to that question, and the scientific community is not certain.
- Big Freeze - it gets too cold for life, related to Heat Death
- Heat Death - energy spreads out uniformly across the universe, and there's not enough variation left to support life
- Big Rip - phantom energy and dark energy rip apart everything into subatomic particles
- Big Crunch - the universe collapses into a singularity
- Big Bounce - the universe collapses, then expands again, then collapses again, expands again, and so on in cycles
- Multiverse - each universe generates more universes, sprouting off each other. There is no end, only new beginnings.
- Vacuum Metastability Event - the universe quantum tunnels to a lower energy state, radically altering all the known laws of physics
- Many-Worlds Interpretation - every time and way the universe could be destroyed, it creates a parallel universe that isn't destroyed.
Game and Story Use
- A big flashy end of the Universe is like The End Of The World As We Know It dialed up to 11.
- It can capture the sense of wonder of your players, really make them sit up and take notice.
- It's a heck of a threat to dangle above their heads, and makes for the end of an amazing time travel or space opera campaign.
- "Countless sci-fi and fantasy works use the threatened destruction of the universe as their plot device, usually with an evil supervillain and/or the incompetence of humanity as the cause, and usually with human ingenuity saving the day." So sayeth Wikipedia.
- One way to explain the absence of the Neglectful Precursors is to say they were from a previous universe, and died when it collapsed. But they were able to seed the mechanism that would spark life in our universe quicker than it happened in theirs.
- A way to show that your Sufficiently Advanced Aliens are truly epic and powerful is to establish that they were born in another universe billions of years before our universe existed. When their universe died and collapsed, they escaped into ours.