This page is about the Time Travel Character Archetype of an experienced and capable time traveler. For the list of crazy cool things such a character can do with a time machine, see Temporal Tricks.
He may still goof up from time to time and create a Temporal Paradox when he didn't mean to, but when that happens, he doesn't panic. He jumps to the distant past (so as to be safely isolated from the Delayed Ripple Effect, if the setting allows them) or future (where he can research what went wrong), where he'll have "all the time in the world" to figure out an effective solution. Patience and Confidence are hallmarks of the Veteran Chrononaut.
The Veteran Chrononaut is likely to know about all of the temporal tricks. He'll be able to do any that are possible given his technology and the laws of temporal physics in the setting. He'll probably have tested those that are dangerous or theoretical, and has a good idea whether or not they'll work.
In addition to those listed on the Temporal Tricks page, he'll be familiar with the limitations or applicability of the following tropes:
- Changed My Jumper (Likewise, Future Slang and Time Travel Tense Trouble are no trouble for this character)
- Grays Sports Almanac (If the chrononaut has no moral qualms about abusing foreknowledge for personal gain, he'll be rich several times over)
- Instant Guitar Lesson (They probably have a list of mentors, teachers, and colleges in various eras)
- Intangible Time Travel or Mental Time Travel, if they're possible and healthy.
- Rubber Band History, Ontological Inertia, and Temporal Paradox - they know just how far you can push things, and have learned how to set up a Stable Time Loop or pull the wool over causality.
- The Veteran Chrononaut will generally be Genre Savvy, and aware of the various dangers that lurk in the time stream.
- He'll know what eras allow for Newspaper Dating and be very practiced at asking "What Year is This?" without sounding like a nutjob or a time-traveler.
Unlike the Temporal Physics Professor, the Chrononaut is not necessarily an expert on the science and theory of time travel. Instead, he has an intuitive understanding of the practical applications and limits of his abilities. He can probably fix the most common Time Machine malfunctions, but might lack the know-how to build one from scratch. If his machine breaks catastrophically in a primitive era, he may have to take The Slow Path.
Game and Story Use
- Natural Selection ensures that most Time Travelers encountered will fit this paradigm. The foolish ones either wiped themselves out of existence, got arrested by the Time Police, or were eaten by Clock Roaches. This is parallel to how WWII fighter pilots tended to fall into two categories: The Ace and the guy who died on his first mission.
- The character arc from Bewildered Time Novice to Veteran Chrononaut can be fun and very rewarding to play out.