Iconic Heroes~ part 5

A friend mentioned what he saw as a potential problem for this game: time manipulation. I was glad of the comment, but as I want to make the game feel as much like the series as possible, I am trying to look at each ability as a potential for a good story, than as a barrier to running one. Time travel is tricky, and stories about it usually fall far short of the mark, but we keep coming back to it as audiences again and again – even against our will. I swear Star Trek writers must have had a clause in their contracts insisting that at least once a season (or every three episodes in the case of Enterprise) someone had to mention it.

In the grand scheme of things, while we know Hiro can bend space and time, the effects on the story were actually more often minor than major. He demonstrated the ability to teleport. He demonstrated the ability to slow or stop select items, or everything but himself. He also demonstrated the ability to reverse an object’s direction in time (clocks, a bullet) while still keeping it rooted in the present. (I find this application fascinating). While cool, and potent, there is nothing that will “wreck” a story or scenario here.

Time travel itself could be problematic from the point of view of maintaining consistency and avoiding paradox, but need not automatically be so. In the series, we see that Hiro is drawn to specific places and times, and that sometimes he ends up in these places when he intended to go elsewhere. While that could be represented as incompetence with the power (as Hiro sees it), it could also represent that the tides and currents of events can have a stronger pull on the traveller than the ability can handle. This can serve as both story development, and as a means to provide helpful limits to such a broad power, without robbing the player of the means to use it. The farther into the future one would go the vaguer things would become, and of course, the more likely one is to discover the actual limit of forward travel. Being drawn to a most probable future, is a good way to handle this. As for the past – logic be our guide.  

Hiro learns two valuable lessons about his gift in the first season. In the case of the waitress, he learns that there are some things he just cannot change, no matter how hard he tries, and he learns that there are practical limits to time travel. While this leads his character into a crisis of faith and identity, the uses for this potent impotence in storytelling will allow for a lot of different reactions, should the tale go that way.

Should a use of time travel (such as Save the Cheerleader) be found then alterations to the timeline need to handled in such a way as to allow good storytelling. Things like the Butterfly Effect just get annoying, I find. The series itself seems to show us that the alternate time line continues to exist. While that presents problems of its own, my initial thoughts, lead me to conclude that if a player were to have this ability, and were they to use it in this sort of way, that I would have the two competing timelines coexist until such time as resolution of this turning point in history was accomplished. From a Season 1 perspective, once Peter has saved Claire, and Nathan has saved Peter, the timelines would merge and the devastation of NY time line would vanish. This doesn’t hold up against Season 2, on the surface, but if looked at more deeply, the threat presented by the faction seeking to use the devastation, or the plague, or whathaveyou to ‘unite humanity’ keeps that alternate timeline alive by continually producing threats of a similar apocalyptic nature. Once dealt with, their timeline would vanish. I do not intend to use anything other than the setting and atmosphere of the show, however, so I do not have to burden the game with the issues created in subsequent seasons.

What do you think? Are there other problematic powers?

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