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#14206200 Sep 08, 2019 at 04:47 PM
205 Posts
I know Captain Chronos is a thing (but no more than that), and that Mechanon resulted from an ill-advised attempt at changing the past, but beyond those two points (and the fact our Anniversary host this year seems to be connected somehow)...

In short, could we get a primer on time-travel in the CO-verse?
#14206227 Sep 08, 2019 at 07:36 PM
1410 Posts
Um, that's a pretty complicated topic, with various aspects, not all of them explicitly spelled out. Did you mean, how time-travel works? Or what time-travelers there are in the CU?

Assuming for the moment you're asking about the first case, I'll just throw out an opening salvo in this discussion, with a brief outline of the nature of Time from Book Of The Empress pp. 23-24, dealing with Istvatha V'han, perhaps the most accomplished time-traveler in the Multiverse: "According to her perceptions, as influenced by the research conducted by her scientists, there’s a single overall Stream Of Time that applies throughout the Multiverse... but each dimension’s “branch” of the overall Stream “runs” at its own speed. In some dimensions (such as two or more alternate Earths), time flows along at nearly the same rate, with the same events happening at more or less the same time. But in other planes time moves faster, or slower, or “curves” in unusual ways...

However, again according to her perceptions, every branch of the Stream Of Time has chronal nodes — dates/events/incidents of such importance that their outcome can affect the future flow of time by splitting off a new “branch” of the Stream (and thus creating a new dimension in the process). The typical events in the life of a typical person don’t create or involve chronal nodes; they can be changed by time travelers without affecting the overall flow of time in any meaningful way. But events of great significance, or the actions of extremely important persons, are/create chronal nodes. Interfering with a chronal node thus can “change history” going forward from that point.

Some chronal nodes are very specific and discrete — such as whether a certain person does or does not cross a certain street at a certain time. But others are very “broad,” such as whether a particular war is fought and who wins it. (Some scientists consider the latter merely a large collection of specific chronal nodes, rather than a single large node; research is ongoing.)"

What I believe is implied by those statements is that it's possible for someone whose life and the events in it don't form a "chronal node" to go back in time and change those events for him/herself without causing a new branch of the Time Stream to form. Hence for everyone in that branch those changes would become the "new reality" which has always been that way. However, if a node is meddled with, rather than changing that branch, a new one is formed creating another "alternate" universe.

One example of the former case may be Istvatha V'han herself. In meddling with the past of her own home dimension, V'ha-1, for her benefit, V'han discovered she had inadvertently erased her own family from having ever existed, even though she continued to exist and V'ha-1 was mostly unchanged otherwise.

As to the second case, interfering with chronal nodes seems to be the M.O. of another time-traveling conqueror, Korrex, a Human and ruler of Earth of the 51st Century (who is fully described in Golden Age Champions). Korrex travels to a past era of Terrestrial history, conquering it and creating a new alternate Earth dimension. Korrex sets one of his followers to govern that new Earth, then moves on to another era.

OTOH not all dimensions have alternates like Earth or V'ha. Istvatha's scientists call those which do "keystone dimensions," but the majority of dimensions are unique. So changes to time in those may actually alter those singular dimensions without creating alternates. The fate of the dimension containing the planet Koratho may be illustrative of that. The Korathons were all immensely physically superhuman. When V'han's armies attempted to conquer their dimension, the Korathons crushed them. Istvatha was concerned that now they knew about other dimensions, the Korathons would eventually invade her own empire; so she traveled back to before Koratho coalesced into a planet, and prevented it from doing so. There's no indication that any alternate version of Koratho exists.

It's worth noting that Time is not simply a condition that can be infinitely molded at will, as noted on p. 40 of Champions Beyond, which describes the "space/cosmic" side of the CU: "The cosmic entity Chrono controls/is responsible for the orderly flow of Time and existence of Space. He ensures that one second keeps ticking after another, that galaxies and universes continue their cosmic pirouettes, and that the dimensions of the Multiverse remain in their proper place. In short, he’s the one who makes sure that all moments in time do not occur simultaneously (or in incorrect order) and that all places and objects do not occupy the same space at once.

Chrono has complete control over time — he can travel through it, reverse it, speed it up, and otherwise alter it as necessary to fulfill his duties. It’s thought that he keeps a close eye on time travelers and covertly steps in to stop them if their activities become too dangerous...

Chrono rarely interacts with other beings (cosmic or otherwise). When his work would require that, he usually sends a proxy: his servant (child? ally? alternate form? projection?) Entropus, sometimes referred to as “the Time Elemental.”

As long as Chrono/Entropus is allowed to do his job properly, not even superheroes are likely to become aware of his existence. But if something goes wrong — for example, if another cosmic entity or a crazed supervillain... attacks him, or he gets “sick” — all of Reality is in danger." [CB then describes a couple of examples in which this occurred.]

I'd just like to stress that some of the assumptions I make above are only extrapolated from the available examples, and can't be considered definitive statements from the creators of those examples. Also, as I always say, this is a comic-book world. The needs of a given story, or what would be "fun" to play out, often supersede adherence to precedent. 😉

Now, if you had some other aspect of CU time-travel in mind, you'll need to spell that out. 😋
#14206237 Sep 08, 2019 at 08:22 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1410 Posts
I think I also should have dealt with the example of Captain Chronos, because in some ways he appears to counter the precedents detailed above. While CC is fully written up in Champions Villains Volume Three: Solo Villains, his true origin is revealed in Book Of The Machine, detailed source book for the genocidal robot Mechanon. The Captain comes from the 61st Century, an era when the Earth is devastated and Humanity is reduced to surviving in a few domed cities. Chronos wants to alter the future just enough to prevent that disaster from happening. The way his actions are expressed in those books seem to imply that he seeks to actually transform the world he came from by altering its past, and its inhabitants would remember only its new history, not the way it was before. But the principles I transcribed previously on this thread would seem to assert that the best he could do would be to create a new alternate version of Earth.

As I see it there are two possibilities to explain the apparent contradiction. Perhaps Captain Chronos's understanding of Time is so sophisticated that he knows how to profoundly alter a specific time line without creating a new branch. His extremely carefully calculated modifications to the present day would suggest that's at least possible. The other explanation is that he doesn't understand Time as well as he thinks he does. Personally I think that's more likely, since BOTM reveals that Mechanon is the result of an earlier, failed attempt to change the past of the 61st Century, corrupted due to incomplete comprehension of the temporal physics involved.

Or, like I mentioned earlier, it's different because the Captain's creator wanted him to be part of a different story. 😇
#14206488 Sep 09, 2019 at 07:39 AM
205 Posts
If it helps, I'm largely looking at the base mechanics - always a mixed bag in any setting, whether the timeline shifts fluidly or (ala Gargoyles) stubbornly tries to force the issue of how it goes - and also, not covered that I saw (and thanks for the huge amount of info already provided!) if there is active regulatory presence, time-police, etc, to keep from manipulative shenanigans - how much will Chrono and/or Entropus tolerate, does V'han (who remains criminally underused, from my understanding) try to ensure no one uses her own dirty timeline tricks against her, etc.?

If it helps, I threw together a character for the "40 in a week challenge' using Superspeed and Stealth/Boomerangs and realized about ten levels in that Banshee (or, if one prefers, the armor's designation, B4N5H3E) was, thematically, using timey-wimey powers - and started building accordingly.. weaponized 'glitches' in time, essentially - I wonderd if there was any sort of precedent there?
#14206889 Sep 10, 2019 at 01:54 AM · Edited 1 month ago
1410 Posts
Because your original question was so general, I felt I had to answer generally; but I suspected you were looking for a rationale for a character. 😉

The Hero System (game-mechanical engine for tabletop Champions and all their other games) makes a distinction between the mechanical effects of a Power, i.e. what it does in game terms, and its "special effects," meaning the rationale for what it is, how it "looks" or "feels." For example, the game has no Power called, "Lightning Bolt." Instead you can choose a generic Power or Powers that reflect what you want to do to a target mechanically, e.g. Blast to inflict damage, Flash to blind and/or deafen it, etc., with the Special Effect being a bolt of lightning. But it could just as easily be defined as fire, or light, or sound, or ice, or sand, and so on.

What this means is that you can use any Power's game mechanic which you can rationalize as fitting your Special Effect. And that rationale can be as broad as your Game Master will allow (some power constructs can be too unbalancing to the game). Since your interest is in time powers, let me give you examples of some of the gimmicks the aforementioned Captain Chronos is capable of, from his write-up in Champions Villains Volume Three: Solo Villains.

Temporal Acceleration — Captain Chronos accelerates a person through time so rapidly the victim ages, withers, and eventually dies/collapses.
Temporal Disharmony — Captain Chronos “jerks” the target backward and forward through time, stressing the target’s system to the point where he passes out.
No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn — Captain Chronos rapidly accelerates the target through time for about a day, until the target is too sleepy to remain awake.
Age Manipulation — Captain Chronos reverses or accelerates the flow of time around a person or object, making it younger or older.
Temporal Ambush — Captain Chronos stops time throughout reality, puts a big physical object (like a rock) over his target’s head, slightly redirects an attack or moving object, or otherwise puts his target in harm’s way. Then he returns to where he was standing and starts time again. The rock falls (or the like), hurting the target. To the target and everyone else, it’s as if the rock appeared out of nowhere to fall on him!
Fast Time, Slow Time Bubbles, Rapid Healing — Captain Chronos can put a person in a bubble of fast time (to make him move much more quickly, though this tires the subject out quickly) or slow time (to keep him from moving at his normal speed). He can also put someone in a bubble of fast time so they heal from their injuries in the blink of an eye.
Stop Time Bubble — Captain Chronos can put the target in a bubble of stopped time, preventing him from moving or doing anything. Only people with temporal or dimensional manipulation powers can escape until Captain Chronos chooses to disperse the bubble.
Rapid Transit — Captain Chronos stops time throughout reality, walks up to 60m from where he started, and then starts time again. To others, he seems to have vanished from his starting point and reappeared instantly at his destination.
Walkin’ To Jerusalem — Captain Chronos stops time throughout reality, walks across Earth to get to wherever he wants to go, and then re-starts time. If he wants to cross the ocean, he selectively reverses time around Earth until he reaches the point where the continents are joined together, walks to where he wants to be, and then fastforwards time back to the present day.
Gone Out For Food — Captain Chronos stops time throughout reality, walks to whatever restaurant he feels like eating at, starts time so he can get something to eat, then reverses time and walks back to where he was. He often brings food back to his friends, keeping it in a stop time bubble so it remains fresh:
“I sure could go for some Greek food,” Defender said.
::Captain Chronos gets up:: “One second....”
::Captain Chronos doesn’t appear to move, but suddenly there’s a basket of food in his hand::
“Here, I got this from this great little place I know in Athens — in 1869.”

All of these have game-mechanic definitions for what happens, but the above are their Special Effects, which make them unique.

I do sympathize with your feeling that Istvatha V'han has been underutilized; but you should be aware that there's a sizeable PnP source book, Book Of The Empress, devoted primarily to her. It includes her detailed background and history, as well as delving into her personality and motivations, and outlining her plans for campaigns of conquest. A great deal of the book is devoted to laying out her staggeringly vast empire, and how she administers it: the countless alternate and unique dimensions she rules, with a wide range of examples; the responsibilities of the many divisions of her government; her military resources, including superhumans who serve her. Another significant section of BOTE is devoted to a thorough discussion of the Champions "multiverse" and how it's constructed, including a goodly number of dimensions outside V'han's control. There's also discussion of Istvatha's rivals and enemies, internal and external.

All of that is preface to saying that yes, the Empress has taken steps to secure her empire from interference by other time travelers. Her Temporal Security Patrol (officers of whom are called "Temporal Sentinels") use imperial technology to monitor the timeline in search of unauthorized time travelers, possible undesired changes to imperial history, and the like. They’re also in charge of overseeing all imperial time travel technology (and related devices) and authorizing trips to the future or past by imperial personnel.

Otherwise, there is no official body of "time police" maintaining the integrity of Time across the Multiverse. It's tough to say at what point Chrono/Entropus might intervene with meddling in time, but precedents for these cosmic beings suggest it may have to be something that effects entire universes or multiple dimensions. Even then, though, setting it right may require intervention by superheroes. One outstanding example is the so-called "Secret Crisis," described as "a war across space and time involving almost all the heroes who had ever existed or will exist," precipitated by the aforementioned Korrex stealing the power of Entropus and becoming a time "god." The heroes managed to overload Korrex's power, causing him to discorporate. (Korrex survived and subsequently recovered, returning to his previous activities.)

It would seem that Istvatha V'han's meddling in time isn't extensive enough to draw Chronos's ire... unless some of her failures, or even her successes, could be attributed to his influence. (That's not official, mind you.) 😉

I should also mention that BOTE also describes and writes up a fearsome monster called the Time-Beast which deliberately hunts and devours time- and dimension-travelers, and often causes disruptive changes to the time stream. Some theorize that it's an avatar or "pet" of some sort of cosmic entity, but its actions appear random.
#14206948 Sep 10, 2019 at 04:45 AM
205 Posts
Banshee (again, the person in the suit is far more nebulous just yet, and I've not even fully decided if the powers are the suit itself, if the suit is a containment device to stabilize the powers, etc.) has currently been set up to use 'time anomalies' for various benefits (I'm not very familiar with HERO mechanically, but the 'base power defined with FX is quite familiar to all three of the other systems I've dabbled with over the years - Silver Age Sentinels [gone but not forgotten], Mutants & Masterminds 2E, and Necessary Evil [Savage Worlds' supers setting, with quite the entertaining premise, but neither here nor there, that] - used it, so I'm no stranger to playing loose with the 'written' nature of CO's powers). If one is curious:

  • Time Shards : This started it - the Boomerang Throw power can have absurd time-stutters as it splits and spreads and sometimes enemies 'survive' only to fall over a second later, or the 'rang hits, splits, then bounces back... the notion being the poor saps are being attacked from multiple timeline convergences at once, and the more targets being affected, the messier and more-unstable the 'local convergence' becomes..
  • Other Lives : BCR and Masterful Dodge - avoiding / healing harm by flickering through alternate possibilities where injuries didn't happen
  • Traveling Time " Teleporting and Super Speed
  • Time Bombs : Dimensional Collapse, Sonic Device, and Dimensional Rift - all various forms of 'momentarily punching holes in the timeline to cause targeted chaos'

I've had some rough thoughts on background - a scientist who lost family/friends as a child in the Battle of Detroit trying to time-travel and getting caught in the energy release and getting their device scrambled when Destroyer's kill-sat hit the city, or a traveler from a timeline where Tyrannon showed up on schedule who couldn't let the Superheroic Age go and tried to time-travel but instead dimension-hopped with very unreliable super-tech... but again, all rudimentary and nothing solid.

Any details on this Secret Crisis? And with the above information, any thoughts to help flesh this concept out?
#14206988 Sep 10, 2019 at 06:40 AM
1410 Posts
No more details on the Secret Crisis, other than a few casualties mentioned here and there. And I'm fresh out of character ideas, at least anything more original than what you already have. Sorry. 😐
#14209155 Sep 14, 2019 at 05:53 AM · Edited 1 month ago
1410 Posts
I do have another thought that may or may not help you, since your thinking revolves around "temporal anomalies," and your character's suit is technological. Champions book sources cite Mechanon as one of the biggest temporal anomalies on Champions Earth today, because
it was originally sent from the same future era as Captain Chronos to try to change the past, but its programming was scrambled during the trip.
Captain Chronos pointedly avoids Mechanon for fear of disruption to the timeline from their mutual anachronistic proximity. Istvatha V'han's research has identified Mechanon as one of those critical chronal nodes I mentioned in my first reply to you.

So, if your character was experimenting in temporal physics, contact with Mechanon could cause unpredictable disruptions -- and an origin. 😉 Mechanon always covets advanced technology it may be able to use for one of its genocidal schemes, so if it learns of her research it would probably attack to try to steal it. If your character employs some sort of artificial intelligence, Mechanon would definitely be motivated to "liberate" it from slavery to an organic (only to serve Mechanon, of course). If you'd like an ironic "full circle" moment, one of Mechanon's past rampages could have led to the tragedy she wants to go back to change.
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