“We can say hi to future us. How cool is that?”

futurepondsIn a poignant that serves to bookend ‘The Hungry Earth’ and ‘Cold Blood’ Amy and Rory spot their future selves standing on a hill side in 2020. At the end Amy again sees her double, after Rory has been wiped from time, with a lingering feeling that there used to be someone else there.

For any player character that travels within their own lifetime encounters with their future selves becomes increasingly likely. As the above example demonstrates, since the future player character knows where the TARDIS will arrive it is a simple matter to be there.

The date of 2020 makes sense for Amy and Rory. They’d still be young enough to get the remote location yet the distance of years provides enough of a nostalgic motivation for them to make the journey.

They only want to see the TARDIS again, glimpse themselves in their prime. One can imagine that the older Amy and Rory experienced everything bar the death of Rory at the end. They knew they’d survive so didn’t bring any warnings, only a wave.

Wisely the more information an older companion brings to their younger selves the more time will change or lock both incarnations into a fixed point in time. ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ demonstrates why this is a bad thing.

Yet even their presence gave their younger selves some information. Not only that they were alive in 2020 (unless they’d arrived with their own 11th Doctor) but were apparently together, a fact that surprises Amy.

This could have an effect on the younger incarnations. Would Amy and Rory stay together now because they believed that is what they’d seen in the future or would they break apart, stifled by the knowledge that time was tying them into a fixed point?

A player character who knows that he is alive in the future might become careless, believing he is pre-destined to survive. A rebellious player character might make the opposite choices to defy fate, even as his actions continue to be dictated by what he has seen (and create a time loop where the younger incarnation makes the opposite choices of his older version in the last cycle).

The incident on the hill provides an example of time in flux. When Rory dies his older incarnation also vanishes. The older Amy would still make the trip, maybe to see Rory one more time, but she leaves alone.

When Amy comments that she thought she saw someone else on the hill is it a fading memory of Rory or can she perceive both timelines? It could be that time sensitive characters could witness both outcomes when time is in flux.

Events are more likely to be put into flux when past, present and future mingle. This is an important thing to remember when player characters get to close to their own personal past or future.

The biggest issue any games master has when introducing future versions of the player characters is that events might not pan out as shown. Here we have an Amy and Rory alive in 2020 when we know they’ll die in the past before that.

We are left to speculate what time line the older Amy and Rory experienced. As previously mentioned for an older Rory to be present initially he can’t have been killed or wiped from time.

Is this a glimpse then of a pre-crack time line? If the Silence were responsible for causing the TARDIS to explode then they changed how history was supposed to progress. Similarly without them kidnapping Amy she wouldn’t have been rendered unable to have further children.

In this unaltered timeline they must still be travelling with the Doctor (and presumably still the 11th Doctor since they would have been surprised by anyone other than the Doctor they know emerging from the TARDIS) as they know where their younger selves will appear.

The biggest question is whether River Song would exist, since she is tied both to Amy and Rory and the manipulations of the Silence. It is conceivable that the timeline could exist without her with minimal disruption with the exception of ‘Forest of The Dead’ where she sacrifices herself in the Doctors place but someone could of taken her role or the 10th Doctor could have survived, just regenerating early.

All of which means that the Doctor’s and the Pond’s timeline was originally much different. Without the Silence ‘The Pandorica Opens’, ‘The Big Bang’  and the storyline that runs through ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ to ‘The Wedding of River Song’ doesn’t happen.

If they still conceive a child on the TARDIS then we have a whole new storyline where Amy gives birth to a baby with the powers of a Time Lord. Would she and Rory settle down to raise their child? Would the Doctor visit or stay to help nurture the closest thing to a new member of his race?

The potential for new stories and ways in which the universe could have been changed by this alteration is endless. What is more they did happen, or at least they had when Amy and Rory first emerged from the TARDIS in 2020.

Eventually all roads would lead to Trenzalore. The Doctor would die, leaving his TARDIS and a scar in time. The Great Intelligence would gain access and rewrite time, causing reality to be wiped out.

Would Clara have existed in a timeline without the interference of the Silence? Would the end of everything have been able to be reversed? Our biggest clue is that the Silence knew this would happen, meaning that the information was sent back far enough for history to be changed.

Once they did what happened to the Amy and Rory of 2020? What happened to their version of the Doctor and his TARDIS? Did they just vanish like the extra 9th Doctor and Rose from ‘Father’s Day?’

In ‘Cold Blood’ the Doctor desperately tries to get Amy to remember Rory. Later episodes indicate that the Doctor never forgets him. So since it is possible for memories of events that never happened to be retained is there anyone who remembers this lost version of the Ponds?

Is there another version of the 11th Doctor who survived and is tormented by what he has lost? Does he struggle with the desire to bring them back with the knowledge that the Silence ultimately saved reality?

In your campaign you might present the players with a similar situation. Not only might they glimpse future selves they might become aware of a whole other timeline which has now been erased.

What remnants remain and what did they loose? Is the life they are living now better than the one they did? Which one should have happened? Would they try to change things back or will they preserve what they have?

futurepondFinally the hill scene can be a good way to end a character arc, acting as an epilogue. After they have left the TARDIS crew you can jump forward and play out events from the perspective of their older selves, now looking back at their youthful past.

A wave hello becomes a wave goodbye.

This entry was posted in 11th Doctor, Cold Blood, Hungry Earth. Bookmark the permalink.

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