I'm fairly new to the idea of writing.... anything, and I was asked to make a character to insert in a friend's world.

I am trying to create a fictional character that has the power of manipulating time. The character can only manipulate time if the act they want to do had a formula that used time as a variable, like manipulating the time variable in velocity to create a deceleration field.

  1. If the character make a deceleration field (a region where all things that move are slowed to a stop). What would happen to:

    • A person?
    • A fireball?
    • The air around it?
  2. How will this affect heat? and where will all the energy go?

  3. What other problems or unintended affects would there be if you decelerate something at a extremely fast rate?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Everything that takes time to happen has a formula for that happening that includes a time variable. Everything that happens, takes time. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to world building. Your question is unclear, can you better define your problem? Take the tour and visit the help center to understand how to ask a good question. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ That's not to say you couldn't use this character in a physics primer, where to solve each problem the character must isolate an appropriate formula to manipulate. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Chronos, welcome to world building. Is this character intended for a role-playing game? If yes, you may find the Role Playing Games Stack Exchange more suitable for these type of questions - you can aim for a specific game, so you'll get much more useful answers. If not - what medium is the character intended for? This can affect the answer quite a bit. $\endgroup$
    – G0BLiN
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "When you decelerate something at a extremely fast rate" is commonly known as a "crash". $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 13, 2018 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Welcome to WorldBuilding. There are several ways to go about "time manipulation".

Time-constant manipulation: Every system has a characteristic time, a "heartbeat". Your cruise control checks the speed and either accelerates or decelerates according to a clock. Go to a control system engineering text, and look at how many things qualify as systems with "characteristic time". The ability could be a variation on telekinesis, but that it only works applied to time-constants of systems. (1)

Chemical Reaction-related time-constant: If you can change it, then you can make rusting into an explosion, or an explosion into a fizzle. I've seen sticks of dynamite burned in a camp-stove, because without the detonator they are just another burnable. I would see this power making sticks of dynamite (before triggered) act like sticks of wood when the detonator goes off. The bomb squad would love that. The difference between thermite, which will burn underwater and go through many known steels, and conventional rusting is reaction rate. They are both redox reactions involving iron, but the rates are very different. Imaging being able to make thermite out of nails and soda-cans. (2)

Electrical rate constant: You could make batteries act, for a little bit, like super-batteries, and you could turn many electric components into duds. Many many electrical systems depend on "RLC circuits". Being able to change either the effective capacitance, or the effective inductance, would change the characteristic time. Hacking would be fun if you could dial down the clock rates in the cpu without the firmware detecting it. If the caps aren't working properly in the power supply the system could shut off. This is like a more finicky version of electro-kinesis.

Local time dilation (only), make it act like time is slower by changing the local curvature of space-time. When you are in the "bubble" you are slow too. Another feature of relativity is Lorentz contraction, which says things look like pennies. Imagine being able to locally contract a school-bus traveling forward, so its length is an atom thick, but nobody gets hurt. You could spin it sideways, and have a razor-blade that is tougher than any conventional material, and maybe even so thin that stuff reconnects after being cut by it. That would interesting for rescuing folks.

  • $\begingroup$ "or an explosion into a fizzle" - nope. Explosion is when ignition front moves faster than sound in explosives. If you slow down ignition front, you probably will also slow down speed of sound, so you will still have an explosion. Just in slo-mo. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Dec 17, 2018 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Molot - You can burn a stick of dynamite in a fireplace. It just burns. It doesn't explode without a detonator. I like this for thinking about explosions. Section 2.3 says reaction rate (vs time) is a function of concentration, Temperature, and species. Being able to manipulate the rate constant gives you the virtual ability to drive virtual concentration, virtual temperature, or virtual species type. The moving front is really temperature and concentration. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2018 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot Even if there is an explosion going on inside the temporal reduction field, it will "fizzle" at the interface boundary, since the rate of outgassing will be slowed down/spread out. $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2018 at 8:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal that's something that should be proved using "physics equations". Your intuition says it'll fizzle. My intuition says that it is not necessarily the case. Until someone proves it the way question asks for, it's just a guess, not an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Dec 18, 2018 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot A Deflagration (sub-sonic explosion) is determined by the rate of expanding gas within a volume - as such, by extending the time that the gas is expressed from the TRF we can effectively downgrade it to a slow-burn (like un-contained black powder). A Detonation (super-sonic explosion) is determined by the shock-wave - since the TFR interface will relax the compressive force on the transmission medium, this will also downgrade it, either to a deflagration (which is still an explosion) or (depending on the temporal ratio) to no longer being an explosion. $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2018 at 9:47

Just make a simplified version of hand-waved time manipulation in your magical system.

Why? Physics are complicated with a lot happening and all that is connected. If you change time-space in some location or for a group of particles you would need to consider a lot, you may as well become a bored physicist and sit there accounting for all that mess. I sure hope there will be some good, bored one so I can read some of it.

So we affect only time for one equation. For example, we have a fireball flying at your face. You "freeze" it in time, time in it's movement equation.

Do you know all components of the equation? You better do! That fireball moves at you, it spins together with the planet around it's axis and around the sun, it flies together with galaxy across universe and orbits the center of the galaxy to name the few. I am not so bored to name thing like barycenter of Earth-Moon system and on.

If you mess up it can zip to space or make a hole in you faster than you can blink.

For true "frozen" fireball we need to consider effect on kinetic energy of particles inside of the ball. Is that ball now absolute-zero-like ball? Sure, it won't condense as particles can't move.

Is this ball immovable object while your magic affects it?

How will it influence other things?

Does the air around squeezes inside, as ball's particles don't "move"? Or does you power affect them at the boundary? Does you power affect light it emits? What if you start make question about what happens at quantum level inside there?

I won't even start about the mess if you create an area with radically different space-time.


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