I'm messing about with ideas for future -ROCKETMAN- games, wondering where to take world history now the games are beginning to seriously deviate from actual history. The concept of the games is based on the idea that a secret inner government of the British Empire has a time machine which they can use to jump back in time and correct any mistakes they made in order to preserve their power, and possibly extend it to full dominion over the Earth. In order for this idea to work, I have adopted a few ground rules.
First; there is, and can only ever be, one time machine. The very nature of the machine prevents any other machines being created.
Second. The time machine is anchored to the Earth's gravity field and cannot be moved from its secret location under Kew Gardens.
Third. Any one can use the machine to go back in time, but they must use their own memories as a map and they can only return to a point in time they remember. Any group of people who go back in time, must share a memory of the point to which they are departing for or they will not arrive at the same point in time. (I have pondered whether the traveller also arrives in a younger body, with only their memories intact, kind of like the human body as an energy wave form in time, and independent of the mind, but I'm not sure if I'll keep this idea yet).
Fourth. Every time the machine is used, it creates a new time line. The world being left behind continues without the time travellers.
Fifth. Travel to the future is impossible since no one has any memories of the future. Furthermore, travellers cannot return to the future they have left, since by virtue of their arrival in the past they have already altered the past by creating a new time line and subsequently, they have no memory of its future.
Sixth. Travelling further back in time than your own life is theoretically possible, but no character in the game has ever tried it. Some people have, but they merely disapeared into time and the people left behind can never know what happened to them.
Seventh. The machine is controlled by a small group of high standing individuals in the British establishment who refer to themselves as the Lords Temporal. They refer to the time machine as the Eternal Machine. Membership of this group fluctuates but is never allowed to exceed twelve members.
Eighth. Using the machine has consequences. Even subtle changes will eventually lead to ever greater changes over time. This means if the machine was last used in 1919, by the time -ROCKETMAN- takes place, in the mid to late 1930's, the changes are becoming more and more noticable to the travellers. To every one else of course, there is no change.
Nineth. Daniel Mansfield is the direct descendent of the man who invented/discovered time travel, but he doesn't know this.
So ideas of what if? abound. What if Hitler was assassinated in 1936? What would happen to Germany? Would another charismatic leader step into the power vaccum, and if so, whom?
With Hitler gone, and Guderian's chance at glory evaporated, what would happen to the evolution of armoured warfare? Would lighter faster tank battles still happen, or would the slow, ponderous land monsters continue to be built?
When Britain and France were not attacked by Germany, what would happen when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour? After all, the allied powers would then be independent of each other and the American war machine would be even more dormant than it was in December 1941. Is it feasable that an unprepared America would have to turn to the British Empire for a lend lease programme?
With Nazi Germany dissolving in the wake of Hitler's demise, would the country run to civil war? Would the Soviet Union seek to exert control over central Europe by sending military aid to German communists?