In recent Homestuck updates, Terezi posed the possibility that she, Roxy, and John were all stuck within a doomed timeline; one that would eventually peter out into nothingness and from which no true 'destiny' could be extracted. She has previously used her power as Seer of Mind to determine when a timeline is doomed - when she determined that the timeline leading up to Vriska battling Bec Noir would eventually become a 'doomed' timeline. And we have glimpsed upon other doomed timelines, such as the one where Davesprite comes from.

But what exactly determines when a timeline is 'doomed'? While it certainly seems like the timeline they are in right now may be full of mass destruction, I was under the impresison that the actual reason timelines became 'doomed' was because they did not lead to the inevitable creation of Lord English.

So what, exactly, is the 'tipping point' of determining when a timeline actually is 'doomed', and not just a really awful situation for those stuck in it?

2 Answers 2


Doomed Timelines are the result of failed events that needed to take place to perpetuate the existence of Paradox Space. Not everything that happens in a timeline has a chance to doom it, only the ones that are part of a fixed time loop (such as when time players utilize their alternate selves teleporting through time, when the players are created through ectobiology, or the creation of first guardians). If these events do not take place (such as the time player not traveling in the correct way to close the loop, the ectobiologist not creating the players, or the first guardian not being created) then the timeline is cut off from the alpha timeline and 'doomed.'

Other than one of these events taking place (or rather, not taking place), it is unclear as to how significant the change has to be in order for the timeline to be doomed.

It is possible to communicate between the doomed timelines by the Seer class (Terezi accessing her Game Over self's memories to determine the preventing of Vriska being allowed to challenge Bec and Rose using her dream self to inform Davesprite Dave about the state of their timeline [though Dave explains at one point that dream selves exist somewhat out of the normal time continuum, allowing for memories to flow between doomed and alpha timelines]) and also through the use of time travel (Davesprite Dave traveling back along his timeline to a point before the timeline was doomed in order to prevent the timeline ever being doomed in the first place), by Squared Sprites (who gain access to many, if not all of their alternate selves memories), and through the visiting of dream bubbles and seeing the members of doomed timelines.

With the case of Lord English he is not summoned by the creation of a doomed timeline but by the ending of a universe, which occurs upon

the death of Snowman by the hands of Noir, and thus ending the trolls universe.

tl;dr: There isn't a set point exactly for determining when a timeline is doomed, but we do know that is a closed time loop is broken then that usually results in a doomed timeline.


It seems that one major determinant of doomed timelines is that, in a doomed timeline, something that already happened due to time travel becomes retroactively impossible. For example, in the timeline Davesprite came from, John died before he could perform the ectobiology that created all of the kids, causing an impossibility. Likewise, in the Trolls' session, there was a doomed timeline where Karkat did not run the Mobius Virus, which resulted in Gamzee killing everyone before they could enter the session - again causing a contradiction because if they did not enter the session Karkat could not ectobiologize them and they would therefore have no way of existing.

The only major exception to this pattern is the timeline in which Terezi allowed Vriska to fight Jack, resulting in her and Karkat both dying. This would cause no obvious contradiction, but since Terezi saw this scenario using Mind powers it is possible that it was not an actual timeline but merely an unfortunate possibility.

(Many small doomed timelines are caused by Time players summoning alternate selves, but this is not really what your question is asking about, if I understand correctly.)

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