Author Topic: Teleportation  (Read 12211 times)

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khoras2

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Teleportation
« on: August 12, 2005, 11:47:12 PM »
Teleportation


Introduction
Teleportation, as a game element, is too powerful and should be severely limited. As is, teleportation is damaging to the game and, if followed to its logical conclusion, will unbalance a fantasy world.

Teleportation is a phenomenon that has permeated science fiction and fantasy for a long time. In does have it's place... sometimes. The transporters on Star Trek are one of the defining technologies of that show. D&D and other fantasy games have various flavors of teleport. Some games even allow a psionic version of teleportation. Teleportation does have a place in sci-fi and fantasy. But it's availability and use should not  take away from the game.



Effects on Society
For the sake of argument, I am basing this on the 5th level teleportation spell in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. In that game, teleportation is so common and easy that any major city will have several practitioners of magic capable of this feat. Such wide spread use of long range movement spells would, realistically, have a profound impact on society.

Wide spread  effective communication would be an achievable goal. Kingdoms could set up teleport stations and move people, materials, finished goods and information at a dizzying pace. Technology and innovation would be  evenly spread across vast regions. Cultural contamination would result in the blending of languages and culture. Kingdoms near and far would begin to look and act alike. Wars would be fought with teleporting storm troopers and bombs beamed into enemy fortresses. Rapid long distance travel would allow infectious diseases to spread at a hugely accelerated pace. Imagine if the black plague had swept across Europe from city to city at the speed of a teleporting mage.

These are just a few of the effects if teleportation is too easy and too accessible.



Effects on the Game
One of the greatest adventures of the ancient past was simply traveling. Seeing what lay over the horizon, beyond the mountains, across the sea. If you give the characters the ability to quickly and safely whisk themselves off to another continent, you rob them of the chance to explore your world as they gallop across golden fields or roll down a dusty road in a rickety wagon. The characters miss out on the opportunity to really experience your world. Travel should not merely be the journey to the adventure. Travel should be a big part of the adventure. Think of all the encounters they'll miss by teleporting. The wonderful tavern they find at a cross roads. Getting  caught in a sudden storm and having to take cover in a cave. Consider the classic fantasy adventure described in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. That entire book was a journey. Mr. Bilbo Baggins was going to title his Memoirs "There and Back Again" and with good reason.



Teleportation in the Game
That said, I’d like to propose the following limitations on all forms of instantaneous travel spells and abilities, especially teleport. In my gaming, I limit the use of teleport in a variety of ways detailed below. The idea isn't to make teleportation impossible. Just costly. So costly, that it is, once again, a rare and wondrous kind of magic that the players will have to pay dearly for.

Magic, like physics or chemistry, must follow certain laws of nature. Teleportation is no exception. With teleportation, you are physically displacing an object from one point in space to another. This is accomplished by pushing a certain amount of mass through some sort of sub-dimension or wormhole between two points in the space-time continuum. The energy requirements for accomplishing a feat like this should be staggering. Very few wizards should be capable of this level of magic.

Exactly how you implement these limitations is up to you, your role playing game of choice and your own personal playing style. In may gaming sessions, I use the following four general guidelines:

1. The initial energy requirements of a teleport spell are significant. The initial cost for tapping that sub-dimension or opening a wormhole should be quite large. That is, just to open the wormhole should require a massive amount of energy even before you calculate in range and mass. This spell is no small matter and should be enjoyed by only the very best wizards. A large energy output will also prevent the wizard from casting it lightly.

2. The greater the distance that the object is displaced, the great the energy requirements. This one is straight forward. It might even be argued that such energy requirements increase exponentially. This would prevent very powerful wizards from regularly teleporting to other continents. Let's keep those distant continents mysterious and make the ship's voyage to them worth while. In AD&D, two miles per level might be a good rule. That will allow a teleport-capable mage to magically transport himself from one village to the next, but not to the next continent.

3. The greater the mass displaced, the greater the energy requirements. Some sort of maximum teleport weight should be instituted. (To be accurate and proper, the rule should apply to mass, not weight). Make this rule whatever you are comfortable with. Keep in mind that players will creatively abuse any teleport ability they have. If a wizard can teleport a few hundred pounds  of rock a few hundred meters, he has an effective siege weapon In AD&D, one hundred pounds per level is a good rule of thumb.

4. A wizard can only teleport to a place that he is familiar with. This idea is fairly common in most game systems. In order to properly target his entry coordinates, a wizard must be familiar with the exact location he is teleporting to in relation to where he is teleporting from. I take this  rule to an extreme. My house rule is that a wizard can only teleport to a place that he has actually been to. This greatly limits the spell and prevents a wizard from teleporting to a continent or kingdom he has only heard of. Not only must the wizard have been there, he must know where the destination is in relation to other familiar places. In other words, if you blindfold a wizard and take him to the secret bandit lair in the north valley, he will not be able to teleport there later on, because he doesn't know where it is in his "mental map" (i.e. in relation to other places he has been).

Of course, anything can be attempted. If a player really wants his wizard to attempt to teleport to a unfamiliar destination, he should be allowed to. Perhaps the wizard has no choice. However, teleporting to an unfamiliar place should be dangerous in the extreme. Wizards attempting this risk their lives and the odds should be frighteningly bad. A reckless wizard might materialize inside solid rock or be forever lost between dimensions.

5. Transcription Errors - This one might seem too extreme for some people, but I like it. When a mage teleports, he is disassembling his body at the quantum level, transporting that energy, and then reconstructing his body. Sometimes, due to fluctuations in the background radiation, the reconstruction phase will be less than perfect. That is, microscopic errors will occur in the reconstruction of the person or object. These errors occur at the cellular level and are very small. A single transcription error is not noticeable. However, transcription errors are permanent. They accumulate, like radiation exposure. Each time a wizard teleports, there is a small chance (about 5%) that he will accumulate more transcription errors. If enough errors occur, physical ailments will develop. Such ailments might include nervous disorders, a loss of strength, deafness in one ear or moderate chest pain. Because of the low risk and slow buildup of transcription errors and their effects, this is not a major deterrent and most mages don't worry about it. However, this rule is good because it prevents the teleport spell from being severely abused. A mage won't teleport to the bathroom three times a day if doing so will damage his health in the long run.



Derivatives of Teleportation Technology
It is likely that mages, many of whom are able to research and develop new spells, would produce various derivatives to the basic teleport spell. Such teleport-based spells might include some of the following:

Targeting Spells. Some wizards might develop spells to help target their teleport spells and decrease the risk of arriving "off target".

Teleport Shields. In response to the possibility of teleport based incursions, a variety of preventive "teleport purge" spells would be developed. This might take the form of magical shields that would prevent other wizards from teleporting into protected areas. Likewise, other mages would develop ways to penetrate such teleport shields.

Teleport Gate Networks. With enough resources (money, wizards, laborers), a government could construct a network of teleport gates. Like nodes on a network, these would all be linked. This limits where the wizard can teleport too, but might increase range and mass. Also, these would be safer. Of course, the initial investment to create something like this would be huge. As a matter of fact, the Thullian Empire was in the process of building such a teleport gate network before the start of the Great War.



Conclusion
Hopefully, this discussion has given you some thoughts to chew on. I'm not arguing that we  ban teleportation outright. I just think teleport spells and similar spells of large scale movement should be limited to keep game balance in check. We don't have to do things a certain way just because TSR/WotC tells us to.

Offline sid6.7

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2005, 09:55:28 PM »
what i did for teleportation on my world was use the example
i had in traveller and then trim it down to make it not quite
powerful, i pertty much make it that you can only transport
yourself unless your a master...and then you can only take 1
other person with you...most of the time you can only teleport
yourself....and naked....hehe...

i think this is a problem for alot of powers in RPGs sci-fi or fantasy
the powers get just to outa hand and you end up with a player
thats more a god then a player...

come see Kramxel at  http://cruzan.info/kramxel

Offline Spence

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2006, 03:34:14 PM »
This is abit on topic, but none-the-less relevant.

Using the DnD 3.5 rules, Druids are capable of out-teleporting a mage when they get a spell called Transport Via Plants.  However there are some limitations on this spell that limit traveling.  The druid must start the spell touching a plant of medium size or larger (basically tree's and very large bushes) and then they can teleport anywhere they wish on the entire planet, provided they end in a plant that's the same type (Example using tree's:  Start location is an oak tree, end location must also be an oak tree, but there is no limit on distance for the spell).

Is there a list of tree's and very large plants (not plant creatures) that grow on each continent and the area of the continent they can be found (north, south, east, west, all over, middle, etc etc).

I'm asking this because on the Dathkandra chat we've got a few PC's capable of traveling to other continents currently, and they're in the process of making early green houses to grow plants from other places....which will make it so Druids can travel almost anywhere they want once the plants have grown to proper size.

avisarr

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2006, 02:58:39 PM »
As far as I can tell, Dathkandra is sticking to the DnD 3.5 rules pretty closely. If your druids manage to grow plants from Qeshir or Aggradar, then there's no real reason why they wouldn't be able to use that Teleport via Plants spell. If you want to limit that spell, you could maybe say they can't use it during a Drellis dominant phase.

As for listing flora and where each type of plant grows... Most of the flora listed is Ithria only. Some of the plants are limited to specific continents or specific geographical regions. This is usually listed in the description. if you don't find something in the text that limits it, then you can assume that a specific plant could conceivably grow in any area of that terrain type. For instance, Deathgrip Trees are a swamp tree. The text doesn't give you any geographic regions. So, you can assume it's an Ithria tree and it can be found in any swamp in Ithria.

Unless it specifically says it grows in Qeshir or Aggradar, you can assume it's native to Ithria. Of course, it's possible that plants could be transplanted to those continents.


Offline Spence

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2006, 02:59:48 PM »
Excellent, thank you very much David.

Golanthius

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2008, 11:05:33 AM »
I guess this would effect Dimension Door as well. In Drellis dominant, it might put you high off the ground or go wildly off target.
This could get very interesting.

Like when Callister Draabyn materialized eight feet off the ground teleporting out of the Banishing Chamber in the Avisarr.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 12:36:44 PM by Golanthius »

avisarr

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2008, 01:33:12 PM »
Yes, the Drellis Effect could affect teleport, dimension door and similar spells. It depends on how mean you want to be, as the Game Master. When I run a campaign, I do indeed have the Drellis Effect screw with player magic. Absolutely. Transport spells either have a severe range limitation or fail outright. This was especially true in the Jaidor Talisman campaign. The second half of that campaign was a journey. Literally. The players were getting on a ship and sailing to the other side of the world and it was the first time anyone had seen the continent of Aggradar. I really, REALLY wanted them to enjoy the journey... and not just teleport and fly their way past all the encounters. (I HATE it when players just skip over a good encounter).  :)

One of the players was running a wizard. A rather clever wizard and the player knew the rules well. He was constantly pulling out spells to try to quicken the journey and I would throw obstacles in the path to slow him down. One obstacle was the rule that "you can't teleport somewhere that you've never been". Another time, he was going to use a type of fly spell on the whole party to fly over Fyrren's Wandering. And that's where the Fyrren Crystals came from... they sap the energy out of spells to greatly reduce duration. That forced them to walk through most of the canyon maze.   ;)

Now, as for Callister Draabyn, he's a special case. He was the "cursed pirate". For the first few years in that character's life, he was burdened by a curse. Everything that could possibly go wrong, would go wrong, for Callister. Every bad thing that happened to the party would hit Callister. First. And worst. I don't recall the cactus in the forest... but if you're saying that Callister teleported in 8 feet of the ground and landed on a cactus in the middle of a deciduous forest, well, that's par for the course. That's typical for Callister. He would land on the only cactus in the entire region. I'm sure it was just the curse doing its thing.

Golanthius

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2008, 01:53:39 PM »
Yeah it says he did in fact land on the only cactus in the entire region.

It's a great story.

Offline Drul Morbok

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2011, 05:22:41 PM »
I just came up with an idea I like, so I'd like to hear your opinions:

There is a nasty rumour:
Everytime you seem to "teleport", you disappear, and what appears is in truth an entity with exactly the same properties - let's call him you2. Of course, since he hast exactly the properties you had when you disappeared, he thinks is is you and will claim to be you and tell everybody that the rumour is unfounded. But in reality, is not you, but you2, and you disappeared. Whatever that means...sucked into the Void, utterly destroyed, insert your worst fears here...

This might not keep all players from trying - some might even try just to find out. But even if the rumour turns out to be false as far as the players are concerned (i.e. they "are" whatever appears at the destination site) - the main point is that it might explain why societies don't make heavy use of teleport gates and the like - everybody is to afraid.
And in such a world, teleport magic could be heavily restricted, since any teleport spell that works on others would be considered a weapon, since most people might fear this even more than dying.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 05:26:02 PM by Drul Morbok »

Offline David Roomes

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Re: Teleportation
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2011, 10:41:13 PM »
I have actually had this EXACT same idea. Of course, when i was thinking of it, I was actually thinking of the transporter on Star Trek. But it's basically the same idea.

What if, every time someone stepped into the transporter, it actually killed them and then just created a copy of them at the destination point. There would be no way to discover this from an external perspective. The copy would have all the same memories and would believe that the transporter had just transported him... successfully.

One could argue that an exact copy of you IS you, but that starts to wander into philosophical territory. :)
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