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Old 08-31-2019, 01:56 PM   #31
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

On Teleporters

Basically, our equivalent to Star Trek's transporter would be a psychotronic exoteleportation system (that is, it teleports the passengers, but not itself). The question is how similar, or how advanced, do we want it to be?

* No transporter. They use shuttles, drop-pods, or even land the spacecraft, but they don't have an exoteleportation system that works like the transporter.

* Platform to platform teleportation. Like the Goa'uld Ring Transporters in Stargate, you need to have a big gadget at both ends to travel (or maybe just to teleport safely; teleportation accidents could be quite horrifying). If the other end refuses the connection, you aren't going anywhere (or again, not safely). These may be freestanding platforms, enclosed booths, tunnels like the zeta beam chambers in the Young Justice cartoon, or some other such thing. Depending on power requirements (and the ability of the vessel to wirelessly transmit power) and bulk, one end may be in a shuttlecraft.

* Platform to beacon and beacon to platform teleportation. Similar to the above, but you don't need a big gadget at both ends. You can have a portable beacon that lets the platform lock onto your location (and perhaps makes reality 'thinner,' or something like that). Depending on how portable it is, the entire away team might have them in their communicators, or even as implants. You still can't (safely, if at all) just lock onto a location with the vessel's sensors and teleport people to or from it.

* Platform to anywhere-in-range and anywhere-in-range to platform teleportation. Like the transporter on Star Trek (apart from when the writers are fudging things), the vessel's sensors and the teleporter's systems are good enough that you can usually beam down to a location without a platform or beacon and expect to be intact and unmodified, and beam back up likewise.

* Anywhere-in-range to anywhere-in-range teleportation. Like the Asgard transporters on Stargate, you don't need to be near the machine that's teleporting you on either end of the journey. This is also seen in Star Trek The Next Generation, but I only recall it for beaming directly to sickbay, and sickbay is likely to have a hidden transporter system for exactly that reason. Basically, you can be picked up from a planet and appear on the bridge, sickbay, or even another vessel than the one teleporting you, without ever needing to appear in the transporter room... and there may not even be a transporter room, for that matter.

My current preference is that this is simply a line of technological progression, and how good your spacecraft's transporters are (if you have them at all) depends on when in the vague timeline your game is set, and who you're playing; basically, it's even more optional than most things here. Of course, you can go completely off from this, and have telepoters be smaller versions of the vessel's FTL drive, that you carry around with you, like a baseball-sized teraporters in Schlock Mercenary. That departs rather a lot from the 'Star Trek' theme of this setting, though.

Unless there's a serious objection, I'm going to link this later on as the current title, rather than creating separate 'question' and 'answer' posts.
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Old 08-31-2019, 02:15 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

If I were doing it, I'd make it lawyer-friendly. Among the changes is that instead of a transporter pad, I'd make it a psi-gate ala Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Which is to say an archway that, after a minute or so of coordinate setting opens a "portal" to the desired destination.
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:50 PM   #33
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

Unless you want to have to break the teleporter every session, I would leave them out. Instead, I would have the warp drive require a teleporter to function (basically a stutter jump drive that jumps every millisecond, so it looks continuous to human eyes). I would use a natural log for the speed.

Warp 0: 1c
Warp 1: 2.7c
Warp 2: 7.4c
Warp 3: 20c

And so on. It would keep things slow enough so that they would not go haring off without some planning.

FTL sensors would require an esper, FTL communications a telepath, impulse engines a telekinetic, etc. I would basically require a minimum of five psychic per shift (a minimum of 20 per shift for a warship) and limit them to six hour shifts except in emergencies.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:36 PM   #34
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

There is something to be said for allowing that full spectrum at different points in time. However, I'd probably go for beacon-enabled teleportation. It gives the flexibility of being able to go where-ever you need, but can still be shut down, predicted, and so forth. There is a reason stargate ended up using that mode for its transporters.
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:12 PM   #35
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

ST:TNG used beacons for interference filled zones.
One really must first decide what they want the transporters to do and what troubles/adventures they should and shouldn't bypass.

I think it's accepted that they were imagined to reduce filming costs. But that's of course not an issue for tabletop. So what stories do they allow mere shuttles don't?
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:27 PM   #36
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Unless you want to have to break the teleporter every session, I would leave them out. Instead, I would have the warp drive require a teleporter to function (basically a stutter jump drive that jumps every millisecond, so it looks continuous to human eyes).
That's one of the FTL options, in a later post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
ST:TNG used beacons for interference filled zones.
One really must first decide what they want the transporters to do and what troubles/adventures they should and shouldn't bypass.

I think it's accepted that they were imagined to reduce filming costs. But that's of course not an issue for tabletop. So what stories do they allow mere shuttles don't?
Hmm. Good question. I tend to think of them as more of a 'setting flavor' thing, since they did go wrong pretty often in canon, rather than disabling stories. Presumably, for example, there are shields that prevent one from teleporting through them (mentioned multiple times in multiple Star Trek series), else the battle would go to the first to teleport a bomb into the enemy's engine room. Natural phenomena that interfere with teleportation are also plausible, and that could perhaps be a plot made possible by the use of the teleport.

Accidentally duplicating someone was used in one episode of TOS (and in a different way in TNG and DS9), and it's rather more difficult to justify that with a shuttle. There are probably a few others, even beyond those already seen in episodes that I'm not clearly recalling.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:36 AM   #37
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

That is an issue I think many viewers had with the transporters in canon. They were overtly more dangerous and no more useful than shuttles.
The only real benefit I can see is instant travel vs. a few hours which was never much of an issue in any episode I can recall.
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:59 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
That is an issue I think many viewers had with the transporters in canon. They were overtly more dangerous and no more useful than shuttles.
The only real benefit I can see is instant travel vs. a few hours which was never much of an issue in any episode I can recall.
It's very useful for medical emergencies (when it's working), or indeed many other sorts of emergencies.

Maybe I should edit the post to note that it's optional? (EDIT: OK, done; was sort of implied already, so not a big change.) Some GMs and player groups would want to have it because it's something that you just have in Star Trek, just as Psi Wars has (last I checked) psychic knights with force swords. Others would rather do without it, or prefer one of the more limited options, for one of more of the reasons that have already been suggested. It helps that I haven't put any dates on them, and don't see much need to.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:06 PM   #39
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

Faster-Than-Light Drives

It's kind of hard to have a setting that looks like Star Trek without being able to trek between the stars. The easiest way to do this (in a Star Trekish way) using psychotronics is probably using Teleportation in some way. Here are some ways that I think would fit:

* Stutter-warp: The entire vessel teleports in the direction of travel, only a tiny fraction of the intended distance, repeating the operation until it reaches the destination. The 'speed' of the vehicle depends on how far a single 'jump' is, and how often. A spacecraft that teleports more than about twenty times per second will seem to be traveling faster than light from the viewpoint of the passengers and crew (if they don't have Enhanced Time Sense, or something like that), in much the same way that the frames of a movie appear as continuous motion. Noticeably slower than that, and the vessel will seem to stutter along its path, hence the name (though the farther away any reference objects like stars are, the less able the passengers are to notice this). Not my favorite drive type for this setting, but one that is reasonably workable. The longer the time between jumps, the less like a stutter-warp it is, and the more like a form of jump drive (GURPS Space for 4e, pp38-39).

* Spacetime warping: If psionic teleportation involves warping or folding space, then continuously warping space to ride a wave of spacetime to the destination (approximately how Star Trek's warp drive works) should be plausible. This is my favorite drive type for this setting, but I'm not going to insist on it if another is strongly preferred.

* Astral hyperdrive: The term 'hyperdrive' is not used that much in Star Trek (I think it might have only been used in the first pilot), but it does get mentioned. The idea behind this version is that the vessel shifts physically into the astral plane (Outer or Inner), possibly within a bubble of 'normal' space, travels through it to the destination, and shifts physically out again. If this is used, perhaps natural teleportation involves shifting the psi's body into and out of the astral plane. This does have the advantage of making the 'space storms' and other really weird anomalies that vessels encounter in Star Trek less implausible. The nearest equivalent in published fiction is the Warp drives from Warhammer 40,000, which take vehicles through an astral hell-dimension called 'the Warp.' I'd prefer to leave hell dimensions out of it (apart from rare warp accidents that might be the focus of a session or two), but the idea of an astral hyperdrive in general is not completely out of line with the setting.


Expanded Teleportation Distance Modifiers

Distance... Modifier
10 yards... 0
20 yards... -1
100 yards... -2
500 yards... -3
2 miles... -4
10 miles... -5
100 miles... -6
1,000 miles... -7
10,000 miles... -8
100,000 miles... -9
1,000,000 miles... -10
10,000,000 miles... -11
1 Astronomical Unit... -12
10 AUs... -13
100 AUs... -14
1,000 AUs... -15
10,000 AUs/0.16 light years... -16
100,000 AUs/1.6 ly/0.5 parsecs... -17
16 ly/5 pcs... -18
160 ly/50 pcs... -19
1,600 ly/500 pcs... -20


Thoughts?

EDIT: OK, the sort-of consensus is that we're going with spaecetime warping, though we might revisit whether it's teleportation-based or not.
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:55 PM   #40
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

A stutter-warp drive is my favorite. With 1,000 jumps per second, the distance jumped would be (e^(x)/1000) light-seconds per jump (for a speed of (e^(x)c), with 'x' being the warp factor. The FTL drive would allow teleporters to operate up to their warp rating without a roll required, but the teleporters could exceed the warp rating for one minute with a successful IQ, with a penalty equal to every 0.05 warp factor in excess of the rating.

For example, a Warp 5 engine could operate without any skill roll up to Warp 5 as long as it was amplifying the abilities of a teleporter. If the captain wanted to push the drive to Warp 5.5 though, the teleporter would need to make an IQ-10 roll every minute to sustain that speed. On a failure, the Warp drive would fail and require minor repairs. On a critical failure, the Warp drive would fail and require major repairs.
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