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Old 04-18-2019, 10:24 AM   #1
Shadekeep
 
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Default Gate stabilisation

One thing in the rules I didn't notice until recently was that Gates can fail every so often (statistically, once every 216 uses). Unless quickly restored with a Create/Control Gate spell, it will collapse. If this gate connects two remote parts of the world, it can be a real pain to rebuild it. So how do you game cities that rely on Gates?

It seems like a logical course is that there is a wizard on call who is available any time the Gate is used in case it needs to be restabilised. This presumes that the city controls the access and scheduling of Gate usage, so that the wizard is guaranteed to be available. And this would likely be a high-paying job, since the wizard needs to be pretty skilled and the work schedule would interrupt usual wizardly tasks like adventuring or item creation.

One alternate approach I thought of is a magic item called, unsurprisingly, a "Gate Stabiliser". This is a ST 50 Powerstone with an additional enchantment that functions like an automatic casting of Control Gate with no changes to the Gate rules. It is embedded into the framework that demarcates the Gate (archway, door jamb, etc), and is synchronised with the Gate so that any changes to its rules are picked up by the stabiliser. Lastly, it is self-powered, so that it doesn't need external maintenance.

Obviously a Gate Stabiliser would be a very expensive item to create, and only be practical for cities who rely on their Gate connections to maintain their livelyhood. And it may not be a legitimate item, since there isn't a current item enchantment listed for the Gate spell. But I figured I'd put it out there.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:01 PM   #2
Shadekeep
 
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

This is probably excessive pedantry, but such things can be fun nonetheless. I was thinking about what constitutes a single "use" of a Gate, since failure has a chance of occurring after each use. Most of the time this is pretty obvious - a person or wagon or thrown object passes through the Gate, that's a discrete "use". One could think of the activity period as having a degree of latency, so that a whole party moving through in close formation might also be considered a single "use". But I would argue there is also a time component.

Say for example an evil mage opens one end of a Gate in a town, and then travels to his base, where he opens the other end and begins marching his Orc army through it. While this would be a continuous stream and therefore sort of like one "use", I would say that the failure roll should still occur at timed intervals during this use. Maybe once per minute for such continuous use.

Gate failure is still relatively rare, but not so negligible that it wouldn't be a concern for places that rely on them. Right now I'm considering it more from a city-planning aspect than as a regular player.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:08 PM   #3
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

Cities which rely on gates?

Hopefully those are very rare and exceptional, unless you want a world where gate travel makes your world geography more or less irrelevant.

It depends on the nature and quantity of the reliance, and the availability of gate wizards. How often do they need to pass someone through the gate? And how many gate wizards do they have available/willing to help them with gates? And for how long?

In general, if you want to keep a gate available, you can have someone available who can stabilize a gate when it breaks down, or you can have more than one gate from A to B, and stop using the gates when you get down to one gate, unless you have a gate stabilizing wizard available. In an emergency, you can risk the life of a very powerful wizard who has both Create Gate and Long Distance Teleportation.

If you only mostly need the gate to exist, but not to constantly use it, then it's not that hard, because you can just call for a gate wizard when you use it, or when your redundant gates break down to the last one.

If you need steady traffic, then you start needing a dedicated corps of gate wizards.

Having a group of people who know the Aid spell is generally wanted/needed too, especially for heavy operations.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:16 PM   #4
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadekeep View Post
This is probably excessive pedantry, but such things can be fun nonetheless. I was thinking about what constitutes a single "use" of a Gate, since failure has a chance of occurring after each use. Most of the time this is pretty obvious - a person or wagon or thrown object passes through the Gate, that's a discrete "use". One could think of the activity period as having a degree of latency, so that a whole party moving through in close formation might also be considered a single "use". But I would argue there is also a time component.

Say for example an evil mage opens one end of a Gate in a town, and then travels to his base, where he opens the other end and begins marching his Orc army through it. While this would be a continuous stream and therefore sort of like one "use", I would say that the failure roll should still occur at timed intervals during this use. Maybe once per minute for such continuous use.
Unless you WANT gates to be an even more map-shattering force than they already can be, I would not allow an entire group or wagon to count as only one use of a gate.

Consider that you can already use one gate to get hundreds of armed men inside a fortified place (average 216 before it starts to flicker, plus however many can pour through while it is still flickering). That's extremely undermining for most forts and secure locations, and to my mind calls for more limits and defensive magics, rather than more lenient rules that allow it to be worse.

I generally pick a weight limit (say 300 pounds). If something heavier passes through, it either requires additional breakdown checks (e.g. another roll per 100-300 pounds in excess), or a modifier to the breakdown check (e.g. +1 for every 100 pounds over 200 pounds). And I tend to roll again when passing a gate while it's flickering, for additional mishap (generally instant closure, but a random gate breakdown result can be a nice deterrent to abuse).
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Cities which rely on gates?

Hopefully those are very rare and exceptional, unless you want a world where gate travel makes your world geography more or less irrelevant.
I have two such cities in the game world I'm working on. The aptly named cities of Eastgate and Westgate, on opposite banks of a huge river (like the Mississippi), which provide the only easy way to cross said river for a very, very long way. Unsurprisingly, the cities earn a lot of money from tolls paid by travelers wanting to cross the river. Each city maintains a caravansary for groups readying to cross, as well as a large barracks for troops to deal with unwanted intruders.

These gates are also artifacts from the days of Mnoren, so there's no breakdown risk.
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:15 PM   #6
Andrew Hackard
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

We have now deleted two tangents, in this thread alone, into discussions of child labor. That's not funny and it's not appropriate. Do it again and we will issue bans and they will not be brief.
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

I can imagine solutions that solve the problem without letting Enchantments run wild, but nothing that fits within the Official Rules.

For example, maybe there's some ITL-unmentioned difference between 'normal' Gates and the Gates that are maintained by the authorities as their Rapid Transit Network. Maybe those Gates are built on top of key ley line intersections, or big deposits of magic crystals, or whatever.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:17 AM   #8
JLV
 
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

Personally, I really like that gates aren't some kind of perpetual motion machine that let people flit around the world faster than boarding an SST.

Even with an Eastgate/Westgate kind of situation, I think maintaining the gate SHOULD be expensive and difficult. The cities make up the costs by charging every groat the traffic will bear to use the gates (though why they don't just build a riverboat or two complete with Mechanician's Guild patented primitive steam engines -- ah HAH! Suddenly the Mechanician's Guild gets some love from the official authorities -- I couldn't really say...).
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

I love that gates exist in the game and it is clear how you make them. But I don't sprinkle them around as a public utility in anything like the numbers some folks are talking about here. When it comes to gates and other powerful magic items, I like to follow the same principle that applies when your toddler asks for help climbing a tree: 'You can do it if you can do it'. It's perfectly clear in the rules how a gate gets made, and it is easy to imagine the outlines of an NPC who can make one, but how many PC's will go to the effort to make themselves capable of it? I take that as my measure of how widely accessible the ability really is.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:57 AM   #10
Steve Jackson
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Default Re: Gate stabilisation

Is it useful to think of a Gate network like the Roman roads? A potentially multigenerational task, requiring constant maintenance, but giving an amazing advantage?

One of the wizards in the DoD set is a Gate maintainer.
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