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Old 09-14-2020, 10:04 PM   #1
YankeeGamer
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

The Game-friendly/writer-friendly Teleporter

Teleportation technology is incredible attractive to science fiction fans, yet also disruptive to plot for both games and fiction, requiring one contrivance after another to prevent main characters from being whisked out of harm’s way at any point, or teleporting bombs to the enemy.

Accordingly, I’m developing a self-consistent, useful, teleporter that hopefully won’t have plot holes in it. This is a system neutral set of guidelines, not hard and fast game rules.

Transport between two locations requires a mechanism on both ends. The main power input can come from either or both machines, but a sensor/coordinating platform is required at the other end. These are bulky, and moderately heavy. The people or items to be transported stand within a ring, so the bigger the platform, the more people that can beam at once. They can be broken down for carrying, or mounted in a vehicle. However, they need to be stationary or in a precisely calculated course to be integrated with another transporter. Thus, no beaming into or out of an evading vehicle, or even a moving ground, air, or water vehicle, just moving spacecraft, planets, asteroids, etc, so long as they’re moving in a nice, predictable manner. Integrating the platform takes a certain amount of time; vary to taste depending on the power of the technology and the flavor desired. (One minute should be a decent amount of time, using the best machines available) In some settings, it may be possible to speed up the process with a success on the operations roll.

They might well be environmentally sensitive; no use during thunderstorms/hyperspace storms/what have you. Significant earthquakes also make transport impossible, as the ground is moving in an erratic manner.

Beaming is not instant—a lock-on takes a variable amount of time, even with a platform in place.

A small, self-deploying platform can be sent down to a planet by automated probe—selection of landing site comes into play now. The platform will need a few moments to stabilize.

There is a distinct difference between a coordinating platform and a full Teleport mechanism. The coordinating platform uses minimal power, and can not initiate transportation.

The Teleport mechanism provides the power and does the majority of the work, including dematerializing and rematerializing whatever is being transported. All mechanisms include the coordinating hardware as well.


A Beam Up may always choose to include the platform, if the receiving station is large enough to accept the platform. The platform being transported can not provide the needed power.

For transport to occur, there must be a stable data link between the two mechanisms. This precludes stealth in a high tech environment. It also provides a limit to safe range, from a low orbit might be a practical limit.

Any force screen that affects energy will block transport, as will a jamming field for either communication or whatever technobabble radiation the transporter uses


Another complication with teleportation: Atmosphere pressure and composition. Anyone planning on transporting must be transporting to and from similar pressures, or such problems as the bends will show up. Standard procedure would be to pressurize a ship to the pressure expected at beam-down. (Creates complications in a situation where a team might have to beam down to different locations with short notice.) Pressure suits would solve this problem, and suits may well be designed to allow for slow acclimatization. This also means that, when arriving at an unknown planet, it’s some time before beaming down without a pressure suit is safe.

Ships’ crews must be able to withstand routine shifts in the working pressure of the ship, which could make medical care a challenge. It will also disqualify some otherwise-promising candidates.

Now, Teleporting is a useful technology that can enhance the plots instead of making them vanish into thin air.

What think you all?
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Old 09-15-2020, 12:33 AM   #2
kirbwarrior
 
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

First, there are a handful of things Warp (and some forms of teleportation) does, the ability to;

A) Defend in a useful manner
B) Travel long distances in a safe and much faster manner
C) Get around barriers
D) Travel short distances that would normally require one or more contests to succeed

Any form of teleportation that is B and only B is much easier to balance and work around. In fact, some settings need it, especially in Sci-Fi where it is much easier to beam the party somewhere than deal with all the complications of moving them there. And Dragon Quest's Return spell is in essence B only.

Now, what you've created sounds pretty complicated, but in essence it's basically a weird science airport. And most importantly, not much in control of the PCs, which is the area that would cause problems. The problem is solved perfectly for writing, but precludes any of the fun of being a teleporting character, which seems intentional.
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:54 AM   #3
YankeeGamer
 
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
First, there are a handful of things Warp (and some forms of teleportation) does, the ability to;

A) Defend in a useful manner
B) Travel long distances in a safe and much faster manner
C) Get around barriers
D) Travel short distances that would normally require one or more contests to succeed

Any form of teleportation that is B and only B is much easier to balance and work around. In fact, some settings need it, especially in Sci-Fi where it is much easier to beam the party somewhere than deal with all the complications of moving them there. And Dragon Quest's Return spell is in essence B only.

Now, what you've created sounds pretty complicated, but in essence it's basically a weird science airport. And most importantly, not much in control of the PCs, which is the area that would cause problems. The problem is solved perfectly for writing, but precludes any of the fun of being a teleporting character, which seems intentional.
This isn't for the teleporting character, with the advantages. This is intended for a star trek type setting, to allow for a transporter that's useful, and suitable for an exploration ship, without the need to break the system every other episode, or take their communicators, to prevent the landing party from just vanishing when things get rough.

You can beam down to the planet, but can't just vanish every time goons with guns show up.
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Old 09-15-2020, 10:25 AM   #4
Vikingv
 
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

If the game balance issues worry you too much, simply rule that is does not exist.
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:07 AM   #5
Anders
 
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

That's not what he wants to do. He wants to have teleportation but he doesn't want it to break the universe.
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

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Originally Posted by YankeeGamer View Post
You can beam down to the planet, but can't just vanish every time goons with guns show up.
Right, thus my point about it being a 'weird science airport'. You have a form of long-distance transportation that is much quicker and convenient than most forms of long-distance transportation but with enough of the inconvenience that no other issues come up of causing story problems.

I brought up Warp partly because you did bring this up in the gurps forum instead of the roleplaying general forum and mostly because it illustrates all the upsides and downsides of teleportation. Because the teleportation takes a bit to set up, even with everything already in place, you even avoid A in my post of being able to use it defensively.
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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Old 09-20-2020, 04:36 AM   #7
Taneli
 
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

That does sound a lot like the stargates from Stargate-franchice, with the addition of receive-only gates.

Good for convenient long-distance travel, and some plot-shenanigans.
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Old 09-20-2020, 07:42 AM   #8
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

Teleportation technology tends to break the universe regardless of the rules, because there are so many things that a clever person can do with it. I find that castling requirements tend to balance things out beautifully though. Basically, it just means that an equal amount of mass is exchanged (with the transported mass exchanging kinetic energy) or else the technology does not work. In addition, castling requires a transmission and receiving booth, as something has to contain the exchanged mass.

In addition, teleportation should never be based on Star Trek, as it is the most unrealistic of unrealistic systems for a number of reasons. Any other system would be more realistic, even silly ones like the process utilizes psionic ducks or the like. Of course, it would add an added dimension to the technology if it depended on genetically engineered ducks being fed a special diet and if the ducks were valuable enough for people to steal and sell on the black market.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:02 AM   #9
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Default Re: Some thoughts on game balanced teleportation

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Any other system would be more realistic, even silly ones like the process utilizes psionic ducks or the like. Of course, it would add an added dimension to the technology if it depended on genetically engineered ducks being fed a special diet and if the ducks were valuable enough for people to steal and sell on the black market.
Given the social habits of ducks, this would cause much bigger problems than you're picturing.
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