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Old 07-18-2018, 04:43 PM   #31
Agemegos
 
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post

Is that the sort of world we want? I don't mind playing around with the concept, but I don't want to be dictated to by it.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s not the setting I want. Which is why in my old article I treated the whole thing as a huge reductio ad absurdem and suggested nobbling the spell. When I dislike a logical conclusion I’d much rather alter the premises than ignore the logic. If other people find that their mileage varies, that’s okay with me.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:03 PM   #32
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
What happens when you make the gate that only passes paper with false statements, and then feed it a paper that says "This statement is false."
My simplest answer would be it fails, because the rule says it only passes false, and the statement isn't exactly false, it's a paradox. Depending on how a rule is phrased, it could pass or not pass on confusion.

Though you could also specify that rules that aren't clear in certain situations can lead to unpredictable behavior. In that case it could pass or not at random, or cause the gate to have more chances to break down.


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Clearly we need to prevent divinatory Gates. It would be possible either to write a general rule for the kind of rules Gates could have, or make a short list of legal rules, such as:
- Says the Magic Word.
- Is, or accompanies, Person X.
- Carries Item X.
Certainly gates should have limited ability to perceive and reason, or else there could be all sorts of weird applications (e.g. only passes murderers, only passes loyal subjects, only passes people who don't have the plague, only passes virgins, only passes true believers in Enok, only passes people who don't know Control Gate, only passes wizards, only passes people who don't know UC II or higher, only passes 34-point characters, only passes people who have a crush on Zook the wizard, etc etc etc.)

Where the limit is though seems a bit subjective/slidable. There's a trade-off between flexible clever ideas that can be fun to allow, and powers that start to seem artificial, abusive, and/or annoying. Can gates perceive concealed weapons? The presence of metal inside carried items? Is its perception limited to seeing things in visible light? Apparently gates can "hear" - can they smell? Can they distinguish races? Dwarf versus short human? If the gate only passes Sambo the Clever, but Sambo shows up with a bag over his head, can the gate tell it's Sambo? If so, can it be used on a road through Sherwood Forest to snag Robin Hood if he happens to pass through? Even in disguise? What if the casting wizard has never seen Robin Hood? Those sorts of things are important and interesting in play, but might be left up to each GM to rule on.


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I have added a third class of Gate item. Gate Key is what it is, Gate Lock closes but does not harm a Gate, and Gate Seal eliminates the gate.
Does the Gate Key work on anyone's gates, or is there a way to counter someone with one?

If there were a way (location-based immobile enchantment) to seal an area the size of a large city against new gate creation, that would help prevent siege-breaking gate tactics.


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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Flicker time - would five minutes be better?
Only if you want to encourage maintainable industrial gate use. I think that might be a setting, but if someone wants industrial gate networks, it's easy for them to add that improved version of the spell to their campaign to enable it.

Five minutes would be better for a campaign where you want super gate network to be easier to maintain. I tend to think it's already quite (too) easy due to the ability to make several gates and reserve one as the gate you'll use to make more if/when the others break down.

In my old campaign, it was an established military tactic to create a gate in order to "paradrop" a military unit, the expectation being you can charge through about 200 people and then as many as can pile through during the next minute, assuming there's enough room on the other side and everyone moves as fast as they can. Kind of interesting, and kind of annoying. Delays on how many people can pass through per turn, how heavy they can be, how fast they can be moving, how disoriented they are on arrival, etc., could help limit that.

I tend to align with Rick in that I don't want gate networks to make mundane trade & travel not still the main way things are done. I love mapped campaign situations and want terrain and distance to be meaningful, and culture and available goods & skills & knowledge to be different in different places, not made too generic by too much connection via gates. I want getting places to involve having to travel overland, most of the time for most people. Exploring the world and getting from place to place was one of the most fascinating aspects of our campaigns, and gates were nice as an unusual exception to add spice, but I wouldn't want them to overshadow the normal world map situations.

So I'd prefer the default version to be even more challenging to maintain a reliable gate network. I liked the assumptions we used in our original TFT campaigns, where even the gate networks maintained by the Wizard's Guild in big cities and by nations, only had quite limited connections available, and were not able to be 100% reliable. So the fact that today there is a gate available from the guild in Dranning to the Guild in Kel (for $150 per passage) is an interesting situation and opportunity, and who knows how long it will last?

One of the major campaign sliders though can be just what the typical personality of wizards and wizards guilds are like. Some may be very organized, obedient, cooperative, and business/wealth/power oriented. Others may be seeking to protect themselves from power-hungry elements who would have them doing practical servile tasks all the time instead of pursuing magical & personal interests.

I'd rather Create Gate were higher than IQ 15, and that flicker time be unpredictable and often less than one minute, so you can't count on having a gate repair crew always be able to respond on time, even if you have them somehow unable to get distracted and not allowed to go the WC.

e.g. roll 1d6:
1: 1 turn of flicker
2: 1d6 turns of flicker
3: 2d6 turns of flicker
4: 3d6 turns of flicker
5: 5d6 turns of flicker
6: 1d6 minutes of flicker

Also, maybe on a 17, it also starts to flicker, but although you can't know for sure (because the GM rolled, unless you know Control Gate and the GM makes a 5/IQ roll for you to tell the difference), it will stop flickering if no one else crosses during that time.

I would also have it that an attempt to stabilize a gate that fails costs full ST and/or means that no further stabilization attempts will save the gate.

I would probably also have interesting effects for critical failures when creating, controlling, and stabilizing gates. I'd have a "fun" random table, but even a mundane limiting effect could go a long way to achieving a limit on how predictable & reliable gate networks can get. For example, trying to stabilize a flickering gate and rolling a crit fail might cause all the gates within 5 MH to start flickering... or that might just be one of the worse results on a fun crit fail table. There are all sorts of implications for how reliable or how difficult it would be to have a very reliable & elaborate gate network.

Of course, GMs can always say "the Travel Guild here has perfected a version of the Gate Spell that is more reliable than the one in the book" or "the only Gate spell known around here is IQ 20, cast at -4 DX, and requires a pint of fresh gate lice juice". I think that concept deserves a paragraph in the new AW.

(And of course, the perpetual motion machine and hyper-velocity projectile / WMD applications should not work.)

Last edited by Skarg; 07-18-2018 at 09:09 PM. Reason: I tried to edit this post and instead it got posted twice. I combined edits.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:06 PM   #33
JLV
 
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

I REALLY like Shostak's suggestion; though I'd change it to read; "on a 16 the gate simply doesn't work, on a 17 the traveler loses a random object from his person, and on an 18 pretty much what Shostak said (though I might suggest the possibility of wounds too).

I think that rule alone would be enough to make most players fairly cautious about over-using Gates.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:48 AM   #34
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
What happens when you make the gate that only passes paper with false statements, and then feed it a paper that says "This statement is false." ?
Gates already fail on an 18. An unprovable situation should make it fail. Otherwise how can Captain Kirk save the planet?
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:36 AM   #35
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

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Originally Posted by zot View Post
Gates already fail on an 18. An unprovable situation should make it fail. Otherwise how can Captain Kirk save the planet?
If you look closely at the flickering, you'll see that the light consists of messages written in Sorceror's Tongue that say things like "error! that is illogical!"
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:27 AM   #36
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
If you look closely at the flickering, you'll see that the light consists of messages written in Sorceror's Tongue that say things like "error! that is illogical!"
Perhaps interspersed with "404" errors from time to time...
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:42 PM   #37
Steve Jackson
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

Just to throw another cat into the washing macine . . . If we are admitting the possibility that spells can have divinatory properties, what if I Geas a guard to attack anyone who enters my presence with a treacherous thought?

Just . . . doesn't . . . work.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:19 PM   #38
zot
 
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Just to throw another cat into the washing macine . . . If we are admitting the possibility that spells can have divinatory properties, what if I Geas a guard to attack anyone who enters my presence with a treacherous thought?

Just . . . doesn't . . . work.
Yeah, I deliberately left Geas off my list in the other thread because it seemed just too much of a stretch.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:52 PM   #39
Steve Jackson
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

I don't want to give this a LOT of space but I agree it's a good question, and reasonable minds may differ on what is a stretch (I had never thought of divination by Gate). So here is a draft paragraph, which could be boxed somewhere within what used to be Advanced Wizard.

Howitzers?

---

Divination by Gate

You can’t do it.
Some spells, such as Gate, Blast Trap, and Geas, let the caster establish a rule that will govern the spell. That rule cannot be used for “divination” – it can only be used for things that the original caster could detect if he were standing right there, observing, and (somehow) looking at their character stats. So you cannot set a Blast Trap to explode at the touch of those who have shed innocent blood, or a Gate to pass only those who will never threaten the Dark Lord. But you could set a trap to attack those who have literal blood on their hands, or a Gate to pass only wizards or only woodsmen. See the Gate spell for more details.
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Old 07-21-2018, 03:04 PM   #40
Steve Jackson
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Default Re: Gates, Gate keys, and Gate locks

And this, for the Gate spell proper:

Create Gate (C): Allows the wizard to make a Gate (see Gates).
The gate will follow whatever rules the wizard specifies at the time he starts the gate, within certain limits; basically, the rule is limited to things that the caster could perceive if he were personally standing at the Gate while reviewing the character stats of the passers-by. Some specific rules that are always allowable:
• Will only/never pass a specific person(s), or someone accompanied by a specific person(s). A gate can handle an arbitrarily long list of names but cannot detect, for instance, bloodlines or Guild membership.
• Will only/never pass wizards (or Woodsmen, or males, or goblins, or those with ST above 14).
• Will only pass someone who carries a specific token.
• Will only pass someone who says the password.
Multiple rules are allowed, so you could build a gate that would only pass female goblins who said the password.
Cost to build a Gate is 100 ST: 50 when one end of the gate is set up, and 50 when the other end is set up. The wizard must travel to the site of the other end of the Gate in order to finish the job! Once the gate is finished, the wizard cannot change it unless he knows the Control Gate spell (IQ 18).
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