Earlier today, I posted on Facebook that I would be changing some of the teleporters in Mord Mar. It is a significant change to how the whole campaign world works, and I thought I should expand on the idea.
As I tune Mord Mar to a convention playtest, I have been looking at all of the overall mechanics of the campaign. I already did away with the Meave, as it was too clunky and confusing. That was pretty cut and dry compared to the teleporters though. The teleporters are a staple, and are the cogs of the modular design inside Mord Mar. But, on some level they need to make sense.
As I was writing the hallway (highway?) from the Entrance City to the Ruined City, I thought about a group just trying to activate every teleporter on the way. Why not? Then I wondered why a mighty dwarven king would have a backdoor into his stronghold completely unguarded that would allow an assassin materialize at his back. It just didn't make sense to me to allow it to stay as it was.
The king would do his best to keep that particular rune a secret, but it would be difficult, if not impossible to do so. Whoever made it would know about it. His children would know about it. His advisers and his wife would know about it. The Captain of the Guard would know about it. His (and his wife's) family would know about it. And each generation would add more people who knew the secret. Any sane king would not want that to be a two way street. The king would be sure to make it an exit only option.
This opens up other possibilities. One way in, fight your way out. One way out, find your way to the Mcguffin. As a GM, it is a lot more appealing. Mixing up the teleporters will take away a lot of quick jaunts to odd parts of the mountain.
The question becomes, which ones need to change, and which ones stay the same? I think teleporters that lead to market districts, or places that once supplied goods to the city should remain two way teleporters. But what about the rune in the Orcish Holdings? should that be two way? Was that once part of the Old City (current writing says no)?
A beautiful thing about the mountain itself being alive is the fact that the mountain has its own wishes and desires. It may change the way the magic works inside its body to confuse the creatures that are assaulting its innards. So, it is possible that the teleporters don't work the same way every time. And what if evil party hating wizards decide they need to rewrite the code that makes the teleporters function?
So many more possibilities this way. Expect the unexpected, intrepid adventurers.