Monday, May 8, 2017

Teleportation: an expanded view (warning: longer than normal)

"Ingress and egress are vital components of a megadungeon. As such, they must be well designed." -me on Facebook earlier today.

While writing my Mord Mar Monday post last night, I talked about teleportation in Mord Mar. I asked some friends on Facebook about the subject. I received some excellent responses. Here was my post:

"A question for the historians of Dungeons & Dragons: Did Gary gygax allow teleportation to be used in castle greyhawk? I dimly remember reading something about it a long time ago, but my google fu is weak.

Follow up question: Do those of you with your own Mega dungeons allow teleportation in them?"

Having my Facebook friends respond to my post was very enlightening. I found that Gary Gygax did in fact allow teleportation into and out of Greyhawk Castle. And, it seems most megadungeon creators do allow for teleportation to work within their creations. Undermountain colored my perception more than I had realized.

To recap, here's what I said was going to happen with the Mord Mar:

"My conclusion to the Teleport Dilemma is a randomization. As I was thinking about the teleport nodes that line the entrance corridor, I decided that Egg devised the system. He built it, but it is pervasive throughout Mord Mar. 50% of the time the teleport spell taps into the system, and dumps the people being teleported into the nearest teleport node (or activation point). 25% of the time, they teleport as intended (with the usual teleport chances of failure), and 25% of the time the spell simply fails."

In 1E AD&D, teleport has a casting time of 2 segments, with only a V component. So, it is quick and easy to cast. The weight limit may factor into successfully using the spell in combat. I just looked up the S&W version of teleport, and I'm a bit surprised. Here it is, from the newest printing of the Complete Rules:

Spell Level: Magic-User, 5th Level Range: Touch Duration: Instantaneous

This spell transports the caster or another person to a destination that the caster knows, or at least knows what it looks like from a picture or a map. Success depends on how well the caster knows the targeted location, as follows:

1. If the caster has only seen the location in a picture or through a map (so that knowledge is not based on direct experience), there is only a 25% chance of success, and failure means death, for the traveler’s soul is lost in the spaces between realities.

1. If the caster has seen but not studied the location, there is a 20% chance of error. In the case of an error, there is a 50% chance that the traveler arrives low, 1d10 x10 feet below the intended location (with death resulting from arrival within a solid substance). If the error is high (over the 50% chance for a “low” arrival), the traveler arrives 1d10 x10 feet above the targeted location – likely resulting in a deadly fall.

1. If the caster is well familiar with the location, or has studied it carefully, there is only a 5% chance of error. On a 1 in 6 the teleport is low, otherwise it is high. In either case, the arrival is 1d4 x10 feet high or low.

This version of the spell obviously does not provide enough advantage to warrant a problem. It is only a single person. It honestly seems a bit weak for a 5th level spell. Looking at Labyrinth Lord, it seems to be very similar to the S&W version. This may be why settings like Barrowmaze, Rappan Athuk and Castle of the Mad Archmage don't mention teleport.

Compare that to the Pathfinder version, which is HERE. PF ramps up the power level considerably for this spell. I would assume D&D 3.0/5 would be about the same.

HERE is the 5E version, for reference as well. Again, a very different spell than LL or S&W. Also considerably more powerful than 1E.

This brings me to the conclusion that the rules system for the game will have a large impact on the effectiveness of teleport. Mord Mar started as Pathfinder, which may be the root of my consternation.

"Mega's are all about navigation- at higher levels PCs have more options and should be able to use them. That said, high level GMing for Megas is about challenging resources - so I limit teleportation. In my newest Mega, the dungeon itself has MR you have to overcome"

Mister Z said that. I want to study it for a moment. The first sentence is why I have the Teleportation Dilemma. I agree that players and characters should have access to the things that they earn. It's beginning to look like I should re-revisit teleportation in Mord Mar.

Another friend of mine, JJ, said "With the additional possibility of spell failure? Why not?" This makes me think that I am on the right track.

For now, I think I'm modifying the original percentages: 25% to hit a node, 25% to hit a  rune, and 50% chance to work normally.

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