Champions – On Interstellar Teleportation

Since it was asked… this is a fourth edition game and there are restraints on both active points and some powers in particular.

The Emergence Campaign timelines and background material mentions mass interstellar migrations – but limits the active point totals available to even the mightiest characters to 120 active points or less, and even THAT is awfully hard to get to. The effective limit is usually 90 active points.

The trouble is that 90 – or even 120 – active points in Teleportation just won’t get you that far. A sixty-point teleport power focused on long range gets up to a little over three miles. 90 points gets you two hundred miles and 120 points will give you global range – just for you. While that’s probably a good thing as far as keeping the campaign reasonably sane goes, and it avoids having heroes and villians popping in and out of orbital bases and distant lands at whim, it’s not going to allow interstellar travel in any reasonable amount of time. So just how do those interstellar jaunts work?

They’re a combination of Extra-Dimensional Movement to the corresponding point in an “empty”, but life-friendly, dimension, some FTL travel there (with the special effect that only a few instants of time seem to pass during the trip) and a return to normal space at the end.

At the absolute minimum, you can get away with that personally at a mere twenty active points in each effect – just barely within the range of possibility for a normal mortals personal magic. Of course a normal mortal using that sort of effect will generally be restricted to using pre-existing weak points in any dimensional wards which happen to be up (since they can’t afford to add Armor-Piercing to their dimensional travel spell), and will need some sort of cross-dimensional perception or some other special ability to navigate. An appropriate Detection, Trans-Dimensional Senses and a decent Navigation Skill, or simply very high skills in astronomy and navigation, will all do.

The cheapest version of a group transport using that system is to add a one-hex area effect (for 30 active points in each ability) to each of the active powers. You can add the “stargate” travel effect if it makes you happy at no cost.

Sure, the actual transport speed is only 32 times the speed of light, but it won’t seem long at all. If you really MUST be drawn to mars on a strange beam of light and look for Dejah Thoris, go right ahead.

If you’re using ambient magic at 40 active points, you can up the speed to 250 times the speed of light – and can spare the power to break through most dimensional wards on arrival and departure.

If you want to take a small horde… now you have problems. For that you’re going to want Radius and Extended Radius. If you go for the 80 active points you can get using ambient magic at a major power nexus with a focusing structure (or from major-league psionic powers), you can get a radius of 1024 meters – about 3.3 square kilometers. Allowing some room for their goods, you can still get a few hundred thousand, or maybe even a million or so into that space.

Thus Azor, who jumped his tribal followers a sizeable part of the way across the galaxy – some 78,000 light years – lost nearly two and a half thousand years doing it. Of course, neither he nor his followers knew or cared about that.

The inhabitants of Zantu, who jumped a mere two hundred and forty light years or so away from Earth as it was approaching the Rho-Field lost between seven and eight years on the trip – not that they cared either, although they may have known.

Small groups can go a lot faster of course; jumping a small embassy group from Zantu to Earth using an ancient device with 80 active points meant 40 points of FTL in a radius – for four light years an hour, or a trip time of about two and a half days.

Can you speed things up even more without more active points? Yes, of course you can; if you can navigate the dimensions with great skill (or just get very VERY lucky) you may wind up in a dimension where FTL is unusually easy or where space is “smaller” – effectively multiplying your speed, possibly to the point of near-instantaneous travel. Unfortunately, that sort of bonus is only available at the whim of the game master.

And now the players will know why most interstellar travel is by ship. Ships don’t have to pay for area effects, and so they can be considerably faster than purely magical means of travel.

4 Responses

  1. […] On Interstellar Teleportation: What does and does not work (specific to the setting and the 4′th edition Hero). […]

  2. […] On Interstellar Teleportation: What does and does not work (specific to the setting and the 4′th edition Hero). […]

  3. […] On Interstellar Teleportation: What does and does not work (specific to the setting and the 4’th edition Hero). […]

  4. […] On Interstellar Teleportation: What does and does not work (specific to the setting and the 4’th edition Hero). […]

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