25
$\begingroup$

Set in the medieval period, adventurers like to frequent the guild hall to check out the bounty lists, which are updated on a daily basis. Many of the requests on the list requires adventurers to pit against dangerous towering monsters or venture into unfamiliar places where one misstep could spell certain death.

Fortunately adventurers could take a break in between the hunt or retire from the quest using a cheap portal scroll and teleport back to the guild hall. Each portal scroll is cheap and is activated by tearing the scroll apart which immediately transports the user to a destinated location, usually the nearest guild hall. To prevent one from accidentally triggering the effect the scroll is rolled and tied up with a ribbon.

However statistics have shown that only a tiny fraction of the adventurers have used the portal scroll to escape from their impending demise. Why do many adventurers did not reach for the portal scroll when their life is in danger?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I think this question needs better formatting, a few answers seem to not have read it through, especially about the amount of time it takes to set it off. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Feb 15 at 19:32
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Do portal spells conserve momentum? For example, if you're in freefall and teleport, do you go splat on arrival? $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Feb 15 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ Competition? I mean, it reads like the next lot of looters may literally be a step behind you... $\endgroup$ – t.ry Feb 16 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ One thing you need to address, if its cheap, its easy to manufacture, therefore, its likely non adventurers can also make/acquire them, which means teleporting becomes a preferred way to travel distance, i.e. if you had $1 ubers all over town, why would you drive, transport of goods, services, will all be affected by cheap teleport. $\endgroup$ – BaneStar007 Feb 17 at 23:07

25 Answers 25

44
$\begingroup$

The Spell Takes a Few Minutes to Work

After you rip up the scroll the spell immediately starts working. But teleportation spells are very complicated and the magic takes a few minutes to memorise where all the molecules in your body are located relative to each other. You must stay absolutely still for a few minutes while this happens, and only then are instantly transported.

So you can use a scroll in the evening to return to the guildhall but not to save yourself from a falling boulder.

Bonus Points: If you stay inside the radius but make a sudden movement during the priming phase, you might have part of your body not scanned or the same part scanned twice. Best case you reappear with an extra arm where no arm should be. Worst case you reappear without a head.

The worst case is someone else jumps inside the radius during the scanning phase, the spell tries to teleport one person, and you get reconstituted inside each other. The guildhall keeps two unfortunate such individuals preserved in its museum as a cautionary tale to any new adventurers who would abuse the power of the teleportation scroll. The families receive a yearly stipend in return for this.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ Except that the question says (in every version from the first) that the teleportation happens "immediately." Perhaps you could update your answer to make it clear that you're suggesting the OP change an assumption that he gave you, rather than answering within the constraints of his question. $\endgroup$ – cjs Feb 16 at 3:40
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ Absolutely still and molecular level kind of contradict each other. $\endgroup$ – infinitezero Feb 17 at 11:30
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Even at a macroscopic scale, "absolutely still" and "alive" contradict each other. $\endgroup$ – Paul Sinclair Feb 17 at 18:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JohnHamilton I think certainly "challenging the frame" can be another way of saying "changed an assumption in the question"; I do not think it means that you shouldn't say you're doing that, which is all I suggested in my comment. $\endgroup$ – cjs Feb 17 at 22:51
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ But now that I think further on it, "challenging the frame" is (at least typically) to expose a hidden assumption the OP had not realized he was making that was preventing him from finding a better solution. Here the author explicitly specified that condition and seemed to be very clear about the problems it was causing. That said, the OP accepted this answer, so I dunno what's going on. $\endgroup$ – cjs Feb 17 at 22:52
59
$\begingroup$

Gauntlets, security, accessibility and coordination. Plus falls and loot.

Assumptions: A teleport scroll will only take a single adventurer and the items that adventurer is wearing / carrying. If this assumption is incorrect then there are lots of potential problems (how much of the ground they are standing on is teleported with them?) and a very simple solution to why teleporting is a bad idea (the hostile touching the adventurer will teleport with them and continue killing the adventurer post-teleport).

Gauntlets - Hands are vulnerable. When facing an enemy, an adventurer's hands will typically be the closest part of the adventurer's body to an enemy. If an adventurer's hand is damaged then their ability to fight, treat their wounds and conduct a myriad of other tasks are seriously impeded. Therefore, melee fighters will wear protective gloves or gauntlets to prevent themselves being disabled. Archers using traditional war bows need a protective glove on the bow hand to prevent damage from the fletching of the arrows being shot and a half-glove at least to protect the fingers of the drawing hand from the bowstring. Even spellcasters, assuming that there are such, will find themselves needing gloves in a number of environments and adverse weather.

Even light, modern gloves designed for flying and running reduce the wearer's dexterity for tasks such as tying and untying knots and bows, removing items from pouches etc. Heavy gloves and gauntlets make such tasks almost impossible.

The question states that:

To prevent one from accidentally triggering the effect the scroll is rolled and tied up with a ribbon.

How long does it take to undo the ribbon and tear a scroll? I ran a few tests using sheets of A4 paper, rolled up, tied with a ribbon and placed in an unfastened breast pocket of my jacket:

  • 5 seconds when using both hands with no gloves under no pressure. The paper did not tear remotely cleanly in half - scrolls need to be perforated if a clean tear is required.
  • 8 seconds when using both hands with snow gloves under no pressure.
  • 17 seconds when using off-hand with snow glove and my teeth while wrestling with an energetic adolescent 25 kg German Shepherd X with the primary hand.
  • 11 seconds when using off-hand with snow glove and my teeth while (badly) practicing parries with an ornamental short sword in the primary hand.

One interesting observation was that my form while parrying in the last test was even worse than normal due to splitting my attention between sword work and trying to unwrap and tear a scroll. Against an opponent who is so superior that I would need to teleport to safety, I would not survive the 11 seconds it took to access and tear the scroll.

Note also that I did not even attempt to simulate a two-handed weapon, dual wielding or weapon-and-shield fighting - one hand must be free to access and unwrap the scroll, which means that a two-handed weapon cannot be employed effectively while unwrapping a scroll or an off-hand weapon or shield must be dropped and presumably abandoned (see "Loot" below).

Security and accessibility - In the above tests, the "scroll" was not secure. An enemy could pick such an obvious pocket easily, it would not be a feasible place to have a pocket in most types of armour and any flame, slashing or piercing attacks would destroy or at least damage the scroll before it could be used. In order for the scroll to survive to be used it would need to be in a more secure pocket or pouch, which would mean that instead of 10+ seconds to trigger the scroll it would take much longer. 10 seconds is a long time in close combat when things are already going sufficiently wrong that it's bug-out time, longer will make it that much worse.

Coordination - solo adventurers are not particularly plausible as a sustainable operating model. Adventuring teams are needed in order to allow for role specialisation, all-around observation and any teamwork tactics (eg distractions, flanking). When an encounter has gone so badly wrong that the team needs to teleport out, how well will this be communicated in the fog and din of battle? Will all team members realise that it's "scroll time" if they cannot hear the order to teleport? As soon as some team members teleport out, the adventurer/s remaining will face the full brunt of the hostile encounter.

Falls - Adventurers may fall to their deaths. Things may fall on adventurers to cause their deaths. Assuming that a really alert adventurer who is either falling or has something falling on them can access and tear their scroll in 5 seconds (with no "decision" time required) then 125 metres is the magic distance. If they fall less than 125 metres or if something is falling on them from a height of less than 125 metres then there is no time to use a scroll. 125 metres is really high - 99.99% of drops of or onto adventurers will be much less than this but still easily fatal.

Loot - Adventurers live and die for loot. They prefer not to die, which means that if they are entering battle while carrying heavy loot then they will put it down rather than try to fight with it on. (Armour is bad enough, but at least it is distributed over the body. A backpack with more than a few kilos in it will unbalance an adventurer, slow them down and restrict their movement - for example, it is simply not possible to fire a rifle or a crossbow from the prone position with a large backpack on.) However, this may lead to a possibly fatal hesitation when a battle is going badly - should they fight on and possibly die or teleport out and lose everything that they are not carrying? Note that this includes not only their backpacks but any weapons/shields of their own that they need to drop in order to have at least one free hand to access and use their scroll.

Summary: The time and splitting of attention to use a scroll may make fighting on or attempting a conventional withdrawal a more survivable option in many circumstances. When an adventurer falls or has things dropped on them they will not have time to use a scroll. Finally, adventurers may be reluctant to abandon team mates and/or valuables.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Nice experimentation. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Feb 16 at 12:26
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ +1 for Science! $\endgroup$ – Chromane Feb 17 at 1:59
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ +1 for the amazing effort $\endgroup$ – Mars Feb 17 at 8:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ While I like this answer it could all be solved by placing the scroll in a secure container tied to your chest that has an emergency access mechanism. Think some sort of pull here for instant teleport handle or somesuch contraption. $\endgroup$ – fgysin reinstate Monica Feb 17 at 10:30
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @fgysinreinstateMonica the fundamental issue is that there will always be a tradeoff between the ease of deliberate triggering and the risk of accidental or enemy initiation for any critical system. Examples include the design of pins for modern hand grenades (which cannot be pulled out with one's teeth whatever one sees on TV) and the mechanism for initiating personal locator beacons. In both cases, the consequences of accidental initiation are bad enough that a "pull here to activate" handle is far too risky. $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Feb 17 at 11:29
19
$\begingroup$

My first thought would be the length of the ritual, but this doesn't seem a factor.

The next would be if you were forced to return within a certain time, meaning your life would be in just as much peril as before. But since you state they can abandon a quest like this, this doesn't seem an option either.

One option could be that you would need to do it from a safe place, as whatever is threatening you, could follow you through the portal. The portal could stay open for anything like 30 seconds afterwards to permanently until it is used again. The authorities may have made it illegal to let anything in after you, because they got fed up with adventurers letting in dangerous monsters in the middle of their city, leaving them to clean up your mess. Same with dropping huge boulders in the middle of the hall, or random arrows or projectiles coming flying out a portal.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I came here to make the same suggestion re: the threat following you. Your legal argument is good, but might not be compelling to someone whose choices have become "either die here or risk punishment that might not be as bad." My thought would be giving the culture a strict (possibly religious) aversion to putting others in harm's way, to the point where it could result in consequences up to and including execution or excommunication for both the individual and their family. $\endgroup$ – kungphu Feb 17 at 3:24
11
$\begingroup$

It doesn't work everywhere

You need to be in a clearing, or at an intersection of ley lines for it to work. It's easy to reach a suitable spot if you're freely walking around, but if you're being chased by a monster or trapped down a well, you often don't have the time or ability to reach a teleportable spot.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This one is by far the best IMO. It's a simple reason why it's easy to teleport in but almost never easy to teleport out. The other answers I saw either contradict the question (i.e. the scroll takes a minute to cast), don't make sense for why you'd teleport in in the first place (i.e. you arrive naked), or don't work for all threats (i.e. you open a portal and the danger follows you. Not a huge deal if the danger is slowly-rising water or a beast that has temporarily lost track of you). It also lends itself to cool storytelling moments of someone frantically trying to find a teleport spot. $\endgroup$ – Gilad M Feb 16 at 18:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In addition, some areas may have anti-teleport fields in place, or even a general anti-magic field. Granted, there needs to be a reason such fields are put in place. $\endgroup$ – EvilSnack Feb 16 at 19:14
10
$\begingroup$

You show up naked.

enter image description here

source

The spell takes you, and only you. None of your loot, or supplies, or weapons. Also only live cells; your hair and fingernails stay behind too. If you have time to cache your stuff that is fine but that also means you might have time to figure out some way to escape with your stuff, and hair.

These adventurers are pretty resourceful and will often figure it out. They are even more confident than resourceful, and they always think they will be able to figure it out.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ That's a creative idea, but doesn't fit to the question, which states that adventurers are using those scrolls between quests to return to the guild hall. $\endgroup$ – Paŭlo Ebermann Feb 16 at 21:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PaŭloEbermann . It says they /could take a break in between the hunt / using these scrolls but rarely do. I say they rarely do because using the scroll leaves your stuff behind. It is not that they are embarrassed about being naked. They probably like that part. But the loot, man, The swag. You need that sweet swag! $\endgroup$ – Willk Feb 16 at 23:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "Naked" is good but "only living cells" is not - turns out a lot of important parts of your body do not live, such as the outer skin layer (including on your eyes!), all kinds for body liquids (tears, blood), the calcified parts of your bones. $\endgroup$ – toolforger Feb 17 at 12:30
7
$\begingroup$

While Teleportation spell scrolls are cheap, there is a maximum ammount of teleports that can happen simultanously within the Manasphere of a planet. To cope with that limitation, spell scrolls come with a delay spell that keeps the actual teleportation magic from trying to overload the Manasphere by transmitting the spell into the Grand Magic Spire's spell capacitor with a given priority written into the delay spell. The actual teleportation spells are then executed by the Grand Magic Spire after the rules of priority and then FIFO (First In First Out). Priorities are pretty much like one could expect from Radio priorities.

  • Commercially availeable spells come only with a ROUTINE priority, resulting in waiting times for the actual teleportation is delayed by about 30 minutes in low busy times and on very heavy traffic times upwards 3 hours, or even 'tomorrow'!

  • PRIORITY spells are only availeable for Law enforcement, Heads of State and military, need some sort of valid ID to be used and, result usually in waiting times between 10 and 30 minutes, on heavy traffic days at worst 3 hours.

  • IMMEDIATE spells are for Medical only and are commercially unavaileable - and might contain some sort of limitation that prevents such - possibly need to be activated with a valid First Responder Badge. While they strive to manage to get a teleport as fast as possible by queing them above all Priority spells, the sheer ammount of Immediate teleport requests means that even a medical evac spell takes up to 10 minutes to get through, with an average of about 5 mintues.

  • It's rumored that there is a FLASH priority been coded into the delay spell, but so far it has never been used - even the messangers that delivered the capitulations at the end of the last war only went Immediate.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like I could smuggle this idea somewhere, thanks :) $\endgroup$ – Cerberus Feb 17 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ I like the concept, but it screams modern which conflicts with the medieval setting. Probably more appropriate for steampunk $\endgroup$ – Mars Feb 18 at 4:30
5
$\begingroup$

Because they are not used

Simple as that.

@Daron answer is great, but even if the spell takes one second, it doesn't mean everyone would use it.

The problem isn't that one can't buy them, but that one usually that one can't use them.

If I get shot by an arrow in the head, I would die no matter if I had a portal scroll or not. I just didn't have time to react. And even If I had, I would simply raise my shield, and continue the adventure

If I try to unlock a chest that turn out to be a trap and explodes me, I would die no matter if I had a portal scroll or not. I just didn't anticipate it. If I would, I would just avoid the trap and continue the adventure.

If I fight a duel with the black knight, and he cut me in pieces, I would die no matter if I had a portal scroll or not. I just wasn't good enough. If I was, I would kill him and continue the adventure.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ There are loads of times a 1-second teleportation scroll would be very useful. For example (a) there are 10 archers and you block the first arrow, duck behind a tree and then use it (b) The trap injures but does not kill you, but you can teleport to the guildhall where there are medics and (c) The black knight is on the other end of the corridor and you know you can't beat him. $\endgroup$ – Daron Feb 15 at 18:38
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Any time the danger is non-immediate but greater than we're prepared for. $\endgroup$ – Daron Feb 15 at 18:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Or maybe you defeat the black knight but he lands a blow on you and you're losing blood. Just warp to the guildhall where they have bandages and healing people. $\endgroup$ – Daron Feb 15 at 18:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Daron Tis but a mere flesh wound..... $\endgroup$ – Thorne Feb 16 at 3:36
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This answer makes a lot of sense. If the odds seem bad, you are unlikely to enter the fight. If you do enter the fight thinking you will win and die, you are likely to have died from a surprise or had no opportunity to fish out your scroll and rip it. $\endgroup$ – user72572 Feb 18 at 2:26
5
$\begingroup$

Games are your easiest reference here.

If you can teleport during battle, players will cheese the system.
See teleportation in Diablo II for an example where hackers rigged it so if their HP dropped below a certain threshold, the bot would auto-teleport them back to town.

In purely combat games like MOBAs, teleporting is prohibitive because it gives away your position (or at least draws attention) and takes a long time to cast. There's a huge risk associated with it, as you cannot move or defend during this time and if you try to do so, you have to start again afterwards.
(Given your constraint of immediate teleportation, this doesn't seem applicable).

In typical RPG type games, you can't teleport within Dungeons--places where some sort of counter magic seals your teleportation. Dungeons can have places that aren't sealed though, allowing for checkpoints or places where you can return from.

Other games won't allow you to teleport while in combat or enemies are close by. You can make up any reason for this--enemies have evil auras that block the teleportation, or maybe they can cast counter magic that could send you into a volcano.

Lastly, execution could be an issue. If you have to carefully rip along a certain line or risk accidentally teleporting 100m away from where you thought you'd be, you won't really be able to do it in combat. This idea could set you up for some scenes with rushed teleportation landing people in trees, etc.


Other tropes I vaguely remember:

  • Baddies can also go through
  • Can only teleport at certain times of day
  • Teleporting consumes scrolls, but you still need to be close to some sort of waypoint stone
|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Shame

While the guild supports the safety of their members, and prefers them to get back safely even if unsuccessful, its membership is comprised of adventurers.

These people easily kill a dragon before breakfast on their bad days[dubious] [reference needed] or so they claim. As such, getting out of a dangerous situation using a portal scroll is frowned upon. Using one would be the coward's choice. The guild members will (literally) risk their lives over using a scroll, and so far they managed quite well (i.e. survived) so they constantly overestimate their chance of getting out in one piece.

If they valued things differently, probably they would not take part in those adventures, instead joining for example to the cooper's guild.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Ridicule from the other guild members would be a strong motivation not to use them! $\endgroup$ – SeanR Feb 17 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Good answer, the human factor shouldn't be overlooked. I imagine greed and overconfidence lead to their fair share of deaths too. $\endgroup$ – user72572 Feb 18 at 2:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Was wondering where this answer was. Human factors are extremely powerful, especially in ancient civilizations. All you need is a civilization that looks at fleeing from combat (and staying alive) as a dishonor far worse than being killed on the spot. When I read the question, the first thing that came to mind was the HZD universe, oddly -- somehow I think that the "chicken adventurer" would have a hard time coming up with money or a merchant willing to sell them more scrolls. Not to mention quite a reputation as easy prey without a scroll (which they'd be more often than not). $\endgroup$ – madscientist159 Feb 18 at 8:48
3
$\begingroup$

Running from a train right in front of it

You know in some comics where a character would be running away from a train, and you would shout, "Just run left or right, not straight you idiot!"? Since I've experienced a similar effect I can safely say the reason for that is if you do not spend 100% of your speed and energy on staying your course, any slight deviation in your trajectory would have you run over. The distance you lose between you and the threat by going diagonally spells certain doom.

What does this have to do with your scenario?

If you are being attacked, would you rather;

  • grab at a scroll, or
  • attempt to block, parry or dodge the immediate threat?

Even if YOU say "but the scroll is sure escape!", what does your instincts say in that moment?

Secondly, if you are being overpowered it will often be swift enough that you simply do not have time to survive it, in that you realize it too late. You have already been slain, impaled by the trap or actively being hindered from escaping by the imposing threat, usually by unrelenting attacks.

The few cowards who have survived using this method was simply walking into danger knowingly, scroll in a dual white-knuckle grip while inching forward, ready to rip at any sign of danger, movement or noise. Great strategy for scouting ahead I'd say, less of an option for "in the heat of battle" escape. Leaving your party behind like this is of course a sure fire way of never getting in a adventuring party ever again, unless you are a really good liar. But suspicion would set in soon enough regardless I'd wager.

As a final note I want to mention that I would expect regular "fully beaten, half dead" adventurers to show up at the guild hall. If not, it's possibly due to all that blood, sweat and urine sogging up the parchment.

Alternative reasons could be focus, as for the spell to complete successfully, (even though the somatic component is mundane) it requires the caster to be fully focused on the spell. For instance they would need to visualize the guild hall clearly. Rather difficult when a dozen skeletons are gnawing at your soft and tenders.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

You can afford to pull out a scroll if you're in a game and know you can take 3 more turns before your HP is depleted. In real life, so much as reaching for your pouch in a melee battle will get you decapitated. Try to run away? That'll be a sword in the back.

You could still teleport back if you win a fight but have been wounded, but this is not a very common scenario because getting wounded usually means getting killed seconds later.

Traps are usually deadly as well, and any enemies who capture the hero will make sure to remove the scroll from their possession first (and perhaps hand it over to chieftain Orglukk the undefeated half-ogre half-minotaur, who may want to go get his golden totem back; after a few such incidents, the guild no longer gives scrolls to its junior members).

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

The scroll not only has a fixed destination, but also a fixed departure point. So the adventurers will still need to get to the departure point. The adventurers will probably take several scrolls with them to have several possible departure points, but having too many scrolls becomes clumsy and will become too costly. So in a way it will become a bit like public transport, where you have several nearby bus stops, but you still have to walk to one of these. On the way to the bus stop still a lot can happen.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Side effects. How fast you tear the scroll matters, as the faster you tear the scroll, the faster the ritual happens and the faster you get out of there. However, the faster the ritual happens, the higher the chance something goes wrong, such as teleporting without your blood, or upon arrival you don't have your left arm

Depending on any magical effects or artifacts nearby, those can interfere with the scroll, and you may not teleport to the guild, but instead into a dangerous location.

Yet more effects could be the infliction of physical or physic damage. The magic has to get it's power from somewhere, and the farther you are, the more it costs. A weak hero might succumb to the drain of the scroll and die. . Use any or all of these suggestions.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

The other answers are all good. In addition, maybe pride, maybe the adventurers are unlearned peasants in search of glory that don't understand the power of the scroll, maybe they put it in their back pocket and can't reach it in full armor, or maybe they just got killed too fast and had no time to grab their scroll.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Area of Effect

A variant on Plutian's idea.

The spell teleports the user to the intended location... along with every other person, aboveground object, or stray spell within a couple of yards. So an incoming axe or fireball just gets brought along, with its momentum conserved, and strikes you just as it would if you hadn't moved. More worryingly, an enemy you're fighting at close range will come along for the ride, meaning you haven't improved your situation at all. Most adventurers have wised up to this and favor evading or blocking attacks instead.

The best time to use this spell is if you're in danger from afar, and everyone knows adventurers do their best work up close and personal.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Because they do not close immediatly after you- and what hunts you may come to the village. Leading to dug out spike holes beneath the portal scroll porch. And crossbows. And heroes hating villagers. Thus its longterm unhealthy to use them in peril.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

It's kinda hard to tear.

Don't think of parchment or paper, which rips easily. No, scrolls are made of a special material that has magical properties. Writing on this film is nearly impossible with non-magical quills. Likewise, ripping it isn't the easiest task in the world. Have you ever tried to tear plastic? Some are almost impossible, you have to work at it with your hands and that takes time and concentration that you don't have running from a minotaur.

The act of tearing the scroll, due to its material, is not an easy task in and of itself.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Real parchment (as opposed to expensive paper masquerading as "parchment") is actually relatively difficult to tear - which fits this answer quite well $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Feb 17 at 13:32
1
$\begingroup$

Anything easy for you to use is easy for an attacker to abuse.

We'll imagine that it is instant to tear a scroll and teleport away. I mean truly instant, like you think about grabbing the scroll and teleporting and it's as good as done.

Since it basically costs you nothing, anytime you stub a toe, you just pull the plug and disappear in a puff of figurative smoke. That means your enemies can never kill you, and you think it's so smart of a loophole.

At first your enemies are a bit annoyed, but they figure if you can disappear at will, so can they. And now every time they come close to dying, they just teleport away from danger. And if you manage to make your way to the big boss, they'll teleport away too, with their precious loot and McGuffins.

What this accomplishes is remove the need to fight. You just have to walk up to the bad guy's fortress, knock on the door, ask politely if they want to surrender and go home if they say no because any confrontation will end up in somebody teleporting away and nobody gains anything.

Even if your enemies are magically challenged and only the good guys can procure scrolls, you have a problem. But remember, the easier it is for you to use, the easier it is for an attacker to abuse. So their standard strategy now isn't to fight you off and kill, it's to activate the emergency teleport and watch you go away.

In conclusion, you really want your teleportation magic to be mildly inconvenient and unusable in battle.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Bravado.

Those who use scrolls to flee danger live with a terrible stigma amongst adventuring circles, and the social pressure does its trick for other would-be cowards.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

YOLO

You only live once. You've fought many battles before and are still alive, so you are now over-confidant about your chances of survival. You simply don't expect to die, so there is no reason to escape a fight. And you wouldn't know at what point in a fight is the best time to escape.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Unreliable scrolls

Scribing magic scrolls is really hard to get right, and sometimes the scroll is bad : maybe you appear in the guild hall, but get teleported back where you were 10 seconds later, maybe you're at both places at the same time for a couple minutes, or maybe the spell just fails. This means teleportation scrolls aren't guaranteed get-out-of-jail-free cards and should be used in safe contexts, because you might need to go through 3-4 ones before you're sure to be fully teleported.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

It takes two hands to tear up a piece of paper

So you must drop your prized weapon. Teleports are cheap; good weapons not so much.

Or you pause to sheath your weapon, but that is very dangerous.

It takes the monster with you

To be more specific, it brings along anyone who is touching you. So monsters have learned that when you stop fighting to tear up a piece of paper, to body-check you. Now the monster arrives at the guild hall, achieving total surprise, and tears up the place. That'll get you kicked out of the guild!

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For the most part I imagine you can hold your weapon under your arm or pressed against your body with your forearm, no need to drop it. $\endgroup$ – user72572 Feb 18 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ @user-1387425094 Or hold the 2 ends of the scroll in your off-hand to make a loop, then insert your sword into the loop and pull to rip it, like a letter opener. Depending on how sturdy/flimsy the material is, you could also use your thumb while holding bow or mace... $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Feb 18 at 8:35
0
$\begingroup$

Poor Planning Prevents Preservative 'Porting

Most adventurers keep their Portal Scroll somewhere safe, so that they can use it to get back home when the quest is complete, or they run out of supplies. Unfortunately, "buried in the bottom of your knapsack" isn't exactly fast to access.

Some adventurers experimented with "quickdraw" scrolls - fixed at one end, with a ribbon attached at the other, you just had to pull the "rip-cord" to teleport back to safety. These, however, proved too easy to catch on bushes or door-handles, and were given up as a bad idea.

Beyond that, however... Adventurers practice blocks, attacks, and dodges every day. Those things are ingrained, and almost automatic. On the other hand, what pansy would practice using a portal scroll? So, in the heat of the moment, either the option escapes their minds entirely, or they fumble with trying to untie the safety ribbon.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

It is not a portal spell

The spell deconstructs you, your stuff, and all your belongings and recreates it perfectly at the destination. However, your soul is not a physical thing, or something that can be measured, so it is not transported. So the first time you use the scroll, you die, and you are replaced by a copy of yourself with all your memories. So, the only adventurers who would use that are:

  1. People who are providing for their family and know they might die.
  2. People who do not care about their souls and just want money, not realizing they don't get to enjoy it.
  3. People who believe in a cause greater than themselves, and are willing to die for.

The reason they are so cheap and common is because the teleportation magic is easy, and nobody wants it. It is also a bad weapon, because you have to activate it, and the copy of the person will immediately comeback and try to kill the person who de-souled them.

So not many people use the portal item.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

There is a cost attached to teleportation

This cost could either be of physical or mental nature.

Version 1:

Using the teleportation scroll takes a hit on your life force. So if you are using it while not well rested, it could kill you. That means that by the time you found out, that you would lose a battle, it is too late to use it. Better spend your energy on the tiny fraction of a chance to survive some other way.

Version 2:

The teleportation scroll transports your body without a problem, but the mind is not transferred that easily. So if you tear the scroll up, while not being fully focussed on the teleportation process, your mind or a part of your mind could get left behind. This means you cannot use it in a fight where you constantly have to watch your enemy. You would also not be able to escape a death trap like a falling boulder, as the shock of surprise would fully occupy your mind.

If the teleportation did not succeed, you would arrive in a catatonic state, where you have lost your memories, sanity, were kissed by a dementor, or something else. In any case you would not be the person you once were. The local tavern could reserve a dark corner for the unlucky adventurers, where their presence would warn other travelers about the peril of teleportation scrolls, and after some time the hapless remainders are driven out and left to die.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.