Template: Elator (Teleportation)

I hope that last string of space pirates was useful to you! Now back to the Land of the True Game for a change. Writing these templates is hard work! So I can’t post a string of them all at once… it is slower going than I thought, but I’ll get through the roadmap eventually. Today: The Elator.

An elator is defined mostly by the GURPS Basic Set disadvantage Warp. This makes them an expensive character type–it was hard to do justice to the setting material given the limit on the number of points I want for this campaign! An elator might be better at a higher point total. If you want this elator template to actually work the way elators do in the setting source material, you’ll need to dump 40+ additional points into the “Skilled” lens. OK here we go.

Elators: The Primer

In The Land of the True Game, elators have the power of teleportation. It’s a powerful talent but also a dangerous, demanding one. A lapse in concentration will send an elator to their death, entombed below ground or falling from a great distance in the air. Elators can also teleport instantly and even dodge via teleportation, called “blinking,” however this can be exhausting (Elators spend FP to reduce teleportation penalties). To stay alive the skilled elator will concentrate before teleporting–sometimes for long periods (to receive bonuses for extra preparation).

The Standard Elator Attack

Elators can only teleport to a place they can see or have been before and can clearly remember. During a great game, a ruler’s typical orders to elators will be to spy on an opposing army until they can set eyes on a strategically important enemy gamesman (often with a spyglass) like a ruler. The elator’s attack is then to teleport behind the enemy at a moment of distraction, laying about them with daggers or a shortsword, then quickly teleporting away to safety. Novice elators, however, might only be able to do this once per battle, and find it exhausting.

If the elator’s typical attack is executed well they may gain partial surprise, however total surprise during battle is not realistic. Enemy gamesmen are well aware of the elator’s tactics. Valuable gamesmen are sometimes ensconced amidst movable or stationary “elator traps”–for instance trapdoors behind the queen cause an arriving elator to immediately fall into a pit of spikes. Some combatants also skillfully use “elator walls” or barriers, never giving the elator a place to arrive. It is said, “An elator is a friend with your back against stone.” Of course, nothing prevents elators from arriving from the front.

“Hopscotch” and Elator’s Launch

Elators are the fastest gamespiece. In an emergency an elator can travel very quickly via “hopscotch.” Peering ahead with a spyglass, the elator teleports to the farthest place they can see in the direction that they wish to travel, then they repeat–moving much faster than horseback and even armigers can travel. This can also be exhausting for the elator.

To make elators more effective, wealthy rulers will sometimes erect tall towers with excellent vantage points toward all approaches to their demensne. They will then equip the top of the tower with a large, powerful mounted telescope to increase the elator’s range. This location in the keep is called “the elator’s launch.”

Memorizing Work

During quieter times, the Elator’s job is often to visit places that might have strategic significance in the future and memorize them for future teleportation needs. The battle-saavy queen will construct Elator hidey-holes along the choke-points any invading army must traverse, as well as camouflaged Elator vantage points atop bluffs that overlook any approach.

Armiger/Elator Tensions

An elator is a valuable, rare piece. A very gifted elator is a gem indeed. If no elator can be found, the more common armiger can accomplish some of the same tasks (spying, surprise attack). Amongst themselves, elators refer to armigers as “almosts” or “substitutes”–as in “elator substitutes,” an insult. Armigers of course resent this.

The Evil Elator

Elators are sometimes sent abroad as spies (e.g., disguised as pawns) to memorize the locations relevant for a future attack on potential enemies or rival demensnes. This is against the rules of the true game but the rules are so complex that clever rulers can always find an interpretation that allows this behavior. Or a ruler might not care about breaking the rules.

Being an elator has a dark side. Since locked doors are no obstacle to an elator, many unethical elators become infatuated with voyeurism or burglary, even though these are crimes. That means in this game world it is vitally important to never let anyone you don’t trust see your private rooms, especially an unknown elator. Kings and queens sometimes redecorate and even move buildings in the hope that elators who have visited in the past will no longer be able to remember them properly. Thanks to the risk of elators, valuables are never left out in the open even when they are in private rooms — they are stored in locked chests. And a guilty elator could never be punished with handcuffs or jail!

Elator Template

184 points

Attributes: ST 11 [10]; DX 15 [100]; IQ 10 [0]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dam 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 10 [0]; Per 10 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 6.5 [0]; Basic Move 6 [0].
Advantages: Teleportation: Warp (Range Limit, 100 yards -40%; True Game ESP -20%) [40] and Status 1 (Gamesman) [5]. ⬤ An additional 25 points chosen from among Absolute Direction [5] or 3D Spatial Sense [10]; Acute Vision [2/level], Basic Speed +0.5 [10] Combat Reflexes [15]; Enhanced Parry 1 (Weapon of choice) [5], Extra Attack 1 [25], Striking ST 1 or 2 [5 or 10], Night Vision [1/level], and/or Weapon Master (Weapon of choice) [20].
Perks: Signature Gear (Legendary spyglass or Weapon of choice) [1] or Weapon Bond (Weapon of choice) [1]
Disadvantages and Quirks: Choose one from among: Compulsive Trespassing (places you aren’t supposed to be) [-5], Curious [-5], Fear of Being Buried Alive (Taphephobia) [-10*], Kleptomania (Aspected: Things in locked rooms, -20%) [-12], Reputation -2 (my demensne, all the time: “Spies on people” or “Steals from people”) [5] or Trademark [-5 to -15] ⬤ Then select additional traits from the prior list and from among the following traits until the total for disadvantages reaches -50: Basic Move -1 [-5], Bloodlust [-10*], Bowlegged [-1], Either Code of Honor (Oathbound or Gamesman’s) [-5 or -10]; Clumsy Runner [-1], Dependent (50%, loved one [thalan], 9 or less) [-5], Duty (a demensne, 6 or less) [-2] or Duty (a belligerent demensne, 6 or less, extremely hazardous) [-7], Greed [-15*], Gullibility [10*], Hero Worship (Ruler of demensne) [-1], Intolerance (Pawns or Armigers) [-5], Jealousy [-10], Lecherousness [-15*], Loner [-5*], Nosy [-1] (this cannot be selected with Curious), Oblivious [-5], On the Edge (15 or less) [-7], Proud [-1], Prickly [-1], Skinny [-5], Squeamish [-10*], Stuttering [-10], Social Stigma (Heretic, Disowned, or Outcast) [-5], Twitchy [-1], Unattractive [-4], Vow (Use only weapon of choice or Only teleport honorably [no spying/stealing]) [-5].
Primary Skills: Teleportation (Psionic Power Skill) Will+4 [20]-14, Body Sense DX-1 [2]-14.
Secondary Skills: Melee Weapon (DX/Easy Weapon of Choice) DX+3 [8]-18 or (DX/Average Weapon of Choice) DX+2 [8]-17 ⬤ Choose one package from:

  1. Dual-Wielder: Select either Dual Weapon Attack (DX/Easy Weapon of choice) Skill-1 [4]-17 or (DX/Average Weapon of choice) Skill-1 [4]-16 as appropriate to earlier weapon decision and add perks Off-Hand Weapon Training (Weapon of choice) [1] and an additional instance of either Signature Gear [1] or Weapon Bond [1] as was selected above.
  2. Precise: Choose either Expulsion [1] or Bamf [1] and either Targeted Attack (DX/Easy Melee Weapon, Thrust, Torso Chinks in Armor) Skill-2 [5]-14 or (DX/Average Melee Weapon, Thrust, Torso Chinks in Armor) Skill-2 [5]-13.
  3. Spy: Pickpocket DX+0 [4]-15, Stealth DX+0 [2]-15.

Background Skills: Module: Educated [7] and either Acrobatics DX-2 [1]-13, Brawling DX+0 [1]-15, or Stealth DX-1 [1]-14 if not taken already.

Lenses

Atlas (+4 or +8 points): Area Knowledge (useful elator landings) IQ+2 [4]-12 or Photographic Memory (Aspected, only for places -20%) [8];

  • The GM may allow an elator with a set of well-memorized landings to roll against Area Knowledge instead of IQ.
  • Some people have a gift for remembering places. Rather than making an IQ (memory) roll to remember a place, then a Teleportation roll to successfully warp there, an atlas elator (named after the book of maps, not the Greek god of the stars) can use a photographic memory for places to waive the IQ roll entirely.

Blinking (+25 points): Add Warp enhancement (Blink +25%) [25].

  • Some elators are fast enough that they can use their teleportation power to reflexively dodge incoming ranged and melee attacks without the normal -10 penalty.

Legendary Spy (+59 points) Decrease DX-3 [-60], Increase IQ+3 [60], then add Camouflage IQ+0 [1]-13, Trained by a Master [30], Hypnotism IQ+1 [8]-14, Invisibility Art IQ+1 [12]-14, Stealth DX+2 [8]-14 (Note these skill levels include the stated modifications to DX/IQ).

  • The most legendary elators of myth can appear in the corner behind a potted plant, wrapped in a cloak the same color as the wall, and you never know they are there, even though you are looking right at them (Invisibility Art).

Skilled (+20 points): Spend 20 points from among: Reduce the Warp limitation (Range Limit) by 1-2 levels for 10% each (e.g., 2 miles for the first reduction) [10 or 20], add the technique Bulk Compensation (Hard) for extra carrying capacity [2-6], add points to the Teleportation Skill [4/level], or do the following three things: add Warp enhancement (Gyroscope, +10%) [10], add technique Careful (Psionic Power Technique) Skill-1 [2]-13 and remove Body Sense skill [-2].

  • Some elators become so used to teleportation that they increase their range, no longer have to make body sense rolls upon arrival, can carry more things with them, or are just more likely to teleport successfully.
  • This can be taken multiple times to increase skill/range or add reliability, but Gyroscope can only be added (and Body Sense removed) once.
  • To reduce the range limit, the range progression is in miles: 2, 10, then an additional 10x for each level
  • To increase carrying capacity, 2 points allows Light at no penalty, 3 points allows Medium, 4 allows Heavy, 5 allows Extra Heavy at -1, and 6 allows Extra Heavy at no penalty. See “Bulk Compensation” on Psionic Powers p. 68.
  • In this build the Reliable enhancement is not cost effective.

Especially Lethal (+21 points). Required: Select “Weapon Master” as an initial advantage from the template as described above. Add: Power Blow Will+2 [12]-12 and add +3 FP [9].

  • An elator with especially lethal lens may roll against Power Blow before each melee attack for a cost of 1 FP. On a success the effective ST of the attack is doubled.
  • Example: While an elator does 1d-1 imp damage when stabbing with a Large Knife, a lethal elator does 2d imp. Weapon master also halves the penalty for rapid strikes and provides an additional +2 per die of damage as the appropriate Melee Weapon skill is known at better than DX+2. This gives a total damage of 2d+4 per stab. Wow!

Precise (+7). Instead of choosing just one package of secondary skills above, combine the first two. Replace the secondary skill package with either Expulsion [1] or Bamf [1]; Off-Hand Weapon Training (Weapon of choice) [1]; and an additional instance of either Signature Gear [1] or Weapon Bond [1] as was selected already, then add the technique Dual-Weapon Attack (Weapon of choice, Thrust, Torso Chinks in Armor ) Skill+0 [5] (for e.g., level 18 for DX/Easy or 17 for DX/Hard weapons). Finally, add the targeted attack technique, but base it on the above Dual-Weapon technique and not the underlying skill: Dual-Weapon Targeted Attack (DX/Easy Melee Weapon, Thrust, Torso Chinks in Armor) Skill-2 [5]-14 or (DX/Average Melee Weapon, Thrust, Torso Chinks in Armor) Skill-2 [5]-13.

  • The above precise lens allows the elator to either dual-wield with no penalty, OR to dual-wield with an attack targeting the chinks in armor in an opponent’s torso at a -4 instead of the normal -8. (This is the maximum penalty that can be bought off for targeted attacks.)

Versatile (+6 points). Add the Spy secondary skills package in addition to another package, or in addition to the Precise lens. This will be rare in the game world, as most elators specialize.

Multiple lenses can be stacked together. The Skilled lens can be taken multiple times.

The modules Survivor (+21 points), Combat Veteran (+30 points), and/or Minor Heretic (+4 points) can also be stacked on this template.

Notes:

  • Expulsion and Bamf are supernatural perks defined in Psionic Powers p. 69.
  • Teleportation makes a low ground move less troublesome for elators, you might want to consider it as a dump stat.
  • Fear of being buried alive (a phobia) is from GURPS Horror, p. 25. It’s a common problem among Elators, who worry they will miscalculate and end up deep in the earth.
  • Trademark is particularly appropriate for Elators who are sneaky.
  • Bloodlust could be a very limiting disadvantage for an elator, as the standard elator tactic is to retreat rather than defend. Bloodlust might prevent retreat by teleporting.
  • Elators don’t practice Fast Draw because they always ready their weapons before teleporting into the fray.
  • Note that Absolute Direction provides +3 to Body Sense rolls, 3D Spatial Sense provides +6.
  • A rumored heresy has it that a seer, an elator, and a demon can form a linkage that will allow the elator to visit a place none of them have ever seen. This is accomplished by the seer seeing the place in a vision, the demon reading them and transplanting the vision to the elator, who feels as though they have seen the place. (As is always the case, only the elator is transported.)
  • In combat terms, appearing behind people is the elator’s big advantage. Your enemy cannot defend against attacks from the rear unless they have Peripheral Vision (then they are at -2). This usually guarantees an elator a “free” attack. On the enemy’s next turn they if they turn 180 degrees and retaliate they are at -4 (the “Move and Attack” penalty), or if for some reason they have to remain facing forward they can swing a melee weapon behind them at -5 (“Wild Swing”). If they were injured in the elator’s first attack they may suffer shock penalties.
  • I worried about the need to add a high IQ, Tactics, and Combat Reflexes to be sure the elator would win a contest of initiative in a case of partial surprise, but after reading the rules carefully there’s no way this would come up. The elator will have their enemy under direct observation (e.g., via spyglass) just before teleporting to them. The elator will teleport behind their enemy, out of their line of sight. As I read the rules, the elator can’t be surprised by definition if the situation is that they see an enemy and are moving toward them to attack. And that’s the standard elator attack. Only their opponent can be surprised.
  • An asterisk (*) next to a cost means that a self-control number is required. This assumes a number of 12 if no number is specified (see “On the Edge” above).
  • This is an adventuring-skills-light template, as is true for all of the templates in this campaign. See the discussion of why this template is skills-light.

(Image coda: detail from “The Assassination and Funeral of Julius Caesar” c. 1455 by Apollonio di Giovanni di Tommaso. From the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, in the public domain.)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s