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The rules for the range of teleportation seem inconsistent; how can I fairly deal with this?

The Teleportation talent is described in the core book as being of extremely limited range without exception. To quote (emphasis mine):

You can teleport yourself short distances using your Unicorn magic. Teleporting is difficult to control and can sometimes cause more problems than it solves! Teleporting yourself is Difficulty 5, and every few feet after that adds an extra 1 to the Difficulty.

Failing a Teleport test means you teleport to somewhere you didn't intend, though it may still save you from trouble!

RAW from this section clearly indicates that this this ability can only teleport you short distances, measured in the double-digit-feet range at most, making it more akin to D&D's Dimension Door (though even still less effective than that) than a full-fledged Teleport.

For starters, this seems inconsistent with the source material of the show. Highly skilled characters within the canon proper are able to teleport on the scale of miles, or even around the entire country (in this case, as a result of a failure).

More officially, it seems contradictory with the published adventure The Curse of the Statuettes. In this story, one of the main antagonists, Moonbeam, is highly skilled at teleportation, and the adventure suggests that she use it to escape the PCs when she needs to retreat (emphasis mine):

Moonbeam will make use of Force Field and Stun Ray spells to keep the PCs at bay. If they close in on her she will Teleport to safety. After a brief encounter, Moonbeam will grab the wagon-pony statuette with Telekinesis and run away! If the PCs capture her, she will escape using Teleport.

The limited range of teleport as given by the core book does not seem sufficient to be able to be used as a Free Escape ability; displacing yourself 5 to 30 feet is hardly sufficient to escape persistent PCs! Without significant contrivance, this will not be enough to exit the scene... well, unseen!

Are the rules for teleportation intended to be different between PCs and NPCs, in order to allow villains a contrived method of escaping scenes while limiting the ability of players to abuse it? (I would not appreciate this ruling, but I would at least understand it) Is it reasonable to give the ability a more substantial growth curve relative to Difficulty rating and success level?


Update

As a result of Zak's answer and suggestion to create our own rules, I came up with the following custom solution: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=22531662&postcount=3

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My name is Zak Barouh. I'm the author of The Curse of the Statuettes and manager of Tails of Equestria. I can happily shine some light on these parts of the game, though please don't take my word as law.

As with many of the more mechanical elements of Tails of Equestria, I always strongly encourage GMs to make alterations and customise the game so it fits both their own GMing style and the needs of the group. Having said that, I will give my own thoughts on Teleport and its uses.


I believe the Teleport Talent works this way for two primary reasons:

  1. To represent that in Equestria self-teleportation is a very difficult type of spell to learn, and even more difficult to master. It takes a great deal of skill and/or training to use this spell at all, let alone reliably.

  2. To limit the potentially hard to account for ability of player characters Teleporting wherever they want to during an encounter. In Tails of Equestria there is little emphasis on combat or other heavily mechanical encounters, but long-distance teleportation could prove troublesome for a GM, especially an inexperienced one (and ToE was designed with inexperienced RPG players in mind to a certain extent).

With regards to Moonbeam in The Curse of the Statuettes, the main difference here is how to GM handles NPCs, but also the sequence of events that play out in this specific adventure. As the first adventure for ToE, there are times when the GM is given the option of an 'easy get-out' if you like. The adventure was made intentionally easy to control by the GM, especially with regards to Moonbeam, for the benefit of first-time GMs.

The change would not necessarily be in the power of Moonbeam's teleport, but in the reliability. This would depend heavily on the narrative in my own game. If it was narratively more compelling for Moonbeam to escape, she should. I would not roll the dice in this case, she would simply teleport successfully, multiple times if necessary. This is how I presented it in the adventure, because it makes handling the encounter easier for the GM, and allows the adventure to continue more closely to what is written in the book. Of course, an experience GM will be much more familiar with things not going according to what's written, and so may be more comfortable allowing Moonbeam to be captured here. That is absolutely fine if the GM is ok with it.

Tails of Equestria is ultimately a narrative game and (in my opinion) should be adapted to fit the best possible narrative for any particular GM/group. I would 100% recommend changing the Teleport Talent if you believe a more powerful version works better for you. You could indeed increase the reach at each upgrade more than in the book, perhaps exponentially.

It could also be possible to upgrade a Talent above D20. The next step might be D20+D4, then D20+D6 etc. At D20 and above, the character would be a master of Teleportation, so perhaps could start measuring their distances in miles rather than feet!

So to summarise:

TL;DR: In The Curse of the Statuettes, Moonbeam was intentionally made easy to control for the benefit of new GMs, so the rules may not always apply to her. And yes, it is completely reasonable to increase the potency of the Teleport Talent, I highly encourage changing it if it will enhance the narrative of your game, and/or your enjoyment!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Teleportation is so difficult that even the Alicorn Princess Twilight Sparkle had difficulty in porting spike with her in a time of distress. It all flows with the drama of the scene. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2, 2017 at 10:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Excellent insight on the design decisions straight from the designer! Thanks a lot, Zak! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2, 2017 at 13:13

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