Dodging Uncertainty: Teleportation in Chaos Reborn

“The goal that led him on was not impossible, though it was clearly supernatural: He wanted to dream a man. He wanted to dream him completely, in painstaking detail, and impose him upon reality”
– Jorge Luis Borges

True to itself, Chaos assumes many different forms to many different fields of study. To science, chaos illustrates just how disorderly our universe can be. We see how randomness is the lack of decipherable patterns, of uncertain behavior, unpredictable outcomes. Chaos is used in cryptography to harness all that unpredictability in order to mask the cipher and the message’s true order. In Mythology, chaos is the abyss from which the matter of our current world was fashioned. This act of creation was accomplished by demiurges who are not quite supreme deities but nonetheless wielders of great supernatural power.

Chaos Reborn (Snapshot Games Inc., October 2015) confidently grabs hold of chaos in its variety of forms and balances it on a needlepoint.

Lords of Reformation

The lore of Chaos Reborn puts the game’s setting in a world that once was one but now is fractured. Within the center of this swirl is Limbo. “Limbo,” explains the game’s lore, “is existence waiting for something better.” It is from here that players assume the role of wizards who come from elite bloodlines and are charged with going forth out of limbo to recreate with matter that is leftover and to repopulate… to become overlords.

Using the same magic that was responsible for tearing the world apart, players compete for dominance by materializing beasts and activating offensive spells from the aether chaos. Herein is the challenge because chaos is slippery. So very slippery. Spells can and do fail. Some don’t fail, but should. Very little is certain in Chaos Reborn.

These spells and creatures consist of the player’s hand. Each card has a designated percentage which dictate the likelihood that it will be successfully cast. There are many ways of influencing this number, of teasing it up some to increase the likelihood. But, nonetheless, the player is still uncertain of the cast’s outcome before it is complete; the beast may materialize within a glorious beam of light or break apart before it is fully formed and disperse back to the void.

To heap chaos on top of chaos: Offensive spells like magic bolts and lightning strikes, not only have a percentage to cast but, depending on specific variables, also have a percentage to successfully hit their targets. Slippery, indeed.

One of the few certainties out there in the battlefield is that of movement. Each turn allows the wizard 3 actions: Movement, spell casting, attacking. So long as the wizard or creatures are not detained by spider webs, blobs, or the stone stare of a hellhound, movement from one hexagon to the next is 100% guaranteed.

Movement across the battlefield is therefore slow and calculated.

Sidestepping Uncertainty

One way to flaunt this slow movement is by using the Teleport spell. The spell is of a neutral alignment and comes with a 90% chance of successful cast and is guaranteed to place the wizard someplace within 8 hexes of his current position. Successfully using Teleport exhausts your movement and spell actions for the turn.

Similar to the offensive spells mentioned above, Teleport can be parsed into two actions: casting and function. The uncertainty of a successful cast, though generous, maintains the idea that chaos still reigns. But the sweet certainty of landing on the hexagon of your choosing completely unaffected otherwise contradicts the laws of this universe.

This is a perversion in the face of almighty chaos. Consider what the wizard doing: He is choosing to dematerialize himself, to remove himself from this plane, mix his corporeal form back into the chaotic soup, in an attempt to re-materialize. The wizard is assuming the same chaotic state of the very creatures he has thus far attempted to bring to pass. And yet, unlike the fate of some of these creatures, after a successful teleport cast the wizard is guaranteed a successful re-entry.

The game’s lore explains that the wizards who pass through the portals of Limbo out to the fractured realms are far from all-powerful deities. While still able to wield the power of creation many have yet perfected their abilities. This frustrates the guaranteed flawless teleport re-entry all the more. If there is a chance of a wizard failing to produce a simple rat organism from chaos, there should be an even greater chance of failing the second half of a self-teleport.

Indeed. This is an advanced spell which readily transmutes chaos into complex order. Not only is it just any complex order; it is the self. And it should not be flailed around by novices the way it currently is.

A wizard of the lore warns: “Those who exceed their positions, always face consequences.” As with all other actions a wizard makes, chaos should play a factor in the outcome of a successful teleport cast. And it should affect the makeup of the wizard himself. Perhaps a random selection of cards in the player’s hand should be shuffled back into the deck. Maybe a staff’s inherent mega-spell should change (until the end of the match if playing in Equipped). Maybe talismans should reset. Maybe talismans should change function. And maybe, just maybe, there is a chance that nothing will be altered.

And yet, what guarantee should the wizard have that he will even rematerialize at all? Perhaps there should be a greater percentage of failed reassembly based on the distance traveled from the point of origin. Likewise, maybe each opposing wizard can have vectors of passive influence; the penalty of teleporting further away from yourself is negated if you are placing yourself closer to an opponent. However the uncertainties are calculated, if the re-entry fails, the match is over.

Trumped by Chaos

Chaos is multifaceted, and Chaos Reborn knows this. Like a master wizard the game spins chaos into a wonderful tapestry of lore and gameplay. Let there be no enmity between player and the unpredictability of outcomes. Chaos is a state of nature and is without guile. But its nature conflicts with ours as we strive to have our designs realized.

Nearly every decision a player makes in Chaos Reborn must be thoroughly thought-out, executed and, if chaos so dictates, amended. Nearly every action has its chances for failure – as it should be. This is why Teleport in its current state is far too wieldy. The spell contradicts the facets of chaos which the game so adroitly uses.

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