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Author Topic: Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.  (Read 4075 times)

GeekyBugle

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Just what the tin says.

The Wheelchair has to be as light as a 21st century sports one.

It has to be able to be folded and not add width to the character in any axis.

It has to add zero drag when swimming.

It has to fly in order to traverse cliffs leaving the character the hands free if it needs them to fend of monsters.

It has to be able to change course when flying to avoid attacks.

It has to be self propelling to traverse muddy roads without loosing more speed than anyone walking.

Towns need accessibility ramps.

It probably needs to be able to propel the user even when folded in flooded tunnels for instance, and add zero weight.

The user has to be able to get on/off of it as fast as a character dropping to the floor, getting up.

It has to be able to jump chasms.

It has to be fire proof and not heat conductive.

It has to not slow down the user in steep inclines.

It has to not roll down those same steep inclines.

It has to be able to traverse rope bridges.

Or you have to eliminate anything and everything from your world that would make it impossible to be wheelchair bound and go adventuring you bigots!
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RandyB

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 02:46:29 pm »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1144548
Just what the tin says.

The Wheelchair has to be as light as a 21st century sports one.

It has to be able to be folded and not add width to the character in any axis.

It has to add zero drag when swimming.

It has to fly in order to traverse cliffs leaving the character the hands free if it needs them to fend of monsters.

It has to be able to change course when flying to avoid attacks.

It has to be self propelling to traverse muddy roads without loosing more speed than anyone walking.

Towns need accessibility ramps.

It probably needs to be able to propel the user even when folded in flooded tunnels for instance, and add zero weight.

The user has to be able to get on/off of it as fast as a character dropping to the floor, getting up.

It has to be able to jump chasms.

It has to be fire proof and not heat conductive.

It has to not slow down the user in steep inclines.

It has to not roll down those same steep inclines.

It has to be able to traverse rope bridges.

Or you have to eliminate anything and everything from your world that would make it impossible to be wheelchair bound and go adventuring you bigots!


Traveller calls it a Grav Belt. So, an artifact?

GeekyBugle

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2020, 02:51:19 pm »
Quote from: RandyB;1144549
Traveller calls it a Grav Belt. So, an artifact?

What's the shape, size and weight of said Grav Belt?
How many uses does it have before needing recharge?
Is Traveller in a Medieval setting?
Is it self propelling?

I'm not against someone making such a character mind you, but I'm also not gonna change the world for it.
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RandyB

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2020, 03:03:25 pm »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1144550
What's the shape, size and weight of said Grav Belt?
How many uses does it have before needing recharge?
Is Traveller in a Medieval setting?
Is it self propelling?

I'm not against someone making such a character mind you, but I'm also not gonna change the world for it.

No, Traveller is not medieval. I don't have the books near to hand, but as I recall it is literally a heavier belt.

For a medieval fantasy setting, such a device would have to be an artifact, whether technological or magical, rather than a piece of equipment. However, the advantages of that item are such that an able-bodied person would benefit from it.

So, bigoted!

Edit to add: for clarity, I agree with you. "Wheelchair bound fantasy adventurer" makes no damn sense.

GeekyBugle

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2020, 03:57:32 pm »
Quote from: RandyB;1144554
No, Traveller is not medieval. I don't have the books near to hand, but as I recall it is literally a heavier belt.

For a medieval fantasy setting, such a device would have to be an artifact, whether technological or magical, rather than a piece of equipment. However, the advantages of that item are such that an able-bodied person would benefit from it.

So, bigoted!

Edit to add: for clarity, I agree with you. "Wheelchair bound fantasy adventurer" makes no damn sense.

I know Traveller isn't medieval, it was a rhetorical question, yep it would be so OP it would be used by anyone.

Yep Wheelchair bound adventurer makes zero sense, why not find someone to heal you? or get magical prosthetic limbs? Or a fucking flying carpet!
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Stephen Tannhauser

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2020, 04:31:13 pm »
Doing my usual blithe miss-the-point-completely gig, it occurs to me that you could make a fantastic RPG or literary hero out of a tragically paralyzed warrior given a magical suit of armour that allowed him to walk and fight again -- a suit of metal black as night, glinting blood red at the joints, animated by a dark supernatural force that demands its price from the wearer not in blood, but in tiny bits of soul and heart, wearing away one's humanity bit by bit . . . a suit that mysteriously, without warning, locks up in total immobility whenever the wearer comes too near a church, or a powerful cleric of Good, and which whispers . . . thoughts . . . to the wearer's mind whenever alone with innocents . . . .

As GURPS has pointed out in every edition, a disadvantage that isn't a disadvantage isn't worth anything. If it has a dramatic or rule relevance to the game, the most you can do is change how it disadvantages the PC, not the fact that it does.
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RandyB

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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2020, 04:33:37 pm »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1144569
Doing my usual blithe miss-the-point-completely gig, it occurs to me that you could make a fantastic RPG or literary hero out of a tragically paralyzed warrior given a magical suit of armour that allowed him to walk and fight again -- a suit of metal black as night, glinting blood red at the joints, animated by a dark supernatural force that demands its price from the wearer not in blood, but in tiny bits of soul and heart, wearing away one's humanity bit by bit . . . a suit that mysteriously, without warning, locks up in total immobility whenever the wearer comes too near a church, or a powerful cleric of Good, and which whispers . . . thoughts . . . to the wearer's mind whenever alone with innocents . . . .


That's one hell of a concept. :D

GeekyBugle

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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2020, 04:34:40 pm »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1144569
Doing my usual blithe miss-the-point-completely gig, it occurs to me that you could make a fantastic RPG or literary hero out of a tragically paralyzed warrior given a magical suit of armour that allowed him to walk and fight again -- a suit of metal black as night, glinting blood red at the joints, animated by a dark supernatural force that demands its price from the wearer not in blood, but in tiny bits of soul and heart, wearing away one's humanity bit by bit . . . a suit that mysteriously, without warning, locks up in total immobility whenever the wearer comes too near a church, or a powerful cleric of Good, and which whispers . . . thoughts . . . to the wearer's mind whenever alone with innocents . . . .

As GURPS has pointed out in every edition, a disadvantage that isn't a disadvantage isn't worth anything. If it has a dramatic or rule relevance to the game, the most you can do is change how it disadvantages the PC, not the fact that it does.

That sounds as a comic book/novel/tv show/movie I would pay to see/read.
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Stephen Tannhauser

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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2020, 04:45:08 pm »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1144571
That sounds as a comic book/novel/tv show/movie I would pay to see/read.

Much obliged, although full disclosure requires me to acknowledge that it owes a pretty big debt to Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone, at least in terms of basic trope structure.  (EDIT: I also realized that another influence may well have been the Mantle of the Winter Knight, as described in The Dresden Files.)

One key detail to play with would be the character's backstory; has he always been physically impaired, like Elric, or was it a tragic and relatively recent result of accident or injury, like Charles Xavier in the recent X-MEN films? His attitude towards his own condition would be very shaped by this, especially if he was unjustly denied other solutions.  (Perhaps this is a world where the necessary magical healing was too expensive for him, or where injuries can't be repaired if they're left too long to heal by themselves first and the Church's clerics were simply not around.)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 01:34:25 am by Stephen Tannhauser »
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RandyB

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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 04:53:21 pm »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1144574
Much obliged, although full disclosure requires me to acknowledge that it owes a pretty big debt to Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone, at least in terms of basic trope structure.

One key detail to play with would be the character's backstory; has he always been physically impaired, like Elric, or was it a tragic and relatively recent result of accident or injury, like Charles Xavier in the recent X-MEN films? His attitude towards his own condition would be very shaped by this, especially if he was unjustly denied other solutions.  (Perhaps this is a world where the necessary magical healing was too expensive for him, or where injuries can't be repaired if they're left too long to heal by themselves first and the Church's clerics were simply not around.)

Or magical healing is somewhere between severely limited to nonexistent, with "there's always a price to be paid" fully in scope.

Stephen Tannhauser

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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2020, 05:07:44 pm »
Quote from: RandyB;1144575
Or magical healing is somewhere between severely limited to nonexistent, with "there's always a price to be paid" fully in scope.

That's a good solution for a story; I suspect it would go over less well in an RPG because that changes one of most RPG settings' (and players') critical assumptions, i.e. that super-effective healing is generally readily available and that as long as you can stay alive you're almost certain to stay fully functional.

Which is not to say that there aren't groups who wouldn't try it enthusiastically all the same, but pointing out that for certain concepts to work in certain settings, sometimes the entire group has to be on board with it. This can be harder to accomplish in practice than many of the, shall we say, over-idealistic advocates for such ideas sometimes grasp -- one doesn't have to be an outright jerk to dislike the idea of one player insisting the group and the game bend to fit his idea specifically.
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

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RandyB

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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2020, 05:13:12 pm »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1144577
That's a good solution for a story; I suspect it would go over less well in an RPG because that changes one of most RPG settings' (and players') critical assumptions, i.e. that super-effective healing is generally readily available and that as long as you can stay alive you're almost certain to stay fully functional.

Which is not to say that there aren't groups who wouldn't try it enthusiastically all the same, but pointing out that for certain concepts to work in certain settings, sometimes the entire group has to be on board with it. This can be harder to accomplish in practice than many of the, shall we say, over-idealistic advocates for such ideas sometimes grasp -- one doesn't have to be an outright jerk to dislike the idea of one player insisting the group and the game bend to fit his idea specifically.

Free your game from the D&D paradigm of magic. It's too limiting.

Your second point is the major point of this thread.

Shasarak

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2020, 05:27:13 pm »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1144548
Or you have to eliminate anything and everything from your world that would make it impossible to be wheelchair bound and go adventuring you bigots!


Which is why I never ever set my games in a medieval setting.

You know that in ADnD they had a spell called Tensers Floating Disk?  But somehow the real problem is making a Fantasy Wheelchair.
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Stephen Tannhauser

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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2020, 05:33:15 pm »
Quote from: RandyB;1144578
Free your game from the D&D paradigm of magic. It's too limiting.

It's less about the paradigm of magic than it is about the paradigm of conflict in action-adventure generally.

In one game design thread I read back in my TBP days, a poster noted something that has stuck with me ever since: The biggest problem of RPG combat is that two game elements the target audience strongly likes -- (a) frequent combat and (b) realistic-seeming combat -- tend to logically lead to a third element the target audience strongly dis-likes, i.e. (c) frequent character death. Cheap and easy healing is only one way to get out of this bind -- some games try to teach players the hard way to be much more careful about fighting than usual, while others will deliberately structure it to be far less dangerous in practice than the fluff implies -- but games which have no way out of that bind tend not to do too well.

So if cheap and easy healing isn't available to characters, the game either has to be tailored to make its absence less disruptive, or the group has to get used to what may be a very different playstyle -- which, again, as you rightly spot, is a case of one player's concept changing the shape of the game for the whole group. That a good many groups will have no problem with this, I don't doubt; it's the presumption of the moral authority to demand it that I, like I suspect a number of others 'round these parts, object to.
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Ghostmaker

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Combat Wheelchairs and how to make them work in medieval settings.
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2020, 11:03:53 am »
A summoner whose eidolon carries him around might work (especially if he's the much hated synthesist variant).