Teleportation is a tactical and strategic game-changer in any setting. Defensive methods become necessary. This trope covers that eventuality.
There are a number of ways to limit the power of Teleportation magic/technology to prevent excessive advantage
- Conceal the port. For those systems that are limited to working in specific places or with specific equipment, this is an excellent first line of defense.
- Prevent the technology from working in a given space. Usually involves jamming the signal or plot rock impenetrable by the teleportation mechanism.
- Allow it to work, but alter the destination. Bonus points if the redircted travellers are put in danger at their unintended destination.
- Allow it to work but prevent people from leaving the immediate vicinity once they arrive. Put the port behind a barrier, or set the port itself to prevent unauthorized users from leaving it.
- Allow it to work but make it traceable. Teleporting leaves telltale signs that the opponent can easily follow, so at best it becomes a one-shot speed advantage.
- Exploit the Tele-Frag phenomenon. People who've just materialized inside a solid object aren't generally in any position to be a threat to anyone else.
Compare No Warping Zone
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- In H'el on Earth, when the Justice League storms the Fortress of Solitude, Cyborg tries to save time by teleporting the League to H'el with a boom tube. However, H'el toys with them by redirecting their boom tubes, forcing the League to break in the hard way.
- In The Stars My Destination, where Jaunting is the most common psychic talent, anti-teleport security measures include turning headquarters and homes into elaborate manipulable mazes. Anyone trying to jaunt in risks embedding their foot in an uneven floor or their entire body in a wall that wasn't there the day before.
- The Merchant Princes Series
- The Merchants' War by Charles Stross has a smart antagonist going up against dimension-hopping teleporters. Their particular brand of teleportation has safeties built in so that, if there's an obstacle at the other end, the teleport simply doesn't work. So, he fills his castle with netting and rope to foil his foes, which not only traps the teleporters into going exactly where he lets them, but lets his own troops walk around unhindered to boot.
- More generally, everyone makes sure that important buildings are doppelgangered, or built on in both dimensions. The only exceptions are Modern Earth buildings that are several stories high, since there's no way to build something like that in the Gruinmarkt and nobody can get that high anyway.
- Short story "Not a Prison Make" by Joseph P. Martino. The natives of an alien planet have the ability to teleport at will, which they use to make guerrilla attacks against invading Earth troops. The Earthmen try to make it more difficult for the aliens to infiltrate their base by filling empty areas with solid matter so the aliens can't appear there.
- Deryni Transfer Portals can be set as traps; a person could arrive at the destination but be unable to leave the physical space once there, either physically or by using his/her powers to return, unless released by another Deryni outside it. Portals can also be set so that only certain people can detect and use them; before Evaine and her family abandoned their manor house at Sheele, the Portal in the master bedroom was set so that only blood relatives could find and use it.
- Harry Potter has three kinds of teleportation, each of which has limitations:
- The Floo Network is like a railway and takes you from station to station (fireplaces), but the Ministry of Magic knows where you are going and can limit its use.
- Apparition allows you to go virtually anywhere (Hogwarts building and grounds being a notable exception, although how easy it is to protect an area like this is never explained) but it's dangerous: you might leave body parts at your starting point. And there are charms that can prevent wizards from Disapparating as well.
- Portkeys are objects, frequently ones that appear to have been discarded so that people not in the know will be unlikely to touch them (and get teleported by mistake). Disguise of this kind is also a security measure, though as is seen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, other kinds of deception can be achieved this way. (Harry has never learnt how to cast the Portkey charm.)
- There are some other, more rarely used types, which tend to bypass restrictions; in the fifth book, Dumbledore uses his phoenix to teleport out of Hogwarts, because he can't Apparate from there (although later, in the movies, he apparates from Hogwarts...). Vanishing Cabinets seem to have a somewhat dangerous Floo-like network, which is used in the sixth book by Death Eaters, to infiltrate Hogwarts.
- The thirteenth book in The Wheel of Time presents the dreamspike artifact, which blocks the creation of Gateways within a large radius of its position, including ones inbound from outside the area of effect. In the Dream World, it visibly manifests as a spherical, semipermeable barrier of similar effect, except that teleportation is still possible between two points both inside the barrier.
- Dragaera has sorcerous teleporation blocks, which can be configured to either only keep people from teleporting in, or to prevent teleportation both ways. The blocks are always placed over battlefields, to prevent teleportation from being used in war.
- Since the transporters are such an integral part of the Star Trek franchise, it has a lot of this.
- In general, it's not possible to transport through a ship's deflector shields. Usually this is used as a way to add drama — with the ship having to drop its shields briefly in the middle of battle in order to beam back an away team — but it also means transporter-enabled boarding parties aren't a major part of battle tactics.
- And of course, every other Negative Space Wedgie will prevent the transporter from being used.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: The Tantalus penal colony ("Dagger of the Mind") and the Elba II asylum ("Whom Gods Destroy") have security force fields which must be deactivated to allow beaming up or down.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- In the episode "Attached", the Enterprise's transporters are redirected by an alien force, so Picard and Crusher end up on a strange planet instead of where they intended.
- In another episode, the Enterprise is in a confrontation with a Romulan warbird. There is a severely injured Romulan on board the Enterprise who can't be beamed to the Romulan ship unless the ship not doing the beaming lowers its shields. Later there's something of a Lensman Arms Race as the Borg develop a technique to transport through the shields and the Federation develops better shields in response.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The episode "The Darkness and the Light" features the "remat detonator", which disrupts a person's pattern during transporter rematerialization, with gruesome results.
- Stargate Verse
- In Stargate SG-1, the "iris" is a metal cover that prevents unwanted visitors from entering Stargate Command on Earth. Stargate Command personnel and their allies are given a GDO ("garage door opener") which transmits an IDC (Gateworld wiki says this is an "iris deactivation code"), and only with a valid and received IDC will Stargate Command open the iris and allow people on the other side of the gate to reach Earth. The big keyboard near gates, the DHD ("dial home device") is merely the object which activates a gate and has nothing to do with the iris (though on Atlantis, the DHD panel in the control room has a button to raise the iris-like force shield). In case that doesn't work, there are machine guns and a heavy steel door between the stargate and the rest of the base. The Asgard develop a version of their own which uses an almost-invisible force-field. SG-1 often tells less technologicaly advanced peoples to just bury their gate to avoid unwanted visitors. In the Back Story, the ancient Egyptians covered the gate with a big rock, and then buried it. The Tollan intangibility technology can go through the iris, so eventually the Goa'uld attempt to blackmail them into using it to bomb Earth.
- In Stargate Atlantis, the crew of the Daedalus, in their first appearance, plans on destroying a bunch of Wraith ships by using Asgard beaming technology to beam nukes onto them. It works the first three times they try it. After that, the Wraith figure out how to jam the beam. It's implied that they have managed to adapt so quickly because they have already had to do this when fighting the Vanir (rogue Asgard in the Pegasus Galaxy). The beams used by the Tau'ri are of Asgard origin. In a SG-1 crossover episode, they are able to teleport a nuke onboard a Hive-ship again when in the vicinity of a black hole, which disrupts the jamming signal (but, apparently, not the teleport). The explosion of the Hive-ship provides enough power for a Pegasus gate to connect to a Supergate in the Milky Way, the "kawoosh" of which takes out an Ori Mothership. Two (very large) birds with one nuke.
- Doctor Who
- In general, Teleporters and Transporters are called "transmats". They're not as widely-used as in Star Trek, but blocking them has come up before.
- Blon Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen loves to teleport. The Ninth Doctor had already demonstrated that he can reverse a teleport. In the episode "Boom Town", he does so several times as she repeatedly fails to run away and ends up closer every time.
- In "Genesis of the Daleks" the Doctor and companions are taken to Skaro (homeworld of the Daleks) by this means. Another Time Lord reminds the Doctor (when he complains of the risk) that this is a simple thing for them, and they learned how to do it when the universe was less than half its present size.
- Classic Traveller Adventure 7 Broadsword. A unit of Zhodani Commandos tries to teleport aboard the title ship in order to capture it. The crew must prevent this by filling unoccupied parts of the ship with solid material so the Zhodani can't use them as a teleport location.
- Older editions of Dungeons & Dragons had spells that prevented teleportation into an area, such as "Forbiddance", "Teleport Block" and "Wall with No Doors". "Teleport Ward" (fiendish spell from Dragon Magazine) allowed to better block the intruders with high magic resistance. "Translocation Shift" (Dragon Magazine) redirected incoming teleporters to a different location. "Dimensional Anchor" (PO Spells & Magic) to block the effected being from being moved by any forms of teleporting and planeshifting. "Anticipate Teleportation" (D&D 3.5 Complete Arcane) while not blocking it, delayed teleporters' arrival to allow ambushing them. Forgotten Realms (AD&D 2 era) added "Proof from Teleportation".
- Champions has a Advantage for Force Fields (Barriers in 6E) that allows them to block teleportation.
- Warhammer40000 has teleport jammers that can disrupt, stop or relocate things that are teleporting down into combat.
- Big Eyes, Small Mouth. A force field could be designed to block teleportation through it by reducing its defensive strength by 15 points.
- Hot Chicks RPG. The Ward of Shielding spell prevents magical, psionic and technological teleportation from being used to travel into or out of the protected area.
- In the Portal series, portals can only be created on certain types of surfaces (e.g. white tile, yes; bare metal, no). In the first game, navigating through areas with few or no portalable surfaces becomes an increasingly common puzzle element in the later stages. The second game introduces a gel that can be applied to surfaces to make them portalable. It also helps that said white gel (and it's implied the tiles too) are made from a substance not readily obtainable, which becomes a plot point later. They're made from Moon dust!
- RuneScape has all sorts of ways to block teleportation. The most obvious one is the "Teleblock" spell, which, when cast on another player, temporarily prevents them from teleporting. There're also some areas, notably the Wilderness, where teleportation is either limited or completely disabled.
- In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the Big Bad uses teleport jamming to stop you from teleporting away from his hall. Azura will then prevent you from teleporting away until after you've spoken to her. She'll do it again in the Tribunal expansion, after you've defeated Almalexia and attempt to teleport out of the Clockwork City.
- The Myst series plays with this heavily. Books are tools for teleporting - touching the linking panel in a linking book will transport you to the target world or "Age". Several of the games feature the landing points being contained in order to trap or quarantine new arrivals. Sometimes characters have been trapped by destroying all linking book leading out of an Age. In one extremely clever exploitation an ancient master of the Art created an Age that a person would link to, then link out to a corridor, and link back in to find that each trip would bring them to the same Age, but much older, moving forward in time each trip, eventually returning to the "present". It turns out the master had created an enormous rotating system of four contained spheres, each holding a version of the "Age". While the visitor is travelling down the corridor, the next, older looking sphere is rotated into place over the spot where they would arrive, creating a convincing illusion of time travel.
- Baldur's Gate
- In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the siege of Saradush is complemented by a magic field that blocks teleportation out of the city. Certain special means bypass this, including the Player Character's ability to shift to another plane. But even the player's party is limited by this, because they can only shift back to the Material Plane inside Saradush or at a considerable distance from it; the time it takes for them to approach it from the outside becomes a plot point.
- One of the bonus dungeons in Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast draws in and traps anyone teleporting near it. Naturally, it's populated by several angry mages who want to relieve the player of his macguffin that allows for escape.
- Users of Engineer's Teleporters in Team Fortress 2 are surrounded by a distinctive, glowing particle effect for eighteen seconds after teleporting, leaving a trail that can give enemies a hint as to the whereabouts of the Teleporter.
- In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, your party is often trapped in areas where the Escape spell is blocked.
- In Homeworld, Gravity Well Generators prevent hyperspace gates from opening in their area of effect — and, worse, keep any opening gate from closing and the ships passing through in stasis, essentially turning them into sitting ducks.
- The Order of the Stick
- Xykon creates a teleportation barrier around Azure City after he captures it. Vaarsuvius manages to warp him/herself through it with assistance from the soul of a dead epic wizard, but ordinary casters must teleport to several miles away from the barrier and then walk in.
- Teleportation is unrestrained within Xykon's Cloister effect, but not in or out of Redcloak's dimensionally locked study, as Tsukiko discovers too late.
- Vaarsuvius has also used the Dimensional Anchor spell a few times to lock down a teleporting character. It's even a minor plot point in the strip "Pop Goes Pop", where the villains can escape an ambush only because V is not with the heroes to lock them down.
- Schlock Mercenary has Teraport Area Denial technology which prevents all teraports into, out of or within a given volume of space. These systems can "paint" an exception, allowing authorized people (or ships or whatever) to teraport in or out without lowering all the defenses. They can even create an entire pocket within the interdiction zone that can be used as a locus for in- or out-bound travel.
- Bob and George Dr. Wily apparently uses this to prevent Megaman from simply teleporting inside his lair before fighting the Robot Masters.
- In the second episode of Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, one of King Sombra's traps protecting the Crystal Heart prevents a unicorn from escaping it by teleportation.
- My Little Pony And Friends
- In the episode "The Return of Tambelon", Grogar captures all the unicorns in Dream Valley by somehow affecting Ponyland's magic to change all their teleport destinations to the dungeons of Tambelon, wherein the unicorns can no longer teleport.
- Other episodes introduce other limitations villains can exploit to trap unicorns, such as not being able to teleport through solid objects, sometimes not even through nets despite The Movie portraying the ability as turning into wisps of energy and the aforementioned warps to Tambelon.