Teleportation Misfire

aka: Random Teleportation
Sometimes characters or devices with the power of teleportation suffer from a specific form of Power Incontinence. They just can't control where they're going. Depending on the range of their powers, they could end up on the other side of the galaxy or two feet to the left of where they're standing. Or inside a wall. Whether this is the result of a limitation of the power, a desperate gambit to get out of somewhere in a hurry when there's no time to properly designate a target location, or plain old human error, sometimes teleportation is just random.

If it's terrestrial teleportation, it'll have the courtesy never to put the victim inside a wall or 30 feet in the air. It's more believable with space travel, because space is so frigging big that something the size of your average ship named Enterprise need not emerge inside a planet no matter how many times something sends it where it doesn't want to be.

If you're lucky, you can control when it happens. See also Teleporter Accident, Blind Jump, and Random Transportation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Irresponsible Captain Tylor this happens when they use their Hyperdrive without inputting a destination.
  • Also occurs in Macross / Robotech when the Macross ends up near Pluto, along with a chunk of the island it had been sitting on.
  • Lala from To Love-Ru has a teleport-device that works like this — it's fairly short-range, but specifically ensures that you won't land in a wall — anywhere else, though, is entirely possible. Also, you loose any physical possessions you're carrying, including your clothes. Needless to say, in this case, "random location" translates into "wherever would be most embarrassing to end up without clothes". It's first two uses land the user in an occupied bathtub, and in the locker room locker of the girl the user has a crush on. Later, Lala makes an improved version to fix the "removes your clothes" part. Unfortunately, the "improvement" is that it only removes most of the targets' clothes. Needless to say, this isn't actually any less embarrassing.

    Comic Books 
  • In Enigma, Envelop Girl is a Silver Age comic book villain come to life who mostly goes around to random people, wraps them in her teleport cloak and transports them to a cardboard box somewhere else at random.
  • Magik of the New Mutants is reasonably good about getting where she wants to go. When is another matter.

    Fan Works 
  • In With Strings Attached, Ringo suffers from this. When he is badly startled, he automatically teleports to someplace he perceives as safe. This can be as close as 50 feet or hundreds of miles away, with corresponding inconvenience.

    Films — Animation 
  • Wreck-It Ralph shows Vanellope suffering this, known in the film as "glitching". The most prominent example is when she's learning to drive. After jumping off a ramp, she teleports about 9 feet high, and slams into the Mentos stalagtites, sending them into the Diet Cola lava below. She learns how to control the glitching by the end of the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The hyperdrive in the 1998 Lost in Space movie worked like this, at least when it was engaged without a target jump-gate. The crew is forced to use it early in the film in order to avoid burning up in the sun. And then again at the end.
  • In Planet of the Apes, a misjump takes the astronaut(s) thousands of years into the future.
  • In The Unidentified Flying Oddball, the space shuttle winds up in the Dark Ages while testing a FTL drive.

  • The Space Hawks Choose Your Own Adventure Books feature the Emergency FTL Jump, a last-resort escape method that skips the usual safety checks and calculations. It's mentioned that this kind of blind jump has the potential to strand the pilot in space though in practice, there's only one book out of the six in which the emergency FTL jump will kill you.

  • Dragonriders of Pern. When they're first beginning to control dragons and learning to teleport, you can sometimes screw it up. During excavations inside a weyr once, the weyrfolk came across a dragon and rider who'd been entombed in solid rock after making a misaimed teleport.
  • In The Time Traveler's Wife, Henry's time travel works like this. Under stress or seemingly just randomly he'll teleport to a random place in time and space, though the range is normally within his, his wife's, and his daughter's lifetimes. It does eventually go very badly wrong.
  • In the book Casting Spells, when Chloe finally inherits her magical powers, she ends up teleporting her love interest around accidentally by thinking of him. Oops.
  • The Hyperspace version of this happens at the start of C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner series: some malfunction with the Hyperspace engine sends the human starship to a completely uncharted region of space.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Starman Jones, a MisJump (the result of a navigational error) causes a ship to become lost in space. The crew finally uses Now Do It Again Backwards to get home.
  • Frank Pollard from The Bad Place by Dean Koontz can teleport, but suffering from amnesia, he does it unconsciously and goes all over the place, especially while sleeping. His powers aren't under control until near the end of the novel, when he regains his memory.
  • In the Larry Niven story "One Face", a misjump brings the crew to apparently the wrong system. Turns out after a while that it's the right system, but they've appeared billions of years in the future, when Earth is no longer habitable.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy:
    • This was how Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect ended up on the Earth of two million years past in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Trapped on a spaceship that was about to crash into a sun, their only way out was a teleporter whose navigation controls were broken.
    • In the first book, Arthur Dent suggests activating the infinite improbability drive without defining any parameters. Subverted when rather than transporting anything, the drive transforms the missiles they were trying to escape into a very confused-looking sperm whale and a bowl of petunias, to everyone's surprise. This is because the abilities of the drive are literally infinite, and everyone just uses it for space travel.
  • In The Infinitive of Go by John Brunner, some college students invent a teleportation machine that allows people to teleport from one Portal to another. However, it is eventually revealed that teleporting also teleports you to an alternate universe. The greater the physical distance between source and destination, the greater the differences between your origin and destination universes.
  • Done intentionally to a soldier obstructing Aziraphale and Crowley in Good Omens. Aziraphale is the one who actually does it, but it's implied Crowley does it all the time. Aziraphale being Aziraphale, the soldier is eventually revealed to have arrived in his own bedroom in his parents' house.
    Aziraphale: I hope I haven't sent him somewhere dreadful.
    Crowley: You just send 'em. Best not to worry about where they go.
  • In Gone by Michael Grant, Little Pete does this. Little Pete is severely autistic though, so it isn't random in his mind.
  • In the Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM series, Inquisitor Vail has a shield that automatically teleports her to a random nearby location whenever her life is threatened. Yes, it's just as hilarious as it sounds.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Moya in Farscape is equipped with a "Starburst" drive which teleports the ship randomly, which the crew use to flee.
  • Nadia Popov, in So Bad, It's Good British kids' TV show Rentaghost would randomly teleport whenever she sneezed, and suffered from allergies. In the novels, her powers (like those of many other ghosts) were actually activated by touching her own nose — but every time she sneezed she covered her nose and ended up triggering her power.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, when the Green Ranger first tries to use his teleportation power, he accidentally appears in an underground bank vault, which leads to the rest of the team learning about his criminal past.
  • In Doctor Who, the TARDIS has a randomiser that allows it to work like this, except with added time travel. This effect is also produced by the fact that the Doctor is just pretty bad at piloting it. And it doesn't help that it is, essentially, a piece of junk in most incarnations. Note it isn't so much a matter of the Doctor being bad at piloting it, more so that it was designed to have 6 people control it at once. Although River Song seems to manage a smooth ride just peachily on her own, while simultaneously implying the Doctor is a crap driver who "leaves the brake on".

    This is most consistent in the earliest serials, in which the First and Second Doctors rarely, if ever, were able to get the TARDIS to land where they intended. In fact, two of the First Doctor's companions returned to their own time (give or take 3 years) not because of the TARDIS, but by procuring an entirely different and more reliable time machine. The TARDIS is effectively unsteerable until the Time Lords pardon the Third Doctor in "The Three Doctors". Not only do they restore his stolen memories of time travel theory, but they replace a core component of the TARDIS they had taken. Presumably, the replacement bit works better than the old one did. Expanded Universe (and even In-Universe) stories set back during the First and Second Doctor eras often forget that the Doctor never went anywhere on purpose in those days.

    The Eleventh Doctor episode "The Doctor's Wife" further suggests that the teleportation was never as random as it always appeared as the TARDIS in human form tells the Doctor that he didn't always get where he wanted to go, but he always arrived where he needed to be.
  • Hiro Nakamura in the latest season of Heroes
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), inputting no co-ordinates into the FTL drive and activating it will result in a random jump, that carries no small risk with it — you could end up anywhere, even inside a sun. It's only ever done as a last resort, most notably by the battlestar Pegasus' last-ditch escape from the Scorpia Fleet Shipyards. In the finale, Starbuck enters a series of random coordinates as the Cylon homebase launches the last of its defenses and begins to explode around them, based on the notes to the recurring music connected to her father and the final five cylons. Galactica ends up jumping to a point in orbit of Earth (ours, not the radioactive one from earlier in the series)
  • This happens once in a while in the various Stargate Verse series.
    • Sometimes (as in Stargate SG-1's'' "Solitudes"), the sending gate is hit with enough energy to overload it while opening; this causes the wormhole to jump from the receiving gate to the next nearest gate. Other times ("1969") the wormhole passes near a star, which if it happens during a solar flare causes the traveler to travel through time. Note that it's not truly random in that both types of glitches could be replicated later once characters figured out what caused the problems. They just seemed random the first time someone was caught in them.
    • The hyperdrive on the Prometheus was completely random, as all attempts to deal with the instability of its naquadriah power source failed. Later a more conventional hyperdrive was substituted. The F-302 fighters, on the other hand, never could take hyperspace trips like they were intended, as no conventional hyperdrive could be made small enough to fit in them. Thus, their hyperdrive was only actually used twice. Once when the fighter was being used to remove an about-to-explode Stargate, so that it didn't actually matter where it ended up, so long as it was "not here", and once when the hyperspace jump lasted for a microsecond (to bypass a ship's Deflector Shields) so that any variance would be so minor as to not matter.
  • Almost as often in Star Trek.
    • In the original series, the Enterprise winds up in the 60's. Not to mention the "Mirror, Mirror" universe. Note that once they figure out time travel can happen from an accident, they do it *on purpose* at will both in the series and in the fourth film. Although later series have a "time police" to put the kibosh on time travel.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Enterprise is pushed off course by light years by both the Q and the Tin Man object. In one episode, the Enterprise ends up in the wrong galaxy due to the presence of "The Traveler" onboard. Implied in the episode "True Q," where Amanda tells Q that when she practices her teleportation, she always ends up somewhere she doesn't want to be.
    • In Deep Space Nine, Sisko winds up in the Mirror Universe as well, though not accidentally.
    • Arguably, the entire plot of Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Sliders: Random place in random universe. "Why don't they wind up a mile in the air?" is eventually answered; built into the technology is sensors that won't let the portal send them someplace absolutely deadly, and also keeps them in the same general area of California (we find that out when the sliding radius changes when production is moved to LA.)
  • Willow and Tara used a spell of this nature as a weapon against Glory in one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    Willow: Teleportation spell. Still working out the kinks.
    Buffy: Where'd you guys send her?
    Willow: Don't know. That's one of the kinks.

    Other Sites 
  • SCP Foundation
    • SCP-507 ("Reluctant Dimension Hopper"), one of the human SCPs has this power, achieving teleportation by going through different dimensions with approximately the same landscape (moving from point A to B there will put him at B in the real world), but can't control when or where or how long he goes. Dimensions visited include one where there is complete darkness until you turn on a light and find yourself staring eye-to-eye with, basically, the Joker (twice), a Gender Flip dimension, one where plants scream telepathically if you eat them, one where the U.S. presidency is decided by Klingon Promotion, and another where he came back and refused to say anything but "So many spiders..."
    • SCP-761 ("Slightly Less Dangerous Trampoline"). When someone jumps on the trampoline they end up in a random location within 15 meters. If there is already a solid object where they arrive they suffer a Teleporter Accident and become merged with the object. Depending on how much of their body is merged with the object they can suffer a Tele-Frag.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Sometimes a problem in Dungeons & Dragons, so be careful which teleport spells you use!
    • Not only is there a chance of 'misfire' when Teleporting, there also exists certain spells (at least in 3.5) that specifically teleports the target to a random location — ANYWHERE in the multiplanar world of D&D, from the lowest reaches of Gehenna to the world-engine of Mechanus... it's primarily used as a tool to get rid of troublesome enemies who resists damage and conventional status-ailments - few think to protect themselves from teleportation...
    • It's said this is the fate of anyone who jumps from the edge of the city of Sigil in Planescape
    • "Nybor's Joyful Voyage" spell from the Forgotten Realms.
    • The Blink spell caused you to teleport about at random within a limited area.
  • Paranoia. In older editions, the Teleport mutant power could strand you just about anywhere if you failed a Power check when using it.
  • This happens fairly often in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Understandable, as their teleportation would be more accurately described as "taking a quick jaunt through Hell".
  • A common result of impatient jumpship crews charging their drives too quickly in the BattleTech 'verse. This is known as a Misjump.
  • In Traveller, a Misjump caused a starship to travel multiple parsecs in a random direction, which could easily result in the death of the crew if the ship ended up in an empty area of space without a source of fuel. It could be caused by using unrefined fuel (hydrogen) or failure to provide annual maintenance for the jump drives. The different races in Traveller often have rituals to make them less nervous when they go into jump because of the fear of a misjump. One Traveller adventure involved exploring a ship that had been trapped in jumpspace as a result of a Misjump.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones Translocation TTI implants get increasingly random as they increase in Cuil level. To the point where which planet you end up on (if any) is the result of a die roll at Cuil 4.

    Video Games 
  • Viki in the Suikoden series who randomly teleports between games by sneezing or other accidents.
    • This can be exploited in certain games of the series to allow you to go to areas you cannot access by any other means.
    • Also, she apparently not only teleports through space but through time to some degree as well; there are multiple versions of her.
  • In Wild ARMs 2 Lilka is infamously unlucky with Teleport Gems and begins the game in a random town because of this, as well as being the key to reaching an otherwise unreachable island.
  • Gordon Freeman in the beginning of Half-Life 2. In the original, the initial cascade resonance warps Gordon to random spots in Xen. It also did the same to the various aliens, later on. In Opposing Force, this was the secondary fire of the BFG — it would drop you down an endless void, or transport you to an area where there was some ammo for your other weapons. Happens as part of Blue Shift's finale.
  • In King's Quest III you could learn an optional random teleportation spell that takes you to a random screen in the area. This is useful for getting out of dangerous situations (as long as you don't randomly end up in the same place).
  • In Diablo, there's a spell called Phasing that teleports you randomly to an area within view. There's also a shrine that does the same thing, with the appropriate flavor text: "Wherever you go, there you are."
  • The teleport squares from Gauntlet.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a status effect called "teleportitis" (named after the condition in Nethack), which randomly teleports you around every time you try to adventure. One person has played through the entire game this way. And they made an item with the effect in his honor.
  • Heretic/Hexen:
    • The series has the chaos device, which transports a player to an apparently random location (usually the start of the level or section)
    • Hexen series also has the displacement/banishment device which does the same to enemies.
  • This what the Hyperspace button does in Asteroids. Many early arcade space shooters had a "hyperspace" or "warp" button that jumped the player's ship randomly around the screen. Besides Asteroids, other examples included Defender, Pleiads, and Stargate, and the problem was the same in all of them: you never where you were going to reappear on the screen or which direction you'd be facing, and often you'd find yourself in an even worse mess than the one that drove you to press "warp" in the first place! The angrish and swearing from frustrated players teleporting themselves to their deaths got so loud that later arcade games (including Asteroids' own sequel, Asteroids Deluxe) mostly abandoned this trope in favor of "shield" buttons.
  • Star Control: secondary power of a Arilou Lalee'lay Skiff is random teleportation.
  • In the old computer game ''Robots'' and its derivatives, one of the tools available to the protagonist randomly teleports them to any empty square. Since there's no guarantee their new position will be any safer than their old one, this is generally reserved as a last resort. Some versions label this move as a 'safe' teleport, while also having a completely random one that can warp you right on top of an enemy for an instant death.
  • One of the Geo Panel effects in Disgaea is warp, which teleports the character on the panel to a random panel of the same colour.
  • Conquest Frontier Wars has this (sometimes)if a ship gets sucked into a black hole, they can end up in any other system.
  • Nethack: You can catch teleportitis from different circumstances in the game. Unless you have a ring of teleport control or the teleport control intrinsic, you end up teleporting randomly every few steps.
  • In ADOM, all teleportation is random unless you have teleport control (which is rare: either drink randomly from pools — which can cause dooming — or eat a blink dog that leaves a corpse). The teleportation intrinsic causes you to teleport now and then without being able to choose when, and there are also teleportation traps, wands and spell. All of these are random without the control intrinsic. Trying to aim controlled teleportation into a blocked area also results in a random destination.
  • There's also a ring of teleport in Crawl that does just this and... let's just say that it's become a genre staple, along with spells and scrolls that randomly teleport you on demand and some way of gaining control of all your teleports.
  • Nox had a spell that teleported Jack randomly across the current area, except in the very final dungeon, where it inevitably teleported him to the final key.
  • In the PS1 game Sentinel Returns you actually had an ability which caused a random teleportation, using it caused you to appear on free square on the levels map that was either the same or lower altitude than your current but always a random location. It could actually end you up in a pit with no chance to get out so this REALLY was random.
  • In the Myst games, dropping into the Star Fissure transports people or objects to a random location, albeit one on Earth. Both the original Myst Linking Book and the telescope from Riven got to Earth this way, and the Stranger is presumed to have returned home by that method also.
  • In order to reach the endgame Bonus Boss Kirin in Final Fantasy XI, a player has to use one of the many portals in the collection of areas known as sky. Small problem: The portal in question also transports players to a room full of Magic Pots, and despite rumors, it really does seem to be random.
  • Angband has Rings of Teleportation, which teleports you randomly every once in a while. Some of its variants have other sources of random teleportation, including mutations and weapon properties. Additionally, the Teleport and Phase Door spells teleport you to a random empty space within a given radius.
  • One of the Bhaalspawn in Baldur's Gate II teleports randomly whenever he gets scared, which he found very inconvenient. Someone helped him overcome this so he could settle down - just in time for the city to be besieged by an army of giants intent on killing every Bhaalspawn in there. You can use a spell to artificially induce fear and help him escape though.
    • There's also a cursed pair of boots that teleports you to a random enemy every few seconds.
  • In Ragnarok Online, the first level of the skill "Teleport" actually lands you anywhere in the current map. Also, if someone sets a warp to a point in a map that you cannot be in, it jumps you randomly in the map too. That is mostly to avoid having to "delete" those tiles from the skill (thus allowing for a much easier script, even if it might repeat itself a couple times), but it is also abused by some Game Masters to create random warp portals for events and such.
  • A noted use of Halo's Slipspace (for humans, anyway, before and after the Covenant) often has people either near their destination, or way off course. The Covenant don't suffer this effect, due to crystals that guide their systems.
  • This can happen to the ball in Backyard Baseball.
  • In Trilby's Notes, you randomly teleport twice, once to the past and the other to the distant future.
  • World of Warcraft has engineering teleporters. 4/5 times they will teleport you to a preset location, but that other 1/5 times...anything can happen, your character turns into the last person who went through, split into a "good" and "evil" side, turned into various small critters, end up anywhere else on the continent, and the most infamous one, simply teleport a mere 100 yards away from the teleport pad, or 100 yards straight up.
    • Also, the archeology artifact, The Last Relic of Argus, is a highly sought after item, because it is a teleporter that you can use during combat, with no casting time. The downside: it picks your destination point at random. At least the Last Relic takes three seconds to activate, so it's not instant, but it's a whole lot faster than a hearthstone/Astral Recall exit. Also, the destination is selected at random from a large list but you'll always end up at one of the locations. The benefit is that all possible destinations are safe.
    • There is a Druid-only spell called One With Nature that functions a lot like the Last Relic of Argus, sending the Druid using it to a random location. In this case, they are all natural locations (as the name implies) such as forests, glades, or jungles.
    • Later engineer-built items open a wormhole that will take you to a zone you choose. The catch is that it'll send you to one of several places in the zone, and it's not uncommon to end up materializing 100 yards above the ground. Hope you have a Goblin Glider Kit or other slow-fall ability....
  • The Unstable Teleport Plasmid in BioShock 2 will teleport all over the place in as you try to acquire it, then will start teleporting YOU all over the place if you're successful in doing so.
  • In Quake III: Arena, players can pick up a personal teleporter (shaped like a T), and when they activate it, it just throws them to some random spawnpoint on the map.
  • In Dungeons of Dredmor, the player character's first spell in the Mathemagic skill line is a random teleport. The booze Spatial Instability Infusion also gives the player the ability to randomly teleport. As both are only random in location and not in timing, using the skill or quaffing the drink can be useful during the first few levels as a (rather unreliable) method of escape.
  • Bally/Midway's TRON had a pink diamond in the center of the maze in the Tanks mission that would teleport your tank to a random location.
  • Mouse Trap has the IN gate in the center of the maze that the mouse can use to teleport to any of the four corners to escape either the cats or the hawk that shows up from time to time to harass the player.
  • The Teleportation Potion in Terraria teleports you to a random location. It is advised to prepare oneself before using a Teleportation Potion, as it may teleport you into a hazard, on top of a trap trigger, or something else dangerous.
  • The Minecraft mod Thermal Expansion adds a liquid that, when jumped in, will teleport you to a random place within about 10 metres (including up in the air or inside a solid object). Drinking it increases the horizontal range by several kilometres.
  • Cap'n Magneto has the Z-Gate, which sends the eponymous hero to a random spot on the map.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance the whole premise behind Riff's Dimensional Flux Agitator is that it teleports people into random dimensions. They're sometimes able to teleport themselves back or reopen old portals, but the mostly the device is just one giant crapshoot.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court's Parley does something like this. It happens at random times and takes her to random places, though later she manages to learn to control it. Working with a partner whose power is to innately create orderliness helps out a lot.
  • This happens to the cast of Dubious Company. After getting stranded in a random dimension, the brains develop a spell to hop them to the next dimension in the hopes it gets them closer to home. However, they have no clue what that dimension is like until they arrive.

    Web Original 
  • Britanick: One of the side effects of the Fantastic Drug Herpex. Possibly its only effect, as it may not cure herpes. As seen in the spoof ad.
  • Flander's Company: Gadgeteer Genius Caleb has teleporation as a superpower; in episode "Unlimited", when his power gets out of control because of one of his inventions, he starts blinking uncontrollably all over the place, to finally ends up in Egypt.

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers Animated Season 3's "Transwarped" starts a story line about Omega Supreme being endlessly transported to random points in the universe before transporting yet again.
  • Megas XLR "Coop D'Etat" Coop accidentally sends Megas into a teleportation loop, causing them to transport to random place all over the universe one after another.
  • When Johnny Test uses his Mad Scientist sisters' lab to get the ability to teleport, they use it to send him to random places as punishment.
  • In one episode of X-Men: Evolution, a cold-stricken Nightcrawler's sneezes teleport him (and Kitty, who was holding onto him at the time) all over town.
  • At the end of the Futurama Story Arc / TV Movie, Into the Wild Green Yonder, the heroes enter a wormhole, which could send them anywhere in the entire universe. At the start of the following season, they end up back at the Planet Express building.
  • In Gargoyles, when you leave the mystic island of Avalon you're magically transported to just about anywhere in the world. The catch, explained only as Goliath, Eliza, and Angela are leaving for the first time, is that Avalon will not send you where you want to go, but where you need to be.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2", when trying to get the hang of her boosted powers, Twilight's attempt at teleportation sends her to random spots all across Equestria.

Alternative Title(s):

Teleportitis, Mis Jump, Random Teleportation