244: Tabletop Roleplaying

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 14:40, 20 December 2013 by Greyson (talk | contribs) (Explanation: I explained recursion a bit.)
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Tabletop Roleplaying
I may have also tossed one of a pair of teleportation rings into the ocean, with interesting results.
Title text: I may have also tossed one of a pair of teleportation rings into the ocean, with interesting results.


Four people are playing a role-playing game. Megan is the game master (GM), describing the adventure and what happens. The other people control imaginary characters in the game. Cueball attempts to have his character lead other characters in the imaginary construction of dice and gaming sheets. This would allow his character to become the GM of a new game inside the game they're currently playing. "Recursing" refers to "recursion," a concept of computer programming where a piece of code calls itself, essentially making the code run miltiple times. Looping is a rudimentary form of recursion. Recursion is also a big theme in Scheme, a dialect of Lisp.

The title text refers to a pair of linked rings, each about two feet in diameter. Anything passing through one gets teleported instantly to the other, as if the two rings were next to each other. There's an old gamer theory that, if you drop one of the rings in the ocean, water will naturally pass through it and out the other ring, potentially draining the entire ocean, or at least creating a perpetual seawater fountain out of the other ring.

And if you teleported one ring directly to the bottom of the ocean, the amount of pressure pushing the water through would cause a gigantic, never-ending torrent, obliterating anything placed in its path.

That idea is drawn out in 969: Delta-P.


[Four people sit around a table.]
Megan: Your party enters the tavern.
Cueball: I gather everyone around a table. I have the elves start whittling dice and get out some parchment for character sheets.
Megan: Hey, no recursing.

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Maybe could have a link to 969: Delta-P put in at an appropriate juncture in the explanation? 03:42, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Check out https://www.google.com/#q=recursion108.162.219.202 03:52, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

I may be missing something, but why are the teleportation rings given a dimension "each about two feet in diameter" in the explanation? There isn't anything in the comic. If there is a reason, please elaborate.--Pudder (talk) 16:02, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps it's in reference to the apparent size of Portal gun holes? I'm not sure, anyone else have any ideas? Leafy Greens (talk) 02:29, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

I got Nerd sniped by the portal gun idea, and how it breaks the physics laws. If you placed one on the bottom of a lake, after an hydroelectric dam, and the other on the top of the dam, you'd have an infinite supply of energy, as you filled the dam forever and ever. A truly infinite supply, not like a star that takes billions of years to extinguish. That has to brake the laws of thermodynamics and entropy at some point. Aligning both portals in a vaccuum on earth's gravity would allow infinite time under 1g acceleration for anything dropped between portals. Hitting the speed of light would take 1 year, give or take (if you followed Newtonian cinematics), at which point my brain BSODs on this thought experiment. It suggests that the portal consumes an infinite amount of energy to remain open and cannot exist on this universe. Otherwise, we just discovered a moto-continuum and a source for infinite energy. Edit: this comment makes sense on the Delta-P page (969), so you should follow it. Gonemad79 (talk) 20:02, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Presumably, teleportation rings do not create energy. Therefore, if the two rings are at different elevation, items put into the higher one will come out shooting from the lower one (converting the liberated potential energy into kinetic energy -- as normal falling would). Conversely, items put into the lower ring will have to be pushed very hard to make them come out through the higher one (equivalent to the pushing required to lift the passed object to the higher elevation). Hence, placing one deep in the ocean (and the other above sea level) won't cause anything dramatic to happen. The deep water will be held back by gravity and not push out through the ring. Mountain Hikes (talk) 04:02, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Wait... What if you somehow put one of the teleportation rings through the other? What would happen then? Vince7778 (talk) 23:01, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

If this follows the mechanics of Portal, then all rings must be strictly the same size and one ring won't ever be able to pass through another. Zowayix (talk) 03:29, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
But: Do all objects have to be put through the first ring completely to reappear in the second, or is travel between the two instantaneous? If so, even rings of the same size would fit inside each other at least (alomst) half way and strange things would probably happen... --Felis Catus (talk) 20:27, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

A different problem with breaking physics in D and D occurs because a turn lasts six seconds and passing an object doesn't end a turn, if on your turn you hire people to pass objects in a circle, you could make that object move as many rotations as you want in just six seconds, meaning that you could have it accelerate infinitely in just six seconds! YAY LOOPHOLES! (You could also end that turn by throwing it at something, like a monster..... YAY LOOPHOLES!)