Silver Age Beyond
Hyperflight in the Milky Way
The galaxy, is, by and large, almost unspeakably vast. In fact, most of the distances between things that are visible from Earth’s area of the galaxy are so far away that we’re actually looking at them millions of years in the past due to how incredibly long it took for the light from a given object to get to us. This means that simply pointing at a star and going there could mean that by the time you arrive you learn that the star was swept along with the rest of it’s spiral arm for millions of light years, then went supernova a hundred-thousand years ago, and the light from that explosion just hasn’t reached the last planet you were on yet. Add a telescope and now you’re looking further back in time.
Also, normally relativity is a thing. If you travel billions of km faster than the speed of light, time passes quickly for you, but for everyone else they’d age and die a hundred times over by the time you got to your destination. These are core values of the physical universe that we’re just going to assume Hyperflight ignores. Why? Because it’s easier. So please don’t be mad that I’m cherry-picking physics, because I simply must in order to have a cohesive story where all the NPC’s don’t age and die while your characters are away. Lets all just assume that Hyperflight drives work by sci-fi spacetime magic and call it good. (This goes for jump gates as well).
So how I’m breaking this down is by first posting the by-the-book rules for Hyperflight, followed by how that works in atmosphere (hint: it doesn’t) in a Solar System, (hint: limited to 1-5) between Sector, and in the larger Milky Way Galaxy. I’ll also talk about how much energy it costs and how that all breaks down, how engines work and so on. I will also provide comparisons to how gate travel works in this game. Hopefully this will be one-stop shopping for this topic. It is important to understand that this is out of game knowledge. (In character stuff is based on your character’s tech level (or more likely the tech level of their homeworld) and knowledge gleaned in-game).
|Term||Definition (None of the below definitions are related to using Jump Gates. These are only related to Hyperflight use)|
|Atmosphere (Atmo) Barrier||The atmosphere of a planet through which if struck at hyperflight speeds, can destroy a starship.|
|AU||Astronomical unit. 1 Astronomical unit is about 150 M kilometers, or the distance from the Earth to the Sun.|
|Drive Level||Common parlance for Hyperflight level, only made with an Item of Power, rather than a superhero’s natural ability.|
|Deep Jump||The act of attempting to enter deep into a solar system at Hyperflight above 5 instead of stopping at the edge of a solar system’s termination shock barrier, through which if struck at hyperflight speeds, could damage or destroy a starship.|
|Jump Zone||The area in or near a solar system’s termination shock barrier where inbound ships can enter and leave a solar system without crashing into a planet or star.|
|Safe Jump||When travelling in hyperflight between solar systems, stopping before a destination system’s termination shock barrier. See also Short Jump|
|Short Jump||The act of attempting to travel to the edge of a Solar System at Hyperflight above 5, stopping at the edge of a solar system’s termination shock barrier. Though not common among the Galactic Imperium, this is the ‘safe’ method of between-sector travel. See also Safe Jump|
|Termination Shock||The wave of plasma and electromagnetic energy at the edge of a solar system (surrounding it) where where the bubble of solar wind particles slows down. A dangerous region of space, that can have unpredictable detrimental effects on vessels. The the barrier appears as an electroplasmaic particle bubble which is formed in the shape of a comet’s trail, with the ‘head’ facing spinward in the galaxy.|
Here’s the basic, straight-by-the-book rules for Hyperflight:
|Attribute:||Hyperflight (pg. 50)|
|Power Modifier Values:||None|
|Progression:||Fast Progression Chart, starting at 1x the speed of light (Level 1) increasing to 1 billion times the speed of light (Level 10)|
|Reduction:||Very specific utility|
|Restrictions:||Restricted area of flight; character may suffer damage during flight; unpredictable relativistic time effects (GM’s control)|
|Description:||This Attribute is intended for use in star spanning campaigns, involving travel between solar systems or galaxies. A character with Hyperflight can fly in the vacuum of space (not in an atmosphere) between planets, stars, asteroids, solar systems, and galaxies, at speeds equal to or exceeding the speed of light. The player can determine whether this Power represents warp technology, jump point formation, or the breaking of known physical laws. The Flight Attribute (page 44) is required to escape from the atmosphere and gravity of a planet similar to Earth. Without Flight, the character can only achieve Hyperflight speeds by taking off when already in space.|
|Chris Notes:||The core stat for this is Body, Piloting is actually a Body/Mind average. There are levels above 10 on the fast progression chart, but there’s no need to go faster than 1 Billion x the speed of light. It’s dangerous and illegal to use hyperflight to leave an atmosphere, it’s lethal to use it when entering one. Hyperflight above Level 5 is generally considered to be too dangerous to use inside a Solar System.|
Hyperflight speeds follow the Fast progression chart as mentioned before (here’s the actual chart):
Piloting Using Hyperflight
Here are the piloting and navigation and science-y rules, just for ease:
|Cost:||2 Skill Points/Level|
|Relevant Stat:||Average of Body and Mind|
|Specializations:||Heavy Airplane (usually multi-engine), Helicopter, Jet Fighter, Light Airplane (usually single-engine), Lighter than Air Craft, Spacecraft|
|Description:||The ability to operate air or space vehicles. Skill checks are normally only necessary when performing an unusual maneuver, avoiding a hazard, piloting an unfamiliar aircraft, etc.|
|Chris’s Notes:||Please pick a class of vessel for specialties, not something generic like ‘flying’.|
|Cost:||2 Skill Points/Level|
|Specializations:||Air, Highway, Sea, Space, Urban, Wilderness|
|Description:||The ability to read maps or use specialized navigation equipment. The Navigation Skill will help a character find the fastest/safest route to a destination.|
|Chris’s Notes:||Navigation of the Milky Way is almost a lost art, and the stars’ light is millions, if not billions of years old, and are always travelling in a spiral around the galaxy, (spinward) so that drift must be taken into account with complex mathematical modeling. Navigation allows this to be accomplished. Without a successful Navigation check, it is almost impossible to get the where you need to go in a galaxy so vast.|
|Cost:||5 Skill Points/Level|
|Specializations:||Astronomy, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Mathematics, Physics|
|Description||Scientific training in the way the universe works, including the necessary background knowledge.|
|Chris’s Notes:||Related to Astronomy, as with Navigation, it’s impossible to just look up at the stars and understand where you are in the galaxy. It takes detailed study of an area of sky to get a clear picture of the distances and movement of stellar objects, often with powerful telescopes over a number of electromagnetic spectrums. Scientists spend a lifetime looking at relatively small pieces of sky to determine the shape of the cosmos. It’s not reasonable to map a whole galaxy easily. Fortunately, there is a way to do so and those studied in Astronomy know a few shortcuts.|
|How Most Piloting Works: Using what was mentioned above, here’s what you can expect from piloting in space.|
|1||Plotting a course to a destination. (This assumes the character has coordinates for a destination. If not that knowledge must be gained through some means)||Mind + Navigation|
|2||Calculate time to arrival at selected speed||Mind + Physical Sciences, (Mathematics)|
|3a||(Hyperflight capable craft) Spin up the Hyperflight engines||Mind + Electronics and Mind + Mechanics|
|3b||(Flight capable craft) Start up the flight thrusters/engines||Mind + Electronics and Mind + Mechanics|
|3c||(Jump capable craft) Start up the jump engine (and bleed dampener)||Mind + Electronics and Mind + Mechanics|
|4||Pilot the craft to the pre-plotted destination, avoiding minor obstacles||Body/Mind average + Piloting|
|5||(optional) Confirming your ship actually arrived where you think you did.||Mind + Navigation|
|6||(optional) Land or dock the craft (depends on if atmospheric or capable of landing/docking||Body/Mind average + Piloting|
Hyperflight in Atmosphere
It’s deadly, don’t do it. Entering an atmosphere at hyperflight speeds is bad and striking the atmosphere at light speed is deadly. Not only does it do velocity damage at the standard 50 damage for every 100 kph, but damage is increased X5 at starship scale. To put that into perspective, hyperflight level 1 is 150 million kph, which is 150 M kph x 50 dmg X 5 = 3,750,000,000 damage, or roughly three point seven-five billion damage. Holy shit. Like a bug on a windshield, the ship will go smoosh. In case of emergency, most ships will loudly alarm the Pilot or Navigator of an impending atmospheric impact, but there may only be seconds to plot a new course or slow the ship in time. Some planets have interdiction capabilities based on tractor beams (not that there would me much left of a ship that hit atmo at that speed). And last-second recalculations may have unintended consequences, such as bouncing really damn hard off an atmosphere and going spinning off into some random sector of space at superluminal speeds, which is why botching a Navigation check can be shockingly bad.
It’s possible to leave a planet’s atmosphere in Hyperflight without instant death, however the strain on the ship will cause internal damage (automatically roll once on the Internal Damage Starships table). And the external damage does not go away, it simply transfers into an atmospheric shockwave that can damage the area near the take-off point. There are no stats for this atmosphere blast, it’s just flavor, (it’s not a cheap nuke you don’t have to pay for), but it does tend to piss people off. It is considered highly illegal to activate a stardrive inside an atmosphere, and every captain has heard terrible tales of a planet’s atmosphere burning off because of some brash pre-guild pilot’s maneuver around the Fall of the Second Republic, leaving millions to die burning and gasping. Doing this is a sure way to become wanted in whatever system it is performed, or by whatever race or Noble House claims that fief.
Hyperflight Inside a Solar System
Distances inside a solar system are shown in AU, or Astronomical Units. All we care about in a system is how many AU can a ship (or being) travel in what period of time, who noticed and how much energy did it cost? 1 AU, is the average distance from the Sun to the Earth. The Earth’s orbit around the Sun is actually elliptical. It varies from 147 million km to 152 million km. For the purposes of our game, 1 AU will average out to 150 million km.
So to keep things simple, at the speed of light, (about 1 AU/150 M km per round at Hyperflight 1) Starships can travel in an increasing number of AU per round, (150 M km) related to their Drive Level. Handily, each level of Hyperflight is a decreasing multiplier of how long it takes to travel 1 AU, so it actually breaks down pretty easily into simple terms, but I’ve displayed the in-system math anyway for ease at the bottom of these descriptions.
AU and the Goldilocks zone
Why use an Astronomical Unit, the average distance from the Earth to the Sun to measure distances in a solar system with many other races other than the squishy humans from the Terran system? This is because the Earth’s orbits inside a standardized habitable zone of it’s solar system, also called the Goldilocks zone, a metaphor of the children’s fairy tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, in which a little girl chooses from sets of three items, ignoring the ones that are too extreme (large or small, hot or cold, etc.), and settling on the one in the middle, which is “just right”. This Golden Zone, or Habitable Zone is the same for almost every other habitable system in the Milky Way as well (with some exceptions and variances of about .5 AU in either direction based on the age and radiating luminosity of the star, and the size and rotation of the planet). This ‘green zone’ represents the distance from the star where liquid water is capable of being found.
an AU is simply the mean distance to habitable planet from it’s central star, and First Earth seems to fall almost precisely inside the average. Regardless of the reason, somehow, Astronomical Unit has been adopted as common parlance throughout the galaxy to mean about 150 million kilometers, or average distance from star to mean habitable zone. Still, scholars from the few worlds aware of the Terran world’s eerily precise position in the middle of the green zone have occasionally wondered at the apparent synchronicity of the common measurement._
- Travel around a Solar System is actually pretty snappy at Hyperflight speeds, but the distances are still objectively vast under normal Flight.
- At sub-light speeds, it takes much longer however (even at Flight 10).
- It behooves most starship pilots to leave a bit of distance between a landable planet and not attempt to land at light speed. Velocity damage at starship scale is ridiculous.
- The average jump gate is about 50-100 AU from the star it orbits. So you can think of a solar system as a circle about 100 to 200 AU across in any direction with a star or stars at the relative center, (and an ‘average’ system is a disk around 150 AU across).
- In the Galactic Imperium, ‘speed to average jump gate’ is a common stat that Starships care about. That’s defined in game terms by how fast (how many AU per round) a ship can move in-system, or their ‘drive level’.
- Lots of ships in space don’t travel at Hyperflight speeds, because the energy cost is prohibitive, instead relying on good ‘old Flight speeds to travel. That takes a long time however, but it’s exceedingly common for less wealthy Imperials to charter a vessel that takes weeks or even months to get to their system’s jump gate, just to wait close to the same amount of time on the other side before landing.
- Technically a round is 10 seconds, I’m aware, but these speeds are fast enough without adding an additional x10 multiplier to them!
- Each level of Hyperflight costs are the Hyperflight rank level x rank on the Slow Progression chart (pg.27) in Energy per AU traveled in any system with a jump gate, and costs for travel without a solar system at all, across the pure Void are doubled once you hit the solar system’s Terminus Shock barrier (more than 100 AU from a star, or just past a system’s jump gate orbit, generally).
- No matter how fast your starship’s Drive level of Hyperflight is, it’s potentially deadly to travel faster than Hyperflight 5 inside a solar system. There are just too many planetoids, comets and debris in civilized space for either computer or pilot to not tear their ship open, so think of a solar system’s Termination Shock as the ‘atmosphere bubble’ of a Solar System. Some extremely cocky pilots say making a ‘deep jump’ into a Solar System can be done, but it’s very risky.
|Hyperflight (Drive) Level||Speed multiplier||AU per round||Tech Level||Energy Cost||Notes|
|1||1 x Lightspeed||1||6||1 per AU||It takes about 100 rounds to get from a jumpgate to the star|
|2||10 x Lightspeed||10||7||2 per AU||It takes 10 rounds to get from a jumpgate to the star|
|3||100 x Lightspeed||100||8||4 per AU||It takes a single round to get from a jumpgate to the star|
|4||1K x Lightspeed||1K||9||8 per AU||Still takes one round, but adds + 2 to pursuit score|
|5||10K x Lightspeed||10K||10||15 per AU||Still takes one round, but adds + 4 to pursuit score|
As you can see, once you get past “Drive 3”, to “Drive 4” it takes merely a single round to get anywhere in an average 150 X 150 AU solar system, so if you’re planning to use jump gates to get from place to place like most of the Galactic Imperium, anything more than three levels of a Hyperflight drive is pretty much overkill unless you plan to circle the entire system regularly (like on a patrol), and four levels of Hyperflight is as good as it gets for in-system travel. Travel at those speeds in-system or above simply adds a modifier during pursuit and are usually reserved for military vessels or extremely advanced vessels, and most of them tend to conserve energy by simply waiting around near jump gates or planets that are important destinations in a given system and let any trouble come to them. Hyperflight levels 4 and 5 are considered ‘pursuit speeds’ and most drives are not regularly capable of these, but can be pushed by a savvy engineer if the need arises, which is both rare and risky. Additionally, just because you can travel at, say, Drive 3 speeds does not mean you must. If you’re not in a hurry, travelling at Drive 1 speeds is a good way to save precious energy units in-system.
The average habitable planet is about 1 AU from it’s star, and about 50-100 AU from it’s jump gate, so calculating energy cost looks about like this:
|Drive Speed||Energy Cost Per AU||Total Energy Cost|
So let’s put this into real terms with a scenario: A player’s vessel the Frigate enters the Parapet system at it’s jump gate for the purpose of meeting someone on the system’s primary world of Parapet, but in exchange for the information that the contact would provide, the contact wants to barter some services, which means picking up some cargo nearby and delivering it to the sea-farming colony on the watery Parapet System world of Tiers Monde, another planet further out in the system, and then, after going back to Parapet for payment and the bartered info, presumably ship and crew would head out of system via the gate.
Without any ‘inner worlds’ like Earth’s solar system, most of Parapet’s worlds are a bit farther away from it’s star, Esperance than many other systems, however and that puts them a little closer to the jump gate than some.
|Name||Distance from Star (Esperance)|
|Devil’s Belt||3.267 AU|
|Tiers Monde||9.03 AU|
|Kray’s Watch||41.33 AU|
The first leg of travel is from the jump gate to the planet the system is named for, Parapet. The jump gate is 62.33 from it’s star Esperance, and Parapet is 1.12 AU from Esperance, so the Navigator calculates the distance at 62.33 – 1.12 = 61.21 AU. Since they are in no particular hurry to get to Parapet, the Engineer spins up the hyperflight drives at Drive 1 speeds, and calculates the cost at about 61 Energy out of their drive core reserves. At the speed of light the group arrives in about 10 minutes, and then use a shuttle to get down to the surface, pay the spaceport’s docking fees and meet their contact at the Avaneir Agora, who says that another rival ship is leaving with the same kind of delivery he’s given the team and whomever gets their first and returns with proof of sale will gain the vital information he’s got access to. In addition, he’ll sweeten the deal and pay them in valuable imperial currency for beating his competition.
So now it’s a race, and the Captain decides the pay out and information are going to be worth the extra energy cost to make the trip faster, so he and the rest of the crew board the shuttle and head back up to their ship, put the Drive into 3 and the Navigator and Engineer calculate the distance and energy cost as 7.91 AU at a cost of 31.64 Energy (32 Energy rounded normally). They punch it, get there in a round, and beat the other ship by several minutes, securing the delivery, getting a receipt for the shipment and returning the 7.91 AU to Parapet at a much more leisurely pace until the Navigator says that sensors show a House Amatsukami patrol crossing their path up ahead. Rather than waste time with a possible noble entanglement and explanation, the Navigator rolls Mind + Architecture and recognizes the ship configuration and suggests if sensors are stock for that vessel, that going 1 AU out of the way would probably evade their sensors. The Captain, deciding better safe than sorry tells the navigator to divert a full 3 AU, costing a few more Energy (3 at drive 1) and instructs the Engineer to double speed to Drive 2, bumping the energy cost to 6 for the diversion, and 14 energy total for the return trip. (7.91 + 6 = 14 rounded normally). The Pilot successfully makes a check to maneuver around the vessel’s sensor range at 2x superluminal speeds to the applause of the rest of the crew.
The crew returns to Parapet in the shuttle, get paid enough to cover their energy costs plus a little more, and get the information they were looking for, the name of a planet several jumps away that reportedly has an artifact they’ve been looking for, however rumor has it that the rival ship they beat out for the contract was full of angry Mahyah Nostra gangsters out for revenge, and that they’re mustering at the starport for a pursuit to the jump gate. Once again the Captain urges the ship’s Engineer to get the Hyperflight drive the way up to drive 3, costing, at 4 × 61.21 for drive 3 a significant 244.84 (245) energy, but assuring that an angry fleet of Mahyah Nostra thugs doesn’t beat them to the jump gate. Of course the jump gate itself may or may not be ready to open when the crew arrives…
Hyperflight Between Sectors
Firstly, more details about the way Sectors are physically organized can be found on the Sectors page, however, related to travelling using Hyperflight, in the interest of one-stop shopping, I’ve included much of the same information about Sectors (but not all of it) here. You’re doing yourself a disservice if travelling truly vast distances (classified as travelling outside of known Solar Systems accessible via jump gate) without looking at how Sectors work first.
|Sector Size and Configuration Cheat Sheet|
|Each Major Sector is a grid of hexes 40 × 50 LY (Light Years) in distance.|
|Each sub-sector (hex) is 5 LY across. (316205 AU|
|A sub-sector is where Solar Systems reside (if there are any). There’s only ever going to be a single Solar System per sector at max, so you can think of sub-sectors as ‘the area of space around a Solar System’.|
|For ease lets agree that any habitable solar system is roughly in the center of a given sub-sector (hex)|
|Solar systems have a termination shock barrier surrounding them like an electromagnetic bubble this is about an AU across in most places, and the point of entry for a spacecraft through that barrier is sometimes referred to as the jump zone|
Hyperflight speeds follow the Fast progression chart as mentioned before (here’s the actual chart):
So if to travel to the nearest star would take around 5 years at light speed using the coolest rocket/ion engines known to man, (rounding to sub sector), then travelling from sub-sector to sub sector takes the following amount of time:
Hyperflight 1-5: In-System Speeds
|Hyperflight (Drive) Level||Speed multiplier||Time to Cross Sub-Sector||Time to Cross Major Sector||Time to Travel to Arm|
|1||1 x Lightspeed||5 years||50 years||prohibitive|
|2||10 x Lightspeed||6 months||5 years||prohibitive|
|3||100 x Lightspeed||18.25 days||6 months||prohibitive|
|4||1k x Lightspeed||1.8 days||18 days||prohibitive|
|5||10k x Lightspeed||4.38 hours||1 day, 8hrs (1.825 days)||1 year, 5 months|
NOTE: It’s not advisable to travel inside of Solar Systems at above Hyperflight 5, due to the preponderance of material collected by the gravity well of a habitable star that are too numerous to avoid at those speeds. In addition, penetrating the Termination Shock barrier of a Solar System (the bubble of solar and electromagnetic impact around a solar system) at speeds above Hyperflight 5 is considered extremely risky, and most pilots and navigators will assume that hitting a Solar System’s termination shock barrier head on will result in a ship’s destruction, much like hitting the atmosphere of a planet dead-on at lightspeed could cause it to break apart, catch fire, fall down and explode. Still, very few pilots are willing to try.
Hyperflight 6-10: Deep Galactic Exploration
|Hyperflight (Drive) Level||Speed multiplier||Time to Cross Sub-Sector||Time to Cross Major Sector||Time to Travel to Arm|
|6||100k x Lightspeed||26.28 minutes||4.3hrs||2 days (43hrs)|
|7||1 M x Lightspeed||2.628 minutes||43.8 minutes||7.3 hrs|
|8||10 M x Lightspeed||1 round of combat||4.38 minutes||didn’t calculate|
|9||100 M x Lightspeed||1 round of combat||1 round of combat||didn’t calculate|
|10||1 B x Lightspeed||1 round of combat||1 round of combat||didn’t calculate|
I haven’t bothered to calculate speeds and distances beyond nearby spiral arms yet. If anyone wants to do that or check my math, please do. Sufficed to say, it’s a long fucking way. If we ever end up travelling that far (eventually) I’ll do the math then.
Energy Use and Sector Travel
If you’ve looked at all at the Solar System travel bit above, you can see that spending energy becomes extremely prohibitive at faster-than-light speeds, especially when you consider how fast that gets eaten up per AU. While it makes sense that vast, truly astronomical distances between habitable star systems require vast amounts of energy, mechanically for our game, it begins to fall down when you consider that the galactic economy can’t support the energy output needed to travel at those kinds of speeds.
Indeed, without the gift of the jump gates from their Primmortal fore-bearers, most races would likely find it nearly impossible to travel from Sector to Sector and System to System using any normal means. As an example, crossing a single sub-sector of space is 5 light-years across, which is 316205 AU, (remember a single AU is 150 million km!) which, at a reasonable speed (let’s say, Hyperflight 5) would cost 4743075 Energy at the current scale to travel that many AU, which is utter nonsense from an available resources perspective.
So how do truly interstellar races get around this problem? The answer is right in front of us: the slingshot method. The idea being that in the darkness of interstellar space, where there’s nothing to run into for massive expanses, a ship need only get up to speed and then no longer needs to spend energy to accelerate, it will simply continue to travel at that velocity, essentially forever, or until some other force acts upon it, such as the gravity well of a celestial body or planet, or some unforeseen hazard or gravity well necessitates slowing down. So ships attempting to travel without using jump-gates must point themselves precisely at their destination, spend alt least an entire AU accelerating to the edge of a Solar System’s Termination shock, and then SHWOOM off into the darkness of interstellar space like a thrown dart!
Why doesn’t this work inside a Solar System? As discussed above, there are too many objects floating around a gravity well to reliably travel at Hyperflight without making continuous course corrections. Most ships have safeguards in place to stop a ship from travelling faster than Hyperflight 5 in-system. Attempting to penetrate a system’s Termination Shock from an outside system at above Hyperflight 5, and ‘deep jump’, inside a Solar System is considered extremely risky, if not just plain lethal.
Accelerating to Galactic Travel Speeds: A starship needs at least 1 AU to accelerate to any speed above Hyperflight 5, but once it has passed the Termination Shock barrier of a star system, it need only spend enough Energy to get up to speed, and will continue to travel at that speed unless interrupted by an approaching system, hazard or other random encounter. Upon such an encounter, that initial thrust to get back to Hyperflight speeds can be very expensive however, as traversing the naked Void exacts a heavy cost (double).
|Drive Speed||Energy Cost Per AU (inhabited)||Energy Cost Per AU (Void)|
- The energy cost to jump is up-front, and the ship is ballistic while in hyperflight between Sectors and Solar Systems. It’s like a cannon-shot.
- Hyperflight transit at galactic-level speeds has different effects on different species. Many find it unpleasant and disorienting. The experience of hyperflight transit at galactic speeds has differing impact on various species. Humans (and Posthumans) are typical in this regard and experience transitory “hyper sickness” which may include: vertigo, nausea, headache, disorientation, visual and auditory hallucinations, waking dreams, and nightmares (for those already asleep). These symptoms usually pass after several minutes. Some beings (especially civilian passengers) may resort to various drugs to help lessen the effect of these reactions.
- A Hyperflight “miss” at galactic-level speeds may mean that the ship is never seen again.
The Void: Space Lanes, Deep Space Costs and Void Dangers
Navigating the perils of space travel can be perilous, with unknown objects, alien creatures, fleets of marauding pirates, hostile navies and even the void itself throughout. It takes a skilled pilot to overcome these challenges and pilot a safe course through these many dangers.
Space Lanes: Travel between systems with habitable planets in it is easier than traveling through the void of limitless space. Piloting checks between known habitable worlds in a peaceful trade environment gain a bonus to piloting checks (or may not require one at all) while traveling between any sector with open space between worlds, confers a +2 difficulty for each ‘empty’ sub-sector encountered along the way. Areas of travel between life-giving worlds also tend to be infused with certain kinds of radiation, offering the cold of the void a beacon of light in the darkness. It is possible to establish a peaceful trade route in-game that can lead to these bonuses if one does not already exist. Neutral worlds do not count for this. There must be an active trade agreement between the worlds in order to count. This only refers to ‘raw’ travel through space via Hyperflight from sector to sector; worlds connected via the jumpweb are exempt.
Deep Space Costs: Traveling the void of space takes energy, a massive amount of energy in some cases, especially to overcome the barrier of the speed of light and bend both space and time. Space in the Silver Age multiverse is associated with the element of Void, which actively consumes energy. Therefore, much like a star gives energy to terrestrial plant-life, the Void actively takes energy, making interstellar travel especially perilous when not going from sector to sector without closeness to a life-giving planet. Passing through uninhabited, barren sectors of space are like treading the jaws of a great predator. The void is hungry, and it feeds from the tiny silver fish that swim around its teeth.
Void Dangers: Things live out in the black. Ancient things. Powerful things. Hungry things. Rogue planets, Pirates, Diseased Aliens, and dangerous organisms vie for most dangerous along with radiation belts, meteor clouds and singularities for ways to die in space. Some say that in the dimensions /between/ space and time, other threats loom too. Some of the rolls from passing though the Void could cause these kinds of encounters.
Risky maneuvers may increase the likelihood of mishaps when re-entering the Termination Shock of the destination Solar System as well. A number of things can go wrong. Some ships have reported actually falling into the Bleed temporarily when angling too near an unexpected or un-surveyed gravity well, and coming out, well, different, particularly if a starship’s Bleed Dampener is not active (why would it be?) And then again, it’s also possible for ships to simply vanish. Strange things can happen at speeds that warp spacetime at the levels needed to traverse the galaxy itself.
There is a direct benefit to traversing from habitable sector to habitable sector, rather than skipping hexes in a Major Sector with worlds and traversing empty Void-ridden space. Energy must be spent to get up to enough speed to reasonably travel through interstellar space, however after an encounter in ‘empty’ sectors, getting up to speed in the Void causes that energy cost to be doubled, as the Void exacts its toll. In addition to this, random encounters may occur in the void of space that may, by themselves cost additional energy to avoid or overcome or could actively drain energy in some way.
When a PC or vessel passes through an empty hex, roll 2d10. On a 15 or greater, the GM will roll for a random encounter, which could effect the crew, ship or energy reserves. If a character or vessel’s energy ever reaches zero in Deep Space, (an empty sub-sector hex) that vessel or character is considered “On the drift” and out of fuel. They must attempt a distress call, and are at the mercy of whoever or whatever responds.
Recall that the Galactic Imperium as a rule does not tend to travel in interstellar space, preferring to use the jump gates to traverse the Milky Way Galaxy, so the chances of rescue are slim while deep in the black.