Sectors

Known Sectors:
These are known, named Major Sectors of explored Space.
Sector Meridian Alpha – (Houses Terra/Earth)
Sector Amber Beta – (Houses Ka’Hadan Empire)
Sector Saguenay Tau – (Houses Chaldathans)

How Sectors work

There are 2 types of Sectors, a Major, named Sector, (like those at the top of this page) and a Minor, sub-sector, which may or may not contain one or more Solar Systems with habitable planets and other features within it.

A Sector of space looks like this:
Take the fictional sector of: Sector Meropis Kappa

SampleSector.jpg

There are 80 grid items in each named, Major Sector. Some contain empty space, some contain known worlds. Assume that each grid contains a number of celestial bodies, stars, radiation belts, singularities, dust, comets, however in the vastness of space, those few bastions of life matter most, so those are what have been highlighted in each sector.

Each planet has a name, and may also have a numbered designation. The solar system is usually named after the one primarily habitable world within it, and the planet has a number associated with it, which indicates it’s number of celestial bodies counted out from the primary star. Hence a visiting alien to earth might refer to it as Earth 3 or Terra 3, or perhaps even Sol 3, depending on how they had named the system. More about this can be found in Solar Systems.

Sector to sector travel

  • Each Major Sector is an 8 × 10 grid of hexes.
  • A Major named sector is around 40 × 50 LY (Light Years) in distance.
  • Each sub-sector is designated as about 5 LY across.
  • Technically a good game map would be in 3 dimensions, but we’re going with good-ol hexes for this, because I don’t want to get into full-fledged simulation development to run a space opera. :D

Calculating distances for travel: Alpha Centauri A & B are roughly 4.35 light years away from Earth’s star. Proxima Centauri is slightly closer at 4.22 light years. These are the nearest stars to our Earth’s yellow Sun. This gives us an approximate distance to build on for nearby systems. If we say the average distance between systems is around 5 light years, that means it would take 5 years at the speed of light to traverse between each sub-sector grid in the sector at mere light speed and 40 to 50 years to traverse the entire Major Sector. But don’t fret! We will be moving much faster than that in our game.

  • Galactic Arm: The Orion Spur (Where earth is) 5000 light years away from its nearest other arm.
  • Major Named Sector: 40 X 50 light years across (default to 50 for calculations)
  • Minor Sub-Sector (Solar System): 5 light years across
Attribute: Hyperflight (pg. 50)
Cost: 2 Points/Level
Type: Power
Relevant Stat: Body
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.

Hyperflight speeds follow the Fast progression chart as mentioned before (here’s the actual chart):
ProgressionChart.jpg

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

FlightExamples.jpgNOTE: It’s not possible 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 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.

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 distances 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, 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 necessitates slowing down.

Why doesn’t this work in 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.

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)
1 1 2
2 2 4
3 4 8
4 8 16
5 15 30
6 30 60
7 60 120
8 125 250
9 250 500
10 500 1000

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.

System: There is a direct system benefit to traversing from habitable sector to habitable sector, rather than skipping 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.

Sectors

Silver Age Beyond brightwyrm