Space Travel

To make a space journey, first determine the distance of the journey in parsecs. Use the table below or use the FTL Travel Calculator.

A starship has a travel increment measured in days equal to its class. For every increment beyond the first, attribute checks suffer a -1d6 penalty.

Space travel time (AL 9)

FTL-X

C

1 PARSEC

1

1

1,190 days

2

8

149 days

3

27

44 days

4

64

19 days

5

125

10 days

6

216

5.5 days

7

343

3.5 days

8

512

2.3 days

9

729

1.6 days

10

1,000

29 hours

11

1,331

21 hours

12

1,728

17 hours

13

2,197

13 hours

14

2,744

10 hours

15

3,375

8 hours

16

4,096

7 hours

17

4,913

6 hours

18

5,832

5 hours

19

6,859

4 hours

20

8,000

3.5 hours

30

27,000

1 hour

40

64,000

25 mins

50

125,000

12 mins

100

1,000,000

2 mins

200

8,000,000

15 secs

500

125,000,000

1 sec

1,000

1,000,000,000

0.125 secs

In some settings, FTL travel occurs at vastly greater speeds than in others. These are Advancement Level 10 technology.  For such speeds, FTL-X is a more cumbersome way to refer to travel velocity. Instead, some settings use a simpler rating system where a Class 1 FTL drive is twice the speed of a Class 2 FTL drive, which is itself twice the speed of a Class 4 FTL drive.

Space travel time (AL 10)

Class

FTL-X

1 PARSEC

9

51

9 mins

8

53

8 mins

7

55

7 mins

6

58

6 mins

5

63

5 mins

4

79

4 mins

3

91

3 mins

2

100

2 mins

1

125

1 min

0.9

130

54 secs

0.8

135

48 secs

0.7

142

42 secs

0.6

150

36 secs

0.5

158

30 secs

0.25

200

15 secs

ATTRIBUTE CHECKS

Three primary checks must be made when making a space journey. These checks are Routine [10] checks in friendly space, Challenging [13] checks in hostile or unexplored space, and Difficult [16] checks in dangerous space. They can be made by PCs, or by the ship's crew using the vessel's crew rating (typically a 4d6 dice pool).

Complications can be applied to these checks, as normal. Each complication reduces the dice pool by -1d6.

Engineer. A LOG check (bolstered by the engineering skill) must be made to maintain the FTL systems.

Navigator. A LOG check (bolstered by the astrogation skill) must be made to plot the course and calculate FTL coordinates.

Sensors. An INT check (bolstered by the computers skill) must be made to use sensors and keep an eye out for hazards.

Additionally, some secondary checks may be required under certain circumstances.

Medic. On a journey of more than one week, a LOG check (bolstered by the medicine skill) is required to monitor the crew, their physical and mental health, and their diets.

Security. On a ship of more than 50 crew, an INT check must be made to maintain order and spot trouble on board the ship.

Space travel is a “fail forward” system – the ship will not fail to navigate to its destination, but the checks determine the condition it arrives in. Add up all the successful checks and all the unsuccessful checks. If there are more unsuccessful checks than successful checks, when the ship arrives at its destination PCs are weary, and the crew is considered one category less skilled (elite - experienced - standard - poor) until they have had 24 hours' rest for each range increment travelled.

Additionally, each failed check results in a problem.

Delay. A failed engineering check causes delays as repairs are needed.  This requires a minor engineering science. The delay takes place halfway along the route.

Fuel. A failed navigation check means that the fuel cost of the journey is doubled. A good navigator will plot a more efficient course, perhaps effectively completing a spice run in less than the number of parsecs expected.

Illness. A failed medical check means that 1d6 crew members are lost to illness or injury. If a 6 is rolled on this die, an infectious illness breaks out and requires a minor medical science to contain.

Indiscipline. A failed security check can cause sloppiness, and even petty crime. This costs the ship 1d6cr x the crew complement.

Encounter. A failed sensors check means an unexpected encounter takes place. This can be with an interstellar phenomenon or with another ship. The GM should roll for or select an encounter from the Space Phenomena table in the core rulebooks.

DISTRESS CALLS

Distress calls can be made by stranded ships (those either out of fuel, or damaged). If a distress call is issued in charted space, aid arrives in 1d6 days. Aid has a cost of 1,000cr per ship class per parsec; credit will always be given in such situations. In uncharted space, aid arrives in 1d6 weeks and may be a new species.

INNER-SYSTEM TRAVEL

Distances within a solar system are measured in Astronomical Units (AU).  A SUB-L journey is resolved in exactly the same way as an FTL journey. The only difference is the units used.

The final column on the Sublight travel time table shows the effect of time dilation on sublight speeds as they approach that of light.

Sublight travel time

SUB-L

C

1AU

Dilation

0.1

-

82 days

-

0.2

0.0005

10 days

-

0.4

0.002

3 days

-

0.6

0.004

1.3 days

-

0.8

0.008

16 hours

-

1

0.01

9 hours

-

2

0.02

5.7 hours

-

3

0.03

3.8 hours

-

4

0.05

2.7 hours

-

5

0.06

2 hours

-

6

0.09

1.5 hours

-

7

0.11

1 hour

1.01

8

0.14

54 mins

1.01

9

0.18

43 mins

1.01

10

0.20

35 mins

1.02

11

0.26

29 mins

1.03

12

0.31

24 mins

1.05

13

0.37

20 mins

1.08

14

0.44

17 mins

1.1

15

0.50

14 mins

1.25

16

0.60

13 mins

1.25

17

0.68

11 mins

1.4

18

0.78

9.7 mins

1.7

19

0.88

8.5 mins

2.3

19.5

0.94

8.4 mins

3.1

19.9

0.99

8.3 mins

7

19.99

0.999

8.2 mins

22.4

19.999

0.9999

8.1 mins

70

19.9999

0.99999

8 mins

224

20*

1.00

8 mins

infinite

*This speed is not possible in normal physics

USING FTL DRIVES IN A STAR SYSTEM

The travel times within a star system can be drastically shortened by simply using a vessel's FTL drives. Travel at these speeds inside a crowded star system is difficult and dangerous, however.

Within a charted star system, the navigator's FTL checks take a -2d6 penalty. Within an uncharted system, the checks take a -3d6 penalty. And in a civilized, populated system, an additional -1d6 penalty is applied.

Failure on this check dumps the ship unceremoniously out of FTL as automated systems avoid a collision. This badly damages the FTL engines and the superstructure. The ship takes 2d6 damage to its SS, and the FTL engines go offline until they are repaired, which requires a Difficult [16] minor engineering science.

FTL

1 AU

1

8 mins

2

1 min

3

18 secs

4

7.5 secs

5

3.8 secs

6

2.2 secs

7

1.4 secs

8

0.9 secs

9

0.7 secs

10

0.5 secs

LANDING & DOCKING

Landing or docking ships is fairly routine task. It is only a Routine [10] AGI check, with failure meaning 1d6 damage to the ship. Some space stations may have automated docking controls, which remove even that small risk.

Attempting to dock with a moving target inflicts a -1d6 penalty, as does attempting to dock at high speed (a SPEED greater than 5).

FUEL

Both FTL and sublight travel require fuel. Fuel can be hydrogen, antimatter, or even old-style rocket fuel. As a general guideline the fuel capacity of a starship (in fuel units), unless otherwise noted in its stat block, is the cube of its ship class.

A fuel unit buys one parsec of travel. So a class IV scout has a fuel capacity of 64 fuel units before it needs to refuel, and a class XI cruiser can travel 1331 parsecs – about one twentieth of the way across the galaxy.

The cost of fuel is typically 10 Credits per unit, although it can vary from place to place.

A journey within a star system costs 1 fuel unit, whatever the length of the journey (subject to the SUB-L engine's fuel efficiency rating).