Archives of Nethys

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Chapter 1: Building Starships / Interstellar Travel

Alternate Interstellar Navigation

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 8
Traveling through the Drift relies on Drift beacons for navigation, and these beacons effectively divide the galaxy into two zones: Near Space (regions close to Drift beacons) and the Vast (everywhere else). These distinctions are meaningless to starships without Drift technology; the density of Drift beacons in a given region of space has no bearing on travel times through planes other than the Drift. Likewise, Absalom Station’s Starstone has no effect on travel outside the Drift—it takes just as long for a ship without Drift tech to reach Absalom Station as it does to get to any other point in that system.

For most of the non-Drift interstellar engines presented here, travel times are the same whether a ship’s destination is in Near Space or the Vast, and the actual distance between the starting point and the destination doesn’t matter. With the exception of fold gates, traveling within a system takes about 1d6 days, and traveling anywhere in the galaxy takes about 5d6 days (the same as travel to the Vast via the Drift), though more powerful engines can reduce this time. When traveling to a world using a non-Drift interstellar drive, roll the travel time, then divide the result by the engine rating of your starship’s interstellar drive to determine how long it takes you to reach your destination. For example, a starship with a planar aperture drive (engine rating of 2) traveling to a planet elsewhere in the galaxy would roll 5d6 and divide the result by 2. If you rolled 15, then the trip would take 7-1/2 days (don’t round down travel rolls). As with Drift travel, days spent traveling through other planes are no different for a crew than days spent in normal space. A starship can stop while traveling through another plane, but such breaks don’t count toward your travel time.

Interstellar travel through planes other than the Drift has its perils, as the planes of the Great Beyond are often more dangerous than the Drift. The risk of random encounters when traveling through other planes is always higher than in the Drift.

As with Drift-capable starships, for a starship to activate its interstellar drive to either exit or enter the Material Plane, it must remain stationary with its conventional thrusters turned off for 1 minute.
  • Travel In-System (1d6 Days): Jumping between two points in the same solar system is moderately faster than moving between them in real space, but there is a 10% chance of random encounters on the plane being traversed.
  • Travel In-Galaxy (5d6 Days): Regardless of the target location or plane traversed, traveling to another location in the galaxy takes the same amount of time, and the risk of random encounters on that plane can be anywhere from 40% to 60%.
  • Travel Beyond the Rim: While technology capable of carrying a ship to another galaxy might exist, it is unknown to the galaxy at large; intergalactic travel using either Drift technology or non-Drift interstellar drives is currently impossible.