Archives of Nethys

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Exploring the Galaxy / Exploration System

Galaxy Exploration

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 34
Long ago, galactic exploration was primarily the business of a diverse and often secretive group of priests and other magic‑using fellowships who jealously guarded their secrets of magical space travel and planes-hopping. With the revelation of Triune and the advent of faster-than-light Drift travel, the galaxy became ripe for mass exploration, but only for those with the technology and know-how to navigate its expanse.
Navigation is the key to exploring the galaxy. Every navigator is aware of the difference between Near Space and the Vast. Near Space comprises systems and worlds that have the greatest density of Drift beacons, thereby reducing the time and risk it takes to travel there. Destinations in the Vast have fewer such beacons, increasing both the travel time and risk of potentially dangerous Drift encounters (pages 146–147), and making reliable information on such places even harder to come by.
While a navigator must be knowledgeable in various calculations and equations to feed into Drift engines, they also must have at least some knowledge of where they want to go. While strange properties of the Drift make the galactic distance from one place to another almost meaningless, knowing a system’s relative bearing from one’s current position (and that said system even exists) is needed to properly navigate via the Drift. These details can be hard to ascertain, especially when searching for a path to a world in the Vast.
If you want to find and travel to a known destination, even one unfamiliar to you (Core Rulebook 145), you can. You might even use the plan route downtime activity (Character Operations Manual 154) to gain some aid toward navigating to that system. But what about destinations, especially those in the Vast, about which little is known? Maybe you’ve found some brief reference to a system on a datapad, heard rumors about a mysterious space station, or uncovered some old but faulty star chart. For such obscure destinations, you can attempt to narrow your search by using the Locate Galactic Destination downtime activity.