Walk the Void (Mystic Ability)

Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

This ability seems a lil strong for a first level ability (situational, but still strong). "You are immune to the harmful environmental effects of outer space and vacuum." So does that mean a character with the ability is immune to radiation damage from cosmic rays, can breathe in space, and is not susceptible to explosive decompression? (Baring guidance, I'd probably say "they can tool around without a spacesuit, but still need an air supply").

All forms of armor can protect vs vacuum for 24 hours per item level. So actually the power doesn't do much beyond the protection from cosmic rays unless you intend to be in a vacuum for several days.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It's a power that would be incredibly powerful in pathfinder, but is really just flavorful in Starfinder. As bigguy pointed out, anyone can spend 95 credits for stationwear and survive 24 hours in vacuum at first level.

The 20 fly speed in space is actually more valuable than the environmental protection.

There are some cool narrative things this will let you do, and it's a great way to fake your death or to ambush someone who assumes that vaccum is a barrier to you.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, it's pretty much like how life bubble is now a 1st-level spell that takes the place of endure elements. Powerful in Pathfinder, but for Starfinder? Pretty niche.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For that matter all Androids and Sarcesians (from First Contact) both PC races are already immune to the harmful environmental effects of vacuum. Strong ability but hardly the only way to pick it up.

Silver Crusade

[thread resurrection]

I played in one game where the mystic was warned that to enter one compromised room of a spacecraft would expose the character to the vacuum of space.

The idea of the vacuum sucking him up against a small hole in the wall should eviscerate him. The Box office attempted to represent this in Aliens III movie when the creature was sucked through a hole.

In this case, its not the vacuum that kills ya, its the differential pressure that pushes you through a quarter-sized hole that deforms you irreversibly.

Is this case also covered by "Walk the Void"?

Starfinder Superscriber

I don't think that walk the void would be protection, as what you're describing would function something like the vortex ability of an air elemental, and not 'vacuum'. However, I also don't think that's as dangerous a situation (in SF or real life) as a movie scene would indicate.

Firstly, unless it's the atmosphere of the entire ship that's trying to move through that hole, there isn't going to be a lot of it. I would expect things like automated bulkhead closures to limit the amount of air being sucked out to something like a single small room or two. Even if it is the entire ship, I still don't expect there to be that much atmosphere involved.

Secondly, a small hole is going to limit the flow rate of air significantly. You can only move so much water through a pipe or drain of a certain size at a certain pressure. Air, as a fluid, works similarly, and isn't going to be a super high pressures inside a ship because that would kill the occupants. A small hole in a ship with moderate air pressure means you're (probably) either going to get a slow(er) leak or explosive decompression, as the whole section of wall buckles because of the tear and lost structural integrity. It's been years since I took Differential Equations, so I don't remember the math off the top of my head. I could be wrong about this, but the way it's depicted in movies always seemed a bit too harsh. It seems to me like a choked flow situation, so unless you're standing right next to the hole, the air around you probably isn't moving all that quickly, certainly not enough to pick you up from 30ft away and sling you against the hole at the speed of sound. (But I could certainly be wrong.)

Thirdly, there's a very real chance (assuming a ship with a metallic hull) that the first time something metal comes in contact with the hole, the two pieces are going to cold weld together and seal the breach. Assuming a person in metal armor hits the hole, they could insta-seal it, and just have to get out of their armor.

My 2cp.

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Captain Temπ Ænaut Fugit wrote:
In this case, its not the vacuum that kills ya, its the differential pressure that pushes you through a quarter-sized hole that deforms you irreversibly.

I'm pretty sure this doesn't happen. It's just a difference of one atmosphere which is not enough to exert much of a pull.

And as pithica pointed out, the size of the hole means there's less air moving out. And if even air is just moving out fairly slowly, it'll surely have even less of an effect on a humanoid.

Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, I think if someone was dumb enough to stick their bare hand over the hole, you might see them (or at least all their blood and some of their soft tissue) have a very high velocity very bad day. But I don't think what happened in Aliens is anything but Sci-Fi.

Of course, this is a sci-fi game, so feel free to ignore physics as much as you want.

Silver Crusade

Generally, I think a gradual decompression would work under the description of the spell, and maybe so would rapid decompression.

But explosive decompression creates a dangerous barrier that ALL the air in the ship is going to try to squeeze you past. And opening a door to space (without equalizing first) should be similar.

The closest example I can find is from a Mythbusters episode. That was only a plane at 40,000 ft. If the portal would tear your arm off, imagine what it would do to you with the vacuum of space on the other side and 2-3x the amount of atmosphere behind you.

Also, if you were lucky enough to be free of obstructions, I suspect you'd be shot from the ship as if from a cannon.

Maybe you can survive in space, but there might be complications...

Naturally, with different GMs YMMV.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Problem is, explosive decompression is, well, explosive. It happens, and then its done. So if there's enough time to meaningfully ponder the question "Do I want to deliberately enter this explosive decompression area?", then the point is moot, because its now finished decompressing.

Starfinder Superscriber

For clarity, anything that actually moves through a choke hole in flow moves through the choke approaching the local speed of sound. If you're close enough to be sucked out, yes, you're going to be moving quickly.

That example is a door, not a quarter-sized hole. It has several hundred times the area for the air to move through, so there's less choke and more air can flow through the hole at once. Unless the hole get's larger (quickly), the air in the room around the hole shouldn't be moving that quickly, just the air right next to it. Small holes are going to work more like how you see water coming into a ship on a submarine in a submarine movie, but in reverse. If you're standing directly in front of the hole, it's going to hurt, but people further away or outside the direct line are just going to get 'wet' (read: feel the breeze).

That example is also a modern airplane. An interstellar vessel with advanced AI is likely to have AI controlled automated bulkheads that close and automated vacuums to decompress and save the air they can from the area the nano-second a decompression alarm goes off. It's probably not going to be 2-3x the air. It's probably going to be just the majority of the air in a single room, if even that.

Again, though, I'm mostly being pedantic here. This is fiction, so anyone can tell it any way they want to. There's no wrong way to do it. I for one am hoping we get rules for hybrid computers that run off tech+magic. Then the computer can start doing things like casting wall of force over hull breaches a la Star Trek Disco.

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