drift space question


General Discussion


Can you interact with another ship whilst in drift space?
I have an idea for my players to come across a ship apparently adrift in drift space.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
philip nicholls wrote:

Can you interact with another ship whilst in drift space?

I have an idea for my players to come across a ship apparently adrift in drift space.

yes. Drift space is like normal space, it's just "empty" except for the stuff that's been brought in, like space ships and the pieces of other planes which are starting to populate it.


It basically is a different dimension. You can still encounter other ships/objects/things there although its mostly pretty empty for the moment but as more people travel through it the more random stuff gets deposited in it. There also are some natural "wildlife" that live there too.

Scarab Sages

Yes, in fact three Starfinder society things (quests and scenarios) scenarios involve actual encounters in the drift. One is space combat and then a boarding action, and one is a friendly Yskoi salvage ship that you could theoretically dock and trade with. Haven't played the third scenario, but it sounds like it takes place almost entirely in the drift.


The impression I've gotten from the corebook, at least. . . there's lots of potential encounters in the Drift, but actually finding something or someone in there *deliberately* is hard. You need some pretty good info, such as "the exact time and place where they entered the Drift". Otherwise, its *much* harder to find someone specific, and vanishingly unlikely to encounter any specific thing in there by chance.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Metaphysician wrote:
The impression I've gotten from the corebook, at least. . . there's lots of potential encounters in the Drift, but actually finding something or someone in there *deliberately* is hard. You need some pretty good info, such as "the exact time and place where they entered the Drift". Otherwise, its *much* harder to find someone specific, and vanishingly unlikely to encounter any specific thing in there by chance.

it's also unclear if the drift "corresponds" with real space.

say you are pursuing your enemy, the Duke Nefarious, from absalom station, and the villain enters the Drift!

but you have an advantage... you know he is headed for Planet EVIL! and you enter the Drift immediately afterwards, setting course for Adventure!

but... is he where you are? or does Duke Nefarious entered the Drift somewhere else, and in fact, exits it somewhere else than where you do, both of which are the same point near Planet Evil?

it's possible that you are both "racing" to your location but in completely different places and following totally different routes. the only thing in common is the amount of time that your ships must spend in the Drift.

I think this might actually be a more elegant, and interesting way to model it. Yeah, you can "escape" into the Drift, but ... well ... there's consequences.

That fleet you assembled to take revenge on the cruel space pirates of Yau? Well... yeah, you all got into the Drift at the same spot, and you all said you'd get out when you got to Yau ... but when you got into the Drift, your dozen ships are all on their lonesome and when you get out the other side, you don't know who is coming out to meet you.

With the chase scenario above, yeah, you and the Duke are both headed to the same location, and yeah, you and the Duke both have ships of comparable speed...

but when you get out of the Drift, you ran into a dangerous encounter which almost destroyed your ship... and the Duke ran into a Space Monster which took a liking to him and comes out on the other end to re-inforce the villain! oh no!


So more like hyperspace from Babylon 5 than Star wars. Hmm... there is potential, there...


I've been thinking about the Drift quite a bit the last few days, trying to figure out a related topic.

Ship A has a Signal Basic drive (multiplier 1)

Ship B has a Signal Ultra drive (multiplier 5)

They both line up just outside Absalom station and set course for the same Near Space destination (3d6 days travel time)

By coincidence, both pilots roll 10 on their 3d6.

They enter the drift... and now what?

Does Ship B (2 days travel time) rocket past Ship A (10 days travel time)? Does it move five times faster than Ship A in the Drift?

The rules lead me to believe that the intended answer is No, because ships use their thrusters to move through the Drift.

I have come up with this as the least clunky possibility as to how it might work (the other idea had multiple Drift 'bands' or layers... and was clunky).

All ships share the same Drift, but because of the more powerful Signal booster, Ship B is able to "lock on" to the destination beacon after only two days of drift travel, and can then drop out of the Drift and be at the destination. From Ship A's perspective, they both enter the Drift, move at the same speed, but two days into their trip, Ship B comes to a stop, then vanishes.

This interpretation might create the possibility for Ship B to drop out of the drift at *any time after* they get the Signal. If they wanted to, they could pace Ship A for the full 10 days, and then both ships could arrive at the same time. They could both go to explore the derelict spacecraft that Ship A found seven days into its last journey. Alternately, at any time in the next eight days, Ship B could spend two minutes shutting down their thrusters and then drop out, arriving at their intended destination. This creates some interesting potentials for attack, defense and the use of convoys.

Basically, the Ultra Drive means that instead of traveling five times faster, you only have to travel one-fifth the normal distance in the Drift to get to the same destination.


Ithnaar wrote:

I've been thinking about the Drift quite a bit the last few days, trying to figure out a related topic.

Ship A has a Signal Basic drive (multiplier 1)

Ship B has a Signal Ultra drive (multiplier 5)

They both line up just outside Absalom station and set course for the same Near Space destination (3d6 days travel time)

By coincidence, both pilots roll 10 on their 3d6.

They enter the drift... and now what?

Does Ship B (2 days travel time) rocket past Ship A (10 days travel time)? Does it move five times faster than Ship A in the Drift?

The rules lead me to believe that the intended answer is No, because ships use their thrusters to move through the Drift.

I have come up with this as the least clunky possibility as to how it might work (the other idea had multiple Drift 'bands' or layers... and was clunky).

All ships share the same Drift, but because of the more powerful Signal booster, Ship B is able to "lock on" to the destination beacon after only two days of drift travel, and can then drop out of the Drift and be at the destination. From Ship A's perspective, they both enter the Drift, move at the same speed, but two days into their trip, Ship B comes to a stop, then vanishes.

This interpretation might create the possibility for Ship B to drop out of the drift at *any time after* they get the Signal. If they wanted to, they could pace Ship A for the full 10 days, and then both ships could arrive at the same time. They could both go to explore the derelict spacecraft that Ship A found seven days into its last journey. Alternately, at any time in the next eight days, Ship B could spend two minutes shutting down their thrusters and then drop out, arriving at their intended destination. This creates some interesting potentials for attack, defense and the use of convoys.

Basically, the Ultra Drive means that instead of traveling five times faster, you only have to travel one-fifth the normal distance in the Drift to get to the same destination.

That's an interesting way to interpret drift travel, though personally I'd look at it like how people tend to describe traveling across the 'fourth dimension' by comparing it to how we can take a shortcut on a 2-d plane by folding it and sticking a pin through it. This is a lot trickier to visualise when trying to picture 'sticking a pin' through a 3-d cube by means of a shortcut, but it gets the general point across.

In that scenario, a more potent drift drive would allow you to 'fold' the 3-d equivalent of the sheet of paper more sharply, wich'd mean you create a more effective shortcut to the place you're going.

Given that in this scenario the drift is essentially a 3-D representation of a shortcut through the fourth dimension, each ship going into the drift has its own 'tunnel' through there that may or may not cross or intersect with other things in the drift, but doesn't have to be close to the path someone else is taking to the same location.

Not saying this is the right way to look at it by the way, just that this is how I'd represent it with my current lack of more detailed information on what the authors intended for it.


What if the drift space is akin to the "layers" of hyperspace in some sci-fi (thinking David Weber's stuff, for one)? So the Drift being less a single dimension and more a stack of them, like the 9 Hells or the myriad layers of the Abyss, and such. So the more powerful Drift drives are able to get into "higher" dimensions, cutting the relative travel time, and if you want to intercept someone in-Drift, you have to have a matching (or better) Drift drive.


I am not sure we have enough detail yet to say for sure. Given how it is described I am thinking to meet up with a specific ship in the drift would be more pure chance/luck than intention.

If it was predictable then you should be generally encountering a lot of ships in drift as you get close to a place like abasalom station but I did not get the feeling from the descriptions that was actually the case.

I think it will remain until the AP gets far enough where they start going into the drift to get a bit better feel of how they intend it to be.


suppose there are any colonies inside the drift?


Steelfiredragon wrote:
suppose there are any colonies inside the drift?

So, the most compelling interpretation of the Drift I've seen so far is that you have no control over where you enter the Drift, and where you travel in it has no obvious relationship to where you get out when you leave.

Which means that a Drift colony really needs to be self-sufficient, because nobody who leaves can reliably come back, and even if someone wanted to bring them necessary supplies, it would be almost impossible.

And, for similar reasons, it would be an awfully popular destination for people who don't want to be found.

But, given the self-sufficiency requirement, it probably started with a big colony ship: either one that crashed in the Drift and the crew stayed there by necessity, or one that intentionally left to found a Drift colony.

So, my theory is that people widely rejected by society, like Nyarlathotep worshippers, for example, probably have temple-colonies in the Drift where they keep to themselves. In fact, it seems quite appropriate for Nyarlathotep's devoted to pray to him from the one place that he's least likely to be able to hear!

Being devoid of magic, the other planes wouldn't need to worry about Drift cultists summoning a huge army of demons and unleashing it on reality, but if they found a sufficiently mineral-rich chunk of planet floating around, they might be able to do something similar with an army of robots.


The drift isn't devoid of magic, it just can't be reached (or left) via planar travel spells. It's unclear whether summoning spells would work there.


now that still isnt to say that some loony didnt design and build a massive colony with multiple drift engines allowing it to enter and exit driftspace. still as you said it would need to be self sufficient or as much as possible.


Xenocrat wrote:
The drift isn't devoid of magic, it just can't be reached (or left) via planar travel spells. It's unclear whether summoning spells would work there.

But you know some mad scientist types have been trying...

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