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Starfinder Core Rulebook, p. 291 wrote:
  • Travel In-System (1d6 Days): Jumping between two points in the same solar system is moderately faster than moving between them in real space, and is so short as to carry only a 1% chance of random encounters in the Drift.
  • Travel to Absalom Station (1d6 Days): Jumping to Absalom Station always takes only 1d6 days, thanks to the Starstone.
  • Travel to Near Space (3d6 Days): Near Space contains the Pact Worlds system and most of the worlds colonized and contacted so far by their explorers, but there are still thousands of Near Space worlds yet to be investigated. Jumps to Near Space worlds rarely carry more than a 10% chance of a random encounter while in the Drift.
  • Travel to the Vast (5d6 Days): Largely unexplored, the millions of Vast worlds are significantly more difficult to get to than Near Space, and the risk of a random encounter in the Drift can be anywhere from 25% to as high as 50%.
  • Travel beyond the Rim: While other galaxies are known to exist, the distances between them and the galaxy of the Pact Worlds are so incredibly large that there have yet to be any confirmed instances of intergalactic travel using Drift technology. Whether this is due to the extreme travel times involved, limits to the reach of the Drift itself, or dangers encountered in the Drift during such attempts remains unknown.

If I am reading that right, travel to anywhere in the entire galaxy takes a maximum of 30 days. Does that seem a bit fast?


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"We'll get there when we get there!! - Mister Incredible.


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That’s using Drift travel, which is, on average, the speed of plot.


Yep.
That's the speed you get by cheating and taking shortcuts through a weird yet relatively safe interstitial plane.
Once you start ignoring the rules of physics as they exist in the marerial plane by stepping out of it, a lot changes.

Also worth remembering that Near Space isn't always strictly closer geographically than a random destination in the Vast : the number and power of eventual Drift Beacons to guide you potentially trumps sheer physical distance - hence you're never more than a few days away from Absalom Station and the Starstone.


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Can you say "Infinite Improbably Drive"?


There is some mapping of the Drift to the Material in a normal way, otherwise using it for in-system travel would be stupid.

That said, a month to some ridiculous colony is way too long when every pirate fief wants your cargo to adorn their stronghold. It's why I like working with Vesk, they know to defend their roadbuilders.


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And there is absolutely nothing shady about the Drift, I have everything under control, to prove it, kittens for everyone!!


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Sense Motive: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (12) - 2 = 10 Well, if there are free kittens it can’t be bad…


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It's a toss-up between casting classes. On one hand, you get a better spell list for dealing with ships, machines, and other essential tools of the Drift by going the studied route, but then you need to take skill synergy (survival) to help maintain the temple kittens.

At least the little fuzzball made friends with the Mechanic's drone.


The galaxy has that weird conundrum of being short in terms of travel, but dense in terms of exploration. There are still 100s of millions of stars, and in this genre that means as many sentient species (with some systems empty/dead/abandoned and others with multiple).

Thinking in physical terms will mislead because while that will help determine initial contact with systems lacking Drift-tech, it says little about the beacon-infrastructure in place.
It's almost like when railroads connected the U.S. East to West. In the frontier, the distance from the railroad became more important than distance from the nearest metropolis. Same thing with Interstates later. Except Triune gifted these routes and charges tolls via planar absorption.

How many of the millions of planets were given Drift tech?
I don't know, but it seems not a large percentage, meaning there are extreme frontiers everywhere, full of sentient races likely with access to magic. How does one go about exploring off the beaten track?
Heck, it might even be easier to visit the Outer Planes, find a Material Plane species you've never met (who likely got there via magic) and then take a Drift beacon back to their world...which might not even be in the same galaxy. Or you could interrogate strange souls to get bearings.

Of course, with the volume left to explore in accessible space, why invest in such risky ventures far from aid?

Hmm...now I'm wondering what's going on in the spaces in between.
It seems Triune might be trying to hide a lot of something...or help us build up our mutual defenses against a lot of somethings. Those Cthulhuian space hordes from Pathfinder lore perhaps? *gulp*

ETA: Kittens would make great advance scouts for an invasion. They get into everything, and love to walk on keyboards. Not use them, nope, *meow*, oh she's so cute.


Do we have confirmation that the Eldest have dropped their banishment-immune strike team? I can't really see Triune on good terms with those codgers.


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Starfinder Superscriber
Castilliano wrote:
The galaxy has that weird conundrum of being short in terms of travel, but dense in terms of exploration. There are still 100s of millions of stars, and in this genre that means as many sentient species (with some systems empty/dead/abandoned and others with multiple).

[pedantry]You missed three orders of magnitude. The average galaxy has ~100 Billion stars. I agree with everything else you said, just X1000.[/pedantry]

If 1% of the galaxy was given drift tech and drift beacons (enough to make them count as near space), there are 1 Billion star systems in near space. Even if a crew managed to get to each of them in only 3 days and immediately jumped out to go to the next one, it would take them... 913,242 Years to visit all of them. Visiting all of the 99 Billion stars left in the Vast would take... 5.4 Million years!!!!

I am reminded again of Douglas Adams. Space is Big. Really big. You won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is.

The pact worlds probably has hundreds of thousands of ships capable of drift travel, but even still I doubt more than a few percent of near space has been visited yet, much less fully explored.

There have been a few wars, which would slow exploration down. And even in times of peace, most of those ships are tied up in corporate or government factions that have a vested interest in spending most of their material, time, and manpower on the plethora of known resources already under control.

It's wildcatters like the PC's and a handful of organizations (Church of Triune, Starfinder's Society), doing all of the difficult/dangerous exploration.


For 'the vast' i figured that was an additive thing.

The first place you try to reach in the vast? Possibly 30 days. The next place? also 30 days. and so on and so on and so on.

Absolom has the benefit of being quick to return to (all praise the God Emperor and the Astronomicon!) but still visiting things outside the network will take a huge amount of time.

I do like the notion that theoretically the core worlds are in danger of some outer rim invasion every month or so. Who knows what dark order is lurking out there and decides to do a random jump that ends up in known space. Sure the probability is low, but who knows.


Throw the 10% rule at 100 billion a few times and near space gets smaller by far. 10 billion star systems capable of life. 1 billion with bacterial life. 100 million with multi celled organisms. 10 million systems with complex life. 1 million with primitive intelligent life. 100 thousand systems would have advanced civilisations. 10 thousand systems would be space capable with drift tech.

Would really be less as I skipped several levels of complexity and and ignored food chains


Hey the astral plane gets you their instantly sometimes you arrive before you leave fast.


SirShua wrote:

Throw the 10% rule at 100 billion a few times and near space gets smaller by far. 10 billion star systems capable of life. 1 billion with bacterial life. 100 million with multi celled organisms. 10 million systems with complex life. 1 million with primitive intelligent life. 100 thousand systems would have advanced civilisations. 10 thousand systems would be space capable with drift tech.

Would really be less as I skipped several levels of complexity and and ignored food chains

But this isn't reality. This is high space opera. We've no idea if such 10% rules apply. I mean, the only solar system we've seen in depth has life and civilization on every planet and some moons. At least several other systems are mentioned as having intelligent life develop on multiple planets.

Obviously, there's selection bias and completely uninhabited systems just wouldn't get mentioned, but it seems that the parameters for "capable of life" are broader than we expect and that pretty much anything capable of life is inhabited by higher life forms.

Besides, a space exploration game in a world like that would be boring and Starfinder runs on Rule of Cool. A PC exploration party isn't going to have to visit 100,000 systems to find something worthy of an adventure.


I see your point about the rule of cool and stuff, and i'm totally down for it. That said, as a Gm and someone who would like to run a character at some point, 10,000 star systems with space flight, and up to 10 millions with life complex enough to have something to do, seems more than enough for me. Keep in mind a single planet was the backdrop for the entirety of Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Losobal wrote:
Absolom has the benefit of being quick to return to (all praise the God Emperor and the Astronomicon!) but still visiting things outside the network will take a huge amount of time.

It also has the disadvantage of being easy to find.

Really, that Starstone is a big flashing beacon that anyone can find. A new race out in the vast gets Drift, they are going to find that a lot faster than other worlds in the Vast. Their main problem will be finding their way home again!

I really hope Absalom Station has incredible defenses considering how easy it is to get to!


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Starfinder Superscriber
SirShua wrote:

Throw the 10% rule at 100 billion a few times and near space gets smaller by far. 10 billion star systems capable of life. 1 billion with bacterial life. 100 million with multi celled organisms. 10 million systems with complex life. 1 million with primitive intelligent life. 100 thousand systems would have advanced civilisations. 10 thousand systems would be space capable with drift tech.

Would really be less as I skipped several levels of complexity and and ignored food chains

Once you add in gods and devils and supernatural races and magic and advanced supertech and thousands of years of pre-drift space travel (using planar travel or sublight generation ships), all normal expectations about where life or complex intelligent life is go out the window.

Most of the examples in the core book have multiple intelligent species living on everything in their solar system. That could be selection bias, or it could be the norm. There are nebulas mentioned in the book that are full of life floating in the glowing gas, and rogue planets, and asteroid belts, and gas giants, and ice worlds, and literal stars, and everything in between. It's possible that it's more like 90% of the solar systems have (or had) complex spacefaring life, or 50% or really, any number. We have 3 examples, IIRC, of intelligent races that didn't get drift tech, for whatever reason.

But even with the 10% rule, assuming that's true, someone still has to visit each solar system to determine that. You won't automatically know without going there first. You're still going to spend thousands to millions of years as a culture going star by star exploring. Even the solar systems with literally zero life have resources. They have rocks/planets to terraform and build a colony. They have rocks to mine for precious metals or nuclear material. They have space to build space stations. They have stars to exploit. They have gas giants full of fuel. Et cetera, ad nauseum.


pithica42 wrote:
SirShua wrote:

Throw the 10% rule at 100 billion a few times and near space gets smaller by far. 10 billion star systems capable of life. 1 billion with bacterial life. 100 million with multi celled organisms. 10 million systems with complex life. 1 million with primitive intelligent life. 100 thousand systems would have advanced civilisations. 10 thousand systems would be space capable with drift tech.

Would really be less as I skipped several levels of complexity and and ignored food chains

Once you add in gods and devils and supernatural races and magic and advanced supertech and thousands of years of pre-drift space travel (using planar travel or sublight generation ships), all normal expectations about where life or complex intelligent life is go out the window.

Most of the examples in the core book have multiple intelligent species living on everything in their solar system. That could be selection bias, or it could be the norm. There are nebulas mentioned in the book that are full of life floating in the glowing gas, and rogue planets, and asteroid belts, and gas giants, and ice worlds, and literal stars, and everything in between. It's possible that it's more like 90% of the solar systems have (or had) complex spacefaring life, or 50% or really, any number. We have 3 examples, IIRC, of intelligent races that didn't get drift tech, for whatever reason.

But even with the 10% rule, assuming that's true, someone still has to visit each solar system to determine that. You won't automatically know without going there first. You're still going to spend thousands to millions of years as a culture going star by star exploring. Even the solar systems with literally zero life have resources. They have rocks/planets to terraform and build a colony. They have rocks to mine for precious metals or nuclear material. They have space to build space stations. They have stars to exploit. They have gas giants full of fuel. Et cetera, ad nauseum.

Of course you don't actually have to. There will always be more out there to explore and they're all within easy reach thanks to Drift, but you've got plenty to deal with already.

And, every Drift using culture you meet will have explored its own chunk of systems, so as you establish friendly relations (or conquer and acquire their databases) knowledge will grow in huge leaps.

The weird thing about this setting though is that, as pointed out in the OP, everything is close. Any system you want to aim for in the galaxy is a most a month away. (And a week to get back to Absalom.)


Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, exploration moves at the pace of story. What I'm trying to say is that you, as a group of players, can never possibly see all of it. As a society, you'd probably never need/want to. Even if you only ever go to 100 star systems, that's still a heck of a lot of space and resources to manage and exploit.

Our one planet in our one known system in the real world is capable of sustaining a population of something like 10-15 Billion people. That's with advanced theoretical technology (like growing meat in labs at industrial scale), and basically shutting down the ecosystems for all other large mammals on the planet, but no magic.

The Pact Worlds system is probably capable of handling 10-15 times that, if not a lot more, because every rock is 'habitable' and they have magic. Moreover, it's practically empty right now (based on the few population numbers for cities/settlements I saw), by comparison. I think they may be rolling with less than the current population of earth, currently. If they manage to bring even 100 similar systems into their influence sphere, they'd have ample room and resources for 1000 times their current population, probably, without stepping on too many toes or causing too many mass extinctions.

The galaxy is all close with drift, but it's hella deep. No one should run out of new places to explore any time soon.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Canon states that Triune basically transmitted information about the drift drive to every place in the prime material plane, so in *theory*, every civilization has access. In practice, even a technological interstellar civilization might not properly understand or exploit it ( like the Vesk ), to say nothing of every civilization who wasn't sophisticated enough to build a space ship. So while theoretically the whole galaxy has drift drive, in practice the number of drift-enabled civilizations is still probably pretty small.

Also, I am partial to the idea that intergalactic drift travel *is* possible. Its just so much further that travel times are measured in years, rather than days. Nobody has made a confirmed trip both because of the increased hazards of such a long trip, and the simple fact that almost nobody builds drift ships with the logistics of such a long trip in mind.


Lord Fyre wrote:

If I am reading that right, travel to anywhere in the entire galaxy takes a maximum of 30 days. Does that seem a bit fast?

30 days to get anywhere in the "known" universe via the fastest method of travel in that same universe. Seems reasonable.

And that is uninterupted travel. 30 days is a lot of time for the GM to roll random encounters.


Starfinder Superscriber

I'm pretty sure you only roll the Drift encounter chance once per trip, not once per day.


pithica42 wrote:
I'm pretty sure you only roll the Drift encounter chance once per trip, not once per day.

There's actually less on that than I thought, unless I'm missing something.

In-System: "is so short as to carry only a 1% chance of random encounters in the Drift"

Near Space: "rarely carry more than a 10% chance of a random encounter in the Drift"

the Vast "risk of a random encounter in the Drift can be anywhere from 25% to as high as 50%"

There doesn't seem to be any clear information on what those encounters are likely to be - no tables or anything. Nor any further guidance on chances - should it depend on how long you spend in the Drift, based on the roll for travel time or reduction by more powerful Drift engines? If you camp out in the Drift for a week does that increase your chances?


Starfinder Superscriber

I read that as a single percent roll when you enter the drift. The 'encounters' described in other parts of the book were basically you running into a chunk torn off another plane when you entered the drift. The longer your trip, the bigger the chunk torn off, and the more likely it has something to fight (or otherwise deal with) thrown into the drift along with it.

I'm AFB, but this is basically the chunk of (admittedly flavor text) I'm referring to, pulled from the SRD...

quothe the SRD wrote:
Travelling through Hyperspace does come with a catch. Every time a Hyperspace engine is used, a tiny portion of a random plane is torn from its home and added to Hyperspace, set to float there for eternity. The farther the jump, the larger the chunk of material, which sometimes appears near the jumping ship, adding an element of risk: you never know when a long jump might tear away a chunk of Hell and leave you flying through a cloud of furious devils. Even those making safely measured jumps might encounter strange beasts trapped there by previous travels. Why the technology involves this side effect is unknown, though some conspiracy theorists believe that the ever-increasing size of Hyperspace—and the corresponding shrinking of the other planes of existence.

That isn't the exact wording of what was in the CRB, but it's basically the same and where I got my impression.

I do agree though, that this is a specious connection, at best. I really wish that they had given us random encounter tables and more fleshed out rules for this in either the CRB or the AA.

I'll probably end up either ignoring random encounters entirely, or having one at the beginning and more dependent on time. I think I saw a thread in homebrew at some point that was trying to generate a drift encounter table, but I may be mis-remembering.

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I think you use the same "rule" as Pathfinder.


pithica42 wrote:

I read that as a single percent roll when you enter the drift. The 'encounters' described in other parts of the book were basically you running into a chunk torn off another plane when you entered the drift. The longer your trip, the bigger the chunk torn off, and the more likely it has something to fight (or otherwise deal with) thrown into the drift along with it.

I'm AFB, but this is basically the chunk of (admittedly flavor text) I'm referring to, pulled from the SRD...

quothe the SRD wrote:
Travelling through Hyperspace does come with a catch. Every time a Hyperspace engine is used, a tiny portion of a random plane is torn from its home and added to Hyperspace, set to float there for eternity. The farther the jump, the larger the chunk of material, which sometimes appears near the jumping ship, adding an element of risk: you never know when a long jump might tear away a chunk of Hell and leave you flying through a cloud of furious devils. Even those making safely measured jumps might encounter strange beasts trapped there by previous travels. Why the technology involves this side effect is unknown, though some conspiracy theorists believe that the ever-increasing size of Hyperspace—and the corresponding shrinking of the other planes of existence.

That isn't the exact wording of what was in the CRB, but it's basically the same and where I got my impression.

I do agree though, that this is a specious connection, at best. I really wish that they had given us random encounter tables and more fleshed out rules for this in either the CRB or the AA.

I'll probably end up either ignoring random encounters entirely, or having one at the beginning and more dependent on time. I think I saw a thread in homebrew at some point that was trying to generate a drift encounter table, but I may be mis-remembering.

That seems to indicate both though - you could tear off a piece and have to deal with it yourself "a long jump might tear away a chunk of Hell and leave you flying through a cloud of furious devils" or "might encounter strange beasts trapped there by previous travels".

The first would make sense to be a single check, based on the length of the trip, but the second would seem likely to depend on how long you actually spent in the Drift.


pithica42 wrote:
I'm pretty sure you only roll the Drift encounter chance once per trip, not once per day.

I said Encounters, not a special type of encounters.

Those eggs, you didn't know about on your ship, could hatch while you are travelling. A random maintanence problem could arrise requiring a stop for parts. A distress call could be heard. Perhaps a bounty has been issued on a party member and you encounter bounty hunters/law enforcement. Maybe there are other adventurers disguising themselves as you and creating problems for you. And so forth.

Unless the GM is specificially granting you downtime, random encounters should always be a thing.


Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
That seems to indicate both though - you could tear off a piece and have to deal with it yourself "a long jump might tear away a chunk of Hell and leave you...

It does, but it only gives you one roll (well one percent chance) in the later rules on the travel times. So, absent anything else, it looks like they're expecting you to either A-Roll once at the beginning or B-Roll once somewhere in the middle or C-Wing it since they didn't give you rules anyway. (Yay, it suddenly feels like 1985 and we're playing 2nd ed again.[/sarcasm])

Pax Miles wrote:
I said Encounters, not a special type of encounters.

You said "random encounters". There's only one kind of random encounter mentioned anywhere in the CRB that I can find, and it's in the Drift section that thejeff quoted. Even if it is listed somewhere else and I just missed it, the kind of travel we're talking about is drift travel, so those would be the ones that apply.

Quote:
Unless the GM is specificially granting you downtime, random encounters should always be a thing.

That's a normative statement not a descriptive one. While you have every right to have that opinion (and I tend to agree with you), there aren't any rules saying that, right now. So it's completely up to individual GM's how they interpret the (terribly) sparse language surrounding travel based encounters. Without working tables or better descriptions, right now, there aren't any unless a DM feels like it. A lot of GM's (and players) hate random and travel based encounters and will never want to deal with them. None of the AP's so far have any random encounters, so anyone playing an AP straight up will not encounter them, yet. I haven't seen any in the handful of SFS modules I've read either.

By the by, if you're looking for tables, starjammer has some and it looks like they're in the SRD...

Space Hazards


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pithica42 wrote:
You said "random encounters". There's only one kind of random encounter mentioned anywhere in the CRB that I can find, and it's in the Drift section that thejeff quoted. Even if it is listed somewhere else and I just missed it, the kind of travel we're talking about is drift travel, so those would be the ones that apply.

Random Encounters is something that each GM writes up in advance. It's a personal list of random encounters designed to save time when you decide that the PCs need it. Usually a pecentile with both good and bad encounters, as well as the possibility of no encounter. Depending how exact your campaign is, you may keep random encounters to a minimum or you have mostly random encounters.

In a pregenerated scenario, the encounters are usually built in, so there's no need to include a random element to the encounter.

Random encounters are useful for both the PCs and the GM and can result in some unexpected character developement that can be very rewarding for the players. For example, something like:

0-30% nothing of note

31-50% Mundane Encounter (Need groceries, wiper fluid, haircuts, and so forth. No danger here, unless the PCs provoke it. Grants them time to embelish their character and make the setting feel more real)

51-70% Non-Combat Encounter (Puzzles, Riddling Sphinx, diplomat, and so forth. Something the PCs can only resolve with skill checks, role playing, or magic).

71-85% Avoidable Combat Encounter (like a security checkpoint, or a lost ship needing directions or supplies, maybe a dangerous enemy with very bad detection skills).

86-95% Unavoidable Combat Encounter (PCs might still be able to avoid this combat encounter, but it would require creativity on their part as this one is just combat. Likely only 1 real threat.)

96-99% Dangerous Combat Encounter (A minefield appears in the ship's path so you stop, and as you do so, enemies appear from behind, leaving you stuck between a dangerous minefield and enemy attackers. Should face at least 2 threats.)

100% GMs choice (Usually something weird, that's not really good or bad inherently. GM might even have something specific set aside for this roll).

Of these, GM probably has them divided down into more specific encounters so during play, they merely need to roll percentile and consult the correct file. If you note, with the example table, 85% of the time, PCs aren't encountering anything really dangerous (unless the PCs are looking to pick fights with every NPC they encounter, which is some groups).

As GM, I'd roll about 6 times every 7 days of uneventful traveling. And maybe not once per day, just 6 times every week. Not really an issue until the PCs decide to spend month traveling non-stop across the galaxy.

Liberty's Edge

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Starfinder Core Rulebook, p. 291 wrote:
  • Travel In-System (1d6 Days): ....
  • Travel to Absalom Station (1d6 Days): ....
  • Travel to Near Space (3d6 Days): ....
  • Travel to the Vast (5d6 Days): ....
  • Travel beyond the Rim: ....

If I am reading that right, travel to anywhere in the entire galaxy takes a maximum of 30 days. Does that seem a bit fast?

That reminds me of another question. From the same page:

SCB, p. 291 wrote:
While Near Space worlds tend to be closer to the galactic center (and, incidentally, to the Pact Worlds) and the systems of the Vast tend to be farther out, the true difference between the regions lies in the density of so-called “Drift beacons.” These mysterious objects, sometimes spontaneously generated and sometimes placed by priests of Triune, help navigation systems orient ships in the Drift. While placing a single Drift beacon on a world isn’t enough to convert a Vast world to Near Space status, placing many in that general region of space can cause the shift, and thus it’s possible to find pockets of Near Space worlds all the way out to the galactic rim, as well as uncharted zones considered part of the Vast near the galaxy’s core.

That implies that a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon, regardless of who placed it or how it came to be. So if it's only beacon density that determines whether a world is in Near Space or the Vast, how is it that the Azlanti Star Empire is in the Vast? Do all of their worlds lack the critical density of Drift beacons? And does that mean that it takes them 5d6 days to go between their own worlds?


Starfinder Superscriber
Pax Miles wrote:
Random Encounters is something that each GM writes up in advance. It's a personal list of random encounters designed to save time when you decide that the PCs need it. Usually a pecentile with both good and bad encounters, as well as the possibility of no encounter. Depending how exact your campaign is, you may keep random encounters to a minimum or you have mostly random encounters.

What you're giving me here is how you, or your GM/group, handles random encounters. Which is fine. Heck, it's great if that's what works for you and your group. It's a lot like how I run random encounters in my own homebrew games.

It isn't how every group does it, I'd hesitate to suggest it's even how most groups do it, which is also great if that's what works for them and their groups. There are games where I don't do any random encounters, because they will get in the way of the story.

What it is not though, is how the book describes doing it. The book says you roll once per drift trip, regardless of time length, and there is X% based on the kind of trip, and there are only vague descriptions of what that means (and it's all about breaking off a chunk of another plane or running into a chunk someone else broke off), and it doesn't mention that it has any affect on travel time, which is what you implied in your original post. You aren't moving in realspace anyway, so it might not even be internally consistent to have it slow you down or add to trip times.

It's so vague that I suspect that it will get ignored by some GM's. I'm certainly going to ignore it, it sounds like you are too.

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John Woodford wrote:
That implies that a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon, regardless of who placed it or how it came to be. So if it's only beacon density that determines whether a world is in Near Space or the Vast, how is it that the Azlanti Star Empire is in the Vast? Do all of their worlds lack the critical density of Drift beacons? And does that mean that it takes them 5d6 days to go between their own worlds?

That must make managing their empire challenging. No wonder they have designs on the Starstone.


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pithica42 wrote:
It's so vague that I suspect that it will get ignored by some GM's. I'm certainly going to ignore it, it sounds like you are too.

I gottcha. Yeah, wasn't suggesting it was a rule. Just meant that given a 30 day trip, I'd expect the GM to mess with us during that, unless it was specifically designated as down time. We could spend an entire campaign on what was supposed to be a 30 day trip across the galaxy.


Starfinder Superscriber
John Woodford wrote:
That implies that a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon, regardless of who placed it or how it came to be. So if it's only beacon density that determines whether a world is in Near Space or the Vast, how is it that the Azlanti Star Empire is in the Vast? Do all of their worlds lack the critical density of Drift beacons? And does that mean that it takes them 5d6 days to go between their own worlds?

Yeah, I noticed (and have problems with) that, because Triune and his church are mentioned in several places to be pumping out drift beacons and placing them all over the place.

Either the ASE is regularly destroying drift beacons in their territory to keep them in the Vast, which means that they also have logistics problems maintaining their empire, and means they can only expand very slowly. This is possible, but it seems woefully inefficient from an otherwise 'superior' society, that has shown aggressiveness rather than caution.

Or it means there are ways to 'tune' drift beacons so that Near Space may be dependent on which beacons you're aware of/able to contact. In this scenario, the ASE has their own 'versions' that the PW ships can't use for drift and the ASE is considered Near Space for it's own ships.

I'm sure there are other explanations I haven't thought of, but those seem to me the most likely.

I find the second scenario more compelling, personally, but I'm waiting to houserule it that way, because I'm afraid the 2nd AP is going to completely throw whatever I decide out the window.


There's another possibility. Due to the focus of the ASE on aeon stones and magic, they may be using one of the 'other methods of star travel' mentioned in the starship section. They might not use drift drives at all. I haven't read their entry, having been largely uninterested in the setting, but it's possible.


Starfinder Superscriber

It says in their entry that they didn't expand into a multi-star empire until after drift, so I think we're all under the assumption that they are using drift primarily now. Plus, all the other (known) ways are either extremely risky or very expensive.


Pax Miles wrote:
pithica42 wrote:
It's so vague that I suspect that it will get ignored by some GM's. I'm certainly going to ignore it, it sounds like you are too.
I gottcha. Yeah, wasn't suggesting it was a rule. Just meant that given a 30 day trip, I'd expect the GM to mess with us during that, unless it was specifically designated as down time. We could spend an entire campaign on what was supposed to be a 30 day trip across the galaxy.

I guess. Hard to pull anything coherent out of in my opinion.

It's the Drift, you're supposed to be isolated. Much of what you suggested above wouldn't make any sense. No going for supplies or security checkpoints or anything like that. It's not really much like a 30 day overland trip in Pathfinder.

I guess you could run into a large chunk of something pulled in from elsewhere - a chunk with some fragment of a civilization on it or something. Short of that, I'm not really sure how to make that much out of a Drift trip.

As a side question: What do we know of the actual mechanics of the Drift? I got the impression you sort of set your destination, jumped into Drift and were pretty much stuck until you got there. You might slow yourself down by stopping along the way in Driftspace, but you couldn't change destinations or drop back out into realspace partway or anything like that.


pithica42 wrote:
It says in their entry that they didn't expand into a multi-star empire until after drift, so I think we're all under the assumption that they are using drift primarily now. Plus, all the other (known) ways are either extremely risky or very expensive.

Fair enough. The lack of other options was something I was... exceedingly upset about, and along with other setting details made me write off the entire setting off as a lost cause for me. The ASE is one of the few things I've found somewhat interesting, so I wasn't entirely certain.

I just hate the Drift with the undying passion of a thousand suns. >_>


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pithica42 wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
That implies that a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon is a Drift beacon, regardless of who placed it or how it came to be. So if it's only beacon density that determines whether a world is in Near Space or the Vast, how is it that the Azlanti Star Empire is in the Vast? Do all of their worlds lack the critical density of Drift beacons? And does that mean that it takes them 5d6 days to go between their own worlds?
Yeah, I noticed (and have problems with) that, because Triune and his church are mentioned in several places to be pumping out drift beacons and placing them all over the place.

Personally, I'm waiting for this political thing to die down so I don't get scrutinized whenever I make a trip. Plenty of remote research stations to hold together with duct tape and prayer in the meantime.


Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
As a side question: What do we know of the actual mechanics of the Drift? I got the impression you sort of set your destination, jumped into Drift and were pretty much stuck until you got there. You might slow yourself down by stopping along the way in Driftspace, but you couldn't change destinations or drop back out into realspace partway or anything like that.

I hate the boards and how often they eat posts. May they die an unpleasant death in the belly of a sarlacc. I had a long answer to this with spoiler tags and stuff, but I don't feel like retyping the whole damn thing.*

Short answer: There is stuff in the AP and (at least one) of the SFS scenarios to suggest that you can enter the drift just to enter it and explore it, and get knocked off course and lost, or otherwise exit at a point other than your originally intended destination.

I think it's all intentionally vague to let us tell whatever story we want. I, personally, hate that, because I want anything I decide to be in line with the official universe explanation. But that's just me.

*must I really copy/paste every post before hitting submit?


pithica42 wrote:
*must I really copy/paste every post before hitting submit?

I highly recommend the Lazarus Form Recovery plugin, if you use a browser which supports it. I don't need to use it often, but when something like this happens, it's a godsend.


Starfinder Superscriber

Doesn't look like it's available for Chrome, but I'll check firefox when I get home. Thanks for the suggestion.


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pithica42 wrote:
Doesn't look like it's available for Chrome, but I'll check firefox when I get home. Thanks for the suggestion.

I have it in Chrome (that's what I'm running right now), and I know it's available in Firefox. I'm not sure how I got it anymore... my extensions automatically update whenever I log into Chrome after upgrading now, so I don't have to hunt it down. Sorry I can't help more.

Edit: It appears to have been removed from the extension store due to... it looks like recent versions of Chrome broke it or something. Odd, since the version I have appears to work fine.


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pithica42 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
As a side question: What do we know of the actual mechanics of the Drift? I got the impression you sort of set your destination, jumped into Drift and were pretty much stuck until you got there. You might slow yourself down by stopping along the way in Driftspace, but you couldn't change destinations or drop back out into realspace partway or anything like that.

Short answer: There is stuff in the AP and (at least one) of the SFS scenarios to suggest that you can enter the drift just to enter it and explore it, and get knocked off course and lost, or otherwise exit at a point other than your originally intended destination.

I think it's all intentionally vague to let us tell whatever story we want. I, personally, hate that, because I want anything I decide to be in line with the official universe explanation. But that's just me.

Probably true and I have a love/hate relationship with stuff like that.

So if the "tear off chunk of plane" thing happens when you enter Drift and is worse for trips to the Vast, can I start a trip to Absalom and then decide to head out to the Aztlan Star Empire instead, just to minimize environmental damage? :)


thejeff wrote:
pithica42 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
As a side question: What do we know of the actual mechanics of the Drift? I got the impression you sort of set your destination, jumped into Drift and were pretty much stuck until you got there. You might slow yourself down by stopping along the way in Driftspace, but you couldn't change destinations or drop back out into realspace partway or anything like that.

Short answer: There is stuff in the AP and (at least one) of the SFS scenarios to suggest that you can enter the drift just to enter it and explore it, and get knocked off course and lost, or otherwise exit at a point other than your originally intended destination.

I think it's all intentionally vague to let us tell whatever story we want. I, personally, hate that, because I want anything I decide to be in line with the official universe explanation. But that's just me.

Probably true and I have a love/hate relationship with stuff like that.

So if the "tear off chunk of plane" thing happens when you enter Drift and is worse for trips to the Vast, can I start a trip to Absalom and then decide to head out to the Aztlan Star Empire instead, just to minimize environmental damage? :)

Chances are your navigation systems aren't optimized for that, so it likely be both longer and riskier for you specifically.


Lord Fyre wrote:
Starfinder Core Rulebook, p. 291 wrote:
  • Travel In-System (1d6 Days): Jumping between two points in the same solar system is moderately faster than moving between them in real space, and is so short as to carry only a 1% chance of random encounters in the Drift.
  • Travel to Absalom Station (1d6 Days): Jumping to Absalom Station always takes only 1d6 days, thanks to the Starstone.
  • Travel to Near Space (3d6 Days): Near Space contains the Pact Worlds system and most of the worlds colonized and contacted so far by their explorers, but there are still thousands of Near Space worlds yet to be investigated. Jumps to Near Space worlds rarely carry more than a 10% chance of a random encounter while in the Drift.
  • Travel to the Vast (5d6 Days): Largely unexplored, the millions of Vast worlds are significantly more difficult to get to than Near Space, and the risk of a random encounter in the Drift can be anywhere from 25% to as high as 50%.
  • Travel beyond the Rim: While other galaxies are known to exist, the distances between them and the galaxy of the Pact Worlds are so incredibly large that there have yet to be any confirmed instances of intergalactic travel using Drift technology. Whether this is due to the extreme travel times involved, limits to the reach of the Drift itself, or dangers encountered in the Drift during such attempts remains unknown.

If I am reading that right, travel to anywhere in the entire galaxy takes a maximum of 30 days. Does that seem a bit fast?

One quirk of the drift drive is real space distance seems to matter a lot less than how traveled/bouyed an area is. You can travel anywhere in the galaxy back to absalom station in 1d6 days. Travel to places out in the vast which could actually be physically very near to your current location could take a month while a common port in near space could take a few days. It is a really quick if somewhat mercurial form of transportation speed wise.


Losobal wrote:

For 'the vast' i figured that was an additive thing.

The first place you try to reach in the vast? Possibly 30 days. The next place? also 30 days. and so on and so on and so on.

Absolom has the benefit of being quick to return to (all praise the God Emperor and the Astronomicon!) but still visiting things outside the network will take a huge amount of time.

I do like the notion that theoretically the core worlds are in danger of some outer rim invasion every month or so. Who knows what dark order is lurking out there and decides to do a random jump that ends up in known space. Sure the probability is low, but who knows.

Any time you go into drift drive your transit times are the same random chances depending on where you are going. If you are going from one place in the vast to another place in the vast it could be up to 30 days transit each time you do it. This is why absalom station is so nice being able to go from anywhere to it in 1d6 days makes it a reasonable resupply stop over basically no matter where you are trying to head to.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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kaid wrote:
Losobal wrote:

For 'the vast' i figured that was an additive thing.

The first place you try to reach in the vast? Possibly 30 days. The next place? also 30 days. and so on and so on and so on.

Absolom has the benefit of being quick to return to (all praise the God Emperor and the Astronomicon!) but still visiting things outside the network will take a huge amount of time.

I do like the notion that theoretically the core worlds are in danger of some outer rim invasion every month or so. Who knows what dark order is lurking out there and decides to do a random jump that ends up in known space. Sure the probability is low, but who knows.

Any time you go into drift drive your transit times are the same random chances depending on where you are going. If you are going from one place in the vast to another place in the vast it could be up to 30 days transit each time you do it. This is why absalom station is so nice being able to go from anywhere to it in 1d6 days makes it a reasonable resupply stop over basically no matter where you are trying to head to.

Of course it also makes it easier to bring in an attack fleet.

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