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Michael Hopcroft

Stuff in Hyperspace?

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Let's say you have an FTL drive that relies on Hyperspace, Jump Space, or some other theoretical construct that gets you over a great distance by having you enter some other dimension linked to it and travel an experientially shorter distance. Normally I would imagine this would be written up on a Star Hero ship as merely a special effect of the FTL power.

 

But I'm wondering if it might be an Extra-Dimensional Movement power instead in some campaigns, and here's why -- you may not be the only things there.

 

Imagine everyone going through Jump Space goes through the same plane of Jump Space (or whatever you call it). This makes some sense -- your Jump Drive shouldn't be sending you to random dimensions. In the time it takes to get you to your destination you are passing through -- something. There might be other ships nearby, making the same sort of trip you are, and carrying with them the slight but very real risk of accident. There might be other things there as well -- pieces of other dimensions, debris left behind by failed journeys, or even stranger things. Most trips go through without a hitch.

 

Unfortunately for you, you happen to be a PC in a roleplaying game, so guess who the random bad stuff happens to?

 

Since one would presume that in most campaigns only one theoretical model of interstellar travel would exist at a time, how do you build this? And what sorts of fun could you have in those situations where something does go kerblooie in Jump Space?

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We're sorry but there are currently 500 ships trying to arrive on Corusacant. Please alter your hypercourse to a hyperholding pattern, and we will permit your arrival as soon as possible.

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There might be other things there as well -- pieces of other dimensions, debris left behind by failed journeys, or even stranger things. Most trips go through without a hitch.

 

Unfortunately for you, you happen to be a PC in a roleplaying game, so guess who the random bad stuff happens to?

 

Since one would presume that in most campaigns only one theoretical model of interstellar travel would exist at a time, how do you build this? And what sorts of fun could you have in those situations where something does go kerblooie in Jump Space?

 

In my Gemini Ascendant campaign, Hyperspace was called The Void and it had a sort of sentience to it. This powerful, if disjointed, mentality manifested as feelings of being watched or strong emotions that carried over to the people traveling. Psionically active people had to be sedated during travels through the Void or risk going mad. Insofar as physical objects, there was a persistent spacer legend about a mass of broken ships without the ability to open the portal to real space that banded together to form a makeshift space station somewhere in the Void. The players never got the chance to find out if it were real or just legend. The campaign went another way.

 

There was also "debris left behind by failed journeys," though it was very rare to encounter that kind of debris. The Void almost seemed to have a current to it and there were a few reported (but not verified) cases of Void gates opening without the direct instigation of any nearby vessels. No direct purge of debris was observed, but the galaxy is a huge and largely unexplored place. There may well be dump spots where the Void dumps the debris back into real space. 

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Here's how I modeled a Traveller Jump-2 drive in HERO:

 

Jump-2 Drive - 33 Points:

Teleportation 62m, MegaRange (1m = 1 trillion km; +4) (310 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Week, -4 1/2), OIF Immobile (-1 1/2), 4 Charges  (Recovers Under Limited Circumstances (Gas Giant Skimming/Water/Refined Fuel; -1 1/4), Conditional Power (Power does not work in Common Circumstances) (Non-Functional In A Gravity Well; -1/2),  Requires A Skill Roll (Jumpspace Navigation; -1/2)

 

Fuel charges are sufficient for 4 jumps.  1 parsec = 31 trillion km, hence the Teleportation range.

 

The Limitation "Extra Time (1 Week, -4 1/2)" provides you with your Special Effect.  The week-long Teleportation is spent in jumpspace/hyperspace/nullspace/slipstream or whatever you choose.

 

Blowing the Jumpspace Navigation roll results in your "random bad stuff".

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I'm sure I'm not the only person thinking of the Babylon 5 movie Third Space.

 

While you could model this with FTL, using the other dimension as the special effect, in this case I think EDM would be more appropriate. You are no longer using hyperspace/jumpspace/whatever merely as a special effect for, "I go from here to there very fast," but as a place in itself. Then you work out rules for how movement in Otherspace corresponds to movement in Realspace. It's a little more work than FTL, but you are also asking a lot more from your campaign's Otherspace.

 

For instance, you might say that travel in Otherspace is a fixed multiple of speed in Realspace. Like, it takes a beam of light 4.23 years to go from Sol to Alpha Centauri in Realspace, but only 0.423 days in Otherspace, and work everything out from there.

 

EDIT: Or, duh, just say that hyperspacial movement equals normal movement with a given number of levels of Megascale added.

 

Or for a more complicated Otherspace, have speed depend on a piloting Skill Roll. The better you are at navigating Otherspace, the faster you get where you're going. (I used something like that for travel on the Astral Plane in Spells of the Devachan -- plug, plug.)

 

Decide what sort of staries you want to arise from the nature of Otherspace, and set the travel rules accordingly.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Yes, Dean's closing sentence is the way to proceed. Decide on what sort of stories or game scenarios you want, and then make it so using whatever handwavium you want. EDM sounds like a plausible game mechanic for what you suggested.

 

My only Star Hero campaign used an "instantaneous" Jump, where exactly zero subjective time passed between Jump out of initial location and appearing at the arrival point. That rules out Hyperspace Fiends, which was OK for the story I had in mind. Ship combat only occurred in normal space, albeit with drives that were supplying power at a rate of tens to hundreds of current Earth's global electrical generation.

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Since one would presume that in most campaigns only one theoretical model of interstellar travel would exist at a time, how do you build this? And what sorts of fun could you have in those situations where something does go kerblooie in Jump Space?

Mechanically building it? You jsut define "this is the Hyperspace dimension", "this is how time and space between normal and hyperspace relate" (1 km = 1 lightyear). And finally: "this is how much the EDM to get from there/to there costs".

Since it is actually physical dimension, you have the same GM freedoms as you have with the "real world" side of the Campaigns. And as GM, you can define as many alternate dimensions into existence as you want.

 

The biggest danger I can see with an alternate dimension FTL is that travel becomes too cheap/easy for the Ships. The cost for FTL is capped to whatever the EDM costs. So more then any other FTL, you want to add Skill and Sensory Power requirements to navigating there. It gives you angles to have the PC's stuck there due to damage.

In Babylon 5 Jumpspace, they needed Jumpspace beacons to navigate. It was damn easy to get lost if you "fell of the guiding beam". Also interestingly, not many ships had own jumpdrives. Generally people relied on Jumpgates. While Military Vessels usually could jump themself, they preferred a Jumpgate if they had the option.

 

Something I noticed quite a bit with alternate Dimension Travel lately, is that the alternate Dimensions is consdiered highly Psionically active:

Warp in Warhammer 40k. Hyperspace in Sword of the Stars. Jumpdrives in Stellaris. Babylon 5 Jumpspace.

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Something I noticed quite a bit with alternate Dimension Travel lately, is that the alternate Dimensions is consdiered highly Psionically active:

Warp in Warhammer 40k. Hyperspace in Sword of the Stars. Jumpdrives in Stellaris. Babylon 5 Jumpspace.

 

I don't recall exactly when or where, but I think Traveller might have hinted at a link between teleportation phenomena and jump space once or twice.

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What if the inhabitants of hyperspace were freaked out by the ships coming through?  They don't know where they come from, aren't sure if they are intelligent beings, vehicles or natural phenomena and can't predict when they will appear or disappear.  Maybe even the weapons they normally use in their universe don't work on stuff from ours.

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