Monday, February 6, 2017

Galactic Road Report

"The RPG hyperspace expressways are backed up and getting worse by the edition. More news at 10..."

I have done a quick study to compare the hyperspace travel times listed in various versions of the Star Wars RPG, over the years.

First up, WEG Star Wars 2nd Edition RPG. A nice seeming chart, found in this book, purports to tell us how long journeys across the galaxy far, far away will take. A note suggests that all times are for "system-to-system" travel (i.e. straight lines) using a class 1 hyperdrive. Comparing these listed times to the measured distances found on the Star Wars map, we find a slow average travel rate of 1559 ly/hr. Much more troubling is the standard deviation of this set: 1898 ly/hr! Meaning this table has almost no bearing in reality with respect to distance traveled, etc. The other hand waving arguments (galactic density, blah blah blah) also don't pan out: Dantooine to Tatooine in a mere 20 hours (crossing the entire galaxy) while Gamorr to Dagobah (in the same quadrant, not separated by the galactic center) takes 27 days (and 8 hours)! Whaaaa????

Next, we check in with the WotC effort, from the Revised Core Rulebook. Here we find another chart. This one is less specific, citing very broad travel times based on region of the galaxy you are traveling to/from. There is a nice 50% discount if you stay in the same quadrant. (?) Apparently this is where the backups begin to build on the hyperlanes, as the average travel time for the same set of planets seen above (minus Celanon) drops to 930 ly/hr (with a 530 ly/hr standard deviation). Again, next to useless, other than for the most rudimentary guesses. Slow, rudimentary guesses, mind you.

I didn't bother with a picture from the Saga edition rules, as they don't even have a table. Just a vague notion of how many weeks you can expect to languish in your poor light freighter as you go from A to B.

Now we arrive at the FFG material. This generous travel times chart is from the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook. Much like with the WotC Saga edition, I didn't even bother to try to calculate any times from this snippet of a table.

FFG wasn't done, however. They released a bit more of a table in their Fly Casual book for smugglers (quite appropriate). Thank the maker that the times listed above appear to also conform to the AoRCRB table guidelines. At least they're internally consistent. Using this chart and plugging in the same set of planets from the WEG affair (minus Celanon), we see that the galactic gridlock has only worsened since FFG obtained the RPG license. The average hyperspace travel time for a class 1 hyperdrive has dipped to a paltry 324 ly/hr (with a 97 ly/hr standard deviation). Poor match for actual travel distances, and slower than any other source before it.


Just for fun, we will work up a few comparisons from the WEG, WotC, and FFG SW RPG travel bureaus, and compare them to observations from Rogue One.

Blue Squadron (Yavin to Eadu; 35,000 ly)
WEG: over 22 hours
WotC: over 37 hours
FFG: just about 108 hours (that's 4.5 days, people. Squadron Up, indeed.)

Death Star (Jedha to Scarif: 63,000 ly) [assume, incorrectly, a class 1 hyperdrive]
WEG: over 40 hours
WotC: over 67 hours
FFG: over 194 hours (Tell Vader to meet us at Scarif in 1 week. Plus 1 day. And a few hours.)

The "real" class 4 hyperdrive rating of the Death Star makes a further mockery of these tables.

1 comment:

  1. I am forced to consider two things in my Gazetteer: 14,000 ly/hr for hyperspace travel times AND class-less hyperdrives (at least for all military craft).

    The new canon supports the first with some observable travel times, and the second implicitly: they simply now refer to a ship as being "hyperdrive equipped" with no class specified.

    I guess I could dream up some obscure, arcane method by which the class rating could be translated into travel time differences withoit it being a straight-up multiplier. Would be clunky and likely not worth it.