Blue Giant:Starship Attributes
The starship engines work in this campaign is based on a few improbable assumptions known in the trade as technobabble. If you want to skip the technobabble then you only need the three attributes Space Flight , Star Flight , and Mass Thrust Drive .
Subspace is another universe formed at the same time as normal space. Subspace is very similar to normal space except that it contains far less matter and energy and as a result the speed of light is considerably faster. Light waves and vehicles that travel in subspace are not subject to the gravitational effect of regular space, which (in this campaign) defines the speed of light.
Hyperspace is another universe, similar to ours just after the big bang. It is a place which can be tapped for near unlimited levels of energy. Each point in regular space matches a point in hyperspace. However distances in hyperspace are far shorter so travelling into hyperspace and moving a little way then jumping back to normal space can take you vast distances. The downside is that ships travelling through hyperspace take 30 points of energy damage every round.
This campaign assumes that inertia is caused by gravity waves generated by the mass of the surrounding universe. Starships have engines which creates inverse gravity waves. These interfere with and cancel out the effect of any gravity waves created by the surrounding universe, which in turn makes the ship inertialess. Zero inertia allows a ship to exceed the speed of light providing there is a suitable thrust.
A wormhole is a distortion in space time which links two distant points. Travel through a wormhole is only possible by using a nearly infinite amount of negative energy to create one, then finding a way of protecting the ship from being destroyed by said negative energy. Hyperspace provides the energy and an inertialess field provides the protection. When a wormhole is produced by a Jump Drive or a Hyperjump Drive (Star Flight level 1 & 2 respectively) it creates a purplish blue opening at the start point and a reddish orange point at the end point simultaneously. The ship (and any vehicle with an inertialess field) can then enter the wormhole. The wormhole immediately folds around the field and seals up behind it. A spaceship cannot enter a sealed wormhole. The closed wormhole becomes a single point in space which leaks out bluish purple light. It remained there until the ship has traversed the length of the wormhole and emerged from the other side. Likewise the reddish orange exit point is visible until the ship departs. The ship inside the wormhole traverses a narrow band of space at regular MTD speeds. It is impossible to hit the wall of the wormhole. It is possible to slow down and stop, but a wormhole will only last as long as a ship has fuel and if the wormhole collapses with a ship inside it the ship disappears in an unobservable display of complex and fundamental/theoretical astrophysics.
There are three types of inertialess drive. A ship with level 4, 5, or 6 in the Space Flight attribute will have an anti-gravity, inertialess or subspace (field) drive respectively. The difference between the three is how efficient they are at cancelling gravity waves. Most Starships will have level 6 Space Flight, levels 1 thru 5 are only seen on older vessels or interplanetary vessels.
An inertial drive creates a bubble of zero inertia around the ship. Anything small which enters the bubble stops moving immediately relative to the bubble. (Bullets suck against spaceships.) Anything inside the bubble moves relative to the ship, so the captain still gets to breathe and shoot passengers. If anything large extends outside the bubble, such as another ship or a planet, then the bubble and spaceship stop. To move, the ship needs a method of propulsion.
During interplanetary (Space) flight, propulsion is provided by a Fusion Drive which chucks energy out the back. During interstellar (Star) flight it is provided by a Mass Thrust Drive which fires out a stream of anything from Hydrogen to Platinum out the back.
A fusion drive is an engine that makes a great deal of energy go one way in order for the ship to go the opposite way.
Mass Thrust Drive
Star Flight technology takes the starship out of normal space and places it in either a wormhole, subspace, or hyperspace depending on the type of drive. Fusion drives do not work very well as a method of propulsion in these circumstances. The ship needs a Mass Thrust Drive, which acts like a rocket, throwing mass one way to make the ship go the other.
All ships with the attribute need at least a Hydrogen Mass Thrust Drive which allows the ship to travel at the speed listed under Star Flight. The Hydrogen MTD can be replaced by a more efficient booster system – represented by the Mass Thrust Drive Attribute.
All Mass Thrust Drives work by ejecting a stream of matter out of the back of the ship. The denser the matter, the faster the ship can move. Each level of the MTD attribute increases the speed of the ship by 10%. The mass used is generally stored as huge rods of shielded material at the back of the ship. The mass is considered fuel, and needs to be replenished. (Hydrogen doesn't need to be replenished as it can be collected in interplanetary space as the ship moves under power from the Fusion Drive. Thus ships with a hydrogen MTD run cheaper than those with this attribute.) An advanced MTD will add its percentage speed bonus to both the Space Flight and Star Flight speed values.
A level 0 Mass Thrust Drive uses Hydrogen.
A level 1 Mass Thrust Drive uses Carbon Boosters, usually a graphite or diamond rod, but in an emergency a tree trunk will do. Silicon or anything with a density of > 1 g/cm3 is fine.
A level 2 Mass Thrust Drive is a Xenon Drive. Iron, Tin, Titanium, & Xenon are all good. (density > 4 g/cm3)
A level 3 Mass Thrust Drive is a Cobalt Drive. Cobalt, Copper, Silver or Lead are good. (density > 8 g/cm3)
Drives of level four and above are expensive to operate and draw attention due to their rarity.
A level 4 Mass Thrust Drive is a Light Military Drive. Mercury or Light Radioactives are the preferred fuel. (density > 12 g/cm3)
A level 5 Mass Thrust Drive is a Advanced Military Drive. Gold, Plutonium or Uranium are used. (density > 16 g/cm3)
A level 6 Mass Thrust Drive is an Iridium Drive, used mostly on racing vessels. Iridium, Osmium and Platinum are used, usually as alloys mixed to the exact requirements of the finely tuned ejection system. (density > 21 g/cm3)
Damage to Engines
If a ship loses use of its Space Flight Drive but retains its Star Drive and Mass Thrust Drive, then travel inside a solar system becomes difficult. The Star Drive inertialess field generator and the Mass Thrust Drive can be tinkered with to provide level 5 space flight (MTD bonus applies), but this requires 1D6 hours and an engineering skill check. Of course it will require the same to change it back again, and the ship will have no Star Drive in the meantime.
If a ship loses its Star Drive but still has Level 4,5 or 6 Space Flight it is still possible to travel through interstellar space. It's just really, really slow.
If for some reason a ship loses the use of its Mass Thrust Drive but still has its Star Flight then it can use it’s Space Flight engine as the forward thrust. However, there is a speed penalty. Fusion drives will propel the ship at 1/30th of the listed Star Flight speed, Ion drives at 1/300th and Rockets at 1/3000th. The Anti-gravity, Inertialess and Subspace (Fields) components offers no advantage to Star Flight.
Starship Engine Attributes
- Carbon Boosters add +10% to Star Flight and Space Flight listed speeds.
- A Xenon Drive adds +20% to Star Flight and Space Flight listed speeds.
- A Cobalt Drive adds +30% to Star Flight and Space Flight listed speeds.
- A Light Military Drive adds +40% to Star Flight and Space Flight listed speeds.
- An Advanced Military Drive adds +50% to Star Flight and Space Flight listed speeds.
- An Iridium Drive adds +60% to Star Flight and Space Flight listed speeds.
Space Flight Attribute
The description and cost of the space flight attribute remain unchanged from the BESM rule book. The following is a clarification for this setting. NB if you want you can make levels 1,2 and 3 (Rockets, Ion drive and Fusion Drive) subject to acceleration / deceleration. Don't bother me with the math though.
- Rockets Range - 50,000 miles / day or 1 Ly / 32,000 years.
- Ion Drive Range - 500,000 miles / day or 1 Ly / 3,200 years.
- Fusion Drive (FD) Range - 5,000,000 miles / day or 1 Ly / 320 years.
- Antigravity + FD Range - 1,600,000,000 miles / day or 1 Ly / 2 years.
- Inertialess + FD Range - 3,200,000,000 miles / day or 1 Ly / year (Lightspeed).
- Subspace (Field) + FD Range - 96,000,000,000 miles / day or 1 Ly / 30 days.
Star Flight Attribute
The description and cost of the space flight attribute remain unchanged from the BESM rule book. The following is a clarification for this setting.
- Jump Drive Range - 1 Ly / day - Jump through a wormhole.
- Hyperjump Drive Range - 10 Ly / day - Jump through an efficient wormhole.
- Subspace (Warp) Drive Range - 100 Ly / day - Ship straddles subspace.
- Subspace (Fold) Drive Range - 1,000 Ly / day - Ship enters subspace.
- Hyperspatial Warp Drive Range - 10,000 Ly / day - Ship enters hyperspace.
- Hyperspatial Jump Drive Range - 1,000,000 Ly / day - Ship enters wormhole in hyperspace
Note that generally speaking you should make sure that players only use level 3 or 4 drives for the campaign, since anything else would be unbalancing.
Cost: - 1 point feature
A Singularity Point Interstellar Kommunications Engine (S.P.I.K.E) is an interstellar communications device. It works using similar physics to that of a starship engine and is designed and built in a similar way. When communication is initiated the device sends out a pulsed signal through hyperspace. This signal travels at 10,000 Ly/h. When the signal reaches its intended destination, the receiving device creates a singularity point wormhole in hyperspace between itself and the device which sent the broadcast. Communications are sent both ways through the wormhole instantly via a standard laser beam. Since the communication takes place between two wormholes, the signal is completely untappable and very secure.
To send a signal to a specific communication device the sender needs to know the address code of that device, a phone number in other words.
Emergency signals and general broadcast signals can be received by any SPIKE. Since the initial signal is broadcast in all directions in hyperspace, having a signal answered by one receiver does not preclude any other receiver from answering. SPIKEs do not work when a ship is travelling through a wormhole of its own, although they will work if a ship is in hyperspace.
All SPIKEs are bulky, they are built like ship engines. The smallest versions have Awkward Size level 2.