Navigating the Warp
Stage One: Determining Duration of Passage
Knowledge of stable warp routes is the primary commodity traded by the Navis Nobilite. Such secrets are carefully guarded by navigator houses, each possessing a certain level of knowledge in a specific region of space. Some houses know routes through obscure or unknown sectors of the galaxy. It is this knowledge that allows reliable warp travel throughout the Imperium.
How much the navigator character knows about the warp routes between two points is reflected by a roll +Lore to Create and Advantage. The GM sets the opposition based on how commonly traveled and/or distant the points. The opposition is kept secret from the Player, as is the outcome. The Player is given an estimate of the duration of passage, never knowing for sure whether this estimate is accurate. The GM records the true duration, which serves as a base time in days, modified by the outcomes of rolls in subsequent stages of the challenge.
1 Day: Short passage between two close systems.
5-10 Days: A journey between systems in the same sub-sector.
10-50 Days: A journey across an entire Imperial sector.
100+ Days: A perilous journey across a Segmentum.
Several Years: An odyssey across the galaxy.
Stage Two: Locating of the Astronomican
Once translated into Warp Space, the navigator locates the Astronomican, to judge just how far and in what direction she is from Terra so she may then plot a course. Location is judged with a roll +Notice against Average opposition to Create an Advantage. In addition to possibly creating an advantage, the outcome changes the Duration of Passage based on the number of Shifts rolled over or under the opposition.
3+ Shifts: One quarter Duration of Passage.
2 Shifts: One half Duration of Passage.
1 Shift: Three quarters Duration of Passage.
Success at Cost: Full Duration of Passage.
Failure: Duration of Passage multiplied by margin of failure.
Stage Three: Charting the Course
Once the Astronomican is located, the navigator takes into account instabilities or known hazards that will affect the vessel, and plots a route through the warp. The navigator attempts to Create and Advantage by rolling +Infiltrate. Average opposition can be expected where the warp route is stable and well traveled. Areas known to be turbulent or routes that are mysterious will be more difficult.
If successful she has detected and avoided disturbances along the route. Failure means she will be ignorant of the dangers that lay ahead.
Stage Four: Steering the Vessel
With the Astronomican located and the local state of the warp gauged, the navigator must put all of her careful planning to the test. Once the vessel is en route, the navigator must Defend against the insidious wend and weft of the Immaterium using a roll +Will. The GM does not roll to Attack. Instead, the Attack is made with one Shift for each full five days in the actual Duration of Passage. Advantages creating during previous stages of the navigation challenge can and should be invoked to help in this roll.
As long as the navigator is able to maintain control, all’s well.
If the navigator is Taken Out by this attack, this means that she has failed to steer the ship clear of one or more hazards in the Warp. Some ideas for the kind of hazards that can be encountered are listed below, but the possibilities are terrifyingly endless.
Warp Travel Encounters
- Reality Erosion
- Plague of Madness
- Lost Time
- Ghost Ships
- Shoals and Reefs
- Gellar Field Fluctuations
- Warp Storm
- Whispers and Dreams
The remaining Shifts become free invokes on any number of new scene Aspects that arise in the subsequent encounters.
Stage Five: Leaving the Warp
Once the passage is complete, the navigator must designate the vessel’s exit point from the Warp back into realspace. From inside the Immaterium, features in realspace are shadowy and indistinct. It can be difficult to accurately set the translation point. Failure to do so can place the navigator’s vessel dangerously close in proximity to planetary bodies or other stellar phenomena.
The navigator must Overcome this using a roll, with an Average outcome required to succeed. Advantages left over from previous stages may be used here, but Skills may not. All the knowledge of this system the navigator possesses, attempts at orientation using the Astronomican, and accurate steering have already been determined. If the course was steady and true, this should pose little risk. If, on the other hand, the navigator was forced to compromise and deviate to avoid trouble during passage, things can get a little…less certain.