Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Maxim C. Gatling

"Canon" Warp Travel Times

Recommended Posts

Has anyone posted the Warp Travel Times chart from White Dwarf 140?  If so, we can let this post sink to the bottom.  If not, I'll post it when I get home.

Y'know, for such a crappy game as Space Fleet, they sure published a lot of cool (and useless to Space Fleet) background material for it.

All I can remember is you can get from one side of the Imperium to the other in 6 months Warp Time which I think is a couple years in Real Time.........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It gives straight-up, straightforward times for warp travel under normal circumstances.  It separates "Warp Time" and "Real Time".  This is particularly handy if you're keeping track of your Character's ages, which I'm going to do seeing as the amount of time Rogue Traders spend travelling can add up pretty quickly.

I'll post it this evening when I get home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wrong.  The data is in ite-Whay arf-Dway 139, however both 139 and 140 have pages and pages of background about Navigators, the Warp, Fleets, RT's, Sub-Stellar Ships, Planetary Defense...Adeptus Astra Telepathica, Pirates, Black Ships....zomg, if you can find either copy on eBay, you owe it to yourself to put in a bid.

Anyway, I've converted the info into a rollable chart (because it's not presented that way).  Also, it's not exactly accurate because the time spread given isn't precisely translatable to dice rolls, however I tried to get as close as possible.  The question of Warp Travel Times has always been a hotly debated topic and WD 139 is the only "canon" reference I can find (and by the fact that I own WD 139 is testament to the amount of WH40k stuff I've collected in the last 20 years) so I hope you find it useful and my translation of the information as accurate and faithful to "canon" as possible. 

Light years       Warp Time          Real Time

1                           d6 minutes               d5 hours

5                          2d10+10 min.            2d10+4 hours

10                       4d10+20 min             4d10+8 hours

50                       d4 hours                     d10 days

100                     d6+2 hours                2d10 days

500                     4d10+8 hours            d10+2 weeks

1000                  d4 days                        2d10+4 weeks

5000                  2d20+5 days               3d10+6 weeks

So, for purposes of keeping track of character ages, you can wind up with a Rogue Trader who is physically 60, yet his "real" age is 100+!

For reference purposes, the article mentions that the Imperium (the part covered by the Astronomicon) is 75,000 light years across and would take between 75 and 300 days in Warp Time and between 6 and 40 years in Real Time. Wow!

A "Calculated" Jump can be "safely" made up to 4-5 LY.  The article doesn't say specifically, but strongly insinuates that a Navigator is not needed for a Calculated Jump.  This makes sense, as how would pre-Imperial man have colonized the galaxy before the Navigator gene popped up? 

A "Piloted" jump is where the Navigator steers the ship through the Warp and it says 5000 LY is the normal maximum jump but "longer jumps have been made".  The longer your ship is in the Warp, the more likely something naaasssttty will happen, so take this into account if you like to use the charts to randomize Warp mishaps/encounters.

There!  I think I did that without pissing off Game's Workshop's Inquisitors of the Ordo Legalis.  Hope this helps your game!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maxim C. Gatling said:

A "Calculated" Jump can be "safely" made up to 4-5 LY.  The article doesn't say specifically, but strongly insinuates that a Navigator is not needed for a Calculated Jump.  This makes sense, as how would pre-Imperial man have colonized the galaxy before the Navigator gene popped up? 

A "Piloted" jump is where the Navigator steers the ship through the Warp and it says 5000 LY is the normal maximum jump but "longer jumps have been made".  The longer your ship is in the Warp, the more likely something naaasssttty will happen, so take this into account if you like to use the charts to randomize Warp mishaps/encounters.

Happily enough, some of this info is actually covered in the Rogue Trader rulebook - in Chapter XI: The Imperium, there's a large section on Warp Travel which mentions, among other things, the 4-5 LY distance for calculated jumps (which are specifically stated as to not require a Navigator) and the standard limit of 5,000 LY for Navigated jumps.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I prefer the simpler, but slower, tall-shippy style, travel times of Abnett.

The time distortion thing is just complicated for no real storyline reward imo (unless it's as a rare warp event).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adam France said:

Personally I prefer the simpler, but slower, tall-shippy style, travel times of Abnett.

The time distortion thing is just complicated for no real storyline reward imo (unless it's as a rare warp event).

It does serve to isolate spacers from their kinfolk. It explains why they don't make a bundle and then settle down... they have already outlived many friends by that point. Their friends are essentially all either spacers of skeletons by the time they have the motivation to settle down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's something I'm using in my campaign.  If the characters are keeping track of ages, and they have progeny, it is quite possible and feasible that their progeny could become their "next" or backup PC.  It's a Dynasty, after all. 

All these travel times add up and if you're doing a lot of Warp Travel, it's possible your kid(s) back on the estate could be matured into their 20's, educated, and ready to take on NPC roles onboard the family ship within a few game sessions.  A savvy player will use this to increase his command crew loyalty and have some control over their competancy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thinking about this, you could have some crazy situations where a family line dies out due to the last member dying without an heir, only to have one from 300 years ago out of a particularly bad warp storm! (Actually, that's not a bad idea... *scribbles in his notepad*)

You could also run into situations where 7th or 8th generation descendents could end up running into 30th or 40th generation descendents and actually being younger... Man, my head hurts trying to wrap itself around warp travel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aramis said:

 

Adam France said:

 

Personally I prefer the simpler, but slower, tall-shippy style, travel times of Abnett.

The time distortion thing is just complicated for no real storyline reward imo (unless it's as a rare warp event).

 

 

It does serve to isolate spacers from their kinfolk. It explains why they don't make a bundle and then settle down... they have already outlived many friends by that point. Their friends are essentially all either spacers of skeletons by the time they have the motivation to settle down.

 

 

Which, from a RPing standpoint, is utterly irritating. In my game the time dilation's going to be rare, otherwise what's the point? 

"We need to aid General Wampy-Pants on Stink IX, now!"

"Yes, sir! Right away, sir! We'll be there in three months!"

"But...he's not that far away!"

"I know, sir. But the Warp is the Warp..."

"How did the Imperium ever survive....?"

The entire idea of how shipping works would break down and it's a pointlessly frustrating way to handle space travel, no matter how gothicky and grimdark you want to make things. Time dilation should be a plot device, not a story-killer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TalkingMuffin said:

aramis said:

 Which, from a RPing standpoint, is utterly irritating. In my game the time dilation's going to be rare, otherwise what's the point? 

"We need to aid General Wampy-Pants on Stink IX, now!"

"Yes, sir! Right away, sir! We'll be there in three months!"

"But...he's not that far away!"

"I know, sir. But the Warp is the Warp..."

"How did the Imperium ever survive....?"

The entire idea of how shipping works would break down and it's a pointlessly frustrating way to handle space travel, no matter how gothicky and grimdark you want to make things. Time dilation should be a plot device, not a story-killer. 

It is not just the way the Warp works but the whole of the space travel in 40K; this is not a instant thing like in the Star Wars universe (system to system in a few hours). Lightning raids, for instance, do not happen at lightning speed; considering  that you need weeks (RT pg 312) just to reach a planet from the edge of the system, plenty of time for the defenders to intercept and for the enemy to be ready (providing they have the technology to do so).

On the other hand it does not have to be a story-killer, it can be a spur to a new adventure: e.g. The fate of General Wampy-Pants

"Three months in the Warp too long! Seneschal is there another way?"

"Well there are rumours of stable warp tunnel that the xenos used, but the Eldar would never agree to open it for us"

"Ha! Where there is life there's a deal! We just have to find a coin they could be interested in; what about those stones that they value so highly?"

So now we have an adventure to find the Spirit Stones and persuade the Eldar to open the tunnel, and just maybe General Wampy-Pants can be saved after all gran_risa.gif 

DW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also remember that, as the rulebook notes, the 1:12 ratio is an average, not a constant (because it's warp travel - there are very few constants). A stable route will have a lower ratio, while particularly unstable routes (say, right through the middle of that extremely large warp storm), will have a much higher one.

Needless to say, travelling out in the wilderness space beyond the edge of the Imperium tends more towards unstable than it does towards stable. Travelling around a busy subsector, making short jumps (a short jump is generally safer and more reliable than a longer one), won't necessarily cause you to suffer hugely from time dilation, while a three-week jump through uncharted space will lead to time dilation issues quite frequently.

The other thing to bear in mind is that a skilled Navigator can significantly reduce your travel times (3+ Degrees of Success on the Navigation (Warp) test reduces your travel time to a quarter of the value set by the GM for that trip (enough to turn a day-long stint in the Warp to a mere 6 hours, which works out as going from nearly a fortnight down to three days assuming 1:12 time dilation).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once a ship exits warp in a system, how much time does it spend travelling in system before reaching its destination ?

 

Calculating sublight travel times from the given acceleration numbers should be simple enough, but I don't feel like doing the math right now. Though these will ignore the effect of gravity* and assume that the ships stay at their maximum sustainable acceleration the entire journey. I'll probably end up making a spreadsheet to do the calculations for me.

 

*Given how small planets are in relation to the size of a star system, this shouldn't cause much error.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bilateralrope said:

Once a ship exits warp in a system, how much time does it spend travelling in system before reaching its destination ?

While the rulebook doesn't give any concrete figures save for the various acceleration ratings, it does have this to say about the subject in vague terms:

"An Imperial starship can generally travel the distance between a planet like Holy Terra and its moon in little more than an hour, while that same starship could take two weeks to travel between that same planet and its star."

It then mentions that some craft will obviously be able to cross that distance faster than others, but it gives us a couple of rough values should we not want to bother with the accurate calculations - (extremely approximate) average velocities of about 300,000 kilometres per hour, or an Astronomical Unit (150 million kilometres) in a fortnight.

Using those as rough guides, and using our own solar system as an example (assuming a warp translation point some way past Neptune, about 40AU out from the Sun), it would still likely take about a year to reach Earth. Of course, there's nothing that necessarily requires a warp translation point to be at the edge of a system (merely common sense that it not be right on top of a planet) - a ship enters and emerges from the Warp at a point where the Navigator feels it will be easiest and safest.

Of course, more accurate methods may paint a different picture.

Nobody said interstellar travel was fast... and certainly, in the 40k universe, it shouldn't be like catching a bus or a train.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TalkingMuffin said:

The entire idea of how shipping works would break down and it's a pointlessly frustrating way to handle space travel, no matter how gothicky and grimdark you want to make things. Time dilation should be a plot device, not a story-killer. 

Hardly. Stop channeling chicken little.

Real world oceanic trade flows in the age of sail often took between 3-12 months round trip; pretty much anything closer didn't have enough difference to justify the expenses of loading, unloading and sailing, and longer generally didn't have willing crews. That said, the 6-12 month round trips between the Colonies/US and Europe in the 1700's were a thriving business. Wealth enough to justify incompetent captains raising shares in a voyage on the off chance they made good... A captain's share of a voyage (about 20-30%) was usually enough to pay for his commission, and support his family for well over a year in comfort. A captain-owner could live like a nobleman upon retirement.

If you can run the British Empire with a 4-to-6-month lag to get men and goods to/from india, you can run a sector with a 1-20 week lag between systems.

What happens, however, with the lack of communication is a reliance upon speculative trade, rather than presold carriage-freight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aramis said:

 

TalkingMuffin said:

 

The entire idea of how shipping works would break down and it's a pointlessly frustrating way to handle space travel, no matter how gothicky and grimdark you want to make things. Time dilation should be a plot device, not a story-killer. 

 

 

Hardly. Stop channeling chicken little.

 

 

 

 

Oh right. I forgot there were people like this on here. Shame on me for having a counter opinion. So, so sorry. Back to a place of less rabid fandom. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Traveller61 said:

TalkingMuffin said:

 

aramis said:

 Which, from a RPing standpoint, is utterly irritating. In my game the time dilation's going to be rare, otherwise what's the point? 

"We need to aid General Wampy-Pants on Stink IX, now!"

"Yes, sir! Right away, sir! We'll be there in three months!"

"But...he's not that far away!"

"I know, sir. But the Warp is the Warp..."

"How did the Imperium ever survive....?"

The entire idea of how shipping works would break down and it's a pointlessly frustrating way to handle space travel, no matter how gothicky and grimdark you want to make things. Time dilation should be a plot device, not a story-killer. 

 

 

It is not just the way the Warp works but the whole of the space travel in 40K; this is not a instant thing like in the Star Wars universe (system to system in a few hours). Lightning raids, for instance, do not happen at lightning speed; considering  that you need weeks (RT pg 312) just to reach a planet from the edge of the system, plenty of time for the defenders to intercept and for the enemy to be ready (providing they have the technology to do so).

On the other hand it does not have to be a story-killer, it can be a spur to a new adventure: e.g. The fate of General Wampy-Pants

"Three months in the Warp too long! Seneschal is there another way?"

"Well there are rumours of stable warp tunnel that the xenos used, but the Eldar would never agree to open it for us"

"Ha! Where there is life there's a deal! We just have to find a coin they could be interested in; what about those stones that they value so highly?"

So now we have an adventure to find the Spirit Stones and persuade the Eldar to open the tunnel, and just maybe General Wampy-Pants can be saved after all gran_risa.gif 

DW

 

See? This is groovy and I can dig that. However, from a gaming PoV I don't like that such a chronological disparity exists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And remeber that if your really lucky, and I mean really REALLY lucky, you may spend, say a week in the warp only to find that either you arrived in 2 days or real time, or even 2 days before you even left! :P

I'm currently trying to create a "Secret For GM eyes only don't even tell the players the table exists" table which will allow for real time being shorter than warp time. It's just figuring out what determines when it happens that I'm struggling with, short of a random roll.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aramis said:

What happens, however, with the lack of communication is a reliance upon speculative trade, rather than presold carriage-freight.

 

Or the mandatory trade generated by tithes. You can be **** sure that there will be a market for an Agri-world's food at a Hive-world, or a Hive-world's guns at an Imperial Guard fortress-world, and there's a decent chance if you're a Chartrist Captain that that's all you'll ever be hauling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figure that this is not a game that holds up to rigorous analysis.  A week to get from a planet to the jump point, roughly a week or two in warp (depending on several factors like the length of the route and condition of the warp) and a week to get from the jump point to the final planet.

I don't hold with the "year in the warp for every jump" but do figure in a fair amount of time variation to make sure that starship travel is not like riding a train.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Formorach said:

And remeber that if your really lucky, and I mean really REALLY lucky, you may spend, say a week in the warp only to find that either you arrived in 2 days or real time, or even 2 days before you even left! :P

I'm currently trying to create a "Secret For GM eyes only don't even tell the players the table exists" table which will allow for real time being shorter than warp time. It's just figuring out what determines when it happens that I'm struggling with, short of a random roll.

That table is a good idea for when the Navigator blows his rolls. 

I don't find it that hard.  I just have a GM binder I keep GM stuff in and two of the pages are Excel sheet 'calendars' to keep track of basically the date in-game.  In DH it didn't matter that much, but in RT where some actions routinely take over a week, or even months, it seems prudent to just keep track on a calendar.

You can do it however you want of course.  I wasn't trying to start a controversy here, just post the chart which is as "official" as I can get without violating GW's IP policies.

To me, the interesting point is that getting from the Warp/Realspace translation point (normally at the outer edge of a system) to the planet in question often takes as long or longer than the actual Warp voyage. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A note from mr physics: Acceleration is the most important factor when we are measuring space travel. The lack of friction makes the concept of "max speed" worthless. So if it takes one hour to travel from Terra to moon, that is a measure of the average speed, wich lets us calculate the average acceleration. To find the time needed to travel from Terra to Jupiter you need to apply this acceleration in a formula, preferrably with a speed cap at say 80% of lightspeed to avoid relativistic effects. The easiest way to calculate travel times based on acceleration is to assume that the ship accelerates continously to the halfway point, then it brakes with the same acceleration the second half of the trip. Feel free to imagine the ship turning around and using the same engines. This means the engines get to work at a steady pace, the crew will live with the same acceleration (wich is only important if your ship is without artificial gravity) and it's pretty simple to calculate.

I know that the combat rules claims that spaceships have a set speed rather than an acceleration. So the above is for physics geeks only. If someone really wants to know the formulas, or wants me to calculate the acceleration employed in the terra -> moon example, and make some suggestions for travel times based on that, please just ask and I'll fix it some time when I'm not **** tired and unsober.

And most importantly: The 40k universe does not run on physics and math, it runs on the Rule of Cool. If a long travel time benefits the story you want to tell, make the travel time long. If you want strange timewarping effects, include them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×