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RainOfSteel

Jericho Reach Location versus the Astronomicon's Range

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I have been looking at the Imperium Map in Deathwatch.  The location of the Jericho Reach appears to be well beyond the range of the Astronomicon.

Deathwatch does say, on p. 291, that without Navigators, speedy travel through the Warp is unavailable, and without the Astronomicon, Navigators cannot provide their services.

I have been trying to locate something in Deathwatch that explains this, but have not yet found it.  If there is an explanation, can someone provide a page reference?

Or are the Imperial Navy, Rogue Traders, Deathwatch, and Grey Knights all restricted to Chartist map routes, or possibly to short journies (as it also mentions other races using)?

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RainOfSteel said:

I have been looking at the Imperium Map in Deathwatch.  The location of the Jericho Reach appears to be well beyond the range of the Astronomicon.

Deathwatch does say, on p. 291, that without Navigators, speedy travel through the Warp is unavailable, and without the Astronomicon, Navigators cannot provide their services.

I have been trying to locate something in Deathwatch that explains this, but have not yet found it.  If there is an explanation, can someone provide a page reference?

Or are the Imperial Navy, Rogue Traders, Deathwatch, and Grey Knights all restricted to Chartist map routes, or possibly to short journies (as it also mentions other races using)?

Fundamentally, a significant portion of the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy is beyond the light of the Astronomicon; even Ultramar falls outside of the range of the Emperor's psychic beacon.

The Rogue Trader sourcebook Into the Storm lists a Telepathy psychic power called Beacon, which can effectively produce a tiny version of the Astronomicon (visible to Navigators over a few light years, more if it's particularly powerful - an Astropathic Choir could help boost this further), which I imagine is used fairly frequently on the Eastern Fringe to alleviate the fact that the Astronomicon is so far away (consider that the Astronomicon is essentially an immense psychic beacon powered by ten thousand psykers and guided by the unending will of the Emperor; a smaller number of mortal psykers could produce the same effect on a vastly smaller scale). It stands to reason that major areas of strategic importance would have dedicated beacon-choirs to help guide ships in places where the Astronomicon isn't particularly visible.

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Thank you for the reference and I will go look that up.

A Navigator may follow a Beacon for 5 light years x PR.  A level 10 PR with a Choir of 5 assistants for +5 PR could broadcast a signal that could be seen by a Navigator for 75 light years.  Level 10 PR astropaths do not grow on trees, so let's say a PR 5 astropath with five assistants, for 50 light years.  There would need to be a great many Beacons choirs in order to be useful.  In addition, beyond the "front" area of the Jericho Reach, there wouldn't be any.  This could, I suppose, contribute to explaining why Imperial Forces in the Jericho Reach have such a difficult time moving forward.  Their ships literally can't travel through the Warp much beyond the front.

The Deathwatch still has to operate far beyond the regions occupied by the forces of the Imperial Crusade and the ranges covered by any Beacon choirs they have set up.  Unless the Deathwatch has setup and maintained a large number of Beacon astropathic choirs about the Jericho Reach.  Which would be blindingly obvious to all the Navigators working for the Imperial Navy.  "Hey, look at those existing Beacon choirs!"  This would seem to be something that is beyond the Deathwatch's authority and remit.  I foresee the Adeptus Astra Telepathica being unhappy with such a circumstance, and possibly the other Space Marine warmasters being unhappy as well.  Except that the Deathwatch becomes restricted to Chartist routes or worse (guesses and very short hops) without the setup.

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The Jericho Reach is directly tied to the passage between the Calixis Sector and the Koronus Expanse.  In the "current day", ships within the range of the proposed Beacon sources deployed by Imperial forces in the Jericho Reach will teleport through the Warp Gate directly to within the range of the Astronomicon in the Calixis/Koronus region of the Segmentum Obscurus.

However, during the long Age of Shadow for the Jericho Reach, I really cannot see a way that the Deathwatch could have deployed Beacon choirs over the regions they cared about over all that time.  The Deathwatch generally cannot even maintain one astropath per Watch Station, much less one choir with a level 10 PR astropath plus five assistants per 150 light year radius sphere.  The Deathwatch also maintained contact between the Imperium and the region during the Age of Shadow, and Navigators would have been useless in doing so.  This implies two possibilities to me.

The first and least-likely, the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach probably came from the Ultramar region by lengthy Chartist routes (lengthy in comparison to Navigator-driven trips), as Holy Terra and regions in that direction are far too distant to allow for even the best Chartist-mapped routes to be of use.  The second and far more-likely, that the Deathwatch has known about the Jericho Reach gate for millennia, were using it all along to maintain contact, and never told anyone about it (which is why they won't even tell the Lord Militant of the Crusade what was going on).  They would still have been restricted to Chartist-mapped routes in the Jericho Reach, which seems to be a tremendous operational burden.  If it is ever revealed that they knew about the gate all along, the lives of the leadership of the Deathwatch would be forfeit and the Inquisition would get a terrible blow to its reputation.

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In regard to Ultramar, though, there would have had to have been huge numbers of Beacon choirs to allow it to exist.  In order to maintain contact with the Imperium, there would have to be a large chain of Beacon choirs leading all the way back to the sphere of Warp space illuminated by the Astronomicon itself (at 100 ly diameter, covering 30,000 ly (a guess), that would be 300 Beacon choirs, assuming a perfectly straight line).  One gap in the chain would make life quite difficult for transport, and would imply a grand dark zone in which there was little civilization or traffic between the Imperium and Ultramar.  If there was civilization and traffic between them, the need for Beacon choirs skyrockets.

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It all just seems very unlikely to me.

I am, of course, somewhat disappointed that this matter is not specifically covered in Deathwatch itself, especially as the only apparent work-around seems to be such a tremendous burden and restriction to operations, and creates milieu-affecting political issues, that it significantly affects game play and circumstances.  It seems very glaring.

The descriptive text in Dark Heresy and Deathwatch both imply that without the Astronomicon everything is toast in a hand basket.  (I haven't reviewed Rogue Trader's text again in the last few days, so I can't recall how it characterizes the matter.)

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Also note that Navigators have been known and employed since the Dark Age of Technology when the Navigator gene was isolated/created. Warp travel using the Astronomicon/Navigator combination is simply easier than just a Navigator alone. The relevant rules are found on p.184 of Rogue Trader. Essentially Warp Navigation without the guiding light of the Astronomicon is a Hellish (-60) Navigation (Warp) test. Yes, that means only very experienced Navigators will be able to guide a ship through the Warp unaided. There are several ways to help combat the difficulty of non-Astronomicon assisted Warp passage. One is the Beacon Choirs mentioned by N0-1_H3r3, another is good-quality cortex implants (best of luck finding some), and finally charts derived from real-space and Warp surveys. High-quality charts derived from surveys can provide a +5-+30 bonus to Navigation (Warp) tests based on the recentness and detail of the survey they are based on. I'd imagine that good chunk of the Battlefleets under Warfleet Ultima spend their time on dual survey/patrol duty with copies of the surveys routed to Kar Duniash for collation and distribution back down to the Battlefleets.

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RainOfSteel said:

It all just seems very unlikely to me.

There will, of course, be other factors - we don't know what sort of technology exists to support and amplify these smaller choir-beacons, after all - the vagaries of the Warp are many and extremely complex.

RainOfSteel said:

especially as the only apparent work-around seems to be such a tremendous burden and restriction to operations, and creates milieu-affecting political issues, that it significantly affects game play and circumstances.  It seems very glaring.

Astropaths are, by the standards of psykers, extremely common; worlds and fleets could not communicate with one another without them, and there needs to be a lot, with more produced all the time to replace those who are lost, slain or who simply burn out.

RainOfSteel said:

The descriptive text in Dark Heresy and Deathwatch both imply that without the Astronomicon everything is toast in a hand basket.

For the Imperium, yes. The Imperium as a whole, as a single entity, could not exist without the Astronomicon and Astrotelepathy - indeed, by contemporary standards, no single civilisation could exist on such a scale without that or some similarly powerful and pervasive methods of long-range travel and communication. Smaller, individual petty Empires, realms of similar size to a sector (sometimes larger, often smaller) can and do exist without those things - the Tau are an example of this. Navigators can operate without the Astronomicon; they predate it by thousands of years, afterall... but most contemporary Navigators don't, because the Astronomicon is so potent and so useful for long-range, high-speed travel.

A lot of background justifiably overemphasises the Astronomicon, and while it is utterly essential to the existence of the Imperium, it is not the only way to do things.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

A lot of background justifiably overemphasises the Astronomicon, and while it is utterly essential to the existence of the Imperium, it is not the only way to do things.
This realization is, by necessity, being forced upon me.  After I was already thoroughly convinced of the importance and singularity of the Astronomicon.

Forgive me if I take this opportunity to be a little bitter that the situation is not explicitly discussed in the provided setting.  Milieu whiplash is not something I appreciate.

Yes, I can come up with my own explanation of what is happening. Again. Much as I have created my own explanations of life-extension technologies, another subject the RPG dodges explaining.

I suppose I can rule that the Imperial Crusade forces can have brought along an Astrominicon provided by Mars itself, sufficient to cover the entire sector, though this in no way explains what the Deathwatch was doing during the Age of Shadow.

During that period, I could go with the Deathwatch being restricted to a large group of Chartist routes, all secretly mapped before the Age of Apostasy, that allow them to get between Ultramar (the origin of their resupply from the Imperium) and the Jericho Reach, and the various locations they are concerned with in the sector.  I find it surpassingly unlikely that they would have Beacon-backed groups all over the sector to facilitate Navigator-drive Warp travel.  That would be an expenditure of resources well above-standard for such a distant and barely remembered backwater.

I suppose Ultramar and regions between there and the Imperium would also need their own Astrominicons.  The Imperium could also deploy additional Astrominicons throughout its sectors as backups against the loss of the Astronomicon itself.  Just everyday ordinary infrastructure.

As an alternative, the Imperium could have built an entire duplicate Astronomicon on Macragge (or some other world out there) ages before and it would cover that side of the Galaxy, including the Jericho Reach.  This solution has the best effect on the regions in question, allowing them to function normally per the rest of the Imperium.

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Hey hey!

I'd reread Black Kestrel's post...he seems to have found the solution....the Astronomicon is necessary for the IMPERIUM as a WHOLE to exist...in individual sectors, with skilled navigators and some Emperor's benevolence, it's not strictly, absolutely necessary...the Dark Age of Technology managed to spread Humanity to the far corners of the galaxy (and beyond????), and they didn't have no Astronomicon back then...

you don't need to limit yerself to the Chartists....it takes them three years to cross about a quarter of the Calixis sector, so, ya, no long term travelling via that route....all you need beyond the Astronomicon's light is a ballsy navigator with skills.  And a lot of prayer, natch.gui%C3%B1o.gif

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 A thought presented itself to me: the warp gate itself could act as a relay. Bear with me.

If the entrance/exit of the gateway sees the Astronomican as strength 100, say, and has a length from entrance to exit which, in real terms would weaken the Astronomican to, say, 99, then the 'exit maw' of the gateway could be gleaming with strength 99 Astronomican glow.

The 'darkness' out by Jericho Reach could be sapping the Astronomican's more quickly (due to its distance from Terra), so the 'light' recombines with the light already out at Jericho and it weakens more quickly from the gateway.

I've not thought this through hugely, but there's a few possibilities there that could (though not necessarily *should*) be perhaps applied to the JR system. It really depends on what sort of effect the warp gate has. E.g. if you 'look in' (but don't go in) to the gate from one end, can you see through it's length and peer out at space on the other side? (As if something many thousands of light years away without the gate is actually...much closer, as you can look through the gate?)

Anyone catch what I'm getting at? Obviously it's a stretch, given I don't recall anything like this being mentioned before, but as I say: a thought presented itself to me. It wasn't an especially excellent one.

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Just thought I should add that, in our campaign, i've decided that the DeathWatch have maintained a few warp routes from the Ultramar region to Jericho (passing by the penal world on the western edge of Jericho, it's name escapes me).  Top secret, of course; but that's how they get in and out of the Reach.  And, i've decided that the major push of the Crusade is to re-establish those links with Ultramar (since the Warpgate as a standalone link to the Imperium is just too risky to be relied upon exclusively).  Yes, the Crusade's ultimate goal is the reconquest of the entire region; but first they're gonna contact Ultima Segmentum directly, set up supply lines, establish new tithes on Eastern Fringe worlds/sectors.

So, yeah, that's how we got around it.

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As an addenda to my previous post there two Archeotech ship components in Battlefleet Koronus that aid Navigators in directing limited or non-existent Astronomicon warp travel. The Warp Antenna makes it easier for a Navigator to find the Astronomicon while the Wapr Sextant adds a +20 bonus to Warp (Navigation) checks

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Once the Eldar die, they need to leave some of their Webway gates to the Imperium, so that ships and people can move quickly, and safely. I'm relatively sure that's what the Emperor was trying to do, before Magnus broke his Webway gate wards, and Horus went and threw the galaxy into turmoil, so even our Immortal, Almighty Leader thought it was an idea with some merit (he also disliked organized religions, though...). For distant places, like the Halo Stars and blank spots, maybe one just needs to think of how everyone else does it. The Imperium has the Astronomicon, but nothing else uses that, and they all travel way out there, just fine, laughing at the Human kicks who still can't leave this one block of turf. The Necrons have some sort of travel that involves space-folding, and they can't even touch the Warp, Tau "skip" their ships along the edge of the Warp, and Orks travel space through their Waagh! powers, unfortunately, boozing it up, hitting planet's mailboxes, and falling like a big potato onto a new world, before they trash the place. The two Eldar strains use the Webway, and Nids just let the Hive Mind "think really hard". While I certainly admit that most of these aren't feasible to the Imperium (humans just aren't that powerful of psykers, and the ones who are become the playthings of Chaos, and they are pathetically afraid of xenos tech, even without spirits in it [i'm obviously radical OX gran_risa.gif]), one would think that, at least the Tau or Eldar's methods could be eventually possible for the Imperium to use, especially if the Emperor finally biffs it, and the Astronomicon either dims or gutters out. The Deathwatch could easily find some way to make use of some stretches of the Webway, parts the Eldar, even Harlequins, avoid, and travel relatively quickly and safely. They have the equipment and training to traverse that span, and could easily maintain several stretches. Their more Radical-moderate Inquisitors could even have an arrangement with the Harlequins, who can easily show up to aide the Imperium, for their own reasons, and then leave without getting killed. Likely, so long as everyone avoids certain zones, and fends for themselves, the Harlequins would likely not even care. Or, some smarty Tech-Priest needs to look at a captured Tau ship, and fugure out what it does, telling that little voice in his head to please shut up, and let him help the Imperium advance. If the Imperium is fighting the Tau out in the Reach, then the Deathwatch, or some assault team of the Lord Militant Tetrarchus should, eventually, be able to storm a smaller ship, capture it intact, and allow the AM to figure it out; a race as young as theirs shouldn't be able to be that much smarter than all the Mechanicus, who have had thousands of years to hone their skill, without a cheat we haven't heard of, so it should be doable. Given some time, the AM should be able to figure out how the warp-skip generator works, and make it happen, since even the bigger Tau ships can do it.

There are a few options, thus, if the hidebound Imperium would simply let itself use them. It's weird because so many groups like the Imperium keep their throngs of subjects ignorant and superstitious, but the people at the top all know that their religion is a lie, and that they are the power, as they laugh at the throngs of simpletons they continue to string along. Somehow, even the top of the Imperium isn't that way though (and yes, I know that the Emperor is not a lie), and so they refuse to use anything that isn't theirs.

I sort of intend to run a game, sometime, where the players find a group, like a small Empire, of Humans who haven't known the Emperor for millennia, and has managed to find a way to use Eldar or Tau methods, and who prospers due to their openmindedness, and see if the players can win out, with their crappier tech, and stronger faith.

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The fluff in general is pretty light on what happens outside of the reach of the Astronomicon, but remember the timeline as well.  In M18 or something the Warp Drive was created, and the Navigator Gene wasn't created until M22. 

Also remember that the Tau use a form of Warp Drive that skims along the surface of the warp- not as fast as Imperial ships, but it works. 

 

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