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Travel Times

Mon 13 Apr 2020, 11:27

More of a Game Mother question but I didn't think this was a GM Only kind of thing so I'm posting it in General.

Is there a source (if I hadn't missed one in the core rulebook) that talks about travel times in the ALIEN universe and how to come up with them?
For example, in the scenario I'm working on right now I have a star system where there's a couple of jobs lined up for the PCs. One of the jobs takes them from an inner terrestrial world to the asteroid belt and back again. 

For simplicity's sake, we can say this particular system is kind of like our Sol in terms of the distance between the inner world and the asteroid belt. 

I'm trying to come up with how long a journey will take and think of whether or not FTL would (could?) be used to shorten the journey. 
I tried looking at Real Life distances between Earth and the asteroid belt and how long it took what spacecraft we launched so far into that region and beyond and then take those times and shorten them with FTL and Stasis in mind, but it's kind of a headache to do that. 

I should have thought that something like this would take maybe only a few days at most, due to FTL capabilities and how fast the marines got to Zeta2 Reticuli from Earth in the second movie but I really can't tell.
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Re: Travel Times

Mon 13 Apr 2020, 13:05

FTL would make the journey instantly I imagine. Pluto is 0.000183 parsecs from the Sun. Although not sure a ship would spool up to ftl and down instantly. Or whether it can vary it’s speed. I would say a couple of days to travel a system using normal thrusters. Gives you a bit of time for some RP stuff before a location, or the chance of an encounter.
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Re: Travel Times

Mon 13 Apr 2020, 14:36

Thanks for the reply, Apollo. 
Yes, that seems reasonable. 

The descriptions of how FTL works in Alien are a little sparse and vague, but basically they do state that ships don't instantly go to FTL. Instead, the FTL engines take some time to "build up".
Accelerating to faster than light speeds is not instantaneous. Ion thrusters build speed up to the point where the displacement drive can take over, gradually propelling starships to several times the speed of light.
(pg. 150)

In reality, distances between objects in our own solar system are quite immense and even with the most favorable alignment of orbits, it can still take our fastest real life spacecraft months to reach remote planets like the Jupiter system. 

But I think that considering a journey from Earth to Zeta2 Reticuli took like a couple of weeks, then 2-3 days for travel time within the same system is about right, considering at least 6 to 12 hours would have to be spent in stasis while the ship is in FTL and the job itself should take less than a day to complete. 

Thank you for helping me!
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Re: Travel Times

Tue 14 Apr 2020, 04:10

I had to read the rules a few times but as far as I can see stasis means you have zero NDD effects but there's no requirement that you enter stasis during FTL, you'll just be rolling on the NDD table after a Parsec of travel if you don't. 

Hence it seems reasonable to assume that a ship would spin up the FTL drive for a journey within a solar system but that no one would bother with cryo-sleep.

You could satirically bring in a D666 roll and if they get a 666 you give them the Paranoia NDD.
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Re: Travel Times

Tue 14 Apr 2020, 09:28

In the era the game is set (2180s) a ship like the Sulaco can cover 39 ly in 3 weeks.  It took Nostromo (or would've) 10 months and took Prometheus over two years.

At speeds like the Sulaco's you could cover the distance from Earth to Pluto (approx 39 AU) in about 30 seconds.  The Auriga (also going FTL) covered Earth to Pluto in about 2 hours 15 minutes (with braking systems offline) in 2381.  In the Isolation novel, the Nostromo left the solar system at sub-light speeds en route to Thedus, before accelerating to FTL.  The original script had it going to "light plus" as soon as they docked with the refinery after leaving LV-426.
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Re: Travel Times

Wed 15 Apr 2020, 14:07

I forgot the NDD per parsec rule. You're right, stasis probably won't be necessary. 

S.M. - ok, so if we take those speeds as guidelines and take into consideration the explanation from the book that says that ships take a vague and unspecified amount of time to accelarate to FTL (can't just press a button and instantly go to it), but using your calculation of the Sulaco's speed, I think we could maybe use the game's own rules to simplify and save ourselves the headache of pinpointing the accurate timing.

Meaning, I think we could say it takes just one Shift to make the journey within the same system. My logic is thinking that, like you say, the FTL travel itself is about 30 seconds - but "building up" to FTL would take "some time", so it might take the pilot about an hour to build up the speed and safely slow down to arrive at the asteroid belt. 

Would I be ok thinking that, assuming the job doesn't end up sending the crew into Stealth Mode (or even Combat), they could probably complete the whole thing and make the entire journey back within the same Shift, maybe with one or two rolls for complications ("the coupling apparatus falters and the cargo unit seems to detach!", one or more PCs tries to fix the situation, one dice roll, some RP, some narrative descriptions and viola! job complete) or that the entire job (plus journey there and back again) would take at most 2 Shifts?
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Re: Travel Times

Wed 15 Apr 2020, 15:32

I treat it a little like Star Trek. You know where you're going so you stop the FTL within a couple of hours of destination.
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