Adam “skinnyghost” Koebel
▶ Stars Without Number

Faction Turn question the second!

Here's my sector:

In it, some systems are 3+ hexes away from their nearest neighbor. This means that even a Capital Fleet cannot reach them. Is it the intent that some systems are just too far away to access or should I allow some Assets to make partial trips - spaceships moving three turns, one hex at a time? Will that fundamentally unbalance or break things?

Sectors Without Number

Revised edition compliant Stars Without Number sector generator

Dave Sherohman

I'd say this could be ruled either way, depending on how you want your sector to work in play. Do you want factions to be able to launch effectively-undetectable sneak attacks on each other by moving through empty hexes or do you want to have heavily-contested chokepoint systems which are the only route from one region to another? Either is a valid choice, it's just a question of which you prefer for your campaign.

(That said, I'm pretty sure the RAW answer would be that, no, you can't travel through empty hexes because drills need to end in a stellar gravity well, so some systems/clusters may be inaccessible to ships with lower-rated spike drives.)

Jordan Raymond

I'd say empty hexes are reachable. My understanding is that every hex has a star (or something similar, like a black hole) in it, but most are otherwise devoid of interest. That way, blind space exploration is possible.

Kevin Crawford

By default, it's not possible. There's not necessarily any star in a hex to jump to if it's empty, since hexes do not map 1:1 with real space.

The more interesting question is whether it should be possible in your campaign. The only two planets I'm seeing that are 3 hexes away from the closest neighbor are Guild HQ and Bergunn. I don't think Bergunn is all that important, but Guild HQ being so far away from everything else might be an issue.

My intuitive take is that it depends on how "fast" you want your faction turns to be, and how easy it is to spark off a direct conflict. If the factions have to wrestle over influence on a jump-off world that connects their main power base to their target destination, then that's going to add an extra step to intrigues before they can go ahead and directly hit their enemy, plus the time it takes to move stuff over there and build transit assets that allow further leaps to the destination.

If it's possible to drill into the black, as it were, and send a self-propelled asset through empty hexes to the destination, then planetary chokepoints become much less important. They're only significant if you need to move a non-self-propelled unit, and are willing to take the time and effort it requires to build a transport asset there.

The optimal move, if you want to preserve chokepoints as a consideration, may just be to move Guild HQ and Bergunn a hex closer to something else, or move some less important system so as to connect them to larger clusters. Then factions will fight over control of the nearest worlds, either to prevent invasion through that route or as a forward base for their own plans.

Germán Jakob

The thing is you have to consider the consequences of being able to drill in (and most importantly out) of the black. It means all places are reachable given enough time, and if that's the case, rutters become a bonus rather than a necessity, a lot of navigation/discovery nuance is lost, and so is the concept that sectors are largely self-contained clusters of stars. All it'd take is one good spike drive and tons of fuel and you could go practically anywhere regardless of "geography". Food for thought.

Kenneth Moore

It seems logical that systems that far out from their neighbors are either extremely isolated (probably backwards/barbaric) or extremely advanced (with a stockpile of pre-tech if not the ability to manufacture it). Isolated factions won't be acting on the sector level, and advanced factions should probably be house-ruled to give them extended ranges on their starship assets. They would probably pretty much wipe out any rivals in the sector fairly's hard to win a war when you have to fight defensively.

There is a third possibility, that being that the system has access to a small handful of pretech ships, which will be lifelines for the system and worth more than their weight in gold. They won't be backwards like an isolated world, but won't be risking their only link to galactic civilization on political pissing contests either.