This should be a repository for rules pertaining to travel in The Void and related material. This is of course, subject to approval and/or modification by Rynel. -Darzoni
ST Approval Technique! *Fwash!* -Rynel
Perhaps the most common way of traveling through the void is with the assistance of the essence streams that criss-cross the Void. Though this is not without dangers (see Essence Storms, for example), it is generally generally the easiest way for most mortal-owned voidships to travel. It is known that the farther away from celestial bodies and planetary systems one gets, the more powerful the essence streams. The distances involved still make it quite a trip, however. Thus, traveling from a planet to a moon might take a few days, from a planet to another planet a few weeks, from system to another system might take months. It is fortunate that many outposts and Void Manses were created during the High First Age as waypoints, or interstellar commerce might not exist in the Second Age. The Guild owns and operates most of the interstellar commerce outside of the Blessed System, being one of the few organizations large enough outside the Realm to afford the expense. The arts of Thaumaturgy have developed methods within the various disciplines for protecting voidships and building ships that can travel the Void, though they cannot approach the ability of Exalted designed-and-built voidships.
There are things that live in the essence streams, usually elementals and essence-warped void creatures. The stronger essence streams sometimes have entire ecosystems, making them more hazardous to navigate.
Essence streams are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, and categorized by the kind of essence they are composed of: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Wood for the elemental streams, which tend to emanate from and connect planets, moons, and miscellaneous celestial bodies. Solar, Sidereal, or Lunar for celestial streams, which emanate from stars and are usually the most powerful streams. A voidship's speed is increased as long as the ship is traveling with the stream, and decreased for traveling against the stream. For the elemental streams, the factor by which a voidship's non-combat speed is multiplied is by the rating of the essence stream (yards per tick is not affected), and divided by the same amount. For the Sidereal and Lunar streams, the stream's rating is multiplied by 10 to get the speed factor. The Solar Essence Streams are the most potent of Essence Streams, and even the weakest of these speeds ships along at incredible speeds, multiplying the stream's rating by 20 to determine the speed factor. The type of essence stream is important for the Storyteller to describe and determine the effects of essence storms.
There are also Necrotic Essence Streams, Infernal Essence Streams, and Autochthonic Essence Streams, though these are much rarer. These function as Sidereal or Lunar streams, except for some additional effects. Necrotic streams will cut the amount of time any item made in Creation can operate before requiring maintenance or repairs in half, and does the reverse for anything built in the Underworld. Infernal Essence Streams are studiously avoided, as everybody traveling in them for any length of time tend to have dreams of Malfeas and demonic nightmares, and the creatures floating through these streams are horrific to say the least (Actions taken in an Infernal stream are at +2 difficulty due to the nightmares and presence of essence actively hostile to Creation). Autochthonic Essence Streams are a relatively new phenomenon, and double the time between required maintenance and reduce the difficulty of repairs by 1 of anything built in Creation . Savants studying the odd phenomenon of Autochthonic essence streams named them so because such streams appeared to be 'friendly' to technology and machines, naming them after Autochthon The Machine God.
Like Demenses, particularly powerful essence streams can warp and mutate those who travel along it. Follow the rules for Demenses warping creatures living in them, dividing the essence stream's rating by 2 (rounding up) to get the effective Demense rating.
Where Essence Streams cross, where they pool and become stagnant... celestial bodies form. To witness the formation of a star or planetary system is a once in a life-time event, and perhaps the most beautiful thing anybody can witness. The Great Houses throw month-long parties when savants report the impending creation of a new star or planet, watching the formation of the celestial body over the weeks it takes to complete.
A star's formation is presaged by the migration of starseeds to the region, the animal/plant hybrids attracted to the plethora of Solar, Lunar, or Sidereal essence in the area. Stars seem to occur spontaneously, without any essence streams in the area, a wellspring of Celestial essence erupting over a period of weeks to birth a new star. Then over the coming months, the star draws in and creates tributaries of Terrestrial essence streams, forming a new planetary system around itself. And in very rare circumstances, the star will reach out and form new Celestial essence streams.
Life is attracted to the system by the streams, forming a new void-borne ecosystem. The planets are sometimes seeded via colonization or void-based organisms taking root. But more often than not, life springs up spontaneously as the essence shapes and forms the usual patterns. The result is that within several decades, the new system is teeming with life unique to itself.
New star systems form on their own approximately once every century. The Sidereals have influence over when new stars are born, as do the Celestial Incarnae. The Solars of the First Age had Creation Engines that would claim pieces of the Wyld via the creation of a new star system, known as Titan Engines. Very rarely, the First-Age sorcerer-smiths would combine their collective resources to create a one-use Titan engines that would engender the creation of an entire galaxy within a century. Approximately five of these Gaia-class Titan engines were made during the First Age.
The Sidereals appropriate new deposits of starmetal by petitioning for the death of a star-god. When a star dies, it contracts and sheds all of its essence, obliterating the system and leaving behind a field of debris rich in magical materials and transmuted matter.
Each and every Starchild (as the gods of stars are known) reside in Yu-Shan, Celestial gods by the nature of their province. They are practically bureaus unto themselves, commanding all the gods within their starsystem.
There are demenses extant in the Void. They occur where two Essence streams intersect, but are not as powerful as one might expect due to the fact the essence continually flows in the area. The rating of the demense is equal to the average rating of all essence streams intersecting divided by 2. Manses can be built around these intersections, and often are built to stabilize the essence stream flows and serve as outposts. Savants know that building such manses can serve to stop essence flows from moving for many parsecs, and can even be built to redirect the flow of the streams.
Essence storms are events that voidfarers dread, and rightfully so. They are chaotic whorls of vast quantities of essence that can destroy voidships and toss them about like so much flotsam, battering them with shards of raw starstuff. The following are the rules for essence storms.
All essence storms happen within an essence stream or multiple essence streams. In the case of multiple streams, use only the highest rated stream for the rules.
Within an essence storm, the pilot must maintain control of the ship, adding the stream's rating to the difficulty of all manuevers. Failure in an essence storm means the pilot has lost control of the ship and must regain control with a Dexterity + Sail roll with a difficulty equal to the stream's rating plus the number of failed attempts the pilot has already made as he tries to reorient himself to familiar landmarks. To move about the ship in an essence storm requires a Dexterity + Athletics roll (Difficulty is again the stream's rating). A botch while on the deck of ship may mean a man overboard.
The most deadly aspect of an essence storm is not the eddies, but the scouring essence that accompanies it. The storm deals the stream's rating in aggravated damage to everything within it, soakable only with Essence + Willpower. Artifacts have a soak equal to twice their artifact rating, with artifacts rated N/A being simply impervious to the ravages of essence storms. The interval at which the damage is applied varies based on the aspect of the stream. For Terrestrial streams, it is once every hour, for they are the least potent of the essence streams. For Celestial streams (Including Autochthonic, Infernal, and Abyssal aspected streams), it is once every minute. The raging torrents of Solar Essence Streams apply their damage every three ticks. The interior of a sealed ship is safe from the ravages of the storm until it suffers a hull breach (when it has no more Undamaged health levels remaining), at which point the interior is no longer safe.
The Storyteller is encouraged to describe coalesced chunks of essence battering the ship in a dramatic fashion, with the essence shards being appropriate to the aspects the storm possesses. A wood aspect essence storm, for example, might be a flowing eddy of thorns and tree trunks. An autochthonic essence storm might have billions of crystal and metal spheres smashing away at anything within it.
The Origin of Voidships
In the timeless Prehuman Era, before man or Dragon King existed, the Machine God ruminated and contemplated the Void and its paradox of finite boundaries and infinite boundaries. In a way typical of the Great Maker, he began weaving powerful effects into the very fabric of Creation to pave the way for what he saw would be essential to the future of Creation, for pieces of the Great Work that Cytherea, Gaia, and himself had forged were vanishing into nothing for want of things to remember their shape.
And when his work was completed, Autocthon taught his people the ways of constructing Voidships, and commanded them to instruct those who would come after them in the ways of making voidships so that Creation may continue to exist. And so the Mountain Folk built the first Voidships and spread among the stars to teach others so that they too may share the promethean gift of Voidfaring.
Autochthon built several functions to make voidships work into Creation's fabric. Voidships and their related systems measure maintenance time in terms of weeks when in the void. Voidships always have gravity and a down. They also will not crush their inhabitants via inertia (though some dramatic tossing around is appropriate). Voidship engines do not need to be built from magical materials, since not all races had the knowledge of how to work these materials. And this is why voidships work at all.
This may sound stupid, but shouldn't fast-flowing Essence streams increase a demense's rating, rather than decreasing it? After all, all that a traditional Manse does is let you dip into a flowing Essence stream in Creation... - FrivYeti
- It doesn't sound stupid at all- I considered that question myself before writing that part. In the end, I had to remember that demenses, according to Savant and Sorcerer, are where essence flows sort of get stuck and pool to form a place of concentrated essence. In this kind of thematic, if that happens with the big essence streams, you probably have some celestial bodies about to take form. -- Darzoni