Each day of hyperspace travel guarantees one event with the possibility of more. Roll a d6 for the type of the first event that day. Then roll 2d6: if one of the dice shows a 1, the other indicates a second event and the type of event. Keep rolling 2d6 for additional events until neither comes up a 1. If traveling in convoy, only the lead ship should roll for encounters, and whatever comes up affects all the ships in the convoy (unless if it would be weird, like every ship suffering the same malfunction simultaneously). Any delays that happen to the lead ship, though, slow the whole convoy; any ship that wants to leave the convoy has to drop out of the hyperspace has to plot a fresh course. See Interrupted Journeys.
Type of Event
- Encounter: potentially hostile creatures.
- Environmental: Encounter one of the peculiar (non-combat) features of the hyperspace. See below.
- Exhaustion: Travel through the astral has been unusually strenuous. DC 10 Save vs. will or suffer an additional level of Jump Fatigue.
- Clue: Gain some information about something. In hyperspace this will often take the form of hallucinatory visions relating to your mission or destination, but could be as prosaic as seeing the flotsam from a battle that took place warning you of the presence of monsters or pirates nearby.
- Consume Resources: One extra day’s worth of your resources are expended. See below.
- Setback: See below.
Number appearing, relative to the size of the ship & crew (the hyperspace scoffs at Gygaxian naturalism…): 1d4:
1) Insignificant, can be ignored unless the players choose to interact,
2-4) Significant, could be a problem if they’re hostile,
5) Dangerous, probably as powerful as the PCs and their ship(s),
6) Deadly, if they turn out to be hostile running is probably the best if not only option. Exactly how many that means is left to the Judge’s discretion, and will depend on the mode of transport.
Roll on the Hyperspace Encounter Chart for the type of encounter.
Note that because of the peculiar nature of hyperspace, you can have occasional encounters at the individual level within the confines of a ship you’re travelling on. Most often this is a hyperspace creature.
Mortal minds struggle mightily to perceive hyperspace and its denizens in terms that are familiar. When encountering Astral Creatures roll a d3: the creature appears to be an amalgam of that many familiar creatures. On a 3 roll again, and on a 1 it’s a mix of 3, on a 2 it constantly shifts forms between the features of 1d5 creatures, and on a 3 use Raggi’s Random Esoteric Creature Generator or equivalent for its form. For each apparent form, the creature(s) have one unusual ability (besides the ability they all share of existing in and being able to travel through the Astral Plane). Use your favorite random table, or the handy Monster Powers chart from Last Gasp Grimoire.
- Hyperspace Island! An island of terrestrial matter, from the size of a small tropical island up to an entire continent, with its own atmosphere, water, light, and teaming with life and vegetation. Hyperspace Islands can have any conceivable terrain and inhabitants, and many inconceivable ones. They generally appear to be floating islands of familiar terrain, but could appear as melting clock faces populated by burning giraffes, or even something really weird. Might be possible to resupply here, but need to roll an encounter. While on a Hyperspace Island you don’t roll from Hyperspace Fatigue, and can even recover levels.
- Bubble Universe! An entire new universe to explore, if you dare! Unlike Setback, you see it in time to avoid it if you wish.
- Hallucinatory Terrain! while traversing this region the ship and crew perceive it as part of a shared hallucination, such as a sailing vessel on a sea, a train crossing a Western landscape, or a toy car rolling across the carpet of a gigantic living room. The Hallucinatory area lasts 1d3 days and during that time all encounters/events are seamlessly integrated into the hallucination. E.g. if you’re on a train riding through the West, any Hyperspace Pirates would still appear to be Hyperspace Pirates, but would be attacking from horseback. Use the mechanics you’re familiar with, but interpret everything according to the hallucination.
- Time-Space Shenanigans
- Retcontrail! DC 10 Luck save or retcon one aspect of your character: 1) Gender, 2) 0-Level Background, 3) Class: choose new class of the same race, 4) Race: choose new race (again doesn’t change level), 5) Level: roll 1d3 minus 1d3 and add that to your level), 6) Alignment: roll 1d3 for Law/Neutral/Chaos, 7) Personality reversal: player should choose a major aspect of current personality and play it as near opposite as possible. The new version of the character is the one that’s always existed, and nobody remembers otherwise so there’s no way to revert to the original. 7) Reroll twice.
- Mirror, Mirror! DC 10 Luck save or replaced with mirror twin from alternate universe; roll on Retcontrail to see what aspect is reversed; unlike Retcontrail, everybody else remembers, so you can try to do something about it if you wish.
- Time Warp Again! Journey appears to go as normal, but when you emerge, it is at the right place but a random time of the Judge’s choosing.
- Hell of A Good Universe Next Door! Journey appears as normal, but when you emerge you are in a parallel universe of the Judge’s choosing. Good luck finding your way back.
One extra day’s worth of your resources are expended. Typically you can assume that a ship has enough of everything for a two week journey without additional supplies. Roll d4
- Other (Judge decides)
- Past sell-by date,
- Hyperspace Ghosts ,
- Peculation (swindled when you bought it or embezzled by someone on the crew),
- Transmogrification to something else,
- Other (Judge decides);
- Engine Problems! Lose 1d4-1 days objective time, 1d4-1 days subjective time
- Injury! Mechanical failure or plain bad luck injures 1 crew member plus roll 1d6-3 to see if anybody else is injured, for 1d3 damage each.
- Spoilage! An extra 1d3 days of random resources are lost (see Consume Resources)
- Malfunction! A random ships system requires 1d3 days of repair d4:
- Navigation. Treat as Hyperspace Storm, except +1d
- Drive. Treat as Engine Problems, except +1d
- Communications. No further effect unless you have an encounter.
- Sensors. Either make no progress until the sensors are fixed or all navigators taking watches must an Jump Exhaustion save per watch from the stress of gazing out on naked hyperspace.
- Cargo. Lose d% of value of any cargo: on a roll of doubles gain that much value instead as at least a portion of the cargo transmogrifies into something more valuable.
- Life Support. 1) Heat/Cooling, 2) Light, 3) Air, 4) Food, 5) Water, 6 ) reroll twice
- Hyperspace Storm! Blown 1d3 days subjective time off course, must retry Astrogation.
- Detour! The way is blocked by a vortex, island, or bubble universe that wasn’t there before; must reroll Astrogation at -1d.
- Recurse! Fall into an identical but smaller bubble universe, and must traverse it to resume your journey. Add as many subjective days to the journey as determined by the original Navigation roll, but no objective days. Roll for encounters as usual.
- Mind Plague! A potentially dangerous meme, idea, madness, or ear-worm is loose aboard the ship. Roll d16 + 5 for DC to avoid infection if exposed (either make everybody roll for a small ship or roll for the crew and each PC separately). 1d8:
- Mostly harmless: -1d on init for the rest of the voyage
- Quite distracting: -1d on all actions for 1d5 days.
- Serious problem: reduce Crew Morale by 1d3.
- Ruh-roh: at least one of the infected is now a Saboteur, who will occasionally enter a fugue state and sabotage the ship, with no memories of the actions after they happen (roll randomly for which infected person, plus a d6: on a roll of 1 on the d6 there is another. Keep rolling until the d6 doesn’t come up 1). Each day make an extra 1d4 roll on the Setback table until the Saboteur(s) is(are) caught.
- Damn It, Jim: temporary madness. Infected subject to random madness until they either shake it off (DC 15 Luck save per day, DC 10 with expert treatment) or roll a fumble, in which case it becomes permanent.
- Far Out: psychic transcendence. DC 10 Luck save per day or change class to equivalent level Mystic *and* suffer from 1) paranoia, 2) megalomania, 3) hallucinations (DC 20 Luck save to recover from madness, DC 15 with expert treatment, DC 10 with expert psychic treatment), 4) extreme narcissism, 5) psychotic rage. Even if madness subsides, class switch remains.
- Game Over, Man: the infected transform into 1) xenomorphic monsters, 2) brain eating zombies, 3) Mindless Ones, 4) a collective intelligence, 5) savage ancestral forms
- Crossed the Beams! all atoms of the crew and ship explode outward at the speed of light. They reassemble in the reality of the Judge’s choosing.
- Other (Judge decides).
Both sides roll a d6, on a 1 or 2 that side is surprised and cannot act this turn.
Roll a 1d6-1 .
- Bump into each other (can ram/board this turn)
- Close (can charge this turn)
- Medium (1d6 turns away, within missile/beam weapon shot)
- Long (2d6+6 turns away, within beam weapon shot)
- Extreme (2d6+12 turns away, 6 turns from being within beam weapon shot)
- Barely Visible (10 minutes+ from being within beam weapon shot)
If you want to avoid an encounter, then presuming you’re not surprised and the range is at least Medium, you can attempt to evade. If you have surprise you can evade automatically. Otherwise, the difficulty of evading the encounter depends on the size of your convoy (often 1 for a single ship) and the size of the group you’re encountering. Roll Pilot skill vs DC on a d20.
|Size of Party (in ships or entities)||DC on d20|
If the pursuing group is larger than your party, the target number becomes one step easier; if the pursuing group is smaller, it becomes one step harder.
If you don’t like the odds, you can split your convoy into smaller groups in order to evade; of course the pursuers can do the same, but then at least if they catch up there are fewer of them.
When you encounter NPCs or creatures they aren’t necessarily hostile, depending on their purpose in the area and how your party is conducting itself. If you’re in enemy territory during wartime and you run into a patrol, a good roll on the reaction table isn’t going to save you from a confrontation, but guardsmen in a city are unlikely to simply attack you even if they’re “Hostile”…though they may look for an excuse to arrest you or run you out of town.
|2||Hostile/Attacks||Refuses & opposes (further rolls on locals -1)|
|6-8||Neutral/uncertain||Hesitant, may try again with better offer|
|12||Friendly/Enthusiastic friendship||Accepts eagerly (+1 morale if hired)|
Note: a version of this post originally appeared in my related blog, Elves and Espers. I’m reusing the material from there as appropriate for my new campaign.