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Player > Starships > Other > Interstellar Drives
The interstellar drives below let you travel to distant star systems without
using the Drift. For each ship, divide the base travel time by the drive’s engine
rating; the better the rating, the faster you can reach your destination. Interstellar
drives have a PCU requirement and a maximum frame size. The cost in Build Points
is based on the starship’s size category (for the purposes of this calculation,
Tiny = 1, Small = 2, Medium = 3, and so on). Also, most of these interstellar
drives have the restricted special property.
Restricted: This particular starship component is typically only available to a specific group or organization, listed in parentheses.
|Name||Engine Rating||Min. PCU||Max. Size||Cost (In BP)||Special Properties||Source|
|Archon Drive||1||150||â€”||15 × size category†||Restricted (Church of Iomedae, Knights of Golarion)||SOM p.9|
|Chaos Sail||1||75||â€”||4 × size category†||Restricted (Church of Besmara)||SOM p.9|
|Constellation Orrery||2||150||Huge||10 × size category†||Restricted (Church of Ibra)||SOM p.10|
|Elemental Engine||1||100||â€”||5 × size category†||Restricted (Elemental Plane)||SOM p.10|
|First Drive||3||175||Large||12 × size category†||Restricted (Eldest, fey)||SOM p.10|
|Fold Gates||Special||200||Huge||â€”||â€”||SOM p.10|
|Helldrive||1||100||â€”||10 × size category†||Restricted (Church of Asmodeus, Hellknights)||SOM p.11|
|Planar Aperture Drive||2||150||â€”||15 × size category†||Restricted (Tetrad, witchwyrds)||SOM p.11|
|Shadow Engine||1||75||â€”||3 × size category†||Painful, restricted (Church of Zon-Kuthon, velstracs)||SOM p.11|
† For the purposes of this calculation, Tiny = 1, Small = 2, Medium = 3, etc.
Drift engines are the most widely used technology in the galaxy for interstellar
travel, and the Starfinder RPG assumes that all starships use the Drift
for journeying between worlds. The interstellar drives presented in this
section are generally restricted to certain faiths or organizations and
are intended primarily for NPC use. As always, the GM has final say on whether
PCs have access to these starship systems, but be aware that adding these
options could challenge the baseline assumptions of your game. While these
alternative interstellar drives aren’t more powerful than standard Drift
engines, they might introduce complications for certain types of stories.
If you want to outfit a published starship with one of these new options (such as giving an Inheritorworks Cathedralship an archon drive), you can simply replace the Drift engine with the interstellar drive and update the ship’s Drift rating to match the rating of the new drive. The ship’s BP total and PCU rating will likely not be completely accurate, but the discrepancies should not have much of an impact on play, especially if the ship appears only in a single encounter. Alternatively, you can rebuild the ship from scratch using the new engine, but you will likely have to make other adjustments to the ship’s stat block to accommodate the interstellar drive’s BP cost and PCU requirements.
Drift engines enable starships to overcome the limitations of traveling faster than light by entering another plane of existence. Most other interstellar drives also operate by using planar jumps. However, planar travel outside the Drift involves extremely expensive magical technology, often in concert with divine assistance, and such magic is usually tightly controlled by the groups and organizations that use it. As a result, Drift technology is the most commonly available means of interstellar travel, and ships using other methods to travel between stars are relatively rare. More guidelines on incorporating these alternative modes of travel can be found in the sidebar.
Traveling through the Drift relies on Drift beacons for navigation, and these
beacons effectively divide the galaxy into two zones: Near Space (regions close
to Drift beacons) and the Vast (everywhere else). These distinctions are meaningless
to starships without Drift technology; the density of Drift beacons in a given
region of space has no bearing on travel times through planes other than the
Drift. Likewise, Absalom Station’s Starstone has no effect on travel outside
the Drift—it takes just as long for a ship without Drift tech to reach Absalom
Station as it does to get to any other point in that system.
For most of the non-Drift interstellar engines presented here, travel times are the same whether a ship’s destination is in Near Space or the Vast, and the actual distance between the starting point and the destination doesn’t matter. With the exception of fold gates, traveling within a system takes about 1d6 days, and traveling anywhere in the galaxy takes about 5d6 days (the same as travel to the Vast via the Drift), though more powerful engines can reduce this time. When traveling to a world using a non-Drift interstellar drive, roll the travel time, then divide the result by the engine rating of your starship’s interstellar drive to determine how long it takes you to reach your destination. For example, a starship with a planar aperture drive (engine rating of 2) traveling to a planet elsewhere in the galaxy would roll 5d6 and divide the result by 2. If you rolled 15, then the trip would take 7-1/2 days (don’t round down travel rolls). As with Drift travel, days spent traveling through other planes are no different for a crew than days spent in normal space. A starship can stop while traveling through another plane, but such breaks don’t count toward your travel time.
Interstellar travel through planes other than the Drift has its perils, as the planes of the Great Beyond are often more dangerous than the Drift. The risk of random encounters when traveling through other planes is always higher than in the Drift.
As with Drift-capable starships, for a starship to activate its interstellar drive to either exit or enter the Material Plane, it must remain stationary with its conventional thrusters turned off for 1 minute.