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Tracking Through Hyperspace
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Director of Engineering
Director of Engineering

Joined: 05 Apr 2010
Posts: 13851
Location: Redding System, California Sector, on the I-5 Hyperspace Route.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This came up in discussion over on Google+, and it got me thinking about the mechanics of how it would work in the SWU.

So far, the two pieces of tech are the Hyperwave Signal Interceptor (that tracks a ship's initial trajectory) and the Soliton Wave Tracker (which allows a ship in hyperspace to detect the "wake" of the ship being pursued). However, there is a missing piece; there is no method allowing the pursuing ship to alter course to follow its target. So...

The Track-Nav Interface.

The basic premise is essentially an auto-pilot for the hyperdrive that bypasses the standard hyperspace coordinate buffer that keeps the ship following a multi-leg course through hyperspace. Rather than relying on the known coordinates, it plots "on the fly" by tracking the twists and turns of the target ship's hyperdrive course. The Track-Nav is also capable of feeding its "plot as you go" course back into the nav-comp to reverse-calculate the course and predict possible destinations in advance of arrival. When the target's soliton wave disappears off the sensor scopes, it alerts the crew that the target has dropped into realspace. At this point, the pursuit ship may immediately drop into realspace and attack the target, or it may choose to stay in hyperspace a minute or so longer before dropping into realspace, at which point it can double back and attempt to sneak up on the target. The second approach is generally only used if the reverse-plot function predicts the ship is entering a known star system, as over-shooting under other circumstances could run the ship into an undetected obstacle, with predictably disastrous results.

Some possible procedural and Difficulty modifier thoughts:

-In order to get a good read on the initial course, the pursuing ship (or an allied ship equipped with an HSI) must be within sensor range to get a good read on the fleeing ship.

-The ship's soliton wave degrades in a matter of minutes, so base jump Difficulty for the pursuer will increase the longer it waits to jump out in pursuit.

-The base Difficulty will also be +5 Difficulty over that of the fleeing ship because the Track-Nav can not tell the target's course changes in advance. On the other hand, the Track-Nav only requires a round or two of calculation time, as it needs little more than the initial trajectory and velocity to initiate a jump.

-Experienced fringe pilots have learned to, if they suspect they may be tracked through hyperspace, deliberately plot a highly convoluted course to increase the Difficulty for the pursuing ship. In game terms, a pilot may deliberately increase the Difficulty of his Astrogation roll above and beyond the base Difficulty for that route, with the pursuing ship suffering the same penalties.
"No set of rules can cover every situation. It's expected that you will make up new rules to suit the needs of your game." - The Star Wars Roleplaying Game, 2R&E, pg. 69, WEG, 1996.

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