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"Cinematic" hyperspace travel times
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Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

Joined: 29 Jun 2018
Posts: 158
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:05 am    Post subject: "Cinematic" hyperspace travel times Reply with quote

One thing where I always found the EU not really fitting with the movies is in the implied travel times for hyperspace jump.
Nothing really amazing here, but it's in the category of I made it so I might as well share it.

I think the best example for a jump in the movies for which we can guess the travel time is the journey from Tatooine to Alderaan in the Millennium Falcon.
They make the jump to hyperspace, Luke and Obi-Wan do the lightsaber training, and Chewbacca and R2D2 play holo-chess. Then Han comes in from the cockpitand goes bragging about his escape from the Empire. Three and a half minutes later the alarm goes off that they are about to reach Alderaan. It is unclear how long Han was still in the cockpit checking on things before he came back, but it all sounds like the whole jump didn't take more than 15 minutes or so.
Given than Chewbacca wants to kill time by playing a game and that Obi-Wan thinks it's now a good time to start with some lightsaber training, I think it narratively makes more sense to assume something like 60 to 90 minutes. And I decided to go with 90 minutes.

The game stats the Millennium Falcon as having a x0.5 Hyperspace modifier (as much sense as you can make of ".5 past lightspeed"), so the standard travel time would be 3 hours.
On maps of the galaxy, it just so happens (or perhaps it was done deliberately for just this issue) that Tatooine and Alderaan sit right next to the Corellian Run and the Hydian Way, maybe the two most important Hyperlanes in the galaxy. So this jump we see in the movie has the best possible conditions for covering a journey of this distance.

The following is my reference yardstick for estimating hyperspace jump travel times:

Distance from Tatooine to Alderaan on a major Hyperlane equals a base time of 180 minutes / 3 hour.
Measure this distance on any map you have and whatever number of pixels, cm, inch, or thumbs you get is equal to 3 hours travel.

My interpretation of hyperlanes is that the major hyperlanes are almost straight express routes where the locations and movements of stars have been extremely precisely measured and get regularly updated, which allows the nav computer to set a course with a very small margin of error for avoiding stars.
Away from the hyperlanes the position and movement of stars is less precise, and so you need to plot your course with a bigger margin of error and go wide around any stars along the way and all the curving increases the total length of the jump considerably.

For journeys along secondary hyperlanes, I multiply the base duration by 3.
For journeys not on hyperlanes, I multiply the base duration by 10.

And since I don't want to go measuring distances on a map and do the calculations for each leg of a journey by hand during play, I made this list with base travel times between various planets that might feature prominently in the campaign I am planning.

Major Hyperlane (Astrogation Very easy5)
New Cov - Ryloth: 90 min / 1.5h
Malastare - Eriadu: 60 min / 1h
Eriadu - Sluis Van: 30 min / 0.5h
Darkknell - Eriadu: 30 min / 0.5h

Minor Hyperlane (Astrogation Easy)
Nar Shaddaa - Bothawui: 180 min / 3h
Bothawui - Tatooine: 210 min / 3.5h
Bothawui - Mon Gazza: 150 min / 2.5h
Tatooine - Llanic: 90 min / 1.5h
Mon Gazza - Llanic: 60 min / 15h
Llanic - Enarc: 150 min / 2.5h
Enarc - Darkknell: 150 min / 2.5h
Enarc - Svivren: 210 min / 3.5h
Llanic - Svivren: 210 min / 3.5h
Tatooine - Ryloth: 60 min / 1h
Tatooine - Gamorr: 240 min / 4h
Eriadu - Bespin: 150 min / 2.5h

Regular Jump (Astrogation Moderate)
Tatooine - Rodia: 60 min / 1h
Vergesso - Reuss: 120 min / 2h

Combined Jump
Nar Shaddaa - Eriadu: 690 min / 11.5h

Since more precision than 30 minutes won't ever really matter (and I think even that is needlessly granular), any other jumps that might come up I'll probably just eyeball.

Most space travel will probably be with 2x hyperspace modifiers, so the actual travel times will be twice of what the list says. Mostly durations of 2 to 6 hours, which is typical for air travel inside Europe.
Given that all these planets are in the same general corner of the galaxy, this system results in flight times across the galaxy to be very much comparable to air travel on Earth right now. It's quite different from what's usually done in the EU, but I think matches quite well what is shown in the movies. (Though the Emperor traveling from Coruscant to Mustafar to pick up a terribly injured Vader and bring him back to a hospital on Coruscant feels like it was even considerably faster than this.)
"Adventure? Eh... Excitement? Eh... A Jedi does not crave these things."
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