It can be argued that the most important aspect of navigation involves movement and exploration between two or more points on a planetary surface, which for this discussion will be referred to as "intraplanetary travel". For purposes of this discussion intraplanetary travel will also covers any movement below a planet's surface or in its atmosphere to an altitude high enough for a vehicle to be considered in space. The key issues to be discussed are how long it takes to arrive at a destination and how hard it's going to be to successfully navigate a safe course.
The first thing to note about the intraplanetary travel rules as presented in this sub-Chapter is that they are designed to augment a role-playing adventure, not supplant it. If a GM has an adventure planned in the wilderness, they might consider incorporating a few of the aspects possible using the exploration rules but they are by no means bound by them nor must they be included at all. On the other hand, a GM may decide to make an adventure based solely upon the random events generated by the exploration rules; this is totally permissible though such an adventure may become tedious without some other action occurring. For more information on the features of a so-called "planetary wilderness adventure", see Chapter 11.2.2. Also, the rules in this chapter assume that planetary exploration will take place in a vehicle and thus will use vehicular terminology; these rules can still be applied to a party traveling without the use of a vehicle.
Most pieces of planetary data are crucial to surface exploration; the GM needs to have information on the current planet readily available whenever an adventure calls for travel on its surface. Some of the more important pieces of information are the planet's surface type, biomass percentage, mineralogical percentage, surface gravity, tectonics, vulcanism and weather. A list of lifeforms commonly found on the planet and the stats of those lifeforms should be readily available, particularly if the planet in question has a high biomass percentage. If a lifeform list is not available, the GM will need to prepare one beforehand. For information on how to create lifeforms, see Chapter 10.2.7; a few ready-made lifeforms are presented in Chapter 12.4. Finally, some crucial information such as terrain cannot be determined until a transit begins.
Coordinates and Determining Distances
Navigating a planet's surface isn't that much different from traveling through space (as will be discussed in the next Chapter); in order for a character to get to where they want to go, they have to first know where they are and how to get there, which in turn means having a way of determining where exactly Point A and Point B are in relation to one another and determining the shortest path between them. WCRPG uses Mercator projections to identify locations on a planet's surface; travel on a planet's surface therefore uses an orthogonal grid with the terms and conventions of a standard geographic coordinate system. Latitude is used as the y-axis while longitude is used as the x-axis. Travel occurs along the points of the compass: north corresponds to increasing latitude (increasing y), south to decreasing latitude, east to increasing longitude and west to decreasing longitude. In WCRPG is always defined as the direction that leads to the pole that is clearly on a bilateral being's left side when they are located at the Equator while facing the rising primary star.
All planets are divided by 180 latitude lines and 360 lines of longitude. Latitude lines wrap around a planet at even intervals parallel to its equator with ninety lines to the north and the south. By definition, 0°N/S is the Equator, 90°N is the North Pole and 90°S is the South Pole. Longitude lines wrap around a planet at even intervals with one line for each angular degree situated perpendicular to the Equator. One of these longitude lines is arbitrarily set as the Prime Meridian (0° E/W); this meridian is usually either selected due to some natural surface landmark visible from space or as the meridian facing the planet's primary at a particular time, usually selected when the planet was first explored). Should the planet be inhabited by a sapient race, they might choose yet another means by which to select their planet's Prime Meridian; for example, Terrans ultimately set Earth's Prime Meridian as a line that passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, a site that is otherwise completely lacking significance. Lines to the right-hand side of the Prime Meridian while facing north are in the Eastern Hemisphere while those to the left are in the Western Hemisphere. The longitude line exactly opposite of the Prime Meridian is 180°E/W and is also sometimes known as the Date Line. When shown on a Mercator map, the intersection between the planetary equator and Prime Meridian is always placed at the center-point by convention with North on the upper side. Since they are representations of spheroid objects, Mercator projections do "wrap around", allowing someone who reaches the edges of the map to re-enter at a corresponding point; if during the course of travel a character goes far enough in one direction to "wrap around" the globe, they enter the other east/west hemisphere at the same longitude. If they go over a pole, they wind up at a longitude 180 degrees away from where they were, traveling in the opposite north/south direction.
Naturally, the actual distance traveled on a planet's surface from one degree of latitude and/or longitude to the next is going to be dependent upon the size of the planet itself. For those bent on being completely realistic, that means a lot of math; a discussion of the level of math needed will not be included in these rules. For reference, one can expect to travel about 110 kilometers before traveling one degree of latitude on a planet the size of Earth (which is roughly 6,500 kilometers in radius). The distance between lines of longitude changes depending on latitude with it decreasing sharply as one approaches the poles. For the vast majority of transits on a planet's surface, a simple distance in units of kilometers will suffice for determining time of transit.
Determining how long it will take a vehicle to travel a given distance is fairly simple to compute, as the vehicle's speed is known; it can be arbitrarily selected by whoever is piloting it and may be anywhere from zero to its top speed. The GM simply needs to divide the distance by the speed in order to get the time required. In those cases where a traveler needs to go from one precise set of coordinates to another set, two methods are available for determining the distance, known as simple count and real count. Simple count has the advantage of being quick to calculate and is best used in situations where a player group decides to go somewhere the GM didn't anticipate during the middle of an adventure. Real count, aside from being a more realistic method, saves the characters distance and doesn't lower the DC of the transit Check as much (as will be discussed shortly). Both methods require the GM to convert the coordinates of both the source and destination points into x and y values to get a final distance in "degrees travelled"; the N/S coordinate is the y value and the E/W coordinate is the x value. The GM should treat any position in the Southern and/or Western Hemispheres as a negative value for purposes of calculation. No matter what system is used, the final distance in degrees traveled will need to be converted back into kilometers. To do this, the GM must multiply the planet's gravity in gees by one hundred and multiply the result by the number of degrees traveled; the final result is the distance in kilometers.
To employ simple distance, the GM simply adds the change in the east/west position to the change in the north/south position. These values should always be treated as positive even if a traveler is moving southward, westward or both. For example, a traveler wants to move from 37Nx95W to 35Nx97W. The change is two degrees southward (35-37 = -2) and two degrees westward (-97-(-95) = -2). In both cases, the values are negative but should be treated as positive. Using simple count, the distance traveled would be 4 degrees (2 + 2 = 4). On Earth or any other planet with a gravity of one gee, this would equate to 400 kilometers (1.0 * 100 * 4 = 400).
Real Distance, as the name implies, utilizes the algebraic distance formula. Since all points on a planet can be expressed as an x and y coordinate, any change in x and y will form the legs of a right triangle. The distance between the source and destination coordinates can therefore be calculated using the Pythagorean Theorem. To use real distance, the GM must calculate the change in x and y as with simple count. They must then square both values, add them together and take the square root of the result to find the final number of degrees traveled; this final result should be rounded to the closest integer. Using the simple count example, the change in x is 2 and the change in y is 2. The square of both changes is four (2 x 2 = 4). Adding them together, the result is eight. Taking the square root of 8 and rounding it to the closest integer, the result is 3 (√8 ≈ 2.828, rounds to 3). On Earth or any other planet with a gravity of one gee, this would equate to 300 kilometers.
The full intraplanetary transit/planetary exploration rules rely on a procedure that involves a series of die rolls made by both players and the GM each hour their characters continue to travel. To travel on a planet's surface, a craft's pilot will need to make a Vehicle Piloting Check; if the craft is a capital ship in atmosphere, this will need to be a Starship Piloting Check instead (remember that "intraplanetary transit" includes vehicles in atmosphere and that certain small capital ships are atmospheric capable). The final DC of the Check is dependent on the effects of the initial terrain, tectonic activity and weather. The GM will be checking to see if there are any changes in the terrain, changes in the weather, tectonic events, lifeform encounters or mineralogical discoveries during the course of a given hour. All of these will be determined with one or two d% rolls and can affect the final amount of time it takes to reach the final destination point.
When a vehicle sets out on its journey, the first thing that needs to happen is the determination of the initial terrain difficulty, weather severity and tectonic activity. Determination of terrain difficulty is usually arbitrary but there are methods a GM can use to formulate a "best guess". If the GM has a planetary map, they may be able to tell the elevation in the area where the vehicle is currently located as a general rule, areas with steep land gradients are harder to traverse for land vehicles. Sea vehicles are limited to the water with areas further from the shoreline easier to traverse. A GM can determine terrain difficulty for an air vehicle/space vehicle in atmosphere by referencing the planet's stats and using the planet's gravity and atmospheric density. Alternatively, the GM can select a terrain difficulty at random or roll 1d5 and use the following chart based on the planet's type (note that this chart assumes the use of a land vehicle).
|1d5 Result||Planetary Type|
|1||Very Easy||Extremely Easy||Very Easy||Easy||Difficult|
|2||Extremely Easy||Very Easy||Easy||Moderate||Very Difficult|
|3||Very Easy||Easy||Moderate||Difficult||Extremely Difficult|
|5||Moderate||Difficult||Very Difficult||Impossible||Extremely Difficult|
The GM must also select initial weather conditions; weather is determined via a d% roll using the following chart based on the planet's global weather severity rating. This chart will also be used for hourly weather checks and includes information on how much damage Severe Weather may cause to a vehicle. Temperature categories listed alongside weather conditions refer to the derived temperature at the vehicle's specific latitude based on the overall global temperature range. For reference, temperatures rated as Temperate and Tropical are warm, Subarctic and Arctic are cold, and Searing and Inferno are hot. When a set of weather conditions occurs that has warm as a possibility for both listed conditions, the GM may either select one at random or roll 1d2 with a result of two indicating the second possibility.
|Weather Descriptor||Global Weather Category|
|Weather (Type)|| Base Wx|
| Overcast (Calm; Cold, Warm)|
Misty (Calm; Warm, Hot)
| Hazy (Calm; Cold, Warm)|
Foggy (Calm; Warm, Hot)
| Snowing (Light; Cold)|
Raining (Light; Warm, Hot)
| Snowing (Heavy; Cold)|
Raining (Heavy; Warm, Hot)
| Thunderstorm (Severe; Warm, Hot)|
Hailing (Severe; Cold)
|75 + (8*1d10)||N/A||95-97||80-89||70-84||40-69|
| Electrical Storm (Severe; Warm, Hot)|
Windstorm (Severe; Cold)
|100 + 1d10x10||N/A||98-99||90-99||85-99||70-99|
The initial level of tectonic activity must also be determined; tectonic activity is determined via two d% rolls using the following chart based on the planet's global tectonic severity ratings. Both forms of tectonic activity utilize the same chart; the result of the first die roll applies to seismicity and the second to vulcanism. This chart will also be used for hourly tectonic checks and includes information on how much damage a tectonic event may cause to a vehicle as well as the probabilities of encountering a lava flow during the next hour, which will be explained later in this sub-Chapter.
|Tectonic Event Descriptor||Global Vulcanism/Seismicity Severity Category|
|Weather (Type)|| Base Damage /|
| Eruption (Hawaiian)|
Earthquake (<Mw 3.0)
| Eruption (Strombolian)|
Earthquake (>Mw 3.0, <Mw 4.0)
|25 + (2*1d2); 20%||N/A||85-90||65-79||40-59||25-39|
| Eruption (Vulcanian)|
Earthquake (>Mw 4.0, <Mw 5.0)
|50 + (4*1d5); 40%||N/A||91-95||80-89||60-69||40-54|
| Eruption (Pelean)|
Earthquake (>Mw 5.0, <Mw 6.0)
|75 + (8*1d10); 60%||N/A||96-97||90-94||70-79||55-69|
| Eruption (Pinian)|
Earthquake (>Mw 6.0, <Mw 7.0)
|100 + 1d10x10; 80%||N/A||98-99||95-97||80-89||70-84|
| Eruption (Ultra Plinian)|
Earthquake (>Mw 7.0)
|150 + 1d%x20; 100%||N/A||N/A||98-99||90-99||85-99|
Terrain, weather and tectonic phenomena may have a significant impact on an intraplanetary transit. The following table lists the effects of these phenomena on the difficulty and of a journey as well as the effects on the amount of time it takes to make it.
|Terrain Difficulty/Weather Severity||DC Modifier||Time Modifier (Minutes)|
|Extremely Easy Terrain||0||0|
|Very Easy Terrain||5||0|
|Very Difficult Terrain||25||20|
|Extremely Difficult Terrain||30||25|
| Light Weather-OR-|
Eruption (Hawaiian or Strombolian) -OR-
Earthquake (<Mw 4.0)
| Heavy Weather-OR-|
Eruption (Vulcanian or Pelean) -OR-
Earthquake (>Mw 4.0, <Mw 6.0)
| Severe Weather -OR-|
Eruption (Plinian or Ultra-Plinian) -OR-
Earthquake (>Mw 6.0)
Because changes in terrain, weather and tectonics during the course of a transit may have an effect on the amount of time it takes to reach a final destination, the GM should be sure at this point to log the initial conditions as well as the current fuel level of the vehicle (i.e. the number of fuel points it has at the transit's onset).
Once the initial conditions have been determined, the vehicle's crew will need to plot a course to a destination. This destination can be given as a coordinate set on the planet's surface, a travel vector (direction of travel and distance) or a full route (for example, something like 20 kilometers north then 20 kilometers west towards a landing zone). If planetary coordinates are given as the destination, they can be compared with the coordinates of the vehicle's present position (i.e. its source position) to get information on how far it is to the destination using one of the distance formulas discussed earlier in this chapter. For vectored travel, the total distance has already been given. In adventures where the plot indicates the characters will need to go to a specific destination, the GM may have distance information prepared ahead of time. In situations where the GM is running an open campaign, the players will tell the GM where they'd like to go; the GM will then have to calculate the necessary information as rapidly as possible. In any case, once the transit Check has been made, the vehicle and its occupants are committed to the transit attempt.
The time of transit can be readily calculated from a vehicle's speed. Before the pilot performs the Vehicle Piloting Check, they should declare exactly how fast the vehicle will travel to its destination; a vehicle may travel at a speed up to its maximum. Note that there are some situations wherein a vehicle may be operated at speeds that exceed the maximum design limits of the chassis; these situations are discussed in Chapter 6.2.
Once the distance to the destination has been calculated in kilometers, the GM simply needs to divide the distance by the speed in kilometers per hour and add in the modifiers for the initial terrain and weather conditions; the final result is the amount of time it will take to complete the journey in hours. The result should not be rounded; any remainder should be multiplied by sixty to get a leftover amount of minutes. The DC of the transit Check is reduced by the total amount indicated for initial conditions; the amount of any Engine damage the vehicle currently has sustained should also be subtracted from the Check's DC. The final result is the DC of the transit Check; again, this is a Vehicle Piloting Check unless the craft happens to be a capital ship in atmosphere, in which case it is a Starship Piloting Check.
If the Check succeeds, no adjustments are made to the amount of time it takes to complete the transit. If it fails, however, the craft will take an additional amount of time in minutes equal to the degree of failure to reach its destination. This Check has critical potential: in the event of critical success, the vehicle will arrive at its destination early by an amount of minutes equal to the degree of success (to a minimum of ten minutes). In the event of critical failure, the pilot gets lost at some point in the journey and as a result it takes twice as long as it should have; additionally, the vehicle will have one encounter which cannot be negated by the pilot's Stealth Check.
Encounters on Planets and the Hourly Check
By the time the craft's pilot has made their transit Check, the GM will know how long the journey to the vehicle's final destination would ordinarily take. The key word there is ordinarily; there are many possible events that may occur during the course of an intraplanetary transit. For each hour of transit, the GM will make three concealed rolls; by comparing the result of the first of these rolls to various charts and indices listed in this section, the GM will be able to tell whether or not the terrain and/or weather has changed, if a hostile lifeform has been encountered and if any valuable mineral deposits have been discovered. The second and third of these rolls respectively set the local seismic and volcanic activity levels for the next hour of the transit. Collectively, all of these factors are known as encounters on a planet's surface. Aside from making the trip more interesting, encounters provide opportunities for the characters to exercise their Skills and possibly gain wealth in the form of captured lifeforms and mined minerals. Any encounter may increase the amount of time ultimately required for the transit.
Compared to the possibilities of encounters in space, the procedure for determining encounters on a planet's surface is much more complex. Each sub-section of this discussion should be considered a step in a procedure; the GM should follow each step in turn until they arrive at the end and repeat it as many times as is necessary to complete the transit.
Determining Hourly Terrain, Weather, and Fuel Usage
If the current hour is the first hour of a transit, the GM has already determined the initial terrain, weather and tectonic activity levels; in that case, they only make to make one concealed d% roll to determine lifeform and mineral encounters. Otherwise, the GM will need to make three concealed d% rolls to reset the weather and tectonic activity; they will need to be sure to remember the result of the weather roll in order to determine lifeform and mineral encounters. Changes to the terrain difficulty are dependent upon the weather and tectonic activity from the previous hour; the GM will use the following set of charts to determine changes:
|Previous Hour's Weather||If the GM's Weather roll for this hour is...||Then...||Otherwise...|
|Calm||00-19||Terrain difficulty improves one level.||Terrain difficulty remains the same.|
|Light||00-99||Terrain difficulty remains the same.||N/A|
|Heavy||80-99||Terrain difficulty remains the same.||Terrain difficulty worsens one level.|
|Severe||00-99||Terrain difficulty worsens one level.||N/A|
|Previous Hour's Activity||If the GM's seismicity/vulcanism roll for this hour is...||Then...||Otherwise...|
|No Activity||00-19||Terrain difficulty improves one level.||Terrain difficulty remains the same.|
| Eruption (Hawaiian or Strombolian)|
Earthquake (<Mw 4.0)
|30-99||Terrain difficulty remains the same.||Terrain difficulty worsens one level.|
| Eruption (Vulcanian or Pelean)|
Earthquake (>Mw 4.0, <Mw 6.0)
|80-99||Terrain difficulty remains the same.||Terrain difficulty worsens one level.|
| Eruption (Plinian or Ultra-Plinian)|
Earthquake (>Mw 6.0)
|00-49||Terrain difficulty worsens one level.||Terrain difficulty worsens two levels.|
Regardless of it magnitude, if a volcanic eruption occurs there is a chance the vehicle will encounter a lava flow during the same hour. The GM must make a d% roll; if the result is less than the indicated percent chance for a lava flow for that hour, one will be encountered. Lava flows automatically change the terrain difficulty to Impossible for land and sea vehicles and increase the terrain difficulty by an additional level for all airborne vehicles. For more information on the additional nasty side effects of lava, see Chapter 12.3.
Weather and tectonic activity both use the same set of charts used to set initial conditions in order to determine changes; the GM merely compares the results of their rolls to the table using the columns that correspond to the global weather/vulcanism/seismicity on the appropriate chart. Once the GM knows the terrain, weather and tectonic activity for the next hour, they will need to keep them secret until after they've calculated the fuel efficiency and fuel use for the upcoming hour (the procedure for which is covered in Chapter 8.1). The distance covered during an hour of travel is dependent on the vehicle's speed and should be equal in magnitude to it.
Perform a Typhonology Check (Optional)
Once fuel usage has been calculated, the GM should record the results of their hourly rolls and the fuel reserves of the vehicle. At this point, the GM should ask if any player controlling one of the vehicle's occupants would like to have them make a Typhonology Check; this Check can be used to attempt to mitigate the effects of Severe Weather if it occurs. If at least one of the players wishes to make the attempt, their character performs the Check; they may decide amongst themselves who will perform the Check if multiple players want to do it. If the Check succeeds and Severe Weather is indicated for the hour, it will automatically inflict the least possible amount of damage. If the Check fails or if no Check is made and Severe Weather occurs, the GM will have to make the indicated die roll for damage. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical success, no damage occurs at all. In the event of a critical failure, the maximum possible amount of damage is inflicted. If the weather for the hour is not Severe, a Typhonology Check may still be made although there is no practical difference between failure and success. A Typhonology Check may not be used to mitigate the effects of tectonic hazards.
After any Typhonology Check has been made, the GM may finally reveal the current terrain difficulty and weather for the current hour. If any damage is indicated from weather and/or from tectonic hazards, it must be immediately applied to the vehicle; the total amount of damage may be reduced by a number of points equal to the pilot's Typhonology score and is divided among all defense arcs evenly (for more on applying damage to vehicles, see "Resolving Damage" in Chapter 9.2.). In addition, if Severe Weather is indicated for the current hour, the vehicle's Navigator must perform an Orientation Check to avoid becoming Lost; another thirty minutes will be tacked onto the transit should this Check fail. The effects of Severe Weather listed herein affect vehicles only; for a list of potential weather effects on characters and objects on the character-scale, refer to Chapter 12.3.
Perform a Stealth Check (Optional)
Once the Typhonology Check (if any) has been resolved, the GM may ask the player controlling the vehicle's pilot if they would like to make a Stealth Check; this Check can be used to attempt to avoid a lifeform encounter. To determine if lifeforms may be encountered, the GM will compare the result of their hourly weather roll to the planet's bio rating; if the roll is less than the bio rating, lifeforms may be encountered during that hour. A vehicle will automatically avoid any lifeform encounters if there are none present that can interact with its terrain mode (an air vehicle will avoid lifeform encounters on a world that doesn't have any flying creatures, sea vehicles won't have encounters if there are no fish, etc.).
If the Stealth Check succeeds, the vehicle will avoid a lifeform encounter except in the case where the pilot critically failed the initial transit Check, the GM has not yet forced an encounter and would like to do so. If these conditions are fulfilled or if the Stealth Check fails and an encounter is indicated, a lifeform encounter will occur. If no encounter is indicated by the GM's roll, a Stealth Check can still be made though there's no difference between success and failure in that case.
Conduct a Lifeform Encounter
If a lifeform encounter is indicated, the GM will need to select the number and type of lifeforms involved. The best way to do this is to consult the list of lifeforms indicated for the planet if such a list exists; if one does not, the GM may use the rules in Chapter 10.2.4 and Chapter 10.2.7 to generate a list of their own.
Planets may have up to nine different specific significant lifeforms that can be encountered during a transit whether they are megaflora or megafauna. To determine the specific lifeform encountered, the GM will make a 1d10 roll and use the table below; the GM should determine the number of lifeforms on the planet's lifeform list, find the matching column and use the corresponding intersection that matches the result of their roll.
|d10 Result||Number of Lifeforms in Planetary List|
|0||Other vehicles are encountered; see below.|
|1||Use lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.||Use first lifeform.|
|2||Use second lifeform.||Use second lifeform.||Use second lifeform.||Use second lifeform.||Use second lifeform.|
|3||Use second lifeform.||Use third lifeform.||Use third lifeform.||Use third lifeform.||Use third lifeform.|
|4||Use second lifeform.||Use third lifeform.||Use fourth lifeform.||Use fourth lifeform.||Use fourth lifeform.||Use fourth lifeform.|
|5||Use second lifeform.||Use third lifeform.||Use fifth lifeform.||Use fifth lifeform.||Use fifth lifeform.|
|6||Use fourth lifeform.||Use fifth lifeform.||Use sixth lifeform.||Use sixth lifeform.||Use sixth lifeform.|
|7||Use third lifeform.||Use fourth lifeform.||Use seventh lifeform.||Use seventh lifeform.|
|8||Use fifth lifeform.||Use sixth lifeform.||Use seventh lifeform.||Use eighth lifeform.||Use eighth lifeform.|
|9||Use ninth lifeform.|
Once the specific lifeform to be encountered has been determined, the GM should roll 1d5. The result indicates the number of lifeforms encountered (e.g. if a Centaurian Mud Pig is indicated and the 1d5 comes up as a three, three Centaurian Mud Pigs will be encountered). The GM may adjust this number down if the resultant Composite Strength Index of the lifeform group would be higher than the SI of the vehicle (for more on Strength Indices, see Chapter 9.1). An encounter with a group of lifeforms does not automatically indicate a combat situation, though there is always that possibility when dealing with wildlife; the GM may use any excuse they wish to initiate combat (the lifeform sees the vehicle as food, the vehicle intruded on its territory, it considers the vehicle a threat to its offspring, etc.) but should limit combat situations to lifeforms that are actually capable of causing damage on the vehicle-scale.
Particularly valuable lifeforms may be stunned and captured to be sold off later. In order to be capable of doing this, a vehicle must be equipped with a weapon capable of inflicting Non-Lethal Damage and have sufficient available cargo space to contain the lifeform. If these conditions are met and the vehicle's occupants would like to pick up the lifeform, they may do so; picking up a stunned lifeform adds one minute to the transit. Lifeforms that are killed as a result of a combat action may be collected but a Refrigeration Module is also required if the vehicle and its occupants are from an Industrial Age or Starfaring Age society.
If the result of the roll for lifeform selection is zero, the vehicle will have some kind of encounter with another vehicle; groups of traveling sapients may be substituted for vehicles on planets with primitive populations (Metal Age or earlier). These encounters generally involve some interaction with a group of local sapients. An encounter with a vehicle group can be handled similarly to an encounter in space (for details, see Chapter 8.3). When setting up such an encounter, the GM should consider the current SI of the transiting vehicle and quickly compose a group of encountered craft that come close to matching it. It's generally okay to go under or over the SI as long as the group comes within 250 points either way; any amount substantially below that may be too easy of an encounter should combat ensue while any amount substantially above that may be too difficult. Encounters do not necessarily require combat; an encounter may simply involve hailing and talking for a while (a good opportunity to advance a story and get in some good role-playing). Encounters can also simply involve a situation where either party simply leaves without the other party giving pursuit; there may not be much as much fun in that but occasionally this sort of encounter is appropriate. Of course, depending upon who has been encountered, combat may very well be an automatic result (for example, any Terran can pretty much be assured that there will be some shooting going on if they encounter any Kilrathi). In case combat ensues, the GM can refer to the combat rules in Chapter 9. During the course of the encounter, Technology Checks may be made to determine vital stats on the opposing group. In the event that a group of sapients is encountered instead, an Anthropology Check may be made for the same purpose. For more on both of these Skills, see Chapter 3.8. Encounters terminate when there is sufficient space between all involved parties or when one party has been completely destroyed as a result of combat. Picking up any debris from any destroyed vehicles functions in the same way as mining (as will be discussed momentarily).
Determine if any Minerals are Found, and Conduct Mining
After any lifeform encounter has been resolved, it is possible that the vehicle will come across a significant deposit of mineral resources; only land and sea vehicles can come across minerals during the course of a transit. To determine if minerals have been discovered, the GM will compare the result of the hourly weather roll to the planet's mineralogical rating; if the roll is less than the rating, mineral deposits will be discovered during that hour. If minerals are discovered, the vehicle in question is equipped with an Industrial Manipulator Module and has some available cargo space, the GM should make a fresh roll to determine what kind of mineral deposit has been discovered using the chart below to make the precise determination:
|d% Result||Mineral Indicated|
|00-39||Use first mineral listed in planet's lithosphere.|
|40-69||Use second mineral listed in planet's lithosphere.|
|70-89||Use third mineral listed in planet's lithosphere.|
|90-99||Make another roll and use the table in Chapter 10.2.4 to make the determination.|
Once the type of mineral has been identified, the GM will make a final d% roll for a land vehicle or a 1d10 roll for a sea vehicle, dividing the result by ten and keeping any decimal. To this amount, the GM will add a bonus equal to the highest Geology score of any member of the vehicle's crew divided by ten, again keeping the decimal. The final result is the size of the mineral deposit encountered.
With the size and type of the mineral deposit determined, the GM may ask the players controlling the vehicle's occupants if they wish for them to mine any minerals. If so, the vehicle's occupants may pick up as much of the material as they wish until either the deposit is exhausted or the vehicle cannot carry any more. For each 0.5 cubic meters of material mined in this manner, an additional minute is added to the time of transit.
Resolving the Transit
Once any mining activity is concluded, the GM subtracts one hour from the time remaining in the transit and proceeds to the next hour, making new rolls for the new hour's weather and tectonic activity. This will continue to repeat until there is no time remaining in the transit, at which point the vehicle arrives at its destination. For the hour of the final roll (which will take care of any remaining leftover minutes), the calculation of fuel remaining and the total distance traveled should be held off until after all of that hour's encounters has been resolved. In the event that sufficient additional time is added to the "final" hour that the time remaining goes over 60 minutes, another hourly roll will be required. When calculating fuel consumption and distance traveled for the final hour, the GM may either treat the extra minutes as a full hour or may perform the math necessary to account for the fraction of the hour at their discretion.
An Example of Transit
Because there is so much that goes into a planetary transit, it seems unfair to not provide an example of how it’s done; the following is an example of how a typical transit might work.
A Confederation combat tank rolls out of a drop ship on the surface of Repleetah about 300 kilometers from the front line; it needs to get up to the front lines as quickly as possible and so a jaunt up there will be necessary. The GM has consulted their notes on Repleetah (which they've created specifically for their campaign): it's a Rocky world with a gravity of 1.2G, Moderate planetary weather and Light tectonic activity. The GM also takes note of the planet's 5% bio rating, 15% mineral rating with a lithosphere of Titanium, Antimony and Nickel, and its Arctic to Tropical planetary temperature. The GM has elected to create a lifeform list for the planet using the procedure in Chapter 10.2.4, opting to include a few lifeforms from the bestiary as well as a few of their own; there are three lifeforms on the list: Bugbear, Thorny Roller (a custom lifeform of the GM's own design) and Common Bos Taurus. All of this information may be needed during the coming transit.
The GM makes their rolls for the initial conditions on the planet. The GM rolls 1d5 and looks up the chart for initial terrain difficulty; the result is a three, which for a Rock planet indicates Easy Terrain, will subtract 10 from the DC and add 5 minutes to the trip. The GM then rolls d% and looks up the chart for planetary weather conditions. The result of 03 is universal; clear skies, calm weather and no modifications to DC or time. Finally, two more rolls are made for the initial tectonic conditions. The results of 27 and 09 are low enough not to trigger an eruption or quake; there are no additional modifications to DC or time. The GM logs these conditions as well as a full fuel tank and an empty cargo hold. For reference, 'the combat tank is a Size Class 6 vehicle with two Fuel Tanks, so it has a total of eighty fuel points at the beginning of its the journey. Its design also 'includes a five cubic meter storage area.
Checking their notes, the GM sees that the tank has a top speed of 150 kph. The GM asks the vehicle's pilot how fast they wish to travel to their destination; the pilot decides to travel at top speed, citing the need for haste to get to the front lines. The trip will take 2 hours and five minutes; the extra five minutes come from the terrain. The pilot's normal composite Vehicle Piloting DC is 36; subtracting 10 to account for the terrain brings this down to 26.
The tank's pilot makes the Check for the transit; the result is 96, a critical failure. The time of the journey is increased to four hours and ten minutes with at least one encounter guaranteed. Since the Check has been made, the tank crew is committed to the transit.
The tank's Sixth Class engines give it a 30% base fuel efficiency. Since the weather is calm for the first hour and the terrain is Easy, it will consume one fuel point for every two distance units traversed; for a land vehicle the distance unit equals five kilometers (this is all according to the procedure in Chapter 8.1). So, the tank will eat up one fuel point every ten kilometers during the first hour. It is moving at 150 kph, so it'll traverse 150 kilometers during the first hour and consume fifteen fuel points, leaving it with 65 (150/10 = 15, 80-15 = 65).
The GM makes their weather roll for the first hour; the result is 27. A lifeform encounter is not indicated since the planet has a bio rating of 5% (27 > 5); mineral deposits will not be discovered either since the planet has a mineralogical rating of 15% (27 > 15).
The GM asks if anyone would like to make a Typhonology Check; given their luck so far, the tank's crew decides it might not be a bad idea. The Check is made and is high enough to succeed, at which point the GM can report sunny skies. The GM then asks if the pilot would like to make a Stealth Check; he agrees to make the attempt. He has a composite Stealth DC of 35; the roll is made and comes up as 46, a failure. The GM decides not to force an encounter this hour even though he could if he chose to do so; the GM reports no lifeforms and no minerals encountered during the hour. Nothing has occurred that would add time to the transit, so at the end of the hour the tank has 65 fuel points remaining and another three hours and ten minutes until it completes its transit.
The GM now makes their rolls for the next hour, which respectively result as 33, 75 and 65. Calm skies and no tectonic activity were indicated in the previous hour; the GM checks the table to see if the terrain improves as a result. It doesn't, so the terrain remains Easy. Checking the weather chart, a roll of 33 still indicates calm weather but not clear skies. The temperature is tropical (which counts as warm), so the GM rolls d2 to see which condition applies; the result of one indicates Overcast skies. A result of 75 for seismicity indicates a minor quake; this causes no damage but is still a quake and tacks 10 minutes onto the transit. A result of 65 for vulcanism indicates no eruptions. Since the terrain difficulty hasn't changed from the previous hour, the GM knows another 15 of the vehicle's fuel points are gone, leaving fifty fuel points. The players decline the Typhonology Check but go ahead with the Stealth Check, which comes up as 35, a success (though just barely). The GM decides this is a good time to penalize the characters for the prior botch and rolls d10 to pick a lifeform. The result is eight, indicating the third lifeform on the list; the roll of 1d5 comes up as four, so four Common Bos Tauri are encountered. The players happen to have a stunner installed on their tank; not thinking about the impact it'll have on the transit nor on what they'll do with it them once they arrive at their destination (just thinking about all that beef), the players stun and snap them all up. Four cubic meters of space in the tank's hold disappear. More importantly, four minutes are added to the transit. The GM informs the players of the minor quake the group experiences while they are shooting at cows. No minerals are indicated once again. At the end of the second hour, the tank has 50 fuel points remaining and is holding four Common Bos Tauri with one cubic meter of available space left in its hold. A total of fourteen minutes were added to the transit this hour, bringing the remaining transit time to 2 hours and 24 minutes.
The GM's rolls for the third hour are 70, 86 and 4. This again is out of the range of values for improving the terrain for weather and seismicity but is within the range due to vulcanism, so the terrain difficulty improves one step to Very Easy. A 70 for the weather indicates Heavy Rain, which is Heavy Weather; that's going to reduce the fuel efficiency to one fuel point per one distance unit. The net result is that twice the amount of fuel will be burned this hour; the tank is down to twenty fuel points. Additionally, the change in the weather tacks on 20 minutes to the transit. An 86 for seismicity is enough to cause a stronger quake, one that may damage the vehicle a bit; the quake will add another ten minutes to the transit. At least nothing happens in regard to vulcanism. The Typhonology Check is performed and succeeds but no damage will occur from the weather; the damage comes from the quake. Fortunately, the amount is a mere 27 points, which will easily be negated by the Typhonology Skill of the vehicle's pilot. The pilot makes his Stealth Check; 75 is the result but once again no lifeform encounter is indicated and no mineral deposits will be discovered. At the end of this hour, the tank is down to twenty fuel points. Since thirty minutes were added to the transit this hour, the time remaining is one hour and 54 minutes.
The fourth hour's rolls are 44, 53 and 26; this does not worsen the terrain, does not cause any tectonic events and improves the weather back to Calm (Fog is rolled). Because the terrain is Very Easy now, a fuel efficiency of one fuel point per three range increments is indicated or one fuel point per fifteen kilometers. Only ten fuel points will be exhausted this hour, leaving the tank with ten fuel points. The pilot's Stealth Check comes up as 70, not enough to dodge an encounter but once again none are indicated. No minerals are encountered either. At the end of the fourth hour, the tank is down to ten fuel points. Nothing added to the time of transit this hour, so the tank is only 54 minutes from its destination.
The GM realizes at this point that if conditions worsen, the tank might run out of fuel before it reaches its destination. In light of this, he elects to do the math rather than just counting the extra 54 minutes as a full hour. At a speed of 150 kph, the vehicle would travel 135 kilometers during the last 54 minutes (150 * (54/60) = 135). At a fuel efficiency of one fuel point per five kilometers (which would be the fuel efficiency in the event of Severe Weather), it would take 27 fuel points to traverse that distance; it wouldn't make it. At one fuel point per ten kilometers (for Light and Heavy Weather), it would take fourteen fuel points. The tank only has ten fuel points left, but like all vehicles it carries a 5% reserve; since it started with 80 fuel points, this works out to a four fuel point reserve. It would get to the front on fumes, but it would get there. At one fuel point every fifteen kilometers for Calm Weather, only nine fuel points would be required; it'd make it there with fuel to spare.
It's time for the GM to make their final hourly rolls. The results are 96, 16 and 60. An Electrical Storm is indicated; that's Severe Weather. The 16 for seismicity bumps the terrain difficulty up to Extremely Easy, but a fuel efficiency of one fuel point per one distance unit is still indicated...
The GM asks the characters if they wish to make a Typhonology Check; they elect not to and the GM has to inform the unlucky crew of the sudden change in their fortunes. Checking the table, the GM sees that the storm will do 100 + 1d10x10 points of damage to the tank; the d10 roll comes up as a two and so the storm inflicts a total of 120 points of damage (2*10=20, 20+100=120). The pilot performs a Stealth Check but the GM's hourly roll is high enough that a lifeform encounter is not indicated. Mineral deposits will not be discovered, either. The storm tacks thirty minutes onto the transit; since there were fifty four minutes originally, that's more than sufficient time to force another hourly roll; there are twenty-four minutes left in the transit. It doesn't matter, however; the tank is now completely out of fuel and has taken some damage as well. The crew had better hope they can get assistance from nearby friendly forces before the Cats discover their position...