The Star Wars galaxy is estimated to be 120 million light years in diameter — about 10% larger than our own Milky Way galaxy. That is ridiculously big in human terms. In the very first Star Wars movie released, the Millennium Falcon travels from Tatooine to Alderaan in a few hours — certainly less than 2 days. Tatooine is in the Outer Rim, Alderaan is in the Core. Figure that’s a journey of at least 40 million light years. Let’s say it took 40 hours (an outside estimate) That’s a million light years an hour.

falcon

Of course the ship is not really traveling in space at that speed — we all know nothing can travel in space faster than the speed of light. So we assume the super-tech magic of hyperspace and hyper-drives. When a star ship in Star Wars jumps to light speed, it is actually jumping out of our universe and into another place where physical distance means nothing (or at least less than it does in our reality).

In other journeys we observe in the movies, described in the books and defined in the various game supplements, space travel covers long distances and short distance (well, if you consider a few hundred light years a short distance) in a matter of hours. Rarely less than 5, rarely more than 50. It is also possible for quite small ships (Luke’s X-wing, for instance) to make the jump to hyperspace. In the new movie, Han Solo actually does it from inside another ship. And since they don’t have internal gravity and/or inertia-less drives (otherwise BB8 wouldn’t have been rolling around all over the place), we must assume that the ship does not actually accelerate to light speed in a second or two (the organic beings would have been jam inside) we have to assume the going into hyperspace is a technological trick that requires a bit of real motion (the faster the better) some calculations and a whole lot of luck. You can minimize the luck factor by maximizing the calculations — and by being far away from other gravitational influences.

I don’t want to get into Traveller style calculations of how long it would take to fly from Earth to Jupiter (several weeks at an acceleration the passengers might sustain). Travel inside solar systems is assumed to use small hyperspace jumps as well.

The biggest influence on how long it takes to get somewhere is how well the route is known. In the big space lanes — The Corellian way, the Hydian way, etc. you can go halfway across the galaxy in a single jump in about 48 hours. Less if you’re only going a few million light years. Along the lesser known but still defined routes, the equations are not as cut and dried and you need to pop out of hyperspace several times along the way to confirm the route you’re on — or risk a really bad mis-jump. here it takes a few hours to go from defined star to defined star, following a trail along the route.

Rimma_Route

To get to places you only know about because you can see them in the sky, or on a map, is going to take a much longer time. In fact, you’re better off spending a few weeks planet side finding a source of the route map, however spotty it may be, than trying to forge your own route across the unknown. Now you’re going to have to pop out of hyperspace every few parsecs (a unit of distance, by the way, not time, Mr. Solo) and recalculate where you are, decide where to go next and then jump again. Now it will take weeks and months to travel a real distance.

The other considerations of long distance travel must be fuel and the on-board consumables. Luke’s X-wing was tiny. He didn’t even have a toilet on it. he could only have flown it for 10 to 20 hours, no matter how little fuel it burns, just because of the physical needs of his body. OK, he’s a Jedi, maybe he can go 48 hours in seat with no food, only a water bottle and no can. That ship probably smelled as bad as the swamp even before it sank.

Again for gaming considerations, I’m not going to worry too much about fuel. You’ll need to gas up every now and again. But much more often you’ll need to find fresh food, take on clean water and dump the effluent tanks!

 

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