Cosmic Ley Line Sailing (F.T.L. Travel):
As far as faster than light travel, the most common means are Contra-Grav, Phase Drives, and Rifts Jump Drives. There however are a number of other less common means of travel between star systems. One of these is known as Cosmic Ley Line Sailing. Similar to the Rifts Jump Drive, the system is magical in nature although it works by completely different principles.
As one might expect from the description, starships using this propulsion system travel along cosmic Ley Lines. Such cosmic Ley Lines crisscrossing the Three Galaxies. In fact, there are Ley Lines connecting almost all of the star systems in the Three Galaxies. Some are fairly weak while others are extremely powerful. Some star systems only have a handful of ley lines going through them while others have huge numbers of these cosmic ley lines.
Unfortunately the magic inherent in most systems disrupts the delicate balance of Cosmic Ley Line Sailing. As a result, ships can only start sailing via this method around forty light minutes out from a sun like star, or approximately out at Jupiter’s orbit, although it depends on the amount of mystical energy of the star system itself. Star systems with more mystical energies will require ships to enter the Ley Line further out from the star while those with less mystical energies will allow a ship to enter closer to the star itself.
Ships that use this form of propulsion do not look much like sailing ships from ancient time but instead the ships are surrounded by masts on all sides except forward and aft. In most cases, the masts fold when not being used and then fold outward when a ship. When active, glowing transparent sails go between the masts to capture the mystical energies.
The amount of actual sails effects how fast a starship can sail along Ley Lines. Because a smaller ship has more surface area compared to volume, smaller ships can carry more sails for their size than larger vessels. The smallests vessels, scout sized, can reach as fast as twelve light years per hour on an average cosmic Ley Line. Slightly larger vessels, such as frigate sized, might be able to travel up to eight or nine light years per hour on an average cosmic Ley Line. Finally the largest common Ley Line vessel, such as a cruiser class vessel, might be limited to around six light years per hour. There are not many cosmic ley line vessels larger than cruiser sized.
There also merchant designs which use Cosmic Ley Line Sailing in order to travel between star systems. Such ships tend to be slower. The fastest have the ability to travel at around six light years per hour on an average cosmic Ley Line while more common is around three or four light years per hour.
In comparison to most more conventional starships designs and even most United Worlds Warlock designs, these ships require large crews. In part this is due to the sails and masts needing minute adjustments in order to get the most out of the vessels on a ley line. There is also often a specialized position known as a sailing master who specializes both in how to adjust the sails and how to get the most out of ley lines. Many sailing masters are ley line walkers.
Because these ships have to leave faster than light travel when they enter a star system, these ships will often travel circuitous routes, jumping between Ley Lines, to avoid entering a star system before these ships reach their destination. While this add time with respect to travel, it still is far less than stopping and crossing through star systems might.
Unlike most means of faster than light propulsion, the strength of the Ley Line effects how fast a ship can go. The most powerful Ley Lines will allow a ship to travel upwards of twice as fast as a more average Ley Line. There are also weaker ones which might allow a ship to only travel at around half normal speed along them. Captains of Ley Line vessels will often seek out the most powerful Ley Lines in order to increase their speed between star systems.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
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