Voidrunner Here It Comes... The Voidrunner's Codex: A5E in SPACE!

Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and use powerful psionics with this comprehensive expansion!

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The Kickstarter for the Voidrunner's Codex draws near, and you can now sign up to be notified when it launches!

Space. In some stories it’s the final frontier, in others it’s where no one can hear you scream. It is the scene of stately space operas and ragtag rebellions alike. The Voidrunner’s Codex brings science fiction to your Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition games, allowing you to adventure in galaxies far, far away or to boldly go where nobody has gone before. With new player heritages and classes, rules for psionics, starships, and a slew of alien monsters, robots, and foes, this set contains everything you need to start exploring the void, battling evil empires, or making a living on the frontiers of the galaxy.
  • Voidrunner's Codex is a hardcover containing new player options, equipment, psionics, and more!
  • Star Captain's Manual details starships, space travel and exploration, and starship combat--along with rules for building your own starships!
  • Escape from Death Planet is an introductory adventure for character levels 1-3. Can you get off the planet of Ninemoon before the Imperium destroys it?
  • Plus tokens, maps, a Narrator's screen, and more--all in a beautiful slipcase!
Click here to be notified when it launches next month!



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To expand on it a bit:

The VRC adds in all the Sci-Fi stuff. Starships, Cybernetics, Psionics, Laser Swords, Etc. It has some new heritages that are various alien standards and new takes as well. You can run a purely sci-fi game right out of the book.


Just like the A5e core books there is no setting. You don't get a series of corporation names like Weyland-Yutani or Cyberdyne Systems or anything. There's no "This is Earth with the serial number filed off for Star Trek Purposes" type material. It's -just- the systems to run the game.

You could take the A5e core rules, plus the VRC rules, and apply them to the Starfinder campaign setting for an A5e Starfinder game. Or you could use Cyberpunk 2077's setting. Or Shadowrun. Or Firefly and Star Wars and Star Trek and More. You want a Sci-Fantasy game of Farscape? This is how you get a Sci-Fantasy game of Farscape.

Like I had (and kinda still have) intentions to do some Wildstar inspired material for A5e using the VRC.

It's all designed to be as setting-agnostic as possible.

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Honestly, I'm excited to see how well it will run the Dead Suns AP from Starfinder. It's one of my favorite APs to date, but my group is ---finder adverse and wouldn't try it.

It'll be very interesting to see if it's better to use the whole setting and adapt VC options, or replace the starfinder species and worlds with VC-based ones.


Sight unseen, this has already resolved one of my big complaints with d20 Future and 3.x - their power scales were not the same, so it could be finicky (in unanticipated ways) to adapt content from D&D to d20 Future. Since VRC is using the exact same rules as A5E, this should be gone.

The second biggest problem I had is the writers/editors for d20 Future really didn't have a grasp on how BIG space - even interplanetary space - is.

1x Light Speed = Warp 1. Approx. Time to Pluto (40 AU) 320 min. (5 hrs, 20 min); Approx Time to ProximaCentarui 4.2 years
25x; To Pluto 12.8 min; To Alpha C 61.3 days (2 months)
1 LY/Day (365x): To Pluto < 1 min.; To Alpha C: 4 days

To put things in historical perspective:
Crossing the Atlantic:
1492: 1 month
Sail Record/2016: ~6d
Steam Record/1952: ~3.5 d
Commercial Flight: ~6 hours
Flight Record (Concorde)/1996: ~3 hours

And crossing the United States of America, by automobile takes about 1 week, with a record of ~26 hours.

Oh, did I forget to mention that d20 was supposed to be able to handle Interstellar Space Opera (Star Trek, Star Wars, Dune), and let its fastest listed ship was only capable of 25x Light Speed?


A5e 3rd Party Publisher!
8 Ly/hour, 31 minutes to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to our solar system.

Seems a decent enough speed for closely clustered star systems nearer to the galactic core, but leaves longer range travel taking days or weeks on the outer rim?


Now THAT's a respectable FTL drive! :D:D

That's ~70 KiloLights. Which means it could cross the entire disk of the Milkway in about 1.5 years. That's approaching near-galactic neighbor speeds - only about 3 years to the Magellanic Clouds. And only about a year away from the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy, on the other side of the Milky Way's disk. At those speeds, you're rapidly approaching Speed-of-Plot.

I've always figured the big speed constraint was time; in a near-future, Slower-Than-Light transit you'd have essentially independent polities, that are essentially self-sufficient. At approximately 500 Lights, Star Trek (TOS)-sized polities are possible. At low Kilolights, you've advanced to ST:NG era for polity size. Once you crack 10 Kilolights, you're probably at Star Wars Galactic Empires.

I use time-neighborhood equivalencies:
Travel Time
A few hours = a local metro area; a nation-state
A few days = a regional polity; for the US a state, elsewhere a small-area nation
A week = a LARGE regional polity, most of a continent (with modern transport); the US
More than a week = Depending on arrangements, the sub-polities will be more-or-less tied to their centralized polity. You'll probably end up with a hierarchy of loyalities - to the Region, then the Meta-region, etc. Ex. The States at the time of the US Civil War.
More than a month = At this point, the more distant polities are functionally independent of the central one, no matter what it likes to pretend. Independence movements are more or less likely depending on the connections.
More that 6 months = The central polity can't pretend any more - the outlying areas are going to be independent. If things go well, they'll be friendly.

These time frames are, of course, all human-centric. Aliens will have differing tolerances.


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To be clear: I'm not saying that's the values in the book or anything. I don't know those values.

I was just trying to express a decent speed for starships to travel to have a strong "Interstellar" feel. After all it's unlikely -every- star has a space-faring species around it. So while we'd be able to get to Alpha Centauri in 31 minutes it might take days to reach our nearest Neighbor Species.

It'd also probably be best to make travel at that speed expensive or resource-intensive. Like, yeah you can travel at high warp speeds like that for a -while-... but you need breaks in between and the starship engine will need repairs and refueling...etc etc etc.

Intra-Solar travel also probably can't be at Kilolight travel. So, y'know... 10 minutes to travel 1AU would still represent a significant portion of light speed and be a good 'High Impulse Speed', right?


Aw darn. Still a respectable drive.

So, 10 Minutes to travel 1 AU is actually (a little bit) slower than light speed. (1 AU ~= 8 light minutes) Unhappily it is also fast enough to actually experience time-dilation (not much, but noticeable) - barring hand-wavium technobabble. A really low FTL multiple (2x or 3x) isn't unreasonable as a High-Impulse (in ST terms) either (and implicitly includes technobabble).

Basic Rocketry terms. SKIP if you already know what "specific impulse" and "delta V" mean.
As an aside - modern day rocketry uses the term "specific impulse", which essentially is a very jargon-ny way of saying how efficient a given engine/fuel is at producing thrust. In practical terms, high specific impulse engines also tend to have high "delta V", which is more jargon for how fast the rocket can accelerate. Which is ultimately what you care about, as it is delta V which controls how fast you get around.
Also ST's "Impulse Engines" are actually "I-M Pulse Engines" which have nothing to do with "specific impulse". And are thus, confusing.

Honestly, ST:TOS actually has a good example of "resource intensive" interstellar travel. Warp 4 (the early cruising speed) was 64x Light Speed. Which works out to a little under a week (5.7 days) per light year. They needed those Starbases! By the end of ST:TOS they had a cruising speed of Warp 6 (216x), or a little under 2 days per light year. By ST:NG and Voyager, I believe the warp factors were log10 - so Warp 6 would be 10^6 Light Speed - a million times light speed. But I could easily be misremembering.

As to whether or not, or how much "resource expenditure" is required for your FTL is going to depend on the genre you want to emulate. Near-Future, "Hard" Sci-Fi (like the Expanse)? Crank that cost UP! Something like the 'Verse from Firefly where you have a great-big-grand-daddy of a multi-stellar sytem? A cost is probably appropiate. Space Opera like the Honor Harrington series? MacGuffins (Wormhole Junctions) that are strategic resources for rapid-long-distance interstellar travel, but hand-wavium FTL is still in the low hundreds for the multiple. Ditto for something like the Vorkosigan saga. B5 uses the Jump Gates and Hyperspace, in conjunction with Slower-Than-Light drives to enable its space opera setting. By the time you get to Star Wars, though, that cost is basically neglible, and intra-system FTL basically boils down to "come out of hyperspace far enough away to hit the brakes, and not the planet."

Ultimately, the bigger you want/need your setting, the more you have to turn the speed up, and the costs down. And that's leaving aside the many, many, many variants of dodging Einstein. All of which can radically change how the setting feels. Supporting all the differences is a BIG sell. And there's nothing wrong with saying something like: VRC is intended for use in settings similar to "The Expanse", "Firefly", or even "Avatar". Other, future supplements will detail settings that cover a significant part of a galaxy (like all those famous Space Operas you just thought of).

To use a semi-British analogy - just don't promise a pound's worth, and only give me a shilling.

As an aside - modern day rocketry uses the term "specific impulse", which essentially is a very jargon-ny way of saying how efficient a given engine/fuel is at producing thrust. In practical terms, high specific impulse engines also tend to have high "delta V", which is more jargon for how fast the rocket can accelerate. Which is ultimately what you care about, as it is delta V which controls how fast you get around.
Sorry but that's not really correct.

Specific impulse is indeed a measure of mass efficiency of a propulsion system, but it's not directly related to deltaV. DeltaV is a measure of how much specific energy (difference in velocity) you must provide to change orbit, and this is first of all dependent of where you want to go and where from. Secondarily, deltaV is also impacted by the kind of transfer you're making: an impulsive maneuver will typically require less deltaV than a long pulsed maneuver because you're focusing the propulsion in the most effective spot instead of spreading it out.
However, since energy must be supplied by an actual system and pretty much all propulsion systems we have are based on ejecting mass somehow, that deltaV is influenced by how much mass you must expel and how quickly. Highly mass efficient propulsion systems (also high specific impulse propulsion systems) eject small amounts of mass at very high velocities. Since the mass ejected is very small, these propulsion systems provide low thrust (which is also the name often given to these systems), which in turns means that they cannot provide the necessary propulsion in a very short and focused way but must do so over very long arcs, thus effectively increasing the required deltaV of the transfer. Given the low mass required however this is often advantageous from a propellent point of view since not much mass is required, and this has many benefits (lower overall spacecraft mass, smaller size, lower costs etc) and some downsides (longer transfer times, more complicated trajectories, etc).

Voidrunner's Codex

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Voidrunner's Codex

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