Crossing the Threshold - Travel In Psi Wars

A Star System Far Away

The Galaxy is a huge place, and everything interesting happens somewhere else. Most Psi-Wars adventures will require the heroes to travel from their present location to some other location. This will either be space travel or planetary travel.

The commentary in “Travel” on page 7-8 of GURPS Action 2 remains relevant and useful in Psi-Wars.

Interstellar Travel

The primary means of interstellar travel in Psi-Wars is the hyperdrive. This allows ships to travel at phenomenal speeds at the cost of expensive fuel and careful, time-consuming navigation. Hyperspace itself is not a true vacuum, but a hyperdynamic medium which the ship must “push” through. Some regions have complex or “rough” regions of hyperdynamic medium that make navigation difficult, while other regions have simple or “smooth” regions of hyperdynamic medium, making travel very straight forward. The simplest tend to be called “hyperlanes” or “hyperstraits” if they travel through a normally complex region. The character of hyperspace can change overtime, sometimes very quickly, in a form of “weather,” and the worst of these events are called “Hyperstorms.”

Navigating Hyperspace: Before shunting into hyperspace, the character needs to chart a course, as the ship is “blind” once it is in Hyperspace. Navigating hyperspace requires a Navigation (Hyperspace) roll, 15 minutes, starcharts, and either a sufficiently large computer, or a robot capable of hyperspace calculations.

Modifiers: Most worlds have their own modifier to reach: “nexus” worlds easy to reach are at +4, the average world on a well-traveled part of space is +0, backwater worlds may be at -1 or -2, and remote, “Lost” worlds have between -4 and -10. This value can change over time, and a sudden hyperstorm or other inclement hyperspatial weatther inflicts up to an additional -4. Precise Starcharts or secret maps to lost worlds might add +1, +2 or +4 to Navigation rolls. Navigators may apply "time modifiers" the navigation roll; the minimum amount of time is 80% (or -8 to the roll), requiring 3 minutes of navigation (or three Action Vehicular Combat turns); the GM may waive this for fairly standard, common courses, and the maximum bonus navigators may claim from time modifiers is a +2. The longer a trip is, the more complicated it is: add a distance penalty as discussed below below. Navigating between worlds within the same Constellation is generally at a +1. Characters may use Area Knowledge (Constellation) as a complementary roll.

Getting into Hyperspace: Shunting into hyperspace requires the drive charging for 5 minutes, though it can be charged faster with a Mechanic (Hyperdrive) roll with a time modifier applied. Shunting also requires a mass expenditure of energy, either in the form of hyperium fuel, or energy banks. Energy banks require 4 hours to recharge, while fuel-based drives can jump again immediately, provided they still have fuel. Once in hyperspace, travelling is not particularly expensive and all hyperspace capable ships have more than sufficient energy from their reactors to power themselves throughout their journey. Returning to real-space costs no extra energy.

Distances and travel times.

A modern hyperdrive with Hyperdrive Rating 1 travels at 10 light-years per hour. Each rating increase doubles this value: 20 light-years per hour at Rating 2, 40 at rating 3, and 80 at rating 4 (ancient hyperdrives moved slower than this, but they’re obsolete, so characters are unlikely to come across a working hyperdrive with a fractional hyperdrive rating). When traveling in hyperspace, the ship shunts into a higher dimension, where it is unable to see or interact with the normal universe (though it does interact with gravity fields and hyperdimensional phenomenon, such as hyperstorms). This means that a hyperspatial journey must be plotted while the ship is in “real space;” the farther the destination, the more complex the calculation and the navigation roll has an additional distance penalty.

The navigational penalty for distance is determined with the speed-range chart, replacing “yards” with “100 light years.” Thus, characters may travel up to 200 light years at no penalty, up to 500 light years at a -2, 1000 light years at a -4, and so on. Given their superior speed, higher rated hyperdrives remove some distance penalties: remove up to -2 for a Rating 2 drive, remove up to -4 for rating 3 and and remove up to -6 for rating 4.

Abstracted Distance Penalties

Unless the GM has a carefully mapped out part of space and a ruler, most of the time, the players and the GM determining the penalties for distance will not be thinking in terms of light-years, but rough ideas of what is “near” and what is “far.” Use the following values instead of the light-year values above. The travel times below assume Hyperdrive Rating 1; halve the times for rating 2, quarter then for rating 3 and divide by 8 for rating 4.

Nearby: “Near” systems tend to form small networks and interconnected cultures and might be thought of as essentially “the same system” on a galactic scale; for example, the Orochi Belt and St. Borlaug’s Star or Nekotara. On the galactic scale, these are the equivalent to a “neighborhood.” Such worlds are typically no farther than 500 light-years apart, and tend to be substantially closer. Navigational penalties are between +0 and -3, and tend towards the lower penalty. Travel times tend to be measured in hours or up to 2 days, at most.

Constellation: Certain stars have “ideal” routes between them, making travel between them obvious and easy to do, and these tend to “cluster” in groups called “constellations.” On the galactic scale, these are the equivalent to large provinces or small nations. Characters who want to travel from one part of a constellation to another will generally navigate to a “nearby” star that is a “major” star for the constellation, and then navigate to the next “major” star in the constellation (and then, if necessary, to a nearby star). The distance between two “major” stars in a constellation is generally between 1000 light years to 5000 lightyears; this takes between 5 days and 3 weeks with a hyperspace drive with rating 1, and applies a -4 to -8 to the navigation roll. Constellations may be quite close to one another, or quite far, but on average, traveling from one constellation to another is between 3,000 to 7,000 light years, between 2 weeks and a month, and apply a distance penalty of between -7 and -9.

Regional: The galaxy breaks down into vast, regional structures, such as a specific galactic arm, the galactic core, or a particular dwarf galaxy. These have many constellations, but one can typically cross the entire region by crossing no more than 5 constellations. On a galactic scale, these are the equivalent to continents. Choosing an arbitrary point in a galactic region and trying to reach it, as opposed to navigating from one constellation to another, generally involves distances from 7,000 light years all the way up to a maximum of 30,000 (typically from one far end to the other). This takes 1 to 4 months of travel at rating 1, and applies a penalty of -9 to -13. Travel from one Region to another typically involves traveling to a constellation that neighbors another constellation in another region (such as going from the Maelstrom to the Carina Constellation) and use Constellation difficulties and travel times, as noted above.

Galactic: The galaxy is about 100,000 light years across. To travel from any arbitrary point within it to any other arbitrary point takes no more than 1 year at hyperspace rating 1, and applies a penalty of no more than -16. Travel between galaxies is beyond the scope of Psi-Wars, but note that Adromeda is about 2.5 million light years; it would take 25 years to cross at hyperspace rating 1 and apply a penalty of -31.

Practical Interstellar Travel

In practice, navigators rarely pick out a remote star system, chart a course and then “punch it.” Instead, they tend to make smaller hops. They’ll choose a relatively nearby system, navigate it, shunt, travel for a day or so, and then drop back to real-space, then navigate to the next star, and so on. Most ships have enough fuel for 3 or more shunts, and will stop to refuel for a few hours every couple of shunts. This is a vastly easier way to travel, but it trades travel time and costs for the reduced navigational difficulties.

Most of the time, the GM can waive any navigational role for this sort of travel, rather as the GM might not require a character in a Modern Action game to roll Navigation for taking a roadtrip from Peabody, Kansas to Washington DC. The navigation rules mostly exist to allow characters to determine if they can make a quick “emergency escape” from a star system, or make it to a hidden or lost star system full of treasure. However, if the GM wishes to learn if the characters “got lost” on a route, such as if they’re running a long-term military game or a tramp-freighter campaign, use the following rules.

Characters still must roll Navigation (Hyperspace), but they ignore the bonuses for starcharts or the penalties for “Time taken” (this assumes the navigator takes the normal 15 minutes to charge a course). Ignore distance penalties, as the journey will take place as a series of of hops. Instead, apply the worst penalty for whatever region or world the route passes through, with a +4 if the character is taking extremely common or popular routes, +1 if the character is taking “backwater” routes to avoid the more trafficked areas, or +0 if he’s charting an entirely novel path.

Increase the travel times by 1.5×; thus, a total journey across a constellation might take 3 weeks rather than 2. If the characters double the time (a two week journey in a month), add +1 to the navigation roll. If they try to go “as fast as possible,” this assumes longer stretches of navigation and minimal refueling, treat the times as those listed (~2 weeks to cross a constellation) but apply a -2 to the Navigation roll. Doubled times could also represent characters taking inconvenient routes or traveling in an inconvenient way, such as someone trying to work their way across a Constellation in nothing but their Valiant, spending no more than a few hours in hyperspace and spending a lot of time in backwater hyperium stations.

Fuel costs, if they matter, should assume a total refueling of the ship every 1000 light years, or about once per week of travel. Faster trips can halve fuel costs, while slower travel doubles it.

Simplified Travel Times Chart

This chart provides simplified values and travel times, meant for quick references. When taking a “casual” trip using practical interstellar travel rules, use the Practical Travel times; apply a -2 to the roll to halve the travel time, and +2 if you double the travel time. The rest of the values assume a more-or-less direct trip.
Note that “Between Galactic Regions” assumes going from somewhere in the middle of a region to somewhere in the middle of another region, such as traveling from Maradon to Sovereign; if traveling from one region to another using adjacent constellations, use the “Between Constellation” values.

Scale Rating 1 Drive Rating 2 Drive Rating 3 drive Practical Travel
Travel Time Penalty Travel Time Penalty Travel Time Penalty Travel Time
Local (Nearby Up to a day +0 Hours +0 Hours +0 Up to a day
Local (Far) 2 days -2 1 day +0 Hours +0 A couple of days
Constellation (Nearby) 5 days -4 3 days -2 A day +0 A week
Constellation (Far) 10 days -6 5 days -4 Days -2 More than a week
Between Constellations (Nearby) A month -8 2 Weeks -6 A week -4 Up to a month
Between Constellations (Far) Two months -10 A month -8 Two weeks -6 Over a month
Between Galactic Regions Three months -12 More than a month -10 Less than a month -8 A couple of months
The Galactic Fringe 6 months to a year -14 to -16 3-6 months -12 to -14 Less than 3 months -10 to -12 About a year
Between Galaxies Decades -22 Up to a decade -20 Years -18 Decades

Interplanetary Travel

If traveling between planets in the same solar system, simply assume the ship arrives after a short amount of time. If time matters, assume that after the ship has traveled beyond one planetary radius (about 4,000 miles from the surface of the planet) that it moves at the speed of light.

The Fine Art of Smuggling

Often, a character will want to get to a planet without detection or, at least, without too much scrutiny. By the same token, most planetary governments will want to prevent this. As a general rule, planets are big, orbits are bigger, and not even the Empire has enough ships to cover every single entry point. Most planets will have a few ships located at strategic points hovering over the planet near where most ships tend to exit hyperspace. The standard policy is to scan for ships; when one arrives, hail the vessel, inform them that you know of their presence and ask them to submit a travel plan and manifest; scan them to verify that everything matches up and, if they seem clean, let them go on their journey, and if not, move to intercept. To successfully bypass this protection, a smuggler needs to try one of a few different strategies.

Sneaking In

Ships tend to enter or exit hyperspace at about one planetary radius from the planet’s surface, or 4000 miles. Shunting into or dropping out of hyperspace has a large energy signature during that momentary merging of hyperdimensional space with normal space. Thus, patrol ships are designed with sensor arrays that can pick up a ship at about 3,000 to 4,000 miles, giving them plenty of reaction time. Assume ships that drop from hyperspace at 4,000 miles are automatically detected by patrols (or, at least, the patrols have a +4 to detect them).

A common smuggler trick is to either know a sensor blind-spot, or to arrive much farther way than 4,000 miles and then quietly come into the sensor ranges of the patrol ships. Aiming for an unusual entrance point for a planet’s gravity well is generally worth -1 or -2 (or BAD) to a Navigation roll and may require Area Knowledge (Planet) to even know such a blindspot exists, but if successful, treat it as a complementary bonus (+1 for an unusual entrance or +2 for a blindspot) to the subsequent rolls to evade detection.

Ships equipped with a distortion jammer can attempt to spoof detection with an Electronics Operations (EW) roll with a bonus equal to the distortion jammer’s ECM rating and a penalty equal to the BAD; ships with Ulstrascanner Stealth can roll Smuggling or the lower of their Piloting and Stealth, both with a bonus equal to their ship’s Ulstrascanner Stealth rating and a penalty equal to BAD; ships with both can apply both a distortion jammer and Ultrascanner stealth add the ECM values of both to their roll and roll the better of Electronics Operation (EW), Smuggling or (the lower of their Piloting and Stealth). If successful, the ship is able to escape notice and land on the planet. If failed, the ship is detected, and the worse the roll, the more guilty the characters look, and thus the patrol ship may decide to go straight for interception and boarding.

“Everything’s Fine Here”

Ships that have been detected may seek to avoid closer inspection.

“Don’t you know who I am?” Characters with high status or high rank in an organization that can legitimately bypass inspection in the local area may attempt a Pulling Rank request to avoid close inspection. Characters who are part of a diplomatic organization may add Law (Diplomatic) as a complementary roll. Characters with Diplomatic Immunity may roll Law (Diplomatic) directly to avoid inspection. Characters might try talking their way out of an inspection: high status characters might try Savoir-Faire, characters on heavily armed ships might try Intimidation, characters posing as someone else might roll Acting or Fast-Talk and hope their credentials (acquired via Forgery) pan out, and any character can try Diplomacy to beg off from an inspection, but all of these are only allowed if the GM thinks a patrol could reasonably be talked out of an inspection (such as corrupt or overworked patrols).

Friends in High Places: Rather than rely on their own prestige, they may rely on the prestige of someone else. If they’re part of the right organization that has pull that might help them avoid an inspection (such as a criminal organization) this might be a Pulling Rank request. More often, the character calls on Contacts or an old Favor. Roll against the contact’s skill; success means the inspection is called off.

“Nothing to Report!” Naturally, the characters can simply submit a false manifest to the patrol and allow themselves to be scanned. Characters can prevent the scanning ship from discovering contraband with a Smuggling roll (if the ship is equipped with a Distortion Mesh or shielded cargo bays, add their ECM bonus to the Smuggling roll) or with an Electronic Operation (EW) roll (if their ship is equipped with a Distortion Jammer). Ships equipped with both may combine the modifiers and roll the better of the two skills, applying BAD as usual. If the roll is successful, the patrol ship is fooled into believing that the manifest is correct.

“Punch it!”

If the smuggler fails to avoid detection and is either proven to be carrying contraband via a scan or raises suspicions with strange activity (such as showing up in a blindspot and trying to slip past scanners undetected), the patrol ship will likely move in to intercept the smuggler and issue orders to stand down and prepare to be boarded or it will escort it to a station where local authority can tractor the smuggler in, land the ship, and then bring security agents aboard.

If the smuggler chooses not to surrender, he can make a run for it. Treat this as a chase scene (see Action Vehicular Combat). Note that patrol ships will generally give the description of the fleeing ship to authorities, so even if the smuggler escapes and makes it planetside, local security will be alerted to look for them.

Blockade Running: Some smugglers with especially quick ships skip all of the above antics and just run straight for the planet. A common tactic is to attempt to come out closer to the planet, thus reducing the reaction time the local authorities have to catch the smuggler. Whatever penalty the character took to arrive at a location closer to the planet (for example, -5 for arriving at 50% the distance from the surface of the planet to the usual distance, or about 2000 miles), add this as a bonus to their first chase roll (in this example, they would get a +5) representing their “head start.”

Hitchhiking Across the Galaxy

Characters without starships will have to find some means of transportation. If the characters belong to an organization and that organization ordered them to the location, assume the organization provides transportation if possible. Otherwise, characters who belong to an organization that is capable of providing transportation may attempt to Pull Rank to get passage. If this fails, characters can always purchase commercial passage, which typically goes for about $100 per 30 parsecs, if it matters. Many worlds simply won’t have ships going to it, and going to backwater worlds, or avoiding any Imperial entanglements, may cost as much as ×10 as much.

Characters can also stowaway on ships, if necessary. If the GM is willing to allow it, roll Stealth to slip aboard or escape at your destination and Smuggling to remain unnoticed. If successful, the characters reach their destination. If caught, this could be the beginning of an interesting new adventure: the characters may be arrested (and need to break out of prison), marooned on some planet, or invited to join the crew (especially if they have useful skills, solid influence skills, and a good Reaction roll).

Planetary Travel

In Psi-Wars, space travel is just how you get from one interesting planet to another. The bulk of an adventure takes place on a planet. Most planets are well-traveled and if the characters never leave the starport or major cities, commercial transport or casual travel can handle most of their needs. But sometimes, they’ll need to brave remote deserts or distant jungles to uncover lost ruins or rescue someone from pirates or hunt down a remote rebel cell.

The Basics

“I Know this Place:” Any planetary travel roll can be improved by Area Knowledge (Planet), as the character has a sense of where things are and what sort of terrain to expect.

Commercial Transport: Just as for space travel, characters can pick up a ticket for descent from orbit or travel from one city to another. These cost between $100 for a simple, nearly trip to $1000 for travel to the far side of the planet. Naturally, this requires the characters to find passage, and some places may be unreachable by commercial transport.

Orbital Travel

The fastest way around a planet, whether descending from your ship, or going from one location to another, is generally by shuttle. Most Psi-Wars shuttles travel at ~600 miles per hour, and may require a Piloting roll if weather gets dicey or someone starts shooting.

This method of transportation is so effective that the GM should always assume players will use it. If the point of the adventure is to trek across some vast wasteland to reach a target, the GM will need to get creative. Possibilities include dangerous storms, difficult terrain (jungle, swamp and mountains are traditionally difficult to reach by air), aggressive anti-air defenses, or strange magnetic or psionic phenomenon that disrupts travel. In principle, a highly skilled pilot can get around all of these: consider allowing players to attempt a flight but with some additional penalties up to 2×BAD.

Alternatively, player characters may find themselves marooned on a planet. They may have been shot down during a battle, or rolled poorly while attempting to travel by air, or been stranded intentionally by pirates. This also forces the players to interact with the world environment and makes survival a primary goal.

Land-Based Travel

Ground based travel on a planet require a Hiking for travel on foot, Climbing for travel through mountains, or Driving or Piloting roll for driving with a vehicle. Complementary rolls include Navigation (Land), Area Knowledge (Planet) and the appropriate Survival specialty. If multiple people are traveling and all need to roll these skills (for example, a party hiking together), use the “Got you Covered” rules from GURPS Action 2 page 5.

If the roll succeeds, the characters arrive at their destination at the expected time without incident.

If they fail, they either fail to arrive at their destination (perhaps returning weary and frustrated, unable to locate their target), get lost, or they arrive “with incident.” Failure to arrive at a location is frustrating unless failure is a real option (such as a major expedition for a lost ruin) and the story can carry on despite the failure. Alternatively, instead of simply reaching the desired location, the GM can take the opportunity to introduce them to some other interesting location if they get lost. This should result in a different, unplanned adventure just as fun and interesting as the original, intended adventure.

Finally, they party can “fail forward” by reaching the location but with some incident. Incidents might include one or more of the following:

  • A penalty of 1d6 fatigue penalty added to Travel Exhaustion below.
  • An encounter with a monster or planetary peril.
  • Loss of vital equipment
  • Arrival far later than originally planned
  • They Get Lost.

Travel Exhaustion: In all cases, long, overland trips exhaust the traveler. Characters on foot lose 1 FP per level of encumbrance (1 FP for None, 2 for Light, etc). Characters traveling by vehicle lose 1 FP if they travel by road or air, or 2 FP if they travel “off-road.” Treat this fatigue loss as a one-time penalty to the characters fatigue that remains until the characters fully rest and recover (a bath, a good meal, a night’s sleep in a proper bed, etc). For example, if a soldier with 11 fatigue makes a long trip by foot while wearing medium encumbrance and was ambushed by some slavering beast, he would never have more than 8 fatigue; this would be true of all encounters, until the character had a chance to rest. If the journey is especially long or grueling, the GM may raise this FP “price.”

A Race around the World

Sometimes, the characters aren’t the only ones traveling to a particular destination. The characters may be chasing a target, being chased by a target, or racing a target to get to a particular location.

A Very Long Chase: Treat an overland chase the same as one would treat a normal chase scene, except the turns are measured in hours or days. The GM grants the runner an initial chase total equal to the number of “turns” headstart he has (if the chase is measured in hours, it’s the number of hours he is ahead of the chaser; if the chase is measured in days, it’s the number of days head start of traveling he has). Both sides roll their travel skill in a series of Quick Contests. If the chaser wins the contest, he reduces the total by his margin, and the runner wins, he increases the total by his margin. The race continues until the chaser loses track of the target (GM’s discretion, though see below) or the chaser reduces the total to 0, in which case he has caught up (and a more moment-to-moment chase can begin!)

Tracking: In an overland chase, the chaser needs to know where to go! If the chaser has an ultrascanner and the target is within range, the chaser can roll Electronics Operations (Sensors) to determine the target’s location. If the runner is visible, the chaser can track them with Perception or Observation (but may need binoculars or similar sensors as a basic requirement to keep the runner in view). If the chaser has tagged the runner with a homing device, they may automatically track the target. Otherwise, the character will need to roll Tracking once per “chase roll” to keep track of the target. Espers with Seekersense can always track a target on a successful roll, and the only way to beat it is with some form of anti-psi.

Evasion: A runner has a few options to evade tracking. If they have a bug tracker, they may roll Electronics Operation (Security) to find the homing device and disarm it. If they have a Distortion Jammer they may contest the chaser's Electronics Operation (Sensors) roll with an Electronics Operations (EW) roll. If the character knows he’s being tracked, he can contest this with Tracking vs Tracking by laying false tracks, or hide his tracks with Camouflage or Survival. Characters in visible range can try to avoid notice with Stealth or Camouflage. If they succeed, the target has lost track of them. The chaser can still pursue (by moving in the general direction and hoping they get lucky), but at -4 until they find the trail again.

A Very Long Race: Sometimes, rather than chase one another, the parties both seek to get to a particular destination first. Treat this as a Regular Contest of travel skills. The GM sets a total, and the first to reach that total is the first to arrive at the location. The other will arrive a number of “turns” (hours if the trip was measured in hours, days if the trip was measured in days) equal to the amount he was short of the total with the winning party succeeded. Characters whose totals are within a point of one another may Encounter one another at the GM’s discretion.

For example, a Templar and an Imperial Archeologist race to reach a lost temple first. The GM declares that the trip will take days, and the travelers need to reach a total of 6. Both are on foot, and on the first day, the Archaeologist succeeds by 3 while the Templar fails. The Archaeologist takes the lead. The next day, the Templar succeeds with 3, while the Archeologist succeeds with 1. The Archeologist is still in the lead (with 4) and the Templar is close enough to encounter the Archeologist if the GM allows it. The next day, the Templar succeeds with 1 for a total of 4 (two short) while the Archeologist also succeeds with 2. The Archeologist reaches the temple two days ahead of the Templar.

An Asymmetrical Race: these rules assume both characters are traveling at roughly equivalent speeds: both parties hiking, both driving in similar vehicles, etc. If this is not so, apply the speed bonus for the maximum speed of the vehicles to the margin of success to the rolls. Treat hiking as +0. For example, the Archeologist is on foot and the Templar has a speederbike that travels at 100 miles per hour (+10), the Templar improves his margin of success by 10 when chasing or racing the Archeologist (success by 1 becomes success by 11, but failure remains failure!). At the GM’s discretion, characters traveling in a vehicle with a mode of transportation that gives them a mobility advantage over the other (ie one is traveling by air and the other is traveling on the ground over broken, complex terrain), add +5 to the more mobile side.

Getting Lost

Any attempt to travel to an unknown location without first successfully determining the location always results in Getting Lost, while a failed travel roll may result in Getting Lost. Once characters are lost, they need to figure out how to get back to where they were. Characters with Absolute Direction don’t get lost. They can just turn around and head back the way they came. Similarly, many vehicles have inertial compasses, GPS and maps, in which case they cannot get lost without some malfunction. Otherwise, roll Navigation (Land) or Area Knowledge (Planet) to figure out where you are. Alternatively, characters can attempt to retrace their steps with Eidetic Memory or Tracking. Characters with Seekersense can always use it to return to a place they have previously been.

Getting Lost also tends to mean the characters go somewhere they didn’t intend to. The GM can take this as an opportunity to spring an encounter on them (if someone has Unluckiness this should definitely happen!) or a chance to find something new and interesting. Characters with Serendipity might stumble across something very interesting or valuable, or even their intended location entirely by accident!

Encounters

Characters can encounter one another, or monsters, either while they’re traveling, or while they’re bedding down for the night.

Ambush!: Most encounters tend to happen by surprise. GURPS already has rules for ambushes, but the ones in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures on pages 37-38 are far better and highly recommended! Characters with Combat Sense or Visions also have Danger Sense as part of their ability! If sensors are involved, add a contest between Electronics Operations (Sensors) and either Electronics Operations (EW) (which can only be used if the characters have access to a distortion jammer; remember to apply its penalty to the sensor roll!) or Stealth. Characters the Directed technique of Prognostication can roll directly to see if they will be ambushed today. Success means either know for sure or gain a miraculous (+4 base) complementary roll on rolls to detect an ambush. Characters with Foresight or Foresight (Ambushes) won’t automatically detect the ambush, but the moment an ambush happens, they can use their Foresight to declare any advance preparation the GM might find reasonable.

On the Move: When it comes to a sudden encounter, marching order, general alertness and combat readiness matters. Roll the best Tactics, Survival or Soldier of the group. This acts as a complementary roll for any Ambush rolls.

Camping: In general, a well-established camp provides concealment, cover and good lines of sight. It also provides comfort, but that falls outside of the scope of Psi-Wars. Roll the best Survival or Soldier of the group as a complementary roll for any Ambush rolls. Alternately, if the characters are trying to hide their camp from the watchful eyes of an enemy, roll the group’s best Camouflage. Players with the Traps skill may reasonably ask to prepare a trap for people who attack their encampment, but only characters with the right perks or Foresight may do so retroactively.

Scouts: If the group regularly sends scouts out, or has robot drones that routinely send data back to the main camp or caravan, players may either roll Intelligence Analysis as a complementary roll to detect an Ambush or they can use it to replace Perception or Observation to detect the ambush: they have the evidence of an impending attack, it’s just a matter of seeing it!

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