WARNING: These are unfinished as of 4/22/96! - Mk

FULL THRUST: Babylon 5 Jump Engine and Jump Gate Rules

Travel in the Babylon 5 universe between stars takes place in hyperspace. In order to transition from normal space to hyperspace (and back again), the races in Babylon 5 have developed (either independently of each other, or in conjunction with each other, or through trade relations, etc) what is known as 'jump technology'. Jump engines are large dimension opening mechanisms which open up a 'hole' between hyperspace and normal space, allowing ships to enter into the other realm. Even larger are jump gates, which are fixed installations in space that are primarily used by ships that do not carry jump engines - which is most vessels, as jump engines are massive and expensive.

The minimum mass a ship must have in order to carry a jump engine is 20. This means no Escort Class ships may mount jump engines (as Escort Class vessels are, by definition, mass 19 and less). For math purposes this means jump engines have at minimum a mass of 5 (or 6, depending on your rounding options). As Escorts are less powerful than Cruiser-sized ships, even mounting a mass 5 (or 6) jump engine in, oh, a mass 12 Escort will not work as the Escort cannot generate the energy necessary to activate such a monster. Plus the structural framing necessary to mount a 'small' jump engine in an Escort is cost prohibitive (well, okay, it's kinda weak/lame, but for now that's my explanation and I'm sticking to it - until a better one comes along).

Unlike FTL travel in Full Thrust, a ship mounting a jump engine may in fact open a jump point to allow nonjump-capable ships to enter hyperspace (or exit from the same). But the nonjump-capable ships must enter before or during the same turn the jump-capable ship enters the jump point. If a ship, be it jump-capable or not, attempts to enter the jump point on the turn after the ship who opened the jump point has entered, there is a 50-50 chance the late-entering ship will be destroyed ("...caught in their backwash."). If this case occurs, the late-entering ship survives on a roll of 1-3 on a 1d6, and is destroyed utterly on a 4-6.

Opening a Jump Point

In order to open a jump point a jump-capable ship must have an undamaged FTL (jump drive) engine and an available/undamaged FireCon system. The player must specify in their orders for the current turn that they are activating their jump engines and forming a jump point. They must also specify the location where this jump point will form. You do not want to pass your ship (or any other ships) through this location; it would be Bad (just apply 10d6 to your ship, straight damage, if you do; you may survive, but not likely).

It takes 1 turn for the jump point to fully form and open. After that it may then be used to travel into or out of hyperspace. The ship which formed the jump point may hold the jump point open for a number of turns equal 1/4 of the ship's mass, round up (eg, a mass 22 ship can hold a jump point open for up to 6 turns before it runs out of energy in its jump engine).

To enter the jump point your ship must be facing within 30 degrees of the direction the open-side of the jump point faces. Generally it faces the ship who generated the jump point. To enter the jump point your ship needs to also be within 2" of the open jump point. If these conditions are met during the course of a given turn, your ship may then opt to enter the open jump point and depart from it's current location in the game.

There are maximum speeds at which a ship may enter jump points from normal space. For commercial vessels, the maximum speed is 4. For Navy vessels/warships, due to their higher structural integrity, the maximum speed is 6. Exiting from a jump point into normal space is slightly different as transitioning from hyperspace to normal space seems to dampen the momentum a ship has. Maximum departure speed is 4, minimum departure speed is 2 (you need to apply thrust to get out, so even if you're going super slow (speed 1), the translated effect is as if you were speed 2 in normal space during the transition - this in no way implies that speed 1 in hyperspace is equivalent to speed 2 in normal space!).

Jump Points as Weapons

In order to (hopefully) minimize using (or rather, mis-using) jump engines to form jump points as a cheap way of destroying enemy ships, the ship opening the jump point will suffer feedback overload if any ships (or other objects of significant size) are within 3" of the newly forming jump point. This can be reflected by the following:

Moral of the story: I really don't want you to use jump engines as a weapon unless you're really really really REALLY desperate (and then only if you're a Narn going up against a vastly superior Centauri force). It complicates my life, makes things miserable for others playing, and hell, knowing my dice, they just might keep rolling 1s on you when you don't want them to, and 6s when you don't want them to. ;-)

Jump Engine Recharge Time

After a ship jumps into normal space or hyperspace, there is a recharge period that it must go through before the jump engines can be used again. This varies from race to race, and from tech level to tech level.

>Given the current discusion, I thought I'd better make sure I understand how
>jump points work. I just finished re-reading your jumpgate rules, and I
>assume the procedure is similar: all ships on parallel course (or close),
>speed not greater than 6, and with say 6" of the point. Am I close? 
>Assuming I activate a jump point this turn, do we escape THIS turn or next
Here's the grit:

Entering speed cannot be greater than 6.

This turn you activate the jump engines and create the jump point. You designate the coordinates that the jump point will form on; you may pass through these coordinates while the jump point is forming, but it would be a Bad Thing(tm) for your ship. You would rather project a turn ahead where you will be and place the jump point ahead of that (eg, if you are moving at speed 6 now and you do no turns, you could open a jump point this turn anywhere from 7-12 'inches' from your current position - this would allow you to maintain up to speed 6 next turn and enter the newly opened jump point). IE, you form the jump point this turn, and the soonest you may enter it is next turn. You will enter the jump point during the movement phase (if you are close enough to it ;-).

Not all your ships have jump engines, and so must rely on those who do to get into hyperspace. Once in you can always get to a jump gate (well, you hope ;) and get out there. Those without jump engines should enter the jump point either before or during the same turn the ship with the jump engines opens up a jump point. Jump points generally fade the turn after the ship who generated the jump point enters. If you try to enter a jump point the turn after the ship who formed the jump point enters, you you have a 50-50 chance of making it, or "getting caught in their backwash."