How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

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How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Aerlock » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:36 am

Or in other words:
What would happen to a hero with Flight 9 (1,000 mph) that tried to fly straight up into space?

According to Wikipedia you need a speed of approx 25,000 miles an hour to reach orbit. Some poking around in HeroLab shows me that this is up in Flight 14 (32,000 mph) territory.

Simple math says that if said hero with Flight 9 was able to fly straight up for 5 or 6 minutes he would reach LEO, but I know there are more factors than just speed of the object in reaching orbit. Can you help me out with what I'm missing? Or would that be good enough for a game in which the characters regularly tell physics to sit down and shut up?

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Monolith » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:50 am

First we'll take a quote from the wiki link you provided: "A rocket moving out of a gravity well does not actually need to attain escape velocity to do so, but could achieve the same result at any speed with a suitable mode of propulsion and sufficient fuel."

Based on that we can assume that a character with flight has the propulsion and a virtually unlimited fuel supply to get into space at any speed.

The next thing to take into account is that comics don't focus too much on physics. Ironman routinely popped into space to travel faster, yet his suit never had 25,000 mph worth of speed. The same for Thor and many other characters who have gone into space on their own propulsion. Within the game getting there is usually handled off panel. The how isn't as important as the fact that the story needs them to get there; so whether it takes 5 hours of 5 minutes it's just what happens on the next page of the comic.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Nizkateth » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:31 am

Yeah, given the ability to hover indefinitely, I don't think gravity is too much of an issue with the flight power. Just keep going up at 4mph.
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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Madwand » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:53 am

Yep, Flight 1 will do it, unless it's bought with Wings (and then you'll only be able to reach the upper atmosphere). It get's really interesting once you get into space... Flight becomes a measure of acceleration rather than speed, there (depending on the special effect of your flight).

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by JDRook » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:37 pm

And since 3e has no set rules regarding acceleration, microgravity space becomes whatever the GM sees fit to put together.
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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by HappyDaze » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:41 pm

Madwand wrote:Yep, Flight 1 will do it, unless it's bought with Wings (and then you'll only be able to reach the upper atmosphere). It get's really interesting once you get into space... Flight becomes a measure of acceleration rather than speed, there (depending on the special effect of your flight).
Wings do not hamper Flight outside of atmospheres. This can be taken as a complication, but it's not inherent to Winged Flight. In comics there are those that fly through space with winged flight.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by insaniac99 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:03 am

HappyDaze wrote:
Madwand wrote:Yep, Flight 1 will do it, unless it's bought with Wings (and then you'll only be able to reach the upper atmosphere). It get's really interesting once you get into space... Flight becomes a measure of acceleration rather than speed, there (depending on the special effect of your flight).
Wings do not hamper Flight outside of atmospheres. This can be taken as a complication, but it's not inherent to Winged Flight. In comics there are those that fly through space with winged flight.
That's debatable, there are also many scenes where the winged hero goes plummeting in such a situation, at my table it would depend on if the wings or for control only or lift as well.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Greyman » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:31 am

Monolith wrote:First we'll take a quote from the wiki link you provided: "A rocket moving out of a gravity well does not actually need to attain escape velocity to do so, but could achieve the same result at any speed with a suitable mode of propulsion and sufficient fuel."

Based on that we can assume that a character with flight has the propulsion and a virtually unlimited fuel supply to get into space at any speed.
Yes. Escape velocity is the launch speed a ballistic object needs such that gravity doesn't slow it down before it passes beyond its effective reach. Propelled objects are a different preposition altogether since they don't need to have all that kinetic energy delivered at launch.
Monolith wrote:The next thing to take into account is that comics don't focus too much on physics.
Well, some sort of do. Some, not so much.

More to the point, the game doesn't model ballistics very well. Leaping 16 is required to reach the lower limit of space, but that takes one day, using 3E rules. So, yeah.

By the way, Outer space officially begins at 100km (62miles) above sea level. But that's just the beginning. The exosphere ends at 10,000km up. Space is big, really big. Flying to the corner store is just peanuts compared to space. You need ranks in Space Travel to do more than rescue astro-naughts in space station accidents or do satellite repair/demolition work.
Monolith wrote:The same for Thor and many other characters who have gone into space on their own propulsion.
Thor flies by throwing his majik hammer then letting it pull him along while, yae verily, laughing at mortal physics.

Never bring Norse gods into a discussion on rocket science.
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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by HappyDaze » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:06 am

insaniac99 wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Madwand wrote:Yep, Flight 1 will do it, unless it's bought with Wings (and then you'll only be able to reach the upper atmosphere). It get's really interesting once you get into space... Flight becomes a measure of acceleration rather than speed, there (depending on the special effect of your flight).
Wings do not hamper Flight outside of atmospheres. This can be taken as a complication, but it's not inherent to Winged Flight. In comics there are those that fly through space with winged flight.
That's debatable, there are also many scenes where the winged hero goes plummeting in such a situation, at my table it would depend on if the wings or for control only or lift as well.
Dawnstar and Annihilus both use winged flight in space.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Monolith » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:24 am

Greyman wrote:
Monolith wrote:The same for Thor and many other characters who have gone into space on their own propulsion.
Thor flies by throwing his majik hammer then letting it pull him along while, yae verily, laughing at mortal physics.

Never bring Norse gods into a discussion on rocket science.
My point was that Thor doesn't fly 25,000 mph with his hammer, let can still reach escape velocity. This just re-enforces the point that the comics don't worry about real science, unless the comic is about superheroes in a real environment.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Monolith » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:26 am

HappyDaze wrote:Dawnstar and Annihilus both use winged flight in space.
I assume the question would be whether Dawnstar and Annihilus have the wings flaw or if their flight simply has a wings descriptor. If you have the flaw then you need to abide by the limits of the flaw: it needs to limit the flight in various ways. If it's just a descriptor then there is no flaw involved. Wings descriptor work no differently then any other type of flight.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Greyman » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:43 am

Madwand wrote:Yep, Flight 1 will do it, unless it's bought with Wings (and then you'll only be able to reach the upper atmosphere). It get's really interesting once you get into space... Flight becomes a measure of acceleration rather than speed, there (depending on the special effect of your flight).
HappyDaze wrote:Wings do not hamper Flight outside of atmospheres. This can be taken as a complication, but it's not inherent to Winged Flight. In comics there are those that fly through space with winged flight.
insaniac99 wrote:That's debatable, there are also many scenes where the winged hero goes plummeting in such a situation, at my table it would depend on if the wings or for control only or lift as well.
HappyDaze wrote:Dawnstar and Annihilus both use winged flight in space.
Two examples who do, does not mean its a complication not to. Both characters are otherwise specifically built for space travel. More likely they have a Feature to allow their wings to function and that, generally, airlessness is an unlisted condition that fouls winged flight.

(Or that their wings are just a descriptor rather than a flaw).

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by Madwand » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:02 am

HappyDaze wrote: Dawnstar and Annihilus both use winged flight in space.
If they've bought Space Travel, then they can obviously fly in space, and the wings may just be a special effect explaining how. If not, then wings that operate by beating against air will not work in space. Descriptors and special effects do matter. If the wings don't need to "beat", then they aren't worth a Limitation.

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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by danelsan » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:04 pm

Wings: You have wings that allow you to fly, but they run the risk of being fouled or restrained, which prevents you from flying. If you are immobilized, restrained, or bound, you cannot fly. You can regain the use of your wings by reactivating your Flight effect once you are no longer affected by the aforementioned conditions
As far as I'm concerned, the italicized part is the mechanical effect of having wings, as described in the actual text of the flaw. So, unless being in space somehow applies one of those conditions, you can fly.

If, because of descriptors or whatever, your wings don't work in some situation despite not suffering from any of those conditions, it looks to me as a pretty clear Power Loss complication. Just like "this place is too small for you to unfold your wings" or "that attack broke one of your wings" or "your jet-wings ran out of fuel".
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Re: How much Flight is needed to reach escape velocity?

Post by HappyDaze » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:41 pm

danelsan wrote:
Wings: You have wings that allow you to fly, but they run the risk of being fouled or restrained, which prevents you from flying. If you are immobilized, restrained, or bound, you cannot fly. You can regain the use of your wings by reactivating your Flight effect once you are no longer affected by the aforementioned conditions
As far as I'm concerned, the italicized part is the mechanical effect of having wings, as described in the actual text of the flaw. So, unless being in space somehow applies one of those conditions, you can fly.

If, because of descriptors or whatever, your wings don't work in some situation despite not suffering from any of those conditions, it looks to me as a pretty clear Power Loss complication. Just like "this place is too small for you to unfold your wings" or "that attack broke one of your wings" or "your jet-wings ran out of fuel".
This is my take as well. Flight with Wings requires that your wings can move freely (which is why you can't use it if immobilized, restrained, or bound) but it does not require that the wings otherwise operate in accordance with aerodynamics.

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