So, in dealing with the concept of 40k interstellar travel, one of the old favourites has some up. Just how far is the warp zone - that point at which it is "safe" to engage the warp drive - and how long does it take to get there in an Imperial ship?

The earlier material was quite clear that it would take the "average" ship about a year to get to the warp zone, and then once they were through the warp it might take another year to get back into the "mainworld." A year. Ish.

Of course, that creates a bit of a problem. GW's chronologies tend to have a very abridged timeline, one that doesn't take into account it taking a year to get in system to invade this or that planet, or take over this or that system (cf. the Gothic War). If you're a fan of the novels, then we have ships entering the warp in a matter of weeks after they've left a planet. Sometimes it even seems somewhat shorter than that, perhaps even hours.

So what do you think?

One of the ideas about the 40k universe is that it's a big place, but when one reduces travel time from the hundreds of days to the handful of days? Well, that universe gets a bit smaller, especially in a universe where interstellar travel isn't uncommon (look and you shall find this statement ). So does it reinforce or remove this idea of "size?"

On the other hand, if you bring in the RPG perspective, what the heck are players going to do with their characters for the year that it takes them to get out of the system. I mean, they're hardly going to "ride in to save the day" if they have to plan two years in advance? Indeed, even beyond the RPG, how are the Marines to do the same if it takes them two years to travel sublight let alone what relative time it might take for them to travel the tens of light years (hundreds? thousands?) to the war zone?

Basically I'm just interested in peoples' opinions on this topic. What is your stance? Do you have the warp zone close into the world, or ships that are really, really fast in "real" terms? Or do you have another solution?

(And while I realise "I don't care" is a valid response, or that things will always be controlled by the "speed of the plot," I'm interested in exploring a different avenue of response.)