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"Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"
Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope

Faster-Than-Light Travel is often accompanied by certain regions of space where such travel is either impossible or extremely dangerous. Narratively, limiting when and where FTL can be used is needed to make space-travelling FTL distinct from Teleportation with a very long range. If you could just warp from the surface of one world to that of another, where would all the Cool Starships, Space Battles, or chase scenes come into play?

The most common variant is a region surrounding a massive object as big as a star system or as small as a ship. If Hyperspace Is a Scary Place, the scariest regions might be effective No Warping Zones. Might also be the matter that at hyperluminal velocity, return to sublight might have enormous drift from miniscule variations in timing. Such a zone can also be created through Teleport Interdiction.

No relation to the Video Game equivalent of Warp Zones.


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  • In Space Battleship Yamato, the warp drive available to the crew of the Yamato would only work between certain locations, making the rest of the universe a No Warping Zone.
  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross, a gravity well is sort of one. You can do a hyperspace jump in an atmosphere, but it's so insanely dangerous that staying under fire from an enemy fleet that outnumbers you a hundred to one and outguns you of a larger margin is considered safer than performing a jump. The one time they did, trying to jump from Earth to the dark side of the moon, the Macross emerged from hyperspace near Pluto, took a while to get back the power, and the hyperspace drive disappeared.

    Fan Works 

  • In the Alliance/Union universe, starships can only come out of hyperspace near massive stellar objects like stars; ships that set their destination for anywhere else are never heard from again. Ships enter and leave at the edge of each planetary system, but that seems to be because entering hyperspace requires accelerating to near light speed (and decelerating from near light speed at the destination), not because being too near a star blocks off the entrance.
  • In Angel Station, ships entering or exiting a jump must do so far away from planets, as the process releases deadly radiation. The protagonists are forced to jump fairly close to an inhabited moon, realizing they're committing a heinous crime.
  • There is no FTL travel in Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise. However, there are near-light STL jumps that allow a ship to travel to the destination with only a few seconds passing for the people aboard, but decades or even centuries for everyone else. While the jump itself is quick (for the traveler), ships normally spend months accelerating using ion engines to get to the outskirts of the system before jumping. This is because precise calculations are required to jump with gravity wells increasing the likelihood of jumping into a "dangerous area" (e.g., the inside of a star). Given that Casual Interstellar Travel is averted in this novel (thousands of planets are colonized by humans in the 20,000 years of space exploration but only a few dozen ships regularly travel between them; a visit by a space trader is a momentous occasion on any world), the loss of even a single ship this way is bad for interstellar trade (such as it is).
  • In the CoDominium series, the entire universe, with the exception of certain very special regions, is a No Warping Zone. It's only possible to jump from certain points (and then only to certain other points). Predicting where these are, and where they go, is possible but difficult (and it seems to be related to overall energy flux; a protostar igniting changes the geometry of the nearby jump points). For the most part, this means you spend nearly all of your time traveling from a planet to a jump point or vice versa, or between two jump points within the same system. The jump itself is effectively instantaneous. In the commentary "Building the Mote in God's Eye", Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle note that some version of this trope is required for any sort of stable interstellar government — if a ship can just appear out of nowhere within attack range of a planet, there won't be any empire or federation because belonging to one won't protect you.
  • Death or Glory: In No One but Us, three alien armadas are heading towards Earth and two other major human worlds. As part of defending them, powerful Nonlinear Field Generators are engaged, preventing the enemy from warping in, leaving only a tiny (by comparison) window, allowing them to "funnel" the enemy into a predictable position. This field is large enough to encompass the entire system. It also helps that any ship at FTL leaves an imprint at its destination that is detectable far in advance of the ship's arrival.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Dick Simon duology, the Solar System has been stuck in one such zone for centuries. The 'verse's sole means of faster-than-light travel is the Ramp, a sort-of wormhole that either opens portals for people (or ships) to enter, or can be used to grab entire cities and relocate them to another world instantaneously. The latter happened not long after the development of the Ramp and the discovery of habitable exoplanets. Instead of sending colonists to start from scratch, wealthy countries simply picked up their cities and replanted them on virgin worlds. They them helped out the poorer nations to do the same. However, the Ramp can be easily negated by a powerful enough jamming generator. No one in the rest of the galaxy knows who or why turned on such a generator on Earth. Eventually a special kind of Ramp is developed that allows a small portal to be opened for a single operative to be sent through, even through interference, but it has colossal power requirements. Shortly upon arriving aboard a space station in Earth's orbit, Dick is disheartened to discover that the jamming generator isn't on Earth as he thought. It's on the Moon, and he doesn't have the means to get there. In the end, he manages to contact an electronic lifeform, which shuts down the generator in return for the promise of humans leaving it alone.
  • Empire from the Ashes:
    • Just like one of David Weber's other series, Honor Harrington (mentioned below), stars have hyper limits around them. Unlike that series, the dangers, if any, aren't elaborated upon.
    • The Enchanach drive is a warp drive that works in such a way as to create a massive gravitational disturbance. Not only does this mean ships travelling with it have to go to sublight far out from any star lest they accidentally make it go nova or even supernova, the disturbance is weaponized during two battles in the second book to prevent Achuultani ships from going into hyperspace by trapping them in a ring of ships constantly changing positions via the drive.
  • While there's no traditional FTL in The Expanse, there is a so-called "slow zone" at the hub of the ancient alien Portal Network. It's the station's defense mechanism, as restricting travel to only slow speeds prevents the usage of kinetic weapons against said station or any other ship in the area. Since most human ships habitually travel at speeds measuring hundreds of meters per second, they get slapped with deceleration (sometimes fatal to the unprepared crew), and the offending ships are pulled towards the station into a ringed orbit.
  • "First Contact" was published in the 1940s, when many astronomers believed that outer space was a perfect vacuum. The human-piloted starship in that story could only travel faster-than-light in a total vacuum — even the slightest wisp of atmosphere or nebula would be enough to prevent it.
  • Foundation Series: It is explained, in "The Mule", that hyperspace jumps close to a gravity well such as a star or planet are perfectly possible, but dangerous and difficult. Not only the passengers (and possibly the ships) suffer damage the closer to a gravity well; it also makes the calculations necessary so immensely complex that by the time you could make a jump that isn't blind, you generally could have gotten far enough from the gravity well that a much simpler calculation would have been necessary. The same problem exists on the destination side, except doing a Blind Jump is a worse idea in that direction (making a blind jump out of a system is less liable to cause you to reenter normal space inside something than making a blind jump to a system).
  • In Grand Central Arena, Sandrisson Drives, even when inactive, interfere with each other, which wouldn't be an example of No Warping Zone except that drives jump from the volume of a planetary system to the artificial "Spheres" which are much smaller. A smallish number of ships occupying a Sphere can entirely prevent jumping from anywhere in the planetary system.
  • The Halo novels note that you can't enter Slipspace while near large gravitational fields, like planets, due to the gravity fields being too hard to calculate... unless, like in Halo: First Strike, you steal a Covenant vessel and use their improved sensors to Slipspace straight through the planet.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Large objects like stars and planets have a "hyper limit" that is roughly spherical, with a radius proportional to the object's mass. Ships can't transition to or from hyperspace inside that limit. Attempting to leave hyperspace inside the hyper limit is instant death.
      A ship which attempted to translate out of hyper inside a star's hyper limit couldn't. As long as it made the attempt within the outer twenty percent of the hyper limit, all that happened was that it couldn't get into n-space. If it made the attempt any further in than that, however, Bad Things happened. Someone had once described the result as using a pulse cannon to fire soft-boiled eggs at a stone wall to see if they would bounce.
    • Even worse, the "hyper limit" is not a strictly defined sphere as it is in most such examples. It can easily be farther in one area than in another. It's usually a good idea to translate into n-space a fair distance from the "hyper limit", if your charts don't have the "hyper limit" of this system mapped.
    • The Manticore Wormhole Junction warps the alpha wall (between normal space and hyperspace) in such a way that it produces a large "resonance zone" between the nearest star and the Junction. Inside the resonance zone, crossing the alpha wall into or out of hyperspace is also impossible.
  • In the Imperial Radch series, Ghaon's solar system is isolated by an undetectable, inexplicable phenomenon called the Crawl. All anyone knows is that any ship that tries to bypass it with Gate travel, open communications within it, or stray from very secret safe paths through will be destroyed — or left dead and derelict with no signs of distress.
  • In the Known Space series, starships can't go FTL near a star, black hole or other massive object or they will be lost forever. Ships thus need to leave a star system using normal engines before engaging their FTL drive, and if they get too close to any massive object while enroute, they must drop to normal speeds or simply vanish. This is also implied to be the reason why we believe FTL travel is impossible in Real Life today — we live too close to a star's gravity well, which warps the way physics works, and thus our understanding of what is and isn't possible. This is why the humans would end up having to buy FTL technology from the Outsiders. Humanity is implied to have been on the right basic track already, but since it didn't occur to anyone to try their experiments outside Neptune's orbit, they just assumed something was wrong with the equations.
  • In Lensman, FTL itself is unrestricted.note  However, the hyperspatial tube - by which the intervening space can be bypassed by those who don't want their passage observed — is so restricted, and the places in which their termini can open must be a certain distance from massive objects like stars or gas giants. Kim Kinnison goads the insane but brilliant Sir Austin Cardynge into co-operation by threatening that the enemy might drop something unpleasant (a planet-sized antimatter bomb) through one into his study. A quick calculation tells Cardynge they can't, but it has the desired effect of getting him interested in the problem, and the resultant body of work determines just how far out the terminus has to be. This becomes a plot point in a subsequent adventure, where Kinnison - trying to work out how certain baffling abductions are being pulled off - realizes that the planet in question lies outside Cardynge's limit.
  • In The Night's Dawn Trilogy, starships (both conventional and biological) are unable to perform ZTT jumps or Swallow maneuvers within a certain radius of a gravitational field since local space is too warped to allow safe transmission. This radius is much smaller for the more sophisticated bitek Voidhawks, however, and Lagrange points (spaces where the gravitational pull of a planet is cancelled out by that of another celestial body such as a moon or star) theoretically allow FTL travel within a gravity well — until Joshua Calvert has to do it under pressure, that is. Then the Lagrange point dodge is fully confirmed. Also, a blackhawk (a form of Voidhawk) "swallowed" into, and back out of again, the Tranquility habitat (an O'Neill cylinder colony), as the spin-generated gravity had no effect on the jumps.
  • The Polity:
    • USERS (spinning black holes inserted into and back out of Underspace) create wavelike distortions - like throwing a pebble into a pool, repeatedly — that knock ships back into normal space. Used for interdiction and incident containment by Polity Agents and other EC forces.
    • Also, as a side effect of destroying a USER with a gravity weapon, all ships in the system have to wait for the gravity ripples to die down before attempting FTL again. One ship does manage to warp out in desperation but arrives disabled with its hull mangled beyond recognition. The AI survived but had any humans been aboard at the time they would have all died.
  • In the Star Carrier series, transiting to Alcubierre Drive requires most ships to be at least ~40 AU from a star, and then only after accelerating to near-c in normal space. This doesn't apply to Slan ships, however, which can not only go FTL deep within the traditional No Warping Zone, but can do it without needing to accelerate, allowing them to Teleport Spam during combat.
  • In The Stars Are Cold Toys, the human jumper does not appear to have a No Warping Zone. However, they are never activated inside a planet's atmosphere. This is because they transport a large sphere around them. Suddenly removing a chunk of an atmosphere has consequences for the planet below.
  • In the Zones of Thought series, FTL travel is impossible in the interior 80% or so of any given galaxy (in particular, including the Earth).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • There are places in the hyperspace universe that aren't safe. Some of these are actually Shadow and Vorlon bases. While ships with their own jump engines can technically jump from and to anywhere, doing so other than to/from empty space can cause potentially catastrophic problems.
    • There's also the rule that at no time, ever, ever, are you to open a hyperspace jump inside a planetary atmosphere; your ship may or may not survive the jump AND you will create an atmospheric disaster area. When Sheridan and crew on a ship are trapped in Jupiter's upper atmosphere, what with its large hydrogen concentration, they realize they just need a particularly strong surge of energy to set off a boom while they make a getaway. In a thinner planetary atmosphere (say, Mars), it's considerably safer... except for the risk that you'll drop back into real space, going umpteen million miles an hour, and smack into a mountain.
    • Related: when a ship or jump gate opens a jump point, anything in realspace that happens to fall along the perimeter of the jump area is demolished in a messy fashion. If the perimeter crosses another open jump point, though, the results can be downright catastrophic. The former has been used as a battle tactic, notably by the Minbari, although it requires extreme precision to be effective. The latter is considered incredibly hazardous even by those standards, and is a desperation maneuver at best—with few exceptions, any ship able to open a jump point will be too big and slow to get away from the blast; the White Star is the only jump-capable ship ever shown to be fast enough to perform the maneuver and survive. The latter maneuver is even called the Bonehead Maneuver by the humans (no offense meant to the Minbari).
    • The Expanded Universe mentions that, during the Earth-Minbari War, Earth Alliance found a way to create areas where jump points can't be opened. The usual application is to prevent the traditional Minbari tactic of opening a jump point inside your squadron, but they also used it to prevent the opening of jump points anywhere in the Sol System inside the asteroid belt. It barely slowed the Minbari down.
    • Hyperspace is further limited by the fact that navigation in hyperspace is almost impossible. The only way to do it is to follow established jump beacons presumably included in jump gates, so even a ship with its own jump drive has to follow the usual routes. Ships that travel too far off the jump beacon are never heard from again.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • Averted, at least in the traditional "can't warp near a planet" way. In one episode, as part of a sneak attack, the Galactica jumps into the atmosphere of a planet, falls like a stone while launching its fighters, and jumps back out when sufficiently close to the planet that it is identifiable from the surface. However, "slamming the ship through the atmosphere" caused severe structural strains to Galactica that led to quite a few problems down the way. So, jumping near a planet is not impossible, just extremely ill-advised.
    • At the same time, played straight in one of the season 4 episodes: when a Raptor jumps barely a stone's throw from the Galactica's hull, the gravitational shockwave tears out a good chunk of the hull and catastrophically damages the Galactica's already strained superstructure. So it's not like "you can't jump next to other ships", it's more "you can jump but you're a safety hazard for anyone nearby".
    • Jumping in close to objects is also made dangerous by the inaccuracy apparently inherent in BSG's FTL drives — at one point, a Raptor attempting to jump into a planet's atmosphere accidentally arrives inside a mountain.
    • It's also shown that when a ship jumps, anything not solidly fixed down will be drawn to the point where it was. When Galactica jumps in New Caprica's atmosphere at the start of Season 3 it causes a massive upward wind surge with accompanying sonic boom, and when the Pegasus jumps from the burning Scorpia shipyards in Razor the flames and a lot of debris get pulled into the ship's former location. This would mean jumping would be safest when there's nothing larger than a grain of dust is in your immediate vicinity.
  • The Dark Matter (2015) season finale has the Eos-7 station. It is surrounded by a massive sphere of satellites that force ships out of FTL if they cross the boundary, leaving them at a distance of seven light-minutes from the station, more than long enough for any would-be attackers to be reduced to debris by the vessels guarding the perimeter.
  • At the start of the Doctor Who episode "City of Death", the Jagaroth ship is destroyed because it tries to use its warp thrust to take off from Earth.
  • Farscape also uses the "hazardous to surroundings, not the ship" issue in regard to the Starburst transport used by the biomechanical Leviathan ships. Played straight if the ship tries to Starburst inside the hanger of another ship or other confined space; the contained energy causes the destruction of both ships.

    Multiple Media 
  • Star Trek features the occasional Negative Space Wedgie that prohibits the use of their FTL, the Warp Drive. Due to the way it works, this form of travel isn't used within a solar system except in emergencies. Mainly, because it's hard to plot a proper course with all the different gravity-wells of planets nearby, thus it is exceedingly dangerous due to the chance of collisions (with said planets or even the local star).
    • In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Kirk says that the urgency of their mission means that they have to take the "dangerous" risk of engaging warp drive while still within the solar system. As it turns out, that wasn't the problem. It was the improperly tuned warp engines, which created an unstable wormhole. Oddly, Star Trek: The Original Series had never described intra-system warp travel as dangerous before, or since. In fact, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the stolen Enterprise warps out shortly after leaving Earth Spacedock, and in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk's Bird-of-Prey even engages its warp drive while still in 1986 Earth's upper atmosphere. There don't seem to be any lasting effects from doing that.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Force of Nature" centers around the dangers of warp travel in high traffic areas leading to the erosion of the fabric of space-time, causing catastrophic Negative Space Wedgies and, potentially, worse. As a result of this discovery, the Federation places a Warp 5 speed limit on their ships except in cases of emergency, until Starfleet can find and implement a viable solution to the problem. The Klingon Empire agrees to the same speed limit (other factions aren't accounted for). This is observed for the remainder of the series, but eventually discarded with a hand-wave about a technical solution having been found.
    • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "By Inferno's Light", a changeling is about to induce a supernova in Bajor's sun. They get wind of it at the last second, but the only way to stop it is to warp through the system. Given that they would be warping toward Bajor's sun, even a slight navigational error would be disastrous. Dax is aghast, but Kira, what with most of her species' lives on the line, is less restrained.
    • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Omega Directive" introduces the Omega Directive, which instructs that Starfleet captains are to use any and all means available to destroy Omega molecules upon discovery — this even overrides the Prime Directive. Why? Because Omega molecules have a nasty propensity of destabilizing and exploding — and when they do, they destroy ambient subspace. Even a SINGLE molecule can render interstellar travel impossible over a distance of several light years, making enough of them a potentially crippling threat to The Federation and every other spacefaring race. The original incident that prompted the creation of the Omega Directive (which created such a zone in the Lantaru Sector) is described in a Kirk-era novel. The novel reveals that Section 31 was behind the failed experiment, and the Enterprise was barely able to stop the dead zone from spreading beyond Lantaru. Even so, two Federation colonies were cut off from the rest of the galaxy. It was therefore on Kirk's recommendation that the Omega Directive was enacted. The problem is compounded since there's a very good reason people would risk making something so dangerous: a single Omega Molecule has a power output comparable to a warp core, so if stabilized can produce practically limitless power.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Imperial Immobilizer-418 cruiser and its successor the Imperial Interdictor-class Star Destroyer are capable of generating a field that pulls ships out of hyperspace, forcing them to return to normal space.
    • In Star Wars Legends, it's stated that you can't use a FTL drive while within the "mass shadow" of a planet or star, while ships already in hyperspace will drop out of it if they hit such a shadow — a very bad thing if that means running into a sun. Gravity well generators can project an artificial mass shadow, and are sometimes mounted on space stations or ships like the aforementioned Interdictor. Activating these generators makes it difficult for ships equipped with them to maneuver and may attract space debris, but they can keep an enemy force from fleeing an engagement. This may be why in Return of the Jedi, the Imperial fleet is able to prevent the Rebels from escaping despite not having them physically surrounded.
    • An interesting application of gravity well generators is devised by Grand Admiral Thrawn, that Magnificent Bastard for all seasons. It's hard to coordinate a large-scale surprise attack from hyperspace because fleets tend to arrive out of sequence and out of formation, giving the enemy time to prepare a defense as the attackers reform and advance. Thrawn shocks everyone when he begins using Interdictors to snag his own ships from hyperspace, so they all appear at the same time and place (that is, the edge of the Interdictor's field, as soon as they hit it). Needless to say, he really ruins the New Republic's day the first time he shows this off.
    • Admiral Ackbar is no slouch with Interdictors either. When trying to capture the Imperial capital of Coruscant, he puts an Interdictor on the outskirts of the system to monitor the situation — if Rogue Squadron fails to disable the planetary shields, the Interdictor is ordered to power up its gravity well projectors to snag the New Republic task force that would otherwise invade the planet, keeping it far enough away to avoid a hopeless battle. Later, after defeating Grand Admiral Thrawn, Ackbar appropriates the "Thrawn Pincher" for his own forces during the campaign against the Ciutric Hegemony. In a decisive battle, the enemy fleet activates its Interdictor field to prevent the New Republic from escaping, so Ackbar sends a signal to two (captured) Victory-class Star Destroyers he has kept in reserve, which promptly hop through hyperspace to appear right behind the Ciutric fleet. One missile barrage against the enemy flagship's unshielded flank later, the war is over.
    • It's also mentioned that certain jump points, especially those near dense asteroid clusters are not entirely stable. They can also be moved fractionally by Interdictors. These jump points are safe, but tend to be minuscule and move rapidly, so they're only useful for small ships, require extreme precision, and carry a hefty risk. But the ability to slip a strike force where they aren't expected can sometimes pay off handsomely, so every once in a while someone uses them.
    • Much of the plot of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is driven by the fact that the Exile uses a Mass Shadow Generator, presumably based on the same technology. It destroys a whole Mandalorian battlefleet... and a planet.
    • Interdictor cruisers are all well and good, but there are only so many of them, and the gravity wells they project are relatively small. The MacGuffin of Honor Among Thieves is a device created by a Precursor race that can completely cut off access to hyperspace within that race's entire solar system, and which the Empire believes could be adapted to galaxy-wide scales. Given that controlling who can travel faster than light is tantamount to complete control of galactic civilization, both the Empire and the Rebel Alliance are desparate to get their hands on this as soon as they learn about it. The power of the device proves to be oversold when it's discovered that it's built into the planet Seymarti itself and can't be moved. There is still the possibility that the anti-hyperspace field could be expanded outside of the Seymarti system, and Han, believing that No Man Should Have This Power, destroys the planet to keep it out of Imperial and Rebel hands alike.
    • This restriction seems to be among the many Ret Gones perpetrated by Disney's buyout. In The Force Awakens, the Millennium Falcon has no problem jumping into a planet's atmosphere, though it is viewed as a rather suicidal maneuver to attempt. Perhaps it's merely a built-in failsafe to prevent slamming into unexpected things that Han was able to bypass.
    • Star Wars Rebels introduces the Interdictor above to the main Expanded Universe canon. It has the effect of dragging any nearby ship out of hyperspace and preventing any from entering hyperspace as long as its active. The test run hit a snag when Chopper dialed up the gravity field, causing it to affect the ship's escorts and drag them into the interdictor, destroying all of them. The season 3 finale has Thrawn employ two of these to trap the Rebels on their base of operations. One is destroyed due its captain's carelessness and a Rebel ship ramming it. The other is thanks to Ezra bringing reinforcements from the flank after using the destruction of the first to get help.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Banestorm, the title banestorms have screwed up the local laws of magic so badly that teleportation takes a penalty of -25. Not strictly impossible, but in GURPS, a skill level of 20 is extraordinary.
  • BattleTech:
    • Kearny-Fuchida drives don't take well to gravity. At the same time, recharging the drive via solar sail obviously requires the ship to come out of jump reasonably close to a star to collect energy, and most JumpShips aren't capable of any great sublight acceleration. This results in commercial traffic mostly using a given system's zenith and nadir 'jump points' several AU away from its star and safely above or below most of the clutter in its orbital plane; if actual recharging stations happen to exist in-system, this is where they will be positioned as well. It's possible to jump closer to or from a star by judicious use of Lagrange points (where the star's gravitic pull and that of another celestial body just about cancel out), but since the smaller bodies obviously keep moving around, this requires highly accurate and up-to-date navigational charts and makes for riskier jumps even then.
    • K-F drives also don't take well to each other. That is, if two active drive cores are in close proximity to one another, attempting to have either one initiate a jump is... bad. Intentionally getting a JumpShip close enough to another to prevent it from leaving is called the "Crazy Jane" maneuver. In one story, a smaller ship took out a battleship by getting close to it and firing up its drive. Both ships were destroyed, and there was every chance that other ships nearby (meaning thousands of kilometers away) could have been taken out too.
    • There's now an artificially created No Warping Zone. The Republic of the Sphere has enacted something called "Fortress Republic," which causes jumpships that try to enter its systems to catastrophically misjump, killing everyone onboard. It has yet to be revealed how this is being done (and none of the other states have figured out that the Republic has a way to send ships through the Fortress walls without harm, allowing them to make black-ops raids on their neighbors). It was eventually revealed that the Fortress Republic system known as The Wall wasn't actually a wall like its name implies, but a system that effectively fires an active Kearny Fuchida drive at anyone attempting to enter Republic space, with the effect of cancelling the jump and sending the jumping ship and her crew back to their starting point as a mangled mess. For ten years, this sent a very effective message to the rest of the Inner Sphere: Get out and stay out.
  • In Champions, characters or vehicles can purchase FTL Travel as a Power for only 10 Character Points. They are prohibited from using it in an atmosphere. Curiously, there's no restriction against using FTL Travel while on the surface of an airless world. You could theoretically spend a few points on FTL Travel, a minimal amount of Flight, and enough Life Support to survive until you fly out of the atmosphere, then engage your FTL Travel and destroy the moon by ramming into it.
  • In the multiverse of Magic: The Gathering, planeswalkers can travel between worlds at will. On the swashbuckling fantasy plane of Ixalan, an artifact called the Immortal Sun prevents any planeswalker from leaving, resulting in multiple characters being stranded on the plane for months or even years. It was originally intended to trap Big Bad dragon planeswalker Nicol Bolas, but ends up being stolen and repurposed by Bolas himself — in War of the Spark, he lures dozens of planeswalkers to the plane of Ravnica and reactivates the Immortal Sun to trap them there, in a thwarted attempt to wipe them all out and steal their power en masse so he can ascend to godhood.
  • Spelljammer:
    • Ships travel in straight lines at the spelljamming speed (10^8 miles/day) but drop to the "tactical speed" if they need to maneuver or something big enough (10 space tons for standard engines) is close enough.
    • A common tactic to prevent a Hyperspeed Escape is to launch large amounts of chaff in the vicinity of your enemies. A common tactic to deal with pursuers is the same: the evader crawls at the tactical speed one locking radius from a jettisoned mass, but the pursuer must either slow down for twice this distance or try to circumvent it and risk going off the course; if the evader slows down again and steers while the pursuer is still locked and can't catch up, it probably got away.
  • In Traveller, a starship using its jump drive too close to a planetary body or star (within 100 diameters, some sources say 100 AUs which would be well over a hundred times longer in Sol system) has an increased chance of misjump.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Tyranid fleets have the effect of making travel through the warp impossible to or from their location. This is naturally bad news for whatever planet they're approaching, unable to evacuate or receive timely reinforcements. This is because the Psychic Link between the (millions and millions of) creatures of the Tyranid fleets is done through the Warp, and so, any person with psychic powers, needed to travel in the Warp, is (painfully) overwhelmed. When the Imperium knows they're coming, they thus always scramble to reinforce the system's defenses beforehand.
    • Naturally occurring Warp Storms and currents (and unnaturally occurring ones, too: powerful daemons can affect the warp currents) can also cause this, preventing ships from entering the Warp, preventing ships from leaving, redirecting them to other places, or even locking off entire systems. Ships that try to force their way through Warp Storms sometimes explode, or vanish, or worse. In two famous examples, entire Imperial fleets have been obliterated: the unnamed warp storm (possibly coincidence, probably not) that prevented the Imperials from exterminating the Tau during the latter race's Iron Age, and the "Storm of the Emperor's Wrath" which "disappeared" a force belonging to the tyrant Goge Vandire and was taken as a sign of holy favor for those resisting him. On the other extreme, ships (and space hulks, which are too big to transition normally) are sometimes sucked into the Warp, only to be expelled in random other systems.
    • Also, warp transits are only supposed to happen in the outer system well away from anything, although the canon has provided several interpretations as to why that might be — accuracy of jumping back into real space is dubious at best, even for the best Navigators (and consequently massively worse for any factions which don't have Navigators), and so no-one wants to risk coming out of the Warp and accidentally ramming a planet; gravity stresses along the barrier between reality and the Warp make it too dangerous to jump in or out of the Warp too deep in a gravity well, on pain of breaking your ship (catastrophically, in some cases); the hole ships make in the fabric of reality when entering or leaving the Warp isn't large, and closes quickly, but it is generally larger than the ship (and, more importantly, larger than the bubble of sane reality formed by the ship's Geller Field), and there's always the possibility of stuff leaking into normal space. Given that the Warp is essentially Hell, no-one wants any chance of it landing on their planet.
    • Particularly bad Warp Storms can isolate entire sectors, such as what happened to the Gothic Sector during Abbadon's 12th Black Crusade. It's still undecided if the Warp Storm was just a coincidence, or if Abbadon engineered it somehow.

    Video Games 
  • Elite is possibly the Trope Codifier of "mass-locked" warp drives. Space stations, planetary rings, and planets will prevent your Frame Shift Drive from functioning at all until you get far enough away on regular thrusters. Being near other ships will significantly increase the charge-up time on FSD jumps, with larger ships causing a larger charge-up delay up to a factor of 24x.
  • As noted in Hyperspeed Escape: Escape Velocity doesn't allow you to enter hyperspace too close to the center of an inhabited system. The third game introduced the possibility for outfits to reduce how far out you had to be, though unmodded the available outfits with this capability weren't strong enough to remove the limitnote .
  • EVE Online has this as an actual gameplay mechanic, as Player versus Player combat encourages players to prevent enemy ships from escaping. This is where the Interdictors and Heavy Interdictors come in — these vessels can deploy large warp scrambling bubbles that prevent all ships from warping, and capital ships from using their Jump Drives (averted with Strategic Cruisers equipped with the Interdiction Nullifier subsystem, which makes them immune to this). If one needs a slightly more fixed solution, Mobile Warp Disruptor Fields can be manufactured/purchased from the market and anchored in space for the same effect. Players can also equip regular Warp Disruptors to prevent targeted ships from warping away.
  • Evochron doesn't have any hard limits on when the Fulcrum Drive can be activated (bar having enough energy and a working navigation system), though in effect planets become no warp zones — the Fulcrum Drive works by accelerating the ship to truly stupendous speeds as it forces open a wormhole. Naturally, doing so inside an atmosphere will cause the ship to almost immediately break up from atmospheric stress. Exiting from a Fulcrum jump has less of a "wind-up", so it's possible to jump into thin atmosphere where it's not possible to jump out. Evochron Mercenary added nebula with sensor disrupting effects for player-versus-player combat, where the Fulcrum drive often cannot be activated.
  • Freelancer has no interdicted space, but it does feature Cruise Disruptor missiles that can mess with the target's high-speed cruise engines. These are particularly frustrating if you're running from a group of enemies since all weapons are locked down by engaging the cruise engines. Which would seem to mean that the Counter Measures are also disabled. They aren't, but it's not mentioned anywhere.
  • Inverted in FreeSpace; subspace drives require gravity wells to function and won't work away from the gravity of a star system, making all of deep space the no warping zone. You can also jump freely while inches from asteroids, ships, platforms, wrecks...
  • In Homeworld, it is extremely dangerous for a ship to travel in hyperspace through a massive object in space, such as a planet or a star, or even a large asteroid. As such, a ship is always kicked out of hyperspace whenever such an object is detected ahead in order to make course corrections. This is sometimes used to trap ships, if the original course of the target ship is known. This is used a number of times during the course of the campaign; the Taiidan trap the Kushan twice this way, once through gravity well generators (by accident: they were keeping trapped the last important commander of the Taiidan Rebellion, and the Kushan's route just happened to cross the area), while the other involves placing a large, powered asteroid directly in the Kushan mothership's path, to both drop it out of hyperspace and careen into it. Additionally, Hiigara is protected by a number of hyperspace inhibitors, at least one of which must be destroyed before it can be assaulted. Notably, the use of gravity well generators to interfere with hyperspace travel is Gameplay and Story Integration: not only ships within the area of effect of an active gravity well generator cannot jump, ships outside the field drop out of hyperspace the instant they hit the edge of the field.
  • Master of Orion 2 has Warp Dissipator (prevents enemy ships from Hyperspeed Escape in the tactical combat map) and Warp Interdictor (slows down all enemy ships traveling to the system with an Interdictor equipped). A random event may also induce this trope for the whole galaxy, preventing FTL travel for a few turns.
  • In the first Noah mission in Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, the player's convoy is intercepted during its IP (interplanetary) jump by the Raptors, who have somehow obtained the technology to do this. In a later mission, the Raptors pull the opposite by preventing every ship in an incoming hostile fleet from exiting IP jump, with only the player's ship slipping through due to its exotic origins. Additionally, the Vardrag have the technology to lock down wormholes, preventing ships from getting in or out.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, ships are unable to conduct "phase jumps" within a gravity well of a stellar object, including stars, planets, asteroids, etc. There are exceptions to this rule, mostly for the Vasari race, whose phase jumping technology is much more advanced than human (either faction). Interestingly, there is also a means of bypassing this. An Ancient artifact allows for your ships to both jump in and out closer to a gravity well and consume less antimatter in so doing, suggesting that the limit is at least partly technological and not purely physical. Additionally, every faction can build Phase Jump Inhibitors, which are orbital structures that slows down the phase drive charge-up, delaying a Hyperspeed Escape. Starbases can also do this, with the additional bonus of enemy ships suffering damage when jumping away from a starbase-controlled area.
  • Solar Winds displays "Can't hyperjump - Danger near" if you try to go FTL while there's another object on screen (enemies, planets, asteroids).
  • In Star Trek Online, while you are in combat, you are at red alert and remain so until it clears (usually a few seconds after all engaged enemies have been disabled/destroyed). You cannot change maps while at Red Alert. During space combat, this does mean no warp drive.
  • Stellaris:
    • None of the FTL drives work in the gravity wells of star systems, forcing ships to move to the edge of the system before they can jump.
    • Prior to the Cherryh patch's overhaul of FTL travel, Defensive Stations could be equipped with Subspace Snares, which pulled incoming hostile fleets out of hyperspace right next to the station. In a best-case scenario this would let the starbase tear apart the invaders at close range, but even if the fleet was strong enough to smash the starbase, it would still have to move to the edge of the system before warping out, buying the defenders some time.
    • Since the FTL overhaul forced all star nations to use Hyperdrive to move along Hyperspace Lanes between systems, the "FTL Inhibitors" technology gives starbase and planet-bound fortresses the ability to restrict hyperspace travel — incoming fleets can enter a system as normal, but until the inhibitors are destroyed or captured, the enemy fleet will be unable to progress along any Hyperspace Lanes but the one it entered through.
    • Titan-class starships can mount their own version of the Subspace Snare, which doesn't directly drag enemy ships out of hyperspace, but imposes penalties that reduce the chance that damaged enemy ships are able to disengage from combat before being destroyed, and doubles the cooldown of a fleet's emergency FTL jump to bug out of a losing battle.
    • The L-Cluster is a downplayed version of this — while the regular hyperdrives and Gateways will work as normal, it is impossible to use Jump Drives or emergency subspace navigation in the cluster. It is also impossible to use the same two methods to get in the cluster — the only way in is through an L-Gate, or if someone builds a Gateway in there.
  • By Sunrider 4, PACT has invented gravity well "fluctuators" which prevent any nearby starships from warping away while the fluctuator is active. One is used at Cera as part of a trap for Kayto Shields and his crew, forcing his Ryder pilots to hold off the far more numerous PACT forces until Lynn, the team's hacker, can shut the fluctuator down and give them an opportunity to escape.
  • Sword of the Stars: While human and Zuul ships need to make for a node to escape, the other races have to make a seemingly arbitrary distance from enemy ships before they can retreat. And the Liir's Reactionless Drive is slowed to STL speeds near gravity wells (this is more a limitation of their computers' processing power rather than a physical problem). Some races also have the ability to intercept vessels in FTL speeds, though this is quite dangerous.
  • In the Xtended Game Mod for X3: Terran Conflict, the M2+ super-destroyers have a point-to-point jumpdrive that lets them jump to anywhere in the universe, unlike normal ships which must jump to Jump Gates. However, the super-destroyers can only use the point-to-point drive to jump to friendly systems, which provide navigational data. Neutral and enemy systems do not provide navigation data, preventing the drive from functioning lest it warp you into a star or something.

  • Teraport Area Denial in Schlock Mercenary works by detecting and disrupting the wormholes used by the Teraport. Not really a pure No Warping Zone, since you can program your TAD to check for what are essentially "passwords" encoded in the wormholes themselves to let certain teraports through. They can also be circumvented, by using a teraport cage to block the sensors. Or just bulled through by using truly ridiculous amounts of power.
  • In Westward, using Escherspace within a star system releases so much energy that it can alter the orbits of planets; using it anywhere near a massive object can have unpredictable effects. This doesn't necessarily make it impossible to do so — only insanely dangerous. At one point, an alien race that doesn't care much uses Escherspace to jump directly into our solar system, and the first sign of their arrival is when astronomers report a slight shift in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. Throughout the webcomic, this restriction means that while Faster-Than-Light Travel through Escherspace is instantaneous, many months of conventional space travel with rockets are still required as part of any interstellar trip.

    Web Original 
  • The space in between the Jump Gates in Nexus Gate counts as a huge No Warping Zone.
  • The only form of FTL in Orion's Arm is wormholes, but even these are subject to a form of this trope. A traversable wormhole (one big enough to transport large objects through) must have no stars, planets or large asteroids within a 327 AU radius of itself. Hayward-class wormholes don't have this limitation, but they're much smaller and can only be used to transmit data.

    Real Life 
  • The real-life Alcubierre Drive proposal, which has attracted attention for being theoretically plausible, works by creating immense gravitational distortions probably greater than that of Earth's gravitational field. Creating the gravity well of Earth right next to another planet would cause catastrophic damage from tidal forces, meaning that if the concept proves workable, an Alcubierre Drive-equipped starship will need to travel to the outer solar system before folding space to avoid perturbing the bodies within.


Video Example(s):


Escaping Prime's Death Trap

When Rick Prime's trap room has shielding which blocks portal travel while a wall of fire advances towards them, Rick and Evil Morty combine their portal guns and some of the teleportation fluid from the trap clone to overcome the shielding.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / AdvancingWallOfDoom

Media sources: