[Let's Read] Airships

Base Delta Zero

Registered User
Validated User
Huh. Does a diamond hull allow you to see through it, in the same way as a crystal hull?
Is it meant to be made of multiple seperate diamonds? Because that'd be... pretty awful, in terms of structural integrity. If it's monolithic, diamond can make for decent armor... once. It's got the highest Young's modulus of any (natural) material, but it's shear strength is only... okay. But making monolithic diamond on that scale is hard.
Monolithic quartz crystal is... easier, and its shear strength isn't that far off. Shrug.

Also the gemstone hull... what, are you supposed to pull up to the tavern in your 20 ton airship like it's a drive thru? 'Hey I'd like an uh... gather information, supersized.'
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
Huh. Does a diamond hull allow you to see through it, in the same way as a crystal hull?
Is it meant to be made of multiple seperate diamonds? Because that'd be... pretty awful, in terms of structural integrity. If it's monolithic, diamond can make for decent armor... once. It's got the highest Young's modulus of any (natural) material, but it's shear strength is only... okay. But making monolithic diamond on that scale is hard.
Monolithic quartz crystal is... easier, and its shear strength isn't that far off. Shrug.

Also the gemstone hull... what, are you supposed to pull up to the tavern in your 20 ton airship like it's a drive thru? 'Hey I'd like an uh... gather information, supersized.'
Apparently, the diamond hull design is made of thousands of stones that are meticulously fitted (somehow) to those surrounding it, creating a solid shell of incredibly durable gemstones. These airships are not only dazzling to look upon, with their hulls gleaming in the sun or moonlight, they are also difficult to damage, much less destroy. Though they are capable of bankrupting even the richest of nations, a diamond ship is powerful enough to justify the cost.
As far as the gemstone hulls, I don't think the bonuses are for drive thrus, rather, the bonuses can be used against those you bring aboard your ship purhaps to parley with, set trade agreements, or interrogate?
 

Base Delta Zero

Registered User
Validated User
Apparently, the diamond hull design is made of thousands of stones that are meticulously fitted (somehow) to those surrounding it, creating a solid shell of incredibly durable gemstones. These airships are not only dazzling to look upon, with their hulls gleaming in the sun or moonlight, they are also difficult to damage, much less destroy. Though they are capable of bankrupting even the richest of nations, a diamond ship is powerful enough to justify the cost.
Right. I was just questioning the practicality of it, which... fruitless endeavor, I know. Given the price, I suppose A: These are not industrial diamonds for some reason. B: DeBoers exists in D&DLand.

As far as the gemstone hulls, I don't think the bonuses are for drive thrus, rather, the bonuses can be used against those you bring aboard your ship purhaps to parley with, set trade agreements, or interrogate?[/QUOTE]
Ah, that makes sense. For some reason, I was interpreting 'doesn't work against crew' as 'doesn't work against anyone on the airship', which, as you point out, it doesn't say. It is kind of odd that Diamond (or Adamantine) hulls don't give a similar bonus? I'd hope the Gold hull does at least (as I can't think of any other possible reason to build a ship out of gold)
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
Right. I was just questioning the practicality of it, which... fruitless endeavor, I know. Given the price, I suppose A: These are not industrial diamonds for some reason. B: DeBoers exists in D&DLand.

As far as the gemstone hulls, I don't think the bonuses are for drive thrus, rather, the bonuses can be used against those you bring aboard your ship purhaps to parley with, set trade agreements, or interrogate?
Ah, that makes sense. For some reason, I was interpreting 'doesn't work against crew' as 'doesn't work against anyone on the airship', which, as you point out, it doesn't say. It is kind of odd that Diamond (or Adamantine) hulls don't give a similar bonus? I'd hope the Gold hull does at least (as I can't think of any other possible reason to build a ship out of gold)[/QUOTE]
Then you might think this is cool.

Gold - Hulls constructed from gold have an advantage in deflecting spells that are based on light or sound. Crafted from rounded sheets of gold hammered thin and then riveted onto a wooded frame. Cost 100,000 gp/ton, Hull Points 5/ton, craft DC 25, hardness 5, Fort +5, Ref +5. Benefit: +4 circumstance bonus to saves vs. spells with the light or Sonic descriptor. Penalties: You must hire one shift Smith for every shift foreman.

Iron - Favored by orcs and dwarves, iron hulls are amongst the strongest in the skies. Able to weather even the even the strongest of attacks, ships created from this material are often given a sharp prow to allow them to ram other vessels with greater ease. In addition, due to their great mass, iron airships suffer less damage from being rammed. Cost 1,000 gp/ton, Hull Points 30/ton, craft DC 25, hardness 10, Fort +10, Ref +0. Benefit: This ship is treated as if it were one size category larger when resolving ramming attacks, regardless of who the agressor is. Penalties: Iron ships are susceptible to electrical attacks, suffering a -1 circumstance penalty against spells with the electrical descriptor. You must hire one shift Smith per shift foreman.

Mithral - Lightweight and flexible, Mithral airships are constructed of plates of Mithral worked over a thin framework of flexible wood. This gives these hulls a distinctive banded appearance and flexibility that rivals those enjoyed by ceramic hulls. Cost 1,000,000 gp/ton, Hull Points 30/ton, craft DC 25, hardness 15, Fort +5, Ref +15. Benefit: Treated as one size category smaller when determining AC and Maneuverability. Penalties: You must hire one shift Smith for every shift foreman.

Next time, Platinum, Stone, and Wood Hulls...
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
Platinum - Another prestigious metal, it is among the most expensive materials ever used in Airship construction. While it offers no real benefits, it is a symbol of extravagant wealth that is often reserved for airships used as the headquarters of mercantile interests or to display their prosperity. Cost 1,000,000 gp/ton, Hull Points 6/ton, craft DC 25, hardness 8, Fort +5, Ref +5. Benefit: +8 circumstance bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, or Sense Motive checks while aboard vs. individuals who are not a part of your crew. Penalties: None, other than the exorbitant cost.

Stone - Well, it says here that only dwarves and Giants (yes, I said Giants) build stone airships, mostly to keep themselves comfortable in the air. These massive airships are extremely tough and able to sustain beatings that would crush lesser airships, but unfortunately maneuver like flying bricks. Cost 1,000 gp/ton, Hull Points 15/ton, craft DC 15, Hardness 8, Fort +10, Ref +0. Benefit: only the stats provided above. Penalties: Calculates the number of power factors required for its engine as if it were 50% larger (in tonnage) than it actually is, due to the great mass of the stone and its unwieldy nature. You must hire one ship Mason for every shift foreman.

Wood - This is the default material for all airships, and offers no penalty or bonuses for those constructing with it. Given its relatively low cost and good durability, wood is the most common material in use in airship construction. Cost 500gp/ton, Hull Points 10/ton, craft DC 15, hardness 5, Fort +5, Ref +5. Benefit: none. Penalty: none.

Next time, we conclude this chapter by outlining how to craft the hull...
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
Building the Hull

1. Determinee the DC of the craft skill checks needed. Unless noted, this DC is used for all skill checks during this process.
2. Determine your progress checks. Ships built with one work shift make monthly checks, two shifts make checks every two weeks, three shifts make checks every 9 days.
3. Pay 10% of the Hull's market value. This does not cover shipyard fees, or cost of labor, because these are determined on a monthly basis that was discussed earlier.
4. Make a Craft (Airship) skill check against the DC determined in step 1 above. The skill mod used is based on the average skill of all engineers involved. This is further modified by the quality of the laborers working on the airship.
5. If the check succeeds your progress is equal to the amount spent for raw materials, plus the craft DC multiplied by ten times the skill check result. Continue until this equals the value of the hull, then it is complete. If the check fails, then no progress. Failure by 10 or more reduce the current progress by 2d10% of its value.

Next time, Airship Engines...
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
Airship Engines


* Footnote - All airship pictures used on this thread are from other sources, as the original art from the book was not very impressive.

It takes alot of power to keep airships aloft and to propel them through the air. There are several types of engines available, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses. There are three important factors to consider when selecting an engine: power factors, fuel source, and cost.
The power factors of an engine determine how powerful the engine is, which determines the acceleration of the engine and the size of the Airship it can support. Naturally, larger engines consume more fuel and cost significantly more. Engines with larger power factors are able to push larger ships and make them go faster, but also cost more to buy and operate.

Power Factors and Acceleration


The difference between the power factors of a ship's engines and its tonnage determines its basic acceleration. Subtract the ship's tonnage from its power factors - the result is the airship's max acceleration per round, in MPH. Certain features of an Airship, notably its sails, may add to its basic acceleration as well.
An airship engine cannot power an airship without tonnage greater than its power factors, there's simply isn't enough energy produced to lift the vessel off the ground. If the power factors of an engine and the tonnage of the Airship it powers are exactly equal, the Airship still has an acceleration of 1.
It is possible to power a ship using more than one engine, but doing so causes a cumulative -2 circumstance penalty to all Profession (Airship Pilot) skill checks engine beyond the first. Though some Airships can overcome this problem by installing an engine in sync, most are simply not capable of fully suppressing the stresses caused by the additional engines. Airships with more than one engine simply add the power factors of all engines together when determining acceleration. Ships equipped with dirigibles may need no engine or only a small one in order to get off the ground. Subtract the dirigibles lift from such a ship's tonnage when determining it's acceleration. Note that the ship's basic acceleration rating assumes that it is running at full power. Underfueled engines have reduced power factors, and reduce a ship's acceleration and Max speed accordingly.
In general, because airships' speeds are most often measured in 10 mph increments, it is best to round an airship's current speed down to the nearest 10 mph. Thus, an Airship traveling at 16 mph, should be treated as moving at 10 mph until it's airspeed reaches 20 mph.


Next time, Maximum Speeds and The Limits of an Engine...
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
Maximum Speeds

The maximum speed (in mph) of an Airship is equal to its acceleration plus the power factors of its engine, or twice its acceleration, whichever is greater. Note though that no Airship can travel more than 200 mph.
As long as a ship has at least an acceleration of 1, it eventually reaches its maximum speed, regardless of the weight of the vessel, the size of the engine, or any other factors. If an Airship has more than one engine, the total power factors of all engines added together when determining the total maximum speed.

The Limits of an Engine

Altitude - Regardless of the type of fuel used by the engine, it operates in relationship to the ground and must remain within a few hundred feet of Earth at any given time. They can travel at 500 ft. Or so without problems, but a magical conundrum - pushing the airship up requires a stable base from which to propel the vessel, and the Earth is the only object large enough to qualify. The further away you get the more difficult it is for the engine to sustain its lifting capacity. While it may be able to exceed this height temporarily, it eventually falls back to normal maximum height.
Some ships have surmounted this problem, but only at an extremely great cost. As the lift provided by an engine attenuates with altitude, larger and larger engines are required. These larger engines require greater amounts of fuel.

Power Factors - Engines are normally limited to 100 power factors. While a small number of individuals have discovered a means to circumvent this limit, and their secrets are not duplicable by other. (which we will cover when we get to the Engine Savant feat).

Next time, The Source of Power...
 

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
Validated User
The Source of Power

All airship engines derive their power from a specific source. What that source is can vary from engine to engine, but there are no hybrid engine types. The creator of the engine must where he draws the power from, and then stick with it. While it may be appealing to imagine an engine powered by both air and fire, this is no merely impractical, but impossible.
An engine's power source determines many of it's other aspects as well. An elemenal engine, for example, must be constructed of materials appropriate to the element or it simply won't function. Likewise, divine engines must be blessed regularly to retain their powers, otherwise they become inert and cannot be ignited again until the conditions for their operation are again met. Note though that the power source of an engine is not directly what drives the Airship forward or lifts it into the air. An arcane or divine Nexus absorbs the energy created within the engine and converts it into power factors, allowing a relatively small amount of energy to be transformed the into enough power to lift and move an airship.
In this section of the book we will be discussing each type of power source, along with the benefits and hindrances of the engines.

Engine Types

Name / Cost / Craft DC / Hull Points / Hardness / Repair DC / Repair Cost
Arcane / 1,500 / 30 / 5 / 5 / 25 / 300
Divine / 1,500 / 30 / 5 / 5 / 25 / 300
Elemental, Air / 2,000 / 25 / 1 / 2 / 20 / 400
Elemental, Fire / 1,500 / 25 / 3 / 6 / 20 / 300
Energy / 3,000 / 35 / 2 / 5 / 30 / 600
Fiendish / 3,000 / 30 / 20 / 5 / 30 / 600
Necrotic / 2,000 / 30 / 20 / 5 / 25 / 400
Oil-burning / 1,500 / 20 / 2 / 5 / 20 / 200
Vampiric / 3,000 / 30 / 20 / 5 / 20 / 600
Wood-burning / 1,000 / 20 / 2 / 5 / 15 / 200

We will be discussing these engines in more detail in future posts.

Next time, Arcane, Divine, and Elemental Engines...
 
Top Bottom