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[Let's Read] Airships

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
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These types of engines are a part of the Oathbound campaign setting, also by Bastion Press. They are powered by two rare substances, a potent metal called Slade, and oil from the glands of Moab Whales.

They are compact but expensive, reduce the ship's weight to zero, and allow it to ascend and descend as well. That allows a ship to get by with a small engine, or even no engine at all. Although you are going to have to have another means to propel it.

Benefit: As above, plus it increases the ceiling flight to 1,000 ft. They can hover indefinitely without expending any fuel costs at all.

Penalty: These things are extremely expensive! They also require the service of a spellcaster to operate.

Cost: 10,000 gp per size category, plus 23,000 gp per ton of the airship itself.

Space Required: One ton per 10 tons of airship, one critical slot per 3 size categories. The dirigible has a hardness of 5 and 5 hull points per ton it takes up.

Keeping it Charged: It's fueled by spells. Initializing the ship costs 57 spell levels per ton, However, once charged, it is permanent. To raise the ship, the spell is cast into a chamber, and it is raised altitude levels equal to the spell level. Tap on the brake to slow the ascent, tap on it more to hover, or to descend. It descends at 5 altitude levels per round.

Next time, Gliders...


Registered User
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I was initially pumped about this, but man, way more crunch than I have any interest in. Yikes. I'm sure it'll be right up a lot people's collective alley though.

The Discerning Gentleman

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I was initially pumped about this, but man, way more crunch than I have any interest in. Yikes. I'm sure it'll be right up a lot people's collective alley though.
Yeah, it's crazy crunchy, but remember, you can always do your own thing and draw some ideas from it. 😄 It gets my creative juices flowing anyways!

The Discerning Gentleman

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With this template the airship is equipped with side mounted sails, allowing them to be used as massive glider wings. While gliders are not the most efficient means of flight over long distance, areas where thermals are common find gliding to be useful on resources and time.

Benefits: A glider can float for long distances without engine power, descending at a rate of 10 ft. for every 50 ft. of forward distance traveled. More importantly, a glider that is able to move through a series of thermals can quickly rise to great altitudes, then glide down slowly without needing to use fuel at all. Glider ship's do not crash if they run out of fuel or suffer engine failure, assuming there is a place to land.
Airships with the glider template are also better able to weather turbulence. When entering or leaving a thermal, the pilot receives a +5 circumstance bonus to any Piloting skill check necessary due to turbulence. This bonus is decreased to +2 for any other Piloting skill check necessitated by turbulence.
Gliders also receive greater lift from thermals, rising an additional altitude band per round per 5 full points of the thermal's lift capacity.

Penalty: The side mounted sails can only be deployed as gliders when engines are not in use. In addition, the Pilot suffers a -2 penalty per size category of the airship when making pilot checks due to wind or weather conditions, not including turbulence. Each side mounted sails has 5 hull points per ten tons of vessel, and takes up one critical slot per three size categories of ship. Sails take damage before the hull if it is ever rammed broadside. If the sails are ever destroyed, the Airship cannot glide until they have been repaired or replaced.

Cost: 5,000 gp per size category.


Master of Mutant Design
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That isn't a bad idea but it does require the GM to read up on thermals and come up with some rules on where they form and how strong they are.

The Discerning Gentleman

Has Transcended
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This template allows your airship to overcome the 500' limit by strengthening the frame of the vessel to withstand higher engine power factors, and redirecting the engine exhaust to provide more lift and less thrust.

Benefit: The first time this template is applied, the Airship's cruising altitude is increased to 1,500 ft. The template may be applied more than once, but subsequent applications only increase it by 250 ft.

Penalty: The Airship's maneuverability is reduced by 1, and Power factors are reduced by 100 for purposes of calculating forward acceleration and top speed only. If this drops the ship's acceleration below 1, then it must use air oars or turbines for propulsion.

Cost: 15,000 gp per application.

Next time, we are getting Reinforced...

The Discerning Gentleman

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This replaces much of the wooden infrastructure with durable materials such as darkwood, or even iron. This template can only be added once to any airship.

Benefit: The ship gains additional Hull Points equal to 10% of it's standard Hull Points.

Penalty: The extra space Required for the reinforcement forces all the bulkheads of the ship to be 5' thick, greatly reducing the space below decks.

Cost: 3,000 go per size category.

Next time, we begin the Rigging section...


Formerly 'Raveled'
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I cannot imagine the kind of thermals that would be required (or the size of the wing!) to allow even the smallest of airships to glide.

The Discerning Gentleman

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The Rigging

Most airships, like sailing vessels, have sails. The sails not only help propel the airship before the wind, but also increase maneuverability. The sails, masts, and all the other bits and pieces associated with the sails are collectively referred to as the rigging, and are a crucial component of any Airship.
An airship without rigging or has rigging destroyed loses all benefits listed under the rigging type. Ships without rigging can never benefit from wind speed. There are a few types of rigging available for airships:

Square Sails

The simplest rigging available, the square Sail is essentially a great canvas sheet attached to a pair of crossbars (known as the yardarm) affixed to the top and bottom of the mast. Square Sails are the default rigging for any Airship.

Benefit: +3 maneuverability, +10 acceleration.
Cost: 50gp per ton of the airship.
Installation/Repair DC: 10
Deck Space: 1 ton per 10 tons of airship, 1 critical slot per 50 tons.
Crew Required: 1 per ton of Rigging.
Hull Points: 20 per ton of Rigging.

The Discerning Gentleman

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These sales are more advanced than Square sails, allowing the Airship to benefit from their ability to tack against the wall, which provides not only increased speed when dealing with windy weather, but also an increase in maneuverability. The sails are triangular, rather than square, and are attached to yardarms that can be moved around their masts, allowing for an increased ability to gain advantage from the wind and greater maneuverability.

Benefit: +4 maneuverability, +15 acceleration.
Cost: 100 go per ton of the Airship.
Installation/Repair DC: 15
Deck Space: 1 ton per 10 tons of the airship, 1 critical slot per 50 tons.
Crew Required: 2 per ton of Rigging space.
Hull Points: 20 per ton of Rigging.


The most advanced rigging, the panel sail is actually a number of smaller sails attached to masts along lines, rather than rigid yardarms. These Triangular sails can thus be moved about more easily and fastened into a wider variety of positions to catch the wind better and improve the maneuverability of the Airship. Though they do not take up more space on the deck, panel sails are so highly regarded they are almost always used on merchant or military vessels.

Benefit: +5 maneuverability, +20 acceleration.
Cost: 150 gp per ton of the Airship.
Installation/Repair DC: 20
Deck Space: 1 ton per 10 tons of the airship, 1 critical slot per 50 tons.
Crew Required: 3 per ton of Rigging.
Hull Points: 20 per ton of Rigging.



Rigging takes up a great deal of space on the deck of an airship what with the lines used to secure sails and the masts. Each of the sail types listed above has a deck space requirement. Note that this is not the actual amount of space taken on the deck by the rigging, but it is instead representative of the amount of space on the deck that must be kept clear around the rigging.
The rigging itself is normally composed of one Mast for every two tons of space taken up by the Rigging. This mast occupies the center of the area and radiates a series of yardarms, booms, lines, and other paraphernalia used to control the sail through the rest of the area. While Sailors can move freely through these areas as they go about their business aboard the Airship, the space cannot be used for weapons, cargo, or any other purpose.


The masts of the Airship vary in height depending on the length of the vessel and the number of masts it has. A ship with only one Mast generally has a single mast that is 2/3 the length of the Airship itself, rising high above the deck to catch the wind. If the Airship has additional masts each of these is rarely more than two-thirds the height of the main mast, which is at the center of the Airship. Masts should be as evenly spaced as possible when diagramming the Airship - a bunch of masts all crammed together on the deck can't realistically catch the air at all.


Once you have decided on the type of rigging you'd like to see on your Airship, follow the steps below to install it on your ship. Because most are ships are not built to float on the water, be aware that it is possible to mount sails all over the Airship, though side-mounted and bottom mounted sails may sustain significant damage during times of battle.

Installing the Rigging
1). Determine the market value of the airships rigging by multiplying its per ton cost as noted above, by the total tonnage of the Airship to which it is being attached. Larger airships require larger sails which are more expensive.
2). Ten laborers are required for every ton of rigging installed. A single engineer is required regardless of the rigging size.
3). Pay 1/5 the market value of the airships rigging for the raw materials for 3 Days of Labor. Note that additional shifts reduce this time by one day for extra shift - so, for example working three shifts reduces the time for skill check to a single day.
4). At the end of the work period, the ship's engineer must make a profession (Airship Engineer) skill check against the insulation DC of the Airship rigging, as noted in his description above. The check is modified by expert or poor-quality laborers, by + 5 or -5 respectively. If this checks exceeds, multiply the results of the skill check by the DC of the Check. If the results, plus any progress made during the installation process for previous attempts is equal to the value of the Airships rigging, it is successfully installed. If it is not equal to the value of the rigging, simply note the progress made so far and add it to the results of next week's installation.
If the skill check fails, however, no progress is made and another attempt can be made after three more days of Labor.

Next time, Piloting Components....
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