My apologies if the formatting looks terrible, I've never actually composed a wiki page before.
This content is temporary, I am using this page as a convenient means to share my thoughts regarding a sourcebook under development.
Airships and Aeronauts I feel has a great deal of promise but currently it's mired in some math issues that are going to make actually building an airship, or even crafting the rest of the construction rules rather problematic.
As a quick example, for no apparent reason it's become clear that arbitrary weights have been generated, then the prices each section will cost, have for no clear reason been multiplied by the weight in pounds to arrive at some staggeringly wrong "base" prices. The weights themselves are also unrealistically heavy. The listed weight of adamantite for a 10'x10'x10' section is heavier than a M1A1 Abrams Tank.. Where in this Adamantite ship section is there going to be room to move?
Then, there are certain cost vs. gain issues to be addressed. Under the current system as is, no one would ever build an airship out of iron, or mithral for that matter. Using a dense structure of bone, I would get just as many hitpoints as I would using iron, for 1/3rd the weight and at less than a 1/10th the cost. Stone, upgraded to a dense frame gives the same hitpoints as mithral, for 50% more weight at less than 1/1000th the cost.
I offer the above thoughts as constructive criticism as to why some significant changes need to be made to make the rules workable. But I bring more than criticism, I've been working over the last 2 days on a construction system I think would significantly streamline the building process while being more internally consistent. I hope you find the suggestions useful. Again, I have no idea how to make tables and the like I will try to do things like bold subject headings, and italicize examples. Comments in square brackets [ ] are explanations to you the fellow contributors of my reasoning or thoughts and I don't intend for them to be reflected in the text of the public page if these ideas are used at all.
Construction: Phase One
With some idea in mind of the size of the airship you wish to design and the role or roles you or your group of players want the airship to fulfill it's time to decide on the superstructure. As mentioned above an airship is designed in 10' by 10' by 10' cubes, henceforth called sections. Each of these sections can be assumed to have a total weight of 20,000 lbs. (10 Tonnes) Of course not every section of the airship will have exactly the same weight. Many will weigh far less than 20,000 lbs. while others will be much heavier the average however will be in the neighbourhood of our 10 tonne benchmark.
This shortcut, along with others we will discuss below are intended to keep the actual work and notes needed for each airship design to a minimum. A couple pages of notes and some quick calculations are preferable to accounting for each pound or square foot of space, building your airship shouldn't be harder than filing your taxes.
Regarding construction costs, it should be noted that all the prices in Phase One are subject to reduction under certain circumstances. If the airship builders have access to an "at cost" source of the construction material or materials they select in the following sections then reduce gold piece costs per section by 40%. If the builders have access to effectively free labour to build their airship then reduce gold piece costs by 40%. These reductions can stack with each other but no modifiers can reduce gold piece costs below 20% of normal. 20% of the gold cost represents transportation, replacement tools, spell components and spell casting costs and the like.
The frame of an airship is it's skeleton. Like the frame of your home your airship's frame holds the airship shape while giving you something to attach doors, floors, walls, and whatnot to. This frame is also where an airship gets it's hitpoints, or at least the majority of them. The frame can be constructed of numerous different materials each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Naturally price is a significant concern for most airship builders, but so is efficient use of space. Not all construction materials are created equally, some are stronger others bulkier, while still others are valued for their special properties. As a general rule, the stronger the material the frame is made of, the less of it you need for each section of your ship, which lowers the internal space of your ship consumed by the frame itself.
Example: a group of cost conscious adventurers need a large low cost ship. They settle on an airship made up of one thousand sections. To keep the price down they decide to construct the framework of their airship from wood due to it's low cost. However the bulky nature of a wooden frame means that the adventurers will have to sacrifice 15% of the space within their airship for the frame. This leaves the adventurers with 850 sections of their craft they can use.
[I don't know how to format this information into a table so it will probably look terrible]
Construction Material: Price per Section: % internal space usage: Special Properties:
Wood : 25 GP : 15% : Wood, +50% dam. from Fire
Bone : 80 GP : 12% : x2 damage from bludgeoning attacks
Stone : 300 GP : 12% : Stone
Iron : 500 GP : 10% : Metal, Construction speed bonus
Darkwood : 1000 GP : 15% : As Wood, maneuverability bonus from weight reduction
Living Wood : 1500 GP : 15% : As Wood, Regenerates damage 1 hp/hour per Section
Diamond/Crystal : 2500 GP : 8% : Subject to sonic damage and shatter, immune to Electricity
Mithral : 5000 GP : 5% : Metal, maneuverability bonus from weight reduction
Adamantite : 7500 GP : 2% : only subject to rust attacks, +10 to fortitude saves
The costs in gold and internal space represent a standard frame. A standard frame Section provides 50 hitpoints to the airship, regardless of material. Rather than providing additional hitpoints, stronger materials do the same job using less space as shown in the chart above. Several other frame options exist however:
Light Frame: Built to provide the bare minimum of structural support. A light frame provides only 25 hitpoints per Section, but uses only half of the internal space. a Light frame Section costs 75% the gold piece cost as a standard frame Section of the same material would.
Reinforced Frame: Some builders will trade space, for durability. A Reinforced frame costs twice as much in both gold and internal space as a standard frame and provides 75 hitpoints per Section.
Heavy Frame: For those who simply must have a vehicle that will stand up to the worst punishment, the builders can strengthen the frame to it's utmost. A Heavy Frame provides 100 hitpoints per Section, but at triple the gold and internal space costs. No heavier frame than a Heavy Frame is possible, there is simply no way to brace it further without compromising the ability to build rooms and corridors within the ship.
Regardless of frame type selected, the special benefits or penalties of the construction material are unaffected. See below for expanded descriptions of each of the construction materials available and their effects when used for the Frame, the Hull, or as Armour Plating.
Lead Lining: At a cost of 250 GP per Section a thin lining of lead can be worked into the walls, floor and ceiling of a Section to prevent scrying or divination of the Section's contents. Unlike other Frame options lead lining can be installed section by section rather than ship-wide.
DM Note: If your campaign doesn't provide access to powerful combat spells, special abilities, and the like then please divide the hitpoints per Section (but not any of the other costs) of each frame type by 2 (round down) for more realistic ship battles, or divide by 5 for gritty or no magic/psionics campaigns.
Continuing our above example: Seeing that a wooden frame will use up 150 sections worth of usable space, the builders decide on a light frame to cut costs. The builders also decide they want to use lead to shield 20 Sections of their ship from possible divination, protecting the bridge, meeting rooms and important crew quarters. These choices mean their airship frame will cost 23,750 gold pieces (25 multiplied by 1,000 sections, reduced by 25% for light frame then 5,000 gold was added for 20 sections worth of lead lining) the airship will also have 925 usable sections of internal space, finally the airship will currently have 25,000 hitpoints at this stage.
[Thats the basics, I wanted to wait to work out the specifics of exactly what the construction material benefits were until after some of the other rules were worked out such as how maneuvering will work. All these numbers are of course subject to change but I have striven to keep the benefit vs. cost fair and consistent, though I don't expect many people will want Darkwood unless they absolutely NEED maneuverability and don't want to cough up the cost for Mithral. Also if you look I have tried to keep costs on the more expensive materials, in line with other canon sources like the SBG. I know these rules bring the potential hit-point totals way down, but not even Elminster would have the spell capacity to bring down even one of these big ships let alone a 1,000 section vessel made of iron in the old system, that's 150,000 hitpoints after all... Hull will be next but I haven't got the time at the moment to write that, or armour yet. I am also very curious to get all of your feedback on these suggestions] Tunganation 12:47, 27 May 2011 (UTC)