Airship propulsion differences

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Airship propulsion differences

Postby NelsonNelsor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:51 pm

I have not yet seen it discussed in forum or cannon sources; is there a difference in function or effect between the elemental types which power airship flight?
I've seen images of fire elementals, and air elementals that take on tornado or lightning storm aspects, are there other types?
Does one type provide more lift, maneuverability, speed, weather tolerance, altitude etc?
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby AxesnOrcs » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:13 am

I have honestly not been able to find out, and it is maddening because the instant I decided to make some up someone is going to crawl out and tell me I am wrong and it's in some book I didn't know existed.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby ThePurple » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:25 pm

AxesnOrcs wrote:I have honestly not been able to find out, and it is maddening because the instant I decided to make some up someone is going to crawl out and tell me I am wrong and it's in some book I didn't know existed.


I haven't been able to find out any differences either. I'm actually reasonably certain that airships were, originally, supposed to be propelled only by fire elementals (hence the giant ring of fire around all Eberron airships) but it was changed at some point when an artist that didn't understand that bound elementals couldn't burn things they weren't told to burn and that the ships were held aloft due to being made of soarwood, which is naturally lighter than air, decided that elemental *air*ships should be powered by *air* elementals (or that they should give off lightning since they're piloted by scions of the House of Storm).

In my game, it wouldn't really matter to me (so I would really just make the decision arbitrarily). It's just another piece of fluff using laws of physics that don't exist in our world. The Lightning Rail is propelled by air elementals (though, keep in mind, the Lightning Stones that levitate it are *not* elemental at all; the Lightning Stones are just superpowerful magical magnets that repel each other and create lightning as a side effect of the repulsion); elemental galleons are pushed by water elementals (bound to water wheels on the side of the ship, like old steam ships) and blown by air elementals; elemental carts are propelled by earth elementals.

I do think that airships propelled by air elementals should be less common, if only because they're not the stereotypical Eberron airship. Perhaps those propelled by air elementals are slower but they're stealthier (since, you know, no giant ring of fire around it). Perhaps it doesn't make any difference at all, but airships tend to get the fire elementals because air elementals can be used for the Lightning Rail and galleons as well as air ships whereas fire elementals can only be used for airships. As far as I know, there's nothing written that expressly states that there's a difference (the differences between airships tends to be more due to make/model rather than elemental) but it's not like Eberron ever really had comprehensive airship building rules, so, like so much of Eberron, it's really up to what you want for you game.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby Big Mac » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:34 pm

AxesnOrcs wrote:I have honestly not been able to find out, and it is maddening because the instant I decided to make some up someone is going to crawl out and tell me I am wrong and it's in some book I didn't know existed.


I was talking about this elsewhere recently, and got told I was wrong. :lol:

But it is nice to learn, if you are trying to study the canon.

I got told that only air elementals or fire elementals can power an Eberron airship. But I don't know what book that might come from.

The elemental airship article on Eberron Wiki doesn't specify elemental types, but does name a small number of canon airships. If you have the books listed in the different citations you might be able to scim through them to see if they have specific details about the elementals bound to those ships.

There is one ship (Golden Dragon) that is said to be powered by two elementals (one air elemental and one fire elemental). One provides lift and the other provides propulsion, but I'm not sure which does what.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby ThePurple » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:11 pm

Big Mac wrote:There is one ship (Golden Dragon) that is said to be powered by two elementals (one air elemental and one fire elemental). One provides lift and the other provides propulsion, but I'm not sure which does what.


Considering that airships are supposed to be made with soarwood, which allows them to float without the need of a bound elemental, I don't really see the need for an elemental to be kept around just to keep the ship afloat unless it's an especially heavy ship which *might* make sense for warship (since that's what the Golden Dragon was originally supposed to be); I would also note that an armored airship is going to lose a *lot* of maneuverability especially if it's so heavy that the designers had to incorporate a second bound elemental to make it airworthy and, honestly, I expect that maneuverability is a better defense for an airship than additional armor is.

If anything, I'd probably reinterpret it to have the two different elementals either acting as separate functions that both relate to mobility (i.e. air elemental controls pitch, yaw, and roll while the fire elemental provides airspeed) or with the air elemental acting as a supercharger for the fire elemental (i.e. the air elemental is basically a bellows that allows the fire elemental to burn hotter and push faster).
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby AxesnOrcs » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:40 pm

Big Mac wrote:
AxesnOrcs wrote:I have honestly not been able to find out, and it is maddening because the instant I decided to make some up someone is going to crawl out and tell me I am wrong and it's in some book I didn't know existed.


I was talking about this elsewhere recently, and got told I was wrong. :lol:

But it is nice to learn, if you are trying to study the canon.

I got told that only air elementals or fire elementals can power an Eberron airship. But I don't know what book that might come from.

The elemental airship article on Eberron Wiki doesn't specify elemental types, but does name a small number of canon airships. If you have the books listed in the different citations you might be able to scim through them to see if they have specific details about the elementals bound to those ships.

There is one ship (Golden Dragon) that is said to be powered by two elementals (one air elemental and one fire elemental). One provides lift and the other provides propulsion, but I'm not sure which does what.


:P And you are wrong.

About the expectations of knowing all of the canon of an out of print setting beyond the introductory canon laid-out in the core setting book. In the 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting it clearly states air and fire elements are the norm for elemental airships, while it does say usually there are no instances of any other type, to my knowledge, of elementals used as the sole motive force in 3.5 Eberron. The closest is the Golden Dragon, which has among the two bound FIRE elementals, a bound water elemental. The Golden Dragon is also noted as being extremely unique, so it's made of Bolognium as far as I'm concerned. The 4e Eberron Campaign Guide mentions Air, Fire, or Lightning for airships. Both books clearly describe the specific classes of elementals that used for which classes of vehicles.

It's not my fault if the wikis aren't fully accuracte, but I also don't expect someone to have more than a passing knowledge of the contents of initial setting book.

But if you want to a) allow some other elemental as DM or b) justify why an earth elemental should totally add to the lifting force of the soarwood and provide the motive force of an airship by all means.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby Birchbeer » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:38 am

I found this article via DuckDuckGo: http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050803a&page=2

Main difference I see is what the Ring does if it should hit another creature:
Ring: An airship can use either a fire or an air elemental. A burning fire elemental bound into a ring deals 3d8 points of fire damage to any creature or object passing it touches. When an air elemental is used, the damage is bludgeoning.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby AxesnOrcs » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:07 am

Excerpt from the Eberron Campaign Setting pgs 124-125
House Lyrandar Airship: House Lyrandar operates elemental flying vessels (usually utilizing bound air or fire elementals) to make rapid air travel possible across Khorvaire. Built in Zilargo, these vessels can sometimesHouse Lyrandar Airship be found in privateer hands, but the pilots of House Lyrandar are renowned for their skill and expertise. Double the cost given on the Goods and Services table (page 121) for passengers or creatures larger than Medium, creatures that are otherwise difficult to bring aboard a ship, or passengers with excessive baggage.

Airships have the advantage of being able to go anywhere—provided the pilot and crew are willing to make the trip. Travel to a dangerous locale, if the crew agrees, can easily double or triple the cost. Most Lyrandar vessels only fly between metropolises and large cities. To go elsewhere by air, you need to find a privateer. Since they are relatively new, airships have not come into widespread use yet.

An airship powered by an elemental can maintain a
speed of 20 miles per hour through the sky.



Excerpt from the Eberron Campaign Guide pg 44
ELEMENTAL AIRSHIP
Regarded as the most advanced vessel designs from Zilargo, elemental airships are a new addition to House Lyrandar's transportation services. With them, Lyrandar has started to break House Orien's near monopoly on shipping.


Elemental airships are similar in appearance to seafaring vessels. but instead of sails have stabilizers, rudders. and fins. Each elemental airship has four struts, two on top and two more beneath the vessel, that contain the elemental spirit that propels the ship. When the vessel is airborne, the struts form a pathway along which the elemental rages. The creature encircling the ship might appear as a roiling disk of lightning, fire, or air, depending on its nature.

Although an elemental airship flies by means of
its elemental, the creature's fantastic power is not sufficient to raise the vessel from the ground. Thus, all elemental airships are constructed of soarwood - a rare and expensive timber harvested from the forests of Aerenal. The extraordinary price of the materials that make up elemental airships has limited their numbers, restricting their use to only the very rich and very powerful.

From Keith Baker's blog
Our local group is trying to get a better understanding of airships, which has made us curious about some of the choices used. In the campaign setting book airships use fire elementals and galleons use air elementals. It just doesn’t make sense to us. Why not just use air elementals for both ships?
A galleon uses an air elemental to generate wind which it harnesses with sails. The fire elemental works more like a rocket. With that said, some airships do employ air elementals; Pride of the Kraken from Principles of Fire used both an air and fire elemental.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby AvonRekaes » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:16 pm

As has been stated previously, Airships are most commonly made with a bound Fire or Air elemental. There's been no stated difference in performance between each type, so there's no need to worry about a cannon-Nazi declaring you wrong.

If, however, you wanted to add your own homebrewed flavor, I would say Air elemental airships are built for comfort, and Fire elemental airships are built for speed. I imagine side-effects, like the air elemental keeping a bubble of pressurized air around the deck and keeping the wind light, so passengers can stand atop the deck and not have their ears pop on takeoff and landing. Whereas a Fire airship, like Keith says, "works like a rocket", hurling itself through the air at a much faster pace without the luxury of a pressurized air bubble about itself.

In game mechanical terms, it means that the deck of an Air elemental ship would have normal fighting conditions, while the deck of a Fire elemental ship would be under heavy wind. Tack on a 5/mph advantage in the Fire airship's speed or thereabouts.
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Re: Airship propulsion differences

Postby AxesnOrcs » Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:53 am

AvonRekaes wrote:As has been stated previously, Airships are most commonly made with a bound Fire or Air elemental. There's been no stated difference in performance between each type, so there's no need to worry about a cannon-Nazi declaring you wrong.

If, however, you wanted to add your own homebrewed flavor, I would say Air elemental airships are built for comfort, and Fire elemental airships are built for speed. I imagine side-effects, like the air elemental keeping a bubble of pressurized air around the deck and keeping the wind light, so passengers can stand atop the deck and not have their ears pop on takeoff and landing. Whereas a Fire airship, like Keith says, "works like a rocket", hurling itself through the air at a much faster pace without the luxury of a pressurized air bubble about itself.

In game mechanical terms, it means that the deck of an Air elemental ship would have normal fighting conditions, while the deck of a Fire elemental ship would be under heavy wind. Tack on a 5/mph advantage in the Fire airship's speed or thereabouts.


That's good.
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