Flying Ships

"Through a veil of blue mist did I first behold an unknown realm; dreamlike and surreal as if suffused in amber glow."

Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:17 pm

Thanks, everybody! You guys are awesome. :D
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Chimpman » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:37 pm

I love those illustrations as well - in fact I've really been thinking of co-opting them for Mystara ;). The story is great Adam - that's how new and exciting things happen!

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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Azaghal » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:22 pm

Chimpman wrote:I love those illustrations as well - in fact I've really been thinking of co-opting them for Mystara ;). The story is great Adam - that's how new and exciting things happen!

And welcome to The Piazza!


The illistrations absolutely rock, Chipman wants them for Mystara and I`m going to be using them in my Spelljammer campaign.

@Adam, you will find the Piazza a pretty friendly site.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:21 pm

Adam Black wrote:The original reason for the "up and under" masts in Riding the Sky was because my brother and I were playing a game of Tal, and my character was on a windship. My brother the GM says, "Okay, you look over the side of the ship and see..."

"Wing-shaped sails," I interrupted. "Look at the picture in the book!" (we were playing with the 3rd edition book)


Looks like everyone else said "hello" and "welcome" before me, but thanks for writing about your ship art.

I don't think I've seen the Tal ships with wing-shaped sails yet. Are you talking about The Talislanta Guidebook or another 3e book (like The Archaen Codex)?

Spelljammer has a lot of ships with wing-shaped sails. (You can see some of them rendered into 3D models on a website called Silverblade's Suitcase.)

Here is a picture called "Cloud Hammer" (which shows a Hammership flying over the land):
Image

Here is the same ship, presented with game stats:
Image

Here is an picture called "Tradesman's Lake":
Image

Here is a clean version of the Tradesman:
Image

These models take Silverblade ages to make, so he has only done a fraction of the ships. Click on any of the pictures to see larger versions.

I think both types of ship (ones with wings and ones with under-masts) can work. And I think variety is good, as you can use different ship styles for different cultures.

One thing that winged sails could be good for is allowing ships to land in the sea. The Cloakmaster Cycle novels (from Spelljammer) have a great scene where a hammership lands on the planet Toril. The crew pull up the winged sails (which would be in the way in the sea) and then put up a "sea mast". I've never seen any art showing what the ship looks like when it is re-rigged for the sea, but I'm guessing that the sea mast goes up like the post in the middle of a circus tent and the crew pull up a temporary sea-sail and secure it with sea-rigging that is normally packed away.

But I would bet that Talislanta's one up and one down or one up and two down masts could catch a lot more wind.

Adam Black wrote:Well, that just wouldn't do in my brother's game, so we sat down and figured out an alternative. He liked the mast configuration that ended up in the book, because the idea of windsailors crawling all over the rigging both over and under the boat meant he could do all sorts of crazy GM stuff.


Working on the underside of the ship must be hard (for characters). Spelljammer has this reverse gravity-thing going on, but looking at the nest at the bottom of one of the masts, I would say that Tal-crewmen are all hanging suspended in mid-air. One slip would mean a long fall to the ground. :o

Your "improved design" has probably killed hundreds of innocent NPCs! :twisted: :lol:

A tie-line might make things safer, but a long tie-line to the deck of the ship would catch in the rigging. Perhaps someone could have two short tie-lines and switch from one to the other, as they move along the ratlines. Of course, that would slow people down, so some crewmen would skip them (just as some manual workers have removed safety guards in the past).

Doing repairs on a ship that has had its rigging damaged might be hard. But sailing ships had a punishment called "keel hauling" where a person was dragged under the ship (and usually got cut to bits by barnicles on the keel or drowned). And if you can keel haul someone, you can use two ropes to get them to walk upside down on a ship with no rigging (and crewmen on the topside can move the ropes to help the crewman under the ship get to any position on the hull). A crewman could take a line or two with them and start to re-rig the ship. But it must be harder working underside than topside.

I bet all this extra difficulty gave your brother a lot of fun. :D

How did he and you figure that these ships would be built or landed for repairs? Did he have some sort of dry-dock, or was the top-mast built first and the under-mast added after the ships were in the air? :?

Adam Black wrote:I tried to keep Riding the Sky as factual as possible in regards to how sailing ships actually work. I'm a big fan of tall ships in real life, although I've never actually done any real sailing. However, my art and writing skills may not have been fully up to the task at the time. I'm happy that people are still getting so much out of that book, though. :D


I've not done any sailing, either, but we have a few sailing ships in London and I've been down to Portsmouth to go onboard HMS Victory and see (through clouds of magic water) half of the Mary Rose. I love the way that ship technology has evolved over the years. I love the way that different technology has come along and actually transformed the shapes of ships. The triangular sails made it possible to tack into the wind and must have given the people who invented them a massive advantage over other ships. I also love the way that different nations have put their own stamp on the appearance of ships. Things like figureheads, the big eyes on the front of Greek ships and decorations on sails have no effect on how the ship works, but they are an important part of ship culture.

I'd love to see some of the Talislanta ships turned into 3D models. It would be interesting to be able to look at them from a variety of angles.

Adam Black wrote:One of these days it would be fun to do some more windship illustrations, but I don't know when that might happen. It's all about finding the time nowadays. :lol:


RPGs are a funny thing, because in real life cultures you often have a ton of talented craftsmen making things in different ways and evolving designs over generations and artists, like you, and writers, like Doug, have to imply all that evolution and spin out something without the benefit of being able to "stand on the shoulders of giants".

There must be a lot of things that could be done with your idea of having masts pointing in other directions. Some of them wouldn't work so well, but I suspect that shipwrights (especially ones with wealthy patrons) would experiment with various combinations, just to see how they perform.

Have you seen Chimpman's post up-thread, where he talks about Tal mast configurations as a "I mast" and an "inverted-Y mast" and says that ships could also have a "V mast", "X mast" or "Y mast"?

I think he missed one thing out, because you could have horizontal masts, that stick out the side of ships. I think they would get in the way, but they might be great for ships that want to put on a lot of sail and fly fast. I think you would get a "+ mast" configuration with four masts and horizontal masts could also be combined with the "X mast" concept to give six masts in an asterisk pattern.

Adam Black wrote:For the record: The ship on the cover of RtS is the one my character used in my brother's Tal game. It's also the picture that got me the job illustrating Tal. Funny thing is: I inked it with a Bic ball-point pen. :lol:


That is a great story. I suppose that the fact that you inked it up for a home game, gave it a style that has a different feel to something that you might have spent weeks doing with something like rotring pens, paints, air brushes and a ton of other tools. It looks great.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:48 pm

Big Mac wrote:I don't think I've seen the Tal ships with wing-shaped sails yet. Are you talking about The Talislanta Guidebook or another 3e book (like The Archaen Codex)?


We were playing with the 3e book, and the windships in there had huge wing sails right under the main deck. You'd look over the side and all you'd see is canvas and ribbing holding the canvas in place. Hence the redesign.

Big Mac wrote:Spelljammer has a lot of ships with wing-shaped sails. (You can see some of them rendered into 3D models on a website called Silverblade's Suitcase.)


Those are great! I made a Tal windship in the Hammer editor for the very first Half-Life waaay back around 1999 or 2000 or so. Took me forever...and I ended up losing that map to a hard drive crash. Never did make a new one.

It was based upon the illustration I pointed out earlier that I'd inked with a ball-point pen. It was about 30% done--you could walk around in it. Every deck and every room. The masts were up, but none of the sails or rigging. And I still needed to do a ton and a half of work putting in details. Lamps and drapes and beds and blah blah blah.

Big Mac wrote:One thing that winged sails could be good for is allowing ships to land in the sea. The Cloakmaster Cycle novels (from Spelljammer) have a great scene where a hammership lands on the planet Toril. The crew pull up the winged sails (which would be in the way in the sea) and then put up a "sea mast". I've never seen any art showing what the ship looks like when it is re-rigged for the sea, but I'm guessing that the sea mast goes up like the post in the middle of a circus tent and the crew pull up a temporary sea-sail and secure it with sea-rigging that is normally packed away.


In our old Tal game, the Black Savant ships could sail on water but could also fly, even though they had no visible means of doing so. They could also sail between continents, between worlds, between dimensions...they pretty much went everywhere.

Big Mac wrote:Working on the underside of the ship must be hard (for characters). Spelljammer has this reverse gravity-thing going on, but looking at the nest at the bottom of one of the masts, I would say that Tal-crewmen are all hanging suspended in mid-air. One slip would mean a long fall to the ground. :o


It did indeed! That's why you put a lot of XP into your Windsailor skill. :twisted:

Big Mac wrote:Doing repairs on a ship that has had its rigging damaged might be hard. But sailing ships had a punishment called "keel hauling" where a person was dragged under the ship (and usually got cut to bits by barnicles on the keel or drowned). And if you can keel haul someone, you can use two ropes to get them to walk upside down on a ship with no rigging (and crewmen on the topside can move the ropes to help the crewman under the ship get to any position on the hull). A crewman could take a line or two with them and start to re-rig the ship. But it must be harder working underside than topside.


Repairing the under rigging was indeed a chore. And we had something a little different than keel-hauling. I don't remember anymore what it was called, but you'd tie the poor guy up by his ankles and dangle him under the boat, then fly low enough to where he collided with the treetops. Each minute of this did X amount of subdual damage, and crewmembers quickly learned their lessons! Arrr!

Big Mac wrote:I bet all this extra difficulty gave your brother a lot of fun. :D


He LOVED it. Don't ever let him tell you otherwise! :lol:

Big Mac wrote:How did he and you figure that these ships would be built or landed for repairs? Did he have some sort of dry-dock, or was the top-mast built first and the under-mast added after the ships were in the air? :?


You had to be in a city to get proper repairs done. They had a drydock in Cymril, Zanth, Cabal Magicus (the last sky city...I'm pretty sure that's what it was called), Nadan (in Carantheum, where they make the duneships), and Tarun (which should always be your Very Last Resort!). As I recall, we had price lists set up. Some of the repair cost formulas went into the book, but I don't think I remembered to include this list of drydocks. Oops.

Big Mac wrote:I've not done any sailing, either, but we have a few sailing ships in London and I've been down to Portsmouth to go onboard HMS Victory and see (through clouds of magic water) half of the Mary Rose. I love the way that ship technology has evolved over the years. I love the way that different technology has come along and actually transformed the shapes of ships. The triangular sails made it possible to tack into the wind and must have given the people who invented them a massive advantage over other ships. I also love the way that different nations have put their own stamp on the appearance of ships. Things like figureheads, the big eyes on the front of Greek ships and decorations on sails have no effect on how the ship works, but they are an important part of ship culture.


Oh, man...I'd love to see that. We have some tall ships on display in the US as well, but they're all on the east coast and I'm way out in the Pacific Northwest. I'd love to take a tour of the USS Constitution at some point.

Big Mac wrote:There must be a lot of things that could be done with your idea of having masts pointing in other directions. Some of them wouldn't work so well, but I suspect that shipwrights (especially ones with wealthy patrons) would experiment with various combinations, just to see how they perform.

Have you seen Chimpman's post up-thread, where he talks about Tal mast configurations as a "I mast" and an "inverted-Y mast" and says that ships could also have a "V mast", "X mast" or "Y mast"?

I think he missed one thing out, because you could have horizontal masts, that stick out the side of ships. I think they would get in the way, but they might be great for ships that want to put on a lot of sail and fly fast. I think you would get a "+ mast" configuration with four masts and horizontal masts could also be combined with the "X mast" concept to give six masts in an asterisk pattern.


That's kind of what we were doing in-game up until we stopped playing because my brother moved away: "We have a problem! The Rajans have just built a new windship with its masts in an X pattern! We need you to sneak into Rajanistan and tell us if it gives them an advantage in the air. If you can manage to bring one back to Cymril...do so."

Our Tal games weren't very traditional. :lol:


Big Mac wrote:That is a great story. I suppose that the fact that you inked it up for a home game, gave it a style that has a different feel to something that you might have spent weeks doing with something like rotring pens, paints, air brushes and a ton of other tools. It looks great.


Thanks, man! I'm glad you guys dig the windship art (and book) so much!
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Azaghal » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:33 pm

Adam, anything that adds to my games is always a welcome help. I would love to see more on the games you played with your brother, it sounds like you had a great time.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:26 pm

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I don't think I've seen the Tal ships with wing-shaped sails yet. Are you talking about The Talislanta Guidebook or another 3e book (like The Archaen Codex)?


We were playing with the 3e book, and the windships in there had huge wing sails right under the main deck. You'd look over the side and all you'd see is canvas and ribbing holding the canvas in place. Hence the redesign.


I'm glad you made your own ships. But I think that sort of design has its place too. As a child I went onto a school outing to Westland Heliport (now renamed London Heliport). And when we went out onto the jetty, there were a bunch of nets below the deck on all sides. The guy doing the tour said that they tested the nets by jumping off the side of the deck into them. I'm not sure if he was joking, but I think it would be cool to have a windship, where (in an emergency) crewmen lept overboard and landed on the surface of the sails.

A windship like this, could fly low over the surface of a land (or over a lake) while marines slid back along the wing-sails and tumbled off of the back of them.

I also think that boarding actions, where would-be-boarders crawl in along the sails, while the defenders either fight them on the sails, cut the sails loose or wait for them to reach the ship hull could also be a lot of fun. I can see an officer sending men out on the sails with the order "bludgeoning weapons only!"

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Spelljammer has a lot of ships with wing-shaped sails. (You can see some of them rendered into 3D models on a website called Silverblade's Suitcase.)


Those are great! I made a Tal windship in the Hammer editor for the very first Half-Life waaay back around 1999 or 2000 or so. Took me forever...and I ended up losing that map to a hard drive crash. Never did make a new one.

It was based upon the illustration I pointed out earlier that I'd inked with a ball-point pen. It was about 30% done--you could walk around in it. Every deck and every room. The masts were up, but none of the sails or rigging. And I still needed to do a ton and a half of work putting in details. Lamps and drapes and beds and blah blah blah.


It sucks that you lost this 3D art. Do you still have the hard drive? If you do, then someone might be able to use tools to see if they can pull the file. Sometimes your operating system goes down, but other files are still recoverable.

I did a training course that involved computer art (along with a bunch of totally unrelated stuff) back around the turn of the centuary and I lost all of the art I did there. I backed the best stuff up online, but the "free online backup" service decided to start charging people and (at the time) I didn't have a computer to download anything onto. ;( (I later had several friends say: "why didn't you tell me, you could have come to my place and downloaded it there", but I didn't think of that at the time. Ho-hum. :roll: @ self.)

Silverblade hangs around the Spelljammer forum. If you ever fancy having another go at doing 3D versions of your ships, you might want to chat to him, as he is a member of one or more 3D art communities that I'm sure would love to look at 3D Tal ships as much as Tal fans would.

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:One thing that winged sails could be good for is allowing ships to land in the sea. The Cloakmaster Cycle novels (from Spelljammer) have a great scene where a hammership lands on the planet Toril. The crew pull up the winged sails (which would be in the way in the sea) and then put up a "sea mast". I've never seen any art showing what the ship looks like when it is re-rigged for the sea, but I'm guessing that the sea mast goes up like the post in the middle of a circus tent and the crew pull up a temporary sea-sail and secure it with sea-rigging that is normally packed away.


In our old Tal game, the Black Savant ships could sail on water but could also fly, even though they had no visible means of doing so. They could also sail between continents, between worlds, between dimensions...they pretty much went everywhere.


"No visible means" is an interesting turn of phrase. It makes me wonder if they had an "invisible means of flying". :twisted:

In SJ some* of the spacefaring ships have nets like spider-webs that seem to perform the same function as sails (as well as possibly working as boarding ladders). This fits in especially with the neogi ships, which are built in the shapes of spiders. Is there anything about the form of the Black Savant ships that could be used as a similar hook for tying the design into the function?

* = Like Talislanta there are a number of different things going on, and that is great because it suggests different cultures evolving different ways of doing the same thing. I think that a Tal GM could raid a lot of ships from Spelljammer.

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Working on the underside of the ship must be hard (for characters). Spelljammer has this reverse gravity-thing going on, but looking at the nest at the bottom of one of the masts, I would say that Tal-crewmen are all hanging suspended in mid-air. One slip would mean a long fall to the ground. :o


It did indeed! That's why you put a lot of XP into your Windsailor skill. :twisted:


How about the skills of spotting a haystack from one mile up and then aiming at it? :P

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Doing repairs on a ship that has had its rigging damaged might be hard. But sailing ships had a punishment called "keel hauling" where a person was dragged under the ship (and usually got cut to bits by barnicles on the keel or drowned). And if you can keel haul someone, you can use two ropes to get them to walk upside down on a ship with no rigging (and crewmen on the topside can move the ropes to help the crewman under the ship get to any position on the hull). A crewman could take a line or two with them and start to re-rig the ship. But it must be harder working underside than topside.


Repairing the under rigging was indeed a chore. And we had something a little different than keel-hauling. I don't remember anymore what it was called, but you'd tie the poor guy up by his ankles and dangle him under the boat, then fly low enough to where he collided with the treetops. Each minute of this did X amount of subdual damage, and crewmembers quickly learned their lessons! Arrr!


That sounds like a fun thing to put into a game involving flying ships. Maybe your brother, or one of your other players, will remember what you called it.

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I bet all this extra difficulty gave your brother a lot of fun. :D


He LOVED it. Don't ever let him tell you otherwise! :lol:


It would be great to hear your brother's recollections of running Talislanta games. Please feel free to invite him or anyone else you played with to come over here.

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:How did he and you figure that these ships would be built or landed for repairs? Did he have some sort of dry-dock, or was the top-mast built first and the under-mast added after the ships were in the air? :?


You had to be in a city to get proper repairs done. They had a drydock in Cymril, Zanth, Cabal Magicus (the last sky city...I'm pretty sure that's what it was called), Nadan (in Carantheum, where they make the duneships), and Tarun (which should always be your Very Last Resort!). As I recall, we had price lists set up. Some of the repair cost formulas went into the book, but I don't think I remembered to include this list of drydocks. Oops.


It is never too late to "ammend" your price lists and put them up on Talislanta.com.Image

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I've not done any sailing, either, but we have a few sailing ships in London and I've been down to Portsmouth to go onboard HMS Victory and see (through clouds of magic water) half of the Mary Rose. I love the way that ship technology has evolved over the years. I love the way that different technology has come along and actually transformed the shapes of ships. The triangular sails made it possible to tack into the wind and must have given the people who invented them a massive advantage over other ships. I also love the way that different nations have put their own stamp on the appearance of ships. Things like figureheads, the big eyes on the front of Greek ships and decorations on sails have no effect on how the ship works, but they are an important part of ship culture.


Oh, man...I'd love to see that. We have some tall ships on display in the US as well, but they're all on the east coast and I'm way out in the Pacific Northwest. I'd love to take a tour of the USS Constitution at some point.


The USS Constitution looks like a great ship (I had to look to Wikipedia's USS Constitution article to actually see a picture). I'm impressed that it captured a slave ship (H.N. Gambril). (Slave ships are one of the major subplots of Spelljammer, and I think that prize actions, where the ships are ceased and sold off to fund awards to the crews would be a very good way to finance a war effort.)

I'd love to see someone go through the bits and bobs recovered at the Mary Rose wreck and use them to help build a replica ship. :cool:

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:There must be a lot of things that could be done with your idea of having masts pointing in other directions. Some of them wouldn't work so well, but I suspect that shipwrights (especially ones with wealthy patrons) would experiment with various combinations, just to see how they perform.

Have you seen Chimpman's post up-thread, where he talks about Tal mast configurations as a "I mast" and an "inverted-Y mast" and says that ships could also have a "V mast", "X mast" or "Y mast"?

I think he missed one thing out, because you could have horizontal masts, that stick out the side of ships. I think they would get in the way, but they might be great for ships that want to put on a lot of sail and fly fast. I think you would get a "+ mast" configuration with four masts and horizontal masts could also be combined with the "X mast" concept to give six masts in an asterisk pattern.


That's kind of what we were doing in-game up until we stopped playing because my brother moved away: "We have a problem! The Rajans have just built a new windship with its masts in an X pattern! We need you to sneak into Rajanistan and tell us if it gives them an advantage in the air. If you can manage to bring one back to Cymril...do so."

Our Tal games weren't very traditional. :lol:


Did your brother ever make anything like a game diary?

Adam Black wrote:<snip>

I'm glad you guys dig the windship art (and book) so much!


I think that flying ships are a fantasy trope that has appeal far beyond Talislanta. Even today, I think that a setting neutral/system neutral sourcebook would be something that would be fairly well received.

One day someone will find the right story for this sort of thing and we will have an epic saga of sky ships.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:24 pm

Sorry for the late reply; I'm busy as hell right now.

My brother never kept any sort of journal for the games he ran. He had some notes, though. I've got them in storage somewhere.

As for the hard drive crash, that was an old Seagate that started up with the standard Click Of Death. I wasn't able to salvage that data, unfortunately.

And I would love to see an epic saga of sky-ships...but probably in a first-person shooter. :lol: I'm a sucker for Half-Life and its mods.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Azaghal » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:58 am

Adam Black wrote:Sorry for the late reply; I'm busy as hell right now.

My brother never kept any sort of journal for the games he ran. He had some notes, though. I've got them in storage somewhere.

As for the hard drive crash, that was an old Seagate that started up with the standard Click Of Death. I wasn't able to salvage that data, unfortunately.

And I would love to see an epic saga of sky-ships...but probably in a first-person shooter. :lol: I'm a sucker for Half-Life and its mods.


An epic story about flying ships might be a project for me, I .`ve been kicking around some writing ideas.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:04 am

Adam Black wrote:Sorry for the late reply; I'm busy as hell right now.


I hope that is a "good busy". Is it any project you can tell us about, or is it "top secret" at the moment?

Adam Black wrote:My brother never kept any sort of journal for the games he ran. He had some notes, though. I've got them in storage somewhere.


Maybe some of that could be made into stuff he could share with other Tal fans, at some point in the future.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:48 pm

Big Mac wrote:I hope that is a "good busy". Is it any project you can tell us about, or is it "top secret" at the moment?


It's a pretty good busy--most of it is extra content for my comic, Locus, which is linked in my sig down there. Click it if you get bored, but don't do it at work or in front of the kids. Lots of nudity and profanity in that comic, but it's because I grew up reading Heavy Metal and watching 70s horror flicks. :lol:

I do have two top-secret projects, but they're both on hold right now. :(

Big Mac wrote:
Adam Black wrote:My brother never kept any sort of journal for the games he ran. He had some notes, though. I've got them in storage somewhere.


Maybe some of that could be made into stuff he could share with other Tal fans, at some point in the future.
[/quote]

I will definitely go through it one of these days. He had a whole folder of hand-written notes. Adventure ideas, magic items...that kind of thing.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Azaghal » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:23 am

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I hope that is a "good busy". Is it any project you can tell us about, or is it "top secret" at the moment?


It's a pretty good busy--most of it is extra content for my comic, Locus, which is linked in my sig down there. Click it if you get bored, but don't do it at work or in front of the kids. Lots of nudity and profanity in that comic, but it's because I grew up reading Heavy Metal and watching 70s horror flicks. :lol:

I do have two top-secret projects, but they're both on hold right now. :(

Big Mac wrote:
Adam Black wrote:My brother never kept any sort of journal for the games he ran. He had some notes, though. I've got them in storage somewhere.


Maybe some of that could be made into stuff he could share with other Tal fans, at some point in the future.


I will definitely go through it one of these days. He had a whole folder of hand-written notes. Adventure ideas, magic items...that kind of thing.[/quote]

It`ll be great stuff to see Adam.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:00 pm

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I hope that is a "good busy". Is it any project you can tell us about, or is it "top secret" at the moment?


It's a pretty good busy--most of it is extra content for my comic, Locus, which is linked in my sig down there. Click it if you get bored, but don't do it at work or in front of the kids. Lots of nudity and profanity in that comic, but it's because I grew up reading Heavy Metal and watching 70s horror flicks. :lol:


I had a quick look at some of Locus. Horror is not normally my thing*, but the style looks very interesting.

* = To be honest comic books are not something I normally buy. The economy of them makes them come onto the shelves and then vanish forever. I have rarely been able to buy a complete set (without missing one). I much prefer graphic novels, where you get the lot in one go, but that is a secondary market.

Did SMS ever consider putting out or licensing a Talislanta comic book? I think that if you dropped the nudity and swearing you could have something there that would sell to fantasy fans both young and old.

Adam Black wrote:I do have two top-secret projects, but they're both on hold right now. :(


Good luck with them. :)

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Adam Black wrote:My brother never kept any sort of journal for the games he ran. He had some notes, though. I've got them in storage somewhere.


Maybe some of that could be made into stuff he could share with other Tal fans, at some point in the future.


I will definitely go through it one of these days. He had a whole folder of hand-written notes. Adventure ideas, magic items...that kind of thing.[/quote]

That would be great. One thing I wonder is that, as an artist, did you knock up portraits for all the PCs in your group?
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:17 am

Big Mac wrote:One thing I wonder is that, as an artist, did you knock up portraits for all the PCs in your group?


I did! Most of those portraits made it into Tal 4, too.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Azaghal » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:24 am

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:One thing I wonder is that, as an artist, did you knock up portraits for all the PCs in your group?


I did! Most of those portraits made it into Tal 4, too.


:cool: I`ll have to look closer at the artwork.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:32 pm

Azaghal wrote:
Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:One thing I wonder is that, as an artist, did you knock up portraits for all the PCs in your group?


I did! Most of those portraits made it into Tal 4, too.


:cool: I`ll have to look closer at the artwork.


Great! Did the actual characters get used (maybe as the names as NPCs) or are all of these pictures anonymous?
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:01 pm

They're almost all archetype illustrations, if I recall.

The Cymrilian Swordsmage, the Cymrilian Rogue Magician, this girl (I don't remember what archetype she was used for), the Arimite Revenant, this Rajan girl (who is in one of the Morrigan titles, and is the wife of the guy labeled "Rogue Magician" above), this Nagra dude (I don't know what book he got used for!), and Colin Chapman, as of ten years ago.

Note: Colin Chapman wasn't a PC or NPC in our Tal games, but he's kind of a recurring NPC in my life. :lol: I did some art for his Atomic Highway RPG (which can be seen in this vicinity), including a walking apple tree carrying a chainsaw and a living rosebush with an AK-47. Colin always gives me fun things to draw. :P

That's all the characters I can find right now. My original art and Tal books are in a storage unit right now, so it's pretty incomplete. Sorry, guys.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:09 am

Hey, those are brilliant. It is nice to have a glimpse of the stuff you have.

And the fact that you have turned Colin Chapman into a drawing is really cool! :cool:

(If you get turned into art...you have officially made it! :geek: )
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:05 am

The archetype for the Gao Sea Rogue is a self-portrait, now that you mention it. Which means I've made it! :lol:
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:51 pm

Adam Black wrote:The archetype for the Gao Sea Rogue is a self-portrait, now that you mention it. Which means I've made it! :lol:


Brilliant! :mrgreen:

<thinks>
I wonder if we should get back to the flying ships. :oops:
</thinks>
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:49 am

That's probably a good idea! :D
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:03 pm

OK, seeing as you pretty much redesigned the flying ship concept from how it started out, how would you see the evolution of ship design changing from the original ships to your designs?

And, if Talislanta had not faltered (and you had been asked to create art for more sourcebooks), where do you think you would have taken the design for later netbooks? Would you have had the technology slowly spread to other races or keep it something that only a few groups had access to?
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Adam Black » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:05 pm

Big Mac wrote:OK, seeing as you pretty much redesigned the flying ship concept from how it started out, how would you see the evolution of ship design changing from the original ships to your designs?


I always saw the 3rd Edition windships as having wings where their waterline might be. Granted, the wings were a little high up for that, but when I looked at them, I thought of them as stabilizing devices meant to replace water.

Putting all the sails and masts underneath was just a different way to stabilize the thing in the air. Kind of like that winged keel the Australians used in the World Cup race back in the 1980s. That old winged keel was, in fact, the primary inspiration for the undermast.

I read on the Tal list once that someone had come up with the idea that windships don't float through the air as much as they flow through the ether in the air (or words to that effect), but we didn't bring that much magic into the equation back when I was making those sketches.

We figured that the levitational was pretty much the only magic involved, and the rest of the windship's maneuverability was due to plain old sail and rigging mechanics, just like the water boats had.

Big Mac wrote:And, if Talislanta had not faltered (and you had been asked to create art for more sourcebooks), where do you think you would have taken the design for later netbooks? Would you have had the technology slowly spread to other races or keep it something that only a few groups had access to?


Seems to me that the designs would be different (of course), but the real crazy stuff would happen when you started adding weapons favored by the different races. Thaumaturgic stuff for the Dracartans, fire and poison-based stuff for the Rajans...oh, man. If everyone on the continent who wanted a windship could actually have one...there would be so many different forms of death and dismemberment flying around that everyone would move underground with the Gnomekin. :lol:

I really wanted to design Dracartan windships. They've already got duneships, and it would've been fun to mesh the designs together. It would've been an exercise in subtlety and weight distribution, I think. Dracartans love their red iron.

It would've also been fun to do Rajan windships and those creepy boats the Black Savants use. I managed to do a quick & dirty inkwash of a Black Savant ship for Midnight Realm, but was never really happy with how it turned out. Then again, I was in a hurry when I drew it--which is the story of my life.

Man, those Rajan windships...I really should sketch one up for you guys. I still have that idea fresh in my head. Maybe later on! I'm busy as hell until late November at the earliest.

Someone remind me to sketch that thing up when December rolls around.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Big Mac » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:08 am

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:OK, seeing as you pretty much redesigned the flying ship concept from how it started out, how would you see the evolution of ship design changing from the original ships to your designs?


I always saw the 3rd Edition windships as having wings where their waterline might be. Granted, the wings were a little high up for that, but when I looked at them, I thought of them as stabilizing devices meant to replace water.


That makes a lot of sense. And if the wings are slightly above the waterline a ship could land in the sea without soaking the wings. The crew could pull the wings up into the air and maybe even fold them up or dismount them. So flying ships could evolve from sea ships (or sea ships could have wings stuck on to create flying ships).

Adam Black wrote:Putting all the sails and masts underneath was just a different way to stabilize the thing in the air. Kind of like that winged keel the Australians used in the World Cup race back in the 1980s. That old winged keel was, in fact, the primary inspiration for the undermast.


That sounds very logical. And it would be a key turning point in a shipwright's "arms race". The great thing is that other groups would clearly be able to see undermasts on ships, and while they might not be able to infer the entire design, without ceasing a ship to reverse-engineer, their shipwrights would be able to make a guess at the design and build their own prototypes.

Adam Black wrote:I read on the Tal list once that someone had come up with the idea that windships don't float through the air as much as they flow through the ether in the air (or words to that effect), but we didn't bring that much magic into the equation back when I was making those sketches.

We figured that the levitational was pretty much the only magic involved, and the rest of the windship's maneuverability was due to plain old sail and rigging mechanics, just like the water boats had.


I've seen people in the Spelljammer community write massive essays trying to "explain" (scientifically) how elements of the setting work and a lot of the time they just seem to be chasing their own tail.

If I was looking into the "equation" of windships, I would be more interested in what would happen if the crew added or removed sails or masts to ships.

Adam Black wrote:
Big Mac wrote:And, if Talislanta had not faltered (and you had been asked to create art for more sourcebooks), where do you think you would have taken the design for later netbooks? Would you have had the technology slowly spread to other races or keep it something that only a few groups had access to?


Seems to me that the designs would be different (of course), but the real crazy stuff would happen when you started adding weapons favored by the different races. Thaumaturgic stuff for the Dracartans, fire and poison-based stuff for the Rajans...oh, man. If everyone on the continent who wanted a windship could actually have one...there would be so many different forms of death and dismemberment flying around that everyone would move underground with the Gnomekin. :lol:


Spelljammer got around that, with its flying ships, by saying: "they are very very rare". But then again, most of its weapons were ordinary siege weapons.

Adam Black wrote:I really wanted to design Dracartan windships. They've already got duneships, and it would've been fun to mesh the designs together. It would've been an exercise in subtlety and weight distribution, I think. Dracartans love their red iron.


We just had something in London called the Elephant Parade. Most were fibreglass, but one of the elephants was a hollow metal elephant called Ampersand. If a windship didn't need to land in the sea, It could use a similar design to lower the weight.

Adam Black wrote:It would've also been fun to do Rajan windships and those creepy boats the Black Savants use. I managed to do a quick & dirty inkwash of a Black Savant ship for Midnight Realm, but was never really happy with how it turned out. Then again, I was in a hurry when I drew it--which is the story of my life.

Man, those Rajan windships...I really should sketch one up for you guys. I still have that idea fresh in my head. Maybe later on! I'm busy as hell until late November at the earliest.

Someone remind me to sketch that thing up when December rolls around.


Maybe I could make a Facebook event called: "Remind Adam Black to sketch a Rajan windship", set the date for 1st December and invite as many Tal fans as I can find! :P
Last edited by Big Mac on Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flying Ships

Postby Azaghal » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:28 pm

Big Mac, setup that event I definitely want to see a Rajan Spelljammer errrr Windship, yeah that`s it a windship.
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