Airship Construction

Airship Construction Yards

Most People cannot build an airship in their basement. Ships up to the Small size category can be constructed without an airship construction yard, but any larger airship must be built in an appropriate facility. Construction yards are rated by the size of the airship they can build (limited by the size of their hull frames and lifting gear) and the number of airships they can build at any given time. Thus, an airship yard rated as Large (4) could have up to four Large ships under construction at any given time. An airship construction facility cannot cram two medium ships into the space of one large airship-each airship must be built on its own support frame, and the number listed in the airship yard’s rating indicates the number of available frames.
All airship yards have enough employees, including overseers, foremen, and engineers, to work a single shift every day on each of the vessels the yard is capable of constructing at a given time. All workers in an airship yard only work one shift in a given day and are assumed to be of average expertise (see Labor, below). This basic labor is included in the rental price of the airship yard. The individual or company commissioning the airship must bring in any extra or highly-trained laborers needed and pay for their salaries as detailed below.

Airship Construction Yard Rental Fees

Airship construction yards charge a flat rate of 200 gp per month of construction per every size category of the airship being constructed. Each month’s fee is paid in advance it must be settled before any construction can begin, and each additional month’s payment must be received prior to the start of that month. Failure to pay an airship construction yard’s fees can bring harsh penalties; more than one shipyard has been known to seize ships under construction, or even to seize raw materials from the construction site to pay for missed fees. Any fees for additional services (see below) must also be paid in advance

Construction Materials and Cost

There are many types of material from which an airship can be constructed, ranging from simple wood to flexible ceramics to the nearly indestructible adamantine. Each type of material provides its own benefits and hindrances, and engineers must balance the advantages they find most appealing with the cost of the material when choosing a hull. It is also important to note that some materials are very difficult to build with, and require great skill and experience to work competently. If a complex hull material is chosen, it may be necessary to employ expert level workers. Table 3 illustrates the properties of different construction materials, as well as their costs and the DCs for all Craft checks that must be made while working with the material.
Immediately following this table is a description of each material and the benefits and difficulties each provides for airships.

Material Descriptions

Bone: The bones of large creatures, such as kindori, are often used as ship materials by the desperate and poor, or the marcabe. Bones are not particularly sturdy, but they do work.

Wood: This is normal terrestrial wood, typically a hardier variety such as oak.

Ceramic: Ceramics that are durable enough for armor and able to hold a keen enough edge for a proper sword have been pioneered and modified by the jetturs of the vast deserts to the south. Using secrets stolen from their former masters, they have learned ways of mixing clays and other materials, along with special firing techniques. The result is a material that is as strong as tempered steel, but far more lightweight, able to hold a keener edge and possessing better thermal properties, something very important in the hot desert weather

Iron Wood: Iron wood is normal wood that has been treated with iron wood solution, which is an alchemical concoction. Normal wood can be treated with iron wood solution after a ship is built, and so is a popular upgrade.

Soarwood: There are a number of different tree types whose wood is collectively known as dark wood. Dark wood is a rare magic wood is as hard as normal wood but very light. Since it is harder to find and individual trees tend to be smaller, it is more expensive than normal wood. Dark wood cannot be treated with iron wood solution; the dark wood does not absorb it. Ships with Soarwood integrated reduce their tonnage for the purposes of airship thrust by 10% per component.

Stone: This is some form of durable stone, such as granite or marble. It’s quite heavy. An airship with a stone components calculates the number of power factors required for its engine as if it were
10% larger (in tonnage) than it actually is, per component.

Crystal: Crystal is a type of stone, but it resists attacks better and is more durable. Crystal is hard to mine in sufficient sizes and quantities, and so few ships use it.

Iron: This is normal iron.

Mithral: This is a very rare silvery, glistening metal that is lighter than iron but just as hard. Few ships bother with mithral because of it’s cost. The airship is treated as if it were one size category smaller than it actually is when, and only when, determining its Armor Class and Maneuverability per component.

Adamantine: Found only in the rarest of veins in magical areas, this ultrahard metal is the ultimate shipbuilding material. Ships whose hull or plating is composed of adamantine gain a natural bonus to AC. If the hull is adamantine, this bonus is +2. If the plating is adamantine, it is +1. If the ship has both an adamantine hull and plating, the total bonus is +3.


The form of a airship is its shape and design, and plays a role in how maneuverable the ship is. A ship designed by a skilled shipwright is shaped to work with the way an engine functions, so the ship moves with the helmsman, rather than fighting him. Ships not designed to take advantage of the freedom and three dimensional aspects of the sky are less maneuverable.
There are three broad categories of ship form: aerial, terrestrial, and poor. There is no cost difference between then, nor does it take longer to build; what determines the difference is who designed the ship.

aerial form ships are designed to take advantage of the free and open nature of the sky, to work with the motivational force of the engine and the steering mechanisms used to maneuver. It is misleading to think that an overall shape is the only factor in space design. The truth is that a good shipwright understands the subtleties requires to make a design work.

Terrestrial form ships are primarily ocean-going vessels that have been retrofitted with an engine, which gives this form its name. Examples include the galleon and the cutter. Despite the name, though, the terrestrial form can also include non-sea-based ships. It can include aerial form ships that were altered, ships designed by less experienced shipwrights, or ships that require they be a certain shape.

Poor form ships are vessels whose design almost actively defy the free nature of the sky and maneuverability. Their shape and poor steering mechanism layout make the ship rather unwieldy, and hard to maneuver. Ships with the poor form are usually created when the designer of the ship has little actual knowledge on what it takes to build any kind of ship. They can also be created by clumsy ship modification.

An aerial ship is the standard. A Terrestrial reduces the design DC by 5, and poor by 10. They also serve to reduce the maneuverability by 0, -2, and -4 respectively.


Tonnage is a measure of the ship’s volume. One ton is equal to 1,000 cubic feet (a 10×10×10 ft cube). The actual dimensions of the ship are up to the engineers.
The minimum tonnage for a ship is one ton. There is no real maximum ship tonnage, although engines that can move ships above 150 tons are rare and expensive.
Once you have a ship’s tonnage, you can then determine its size; ships have a size, just as creatures do. The size of the ship modifies a number of things, such as the ship’s Armour Class and maneuverability.

Table 2 – Airship Size Categories

Tonnage Size Category Maneuverability Armor Class
Up to 5 tons 1 – Fine 2 18
5 tons to 10 tons 2 – Diminutive 2 14
11 tons to 15 tons 3 – Tiny 2 12
16 tons to 20 tons 4 – Small 1 11
21 tons to 30 tons 5 – Medium 1 10
31 tons to 50 tons 6 – Large 0 9
51 tons to 70 tons 7 – Huge 0 8
71 tons to 100 tons 8 – Gargantuan -1 6
101 tons to 150 tons 9 – Colossal -2 2
Each additional 50 tons* 10 – Awesome -1* -4*

The Frame

The frame is the internal structure of the ship, the skeleton upon which all other components are built. It is the really the only component a ship must have to be considered a ship. It is also one of the most important, since it determines how big the ship is, and thus how many people and weapons it can carry, and is the primary factor in determining how much damage it can take.

There are two factors in frame design. The first is the materials that make up the frame; better, stronger materials make a ship more durable. They also cost more gold. Table 3 has the costs by tonnage.
The second factor in frame design is how much of the material goes into the frame: the more materials you use the stronger the frame becomes, at the expenditure of gold and space. The more space used to build the frame, the less space you have in the ship to house people or cargo. There are five types of frames: light, standard, heavy, extra-heavy and superheavy. Each frame type is generally found on ships serving a particular purpose.

A light frame is the lightest type, and is found mostly on ships designed to carry large amounts of cargo or on shuttles and small pleasure craft. The frame is basically just enough structure to mount a hull upon and support cargo. The lack of material saves both money and space, but drops the durability
of the ship severely.

A standard frame is the most common type, used for most ships excepting those expecting to see a large amount of combat. This includes most traders ships.

Heavy frames are used on ships designed to be combat capable, but whose primary use is not always combat. They are often used as trading ships in rough territories, or as secondary trade ships providing protection to a caravan. Heavy-framed ships are also popular with adventurers and freebooters.

Extra-heavy frames are almost always found on ships whose primary purpose is warfare. Their lack of space and high cost make them impractical for most other purposes.

Super-heavy frames are found mostly on ships made from hollowed out objects, such as the mobile island fortresses of the Eladrin. Super-heavy frames have very thick walls, often close to a foot.

The type of frame used will affect the cost, figured as a multiplier to the base cost from material type. This is shown on Table 4 The type of frame will affect how much internal space it uses; a heavier frame uses more space.

Table 3: Frame Stats

Material Frame Cost Per Ton Frame HP per Ton
Bone 100 gp 9
Wood 225 gp 12
Ceramics 450 gp 14
Iron Wood 450gp 16
Soarwood 650 gp 12
Stone 1,100 gp 24
Crystal 1,300 gp 28
Iron 2,000 gp 36
Mithril 3,300 gp 36
Adamantine 4,500 gp 48

Table 4: Frame Strength

Frame Cost Multiplier HP Multiplier
Light x0.5 x.75
Standard x1 x1
Heavy x2 x1.25
Extra-Heavy x3 x1.5
Super-Heavy x5 x2

Hull and Armor

Whereas the frame is the skeleton of the ship, the hull can be considered the skin. It provides protection to the crew and cargo of the ship, both from attacks and the elements. The cost for the hull, per material type and per ton of the ship, is shown on Table 5.
A ship is not required to have a hull, which will reduce the cost and construction time, but reduces durability and the Armour Class, as well as allowing attackers to target specific internal sections of the ship. It also prevents the ship from being able to land in water. It is possible to add additional materials and bracing to the hull, which makes the ship more durable (i.e. adds hit points). This doubles the cost of the hull, but multiplies the hit points from the hull by 1.5. A ship can also have additional materials
plated over the hull, improving its Armour Class. Ships that expect to see combat but are generally
designed to be useful in other situations, add additional wood plating. Metal plating is typically reserved for ships either designed completely for combat, or as an upgrade for other ships (see the Ship
Modification system for more on upgrading a ship). Note that plating is different from hull bracing; a ship can be both bracedand plated with the same material, or have one or the other.

H3. Table 5 Hull and Armor Stats

Material Hull Cost Per Ton Hull HP per Ton Hardness Hull AC Plating Cost Plating AC
Bone 50 gp 3 2 4 25 2
Wood 75 gp 4 5 5 25 3
Ceramics 150 gp 5 5 6 50 4
Iron Wood 150 gp 5 6 6 50 4
Soarwood 225 gp 7 7 6 50 4
Stone 375 gp 8 8 7 250 5
Crystal 450 gp 9 9 7 125 5
Iron 650 gp 12 10 8 200 6
Mithril 1,200 gp 12 15 8 400 6
Adamantine 2,100 gp 16 20 8 700 6

Decks and Enclosure

Most ships in the sky have an open top deck, much like any sailing vessel. This makes the mounting of weapons and rigging much easier and more space efficient. Some ships instead opt to have their ship partially or fully enclosed, reducing their deck space but increasing the ship’s level of protection, and thus Armour Class. The drawbacks of a reduction of deck size is a reduction of the amount of weapons and rigging a ship can mount without complication. Enclosure of any kind is fairly uncommon. It is most often seen on ships designed either for warfare or vessels that try to avoid warfare, or ships that depend on other ships for protection, such as large cargo ships and passenger liners. To have either partial or full enclosure the designer simply decides; there is no change in cost or construction time. Partial enclosure reduces the decks space by half. Full enclosure drops it to zero; all weapons must be mounted internally or on the hull of the ship. A ship that has half enclosure gains a +2 bonus to AC, while full increases it the bonus to +4.

It is also possible to have more deck space, which also costs nothing. This is simply a function of widening the deck while making the ship more shallow, or adding decks to other parts of the ship. The benefit of this is that it increases the amount of weapons that can be added. The drawback is that it decreases the Armour Class, as flat surfaces are much worse at deflecting shots, and bigger deck makes it an easier target. This is the inverse of the bonus granted by covered by covered decks.
Partial increases the deck space by a third, and full increases it by two thirds. This extra deck space can also count as a second deck, usually on the other side of the ship, but this will likely preclude the ship from landing in water. Expanded decks and enclosure are mutually exclusive.

Airship Engines

It takes a lot of power to keep airships aloft and to propel them through the air. There are several types of engines available, each with its 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. Of course, more powerful engines generally consume more fuel and cost significantly more. In short, engines with higher power factors are able to push larger ships and make them go faster, but also cost more to buy and to operate.
While constructing the hull of an airship is difficult, it is child’s play compared to the design and crafting that goes into the creation of an airship’s engine. The hull must be able to withstand wind resistance and the rigors of combat, while the engine must often be able to harness the elemental forces of magic. A crack in the hull of an airship is somewhat dangerous, but merely the finest of cracks in an airship’s engine could send the whole thing plummeting out of the sky, fire belching from its stern as the engine self-destructs.
Because of the great precision and care needed to build an airship engine, the spellcasters who oversee their creation are paid very well, but are also held to an extremely high standard. Even having a single engine fail while in flight is enough to end the career of most who construct airship engines, and even those who are not professionally ruined often choose to retire rather than run the risk of such a tragedy ever occurring again as a result of their work. The reward for success is quite high, but the penalty for failure can leave even the most stalwart wizard wondering if he’s in the right line of work.
Still, without someone to build the engine, there wouldn’t be any airships, outside perhaps of a few dirigibles or small gliders, and wizards who enjoy their money are more than willing to put in the effort required to construct airship engines.

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 with tonnage greater than its power factors, there 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 though, 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 (Sailor) skill checks for each engine beyond the first.
Though some ships can overcome this problem by installing an engine sync (see the piloting components section), most airships 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 (see the components section), may need no engine or only a small engine to get off the ground. Subtract the dirigible’s lift from such a ship’s tonnage when determining its acceleration.

Note that the ship’s basic acceleration rating assumes that its engines are running at full power. Underfueled engines have reduced power factors, and reduce a ship’s acceleration and maximum 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 its airspeed reaches 20 mph.

Maximum Speeds
The maximum speed (in miles per hour) 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 at 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 are added together when determining the airship’s total maximum speed.

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 choose from whence he will draw the power for his engine, and then stick with it. While it might be appealing to imagine an engine powered by both air and fire, this is not merely impractical, but impossible.
An engine’s power source determines many of its other aspects as well. An elemental 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 into enough power to lift and move an airship.
In this section, each type of power source is described, along with the benefits and hindrances for engines using that source. Most of the essential information is contained in Table 4, with lengthier notes and descriptions in the engine’s write-up.

Bonus: Some airship engines provide a bonus to maneuverability, operational ceilings, or some other aspect of the airship to which they are mounted. This bonus, if applicable, is described in this section.

Penalty: If the airship an engine is mounted on suffers any penalty as a result of the engine type, that penalty is detailed here.

Cost: This is the market cost per power factor for the engine type.

Craft DC: Any skill checks needed to craft the airship engine use this DC.

Fuel Cost: If the airship engine requires some sort of fuel (such as wood or oil) the cost of that fuel is detailed here.

Size: Engines vary in size, based on their type and number of power factors. This section details how the engine’s size is calculated. This section also lists the number of critical hit slots the engine takes up on the airship’s Critical Hit Table.

Hull Points: Like airships, engines have hull points rather than hit points, which are used to determine how much damage the engine can withstand.

Hardness: The hardness of the engine is deducted from the damage inflicted on it by any successful attack.

Repair DC: This number is used as the DC for any repair attempts made on the airship engine.

Repair Cost: This indicates the cost (in gold pieces) per hull point repaired. This does not include any required labor costs, such as if a wizard or engineer must be hired to work on the airship.

Arcane Engines

While most types of airship engine are designed to produce energy, which is then converted into motive power by various spells embedded in the engine, the arcane engine is designed to directly transform arcane power into the ability to lift and move an airship. This type of engine is used primarily by sorcerers and wizards who are able to fuel the engine with their own power, but also are found in areas where arcane spellcasters are common and readily available for hire.

Bonus: Arcane engines are small and light, and do not require traditional fuel.

Penalty: None.

Fuel Cost: None. The arcane engine does, however, require a link between an arcane spellcaster and itself. The spellcaster must dedicate a number of spells slots to the engine while this link is in place, and each spell slot provides power to the engine based on its level. For every level of a spell slot used, the engine is provided with enough energy to steadily produce 20 power factors for one hour. A 5th level spell slot, for example, provides enough energy for 100 power factors for one hour. Additional spell slots allocated to an engine past its maximum power rating provide additional operating time. Thus, an engine with 20 power factors would consume the 100 power factors provided by the above 5th level spell at a rate of 20 each hour, giving it enough fuel to last for 5 hours.
Forging a link with the engine requires no effort the spellcaster simply places his hands on the provided spaces on the engine and allows the arcane magic there to do its work, which requires roughly 15 minutes to complete. At the time the link is forged, the spellcaster does not need to dedicate any spell slots to the engine, but may do so at any time as long as he is on the airship to which the engine is attached. Dedicating a spell slot is a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
While a spell slot is dedicated to the engine, the spellcaster does not have access to that slot. Thus, a spellcaster who dedicates a first-level spell slot to the arcane engine has one fewer first level spells available each day. Once the engine burns the slot, it returns to the spellcaster who dedicated it, but the slot is expended, and is not available for use again until the spellcaster has had time to rest and restore his personal energies (that is, whenever he is next able to prepare his spells for the day).
Size: 1 ton per 50 power factors or fraction thereof, 1 critical hit slot per 100 power factors or fraction thereof
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure-any spellcaster currently linked to the engine suffers 1d4 hit points of damage per level of each dedicated slot.

Divine Engines

The divine engine is identical to the arcane engine, save that it uses divine energy for its power factors, and must be dedicated to a single god.

Crystalline Engine

This type of arcane engine uses the energies trapped inside elemental shards for propulsion, slowly letting the elemental energy trapped inside them out in a careful release, rather than the explosive energy released by shard detonation. These are the standard engines of most military airship, who do not have a large surplus of spell-casters on hand to power other engines

Bonus: Crystalline engines are small and light, and can vary their fuel to provide different effects
Penalty: Expensive Fuel
Fuel Cost: Every hour, a crystalline engine consumes 5 gp worth of skyshards and/or fireshards per power factor it is using. Thus, running a 50 power factor engine would consume 250 GP worth of shards per hour. Since this can be a lot of crystals for larger engines, most engines mount large drums that hold the crystals and drain them in sequence.
Size: 1 ton per 50 power factors or fraction thereof, 1 critical hit slot per 100 power factors or fraction thereof
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure- a Crystalline explodes in a conflagration of elemental energy, dealing (Max PF)d6 damage to everything within 50 ft. This damage is half fire, and half electricity.

Elemental Engines (Air)

By far the most common type of elemental engine, air powered engines provide enormous lift to their airships, but are quite fragile and prone to damage. The engine works by imprisoning summoned air elementals and slowly converting their personal energies into lift for the airship. Because of their close relationship to air, air-powered engines are able to rise higher than other engines, and their lifting capacity attenuates slower. Because the materials used in their creation are delicate, however, these engines break down often and are difficult to repair. Elemental engines do not contain an
elemental when crafted; the elementals are summoned later by the users.
Bonus: The maneuverability rating of an airship with an air-powered engine is increased by one, due to the affinity the elementals have for the air.
Penalty: Air-powered engines are constructed from glass, crystal, and other fragile materials, making them quite easy to damage or destroy. The hardness of these engines is very low, and the engine itself has one-half the number of hit points normally possessed by an airship engine of its size. The engines also require a mage or cleric to stand by and cast summon monster or heal spells when appropriate.
Fuel Cost: Elemental engines take their power from the life force of air elementals, typically summoned through the various summon monster spells. When summoned, an elemental appears inside the engine and remains trapped there until consumed, even if the summon spell’s duration runs out.
An engine may hold up to 2HD worth of elemental per every 5 power factors of its capacity. Generally, one large elemental is preferred over several small ones, as the larger elemental lasts longer before being consumed.
Each air elemental hit point burned provides the engine with two power factors for one hour. Bound air elementals, if not fully consumed, regenerate their hit points at the rate of five per hour of rest. An elemental can also be fully restored with a heal spell, although cure wounds spells and the like are ineffective. Engines burn one elemental at a time, starting with the largest one bound.
Size: 1 ton per 50 power factors, 1 critical hit slot per 100 power factors or fraction thereof.
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure-the elemental contained within it is immediately freed from its bondage. The extraplanar rift formed by the failure lasts less than a second, but causes 1 hull point of damage to the airship per 20 powers factor of the engine.

Elemental Engines (Fire)

This type of elemental engine is best suited for those vessels that require a great deal of speed but are not terribly concerned with maneuverability. The massive iron exhaust ports used to vent the fury of the imprisoned fire elementals are large enough to restrict the turning radius of airships that use this design, but the power they provide is enough to silence most of their detractors. Elemental engines do not contain an elemental when crafted; the elementals are summoned later by the users.
Military vessels favor fire elemental engines over other elemental types, if only for their raw speed and destructive power. The engine itself can be used as a weapon against vessels that approach from the rear, and some elaborate engineering even allows the exhaust to be used as a fire-projecting missile weapon in its own right.
Bonus: The maximum speed of an airship that uses this type of engine is increased by 20 mph, provided the engine has enough power factors to get the airship flying.
Penalty: These engines require a massive set of exhaust pipes that channel the force of the engines in a very straight line. This decreases the maneuverability of the airship by 2.
The engines also require a mage or cleric to stand by and cast summon monster or heal spells when appropriate.
Fuel Cost: Elemental engines take their power from the life force of fire elementals, typically summoned through the various summon monster spells. When summoned, an elemental appears inside the engine and remains trapped there until consumed, even if the summon spell’s duration runs out.
An engine may hold up to 2HD worth of elementals per every 5 power factors of its capacity. Generally, one large elemental is preferred over several small ones, as the larger elemental lasts longer before being consumed. Each fire elemental hit point burned provides the engine with two power factors for one hour. Bound fire elementals, if not fully consumed, regenerate their hit points at the rate of five per hour of rest. An elemental can also be fully restored with a heal spell, although cure wounds spells and the like are ineffective. Engines burn one elemental at a time, starting with the largest.
Size: 2 tons per 50 power factors or fraction thereof, 1 critical hit slot per 50 power factors.
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure-the elemental contained within it is immediately freed from its bondage. The extraplanar rift formed by the failure lasts less than a second, but causes 1 hull point of damage to the airship per 5 power factors of the engine, and also starts a 10’ square fire centered upon the engine’s former location.

Energy Engines

Similar in nature to elemental engines, these power plants derive their power from an extraplanar source. A pinprick portal to the positive energy plane allows a trickle of this potent energy to seep into the engine’s furnace. A second portal allows a trickle of negative energy to enter the furnace.
When the two mix, they react violently and create a vast amount of energy considering the small size of the furnace.
Because they require no fuel, these engines are used most often by airships that must travel long distances. Unfortunately, the engines are unable to generate energy quickly and require a great deal of time to lift an airship from the ground or to accelerate.
Bonus: These types of engine require no fuel, whatsoever.
Penalty: The engine requires a full hour to begin generating energy once it is turned on, as the positive and negative energy flows need time to mix and begin reacting. In addition, the engine cannot accelerate an airship faster than 10 mph per round, making the ship unable to maneuver quickly.
Fuel Cost: None.
Size: 1 ton per 25 power factors, 1 critical hit slot per 50 power factors.
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure. The unrestrained reaction between positive and negative energy immediately causes an explosion that collapses the links between the two planes and causes 1d6 hull points of damage per 5 power factors of the engine.

Fiendish Engines

These engines belch gouts of brimstone gas from their vent ports at irregular intervals, filling the ship with an acrid stench of sulfur that clings to the clothes and hair of those who work on it. The power of the fiendish engine comes from a pact with a demon lord, who allows a portion of his vassals’ essence to be used as power factors for the airship. While making such a pact with a demon lord is difficult, it is far from impossible. A demon lord’s agents on the material plane need ways to transport cargo and passengers, and find airships an ideal method, as it allows them to bypass mortal customs agents and other travel checkpoints.
The trade off for using a fiendish engine is the number of favors the vessel’s operators must do for the infernal creature from which the airship gains its power. Generally speaking, the more powerful an engine, the more often its owner must do favors for his infernal ally, and the more dire those favors become. No good-aligned creature would ever use a fiendish engine, though there may be a few good-aligned airmen who serve on airships that receive their power from the infernal regions. Work is work, and as long as they aren’t responsible for what goes on below decks, they can look the other way.
Bonus: The fiends that power these engines are willing participants in the engines’ process, allowing them to provide excellent maneuverability. All airships using this type of engine have their maneuverability ratings increased by 2.
Penalty: While the infernal creature bound within the engine is willing to help the airship fly, it has no interest in allowing the engine to suck away all of its life energies, which reduces the power of the vessel. The power factors of an airship using this type of engine are limited to a maximum of 100, regardless of how many infernal creatures are bound into the engine. Only one fiendish engine may be affixed to a single ship.
Fuel Cost: None. The engine is powered by a demon or devil, depending on the patron who provides the power, that is chained into its furnace. The furnace slowly grinds away the demon’s essence, creating the energy for the engine’s magic to convert into power factors. The process is shockingly painful, and the screams of the fiend are often heard echoing through the airship, but the torture is nothing compared to the horrors the creature knows its master will inflict upon it if it doesn’t do as it was ordered.
For each hit die of the fiend bound in the engine’s furnace, the engine generates 10 power factors for a full hour, up to its maximum rating. The bound fiend loses one hit die per hour, so the engine slowly loses power throughout the day, and few airships with an engine of this type are suited for very long journeys. The engine will not kill a fiendish creature, but stops grinding away its essence when it reaches its last hit die and the fiend stops providing energy to the airship. After a full eight hours of rest, a fiend’s hit dice are restored and it is once again able to provide energy to the engine.
More than one fiend may be imprisoned in one engine, and multiple fiends can either be burned at the same time, or burned in shifts, allowing some fiendish creatures to rest while others work. Captains are given their fiends in the form of soulstones, which can be linked or removed from an engine as needed. Soulstones also prevent the fiends from escaping or causing other dangers.
The captain of the vessel must continue to perform favors for his fiendish ally if he wants to keep his ship in the air. At the end of every month, the fiendish lord who provides energy for the airship takes an accounting of the favors done for it in the previous month and provides energy for the next month as appropriate.
Size: 1 ton plus 1 ton per 50 HD of creatures the engine can contain, 1 critical slot per 100 power factors.
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure. The engine immediately stops functioning, but there are no other ill effects, as the bound demons are quietly allowed to return to their home planes.

Necrotic Engines

These foul creations stink so strongly of rotting flesh and burning hair when in use that few creatures can stand to be aboard an airship that uses such an engine. By accelerating the rate of decomposition in dead flesh and bone, the engine is able to produce the energy necessary to provide lift for an airship. Used primarily in vampiric boneships, these engines are never for sale on the open market, and fuel for them is somewhat difficult to find in areas where meat cannot be purchased. While it is possible for a creature of good alignment to use one of these engines for an airship, she would be restricted to using animals for fuel to avoid suffering a serious moral crisis.
Bonus: The necrotic engine creates a repellent stench that causes anyone not used to the smell to suffer a -2 morale penalty to all skill checks and attack rolls while aboard one of these vessels. This applies only to creatures with a sense of smell.

Penalties: Only undead, constructs, and GM specified creatures are able to withstand the stench of this
engine for any length of time-others suffer the morale penalties listed above while aboard an airship equipped with a necrotic engine.
Note that the engine is limited by its fuel capacity regardless of its power factors.

Fuel Cost: The fuel for a necrotic engine is flesh and bone; the more powerful a creature the flesh is taken from, the more lift the engine can provide. To power the engine, the body of a deceased creature is placed into its furnace. For every HD of the creature placed in the furnace, the engine produces 5 power factors for one hour. By severing limbs and shattering bones, it is possible to compress a body by a great deal, allowing the bodies of as many as three large creatures, five medium creatures, eight small creatures, or twelve tiny creatures to be crammed into the furnace of the engine at any one time. Note that bodies must be prepared no more than 48 hours before they are used as fuel.
It is possible to purchase beasts of burden or other animals for use as fuel, but they must be prepared for use prior to launch unless the owner of the airship wishes to transport livestock along with the rest of his cargo.

Size: 1 ton. The size of the engine does not change based on the power factors it can provide. The engine takes up 1 critical hit slot.

Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure and immediately stops functioning. Other than truly horrific stench being released by the burning fuel of the necrotic engine, there are no other side effects from this failure.

Oil-Burning Engines

Though more expensive than wood, fuel oil is readily accessible and far more portable than cords of lumber. It also burns cleaner and more efficiently, allowing airships equipped with these engines to travel further on less fuel. Using the same oil adventurers use in their lanterns, an oil burning engine is capable of generating enough power to lift even the heaviest airships, though it can take a dangerous quantity of oil to care for the needs of large engines during extended journeys, which makes airmen more than a little nervous when dealing with these engines. An airship that goes into combat with an oil-burning engine is taking a not inconsiderable risk-if that oil gets set alight, the destruction it wreaks on the airship knows no bounds and may very well leave the entire airship crashing out of the sky in flames. Still, merchants enjoy the extra cargo space they get from burning oil instead of wood, and are not likely to give up their oil supplies any time soon.
Fuel Cost: Fuel oil costs 8 sp per gallon, using roughly 1 gallon of fuel per power factor for one hour. One ton of space can hold approximately 500 gallons of oil.
Size: 1 ton per 10 power factors, one critical slot per 50 power factors.
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the engine is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure. The space formerly occupied by the oil-burning engine is immediately consumed in flame as the fuel-oil erupts and begins to spread. This fire automatically spreads 10’ each round, unless it hits a bulkhead. At that point, the fire stops spreading in that direction (though it may spread in other directions freely) for a number of rounds equal to the hull’s hardness as it burns through the wall. Once this time has passed, the fire is free to spread past the now-destroyed bulkhead. This type of fire can quickly gut an airship, burning through its infrastructure and setting alight components as it blazes.

Psionic Engines

A psionic engine is almost identical to a arcane engine, except that power points are committed, rather than spell slots, and each power point sent into the engine only generates 10 power factors, rather than 20, and the backlash from a destroyed engine manifest as a wave of psionic force, extending from the engine. All creatures within (PF x 5) ft of the engine must make a will save (DC=10+number of unburned power points), or be stunned for 1d4 rounds.

Vampiric Engines

While the necrotic engine feeds on the bones and flesh of the dead, the vampiric engine devours their blood and life force. The screams of those strapped into a vampiric engine often echo for days as they struggle to survive the draining ministrations of these foul devices. While dangerous to use, these engines are very popular amongst evil creatures that have little difficulty finding slaves or other unfortunates to strap into the machine. They do, however, have a serious impact on the crew, who often find themselves worrying more about whether or not they are going to end up in the machine than they do about tending to their own jobs.
Bonus: Vampiric engines are able to provide an enormous amount of power, provided they have enough living bodies from which to draw fuel. Like necrotic engines, it is the HD of the drained creature that provides the power for the engine.
Penalties: The engine requires living creatures for fuel, each of which must be bound and attached to the engine. If the creatures escape, the engine doesn’t have any fuel, which can lead to some interesting, and fatal, incidents.
Fuel Cost: The fuel for this type of engine comes in the form of living, breathing creatures. For every HD or level of life energy possessed by a creature, it provides 5 power factors for one hour. At the end of each hour, the life energy used is destroyed. This inflicts a negative energy level on the fuel creature, which remains in effect until removed (as per normal), or until the target dies. The creatures used for fuel need not be intelligent; any creature with hit dice can fuel the engine, with the exception of undead and constructs.
The cost for such fuel creatures is variable-in some areas, individuals are not for sale for any reason, and even prisoners are not offered up for such a horrific fate. In less restrictive regions, however, anything is for sale, and using the life force of someone as fuel for your airship is no different than slaughtering a cow for food. In some communities, criminals who cannot be rehabilitated (either because their crimes were so heinous or they have proven themselves to be repeat offenders) are sometimes sold to the owners of these ships as a type of execution.
Most vampiric engines are designed to accept fuel from more than one creature at a time, allowing for the creation of truly impressive amounts of lifting power. While no more than ten creatures can be hooked to a single vampiric engine at once, particularly large or powerful vessels may have more than one of these engines operating at a single time.
Size: 1 ton plus 1 ton per ëharness’ used to attach an individual to the vampiric engine. The vampiric engine takes up 1 critical hit slot.
Catastrophic Failure Result: If the airship is reduced to zero hull points, it is considered to have suffered a catastrophic failure, but no other ill effects occur. Smoke drifts through the lower decks for a few rounds, but the destruction of the engine tends to snuff the fire burning within, preventing a fire from raging through the lower decks as with an oil-burning engine.

Wood-Burning Engines

The original, and still most common, airship engine relies on burning wood or coal to create its energy. Smokers, as they are often called, are dirty, inefficient engines that require a large supply of fuel to cover any distance at all. Still, the fuel is cheap and the engines are inexpensive and easy to maintain, making them ideally suited for adventurers or other low-rent types to purchase and use in their airships.
Bonus: None. The advantage of this type of engine is its low cost.
i: Wood-burning engines generate a great deal of smoke and stinking fumes, which is vented outside and can be seen for quite some distance. Anyone attempting to spot a wood-burning airship receives a +4 circumstance bonus due to this cloud of exhaust.
Fuel Cost: 5 sp per hour per power factor. One ton of wood provides roughly 500 hours of fuel for an engine with one power factor.
Size: 2 tons per 10 power factors, 1 critical hit slot per 50 power factors
Catastrophic Failure Result: None

Table 6 — Engine Types

Name Cost Craft DC Hull Points Hardness Repair DC Repair Cost
Arcane 250 30 10 5 25 60
Divine 250 30 10 5 25 60
Crystalline 150 20 15 5 20 40
Elemental, Air 400 25 5 2 20 100
Elemental, Fire 300 25 10 6 20 60
Energy 200 35 5 5 30 120
Fiendish 150 30 20 5 30 120
Necrotic 250 30 20 5 25 80
Oil-burning 100 20 5 5 20 10
Psionic 250 30 15 10 25 40
Vampiric 250 30 20 15 20 80
Wood-burning 50 20 5 5 15 10

Creating the Engine

The main difficulty in creating an airship engine is the sheer number of arcane or divine matrices that need to be built to hold the power of the engine. Regardless of the energy source used by the airship, most engines have the same requirements, and are crafted with the Craft Wondrous item feat.
Caster Level: 5+1 per 10 Power Factors
Spells Known: Fly, levitate, featherfall.

Creating an airship engine requires an alchemical laboratory large enough to hold the completed engine (as well as a way to get the completed engine out of the laboratory!) To construct the engine, simply follow the steps for crafting any other wondrous item.

Mounting Engines and Engine Operation

Engines are almost always mounted at the rear of a vessel, in the bottom of the cargo deck. The rear of the engine is always exposed, allowing the energy of the engine to be transferred into thrust and lift, as necessary. Engines in airships do not operate on strictly scientific principles, however, as they are essentially magical devices with rules all their own. Because the engines actually do burn their fuel, however, their exhaust systems must be vented to the outside of the ship to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes and the possibility of fires below decks. For our purposes, the exhaust from an airship is generally a trickle of smoke, and the gentle flare of fire can be seen within the exhaust pipes. The exhausts do not put off enough of a glow to be more easily seen at night, nor do they create a great plume of smoke that can be seen for miles during the day, with the exception of wood burners.
Mounting the engine is a fairly difficult task, requiring a number of laborers and an engineer. It is possible to mount an airship engine on the bottom of an airship. This is normally done when the engine is too large to fit inside the airship, such as the case with the so-called zephyr freighters favored by halflings for transporting goods. The difficulty with this positioning is that the engine may be directly targeted by anyone below the airship, without requiring a critical hit. The engine has an Armor Class equal to the Armor Class of the airship it is mounted on.

To install the engine in an airship, follow the following steps. The engine is installed in the same yard where the hull was built, and typically takes a month. The process may be speeded up by working extra shifts. All yard rental fees and extra labor costs apply as with the hull.

Installing the Engine

1. Installation requires one engineer, and one laborer per 10 engine power factors to handle the heavy lifting and to drag the thing into place.

Repairing an Engine
Airship engines often take damage, whether from being pushed too hard by the captain of the vessel or as a result of combat. When the hull points for an airship’s engine are reduced, they do not naturally repair themselves, but must be patched up by a skilled engineer.

The Rigging

Because the engine’s primary purpose is propulsion, it makes a relatively poor steering device on its own. Nearly all ships rely on other steering devices to help maneuver the ship. Although some ships use rudders and fins rather than sails, they are all referred to as rigging. There are five types of rigging: none, minimal, standard, terrestrial and topped-out, all of which can have an effect on the Maneuverability of the ship.
No rigging is just what it sounds like: a ship that does not use any sort of additional steering device
beyond the helm. Few ships are designed this way intentionally, since it makes the ship extremely sluggish while maneuvering. Of those few that are, most tend to be small in order to offset the penalties, or extremely large, at which point maneuverability becomes nearly a moot point anyway. On the other hand, any ship can end up without rigging if it is destroyed or the rigging crew are all dead.

Minimal rigging uses just barely enough steering devices to allow the helmsman to put most of the maneuvering work into the hands of the riggers. It is fairly rare, mostly found on ships that depend on other ships for defense, such as large cargo ships and transport ships, or on small pleasure and shuttle craft, which are designed to stay close to a larger base or craft.

Standard rigging is, well, standard for aiships, representing what is considered by most the optimal ratio of maneuverability and manpower requirements.

Topped-out rigging adds additional steering devices, but also increases the manpower to use them properly. The additional rigging allows the crew to use more specific steering devices for certain situations, which increases the Maneuverability Class of the ship. There are two drawbacks to topped-out rigging. First, it requires twice as many riggers to operate. Second, if all of these men aren’t available, the ship drops to no rigging rather than standard. This is due to the fact that the rigging has been thoroughly optimized, and a lack of a few men throws the system off.

Terrestrial rigging is required for any ship of terrestrial origins (i.e. galleons, cogs).
Seafaring ships require far more rigging and men to maneuver than skyfaring, as such ships have rigging designed for water travel rather than space travel, which needs more sails to function. It takes all of those sails used at their maximum potential just to maneuver in space as well as they do. Anything less and they are considered to have minimal. Ships that require terrestrial rigging cannot have topped-out rigging, and standard rigging functions as minimal, but has the standard crew requirements.

A ship that has either full or partial enclosure is limited by the amount of rigging it can have, since decks space is the primary location for steering devices. A ship with partial enclosure can not have more than standard rigging, and one with full enclosure cannot have more than minimal rigging. The only way around this is by installing the rigging internally, which takes up space. The space requirements are all a percentage of the ship’s tonnage, based on the type of rigging: 5% for minimal, 10% for standard, and 20% for topped-out. This internal space usage represents the spatial requirements for crew and the portion of the steering device they directly handle. The fins, rudders and sails still stick out of the ship and can be attacked. On the other hand, the crew cannot be directly attacked, although they can potentially be damaged by attacks to the area they occupy.

The cost of rigging depends on the type and size of the ship, as shown on Table 4. Mounting rigging internally doubles the cost. It is possible to have minimal, standard or topped-out rigging made of solid materials, such as wood, rather than sails. Such rigging is more expensive, but it has the benefit of being harder to damage. Solid rigging costs three times as much as normal rigging.

Standard and topped-out rigging have a number of hit points equal to five times the the tonnage of the ship. Minimal rigging has half of this (x2.5). Double these numbers for solid rigging. Terrestrial rigging has hit points equal to seven times the tonnage of the ship. Sails have no hardness and solid rigging has the same hardness as the hull material (or frame material if it has no hull).

All rigging takes up 1 critical slot per 10 tons of airship.

Table 4 – Rigging

Rigging Cost by Ton Maneuverability mod Crew Needed
None 0 gp -2 None
Minimal 25 gp 0 1 per 10 tons
Standard 50 gp +2 1 per 5 tons
Topped-Out 150 gp +4 1 per 2 tons
Terrestrial 150 gp 0 1 per ton


A ship is not particularly useful without passengers and crew, and those passengers and crew require space to live and work in. So does everything else that goes inside of a ship, from space for cargo to facilities for dining. This space is rated in tons, and a ship has internal tonnage equal to its actual tonnage.
A ship’s frame will take up a portion of this space. The amount depends on its type. Standard and heavy frames take up 10% of a ship’s internal space. Light uses 5%, extra-heavy uses 20%, and super-heavy uses 30%. Beyond this, the designer must decide to do with this free space. Space for the crew to rest, and eat in, as well as space to prepare food, is generally considered minimal

Mobility Components

Air Oars

Air oars are essentially similar to oars used for propelling ships through the water, with the exception of a few key differences. Air oars are not fitted with paddles, but wide sails that collapse through a special mechanism when the oars are drawn forward. When the oars are pulled back, the sails open up to catch the air. Oars provide excellent thrust and maneuverability, but are easy to damage, and require a sizable number of crewmen to operate. Two pair of oars is generally employed per size category of the airship.

Cost: 100 gp per size category of the airship
Bonus: +3 to maneuverability, +10 to acceleration
Hull Points: 1 per 5 tons of hull size
Crew Requirements: 4 per size category of the vessel
Space Requirements: 2 tons per size category of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 2 size categories of the vessel

Air Sails

Air Sails are essentially similar to Sails used for propelling ships through the water, with the exception of a few key differences. Air Sails are not fitted for maneuverability, due to to the lack of ability to tack against the air. There are 3 varieties of sails, Square sails, Lateen Sails, and Panel Sails. All Sails can be furled, with remove both their bonuses and penalties

The simplest rigging available, the square sail is essentially a great canvas sheet attached to a pair of crossbars (known as yardarms) affixed to the top and bottom of a mast.

Cost: 10 gp per ton of the airship
Bonus: +10 to acceleration
Penalty:-2 to Maneuverability
Hull Points: 20 per ton of rigging.
Crew Requirements: 1 per ton of rigging
Space Requirements: 1 tons per 10 tons of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 50 tons of airship.

Lateen 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.

Cost: 20 gp per ton of the airship
Bonus: +15 to acceleration
Penalty:-1 to Maneuverability
Hull Points: 20 per ton of rigging.
Crew Requirements: 2 per ton of rigging
Space Requirements: 1 tons per 10 tons of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 50 tons of airship.

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 take up more space on the deck, panel sails are so highly regarded they are almost always used on merchant or military vessels.

Cost: 30 gp per ton of the airship
Bonus: +20 to acceleration
Penalty: None! :-)
Hull Points: 20 per ton of rigging.
Crew Requirements: 3 per ton of rigging
Space Requirements: 1 tons per 10 tons of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 50 tons of airship.

If the tonnage an airship engine must lift is reduced, the cost of the engine can also be drastically reduced. Thus, engineers constantly attempt to come up with new and more innovative ways to reduce the need for lift from the airship engine. The most common method for reducing the weight the engine must lift is the use of hot air or other, lighter than air gases contained in a rigid or semi-rigid bladder. While this drastically reduces the maneuverability of the airship, it is also a useful method for bringing down the cost of the airship’s engine by a huge amount.

There are two types of dirigible-rigid and semi-rigid. Rigid airships have bladders constructed around a light framework, often built from wood struts or ceramic boning. These rigid airships are not able to hold the same quantity of lifting gas, but they are far easier to control than semi-rigid dirigibles.

The semi-rigid dirigible is simply a massive bladder filled with gas; ropes or other loose restraints are used to keep the bladder in some semblance of shape. While these types of dirigible are able to contain a massive amount of lift gas, they are difficult to control and are almost always at the complete mercy of whatever wind currents happen to be in the area. Without the ability to retain its shape, the semi-rigid bladder acts as much like a sail as a lift system and makes its ship very difficult to fly. While favored by hobbyists or pleasure cruisers, the semi-rigid bladder is almost never used for merchant or military vessels.

Note that a semi-rigid bladder is capable of lifting a ship off of the ground without any engine at all. A few ships are built this way, and manage to derive their forward propulsion from air oars, turbines, or simply sails. Though unwieldy, engineless dirigible ships are inexpensive, and require no magic to construct.

Benefit: The rigid bladder reduces the weight of the airship by one ton for every 25 gp spent on the bladder, up to a maximum of 75% of the ship’s tonnage. Semi-rigid bladders offer up to 100% weight reduction and cost only 10 gp per ton of weight reduction.

Penalty: For every 25% (or fraction thereof) by which the tonnage of the airship is reduced, a rigid bladder reduces the maneuverability by one and a semi-rigid bladder reduces the maneuverability by two.

Cost: 25 gp per ton of weight reduction for a rigid bladder, 10 gp per ton of weight reduction for a semi-rigid bladder.

Space Required: The dirigible bladder is always equal in length and beam to the airship and floats above the airship’s sails. The bladder has volume equal to twice the tonnage it reduces (thus, a bladder that reduces an airship’s tonnage by 50 tons would have a volume equal to 100 tons).

A dirigible is a huge target, and takes up one critical slot per 2 tons of weight reduction it provides. It also has one hull point per ton of weight reduction and takes up 5 square feet on the airship’s deck (for the anchor ropes, burners, or gas canisters) for every 50 tons by which it reduces the airship’s tonnage. When a dirigible suffers 25% or more of its total hull points, it begins to lose gas and provides 10% less weight reduction every round until it provides no weight reduction at all.

Keeping the Dirigible Inflated: The cost of a dirigible includes a burner or gas canister to keep the bladder inflated. For every 100 tons by which the bladder reduces the tonnage of an airship, it requires one ton of wood to keep the bladder inflated for four hours. A ton of fuel wood for this purpose costs a mere 10 gp and is easily obtained in most airship ports.
Gas-filled dirigibles require one canister of gas per 100 tons of weight reduction per 4 hours. A case of eight canisters takes up one ton of space on the airship and costs 125 gp.

Drag Chutes

Possibly the fastest method of turning, drag chutes have the distinct disadvantage of only being useful once every few rounds. Composed of woven spider silk, the drag chutes are deployed whenever a turn is called for, and then reeled in when they are no longer needed. Unfortunately, a drag chute can only be used to turn a single direction in a round, as it is simply thrown over the side and allowed to pull the ship around as the air resistance fills the chute. Once a drag chute is deployed, it must be drawn in during the following round (requiring 3 crew members per size category of the vessel) and may not be deployed again for two rounds per size category of the vessel. Optionally, a drag chute can be cut away, requiring only one crew member, but ensuring that the chute cannot be used again.
Cost: 200 gp per size category of the vessel
Maneuverability Bonus: +5 (only turns one direction per round)
Hull Points: 2 per size category of the vessel
Crew Requirements: 3 per size category of the vessel
Space Requirements: 1 ton per size category of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1

Engine Swivel

By mounting an engine on a swivel, an airship gains a great deal of maneuverability. This connects the engine directly to the wheel of the airship, allowing the pilot to directly control the way the force of the engine is used to steer the ship, rather than relying on other mechanisms to swing the ship around. While one of the most expensive methods for steering a ship, it is also one of the sturdiest and least likely to be damaged by a critical hit.
Cost: 1000 gp per size category of the vessel
Maneuverability Bonus: +3
Hull Points: 5 per size category of the vessel
Crew Requirements: None
Space Requirements: None (occupies the same space as the engine)
Critical Components Spaces: 1

Engine Sync

An engine sync balances engine output for an airship with multiple engines. It is a small device that runs between all the engines and is never directly handled by the pilot or crew. An engine sync removes the -2 cumulative penalty to Profession (Salior) skill checks caused by a ship having more than one engine.
Cost: 250 gp per engine
Bonus: Eliminates penalty for multiple engines
Hull Points: 5
Crew Requirements: None
Space Requirements: 0
Critical Components Spaces: 1


Linked by chain mechanisms, propellers are mounted on the sides of ships and turned by small steam engines, or hand cranked by crew. These inventions offer improved maneuverability for the vessel they are attached to, and take up relatively little space. Unfortunately, they are very delicate and easy to damage, making them a poor choice for most warships.
Cost: 1000 gp per ton of the vessel
Maneuverability Bonus: +3
Hull Points: 3 per 10 tons of the vessel
Crew Requirements: 1 per 20 tons of the vessel
Space Requirements: 1 ton per 20 tons of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 2 size categories of the vessel

Steering Engines

Similar in nature to propellers, steering engines are rows of smaller engines linked to a central steering mechanism and mounted down the sides of the airship. This complex system allows for very fast maneuvering, but also doubles the cost of operating the vessel each hour. Worse, the steering engines are prone to damage and are often wrecked during times of battle, leaving the vessel without the means to steer itself.

Cost: 5,000 gp per size category of the vessel. Reduces fuel efficiency by half.
Maneuverability Bonus: +4
Hull Points: 2 per size category of the vessel
Crew Requirements: None
Space Requirements: 1 ton per size category of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 3 size categories of the vessel


An airship turbine is similar to the propellers listed above, except it is larger and mounted at the rear of the ship. A larger steam engine turn a mechanism that is geared to spin the turbine at extremely high speeds. A turbine does not improve a ship’s maneuverability, but its speed. Turbines are often used with dirigible type vessels to provide thrust in lieu of an engine. The turbine’s main drawback is its large size requirement.
Cost: 1000 gp per size category of the vessel
Bonus: +30 to acceleration
Hull Points: 5 per size category of the vessel
Crew Requirements:2 per size category of the vessel
Space Requirements: 2 tons per size categories of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per size category of the vessel


Birds have flow for many a year with no magic or balloons, mere wings. Though no engineer has come close to matching their ease of flight. Wings, added to an airship, allow for longer flight at less engine cost. There are two types of wings avlaible to airships- Gliding wings and Flight wings.

A glider can float for long distances without engine power, descending at a rate of 10 feet for every 100 feet 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 ships do not crash if they run out of fuel or suffer engine failures, assuming there is a place to
land. Gliding wings are fragile enough that they are retracted during powered flight, or they will be torn off due to the stresses involved

Cost: 1500 gp per size category of the vessel
Hull Points: 5 per 5 tons of vessel
Crew Requirements:2 per size category of the vessel (to Deploy or fold)
Space Requirements: 1 tons per size categories of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per 2 size category of the vessel

Reinforced wings are made of significantly tougher materials, such as ironwood and spider silk, witch is then magically reinforced again, allowing the wings to stand up to the stresses involved in powered flight. This allows them to be used like wings on a modern aircraft, turning forward velocity into lift. For every 10 mph the airship is going, reinforced wings generate 1 PF of lift, which can lead to a fun feedback cycle, as the airship transition to forward flight. The wings cannot generate more than 10 PF lift, as they being to loose structural durability above 100 mph. For every 10 mph over, the wings take 1d6 points of hull damage each turn as the aerodynamic stress tears them apart.

Cost: 5000 gp per size category of the vessel
Hull Points:20 per 5 tons of vessel
Crew Requirements:2 per size category of the vessel (to Deploy or fold)
Space Requirements: 2 tons per size categories of the vessel
Critical Components Spaces: 1 per size category of the vessel

Rooms Components

Standard Crew Quarters

These are the standard quarters for most members of the crew. It includes space for a bunk, personal storage and room to dress and move about in, as well as space for a chair. Quarters are typically grouped together in one or more rooms. Includes: bunk, chair, storage cabinet.

Cramped Crew Quarters

These are the same as Standard Crew quarters, but with less personal space. There is enough room for a moderate size chest for personal belongings, plus room to dress, but little else. Includes: bunk.

Bunk Only

This is simply a bunk in a wall, and includes no space for anything but sleeping. Storage is above the person in nets or bags hung from corners. Privacy is through a curtain, and there is no room to stand; dressing is done in the hall or room where the bunk is. Includes: bunk.

Standard Room

A standard room differs from standard quarters in size, giving additional room for a dresser and a small desk. Like quarters they can be grouped together, but are just as often their own rooms. Includes: bunk, storage cabinet, dresser, small table, chair.

Spacious Room

A spacious room is like a standard room, with more space for additional chairs and a table, or for other larger furniture. It has enough room that it could be considered a berth or dorm room. It is often used as a captains quarters on larger ships, or as a room on passenger liners. Includes: bunk, storage cabinet, dresser, small table, chair. Other furniture items will have to be provided.

Luxurious Room

A larger version of the spacious room, it has enough space for both additional furniture such as a couch and large stuffed chair plus a table with several chairs around it. Includes: bunk, storage cabinet, dresser, large table, chair. Other furniture items will have to be provided.


Basically a fair sized room you would find in a house; space enough for everything in a Luxurious room, plus space for luxuries like more couches, stuffed chairs and self-serve bars. It has a separate room for the sleeping chambers. Includes: bed, storage cabinet, dresser, large table, several chairs, bar. Other furniture items will have to be provided.


Mess Hall

Simply space for people to eat. It is a room with tables and chairs. Most ships only allocate enough room for half or less of its normal crew to eat, since others will be asleep or working. Some let men eat on deck or in their rooms, and assign no room to dining facilities. Three times as many people can be packed in if they are simply there to talk, and it is often used for ship meetings. Included: benches and tables.

Fine Dining Facilities

The same as Standard Dining Facilities, except designed for more spacious accommodations. Almost never used for anything other than luxury passenger liners. Includes: tables and chair


This is the cooking facilities for the ship. The amount of space depends on how many people they expect to serve in an hour. It has space for storage for pots, pans and utensils, plus standard cooking ingredients (i.e. spices, barrels of water, flour, and so on). Includes: stove(s).

Laundry Facilities

Most ships will not have any sort of laundry facilities, as most spacefarers tend to do little in the way to wash their clothes, and will generally do it themselves. On some larger ships, usually capital ships or luxury lines, there are facilities to do laundry. These facilities are generally not as capable as a land-based laundry, as water is used sparingly. It includes the tubs and other equipment used for cleaning.


This is a place for the crew of passengers to relax, and possibly have a drink. It is generally more spacious than the mess hall, and may have a bar in it. It is essentially the same thing as Fine Dining Facilities, the main difference being quality of the tables and chairs. Includes: bar, tables and chair

Basic Engineering Room

Enough space for a one-man shop. Includes: shelves and workbenches. Tools are separate.

Advanced Engineering Room

Like the basic version, but supports a three-man shop and more equipment. Includes: shelves and workbenches. Tools are separate.

Chart/Astrogation Room

Uncommon except on larger or exploration ships, this room is designed to hold the charts and equipment need to astrogate.
Includes: shelves, desk, chairs. This can also be used to represent offices or libraries.


Cargo Space

Simply open space to store goods. Includes: a variety of rings and pinions mounted on walls, floors and beams to tie cargo off to.
Note that cargo space can be used for a variety of things besides cargo. People can sleep in the cargo bay, food can be eaten or courses can be astrogated. It is just that the cargo area does not fully support such actions (i.e. no walls for privacy, no shelves or desks for working at, and so on). Included free of charge is a basic hatch or door to move cargo in or out.

Weapons Locker

Any cargo space can be used as weapon storage, but a weapons locker includes cabinets and racks for weapons and armour. One ton can generally hold weapons and armour for up to 50 men, or weapons only for up to 100 men. Includes: racks and cabinets.


A larder is simply a room with a large number of shelves and slots for barrels, to hold food and water for the kitchen. Kitchens on smaller vessels won’t need one; generally a half-ton of larder per 3 tons of kitchen works fine. Includes: shelves and barrel holders.

Docking Bays

Internal, Specific

This is a docking bay that is designed for a specific type of ship. Other ships will have a very hard time fitting it, often not fitting at all, unless they are of a very similar design or much smaller. It includes a door, plus space around the ship to access most of its surfaces above its deck (or rough approximation thereof). General, these are used to hold launches for non-landing vessels, or Skystrikers for combat carriers.

Internal, General

This is a docking bay that is designed to fit a variety of ships within a certain size. The dimensions of the bay are used to figure the cost, and the additional twenty percent in size is for the docks and accesses to the ship. Thus if a bay was 100 feet long by 50 feet wide by 50 feet tall it would be a 120 ton bay. With the additional 20% it would take up 145 tons. The GM will have to decide if a given ship can land in the docking bay based on the ship’s dimensions and shape and the docking bay’s dimension and shape. The cost includes a sliding door if the GM deems it feasible, based on size.

External, Passenger

This is a docking bay designed to allow a ship to come along side and dock. The size of the docking ship isn’t really important, as it won’t be actually entering the ship it docks. The passenger external docking bay is designed primarily to allow passengers and small parcels to be passed from one ship to another. It includes mooring points, a basic dock extension, a sliding door over the bay and space for a group of people to wait for boarding.

External, Cargo

This is the same as the Passenger docking bay, except it is designed to allow the transfers of larger objects. The actual size of the docking bay can vary upwards from two tons, depending on the size of the cargo that is expected to be moved. Two tons will work for most barrels and smaller crates, while stuff like lumber or ore might require from four to six tons. Half of the space can be used as temporary cargo space when no ship is present. It otherwise comes with the same stuff as a passenger bay

Table 5 – Crew Facilities Space and Cost

Rooms Space Cost
Standard Crew Quarters 1 tons per 6 men 75 gp per man
Cramped Crew Quarters 1 tons per 10 men 50 gp per man
Bunk Only 1 tons per 25 men 20 gp per man
Standard Room .5 tons 100 gp per man
Spacious Room .75 tons 125 gp per man
Luxurious Room 1.5 tons 150 gp per man
Suite 3 tons 250 gp per man
Storage Space Cost
Cargo 1 ton per 1 ton of cargo None
Weapons Locker Varies 75 gp per ton
Larder Varies 50 gp per ton
Facilities Space Cost
Mess Hall 1 ton per 10 men 50 gp per man
Fine Dining Facilities 1 tons per 5 men 100 gp per man
Galley 1 ton per 25 men per hour 75 gp per man
Saloon/Lounge 1 tons per 5 men 100 gp per man
Laundry Facilities .5 tons per 10 men per day 50 gp per man
Chart Room 1 ton or more 100 gp per ton
Basic Engineering 1 ton 300 gp
Advanced Engineering 2 tons 600 gp
Docking Bays Space Cost
Internal, Specific Docking vessel tonnage plus 10% 25 per ton
Internal. General Docking vessel tonnage plus 20% 25 per ton
External, Passenger 1 ton 200 gp
External, Cargo 2+ tons 200 gp per ton

Other Components

The airship parts found in this section are of many types, from anchors to spotting towers. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for yet, it is most likely detailed here. Extras take no time to mount, and their installation costs are included in their prices.


It’s important for an airship to have some way to keep itself in position when no pilot is on deck, or when the weather is too severe to allow normal flight. In these cases, the wise captain orders the anchor put overboard to keep the airship in place.

Anchors normally weigh one hundred pounds per ton of the airship they are designed to halt. Most airships carry more than one anchor, scattering them around the lower deck of the airship so that ship is not dependent upon a single anchor that can be easily cut by a ground force. Merchant airships often carry 50% more anchor weight than needed, while military vessels usually carry twice the required anchor weight.

While the anchor is down, the airship does not move from its location, though extremely high winds may push it about. For every 10 mph of air speed over 50 mph, the airship moves 10 feet per round while the anchor is down. Each additional 100 pounds of extra weight on the anchor (above and beyond the norm) increases the airspeed required to move the airship while it is anchored by 10 mph. For example, an airship with an anchor that weighs 200 pounds more than is required by its tonnage is not moved until the wind is blowing faster than 70 mph. Light anchors decrease the wind speed needed to move the ship by 10 mph for ever 100 lbs they are underweight.

Anchors dragging across the ground tend to be extremely dangerous-they cause 1d6 hit points of damage per 10 mph per 100 pounds of weight as they gouge across the earth. Because of this, most airship captains do not weigh anchor over an inhabited area, but instead drop their anchors over areas where they won’t cause any harm for the locals. Each anchor requires an anchor room on the ship of 1 ton in size per 5,000 pounds of the anchor in question. This room is used to store the anchor and the chains used to weigh and raise it.

Dropping and Weighing Anchor: Dropping anchor, the act of releasing the anchor from its position to the ground below, requires only a single round for every 1,000 feet of fall. Once the anchor hits the ground, it begins slowing the airship at the rate of 20 mph per round, until such time as the airship is brought to a complete stop. This assumes the anchor is of the proper weight – for every 100 pounds of weight below the norm, the airship slows 5 mph less each round. Thus, it is possible for an anchor to simply not weigh enough to stop its airship, and the anchor simply bounces across the ground, smacking everything in its way. Weighing anchor, or raising it up from the ground and returning it to the anchor room, requires one round per range band of altitude the airship is at currently. This requires the help of one crewmember for every 50 pounds of the anchor’s weight. If the normal number of crewmen is not available to raise the anchor, the time taken to bring it back aboard is increased by one round per missing airman. Anchor winches (see below) reduce the crew quota needed to raise an anchor.

Anchor Danger: Being in the anchor room when it is dropped can be a horrible experience. The massive chains attached to the anchor spin out through the anchor’s port and anything they touch can be ripped forward and crushed against the side of the hull, or more horrifyingly, could be partially yanked through the portal and chewed to pieces by the chain as it whips out and down. Any creature in the anchor room when it is released must make a Reflex save (DC 15) to avoid being hit by the chain.
Those who are hit by the uncoiling chain suffer 1d4 hit points of damage per 100 pounds of the anchor’s weight. Those who roll a 1 for this save are snagged by one of the chain’s links-perhaps their hand goes through the opening or a kink in the chain loops around their leg. If this occurs, the individual instead suffers 1d8 hit points of damage per 100 pounds of the anchor’s weight for each round the anchor falls.

Cost: 10 gp per 100 pounds of the anchor’s weight
Critical Spaces: 1 per anchor weighing at least 1000 lbs.
Hull Points: 1 per 100 lbs of the anchor’s weight.

Anchor Hoists

Rather than rely on the brute force of their airmen to raise an anchor, many airship captains invest in a hoist, a bit of machinery designed to increase the amount of weight each airman working on the anchor can lift. A basic hoist allows a single airman to lift 100 pounds of anchor weight, rather than the usual 50 pounds. An advanced hoist increases this weight to 200 pounds, while a clockwork hoist increases the weight to 400 pounds. An anchor hoist fits into the same space as the anchor, it does not add to the space required for the airship.

Cost: 25 gp for a basic anchor hoist, 100 gp for an advanced hoist, or 250 gp for a clockwork hoist.
Space Required: The hoist takes up the same space as the anchor itself, as determined above.

Defensive Netting

This netting rises up from the sides of the ship to the pinnacle of the airship’s main sail, or to the top of the spotting tower, whichever is higher. It takes five rounds to raise the defensive netting, after which the netting begins providing its bonuses. When raised, the defensive netting provides concealment (20% miss chance) to any crewmember aboard the netted vessel. This concealment only applies against enemies which are outside the netting, and is applied to shipboard weapons. If a crewmember of a netted ship is targeted by personal missile attacks or spells from outside the netting, this concealment is improved (30% miss chance).
Defensive netting unfortunately interferes somewhat in the ship’s rigging, reducing the ship’s maneuverability rating by 1 when it is raised.
Cost: 50 gp per size category of the netted airship

Drop Lines

Boarding a ship isn’t always done from below. Drop lines are simply sturdy ropes attached to pulleys on arms that swing out over the side of an airship. The harness that goes with the line is then attached to the rope and the boarder can slide virtually silently down the rope to an unsuspecting airship below. This is one of the few cases in which grapples are not required to board an enemy vessel, though the pilot of the boat from which the boarders descend needs to have nerves of steel and excellent skills to keep his airship in position. See the section on boarding in for rules for using drop lines.
Cost: 50 gp per drop line, 5 gp per extra harness.
Space: 1 ton per 5 drop lines

Spotting Tower

Rising high above the deck of the airship, the spotting tower makes it much easier for lookouts to see approaching enemy ships. Unfortunately, spotting towers take a good deal of deck space to support and are often targeted by enemy spellcasters, especially during military encounters when the towers are used with heliographs to transmit messages.
A spotting tower’s bonus is based upon the height of the tower above the airship, which also determines the amount of space the tower takes up on the airship deck. For every 10 feet of height, the tower requires half a ton of deck space for support. However, every 10 feet of height also provides the scout in the tower with a +1 (max +5) circumstance bonus to all Perception skill checks made to detect other airships.
Cost: 10 gp per 10 feet of height

Shipboard Weapons

In campaigns that feature airships, it is inevitable for a fight to break out between two of these flying vessels. While longbows and spells might be enough to pick off the crew of an enemy ship, they don’t cause the kind of immense damage one needs when attempting to wreck a vehicle.

Most airships can mount a variety of siege weapons, such as those found in Ultimate Combat, and have simple rules to adapt them. Each weapon takes up a number of tons based on it’s size; a Large siege weapon takes up 1 ton, as Huge siege weapon takes up 2, and a gargantuan weapon takes up 4 tons. While none have been build so far, a Colossal siege weapon would take up 9 tons, which sort of explains why there aren’t any.

Mounting Weapons

Mounting weapons is much simpler than most other aspects of creating the airship, though there are several different ways in which each weapon may be mounted depending on its position on the airship and the desires of the engineer.
Though most weapons are mounted on the airship’s deck to provide them with the largest fields of fire and simplest access by the crew, some weapons are mounted below decks or in external turrets, where they can be used to target airships below the vessel or in order to provide greater protection for the weapon crews. Mounting a weapon requires eight laborers for every ton of the weapon’s space requirement and a ship’s engineer.
The time necessary for the job is equal to four hours per ton of the weapon’s space requirement. To succeed, the engineer must make a successful Knowledge (Engineering) skill check (DC 10 + 5 per ton of the weapon’s space requirement). Again, poor or expert quality laborers can adjust this check by 5. If the check succeeds, the weapon is installed correctly and is balanced and aligned with the deck of the airship. If the check fails, however, the weapon must be removed (requiring the same amount of time it took to install the thing) and another attempt must be made to get it aligned properly. Listed below are the various methods by which a weapon can be mounted, along with the benefits, drawbacks, and requirements for each one.

On the Deck

A weapon mounted on the deck is always mounted on the edge of the ship, where it has the greatest arc of fire and is best able to target enemy airships. This a simple and most common method for mounting airship weapons and is the most comfortable for the crew of the weapon. Weapons mounted on the deck are placed upon a swivel, and can fire into a single quadrant (one of four 90 degree arcs arranged around the ships’ center). Airship weapons are not designed to fire back onto the deck, and normally are not designed to fire straight up or straight down. Airship weapons can fire at targets within the ship’s altitude band with no difficulty, but have some trouble tracking to fire at targets higher or lower than the airship to which they are attached.

A deck mounted weapon can only fire up or down at a 45° angle or less (i.e. the vertical distance must be equal to or less than the target’s distance from the airship). That is, a ballista, for example, can fire at a target 50 feet (one altitude band) above its airship, but only if that target is at least 50 feet away from the ballista itself. This remains true at all ranges.

Fixed Mounts

By eliminating any mechanical training devices, it’s possible to build a slightly cheaper and smaller version of a standard weapon system. A fixed mount fires along one single hex row at no penalty. A weapon in a fixed mount can fire into the normal arc (say, the forward arc instead of just the single line of hexes dead ahead of the ship), but suffers a -5 penalty to the attack roll because the ship must train the weapon by fine maneuvering. Since the fixed mount requires less hardware than the standard mount, it requires only half the space of normal mount. This allows you to fit two large weapon into a single ton, but for the rest, round up.

Turrets, Deck

The deck turret allows a weapon mounted on it to turn 360-degrees, firing into any of the airship’s quadrants, including back over the deck of the airship. Deck-mounted rigging, however, if it exists, blocks the reverse quadrant. It is important to remember that a deck turreted weapon can only fire at targets in its own altitude band or above, because it would otherwise be firing down through the deck of the airship.
Cost: Deck turrets cost 500 gp per ton of space required by the weapon mounted upon them. Thus, a ballista that requires 1 ton of deck space would require a 500 gp turret. Note that a turret does not increase the space required by the weapon. Mounting a weapon on a turret increases the DC of mounting the weapon (see above) by 5.

Turrets, Side

A side turret is not mounted on the deck of the airship, but on the side, and is reached by means of a rope or wooden ladder hanging over the edge of the airship. The side turret allows the weapon to be fired at any target within the weapon’s quadrant, regardless of its altitude in relationship to the weapon. The side turret is fully enclosed and mounted against the hull of the airship so the weapon and crew can rotate smoothly inside the turret and target enemy airships more easily.
Crew members within a side turret have improved cover from anyone attacking from outside of the turret, but are denied
their Dexterity bonus to their Armor Class because there isn’t much space to move around in the turret, and stand a great
risk if the airship is ever rammed. Any hit caused by a ram in the quadrant in which a side turret is mounted automatically damages the turret and its occupants. If more than one side turret is mounted in the same quadrant, randomly determine which turret suffers the damage.
A turret on the side of the airship still takes up space, it just doesn’t take up deck space. Side turrets, as well as bottom turrets, add the tonnage of the weapon to the airship’s total tonnage. Because this tonnage cannot be used for anything else (you can’t store cargo in it, for example) it should be marked as “weapons tonnage.” Regardless of available space on the side of the airship no vessel may have more than one side turret per quadrant per size category.
Note that indirect fire weapons (such as catapults and bombards) may not be mounted in side or bottom turrets.
Cost: Side turrets cost 2,000 gp per ton of the weapon they must accommodate and can only be fitted for siege weapons that are smaller than the size category of the ship. The DC for mounting a weapon in a side turret is increased by 10.

Bottom Turret

Mounting a turret on the bottom of the boat is a good idea, allowing a single weapon to cover a very wide arc of fire that is normally not protected at all. The great cost of these turrets and difficulty of properly mounting a weapon in them makes them rare outside of military use, however. Fire throwers are the favored weapon for use in a bottom turret, allowing the weapon crew to bathe attackers from below with great gouts of fire. Bottom turrets are also excellent for destroying ground targets.
A bottom turret works much the same as a side turret, as the crew all sit within an enclosed area while working the weapon. They receive improved cover from any attacks made from outside the turret, but also receive no Dexterity bonus to their Armor Class as there really isn’t room to move around inside the turret.
A bottom turret can fire into any of the quadrants of an airship, but can only fire at airships in altitude bands below the airship. An exception to this is if an airship pilot manages to get his vessel over the top of another airship in the same altitude band; when this occurs, any airmen in a bottom turret are able to fire at will.
Bottom turrets, as well as side turrets, add 1 ton to the airship’s total tonnage. Because this tonnage cannot be used for anything else (you can’t store cargo in it, for example) it should be recorded separately as "weapons tonnage. "
Cost: Bottom turrets cost 3,000 gp per ton of the weapon they must accommodate and can only be fitted for direct fire siege weapons smaller than the ship. The DC for mounting a weapon in a bottom turret is increased by 15

Landing Gear


By default, a ship is only capable of docking on a special dry-dock; the capability of landing on either water or ground requires additional construction.
Water-landing capability requires that the hull be sealed, which can only be done for wooden or ceramic ships, unless magic is used. The cost of this magical sealing is 50 gold per ton.
Some ships are not shaped properly and will capsize even if the hull is sealed.

There are two forms of ground-landing capability: partial and full. The difference is in the type of ground they can land on. With partial ground landing a ship can land on any clear, mostly flat surfaces without trouble. Any other kinds of surfaces can cause problems such as tipping over. Partial landing is mostly a function of reinforcing the hull and frame to support the weight of the ship. The cost depends on the frame’s materials and type, as shown on Table 7.
Full landing allows a ship to land on most fairly clear land surfaces, including hilly or mountainous areas. Full ground landing typically requires the addition of landing struts

Table 7 – Landing Costs

Landing Type Light Material Heavy Material
Ground, Partial
Light Frame 60 gp 120 gp
Standard Frame 50 gp 100 gp
Heavy Frame 40 gp 80 gp
Extra-Heavy Frame 30 gp 60 gp
Super-Heavy Frame 30 gp 60 gp
Ground, Full
Light Frame 120 gp 240 gp
Standard Frame 100 gp 200 gp
Heavy Frame 80 gp 160 gp
Extra-Heavy Frame 60 gp 120 gp
Super-Heavy Frame 60 gp 120 gp
Water-landing 10 gp 20 gp

Note: Prices are per ton. Light materials are bone, woods, and ceramics. Heavy material is everything else.

Calculating Final Statistics

It’s at this point that you add up the effects of all your equipment on your vessel, and calculate the final statistics.

Name: This is up to the designer

Size: This is based on the number of tons the ship takes up, as shown on Table X

Squares: The number of 50-foot squares the ship takes up on the battle mat, followed by the ship’s actual dimensions.

Cost: The ship’s cost in gp. This is a sum of the cost of the Frame, the Hull, and all components added to the ship.

AC and Hardness: The ship’s base Armor Class and hardness, based on its size, defenses, and its construction material.
hp: The ship’s total hit points. This is determined by the Frame and Hull.

Base Save: The ship’s base save modifier. +0 unless enhancements are added. All of the ship’s saving throws (Fortitude, Reflex, and Will) have the same value. To determine a ship’s actual saving throw modifiers, add half the pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or half the pilot’s Wisdom modifier) to the ship’s base saving throw. A ship is immune to most effects that require a Will saving throw (though pilots, crew members, and passengers typically are not).

Acceleration: Subtract the shipís tonnage from its power factorsóthe 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 with tonnage greater than its power factors, there simply isnít 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 though, the airship still has an acceleration of 1.

Maximum Speed: The maximum speed (in miles per hour) 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 at more than 200 mph.

CMB and CMD: The ship’s base CMB and CMD. Based on the Vessel’s Size. To calculate the ship’s actual CMB and CMD, add the current pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or Wisdom modifier, if she is using that ability to drive the ship) to the ship’s base CMB. A ship is never considered flat-footed. If the ship is not in motion, it has an effective Dexterity of 0 (–5 penalty to CMD), and an additional –2 penalty to its CMD.

Ramming Damage: The base damage dealt by the ship on a successful ramming attack (without a ram).
Propulsion: The types of propulsion used by the ship.

Sailing Check: The skills typically used to make a sailing check with this type of ship. Typically Profession (Sailor)

Control Device: The typical control device the pilot uses to steer the ship.

Means of Propulsion: The actual means and amount of propulsion used to move the ship.

Crew: This is the minimum number of crew members needed to move the ship, in addition to the pilot. If a ship uses muscle propulsion, the number and size of creatures providing the propulsion are listed here as well. Any crew required to operate a ship’s siege engines is in addition to this number.
Decks: The usual number of decks on a ship and any important information about those decks is given in this section.
Cargo/Passengers: The amount of cargo (in tons) a ship can hold, as well as the number of non-crew passengers it can carry.

Mapping the Airship

Once the size of an airship is known and all the critical components have been purchased, you may begin mapping your airship. Because the size of an airship is given in tons, a unit that is conveniently 10’ square on a map, it is a simple matter to sketch out the shape of the ship at whatever scale you choose. The recommended scale is one graph square = 5 feet, allowing enough fine details without bogging down in every minute nook and cranny of the boat. At this scale, four squares equal a ton of space. The main deck of the airship is generally the widest part of the airship, with decks beneath it decreasing in size. Once the main deck has been mapped, you are able to draw in the airship’s quadrants, which determine the arcs into which airship weapons can be fired. Find a point near the center of the airship and draw an X through that point, with the spaces between the legs of the X being as equal as possible. These spaces are known as the airship quadrants.
When placing sails, remember to place them as evenly as possible along the deck or sides of the airship. No two masts may ever be adjacent to one another, but otherwise may be placed as you prefer on the deck of your vessel. The pilot’s wheel is always found on the main deck, and is generally located in the rear third of the vessel, closer to the rudder. Likewise, the space requirements for the wheel should always be found directly below the wheel. In general, an airship should be laid out as cleanly as possible, with wide, shallow airships preferred over tall, narrow airships, so as to allow the vessel to slide through turbulence more easily.

Default Crew Positions

There are times when it is important to know where the crew of an airship is at any given time. Rather than keep a detailed account of where each member of the crew is during each round, simply draw the default positions onto the map. Unless there is a specific reason why a crewmember is not in that position, assume he can be found there at any point during his shift. This is also useful for determining who suffers damage when a critical hit or a spell cast from an enemy airship impacts the crew.

Airship Construction

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