Excerpts Archive | 8/12/2008
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Excerpts: Airships
Adventurer's Vault

In today’s Adventurer's Vault preview, we describe a new vehicle: the mighty airship!

A wizard stands on the deck of a storm-tossed ship, his spells blasting the raiding party of sahuagin climbing over the rails. A rogue clambers up a tree to leap upon the goblin king’s chariot as it thunders beneath her. A warlock sets an airship on a collision course toward the lich’s castle, abandoning the massive craft as it crashes into the topmost tower.

The D&D game is built around fast-moving, dynamic combat, but adding vehicles into the mix can take a combat encounter to a new level. Whether the PCs battle from the backs of chariots, fight off goblin wolf riders while racing a supply wagon through a treacherous mountain pass, or leap aboard a longship to seize it from gnoll pirates, vehicles can serve as the centerpiece for any number of memorable confrontations.

Chapter 1 of Adventurer’s Vault provides rules for managing vehicles in your game. Vehicles function much like mounts, in that a character takes control of a vehicle, uses it to move, and can take advantage of its special features. Most vehicles carry more passengers and cargo than a mount, but their lack of maneuverability creates unique challenges on the battlefield.

Gargantuan vehicle
HP 400 Space 4 squares by 8 squares Cost 85,000 gp
AC 4; Fortitude 20, Reflex 2
Speed 0, fly 12 (hover), overland flight 15
The pilot must stand at a control wheel, typically at the front of the topmost deck of the airship cabin.
In addition to the pilot, an airship requires a crew of five, all of whom use a standard action each round to help control the vessel. Reduce the ship’s speed by 4 for each missing crew member. At fly speed 0, the ship is unable to travel and flies out of control.
Thirty Medium creatures; twenty tons of cargo.
Out of Control
An out-of-control airship moves forward at half speed. Each round, it has a 50% chance of descending. It descends 5 squares for the first 10 rounds it is out of control. After 10 rounds, it descends 10 squares per round. An out-of-control airship that hits the ground after descending more than 20 squares is destroyed.
The airship’s cabin has four decks: an exterior observation platform, the topmost crew deck, a middle deck for passengers, and a lower cargo hold.
Fragile Propulsion
For every 50 damage the airship takes, its speed is reduced by 2 squares. At fly speed 0, the ship is unable to travel and floats out of control.