Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Gasbags

As you've may or may not have gathered aerial travel is a big thing in the world of Darmonica, especially frontier regions like Alyeska. Talked a little about aircraft and a huge amount on skyships, but another type of airship has only been mentioned in passing. This type is effectively the zeppelins and blimps of our own world but in Darmonica itself they form the backbone of long distance air travel and bulk carriage.

So strap on your flying cap as we take a leisurely look at Darmonica's so-called 'gasbags'.

A Poor Man's Skyship

In comparison to skyships, gasbags are considered to be less glamorous and 'cheap'. They certainly cost hell of alot less to construct and run than a skyship, which means that they can often be seen in the hands of small outfits and independent traders. They are also quite numerous in military service, outnumbering skyships but now widely seen as a sought after posting. But gasbags carry very little in the way of armour and are less rugged than skyships, meaning that they lack somewhat in combat endurance.

Just like their skyship cousins gasbags also make use of Lift Gas and an electric current to control the craft's altitude, but this is where the similarities end. The most obvious difference is the use of motor engines mounted in engine cars for propulsion. These engine cars also contain starter motors that drive electric when the airship is at rest or at low speeds, at normal flight speeds the generators are driven by constant-speed variable-pitch windmills. The generators provide electricity for both general purpose use onboard the airship as well as for the craft's Lift Gas.

The use of Lift Gas and how it works means that gasbags are capable of carrying a much higher tonnage compared to their real world counterparts. It is also fairly common practice for fighter aircraft to be carried onboard to help defend the gasbag if it comes under attack, military gasbags also carry dedicated scout aircraft when on long range patrol duties. A hook beneath the vessel is typically used to launch and recover aircraft in addition to an internal hanger in the airship's underside.

Home Away From Home

For Frozen Skies players gasbags are probably more likely to be encountered than skyships, either as passengers or using one as a mobile base of operations. Skyships would be the capital ships in an aerial fleet whilst gasbags would be the escorts, even the large trade consortiums have a pair of gasbags escorting one of their skyships. But for an average group of PCs going the aerial route is is expected that they'll have access to a single gasbag and a handful of aircraft, though a skyship is something to aim for as a campaign goal.

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