Aetherships come in a bewildering variety of shapes, sizes and building materials, restricted only by the imagination and resources of the people building them (and, of course, what the GM has defined as likely). Archaic galleons, massive flower buds, stony skeletons planked with silk and bloodwood, sculpted asteroids — anything is possible. Equally varied are the possibilities for what actually makes the ship move through the Void, from vaporized shard fragments to the blood of fallen angels.
For quick determination of ship materials and propulsion sources within a given system (or for ships failing from a given system), roll on the following tables or make a selection as desired:
|01. Voidseed||11. Moonsilver|
|02. Giant blossom||12. Porcelain|
|03. Godbone||13. Black iron|
|04. Hollowed crystal||14. Bone behemoth|
|05. Brass filigree||15. Hollowed asteroid|
|06. Lacquer and bamboo||16. Blown glass|
|07. An immense shell||17. Leather and bone|
|08. Glass mosaic||18. Tangled vines|
|09. Wood marquetry||19. Sculpted ivory|
|10. A single leaf||20. Solid light (or darkness)|
|01. Godblood||11. Elder bones|
|02. Aether shards||12. “Water”wheels|
|03. Royal jelly||13. Oars|
|04. Life force||14. Crystallized belief|
|05. Essence of amber||15. Distilled prayers|
|06. Pure magic||16. Elemental cysts|
|07. Physical exertion||17. Voidflowers|
|08. Void currents||18. Drake hearts|
|09. Cosmic wind||19. Precious stones|
|10. Sunlight||20. Mental exertion|
The Nuts and Bolts of Ship Stats
An aethership is statted like a monster, with Hit Dice, damage, and a handful of traits. Ships also use the standard monster damage-per-HD chart; this damage is rolled only against other ships, ship-sized or larger objects, and monsters with the [shipwreck] trait. Against small squishy targets like trees, space cows or adventurers, it can be assumed that a direct hit with a ship’s weapon means certain death. So, adventurers, be on your guard.
In similar fashion, a ship does not take damage from adventurer or monster attacks unless explictly stated, usually via the [shipwreck] trait. Dramatically setting sails on fire or severing all the guide ropes, though, that’s perfectly allowed!
* But What If I Want My Players To Smite More Stuff? (the Shipkiller Rule)
Player Characters are capable of awesome feats, it’s true, and having them have little effect on any ship — to say nothing of the many beasties with the [shipwrecker] trait — could be disappointing. To combat that, feel free to use the Shipkiller Rule:
If a PC has two more levels than a ship (or equivalent beastie) has Hit Dice, the PC can attack or otherwise affect that ship as normal. So a fighter with some experience under their belt, say, could totally throw themselves onto the hull of a ship and go ham with violent joy.
Note that this does not offer protection from ship-sized weaponry, which will still splatter a PC to particles. A normal DEX test to avoid said splattering is allowed, though!
Ships by Hit Dice (suggestions)
A ship has one weapon to attack with. Ship damage is more or less standard, but the kind of weapon involved can be wildly variable; would-be shipwrights are encouraged to get creative, or can roll on (or choose from) the following table.
|01. starlance||11. fairyflames|
|02. beaked ram||12. hull razors|
|03. thorncannon||13. plasma rain|
|04. light prisms||14. rotbolts|
|05. crusher ram||15. hullborer|
|06. stoneshot||16. thunder pikes|
|07. vinecaster||17. shellpiercer|
|08. vitality siphon||18. ambergel sprayer|
|09. steelshot||19. mauler jaws|
|10. bone ballistae||20. slivershards|
Additionally, for every HD a ship possesses, it gains two slots for extra traits. Sample ship traits include:
– Comfy Crewspace: Whether custom cabins or the special accomodations of a luxury liner, this ship has it. Rest and its benefits are assured.
– Extra Crewspace: For each time this trait is selected, increase crew maximums by 20%.
– Speedy: Transit times are reduced by 25%.
– Responsive: The ship’s pilot has their Pilot score effectively raised by 1. This trait costs two slots.
– Reactive: Gain an extra ship action per Moment or equivalent. This trait costs two slots.
– Cargo Space: Roomy, outfitted with restraining loops, and designed to keep your goods safe. Ships without dedicated cargo space have room for crew belongings, ship’s stores, munitions and not much else.
– Armoured: Plated with black iron, fibrous crystal, shelly scales, mystic runes or stranger things, the ship gains 2 Armour Points. (per HD? works as a shield? both?)
– Greenery: The ship possesses a greenhouse, hydroponic deck, implanted microflora — or is perhaps itself a plant — and will produce breathable air for the crew. This trait must be selected at least once for every dozen crewmembers and it will nullify the penalties for going unmasked in the Void while reducing Shard Sea effects to Void levels. For food sources, see Living Larder.
– Living Larder: By growing or otherwise producing its own food sources, the ship lengthens the time between Supply Usage checks by half again.
– Self-Repair: Whether enchantment, a living ship, dedicated clockworks or other, the ship will mend 1d3 hp per day without needing repair work in a dockyard.
– Special Weapon Trait: Maybe a successful attack grapples the ships, or sets the target on fire, or oozes acid, or blinds with a brilliant flash, or …
– Terrestrial Landing Capable: What it says on the tin.
– Aquatic Landing Capable: Also what it says on the tin.
Traits may be selected more than once, to reflect even greater dedication to that feature. Trait slots can be swapped for more weapons at two slots per weapon.
Attacks from the party’s ship are made as for a normal character, using the attributes of whoever is helming the ship. The difference lies in what is rolled: average the character’s DEX, WIS and INT scores, this is their Pilot score that must be rolled under to attack and to avoid damage. The Powerful Foes rule still applies to ship combat.
A ship with a quarter or less of its hit points left can only attack half as often, reflecting the struggling crew and ruined structure. A ship taken to 0 hit points is effectively destroyed and all crew must test CON or be killed as the ship breaks up.
Hit points can be restored by repair work undertaken by the crew (1d4 hp/week) or in a dedicated port on land or in the void (1d8 hp/week but might get pricy).
Unless the ship has one or more instances of the Comfy Crewspace trait, the typical crewmember can assume to have enough space for a bunk or webbed hammock, with space beneath for one or two storage chests and a small shelf above, plus a lantern or other light source. Officers, the ship’s helm and the captain can generally commandeer more space for themselves, but not all do (and some ships simply don’t have the space to permit it.
* Crew numbers
A ship’s minimum crew is equal to twice its Hit Dice, to a minimum of one for a sub-1 HD ship such as a fighter or a messenger shuttle. The maximum number of bodies that can be housed is equal to three times the minimum. (For example, a 6 HD ship would have a minimum crew of 12 and a maximum of 36). However, the maximum crew number strains the capabilities of a ship to support the bodies housed inside it, and the captain must test CHA every week or face a mutiny from the over-packed crew.
While breathing is not an issue as long as proper precautions are taken, a crew must still eat and drink. The ship’s water supply and food stores must have their Usage Die checked on the following rotation:
* Minimum Crew: every month
* Median Crew: every fortnight
* Maximum Crew: every week
The ship can try to eke out supplies, but working on less than full rations will inflict Disadvantage on all rolls after a week and prompt CHA tests from the captain to avoid mutiny every week thereafter in addition to the Disadvantage penalty.
Ship rations and similar “voidfood” includes syrup tapped from voidblossoms and other cometary trees, and gelatinous billets condensed from same; pickled starvine shoots and buds; more mundane corned meats and biscuit; couscous; sugarwaxes; poppy cakes; aetherkrill, fresh and dried; and a bewildering variety of nut and legume pastes and curds.