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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    I'm about to embark on my first foray into horror, well second, but we don't talk about the first, in the Pathfinder Campaign setting. I wanted to give my players something memorable, so I decided to build an airship in the spirit of HP Lovecraft. (Which also acts as a home base and Pathfinder Lodge)

    I need help with the description, the layout, how the airship came to be. It can be general enough to use in any setting, or pathfinder specific, any help would be great.

    Also, captain names, how/who/what the crew is, and Ship-names (Although I like Arkham Air).

    Was thinking Edgar (Allen Poe) Howard (John Howard Carpenter) Lovecraft (Need I Explain?) for the ship captains name.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    ElfMonkGuy

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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    An ability to cause madness or ability damage to mental stats would fit in well with Lovecraftian horror. Tentacles as part of the security system (sort of like Evards Black Tentacles but spaced throughout the ship and not as powerful) would probably be good, as would eyes throughout the ship.

    Is this ship definitely going to be artificial or can it blur the lines between something inanimate and something living? This would be creepy.

    Maybe the innards of the ship are literal innards (essentially going through the creatures systems) ? This would give grounds for things like acid traps and "spike" (really internal sets of teeth) for a trap.

    Maybe have them go through a door and end up back where they started? Then if they try to backtrack through that door, have it be a dead end (or a DEAD end ).

    I think Lovecraft had a book (Into the mouth of horror or something like that) where the main character starts seeing what he's been doing for the past few days on a movie screen and it's getting really close to where he is now at present (so what happens when it gets to the present?) and the guy went nuts. You could do the same thing with a major image spell playing out in what looks like a torture chamber (maybe with a BBEG showing up as it hits the present).

    Look up the Ozodrin on the boards for ideas as well as the Xenotheurgy thread for ideas on ways to really make this messed up (or offer them to the players as playable classes, why go insane when you can be that way to begin with).

    For something along these lines outsiders, undead, and aberrations are probably going to be the DM's new best friends (although fey can be pretty creepy in their own way).

    Their is actually a book out there (Heroes of Horror I believe) that's designed for this sort of stuff. It has "Taint" mechanics that could represent a slow corrupting of someone (particularly those who do evil, "Don't be naughty now, he he he" ) and you could just rule that it goes away once they leave the ship.

    Maybe the ship abducts people (again really long tentacles are a good way to do this or maybe a really long range reverse gravity/ telekinesis effect) and eats them or just puts them in the hold for whoever runs this ship?

    Oh and what level are you shooting for the PC's to be when they start and when they finish and are their any particular monsters/characters/both that you have your heart set on being in this?
    Last edited by periscope69; 2012-04-29 at 07:22 AM.

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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    periscope69, I think the idea (as far as I saw it) is that the campaign will be vaguely Lovecraftian, and the airship is the party's bastion of defense, if you will, against the horrors of the world. He did use the term Lodge, which in Pathfinder is basically a home base of operations.

    Quite frankly, however, for a Horror campaign I'd want to know more about the world before I'd go about building an airship. That and the number of players and the estimated scale of the campaign, so that we could properly size, equip, and describe the ship for the campaign in question.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    I like the idea's, but yes, the Airship is technically supposed to be designed as more of a Safe Haven/Lodge/Base for the PC's. (Though I reserve the right to use your ideas for a rival ship).

    6-7 PC's, in a heavily Lovecraft influenced Pathfinder Campaign Setting. I am a humorous DM, so 40% Skeletor, 60% Sotthoth.

    The PC's will be traveling most of the known world in the airship, which will become their main means of travel after the introductory adventure.
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    Supernatural Monster of the Week Adventures - d20 Modern
    Battle of the Bards - Pathfinder
    Star Wars/Cowboy Bebop/ EVE style Space Odessy - d20 Future/Savage Worlds
    Airship Lodge - Pathfinder

     


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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    I'd avoid Arkham Air as a name, since that sounds like a delivery service. I'd suggest pulling from another source of Lovecraft, and picking a name like The Shadow Above. It sounds less like a delivery service and more like a ship, while still preserving the Lovecraftian flavor.

    Using modern yachts (which I consider roughly applicable, given the level of magic involved in an airship), a yacht between 70 and 90 feet can support 8-10 guests while having 4 crew members. Given that there's not AS much technology, I'd consider a crew of 6 and the 7-8 man party, with the boat being full almost to capacity.

    Maximum width for that sort of ship would be 22 feet or so, probably rounded up to 25 to make it easier to use standard D&D measurements. That's at the widest point, although there's nothing saying that airships can't be shaped differently from standard vessels.

    I don't want to randomly make up a floor plan that you might not actually end up using, but there are some thoughts.

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    ElfMonkGuy

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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    Sorry about that, only got SRD for pathfinder.

    How big is the campaign, country big, a few countries big, crossing the ocean big, or going across the planes big?

    Will it be mainly Lovecraft monster types (so mainly aberrations) or will outsiders and undead have significant influence?

    What kind of campain? Approaching Horror type of campaign (everyone knows IT'S coming and you're trying to prepare for it), Creeping Horror type (it's infiltrating the land and you have to convince people that IT does exist), or Survival (your one of the few left in the kingdom that can fight IT)?

    Does the enemy just kill it's enemies, torture them, or convert them (either undead or church/cult type, your choice)?

    What makes the ship special (besides it being a flying ship)? Why is this ship their haven? Has the whole world been tainted except for the airship and the PCs are the worlds only hope (the rest of the populous having been killed, enslaved, or flat out turned against the PCs)? Will it have to be a haven from the world, just an enemy, or an army of enemies?


    Will the PCs be the only ones to have a ship at first or are they (somewhat) open to anyone who has the platinum? What set's it apart from the rest?

    What keeps the enemies from sending someone with wings and hands up there with a backpack full of lamp oil and a tindertwig from lighting it up while the PCs sleep? Lack of enemy fliers, constant watches (though invisibility does wonders...), maybe the ship has an ability to repel those who would cause it harm (such as a sanctuary effect that's focused around the ship)?

    What features does it have? Does it rely on sails or paddle wheels or something for it's flight and/or movement capabilities (say if it got altitude from a LEVITATION effect and horizontal movement like a normal ship). Does it have weapons (ballistae, catapults, cannons if your campaing has black powder, etc.)? If you'ld like something like cannons but don't want black powder you could have cannon like weapons that shoot extended orbs of fire/force (or any flashy effect, lightning, some of those spells from the PHB2, etc.). Will it provide food and water or will they need to get that themselves? What about oxygen? Will the characters need to make checks for high alititudes and/or cold environments (It get's freaking COLD when you get high enough)? What about high winds or getting caught in a storm? Does the ship have a way to protect the PCs or will they have to tough it out?

    Getting the ship could be the first quest the PC's go on.

    I could see a few ways the ship came to be:

    1) Secret magical research conducted by the kingdom and the PCs need to get the final piece.

    2) Residents of a far away are known for their airships and the PC's must procure one (they'll need to fend off all those bandits who want the letters of credit/other form of currency that they are sent to purchase the ship with).

    3) As above but the city is under siege by the enemy and the PCs must fight their way to the air docks and sieze one before they're all burnt.

    4) As 2 but the city is an ancient ruin and the PCs must find either the plans for the airships (surely kept under tight and still functioning security systems), or an airship itself that has somewhat survived (can still be recovered it repaired properly).

    By the way have I set a new record for most questions asked in one post?

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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    Quote Originally Posted by anmgarmvits View Post
    I'm about to embark on my first foray into horror, well second, but we don't talk about the first, in the Pathfinder Campaign setting. I wanted to give my players something memorable, so I decided to build an airship in the spirit of HP Lovecraft. (Which also acts as a home base and Pathfinder Lodge)

    I need help with the description, the layout, how the airship came to be. It can be general enough to use in any setting, or pathfinder specific, any help would be great.

    Also, captain names, how/who/what the crew is, and Ship-names (Although I like Arkham Air).

    Was thinking Edgar (Allen Poe) Howard (John Howard Carpenter) Lovecraft (Need I Explain?) for the ship captains name.
    Dr. Who. Steal everything from Dr. Who.

    Using live people or body parts to power the ship works (hearts as water pumps, eyes for security, arms for levers, etc, etc).
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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    Using live people or body parts to power the ship works (hearts as water pumps, eyes for security, arms for levers, etc, etc).
    ...I like part of this. I'd also recommend against Lovecraft as the name, as it's a bit obvious: the name I picked is an anagram of Lovecraft, and I sort of liked the sound of Edgar Varecloft. So quick blurb, just off the top of my head...


    The Shadow Above

    Captained by Edgar Howard Varecloft, The Shadow Above is, like all airships, an uncommon resource. Keeping a vessel aloft in the skies is no mean feat, and the magical energies required to do so are beyond the capability of most mortal mages. Thus, bound deep within the bowels of the ship, a dragon's heart beats in its glowing chamber, green ichor bubbling around it and coursing through the ship along transparent tubes, bestowing latent magical power to the dark wooden hull. The ship's sails are cut from the same dragon's hide: black and scaly leather stretched taught across the masts as the ship cuts through the dark clouds. Due to the nature of the magical "engine," few such ships exist in the world, and those that do are normally in the hands of those who have no hesitation cutting the heart from a still-breathing creature and binding it with dark magics.

    Such magics also sometimes enslave the mortal body, meaning that out there, amongst the clouds, lurk dark ships, captained by necromancers and worse, the mindless husk of a once-might dragon bound into service to defend the very ship it's still-beating heart now powers...

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    Quote Originally Posted by periscope69 View Post
    Sorry about that, only got SRD for pathfinder.

    How big is the campaign, country big, a few countries big, crossing the ocean big, or going across the planes big?

    Will it be mainly Lovecraft monster types (so mainly aberrations) or will outsiders and undead have significant influence?

    What kind of campain? Approaching Horror type of campaign (everyone knows IT'S coming and you're trying to prepare for it), Creeping Horror type (it's infiltrating the land and you have to convince people that IT does exist), or Survival (your one of the few left in the kingdom that can fight IT)?

    Does the enemy just kill it's enemies, torture them, or convert them (either undead or church/cult type, your choice)?

    What makes the ship special (besides it being a flying ship)? Why is this ship their haven? Has the whole world been tainted except for the airship and the PCs are the worlds only hope (the rest of the populous having been killed, enslaved, or flat out turned against the PCs)? Will it have to be a haven from the world, just an enemy, or an army of enemies?


    Will the PCs be the only ones to have a ship at first or are they (somewhat) open to anyone who has the platinum? What set's it apart from the rest?

    What keeps the enemies from sending someone with wings and hands up there with a backpack full of lamp oil and a tindertwig from lighting it up while the PCs sleep? Lack of enemy fliers, constant watches (though invisibility does wonders...), maybe the ship has an ability to repel those who would cause it harm (such as a sanctuary effect that's focused around the ship)?

    What features does it have? Does it rely on sails or paddle wheels or something for it's flight and/or movement capabilities (say if it got altitude from a LEVITATION effect and horizontal movement like a normal ship). Does it have weapons (ballistae, catapults, cannons if your campaing has black powder, etc.)? If you'ld like something like cannons but don't want black powder you could have cannon like weapons that shoot extended orbs of fire/force (or any flashy effect, lightning, some of those spells from the PHB2, etc.). Will it provide food and water or will they need to get that themselves? What about oxygen? Will the characters need to make checks for high alititudes and/or cold environments (It get's freaking COLD when you get high enough)? What about high winds or getting caught in a storm? Does the ship have a way to protect the PCs or will they have to tough it out?

    Getting the ship could be the first quest the PC's go on.

    I could see a few ways the ship came to be:

    1) Secret magical research conducted by the kingdom and the PCs need to get the final piece.

    2) Residents of a far away are known for their airships and the PC's must procure one (they'll need to fend off all those bandits who want the letters of credit/other form of currency that they are sent to purchase the ship with).

    3) As above but the city is under siege by the enemy and the PCs must fight their way to the air docks and sieze one before they're all burnt.

    4) As 2 but the city is an ancient ruin and the PCs must find either the plans for the airships (surely kept under tight and still functioning security systems), or an airship itself that has somewhat survived (can still be recovered it repaired properly).

    By the way have I set a new record for most questions asked in one post?
    It's ok.

    The Campaign Spans the Entire Inner Sea Region, no planar cross, as I only have the summer work with.

    The Monsters will mainly be Lovecraft, but there will be a healthy amount of Monster of the Week involved. (Vampires in The Transalvania region, Devils and Demons in the Devil worshiping country, ghosts, ghouls, and all other's will probably be seen at one point or another)

    They are a part of the Pathfinder society, an organization of Adventurer's dedicated to the cause of knowledge (Forbidden and otherwise). So it's a Mix of Approaching and Creeping.

    Depends, most will kill, some will convert. I was going to work in the Possesion mechanic's when they start to get cocky.

    The Ship, in my mind, is special because it was a converted pirate ship that was rebuilt, the original was destroyed by a Kraken, and Lovecraft was one of the prisions who managed to escape. He liked the ship so much, because it managed to keep him from being killed, that he rebuilt it and repurposed it to service the Pathfinder Society as an Airship. The Ship is a haven because it is where they are assigned by the Decemverate (The 10 people that compose the governing body of the society) to assist Lovecraft with missions that are "Vitally important to the stability of the Society, and that of the world". The world is fine, with exceptions to the towns and city's effected by the beings, though I plan to have the various cult's working together to make the world not fine. Just the Enemy's.

    The Ship is the very unique, very few, if none exist in most of the world.
    Need help on the unique part.

    I'm goign to stop there, because I need some help, because I know little to nothing about airships.

    I do like the Idea behind 4, but the Airship is already is possesion of their new questgiver at the start of the campaign.

    I also need some idea's for room descriptions, and the Cargo that might be there.
    "So, I carry the lodestone back to my flat in Brixton in a second-hand ASDA bag. The romance of the mystic arts, eh?" -- John Constantine

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    Campaigns in the Works -
    A Continuation of Wanted by Mark Millar - Savage Worlds
    Supernatural Monster of the Week Adventures - d20 Modern
    Battle of the Bards - Pathfinder
    Star Wars/Cowboy Bebop/ EVE style Space Odessy - d20 Future/Savage Worlds
    Airship Lodge - Pathfinder

     


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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    Quote Originally Posted by anmgarmvits View Post
    The Ship is the very unique, very few, if none exist in most of the world.
    Need help on the unique part.
    I think my explaination of how it works (powered by a dragon's heart) would keep airships very rare, and still have a nice horror ring to it.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    An idea to just toss into the mix:

    Whatever magic/force powers the Airship's flight also generates a number of side-effects inside the airship which are both somewhat helpful and a bit unnerving to passengers not used to it. The effects would be things such as:

    1) Gravity is subjective for any creature inside the Airship - any unattended inanimate objects are either attracted to the floor or the underside of the deck, depending on which is closer, likely allowing a significant boost in crew capacity (due to extra space to put beds/floors/etc).

    2) There exist two areas inside the ship in which time flows at a different rate than normal that can each accomodate one person at a time - one goes at 2x normal (for quick preparation/resting/research), the other goes at 1/2 normal (to lengthen the lifespan of any decaying macguffins/items/etc you bring on board)

    3) The ship repairs itself - either via some sort of bio-like healing process or by running time backwards for the affected parts of the ship. This may require that the ship be sufficiently fed/powered to take effect. Passengers are advised to stay clear of any affected sections until repairs are complete to ensure that either paradoxes or biological unpleasantness doesn't occur.

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    ElfMonkGuy

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    Default Re: [Airship Build/Backstory/Description]Arkham Air

    If you want to know about Airships, get a copy of the eberron campaign setting, they're a big part of that setting.

    If you would prefer something more DIY, then take a normal ship and simply give it a fly speed. BOOM instant airship. This is your basic model. The spells behind it could simply be a levitate spell (extended over the entire ship) and this would provide a form of vertical lift. Then put a control winds spell into it so you could "steer" it in whatever direction you would like and it would still have that ship feel (since it would steer as a ship). Something like Airwalk or Windwalk would also be good.

    I like the gravity effect suggested by cha0sa11 since this would give you more room for cargo/passengers. Just have a subjective gravity effect where gravity is whatever 5x5 section of the ship you happen to have your foot on at the time.

    For the unique part of the ship, are you talking fluff or crunch-wise? If fluff then describe the way the ship looks, all those touches which indicate this was essentially rebuilt by one person. If they have ranks in Craft (any wood working or sea craft), Profession (sailor), or Knowledge (architecture and engineering) have them make a check to see if they can tell what parts are the oldest and even get a good idea of the type and extent of the damage that was done to the ship.

    For crunch-wise their are a lot of effects. One splat book had an engine that you attached to the ship. This engine would boost the speed of the ship up to 90 ft per round if it was regularly subjected to electricity (such as lightning bolts). You could have something similar to it on your ship such as maybe the ship has a control weather effect on it that causes it to be constantly surrounded by storm clouds (which might help set the mood of the game).

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