Airships: History, Creation and Types.
From the skies to the clouds; A brief history and contextualization of Airships in the modern world.
The Sea of Hearts is said to have been named that because it was seen from far above. That is one of the earliest records that we have of magic likely being used to make man fly. This is always some fashion of goal for the intelligent races, to move fast through the air like the course of a spell. And it is accomplish-able, with the understanding and guidance of a powerful mage, one can fly for a time! However, no matter how high one flies in this time, to the chagrin of the majority, they still must return to the ground.
And either of their own volition or the pull of gravity, they do return to the ground. And the mage who has guided them to this less than spectacular conclusion makes his departure. For his skills are potent, but limited. He cannot fulfill the true wish of the man, he can only show him what the sky feels like for a brief moment. A brief rush and thrill of life and true freedom as wind rushes past you and you find yourself as something else for a time.
In this manner, this explains why the favor of The Tinkerer's Guild has latched onto the hearts and minds of the masses in a similar way that magic has captivated them for eons. The Mage is one of a select group, a group that is few in number and rarely has time or inclination to let the common man take hold of his fortune and seek his dreams. The gasses that have been discovered and collected allow one to rise to the clouds and be carried aloft by the winds.
One can only imagine what stories will be told and things will be undertaken should the guild’s attempts to guide these contraption through the skies come to fruition. It will unveil a type of connectedness and transit across the globe unlike anything magic has propelled us to so far. For this technology is not for the mage, but for the common man. He will stop at nothing to truly grasp it.
What is an airship? From the basest definition, an airship is an object capable of flight and of bearing beings through the air. With that definition, magical airships have been extant since time immemorial. Brooms, carpets, cauldrons and thrones; all of these have taken flight at one point or another, sometimes with multiple people attached. Yet the lands of Ithungsida are constantly under the shadow of a much different machine than a mighty flying cauldron propelled by a witch.
Indeed, this means that there must be a second definition that we can use for our understanding of what an airship is. However, this is a discussion that requires context. Nothing comes from nothing, everything has a source. And while there are arguments about it, the generally accepted "Source" of airships would be a single Qurilion Blackstaff with his invention of the Hot Air Balloon and discovery of the use of LTA Gas.
Qurillion's InventionIn the year 638, the Gnomish Inventor Qurilion Blackstaff made a number of expeditions to the Mesa. While the initial reasons for his expeditions have been lost to the seas of time, the following ones were to gather in specialized bladders a "Lighter than Air" gas that they had discovered in a number of crude magma vents beneath a number of the plateaus. The most curious thing about this is that the bladders had to be weighted with stone, for without it, the bladder would soon disappear into the sky.
Seeing the obvious potential of such a substance, Qurillion devised a system of these balloons that could do something that hadn't quite been thought of before. While there are extant records of Hot-Air Balloons, it wasn't a concept that interested anyone outside of the most eccentric. It was dangerous, unwieldy and costly for anyone that wasn't a mage. And those brought their own dangers.
Thus we have the first piece of our puzzle, the invention of a balloon that can fly. That has controls for the rising and the falling, and that can drift along with the wind or be dragged along the ground. Indeed, without this, the long-dormant thoughts that had been nestled in the subconscious of Man might not have been awoken. However, word spread about his creations and countless people latched onto the ideas that would bring the entire continent into a new era! The Era of Flight.
His workshops grew, his apprentices soon outnumbering the staff of the rest of the The Tinkerer's Guild. The Elite of Araetule sought him out for input on their own designs. And two years later, they had created thousands of refined Ships dubbed the BlackStaff - BS11.
However, some things aren't meant to be. A mere two years into Qurillion's new fortune, only sixteen after the first explosion had rocked the world and shattered people's understandings of the world and relationships regarding The Pantheon, Cassiopeia triggered the second atomic blast in the history of Ithungsida. During the next year of chaos, Qurilion stood with his country and refused to take the Starlight Railroad to safety. He is presumed to have perished in the Funeral March. of Araetule.
The death of Qurilion, the loss of Araetule, and the ensuing recession that wrecked the economy of the continent. All of these are contributing factors to the complete lack of progress and loss of desire that followed. The next two hundred years would see no improvements. At least, not until the old Tinkerer's Guild was finally excavated by a curious human named Rexa Thedas.
Rexa's EnginesBefore the excavation, all that remained of the Blackstaff-11 were distant rumors of extant versions and tales from those few that had witnessed them in their prime. After the excavation, they had something quite more concrete; a number of blueprints of the ship and one of Qurillion's Journals describing the source of the "LTA" Gas. Seizing the opportunity, Rexa bought the goodwill of those interested in unearthing the secrets of Ancient Araetule and made an expedition out into the Mesa.
As is often the case when unprepared people receive money and a goal, most of it was spent on lavish transportation and instruments for collecting this gas. Had they made better preparations, they might have known that their planned date of arrival would be directly in the middle of the Bulette Breeding Season.
They were rescued by patrols from Kannak where they convalesced. Interestingly, this brought them to the second piece of the puzzle for an airship. For she found a concoction used by the locals to scare off the lone Bulette, an explosive material known as Bulette Powder. Using what surviving materials, instruments and apprentices she had, Rexa took a time discovering the limits of this powder. Creating small cannons for propelling items and testing makeshift pistons of the like that had been used in the Trains of years past.
During this experimentation, she actually discovered that the combustion of Bulette Powder actually produced "LTA" gas. She left Kannak in 903, two years after arriving, just after the second annual "Day of Gratuitous Explosions" that had been adopted as a holiday in the city as they realized the potential of this material. Rexa is directly credited with the rise of the Gunslinger as well as the resurgence of Modern Trains.
However, the key points for our purposes are simple, because she returned to the Guild and recreated the ancient engines while reforming the basic ideas of the airships that were the legacy of Qurilion. Records show that she worked quickly, taking this technology to SosIwa and getting their backing. By 940 the great engines once again stormed the Feng Mountains at a furious pace. One could say that this would have brought back the Age of Iron, the interconnectivity of the past and the profits of countless years of trade.
And one might agree with you at any year before 942, because that's when Vhaskus finally made his play for ruling the continent and destroyed Aegis, bringing the The Orcish Incursion into it's full and terrible might.
While we could say that Qurilion's dreams might have been finalized in a history where Vhaskus had been rebuked, however, we only know of our own. And in our history, The Orcish Incursion was the final slot for the advancement of Airships. In the Feng Mountains, fleeing from Orcish Troops, a Kobold. His name? Blood Claw.
Blood Claw's Merging
The story goes that, as luck would have it, Blood Claw was leading his family to safety in a Dwarven stronghold when he found the pass ahead already blockaded by Vhaskus's Forces. All might have been lost but for the carcass of a destroyed mountain train that he dissembled. It had been carrying a newer prototype of a BS11 , crude, but ship-shaped.
So, he took the engine from the train and lashed it to a number of long strips of wood that could spin freely. With this rudimentary propeller in place, Blood Claw urged his family into the ship and let it rise into the night sky. Only to activate the engine and shatter any sort of stealth they might have earned. But, the propeller was functional, and the engine hot. The first true airship had been created. The eponymous Blood Claw was abandoned by the Kobold at the Stronghold they had been seeking out.
While the Kobold, Blood Claw vanishes from the records following his safe arrival, his airship did not. The connections were made and progress was inevitable. Qurillion's dreams were at hand. The march of airships across the sky in future years provided us with a perfect definition for our use. An Airship that we would refer to is not one that is powered by magic, but rather, a mechanical beast that crosses the sky under the weight of a dozen Bulette lives.
Bullette Powder? What did the Trains use before??Many Scholars have questioned the explosive advancement of Araetule and the lack of ability to follow in their footsteps. This has lead many to a logical quandry; If the trains that made their way through the Feng Mountains were no longer operational... What happened? The answer is hard to understand and brings more questions than most would like, but based on recovered information from the ruins of Araetule and the survivors... It seems that some of the things that used to work, simple chemical changes and reactions, ones that are even seen in nature still. They no longer work if someone tries to make it work. With this, the truth of the matter must be that the gods have locked away the majority of this technology. Perhaps to keep people from falling in the footsteps of Ancient Araetule.
Man Ascends to places he is not meant to be.Many people believe that flight is not the natural state of man and these abominations should not be used. However, a fair amount of industry ignores this.
Those that are meant to fly can do so effortlessly, we are not Aarakocra, we are not Avariel. Leave them the skies and let us remain where we belong, upon the ground.
Where are these quotes from?The Wizards of the College is a group of wizards that have dedicated their lives to the study of the strange and explicitly magical natures of the world. They seek out new strange spells and discover new landscapes in the realms beyond that of Arydia. The Sentient Workers Union is a collection of people that are strictly opposed to strange technological advancements and the over-application of magical inquiries. They often protest near wizard schools and any time they find the use of magic where a humanoid could do the job.
Types of AirshipsThere are 5 Usual types of Airship, the BlackStaff, the Blood Claw, the Rexa, the Hongden, and the Togasei.
BlackStaff - BS11
Vehicle | Jun 24, 2019
A hot-air balloon. Used as a mobile sentry tower/safe place to rest.
Rexa - BS31
Vehicle | Jul 15, 2019
Small, Bullette Bullet Class airship, very fast, breaks apart very quickly!