Gnomish Intrastellar Personal Transport Device (GIPTD)

The Gnomish Intrastellar Personal Transport Device was invented a long time ago but was mostly seen as a curiosity (literally) before the First Interstellar War (IW1). Though the Goblins stole the design early (they would argue the fact but I was there, I know better), even most Fomorians seen little use for gallivanting about space in some armored contraption.

  However, in the years leading up to the First War, marines among the elves and gnomes made more common usage of the GIPTD (pronounced Gip-Ted), or more commonly "Bugsuit", as a means to assault and board "pirate" ships (mostly orcs and goblins), and take the ship without serious harm to the prize. As before the Second Interstellar War (IW2), or the War of Vengeance as the Fomorians call it, Orc and Goblin sailors were most commonly seen working for "less than scrupulous" merchants (no one else would hire them, due to the reputation they had shouldered on them from the elves), the elves soon had cause to label all ships carrying compliments of Fomorians as "pirate vessels" thus assuring that no one would hire them at all, unless they really were pirates, because what have pirates got to lose. So, naturally, many Orcs and other Fomorians did take up piracy, as that was their only means of sustenance in the unforgiving reaches of space.

  So, by their bias, Elves created the Fomorian Pirate, and thus created a need for a means to capture said pirates, and thus the Gipted (GIPTD) was incorporated into the Avalonian Marine Corps, as an optional assignment (with double pay), assuming you could provide your own "Bugsuit".

  In appearance, a GIPTD, appears to be a suit of Mithril Plate Armor with an integrated backpack from which two to four large insectile "Wings" protrude. The backpack is actually the mechanical component of the bugsuit, and contains a miniature spindizzy that is just big enough to power the suit of armor. The wings are maneuvering sails, but also solar cells which power the suit, or supplement power for a pilot. Because of this "Light" powered integral design, even non-spellcasters can use a bugsuit to fly.

  Most "Bugmen" are not spellcasters, or at least not major spellcasters, so they usually rely on the Bugsuit's internal power source, while saving their own magic (if any) for combat.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

The Gnomish (Goblin) Intrastellar Personal Transport Device is a wonder of engineering. It consists of a mithril frame around a tiny, starmetal spindizzy. To power the spindizzy, a gizmo, called a Charge Cell, is attached to both the spindizzy and a number of "light reactive" membranes, that draw their power from the Airts created by bodies of light, like stars. The Charge Cell and Spindizzy are housed in a thin mithril or adamantite encasement from which the Solar Cells protrude. Also within the encasement is an extra-dimensional space filled with air. This space is created by a spindizzy powered engine that also filters the air. Savvy marines have filled part of this "Eddy" with easily accessible food, like enriched honey or the like and water. The eddy is big enough to hold a weeks worth of food and water and still hold enough air that the Filtration system doesn't get overloaded in that time.

Significance

Calling them Bugmen is a bit of a misnomer as female Elven marines are as common as male and among the Gnomes a good 40% of marines are women. With the Goblins, the number is more like 25% pretending to be male, and with the Orcs the final number is about 10% when you consider that some groups like the Bloodaxes would kill any woman they found on a ship (so about 1%), others like the Doomspears have almost 50% female presence in all military fields, and still others like the Bloodhavens are fairly egalitarian but have strong traditions of male and female roles, so more like 33% female presence in the marines. Among the Elves, the term stuck because female bugmen found that the Orcs would fight them like men if they didn't know they were women. Among the orcs, there are few enough female bugmen outside of the Doomspears that there never seemed a need for a separate term, but female Doomspear Bugmen have their armor "feminized" and enameled yellow and black. They refer to themselves as "The Wasps" and who are we to argue.

You might say that part of IW1 pivoted upon the use of Bugmen. If the Orcs had not proven infinitely adaptable when compared to the Elves, they very well might had been driven to extinction. As it was, they almost were. In the Retribution War, Bugman Shock Troops made up of Orug and Balorian Stormtroopers, were used to great effect in the Blitzkrieg Onslaught of the Fomorian Empire, but were soon countered by well trained, young, Elven Bugmen wearing their father's and grandfather's bugsuits.

Item type
Mechanical
Manufacturer
Whirlybird
Related Technologies
Rarity
Before the First War, called the Desolation War by the Fomorians, Gnomish contraptions, and Goblin gizmos, were mostly seen in the hands of Gnomes and Goblins, with others seeing them mostly as weird and alien devices best superstitiously avoided. However, that changed in the years leading up to the War, when The Majesty of Evergleam, an Avalonian Navy Ship-of-the-Line came under ambush by 2 pirate sloops and was rescued from being boarded by a Gnomish Destroyer called the Chica-bang. While the smaller destroyer concentrated on avoiding the larger Sloop-of-War, the Chica-bang's marines crossed space in their Bugsuits, and wreaked havoc on the pirates. The fear factor alone was enough to cow hardened brigands, not knowing exactly what the flying bugmen were.

In his report, Captain Inellon Elderwind of The Majesty raved about the effectiveness of the Bugmen and beseeched the Navy to acquire them for the Marine Corps, but the Top Mithril balked at the price noting the gnomes wanted more than the price of a full suit of Mithril Full Plate, for armor which would be considered light (mithril breastplate). So, at first, a compromise was reached where if marines could supply their own suits, the Navy would form a corp for them. The Navy envisioned an elite corp of young noble marines, since they'd have to supply the Bugsuit. However, the Gnomes thought it weird to have to supply your own gear so they cut a break to Elven marines in uniform. First they get it at cost (roughly 6,000gp) and the Gnomes have countless ways to finance the suit.

When the Orcs figured out the usefulness of the bugsuits, they quickly adapted their tactics and battles in the space between ships began with marines on both sides in bugsuits. The Orcish Captains began supplying their marines and this made the bugsuits more common with both sides salvaging suits after battles to repurpose to new marines. Orcish captains, and later Commodores, in the Desolation War could often afford to keep a small compliment of bugsuits for specially trained crew, and would pay highly for a marine, even a goblin one, with his own suit.

The more egalitarian elves, on the other hand, would repurpose captured and salvaged bugsuits and give them to marines as heirlooms that would forever make the marine's family responsible for the thing. It was sort of an "Enlisted Knighthood" (or in modern terms a "Special Forces" designation), and troops were still payed double normal pay. These "Bugmen" had their own assignments, orders, and berths away from other marines and a strange brotherhood developed that crossed even racial lines as first Elven Bugmen came to accept Gnomish ones and vice versa, and then Fomorian ones as "Honorable Foes" to which quarter should always be offered and accepted with a bond of word more powerful than a faerie oath. And to their part, some Orcs came to accept Goblin Bugmen as almost equals and could probably be said to call Hobgoblins and Kaxgoblins who became Bugmen as equals. But the strange thing (to elves anyway) is that Fomorian Bugmen were as true to their word with Avalonian Bugmen as the latter were with the former.

After the First Interstellar War, the Desolation War, many Bugsuits went home with their now retired Marine Bugmen, and in the years between the Wars, they became both disused and discarded, old family heirlooms passed to the children and grandchildren of the Bugmen as curiosities. By the time the Second Interstellar War (IW2) began, many bugsuits had gone to Clan treasuries, and they were dug out, and fixed up for the initial attacks, a tactic that was almost forgotten among the Elves, and took them totally by surprise. However, the Elves were quick to train up Counter-Bugmen and call their veterans out of retirement to do the training.
Weight
45lbs/20kg
Dimensions
Sized for medium humanoids
Base Price
12,000gp
Raw materials & Components
Adamantite or mithril for the armor and encasement pack. Starmetal for the spindizzy. Leather for the straps, cotton for the padding, alchemically treated iridescent cloth for the Solar Cells with mithril or adamantite for the frames. Starmetal for the Charge cell.
Tools
To make a bugsuit, the potential craftsgnome requires a full alchemy lab, a smithy with foundries and a dragon bellows, a jeweler's workshop and a tailor's workshop

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