Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #66 - Skyward: Aircraft

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Aircraft are important in Skyward. This is pretty obvious considering the very limited area that any given Terrace has and therefore the limited ability to run adventures limited to a single Terrace. Since Skyward is a Cypher System creation that means that aircraft can be dealt with as simply as giving them a level and walking away.

But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something right?

Nope, you should go the extra mile if you can, especially for something as integral as aircraft are to Skyward. The following are a handful of the aircraft one might encounter in the Blue as they search for the mythical land that stories say exists just beyond the far horizon.

The Canary

The bright yellow bi-plane flown by Stella Colomen is a modified RT05 Single Engine Courier. The single seat light chassis was extended to add a cramped jump seat for passengers, and the internal cargo capacity was increased to be large enough to accommodate a large steamer trunk. The Canary's engine is a large volume eight cylinder rotary from the Terrace Iron Wing. The Canary mounts only a single gas powered harpoon thrower with hemp line.

The Canary (level 2)
  • Crew: 1, plus space for one uncomfortable passenger
  • Modified Engine - level 3 for all tasks relating to speed and cargo carrying force
  • Expanded Chassis -  level 1 for all tasks relating to maneuverability (the expanded chassis isn't as nimble as the stock version; stock version is level 2)
  • Harpoon thrower - level 1 for tasks relating to offensive maneuvers and towing. 

B-39 Rocket 

The B-39 Rocket is one of the newest designs out of Terrace Wing. Rather than use a conventional propeller engine drive the B-39 uses a pair of strut mounted rocket engines. These allow for a significantly faster speed, but consume higher quantities of fuel and the B-39 is suitable for only the shortest of journeys. Mostly they see service as defense ships at Terrace Wing and attack ships when deployed from a carrier zeppelin. Their drawbacks also include a tendency to explode if their duel systems are breached. These combine to make the B-39 a rare vehicle to see, but one with unprecedented speed and maneuverability.

The designers at Terrace Wing are working on a next generation B-40 Rocket that will be more efficient and less prone to disastrous explosion.

B-39 Rocket (level 3)
  • Crew: 1 
  • Rocket Engines - level 5 for all speed and maneuverability related tasks. 
  • Gas Guzzler - Level 1 for purposes of distance travel.
  • Explosive - If struck by an attack (as on a major effect) the B-39's fuel system could rupture and the aircraft may explode.

The Double-Single is a general class of single engine bi-planes. They generally operate using a high volume twelve cylinder engine that, combined with their dual lift surfaces, gives they a great deal of maneuverability. Double-Singles are commonly used as attack planes by raiders and Terrace defense forces. The solid chassis can support up to four harpoon thrower systems, and the engine is more than strong enough to muscle smaller planes around. The common design means that replacement parts are easier to come by and their agility makes them well suited to aerial combat.

Double Single (level 3)
  • Crew: 1, additional jump seat for 1 takeover specialist (typical level 3) 
  • Air Superiority - level 5 for all speed and maneuverability related tasks. 
  • Heavy Duty - level 4 for attack and actions related to towing
  • Common Parts - Level 1 for to repair.
Terrence Class Zeppelin Carrier Ship

The Terrence Class Zeppelins are heavy heavy haulers using lighter than air gas and secondary lift surfaces to stay afloat. Powered by ten on board engines these craft are among the largest to fly the Blue. The carrier variety are able to support up to a half dozen fighter aircraft like Double-Singles. Rumor says that the Thunderhead Pirate Clan has a Terrence Class Carrier, and some say that they have more than one all painted to look identical to hide this fact.

Terrence Class Zeppelin Carrier Ship (level 6)
  • Crew: 7, plus bunk space for up to 10 passengers. More if cargo space is converted
  • Massive - level 8 for the purposes of carrying and being targeted for attacks
  • Slow & ponderous- level 1 for all speed and maneuverability related tasks. 
  • Minimal Armament - attacks as level 4

Brutus C47 Cargo Hauler

The Brutus C47 Cargo Hauler is a popular cargo aircraft designed and built at Terrace Brutus. The long wingspan and twine Heavy-16 engines allow this craft to haul a great deal of cargo by weight and volume. The C47 is found throughout the Blue carrying scraped aircraft to repair yards, foodstuffs from agrarian terraces like Terrace Green, and other goods and products. The C47 doesn't excel in speed or maneuverability, and seldom sports more than a pair of harpoon throwers for defense, but its cargo capacity is second only to the rigid airships like the Terrance Class Zeppelin and similar. 

Brutus C47 Cargo Hauler (level 4)
  • Crew: 2, plus space for 2 more, converted cargo space can seat up to 60 additional passengers
  • Heavy hauler - level 7 for tasks relating to hauling goods & cargo
  • Slow - level 3 for all speed and maneuverability related tasks.

Design Notes

I very much look at Skyward as a Dieselpunk setting, with technology stopping just before the advent of jet technology, but also advancing beyond that in genre appropriate ways. Because the setting is one of resource scarcity even "new" aircraft will be built from recycled parts, unless the owner is fabulously wealthy. This tends to show as the rolled steel skin used on many craft can be easily patched and reused on new craft without a smelter.