Airships range in size from small skiffs that hold only a few men, to huge 150 ft vessels with large crews, and ample cargo and passenger room.
Galleons are large airships, between 50 and 150 feet in length. Some are large luxury liners, others are outfitted for battle. Nearly all Galleons have magical gravity.
Galleons must use docking towers. If they land on the surface of a planet, they will not be able to escape gravity to get back off.
Skiffs are smaller and more maneuverable ships, less that 50 feet long. They can land and take off from planets. Some have magical gravity on their decks, but not all.
Airships can be equipped to fight each other, and even attack targets on planets.Different cultures tend to equip their ships with different weapons.
- Elvish ships feature large ballistas.
- Human ships have trebuchets mounted on their decks.
- Dwarf ships employ catapults.
Skiffs are better equipped for combat due to their maneuverability.
Large Galleons have a particularly brutal attack called pummeling. They tie ropes around an asteroid and tow it at a planet at a tremendous speed. The rope is cut and the ship veers off, leaving the asteroid to smash into a target on the planet’s surface. Luckily, even the largest Galleons can’t tow an asteroid larger that 50 feet in diameter.
Travel between planets has happened for as long as anyone can remember. 120 ago, airships capable of ferrying passengers around the Realm in relative safety became common. Now all planets with sizable populations have at least one docking tower, enabling large airships to travel to and fro (see Airships, below).
There are accounts stretching back to the dawn of The Realm of Aethon of great flying beasts traveling between the planets with impunity. The most legendary of these are the dragons. Only large, old dragons have the ability to fly out of the gravitational pull of large planets. They rarely carry humanoids to other worlds, but this has happened. When the dragons of old saw fit to drop a humanoid creature into a foreign world, the travelers would usually be promptly killed by the natives, fearing a curse. In some cases, however, the foreigners would leverage the mystery that surrounded them and gain great power.
Other large flying beasts are able to travel between planets as well. Full grown Rocs can easily escape gravity, as well as some very large magical eagles. Eagles that can do this are rare, but they are easier to tame and use as transportation than Dragons or Rocs.
Portals exist to take characters from one planet to another. Portals are the most likely explanation for ancient communities of foriegn races on planets. It’s difficult to know how common portals are, because they usually appear as mundane openings, such as windows, doors, or caves. When a useful portal is dicovered, it is gaurded fiercely.
Powerful magic that allows its practitioners to fly or teleport great distances is also used to travel between planets.
The first unaided, non-magical travel between planets was accomplished 203 years ago, by Grigen Spickle, an inventor on the goblin home world of Zirkle. Zirkle’s elliptic orbit causes it to pass very close to several planets and satellites in the mid solar system. Spickle managed to plot the course of nearby planets, and when Gaia came near, he used a modified catapult to fire himself at the planet, while encased in a rudimentary wooden pod. The pod consisted of little more than a seat and a parachute, but it worked.
Once Grigen Spickle was able to get word of his success back to Zirkle, goblins all over the planet began producing catapults. Not all models were as good as Spickle’s design, however, and countless goblins died in every conceivable accident, from failed parachutes to simply missing the target planet. Missing the target planet is certainly the worst fate, as this mishap usually ends with the traveler slowly starving to death, often with several planets in view.
Goblin pods soon began landing on nearly all the mid system planets. Some goblins quickly established crime syndicates, while others established more reputable businesses. The most common business run by goblins is building and operating interplanetary catapults. In the years before Airships, these became quite popular, despite remaining very dangerous. The temptation of relatively cheap travel to other worlds lured many tourists to their deaths, but many others successfully reached their destinations. Interplanetary catapults still exist. They’re a cheaper and more dangerous alternative to Airship travel.
Airships were invented by the Eladrin. The maiden voyage of the first interplanetary airship, The Sunstrider, was completed 162 years ago. Since that time, the number of airships has greatly increased, and the ease of travel is quickly turing cities with docking towers in to cosmopolitan melting pots of cultures from around the galaxy.
Piracy has also become an issue. Bands of brigands have stolen airships and raid other ships in backwater regions of the galaxy. As a response to piracy and smuggling, a collective of civilized planets formed the Aethon Defense Union, or ADU. The ADU does what they can to curtail piracy, but due to the expanse of the solar system, they don’t have much of an effect.