Lyrandar Elemental Airship Questions

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I'm starting a campaign where two party members are House Lyrandar officers and the party has control of an elemental airship.  I've never run vechicular combat in 4E and I have a few questions.

1. Is there a good grid layout of an airship anywhere?  Something I can use for combat.

2. I really want to have the airship fight a large flying creature...probably not a dragon, but something of similar size and power.  What would be the best way to represent ship movement in combat?  Give the ship it's own initiative and let it move each round on it's turn?

3. I'd like to have Ballistas, catapults, swinging on ropes, etc be represented by terrain powers.  Is there anywhere that has already spec'd this out so I don't have to do it from scratch?

4. How would ground troops attack an airship?  Do cannons exist in Eberron?

Thanks for your help!
Only have answer for #4. Cannons do not exist, but an airship could be an offensive, ground-support weapon in a few ways:

-Transporting troops to drop on a critical part of the battle.  It would probably only be a company-sized element, though, 200ish troops max for the really big airships. Of course, any troop coming out of an airship like that would probably be all sorts of badass; 200 Warforged would be terrifying, for example.

-Dropping alchemical payloads on enemy troops.

-Having wizards who chuck spells at enemy ground targets.

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Thanks Ogiwan...I'm also looking for ways that ground forces could meaningfully attack the airship other than magic.  I don't think Arrows would do much to the ship itself.
Harpoon guns that could hinder ship movement should work. Also, what about the threat of fire? Firey arrows, catapults, etc. We incorporated cannons into our game and it certainly makes it fun. Not so fun when you take a cannon ball to the chest, as did our fighter, but he survived.
I'm found some useful ship-combat information in The Plane Above; a lot of it has to do with Astral ships, which operate in a similar fashion to airships in that they can operate in three dimensions.

The thing with ships moving during combat is that they require a crew to run them with standard actions; if they don't have a crew running them, they lose speed for each crew member below their required amount, and eventually come to a stop or go out of control.  In the Seekers of the Ashen Crown module the players fight a dragon on an airship crewed by goblins; if too many of the goblins die the dragon can just fly away from the pursuing ship.  If the players crew the ship, they have to spend a standard action just to keep it going; that's why a skills challenge to represent that chase may work better than just going round-by-round. 
1. Is there a good grid layout of an airship anywhere?  Something I can use for combat.

Yes. There is one in the 3.5 edition Eberron Campaign Guide if you can get ahold of it (check the old art galleries, it might be there). In addition, if you really want them to be flying in style, meet the Liralen.

2. I really want to have the airship fight a large flying creature...probably not a dragon, but something of similar size and power.  What would be the best way to represent ship movement in combat?  Give the ship it's own initiative and let it move each round on it's turn?

I've done shipboard and ship-to-ship combat a few times now, but I've never worried about the maneuver of the ship the PCs are on except in relation to them. In essence, the ship was the terrain in the encounter. Airships are very big and not particularly nimble compared to even a clumsy dragon, so this worked best for me. In every instance I've done it, the PCs have been aboard a fully crewed airship, so all they had to worry about was fending off the attackers. If you want them to actually have to fly the thing at the same time, I recommend using a skill challenge.

3. I'd like to have Ballistas, catapults, swinging on ropes, etc be represented by terrain powers.  Is there anywhere that has already spec'd this out so I don't have to do it from scratch?

No, not that I'm aware of. However, it wouldn't be difficult to adapt existing terrain powers and environmental hazards into what you need.

4. How would ground troops attack an airship?  Do cannons exist in Eberron?

No cannon, but the ground forces in Eberron have plenty of ways to attack an airship. Magic is, of course, the most obvious, and there's a scene in the beginning of (I think) Keith's City of Towers where a spellcaster brings a small airship down by hitting it with a targeted dispel magic. Likewise, they are made of wood and burn quite well, I imagine. Any siege engine nimble enough to hit a moving target could also be a threat to an airship.

In addition, remember that Eberron is not a standard medieval fantasy world. They do have analogues to some fairly advanced technology, though it is generally achieved through magic. In Five Nations, a paragraph describes Crownhome as having guns that can reach a mile beyond its walls, though it never describes the weapons. Likewise, it wouldn't be much of a leap to weaponize bound elementals as either power sources or projectiles.

-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
I'd like to add a question I'm currently struggling with:

Why do you need a crew to maintain proper flight speed of an airship?
It's in the Fluff and even the rules, but I'd like to hear some suggestions, what a crew of 4, 6, 8 airmen (not as funny as seamen, I admit) DOES aboard an airship?

Here's what I came up with so far:

  • The Pilot or helmsman steers the ship by controlling the bound elemental, setting speed, direction and elevation.

  • The Navigator or plotter sets the course, plans the route and communicates with the Pilot to avoid collisions and warns him/her about incoming threats (airships, dragons, fireballs). He/she is on the lookout, in general.

  • Deckhands or airmen swab the deck, conduct docking procedure and drink rum, of course!


Well, that's two, maybe three guys in employment... and what does the rest of the crew do? Aside from providing "environmental flair", of course...oh, and drinking more rum - or gin tonic (bonus cookies, if you get the reference).

Also, what skills does the Pilot need to fly an elemental vessel? At least since "Heirs of Ash", we know that you don't necessarily need a Mark of Storm, but do you need arcane knowledge? Information about air currents or the like?

And to close this off:

Does anyone have suggestions on how I can mechanically include the controll of an airship into 4th Ed. rules?
I consider running a skill challenge, using Arcana, Diplomacy (to influence the bound elemental) and Perception as core skills, with History, Endurance and Bluff thrown in there.

Oh boy, I really miss 3.5's Skill system...
No cannon, but the ground forces in Eberron have plenty of ways to attack an airship. Magic is, of course, the most obvious, and there's a scene in the beginning of (I think) Keith's City of Towers where a spellcaster brings a small airship down by hitting it with a targeted dispel magic.


This is true, however, it's not something we've mentioned anywhere in the actual rules. As such, it could be possible, or it could be that the ship in question was a smaller, less stable model (I'll note it was using an air elemental instead of a fire elemental) that was more vulnerable to this attack.

Looking to cannon, it's something I'd like to discuss in more detail sometime. The forces of Khorvaire don't use gunpowder, but The Dreaming Dark books mention siege staves, which are the magical equivalent of a cannon - a massive staff that is charged with a spell with expanded range and area, allowing you to project a fireball a greater distance than a normal wizard would be able to. 

Likewise, it wouldn't be much of a leap to weaponize bound elementals as either power sources or projectiles.


I'm not sure these weapons have ever been described, but a number of sources mention the fact that Zilargo has weaponized elementals. My thought was always as a power source for a magical attack, but it would be a crazy weapon if you literally launched a fire elemental at a passing ship.
As a side note, Explorer's Handbook is the definitive 3.5 source on airships, including a blueprint, details on controlling elementals, and explaination of airship combat.
Why do you need a crew to maintain proper flight speed of an airship? It's in the Fluff and even the rules, but I'd like to hear some suggestions, what a crew of 4, 6, 8 airmen (not as funny as seamen, I admit) DOES aboard an airship?


It's always been my opinion that an elemental vessel works in a manner similar to a sailing ship; the elemental provides the motive force - essentially always giving you the wind - but that there are some things the crew needs to do to keep the ship on a steady course. It's clear that the ship doesn't actually possess physical sails, but Explorer's Handbook states that it is "replete with control fins and rudders." Personally, I like the idea of alchemical ballast - that there's lines of fluid running through the hull that have to be maintained and shifted when the ship makes dramatic manuevers, or adjusted to account for speed, weather conditions, and the like. Both these and the elemental containment system need to be maintained - otherwise your elemental might suddenly pop loose in a storm, say. So if you're just going in a straight line you may not need the full crew (as long as you don't suddenly have a breach in the containment system). But the crew is important for any significant manuevering, dramatic shifts in speed, and adverse conditions.

Also, what skills does the Pilot need to fly an elemental vessel? At least since "Heirs of Ash", we know that you don't necessarily need a Mark of Storm, but do you need arcane knowledge? Information about air currents or the like?


IIRC, the vessels in HoA are special vessels. The intention has always been that you need a Mark of Storm for seamless control of a ship... though Explorer's Handbook provides rules for controlling it on a manuever-by-manuever basis without the mark, which is fine as long as you don't have to do a lot of manuevering. As a skill challenge, I'd personally go with Nature (understanding wind currents and such; important for the deck crew as well as the helmsman); History (translating to knowledge of Geography to get where you're going, and knowledge of manifest zone hotspots and such that you need to avoid); and Arcana (this wouldn't actually be used by the helmsman, but rather by the engineer who is monitoring the elemental heart and the balance of alchemical fluids). Diplomacy would be absolutely necessary for a captain without a Mark of Storms, but the Mark essentially grants you automatic success with Diplomacy. 

So basically, I'd say that you have the captain using Diplomacy (or the automatic success mark) to keep the ship moving; the navigator using Nature or History to plot the course and account for changing conditions; the deck crew using Nature to adjust to changing conditions; the engineer using Arcana to monitor the elemental systems. Other skills could be used as one-shots under the right circumstances, but they might not count as full success. For example, I'd be more inclined for Perception to be a one-shot "+2 bonus to next check" as you notice something vital than a full success. I'd probably generate random results for a failure on any check, requiring a secondary skill to avoid immediate consequences; for example, failure on the captain's check could immediately require an Acrobatics or Athletics check from everyone to avoid damage and in the case of the deck crew falling off the deck, as the ship banks sharply.

And, of course, you can always try a Religion check at the start of the voyage - sacrifice to Kol Korran or the Devourer - which, if you believe in the Sovereigns, I could see as granting a flat +1 to all subsequent checks if successful, and a -1 to all subsequent checks if failed.

But those are all just off the top of my head. Perhaps I'll formalize something and throw it on my website.



OT
Man, it's nice to see the setting creator in a thread giving great insight into background and mechanics.

I wasn't originally into the Eberron setting when I got back into DnD with 4e, and had barely heard of it before.

I have to say that after having jumped in with both feet,  it is my favorite setting so far.

Back on topic:

I would love to see some good 4e skill mechanics for airships also.  My PC's are currently crashed in the jungle of Xen'drik, headed to Pra'Xirek on an expedition.  I know they're going to have their airship up and running at some point and need to outrun/chase/deal with some flying beasties sooner or later.



I was wondering what Siege Staves where. Just started the Dreaming Dark series, and I couldn't recall hearing of them before.
Why do you need a crew to maintain proper flight speed of an airship?
It's in the Fluff and even the rules, but I'd like to hear some suggestions, what a crew of 4, 6, 8 airmen (not as funny as seamen, I admit) DOES aboard an airship?

Theoretically, you can fly an airship with a crew of 1 -someone at the helm to command the elemental and make the ship move. A small airship features prominently in the Mark of Death trilogy that's usually flown in this manner (by a little girl, no less).

In addition to the captain, you have the usual command staff -mate, bosun, galley chief, master gunner if the ship is armed, navigator, helmsman, surgeon, etc. Below that, you have the people who take care of the day-to-day duties aboard-ship, with a level of redundancy -you never want to have just one person who can perform any specific task in case that person comes unavailable- which will include your gunnery crews, cargo handlers, lookouts, able airmen and quite likely a contingent of marines as well. 

Remember also that the ship needs to be able to operate round-the-clock, so the crew is going to be broken into watches (usually three or four), and every watch needs at least enough people to cover the basics of shipboard operation.

Another aspect that surface navy vessels would typically lack but airships might require is engineers above and beyond the capabilities of airmen. Specialists in magical theory and arcane energy that are able to maintain and repair the magics that keep the ship aloft. 

Overall, yes, airships would likely have a smaller crew than a comparably-sized wet navy vessel, but there's still plenty of goings-on that an airship needs people to attend to.

Also, what skills does the Pilot need to fly an elemental vessel? At least since "Heirs of Ash", we know that you don't  necessarily need a Mark of Storm, but do you need arcane knowledge? Information about air currents or the like?

Game-wise? I'd say Nature, Perception, Arcana, maybe Diplomacy/Intimidate. I imagine an airship pilot would be a lot like a modern aviator -you need to be a little bit engineer, a little bit physicist, and a little bit crazy.

This is true, however, it's not something we've mentioned anywhere in the actual rules. As such, it could be possible, or it could be that the ship in question was a smaller, less stable model (I'll note it was using an air elemental instead of a fire elemental) that was more vulnerable to this attack.

I don't think this is the sort of thing that needs hard-and-fast rules, really. The action makes sense given the "rules" of the world and there are any number of aspects that could have made such an attack work or be more effective -it might's been an old or primitive ship, it might've been previously damaged in some manner, or the spellcaster might've known exactly which bit of what enchantment he was looking for in order to disable the ship (I'd imagine severing the "ties" between the elemental housing itself and the focal dragonshards that stud the spar arms and presumably channel the element's energy into the characteristic propulsion-granting ring would be a fairly good way to "shut off" the ship's power, at least for a moment. After that, gravity does the rest.)

Looking to cannon, it's something I'd like to discuss in more detail sometime. The forces of Khorvaire don't use gunpowder, but The Dreaming Dark books mention siege staves, which are the magical equivalent of a cannon - a massive staff that is charged with a spell with expanded range and area, allowing you to project a fireball a greater distance than a normal wizard would be able to.

Siege Staves are something I'd love to see more information about in a forthcoming release. Heck, I don't even need rules for them, just background info -capabilities, expense, method of employment, etc. Since reading the bits about them in The Dreaming Dark series, I have a mental image of them being wielded much like modern shoulder-fired missile systems and RPG, or even as mounted emplacements for larger versions. Cumbersome to set up, but devastating when employed at the right time and place.

I'm not sure these weapons have ever been described, but a number of sources mention the fact that Zilargo has weaponized elementals. My thought was always as a power source for a magical attack, but it would be a crazy weapon if you literally launched a fire elemental at a passing ship.

I've actually used both versions in my home games. If Eberron's metallurgy is good enough to produce constructs that can operate in other high-stress manners, then it's good enough to produce a pressure tank that could be fed by a small air elemental, giving you an effective (if unconventional) power source for a breech-loading gun not dissimilar to a modern paintball marker. Now replace paint with alchemical fluid and you have a weapon.  And while firing an actual elemental at a passing ship might be a bit expensive, a bound fire elemental pointed in the right direction is a flamethrower, and a likewise-aimed water elemental an effective means of quenching what the fire elemental ignites. 


I've long held that Khorvaire is sitting on the cusp of an industrial revolution, and they're really not far at all from creating (magically-enabled) technology that we would recognize as "modern." In my next campaign, that may be exactly what triggers the "Next War." After all, what would everyone else do when Breland (or Karrnath, or whoever) unveils Eberron's equivalent of the infantry rifle?
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
I've been running an airship-oriented game for a year now, based in an Eberron +10 Years timeline where airships are common and a flying, ramshackle city filled with Lhazaarite and Cyran refugees wanders the skies as a gypsy/pirate town.

I've dabbled with vehicular combat rules, including borrowing from Star Wars Saga Edition, obscure RPGs like Star Thugs, or fan stuff like a Spelljammer 3e conversion, but so far I've yet to come across a satisfactory system that lets all the PCs contribute to a satisfying battle on a tactical scale off of one ship.

Therefore, I usually treat an airship battle, chase, or environmental challenge like a multi-phase skill challenge, modifying what happens in each 'round' based on who fails or succeeds on which rolls, sometimes opposed by skill rolls by NPCs on the enemy vessels.

For the crew (called ringors -- if vessels with a sail are called sailors, vessels with a ring are called ringors), I have a couple of tasks that need doing in order to fly the ship. There's the pilot, obviously, who maneuvers the ship. However, he only manages the vectors of thrust from and maneuvering vanes built into the elemental ring. In combat, storms, and fast flying, where tighter turns are needed, there are two burly crewers who use ropes to manually move the steering vanes on the port and starboard aft of the ship. Acrobatics is used for the pilot, Athletics for the vanes.

There's also someone who deals with the elemental(s) directly. In my campaign, it's a girl in a tube (Outlaw Star style), and her job is to negotiate, plead with, prod, verbally bash, and otherwise guide rebellious, bored, unconcerned, and recalcitrant elementals into giving extra effort so the ship moves faster. She also uses the ship's unique special abilities (like the Beam Lance and the invisibility cloak) that make the ship an experimental prototype. In a campaign with a more normal ship, this could be an enginseer who uses Diplo, Bluff, or Intimidate to exert the elementals to greater efforts, giving the ring more power.

There's an enginseer (not a typo - I love WH40K) who deals with problems that break out, as well as fixing the ship during downtime. For example, the ley-conduits that channel elemental energy to the ring might suffer from feedback, or the dragonfire tar that helps absorb excess heat might bust a pipe and start a fire. Once, a metal harpoon breached the hull and hit the ship's internal elemental ring (long story). The enginseer tried to knock it loose, but as the ship's air elemental loosed its power, the lightning from the internal ring leapt down the metal harpoon and into the ship's metal armor bolted to the hull, causing pretty significant frying. It's that sort of thing the 'main' enginseer does during combat, using chiefly Arcana to deal with them.

There's also a crow's nest near the top of the ring, mostly used by characters with good Perception to spot and call out enemy ship movements, help maneuver through storms (both mundane and planar), and to navigate using Nature.

Unique to my campaign are the Singer Stones: enchanted Siberys shards that create temporary Syranian manifest zones wherever they go. It's these zones that allow the super-cheap flying enchants, so common in Sharn's natural Syranian manifest zone, to levitate all sorts of ships (and buildings, and cities) without resorting to the ever-so-expensive Soarwood. One member of the crew is responsible for using Insight to 'hear' which of the Singers are out of alignment; she runs over the ship, tweaking their positions to create the strongest manifest zone possible, making flying easier, maneuvers sharper, and endjinn thrust more powerful. In a campaign without these, the same concept could be applied to a magewright, artificer, or wizard who uses Arcana or Insight to run around the ship, tweaking the tiny enchants that make up the myriad magic spells that keep an airship afloat and flying nimbly, enhancing what everyone else does.

For combat weaponry, there's the Arcane Projector -- similar in concept to Hellcow's Siege Staves -- that can enhance the wizard's spells to ship-to-ship scale over the aft firing arc, as well as several ballistae on gimbal mounts that the ranger uses with glee against other ships, whether it be harpoons, shredder rounds, armor piercing bolts, etc.

Finally, for the melee guy, I gave the ship grappler arms (again, ala Outlaw Star), using warforged-style muscle-fibers, so that the PC's ship, and others, could engage in melee, hold onto ships to allow easy boarding, tear off vulnerable vanes and dislodge rings, and even do simple things like load cargo. A seat in the forward bow lets the melee fighter use the grappler arms.
Jayj, that's a lot of interesting stuff for airships. I can see a heavy Outlaw Star influence, but to each their own. Except in this case, placating the Machine Spirit is a bit more literal and obvious....

M4kitsu, I agree with you that Khorvaire is on the cusp of a magical Industrial Revolution. I mean, if Vadalis develops a breakthrough with agricultural tools and techniques, you have the Agricultural Revolution, and a massive population boom, which will then lead to increased urbanization (even though Eberron is already fairly well urbanized, it could be more so), which will then, eventually, lead to someone (probably Cannith) figuring out how to take advantage of all these unemployed people, and develop some sort of factory.

Thinking about it, you could probably conceive of a factory that uses air, water, or fire elementals to provide motive power for machinery. An air elemental would provide constantly-blowing air for a windmill, a water elemental constantly moving water for a watermill (meaning that the mills jump straight to the equivalent of coal power), and a fire elemental could, conceivably, be the heat source for a steam engine (though I see this as the least likely).

Concerning siege staffs, I'm split on seeing more information about them. On the one hand, the military historian/nut in me would love to get more details. On the other hand, if they're statted out, PCs can use them, and....they're PCs, so they will apply their new big gun to every problem. Ever.

As for what siege staffs (staves?) are, I envisioned some sort of large stick that shoots big fireballs and is propped up by a monopod. Thinking about it, though, if you wanted to, it could be similar to a modern-day mortar, except using an Eberron shard as the projectile. It could either be a single-spell effect (boom!), or the shard would have to be charged with a spell before firing (though, of course, it wouldn't have to be immediately before firing).

As for what the other nations would do when a nation unveils an infantry rifle, I would say that they would.....copy it. Also, it depends on the type of weapon. If its equivalent to (or better) than the Giradoni Air Rifle (perhaps using a small bound air elemental instead of a pressurized reservoir?), that could be fearsome indeed. However, if its the equivalent of a matchlock gun or some such (using ground Eberron shards, or some such), well, then it may be new and deadly, but it won't instantly outclass everything else. I could go on, but i'll stop there unless asked. Or the opportunity presents itself.

Last, I figured that on airships, the deckhands would be tasked with adjusting ballast (to control the tilt of the deck) and fins (to provide fine directional control and increased efficiency), and the pilot controls the elemental, providing motive force and coarse directional control. I like the idea of an engineer maintaining the alchemical fluids that sustains the elemental core, though.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
M4kitsu, I agree with you that Khorvaire is on the cusp of a magical Industrial Revolution. I mean, if Vadalis develops a breakthrough with agricultural tools and techniques, you have the Agricultural Revolution, and a massive population boom, which will then lead to increased urbanization (even though Eberron is already fairly well urbanized, it could be more so), which will then, eventually, lead to someone (probably Cannith) figuring out how to take advantage of all these unemployed people, and develop some sort of factory.

If that's the way it happens. My guess is that since Eberron's budding technology base is radically different from our world's, we'll end up with something closer to Miyazaki than Sterling.

The other thing to note is that the agricultural revolution in Eberron is already underway -but it's not coming from Vadalis, it's coming from the Lyrandar Windwrights. They literally control the weather, meaning anyone who can pay for their services can guarantee a long and bountiful growing season and good harvests. 

Thinking about it, you could probably conceive of a factory that uses air, water, or fire elementals to provide motive power for machinery. An air elemental would provide constantly-blowing air for a windmill, a water elemental constantly moving water for a watermill (meaning that the mills jump straight to the equivalent of coal power), and a fire elemental could, conceivably, be the heat source for a steam engine (though I see this as the least likely).

Why, though? They can skip all of that. They already have the elementals themselves, which are (theoretically) capable of providing efficient, clean power for as long as the crystal itself endures. 

In addition to that, they have magic itself, which (drawing on the fluff of the 3.5 Artificer) is effectively an additional set of physical laws -it's effects are observable, measurable, predictable and naturally occurring. Its only real drawback is that its use is limited to a gifted few -if that can be overcome by some means, that alone could kick the world a hundred years further down the technological-evolution timeline. 

Concerning siege staffs, I'm split on seeing more information about them. On the one hand, the military historian/nut in me would love to get more details. On the other hand, if they're statted out, PCs can use them, and....they're PCs, so they will apply their new big gun to every problem. Ever.

As for what siege staffs (staves?) are, I envisioned some sort of large stick that shoots big fireballs and is propped up by a monopod. Thinking about it, though, if you wanted to, it could be similar to a modern-day mortar, except using an Eberron shard as the projectile. It could either be a single-spell effect (boom!), or the shard would have to be charged with a spell before firing (though, of course, it wouldn't have to be immediately before firing).

If the PCs are allowed to bring the big guns, so are the bad guys. It's MAD in a bottle, essentially: one side of a fight may be looking to avoid collateral damage, but as soon as the other guys whip out the big bang-bangs, collateral be damned, they need to go down now by any means necessary.

As for their look and method of employ? Well, the name implies that it's a staff of some kind, but I imagine them to be large and unwieldy, best fired from a supported, stationary position. Whether it's a bippod affair with set-up and tear down times or something shoulder- (or hip-) fired, they don't sound like they're as quick and easy to use as a wand or rod (or bow). They being magical equivalents of siege engines also probably aren't designed to hit man-sized objects (turns out that hitting a running human with a 120mm smoothbore gun is really, really hard. This is what the coaxial M60 is for, generally.) 

They also are likely slow to fire, require long recharge times and probably aren't subtle. If your position is fired on by a siege staff, there's a very good chance the survivors know exactly where the shot came from. 

As for what the other nations would do when a nation unveils an infantry rifle, I would say that they would.....copy it. Also, it depends on the type of weapon. If its equivalent to (or better) than the Giradoni Air Rifle (perhaps using a small bound air elemental instead of a pressurized reservoir?), that could be fearsome indeed. However, if its the equivalent of a matchlock gun or some such (using ground Eberron shards, or some such), well, then it may be new and deadly, but it won't instantly outclass everything else. I could go on, but i'll stop there unless asked. Or the opportunity presents itself.

Well, yes, obviously they'd copy it -or, as usually happened in our world; unveil and rush into production the prototype they were already working on. 

But still. Imagine the outcome if the Sturmgewehr 44 has been introduced just two years earlier, or think about the staggering increase in firepower the infantry trooper had at his disposal in trading up from the Springfield 1093 to the Garand.

Considering how advanced Eberron already is, it's not a huge leap for them to begin deploying infantry weapons that are at similar levels of revolutionary on the battlefield. Whoever makes that breakthrough first -or rather, whoever gets them into the field first- is going to have a huge (but momentary, I grant) advantage over everyone else, allowing for the possibility of a massive pre-emptive strike against whatever country they aren't getting along with that week.  

The essential shift isn't in lethality -an arrow through the heart will kill a man just as dead as a .45 Long Colt will, after all. The shift is in tactics -if you have ranked fire and he has pikes, guess who wins that engagement? The gun-line, not the gun, is Eberron's real game-changer.
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next

In addition to that, they have magic itself, which (drawing on the fluff of the 3.5 Artificer) is effectively an additional set of physical laws -it's effects are observable, measurable, predictable and naturally occurring. Its only real drawback is that its use is limited to a gifted few -if that can be overcome by some means, that alone could kick the world a hundred years further down the technological-evolution timeline. 




Actually, in a way, this is pretty much true of our world as well. There are far more people capable of using a car than there are people capable of using their understanding of physics to design and build one. In the same way there are far more people capable of using an everburning lantern than there are people capable of creating one.
Morgrum, that's an interesting point.

M4itsu, I('m pretty sure that I) meant Lyrander instead of Vadalis. But, no argument there. Pertaining to the elementals used to power machinery, though, sure, magic can do things because it's effects are, as you put it quite well, "observable, measurable, predictable and naturally occurring." However, I wonder what the limits are. In the 3.5 ECS, we have talk of Schema, which speed up production of mundane stuff. I don't recall much detail about them, but I think of the massive jump in production caused by the industrialization of textiles using things like the power loom, punch-card, spinning jenny, flying shuttle, etc, and I wonder what schema are capable of. To my knowledge, schema still need a person, or bunch of people, or whatever, working more-or-less as if they were making whatever without a schema. Machinery, and factories, are a totally different process that boosts the production of a team an inordinate amount compared to doing it without automation.

So, what can a schema do, and could elemental-powered factories be conceivable?

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
Actually, in a way, this is pretty much true of our world as well. There are far more people capable of using a car than there are people capable of using their understanding of physics to design and build one. In the same way there are far more people capable of using an everburning lantern than there are people capable of creating one.

True to a degree, but with the essential difference that we can always train more people to build cars if we need to. Eberron doesn't have that option with training spellcasters -even Magewrights. If you don't have that essential spark of magical affinity, then even the most basic spellcasting or artifice is simply beyond your capability.

Also, continuing with the same analogy ('cause I like it), imagine living in a world where all but the most basic, bare-bones motor vehicles actually did require the operator to know how to build and design one. That's the case that most of Eberron is working under. Sure, anyone can use a coldfire lantern or torch, or a broom that sweeps itself, or a tea kettle that's always warm. But those are parlor tricks. Real artifice -airships, the Lightning Rail, siege staves, eternal wands, altars of resurrection, etc- require trained spellcasters to operate.

Even with the additional bump of dragonmarked individuals (who otherwise have no ability as a spellcaster) who can tap into some of these devices, that still leaves a staggering percentage of Khorvaire's population who are permanently unable to use even some basic magical devices. Probably a fraction of a percent has any magical affinity at all, and of those, not all will ever discover their potential, or will never rise far enough up in their training to be of any real use.  

This is why Khorvaire is still very much an artisan society, and why mass-manufacture techniques have yet to take hold.

The moment someone figures out how to lift or circumvent that spellcaster restriction, however, the world changes almost literally overnight. My guess is Merrix is the one that finally cracks it. 

To my knowledge, schema still need a person, or bunch of people, or whatever, working more-or-less as if they were making whatever without a schema. Machinery, and factories, are a totally different process that boosts the production of a team an inordinate amount compared to doing it without automation.

That's about my sense of it as well. Recalling what I can of the rules for schemata from Magic of Eberron (...I think), it sped and simplified the creation process, but still runs into the spellcaster issue I describe above. Namely that you still need one. Sure, he can crank out the whatever-it-is that the schema makes much faster, but even then his production rate is going to fall far below even primitive factories in our world. 

Even at a generous estimate of one-tenth of a percent of Khorvaire's population being capable of the task, that's still only a few hundred-thousand people at best who are measuring their output times in days rather than weeks without a schema, in comparison to hours or minutes for automated or semi-automated manufacturing facilities here on Earth.

Eberron would be hard-pressed to skip straight to automated mass-manufacture, I think. They have the ability to maintain it, theoretically, but not the infrastructure to support it. There has to be an intermediate step somewhere, but it's hard to say what it'll be since Eberron is heading down a drastically different path of technological evolution that our own world.

Perhaps the mighty infernal bovine will weigh in again with his thoughts on the matter?  




...wow, we're really wandering away from the topic, but I don't care, this is good discussion. ^^ 
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
I am now in total agreement of everything you have said, M4kitsu. I forgot the limited pool of arcane casters who could use schema, but our conclusions about production are essentially similar, I believe. I just jumped to elemental-powered factories because I wanted to skip that intermediate step/ignored it, and get some industrial revolutioning.

(Last semester, I was a TA for a World Civ 2 class, and one of the main topics was the Industrial Revolution.)

I also hope that His Infernal Bovinity will pop in. Let's give him a day or two?

(maybe this will work.....Hellcow! Hellcow! HELLCOW!)

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
True to a degree, but with the essential difference that we can always train more people to build cars if we need to. Eberron doesn't have that option with training spellcasters -even Magewrights. If you don't have that essential spark of magical affinity, then even the most basic spellcasting or artifice is simply beyond your capability.


Personally, I've never seen it this way.

In my opinion, arcane magic is a science. It is a method of manipulating the ambient energies released by the ring of Siberys, which suffuse the world. Understanding it requires a keen mind and an ability to look beyond the mundane trappings of reality, and there are many who simply cannot manage it - just like there are many people who don't have the innate intellect to grasp advanced physics or the skill to master the piano. But it's not supposed to be some sort of genetic thing, beyond the degree to which intelligence itself is a genetic thing. Members of any race or species can be magewrights. The text in the ECS says "Magewrights are unknown among the more savage species", but this is precisely because they are "savage"; it's like saying "You don't find electricians among primitive jungle tribes."

The player character classes are supposed to represent prodigies in their fields. A magewright is an electrican who can come to your house and fix your fuse box, or a mechanic who can fix your car. A wizard or artificer is the man who can invent a new car or employ electricity in new ways. In third edition, this is reflected by the fact that magewrights don't use spellbooks, but rather learn to cast a specific, small set of spells. They master a specific ritual, learning how to perform the workings of Arcane Lock. A wizard, on the other hand, learns the fundamental principles behind arcane magic itself, and as such can pick up any spellbook and quickly master the ritual there. But again, even this isn't because of some mystical spirit within him; it is a matter of his intellect and his knack for the arcane... just like other people have a knack for athletics, or music, or steelworking. Anyone can pick up a sword and, with training, become a warrior. Fighters aren't somehow touched by a special power; they are simply those who have a greater knack for the martial arts than those who become warriors.

You have to be a member of an arcane class to use items like wands. A magewright can use an eternal want. But again, this isn't about mystical DNA matching or a spirit within the magewright; it's the idea that the wand is a tool and the magewright understands the principles behind it. Beyond that, I'd argue that triggering a wand - even an eternal one - requires a certain channeling of magical energy. This is a technique all magewrights learn as part of their training, the most fundamental aspect of spellcrafting - but it is nonetheless a skill.

In 4E, my house rule is that the "Ritual Caster" feat represents the level of skill I've above applied to PC classes. The ability to pick up a ritual book and perform any ritual out of it on short notice is the talent of a prodigy, and not something anyone can do. The Magewright learns to perform a set of specific rituals, and does so without the need for spell or scroll, just as the 3E Magewright doesn't use a spellbook. So a locksmith learns Knock and Arcane Lock. He has to spend the time and components to cast them as normal. But you can't end his career by taking a book from him, and he can't trade books with the oracle down the street and suddenly start a new career. In this way, the Magewright actually has an edge over the PC caster, because they can't ever lose their books. Essentially, they've done the one thing so many times that they can do it in their sleep; they don't need to refer to a book. The wizard has the capacity to do anything, but that lack of specialization means that he needs to check the manual.

Now, sorcerers (by 3E) have innate, inborn magical talent. People with dragonmarks have a special biomystical gift that lets them do things others cannot. But magewrights aren't sorcerers. Check pages 256-257 of the ECS and you'll see that it speaks of training, not of some sort of inborn spark. "A truly talented blacksmith weaves spells over his forge to help her shape the steel... A magewright prepares spells as a wizard does, but does not need a spellbook to do so. Rather, a magewright’s training emphasizes a small number of spells to such a great extent that he learns to prepare them without referring to a spellbook."

From the one-page submission to the FSS, the basic principle of Eberron has always been that arcane magic is a science, and that as a science it should evolve and be incorporated into society in the same way that other sciences have been in our world. But this requires people to be able to learn it. If it was limited on a genetic factor instead of talent, I'd expect other forms of technology to have been developed that are more accessible to a broader base. Instead, the idea is that intelligent people - those capable of pursuing and advancing other sciences in our world - have the intellect necessary to master arcane magic in Eberron.

As a side note: Another house rule of mine is to limit certain rituals to those who possess dragonmarks. If House Jorasco is the only source of cure disease, it's easy to understand their success. This is mirrored in 3E by the existence of magic items that can only be used by those with dragonmarks. You have to have the Mark of Creation to use a creation forge. THAT'S a genetic-special-magic-spark thing, and it's what gives the houses their edge. But my thought is that it's possible for gifted arcanists to find ways around this. The Mark of Warding allows the bearer to perform Arcane Lock. There was a time when only Kundarak possessed this ability. Then someone developed the spell (3E) or ritual (4E) and made it possible for anyone with sufficient talent to learn to do it. In Khorvaire, this ritual may have specifically been developed in emulation of the dragonmark - observing and reverse engineering the manner in which the Kundarak locksmith is naturally channeling arcane energies. Of course, this sort of thing is something the houses aren't crazy about. So I say that there are certain rituals you have to have dragonmarks to perform - but there are always people trying to develop versions of these rituals that anyone can use.

Anyhow: in short, in my mind, a magewright is someone with a knack for mastering the basic techniques of arcane magic and whose training allows him to master a few specific spells to such an extent that he doesn't need a spellbook for them. He doesn't have the broad level of insight into magic to use any spell put in front of him. He is capable of using spell trigger items because this is a basic mystical technique that he's mastered as part of his training. Both he, the commoner, and the wizard are biologically and mystically the same, aside from whatever factors determine anyone's natural intelligence and talents.

As a side note, this is supported by the idea of the skill Use Magic Device, which allows someone who's not a spellcaster to use items like wands; as I see it, this means that he's learn that fundamental technique that's required for this even though he's never mastered the more advanced techniques that lead to actual spellcasting... and that he's further learned "lockpicking" techniques for when the trigger item requires release of specific energies.

One more aside: in 3.5, the number of spells a magewright understands is based on his Intelligence modifer. A magewright has to have an Intelligence of 12 to know even a single spell. Critically, this is about Intelligence as opposed to Charisma or Wisdom. It's not the faith of the Cleric or the innate gift of the Sorcerer; it's applied intellect.
True to a degree, but with the essential difference that we can always train more people to build cars if we need to. Eberron doesn't have that option with training spellcasters -even Magewrights. If you don't have that essential spark of magical affinity, then even the most basic spellcasting or artifice is simply beyond your capability.



Erm... in RL not everybody can build a car, and even fewer people can design one (a working one anyway). Whether or not somebody can has to do with inclination, intellect and in case of building manuel dexterity. What is the difference with spellcasting? Even if you belief that special spart is necessary, there is no reason to assume that spark is any rarer then the special spark necessary in RL to design functional cars for a living ;)

Except arcane ability isn't as hard as that. Not everyone can design a car, no, but with time and effort I'd say most people can learn to peform maintenance on one. Just like not everyone can master the principles behind ritual casting, but with time and dedication, anyone can learn a specific ritual or two.

Planes Wanderer
Erm... in RL not everybody can build a car, and even fewer people can design one (a working one anyway). Whether or not somebody can has to do with inclination, intellect and in case of building manuel dexterity. What is the difference with spellcasting?


With magewrights and wizards, this is the basic idea. Not everyone can become a professional athele. Not everyone can become an exception artist or musician. Not every can become a nuclear physicist. Everyone has different physical and mental gifts, and the ability to understand arcane principles is one of them. The 3E sorcerer represents someone who manipulates that power due to an innate gift, and this is likewise true of dragonmarks and the items that require them; but the magewright is a professional working in a scientific field.

This is also tied to the idea that wizards can make new spells; this isn't something that's supposed to me an option for magewrights. The development of a new spell or ritual is like designing a new car; it's not something everyone can do just because they can fix an engine.

Looking back to my point on Use Magic Device, in 4E this would be reflected by the fact that you can train the Arcana skill and do things like detect magic without actually being able to cast a spell. There's levels of skill. The first thing you learn is the Arcana skill and the basic principles behind it; then you use that foundational knowledge to master true spells.

As a side note, on consideration, I could see giving a PC wizard in Eberron Spell Mastery as a bonus feat at first level. This is the feat that allows a caster to memorize a particular spell even without a spellbook, as magewrights do. This would reflect the idea that a wizard's first spells are learned in that same manner as the magewright, drilled into his head through years of study, and are the foundation of his knowledge; later, he masters the underlying principles and can use any spell out of any book he finds, but he still remembers those first spells. If you do it at first level and limit it to the available spells at that level, it's not like it's exceptionally powerful; unless you make a habit of depriving PCs of their spellbooks, it might not even come up. But it would play to the idea that magewright training is the basic education, and those with the talent can move beyond.
Not everyone can design a car, no, but with time and effort I'd say most people can learn to peform maintenance on one.


it depends how deep you're going with maintainance. I can check my oil, but I'm not mechanically inclined. COULD I learn auto mechanics? I'm sure I could. But I'm guessing it would take me more time and more effort than a lot of people out there. Just like being a game designer isn't some sort of special magic gift; it just happens to be something that comes more easily to me than to other people. Same with athletes. Pretty much anyone can work to gain skill at any athletic field, but some people will have a physical build or mindset that makes it come more easily.

Now, the 3E magewright is an exception to this, admittedly, in that you have to have an Intelligence of at least 12 to learn any spells as a magewright. If you're not above average in Intelligence - even just a little bit - it's just not going to happen. But I think the same could be said of many fields of science in our world. It's like me with auto mechanics. Essentially, my "creative" stat is higher than my "mechanical aptitude" stat... so just as the Magewright with 14 Int will have more spells and skills at 1st level than the one with Int 12, I could become a mechanic, but I'd be worse at it that a guy who spends the same amount of time training but has that higher mechanical aptitude.

Anyhow. It's the same basic principle as the commoner to the expert to the rogue. Why are their fewer experts than commoners? It's not that there's some innate spark that lets you be an expert, or even any mechanical prerequisite. It's that the expert class is a mechanic used to reflect someone who has mastered a more difficult trade than the commoner. Technically speaking, any commoner could take a level of expert. Mechanically, the demographics put most people as commoners because they don't have the education, the training, the experience, the opportunity, whatever it is. Mechanically, anyone in Eberron with an Intelligence of 12 COULD become a magewright. Heck, they can do it with an Intelligence of 10, it's just dumb because they won't be able to cast spells. The restricted number in the world is a reflection of the level of training and aptitude required.
(maybe this will work.....Hellcow! Hellcow! HELLCOW!)

It worked! 

(Hellcow x3)

And Hellcow once again demonstrates why Eberron was chosen over the other FSS entrants. 

I suppose it all comes down to how you play. The idea of magic-as-science that is inherent to Eberron is one that makes sense and, unlike a lot of other worlds, has far-reaching effects in the culture, society and technology of the place -it's been accounted for.

Madfox also makes a good point about not having any reason why that essential spark -if it's necessary- is unusual at all. To my own mind, that fractions-of-a-percent is necessary because it keeps magic, well, magical. Magic-as-science is fine, and I run Eberron games that way as often as not, but it has the disadvantage of no longer being magic at all... just another type of science, which kills a lot of the mystique. Sure, the wizard may be prodigy in his field compared to the magewrights that work for him, but ultimately that just doesn't have the same sense of barely-contained eldritch power that I associate with the word "wizard" (this probably stems from too many years playing Warhammer).

Ultimately it's about the type of campaign I'm trying to present. I like the idea that a PC Wizard or Cleric might never meet another true Wizard or Cleric (lay-priests and magewrights, even ritual casters, sure) if I'm presenting a game firmly rooted in that sort of high-flying fantasy. Conversely, magic-as-science is much better suited to the pulp-fantasy that Hellcow's specific vision of Eberron presents, which while quite different from the Eberron the books present, is equally valid. It's the flexibility of the setting which makes it great, and the many and varied presentations of it (every author who's written for it has his own vision of what Eberron is. Bassingthwaite's is different from Baker's, is different from Wyatt's, etc.) give the people wirting for and playing in the world tacit permission to do whatever they want with it -a sense I find sorely lacking from other campaign settings.
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
To my own mind, that fractions-of-a-percent is necessary because it keeps magic, well, magical. Magic-as-science is fine, and I run Eberron games that way as often as not, but it has the disadvantage of no longer being magic at all... just another type of science, which kills a lot of the mystique.


To my mind, this is the role of druidic magic, of divine magic, of sorcerers, of warlocks, or for that matter of the dragonmarked. The druid is attuned to the primal power of the world itself. The cleric alters reality through the favor of the gods or through faith alone, take your pick. The warlock traffics with mysterious powers, while the sorcerer and dragonmarked heir both have power within their blood. This is where you have the mystique of magic. The wizard and the artificer follow a different path. They are those who have conquered this mysterious force with the power of the mind. Even with that said, I still think the mystique remains. Look to Lei in my novels. She's an artificer. Which essentially means that she's a mechanic. But she can perceive and manipulate the threads of reality itself. With a whisper, a twitch of her fingers, and the force of her will, she can create light or infuse a stick of wood with the power to kill. The fact of the matter is that this is a skill, not some sort of personal magic that only she can do. But for me, this actually makes it MORE interesting, because it says something about the fluid nature of reality itself. There is a power suffusing Eberron, a power anyone has the potential to harness - the blood and breath of Siberys itself. Will and words can let you fly or turn your skin to stone; you just have to have the talent and strength of will to harness it. If you have to be a sorcerer or Dragonmarked to perform magic, it becomes more like a mutant ability. As it is, the wizard is wise, if you will - someone who conquers his foes with his superior knowledge and understanding of the nature of reality. The fighter hits you with a stick; the wizard has learned to turn air to fire. The fact that anyone COULD, in theory, do this doesn't change the fact very few have the intelligence, talent, or will to do it.

But hey, to each his own. Wink

From what I understand, even though anybody can potentially become a magewright, there's still a limiting factor on cheap magic items: the supply of dragonshards.

Most magic items in Eberron--especially the useful ones that bind elementals, enhance rituals and dragonmarks, and store spells--need dragonshards to make them.  Trying to make, say, a set of Sending Stones without a Siberys shard is like trying to make a cellphone without a battery.  It's theoretically doable maybe, but I don't know how that'd work.

As long as the supply of dragonshards is limited by the success of shard prospectors, magic won't become commonplace.  They're already collecting them as fast as they can, and it's not like dragonshards are a renewable resource.  Because the supply is fixed, the demand can't afford to increase much further.

However, I can think of three ways to get around that.  From least to most feasible:

One, someone might discover a new, more renewable source of magical power.  This could be anything from good old human sacrifice to lucid-dream-powered windmills on the Plane of Dreams that transmit their power back to Eberron through a manifest zone.  

Two, somebody might figure out a way to create synthetic dragonshards.   This would place the resource bottleneck at ritual components instead of dragonshards, but that's okay: ritual components probably are renewable.  If nothing else, recycling old magic will give us plenty of residuum for making new shards.

Three, somebody might create a spaceship and start harvesting the Ring of Siberys. 
From what I understand, even though anybody can potentially become a magewright, there's still a limiting factor on cheap magic items: the supply of dragonshards.


True. As a side note, while I don't think it's actually stated in the books, IMO in 4th edition residuum is the most processed form of Eberron dragonshard. Eberron dragonshards provide the basic "fuel" of the magical economy, while Siberys and Khyber shards are used for unique purposes. Tharashk's gift for locating new veins of dragonshards has allowed the house to prosper and also allowed for the mass creation of warforged, greater range of lightning rails, and so on - essentially, the influx of shards allows greater wonders to be produced.

Residuum also remains the end product when you break things down... but it's also the basic fuel used for rituals and creation.
As long as the supply of dragonshards is limited by the success of shard prospectors, magic won't become commonplace.  They're already collecting them as fast as they can, and it's not like dragonshards are a renewable resource.  Because the supply is fixed, the demand can't afford to increase much further.


I agree with the heart of the matter, that dragonshards are a limited resource and they are required to craft magic items, but I  am not sure they are not renewable. Khyber shards are described as growing. Sybernis shards fall from the sky, so while technically there might be a limit, it might be immesurable big so that it effectively surmounts to unlimited. Eberron shards are the only unknown, but I can see that these grow as well just as Khyber shards. The real limit lies in the fact that they are found in some of the most dangerous regions of Eberron, and never in large quantities in one spot.

Side-note: my argument was not that the magical spark was common, I was arguing that maybe being a car designers requires a special spark as well, it is just that because science has become so mundane for us that we don't consider it special anymore ;)
I think everything requires a little spark. Sometimes, that spark is how you were raised, and sometime its inborn talent. The people who are crazy good at something have a combination of a conducive social environment and natural talent. So, sure, theoretically, anybody can learn to be a magewright, because its just education. However, not everybody will actually be a magewright, because between people who can, but don't want to, people who can, but do something else instead (you can be multiple things, ya know), and people who don't have access to the necessary social circumstances to be a magewright, well, the actual amount of magewrights in the world is lower than it could be.

As for taking away the mysticism of magic, well, i don't know what to think. The example that springs to mind is the first one of those movies that ruined Star Wars for me, when Qui-Gon proclaims that Anakin has booku mitichlorians, which means he is strong in the force. That really removed the awesome from Jedi, IMO, so M4kitsu's point about scientized magic being less mysterious is a valid one. So, how do you fix that? Have a bunch of opaque "Arcane Laws" and make the knowledge of the arcane mysterious-through-incomprehensibility?

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
As for taking away the mysticism of magic, well, i don't know what to think. The example that springs to mind is the first one of those movies that ruined Star Wars for me, when Qui-Gon proclaims that Anakin has booku mitichlorians, which means he is strong in the force. That really removed the awesome from Jedi, IMO, so M4kitsu's point about scientized magic being less mysterious is a valid one.


Whereas for me, this example has exactly the opposite effect. I hated the introduction of "he's strong in midichlorians" because it meant that the Force wasn't mystical; it was genetic. It was no longer about faith. You couldn't become a Jedi through dedication and devotion; you either were one or you weren't.

Saying that only people with a "magical spark" can be wizards is exactly the same as midichlorians in my eyes. Once you say that only the dragonmarked can do magic, there's no difference between the wizards of the world and Marvel's mutants. You've either got it, or you don't, and bad luck for you. 

As it is in Eberron... in theory, anyone can work divine magic through dedication, faith, and force of will. Anyone can work arcane magic if they can come to understand the mechanics of the universe - and if they have the talent and again, the strength of mind to manipulate those forces. A wizard approaches magic in a scientific fashion, but he is nonetheless altering reality with his words, his gestures, and his thoughts - and the fact that everyone can't do this shows how difficult it is. If it was as easy as driving a car, magewrights would replace commoners, and for that matter, magewrights would all know hundreds of spells. It's not easy. But it is something that anyone can do, if they have the dedication and the ability to look beyond the world and see the true nature of reality - whether it is their sheer faith that carries them or their intellect.

Again, to me, that is the mystique of magic. With a word and a gesture, I stir the blood of Siberys and lightning falls from the sky. You face me with a sword, relying on your muscle. I face you with knowledge or faith, and with one word I can turn your flesh to stone. You have mastered your weapon, and I have mastered mine - but mine is one that's more mysterious, one that is all around us, one whose potential is limited only by my understanding and my force of will.

If you have to be a sorcerer to use spells... if you have to have a high midichlorian count before you can use the Force... it's no longer about understanding the true nature of reality; it's just using your special mutation. You just happened to be lucky enough to be born with the right blood. And for me, that strips away the mystique.

As a side note, it is my opinion that certain forms of magic are easier for different people based on their personalities. Magewrights master a handful of spells. They do this through training. But in my mind, there is a difference between learning to cast Arcane Lock and learning to cast Divination. Divination, Abjuration, Transmutation - in my mind these are as different as physics and biology, or sculpting and painting. The PC wizard with Ritual Caster is brilliant enough to master them all. But for the magewright, it's a matter of finding the path that comes naturally. The locksmith likely didn't flip a coin to decide whether to be a locksmith or oracle; he found that he had trouble grasping the basics of divination, of surrendering his perceptions to the energies of Siberys around him - while the practical binding work of abjuration came more easily. Just as some people paint and sculpt equally well or master multiple sports with ease, some casters can master them all; but for magewrights, personality and natural talents will likely determine the spells they master.

This thread has been very interesting to read! It's given me insight on what things PCs could do aboard ship. For my adventure involving elemental airships turned racing spelljammers, I've identified the following skills that could be turned into a skill challenge as a result of this thread:

Diplomacy /Intimidate(or automatic success with Mark of Storm):
Move the ship in the right direction. Fail, and the crew must make an Acrobatics check to avoid damage (costing a healing surge), falling off the deck, etc. Even with the Mark of Storm feat, you’ll need Diplomacy/Intimidate to perform special maneuvers called Stunts. If you don’t have the Mark of Storm, then the DC to perform a Stunt increases by +5.


Nature: Plot a course to go in the right direction; used by the deck crew to adjust to wind currents, manifest zones, turbulence experienced at spelljamming speed, and the like. The Mark of Finding grants a +2 bonus.


Arcana: Monitor and maintain the elemental containment unit; operate the aether drive (the eldritch machine that makes spelljamming speed possible. The Mark of Passage ensures automatic success, but you’ll need Arcana to coax more speed out of the engine).


Athletics: Manipulate flight control surfaces to improve turn rate or give a +2 to navigation checks; operate alchemical pumps to trim the airship ballast; operate the air elemental-powered reaction control system (RCS) thrusters. Trimming the ballast/operating the RCS thrusters gives a +2 bonus to the next Stunt performed.


Perception/Insight: Gives +2 bonus to Nature or Arcana; avoid the next failure result from piloting, navigating, or operating the aether drive.


PC Crew Positions: Pilot (Diplomacy/Intimidate), Navigator (Nature), Airman (Athletics), Machinist (Arcana)

"Turns out having Eberron's equivalent to a Spectre flying close-air on your side is a good way to level the field when the bad guys send Warforged Titans after you." -M4kitsu
OT
Man, it's nice to see the setting creator in a thread giving great insight into background and mechanics.

I wasn't originally into the Eberron setting when I got back into DnD with 4e, and had barely heard of it before.

I have to say that after having jumped in with both feet,  it is my favorite setting so far.







I agree totally. Cool to see the Baker on here offering his insight.
Like you I also knew little of Eberron and Im new to D&D4. I'll say it is my favorite setting and much more flavorful than FR. Its just has so much potential for win Laughing

My 5e D&D Campaign: Murder in Baldur's Gate 

 

Resurrection Time!

This seems the best place to ask. The Skill challenge ideas listed here a a brilliant help to the vague campaign plan i have at the moment. But i need a little help with some loose ideas i have so i can firm them up and get them into a workable format.

1/ Airships cannot land. I think i read that they need to dock to a tower of some sort. But surely there are other ways of boarding and disembarking, unloading etc. With magical lifts and featherfall, for instance. I would not be too far out of the system with these ideas, right?
2/ Airships are big. Obviously, they are ships. But there are alternates for short periods, aren't there? Not able to carry large goods or travel great distances, but for one or two people to travel for a short scene?
3/ Airship pirates? I understand that House Lyrandar has an almost monopoly on pilots, but conceivably, any one with the Mark of Storm can do it, right? Even excoriated halfelves? And by 4ed rule, any PC "could" have that mark (presuming DM approval of course)?

The answers to these questions will be important for my campaign development, if only by clarifying the "system" i use. ie whether i look for some existing stats, or just jump in and make my own. Speaking of which, are there some good stats for Airships mentioned anywhere in 4th ed?

1) Sure. Even a long enough rope ladder would probably suffice, and I could see an airship with a focused, up-down version of Tenser's Floating Disc to facilitate loading and unloading.

2) In general, most small vehicles only work in specific areas, like Sharn, where a manifest zone (an overlap with the plane of Syriana) makes flying and levitation magic more effective. You can tweak this if you want to - maybe the Zilargo shipwrights have recently developed short-range skiffs that carry a couple of peope and can fly for an hour before the air elemental in them gets worn out, and some of the larger airships are carrying them along as support craft.

3) Correct. Unmarked people can technically pilot, as well, but they have to put a lot more effort into coaxing the elemental into doing their bidding. You could have an exceptionally powerful NPC who's so imposing, they've cowed an airship into obeying them.

I think there are some simple airship stats in the Adventurer's Vault, and some of the planar ships in Manual of the Planes and/or The Plane Above: The Astral Sea might be a good starting point, too.

With regard to smaller vehicles. The 3.5 adventure Voyage of the Golden Dragon makes use of small skiffs made of soarwood. They are used in Xen'drik, so outside of Sharn's manifest zone. They are esentially used like a sailing ships longboats to make short forrays away from the main vessel. I believe that adventure even had some grid maps of the skiffs.
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