Pulp Action Hour: Airships Part Two!

Welcome to part two of my Pulp Action Hour Airship coverage. In this post, we cover the larger than life flying platforms. Each is capable of flight through a combination a matrix of anti-gravity generators strategically placed throughout the hull and multiple large turboprop engines. These massive vehicles are powered by banks of aether crystals working in tandem, this allows each to remain aloft continuously for months at a time. While each platform will have supplies of replacement crystals for any aircraft they carry as well as for their own flight, crystal replacement requires that the anti-gravity array be shut down, forcing the craft to land for the replacement. Luckily the process only takes a few minutes, allowing the craft to be airborne again in under a half hour.
These ships also commonly have powerful shield generators installed, which I have included the new rules for here.

New Tech: Shield Generators

By tapping into the Quantum Ether, a defensive field of concentrated bands of gravity surrounds the target craft. Due to the size limitations of the shield generator, only larger craft can be equipped. The specific limitation is based on the class of shield generator. The protection provided by the shields includes a bonus to armor as well as a bonus to the base toughness. While shields can be partially bypassed, they are too strong to completely be overcome. If an attack hits with 3 or more raises, it temporarily overloads the matrix of shield projectors, causing it to shut down for 1d4 rounds. If this occurs twice in a single combat, the feedback causes the Venusium crystals powering it to crack and fail. If this happens, the power crystals must be replaced to use again. Replacing them takes about ten minutes.

When active, the shields protect the entire craft it is installed on. For the flying platforms, this includes the turboprop engines and any planes on the flight deck or docked on the exterior of the craft. These can still be targeted, but they all gain the bonus to toughness and armor.

NameMin. SizeProtection Cost
Class I 10+4 Tough/+20 Armor150k
Class II14+6 Tough/+25 Armor275k
Class III16+10 Tough/+35 Armor600k
Class IV18+14 Tough/+50 Armor950k

Defensive Weapon Systems

Many larger ships have fast firing, short range guns designed as anti-missile and close combat anti-aircraft weapons systems. These systems are made up of a series of small, very agile turrets ringing the outer edge of the ships, allowing for 360 degree defensive fire. When active, the system makes a to hit roll against each incoming missile attack and all enemy planes within 500’ of the ship. It has a base shooting skill of d8. Missiles are targeted at a -4, planes can be targeted normally. If a missile is hit, it is destroyed. Planes that are hit take 2d6, ap10.
All airship combat platforms have this system installed as standard equipment.

Airship Combat Platforms:

These are the largest airships in existence. The only things larger not on the water are some of the spacecraft too large to safely enter an atmosphere. Instead of large bags of hydrogen or helium, these are kept aloft by antigravity technology and large turboprop engines. The smaller platforms have four large turboprop engines near the four “corners” of the craft. Larger one have six or even eight of these engines.  The turboprop engines can be targeted as a called shot. Their toughness and armor is 75% what the rest of the ship. Destroying half of the engines will cause the platform to begin to lose altitude in a controlled crash landing. This means the platform will lose altitude at 120’ per round until it reaches water or land. If it makes it to water, the craft takes no damage and all aboard must make an agility check at -2 or be knocked prone. If it hits land, the craft will take 10d6+10 damage and all on board will take 4d6 damage.
Destroying 75% will result in an uncontrolled crash. This will result in the platform losing 360’ of altitude per round. If it lands on water, the platform will take 10d6 damage while all on board take 3d6 damage. If it hits land, the platform is effectively destroyed and all on board take 10d6+10 falling damage.  

Notes on stats: The game stats in the following descriptions follow normal SWADE rules with the following modifications.

Size: Uses the size chart on page 179 of the SWADE core book as a guide. Though the chart only goes up to size 20, a few of the platforms are size 21 or larger. Size 21 is up to 800’, size 22 is up to 1000’, size 23 is up to 1200’ and size 24 is anything more than 1200’.
Crew: The first number is the minimum crew needed to operate the vehicle at combat efficiency. A skeleton crew of half this many can fly these platforms, but the weapon systems are not operational and handling suffers a -2 penalty. The second number is the total number of passengers that it can carry. This includes flight crew, back up crew and repair teams. Engines: This gives the total number of turboprop engines that help keep the platform aloft and the toughness of each engine. Keep in mind that any platform with an active force field will gain the defensive benefit of the field.
Weapons: This lists the offensive weaponry that is carried by each flying platform. Keep in mind that each platform also has Defensive Weapon Systems installed as well.

US Endeavor Class: A flying aircraft carrier capable of holding a dozen aircraft in two large bays and another two on the flight deck. This is the largest of all the flying platforms in use by any of the major powers, measuring a staggering 1000’ in length and nearly 240’ across at its widest point. The Endeavor has eight decks in the main fuselage, though the two hangar bays are each four decks tall, one in the front third of the carrier, the second in the rear third. There is a flight tower, similar to the ones seen on traditional aircraft carriers used to guide planes in. But the flight control and piloting of the vessel is located in the front, below the runway to give the flight crew a better view of the ground. The Endeavor has several air to ground weapon systems as well as an impressive array of air to air and anti-aircraft weapon systems. These have all got class III shield systems installed. The first of the newest version, the Abraham Lincoln is the first to use the newer class IV shield system.

Size: 22, Handling: -2, Top Spd: 250, Tough: 56(16), Crew: 40/120, Cost: 14m
Weapons: 10 rocket battery (x4, 2 forward, 2 rear)), 2 linked Hvy MG turret (x8, 4 top, 4 bottom), 120 bombs
Engines: 8, Toughness: 42(12)

US Protector Class: This is a flying weapons platform bristling with offensive and defensive weaponry. It has multiple air to air and air to ground batteries. It is also capable of docking two aircraft, one on each side. The Protectors are 350’ long and 100’ wide. It has four decks that run the length of the fuselage. The main flight control is near the rear of the platform in a small conning tower. There is a second flight control at the bottom of the platform, directly below the tower. This secondary control room is used when doing bombing runs. The first few waves of these had the class II shield systems. The most recent models have the class III system.

Size: 17, Handling:0, Top Spd: 260, Tough: 46(14), Crew: 18/60, Cost: 6m
Weapons: 10 rocket battery (x2, 1 forward, 1 rear)), 2 linked Med MG turret (x8, 4 top, 4 bottom), 180 bombs.
Engines: 4, Toughness: 34(10)

UK Majestic Air Superiority Platform: Brittain’s entry into the flying platform. This is designed as a general air superiority craft. Rather than a large flight deck, it has docking facilities capable of grappling and holding up to six planes. These are held on the outside, rather than in an interior hangar. The craft boast a large amount of anti-aircraft and air to air weapon systems as well as several air-to ground cannons and two large bomb bays. The Majestic platforms are 650’ long and 140’ across. They have a total of five decks that run the length of their fuselage. The flight control and piloting station is located at the very front, offering both aerial and ground view to the crew. All of these have the class II shield systems.

Size: 20, Handling: 0, Top Spd: 250, Tough: 50(14) , Crew: 22/80 , Cost: 9m
Weapons: 6 rocket battery (x8, 2 forward, 2 rear, 2 on each side), 2 linked Med MG turret (x8, 4 top, 4 bottom), 160 bombs
Engines: 6, Toughness: 37(11)

German Reichsmacht: A flying platform capable of docking four Jäger-Vogel and armed with several anti aircraft and air to ground weapons, this is Germany’s response to the British Majestic. It was rushed into production and as a result, is not as well designed as the Majestic. The Reichsmacht measures 500’ long and 100’ wide. It has four decks that run the length of the fuselage. Like the Majestic, these also have the flight control in the front. The first wave of these had the class I shield installed. Later production models (dubbed MkII’s) have class II shield systems.

Size: 19, Handling: 0, Top Spd: 240, Tough: 46(14), Crew: 20/80, Cost: 7m
Weapons: 8 rocket battery (x8, 2 forward, 2 rear, 2 on each side), 2 linked Med MG turret (x6, 3 top, 3 bottom), 180 bombs
Engines: 4, Toughness: 34(10)

Japanese Burēdomasutā: The “blademaster” is the japanese equivalent to the US Endeavor class. It is smaller, just 900’ long and about 160’ wide with six decks that run the length of the fuselage. It can hold ten planes in its two hangar bays, as well as another two on the flight deck. It is not as well equipped with air to ground weaponry but is the Endeavor’s equal when it comes to anti-aircraft guns. These have the Class III shield system installed.

Size: 21, Handling:+1, Top Spd: 250, Tough: 50(14), Crew: 34/100, Cost: 12m
Weapons:8 rocket battery (x4, 2 forward, 2 rear)), 2 linked Med MG turret (x12, 4 top, 4 bottom, 2 on each side), 100 bombs
Engines: 8, Toughness: 37(11)

Sky Brigade Phantom Fortress: The most advanced of all the flaying platforms, this massive vessel is 1200’ long and nearly 260’ wide at its widest. There are ten decks that run the length of the fuselage. The main flight deck is located near the font, just below the flight deck. The Phantom Fortress has two large hangar bays, each one capable of holding six airplanes and another three can be kept on the flight deck for a total of 15 planes. It only has a few air to ground weapon batteries, but possesses an impressive array of air to air and defensive systems. Currently there are two of these in operation, the Prime and the Gemini. Both of these have the Class IV shield system installed.

Size: 24, Handling: +1, Top Spd: 260, Tough: 64(16), Crew: 24/120, Cost: 16m
Weapons:8 rocket battery (x8, 2 forward, 2 rear, 2 on each side), 2 linked Hvy MG turret (x10, 3 top, 3 bottom, 2 on each side), 140 bombs
Engines: 8, Toughness: 48(12)

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