Hi, everyone, I start back to work tomorrow, which may or may not mean time to get blogs done, according to the wishes of the publisher! I will continue my discussion with the Trade Consortium of Blix, looking at the industry of the lesser city of Phedexia, ten leagues south of Bossel. Phedexia maintains the Phedexian Cargo Fleet, a series of airships that move Blixian cargo all over the world. Their service is cheaper in that they are not armed with typical naval weapons, powered with magical engines or crewed with large numbers of naval troops, but stripped down for fast and cheap flight, powered by summoned elementals and protected and directed by skilled professionals. Note that when entering Middle Kingdoms airspace, the elementals are stowed and giant wasps take over a towing capacity. So- to the Phedexian Cargo Fleet!
This stripped-down version of the armed airship vehicle is held aloft by a massive balloon connected by chain to a ship that hangs below. This ship is similar to a sailing ship, complete with an open top, and is propelled by magically controlled air elementals, with a master summoner in charge of their care. Passengers and cargo are carried in the ship.
Phedexian Cargo Fleet
Colossal Air vehicle
Squares 48 (20 ft. by 60 ft.); Cost 35,000 gp
AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 620 (310)
Base Save +0
Propulsion current (air; 90 squares of dirigible, hp 400) and air elemental
Driving Check none (magic)
Forward Facing the ship’s forward
Driving Device air elementals (see below)
Driving Space the nine squares around the controlled elementals caged sits at the back of the ship
Typical Crew 1 7th level master summoner (summoner archetype), 3 3rd level sky warden (see below) rangers, 2 5th level evoker mages, and a 5th level of Linium or Toma Thule, possessing the Artifice domain. At least a dozen halfling crewman round out the crew, use the seasoned trapper (expert 3) statistics.
Cargo Up to 30 tons or 100 passengers
The Phedexian Cargo Fleet goes by the call signs “P.C.F. 5” or “P.C.F. 7”, though long-term crews often name their ships in the local vernacular. The below-decks master summoner is the de facto captain of each vessel, as he is its most important member. His first mate is one of the sky warden rangers up top, who also serves as navigator. Another of the rangers serves as executive officer, who directs the halfling crew and is in charge of any ship’s combat; note that one of the three will likely have darkvision. Senior of the ship’s mages is the purser, in charge of the cargo, and the cleric is in charge of the crew’s well-being, and is knowledgeable in the structure of the ship, having ranks in Knowledge (engineering) and skill in magical mending. Ship’s cleric is also in charge of any crew that is on board especially that they should not get in the crew’s way during flight.
The captain of any Phedexian cargo-ship is a 7th level master summoner, using that particular archetype. He has carefully planned the 56 minutes of his spell-like ability summon monster IV available to him to summon medium air elementals to power his ship to its destination, gliding on currents and momentum in-between, with his spells available for emergency maneuvering. His company-mandated “spells known” list typically reads: 1/ alarm, feather fall, jury-rig, lesser rejuvenate eidolon, lighten object; 2/ bull’s strength, glide, levitate, summon monster III; 3/ dispel magic, summon monster IV.
This specialty ranger archetype is identical to the warden archetype, except that it has the ‘Airborne’ terrain type available, which is always selected by the sky warden at 1st level. Airborne terrain applies when the ranger is flying under his own magical or mechanical power, such as on board an airship, and allows access to all those abilities regardless of the terrain below.
Often hired for trips to difficult areas, a prime chance for PCs to get to a new adventuring area, and have some exciting possible combat on the way! Pay can be commensurate with level, but a typical fee is 2,500 gp per party per trip