Thursday, 3 February 2011

Warhammer Airships

So I'm reading 'Retribution Falls' and it's a damn good book. Some of the imagery makes me think of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, for some reason, and this got me thinking about running more WFRP games but with a slight twist.

I'm imagining the Old World as it is in the normal games, especially with some of the imagery from the Warhammer Online Collectors Box book, but the main mode of transport is by airship. I got some inspiration from the Gotrek and Felix novel 'Daemonslayer' and some imagery I found on the interwebtubes

The one above I imagine to be some normal trader, plying their trade across the Old World as a private enterprise, with a small crew to keep things running. Some could be converted boats with gasbags above them, designed for air and water, and some could be purpose built or modified with a flat hull so that they could land anywhere. They would be expensive, so it's not done to destroy them or send them down, much like the attitude of mariners in the 18th/19th centuries - better to capture them intact as a prize instead of sending them burning to the ground.

The next one helps to illustrate a central town or city where many airships come and go like a busy airport. Places like Marienburg and Altdorf would be central areas of commerce and activity and there'd be huge towers for docking, landing fields for longer stays and giant hangars for repairs.

Then there'd be other countries vying for trade, travelling huge distances in massive airships designed for long-distance travel, equipped with all the luxuries that dignitaries and ambassadors expect.

Powered by gas and magic (hey - 'Gas and Magic' - that's a good campaign name) these machines are helped up by gases but held up by powerful sorcery, much like they're being flown by WH40K Navigators. Using the stats for boats in the WHFRP 1st Edition rulebook, this could work a treat. It'd be like science fiction free traders in the WFRP world, with flintlocks and cutlasses.

Hmmm. I might do some work on this.


  1. Damn, this idea is so awesome, I wish I had it first. As you probably know WFRP was the first RPG I actually played for an extended period of time and I still have a soft spot for it.
    I also love airships. Everything is better with airships! If you actually do some work on this, please post about it here.

  2. Cool idea. I put some of this kind of stuff in my house rulebook (see ffg forums for emirikol).

  3. Actually am already there. It was a throwaway plot that began in Death's Dark Shadow (about a mad farmer and a balloon) and it went on from that. Our WFRP campaign is several decades ahead of the formal timeline and we have had time to explore it... the first experimental ships- daring and insanely brave including high profile races (Nuln to Middenheim for the Carnival was an epic); the development of air ships for warfare (the Imperial AirFleet is an epic thing even if the mortality rate in those bad boys is ferocious); the accidents that led to their banning over large civilian centers (one airship crashed into Altdorf- a week later another hit Nuln and they have been banned since) and so forth... huge fun, they are a firm part of our campaign- still rare enough to make people stop and stare, but widespread enough to add a whole new aspect of the campaign. We made them entirely mechanical and non magical, made them unusable in bad weather and really played up on the fueling aspect of it all, but no other Fantasy Game lends itself to flying airships like WFRP in my opinion- hope you did it and it worked out well for you and your players...