Floatstone, or Cloudcrystal Airships

Today my player encountered a large caravel suspended from a massive baloon which was heated by a massive steam powered engine, it was called the Wings of Ghan and was a wonder to behold. Later i thought to myself, i should have used Floatstone or a Cloudcrystal with an airship built around it. I was searching Google images for a cool idea and found this illustration i liked:

http://marktedin.com/Concept Pages/Airship1_bw.jpg


Floatstones could be clamped into the frame of the ship, or somewhere in the main deck could actually be a massive cloudcrystal or perhaps even several, then it would use a combination of steam and sails to get around and change elevation. :)



  • My reading of the core book suggested that the Cloudcrystals themselves don’t provide lift (hence why the 'fallen fields' has crystals embedded in it); it’s what they are growing around or out from. So if you could somehow manage to crack open a crystal island and extract that core, it would be useful for a flying ship.

    Floatstone definitely provides lift. I put together a sample floatstone based ship over here if you are interested.

    Changing elevation using pre-industrial technology is the main problem with these sorts of ships, unless you are prepared to handwave the physics or use numenera. To much lift with no way to get rid of it and your off to shake hands with the stratosphere. While 10,000ft is the deathzone for suffocation, its gonna get pretty cold before you even get close to that.
  • Ya I tend to use the old sci fi movie trick of half-explaining then re-directing, I've yet to have a player pull out a physics book and explain why that's impossible. I like your Empyrean Ship and the price tag :) I'm trying to walk a fine line between science and Fantasy while keeping the story moving. I love the Idea of an airship, although i'd never give one to a player unless the whole campaign was going to require it.

    I have read the Core Book on the Cloudcrystal Skyfields but didnt know about the crystals cores. Thanks for that it made me re-read them.

  • Might be an interesting long term campaign idea to have Milave and Navarene getting into something of an arms race over airship trade. Maybe Queen Armalu has more reason for encouraging the crusade against the 'gaian invaders' than you would think. After all, having an army to protect Navarene crystal harvesters while they extract island cores would be so very handy. Maybe they end up in Aian, working with the Beggar Queen and the Order of Truth to sabotage the floatstone quarries. Or they could get caught up in the Crusade, while secretly paid to ensure misfortune befalls the Navarene extractors.
  • Isn't floatstone as described only buoyant? Meaning it only provides enough lift to keeps itself afloat. As soon as you add any weight to it, it would start sinking. That was my impression anyway, because I was trying to think of a way to use it to make things float and couldn't work it out.
  • Floatstone: A piece of rock, usually about the size of a brick, that pulls against gravity. Most people think of it as having a “negative weight” of about –10 pounds. Thus, if attached to anything lighter, it floats away. - p82
    A bit poorly worded in the core material, as 'it' isnt defined well. Could mean that if a floatstone brick is attached to a object lighter than 10 pounds, the object and the brick float away. Or that if the brick is attached to a object that provided lift it floats away. I took it to mean the former.
    Thirty miles (48 km) east of Orrila, workers toil in the floatstone quarries. You can spot the quarries from far away because of the vast tarps that catch the stone as it’s dug from the earth. The workers pull it from what looks like former monuments of some kind, buried in a long-forgotten age. Of course, the ground repels the floatstone, so much of what is excavated flies into the air. - p164
    This plus the first bit of text is what convinced me that a floatstone brick provided 10lb worth of lift by itself. As the quarried rubble is said to fly off if it escapes the tarps.
    To the north of the Steadfast, beyond the Tithe River, float the Cloudcrystal Skyfields. These ever-growing crystalline shards slowly drift high above a plain of the shattered remnants of shards that fell. Some of the shards are as large as cities, and others are as small as a fist. - p174
    While not set it stone, I think that the shards grow outward from some sort of core or seed. As they get larger and larger, some sections grow to heavy and fracture off, falling to the desert below. Some cores might be able to support whole cities worth of crystal, others barely anything at all. But overall it implies the outer crystals themselves don’t provide lift.
  • If my supposition is correct, the cloudcrystals would be problematic to harvest for whatever’s inside them. The more crystal you break away to reach the centre, the higher the shard would get, maybe even becoming unstable and tipping you right off it. Not to mention getting up there with enough gear and men to crack it open, then chaining your prize to somthing heavy enough on the ground to drag it back down again.

    Although nothing that couldnt be overcome by throwing enough men and numenera at them.
  • I Believe Uxphon is a slave city, I like the idea that they would embark on a mining campaign for the crystal cores perhaps secretly supported by aristocracy in Charmonde, who have intrests in the cores for an airship trade.  Perhaps even Queen Armalu herself knows of the operation but will not publicly support slave labor.

    "Slave pits of the Undercity" meets "Avatar" :)

    Also using slaves that are expendable should deal with the abhumans and worse that frequent the area.

  • I went with the -10 pounds anyway and wrote up this bit, independent of any line of thought here... make of it what you will.



    And no, I'm not a physicist, which is probably apparent anyway.


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