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Month Index: January, 1996


From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@????.org>
Date:     Wed, 17 Jan 1996 15:23:13 -0800
Subject:  Re: Groundling airforces...
I like the idea of a barrier to maneuverability in atmosphere.  That
way most ships coming down want to land on a large water body, and
maybe they launch like the galley in the movie "Eric the Viking", ie,
straight up, or straight over the edge of the world when the Horn
Resounding was blown.

One idea I had for a port complex was a permanent Anti-Gravity zone
used to launch unhelmed cargo pods up to an orbiting ship.

Imagine worlds which drain the magic out of a helm, such that interplanetary
helms can't be used at all in the atmosphere.

Reverse Gravity's area of effect goes all the way to the edge of the
atmosphere, doesn't it?

Imagine the only type of landing craft being variant of the Gemini
descent module.  An unmaneuverable block with Feather Fall spells
for descent and Levitation for ascent.

Such a world would be such a hassle for spelljammers they'd cheerfully
leave it in favor of more amenable trading grounds.

This goes for a groundling empire too.  It might have to maintain its
spelljammers in an orbital fort because the effort to land and relaunch
the thing is so high.

A lot of battles could take place right near the orbital fort.  As any
WWI or WWII sub commander could tell you, it is a lot easier to find
prey near ports or straits than 'along shipping lanes'.

I wonder if spelljamming ships leave a wake?  If a ship isn't moving
with respect to the 'aether' it could lurk in ambush.  Perhaps the
shape or aura of ships can be determined by their 'wakes'.

Away from a planet, a spelljamming ship could be as visible as a comet!

One could make landing or atmospheric flight drain the pilot a lot
faster.  Thus, instead of being able to glide along replacing the
mage after 8 hours, the jaunt has to be completed in less than one.

I think this is one of the better options, actually, for limiting
groundlings, and it makes sense, too.  You don't want to burn out your
helmsman while flying over enemy territory.  It is still useful for
smuggling, just makes it more stressful.  If you are going to require
a day to rest in orbit, why not go on a longer jaunt for more exotic cargo
anyway?

Worldlets with small gravity wells become much more important to
space navies and trade than planets.

Michael Sandy


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