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An ulran pilot pulls back hard on a spaceship’s controls, dodging through a field of lasers fired by enemy vessels. A Driftling fires a missile cannon at a distant Lightning Fighter, exploding the enemy ship in a fireball. Two gleans work hard with tools in the engine room, rerouting power to escape an incoming armada.
As the only way to move about the ever-shrinking galaxy, spaceships are one of the most necessary commodities in Olaxis. A ship is an opportunity for freedom, adventure, and escape. Few adventurers are Wealthy enough to have residence on all the planets they frequent, so travelers treat their ships as mobile homes.
The player Characters get a spaceship during Character Creation. They live, eat, sleep, and work in their spaceship and have ample ways to make it their own. The ship is as much of a part of the team as any character.
When the galaxy and its civilizations were much younger, spaceships were inefficient machines powered by a plasma-based fuel. This method worked for centuries when the universe was a vast, resource-rich environment. Plasma was abundant. Entire planets were drained to power fleets of ships.
After The Burn arrived in Olaxis the nature of ships changed. Plasma was far too valuable a resource for providing power on planets. Large-scale mining operations fell apart due to the chaotic nature of The Burn destroying system after system. Adding to this shortage, mass migrations of Species resulted in the rapid expansion of fleets and expenditure of fuel. The galaxy was quickly starved of plasma, a resource people needed to flee The Burn.
As plasma dried up, the number of operational spaceships dwindled. There was no need to keep around large hunks of metal. Many old ships were torn apart for scrap on whatever system they were stranded. Only a handful of these ships, called boomers for the sound they make during takeoff, remain operational.
There is a market for boomers as collector’s items, toys for the super rich to show off their wealth. Most working boomers are already in the hands of private collectors, but every now and then a new ship is discovered. Anyone who can bring a boomer to the right market makes a good payday.
As the fuel emergency became dire, gleans revealed their secret to the galaxy. Experts at combining magic with technology and technology with life, their Species had been working since the arrival of The Burn to find an alternative way to fuel ships. Glean inventors developed a secret method for powering their ships, a magical intelligence (MI).
The gleans created a magical ritual, based on a recovered Omniscient spell, which binds a living entity to a ship who acts as the power source. An MI does not remember life before being bound to a ship, so some theorize that this ritual creates the MI. Others think the ritual summons the MI from some other place in the universe or an alternate reality and wipes the entity’s mind. Once bound, the MI remains implanted in a ship for the rest of the entity’s existence. If this bond is broken, the ship goes dark and the MI ceases to exist.
An MI supplies power to a ship from their own magical life force and allows the ship to be fully operational without the need for fuel. The entity powers the ship’s engines, Weapons, and other Systems.
Gleans kept this research a secret for fear of the backlash that would come from other Species but revealed MI technology when the galaxy had no other answers for an emergency situation. MIs are fully sapient creatures, like the Artificial Intelligence gleans had also created with disastrous Consequences. Magical intelligences have personalities, memories, and emotions. What is truly the difference between an MI and an AI? Only that MIs have not risen up against other sapients to take power. Many fear and resent the gleans for these creations, straining tensions among the peoples of Olaxis.
For the moment MIs are happy to be alive and serve as members of ships’ crews. A majority of people in the galaxy use MI-powered ships. Most crews and MIs see their relationships as partnerships.
At first MIs were brought into the galaxy by the millions. This lasted until an event called Well Bottom. During the height of MI-powered ship production, the ritual used to create MIs suddenly stopped working. Some speculate there were no more MIs to be summoned and the universe had simply run out. While some doubt this theory, no one has been able to confirm or deny it. If true, the implication is that MIs are being summoned from somewhere rather than created.
After weeks of not producing MIs, new intelligences were successfully infused into ships. The source of MIs, whatever it was, had been replenished, but no one knew why or how long it would last. Political negotiations took place to regulate the ship production. Too many ships produced too quickly resulted in failure for everyone. Ever since production of ships has been kept to less than a quarter of what was being produced at the peak. This production level provides the universe with enough ships for vital purposes but not many more. Most find or buy used ships, as they are the only ones available within their means.
Every team of player Characters has a ship to call their own. Every Burn Bryte campaign in Roll20 should already have a page designated for handling the ship, its parts, and spaceship Combat. Below is an example of what a ship map looks like.
Here are detailed Descriptions of each section of a ship map. While each vessel is different, these core areas are the same for every map.
The ship interior has several unique zones. Each ship interior has a ceiling that is 15 feet high in most areas.
This space on the map is a visual representation of the space where the ship’s magical intelligence lives. This is not a physical space but a magical plane of existence where Characters can go to directly interact with the MI. The player Characters can talk to the MI while inside the ship or from anywhere by using communication badges, but being in MI space allows them to protect the MI and use certain Special Abilities.
During gameplay a token for the MI should always be located in this zone. If a creature enters the zone, they can jack into MI space. When a creature does this, their token should remain at the MI Jack (as that is where their body is), and a second token for the creature should be placed in MI space to represent their spirit. While in MI space, a creature’s physical body (the token at the MI jack) cannot make skill rolls or take actions and Attacks that are not physical Attacks (such as those made with a weapon) made from outside MI space against the creature’s body have no effect on the creature.
The area outside the ship is divided into eight zones, near and far for all four sides of the ship. These zones are where other ships are located during spaceship Combat, and they move about the zones during Combat. Player Characters are not capable of entering these zones without risking death unless they have Species abilities, spells, or Equipment that allow them to safely be in space.
Player Characters can customize their ship. Ships are modified through Modules, which are map tiles that are dropped on a customizable area on the ship map. The ship gains the abilities of the Modules it has attached. There are numerous Modules that can be dropped into a ship from gun turrets to cryo-chambers.
To customize a ship the player Characters must first purchase the Modules they intend to install. Modules can be purchased from shops. To equip the module to the player characters’ ship, the GM moves the token onto the ship map in any customizable area where the module fits. The player Characters choose the specific area. See “Building Your Spaceship” for a list of Modules.
Modules can also be removed and placed into storage. Modules that are placed into storage are removed from the ship’s customizable areas and held in the ship’s cargo bay or in a storage facility on a celestial body or space station. Modules that are in storage are not considered part of the ship and grant no benefits or effects. Player Characters can only equip or unequip Modules while the ship is on a celestial body or docked at a space station. Modules cannot be moved or replaced while flying through space or in Combat.
A module must be able to fit entirely into the customizable area chosen for it, otherwise it cannot be equipped. A module does not have to fill an entire customizable area to be equipped. A customizable area can have both empty spaces and Modules within it. For example, a customizable area with a size of 2 x 2 squares could have a single 1-square module or two 1-square Modules and a 1 x 2 square module equipped.
All Modules have a size and price, but Combat Modules have extra Statistics that cover their use in Combat. Each has a range (which determines if they can hit targets in near, far, or both zones), damage dealt on a hit, and targeting radius.
A module’s targeting radius determines its targeting width. A module with a fixed targeting radius can only target creatures, vehicles, and objects in its range in the zones in which the module is located. A module with a crescent targeting radius can only target creatures, vehicles, and objects in its range in which it is located plus any zones within range adjacent to those zones. A module with a full targeting radius can target creatures, vehicles, and objects in its range anywhere on the map.
Example: A Fixed Turret module has range of near and far and a fixed targeting radius. It is installed on the port side of the ship and can only be used to attack enemies in the port near and port far zone.
Example: A Long-Range Cannon module has a range of far and a crescent targeting radius. It is installed on the port side of the ship and can only be used to attack the port far, aft far, and fore far zones.
A spaceship has two Statistics that indicate its baseline abilities: MI Health Levels and a Livability Rating. The Statistics shown for a ship represent the base levels for these abilities, but these numbers can be modified based on the Modules equipped to the ship.
To repair and rearm a ship it must dock it at a spaceport. When a ship docks to repair, its MI Health Levels are restored to maximum, any all turrets that have ammo requirements are refilled, and all damaged Modules are repaired. These repairs typically cost a total of 500 Argent and take 8 hours of work.
If a ship’s MI ceases to exist, a new one can be installed if the ship is towed to a spaceport. A new MI typically costs 20,000 Argent and takes 1 day of work to install.
If a spaceship is stopped at a spaceport and does not need repairs or rearming, it can usually dock at the spaceport without charge. The only way (aside from special abilities) to Recover Health Levels for the ship’s MI is through paying for repairs.