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System Preview: Skyships

What is a steampunk game without airships, or in this case, Skyships? Today we reveal the rules for building and using skyships in Aereon.


All Skyships in Aereon start with a High Concept and Trouble. A skyship’s High Concept describes its fundamental build and character, while the Trouble describes and strange quirks or problems the ship may possess that makes using it that little bit more interesting. In addition, each skyship has three other aspects that describe other facets of its design, history, or other details.

During the game, these Aspects can be invoked or compelled as if they belonged to every character currently on board the vessel.

Skyship Skills

Unlike characters, skyships have their own set of skills to assign, with each one representing such things like how the ship was made, how it fairs in combat, or what the crew are like. For example, an organisation might use its Crew skill in a boarding action in combat, or use its Cargo skill to determine if there are enough rations on board to feed everyone.

The Six Skills

Skyships have six skills, each with a rating from -1 to +3. At the start of play, the ship should be allocated six starting scores (-1, +0, +1, +1, +2, +3) to the six skills, representing the strengths and weaknesses of the skyship. For example, a tough but ponderous ship would choose Good Structure (+3) and Poor Manoeuvrability (-1).
  • Structure – Roll Structure whenever the skyship needs to rely on its own structural integrity, or determine how quickly repairs are made to repair any damage it may have suffered.
  • Manoeuvrability – Roll Manoeuvrability whenever the skyship needs to attempt a particularly tricky move, or is attempting to avoid fire from another ship.
  • Speed – Roll Speed whenever the skyship needs to try and outrun or catch another vessel, or needs to perform any other move that requires a lot of speed.
  • Firepower – Roll Firepower whenever the skyship attempts to use its superior firepower to overcome an obstacle, where it be another vessel, structure, or something else they just want to blow up.
  • Crew – Roll Crew whenever the vessel needs to call upon the resources of its crew, such as defending (or instigating) a boarding attempt, undergoing quick repairs during combat, or the likes.
  • Cargo – Roll Cargo whenever the skyship attempts to utilize its ship storage for any reasons, whether its to determine if there is enough food for everyone on board, or to see if a particular item can be found amongst all the gear stashed on-board.

Skyship Actions

While the crew of a vessel can always take individual actions, when it comes to using a skyship, its everyone working together that determines how well things succeed. This is especially true in situations like skyship battles, where the power of just one man, even if he is a great fighter, means little compared to the might of a mighty skyship.
  • Overcome – Skyships roll this action whenever they ply their resources to overcome a situation that does not require simply attacking it.
  • Create Advantage – Skyships can also create advantages for themselves to be used by either the vessel, or its crew.
  • Attack – Skyships can use this roll to attack other vessels. This generally only applies to Firepower and Crew, although creative use of the other skills could be possible.
  • Defend – Skyships can defend against attacks using this roll, as long as the defence can be justified by the story.

Player Character Actions

During skyship combat, or similar situations, the PCs are generally all aboard the same vessel, and only one of those characters can be controlling the actions of the vessel at a time (maybe two, if one controls attacks, while the other control manoeuvres), and this can lead to the other characters feeling left out of the action. To remedy this, the other characters can exercise their own skills to create advantages on the scene to aid the skyship, or hinder its enemies. This could be anything from shouting at the crew to 'make them ‘Inspired’, to sniping the opposition’s ship to put them ‘Under Fire’.

Skyship Stunts

Skyships begin play with three stunts, which are exactly like personal stunts, and grant to vessel bonuses when they attempt a certain action, or allow the skyship to do something new or unexpected.

Skyship Stress

Skyships have two stress tracks, representing the overall state of the crew, and the state of the ship. These are determined in the same way as stress tracks with characters, only skyships use Structure and Crew to determine their Structural and Crew stress tracks respectively. This stress does not disappear until the vessel has had a chance to dock somewhere and undergo suitable repairs and hire more crew.

Similarly, skyships also possess a Mild, Moderate, Severe and Extreme consequence they can use to mitigate stress taken.

When a skyship is taken out in a conflict, it is eliminated in a manner determined by its attacker. they crew may or may not survive, and the ship may or may not be salvageable, as determined by the story.

Skyship Advancement

Whenever the PCs reach a Significant milestone, they may:
  • Swap any two skyship skills that are next to each other in the ladder (i.e. Good/Great or Average/Fair)
  • Swap any existing skyship stunt for a new stunt.
Whenever the PCs reach a Major Milestone, they can choose one of the following:
  • Add +1 to any skyship skill.
  • Take a new skyship stunt.
  • Remove any skyship consequences that are in recovery.