Patriots Steampunk Airship Near Ready For Launch and Testing
Here is a first look at the Airship I have been working on. It is based on my partner's research and drawings but I basically did all the building at my OSgrid Steam works region. The craft is an extensive redesign of my second airship. The first was just a flyable Balloon but I have dug into the scripting and now have a fairly good working airship script. I had to make new textures as well for the MK III airship seen in the picture. The airship is intended for role play in a Sreampunk setting of Revolutionary America around about 1775.
The role play storyline calls for a number of airships both wind sail and steam powered. They must support working cannons and the ships have be destructible from collision projectiles. Basically, there are pirate airships and Continental army airships. Maybe some British airships too but essentially this is a pirate role play involving captures and ransoms. The whole RPG is built on the Open Simulator platform. For more about Open Simulator see bit.ly/VUQU4e
The Alternative History...
The role play is free form (no character sheets, make it up as you go) and based on real history but altered to fit the Steampunk theme. James Watt had by 1775 established the working principles of the steam engine, Benjamin Franklin had conducted extensive research on electricity by the same time and the first recorded manned flight in a hot air balloon by the Montgolfier brothers was in 1783. So it is fair to guess there was enough technological knowledge at that time to justify this fiction where usually Steampunk focuses on the Victorian era of the late 19th century.
The RPG Storyline...
The airship gunboat (seen in the picture) awaits completion and to be named. She was built by the Ironcraft company at Boston and due to serve in combating pirate airships that had become a menace along the west coast airship routes. A number of airships of the Western Airship company had suffered attacks and several had been brought down, plundered and captives taken. The airship company had been forced to pay out large ransoms to recover the victims safely and the directors were well prepared to spend considerable sums to put a stop to the adventures of the pirate rogues responsible for such dastardly thievery and damages, and also much distress to the passengers.
All the pirate airships were known to be dependent upon a fair wind being only rigged for sailing as they are. The new airship gunboat benefits from the latest designs and clever experiments in steam and electricity. She is mounting three 9 lb guns or, if the work be completed in time for her first patrol, she may even carry a powerful electric arc gun based on the experiments of the learned Benjamin Franklin Esq and capable, so it is believe, of burning through the body of the enemy ship's gas bag. But there is more. We are informed that this ship will carry the first ever experimental radio telegraph (see the cable aerial on the rigging!) so the airship captain can stay in communication with the ground by a code tapped out over the invisible aether.
Truly the craft is so well constructed and equipped. She powers up with a good steam engine, well built to an expert design. There is also a batch of Leyden jars which are devices for storing the electric charge that powers the telegraph and the arc gun should it be installed. And to charge up the jars the company has installed a fine machine called an electrostatic generator driven conveniently by the same powerful steam engine that turns the propelling rotors.
Oh, I have this crazy idea that Cyberpunk and Steampunk can marry up where Molly is some kind of Matrix character that steps from cyberspace to cause a few ripples in Revolutionary Boston way back in 1775.
How's that you might say?
Well, Benjamin Franklin, bless his rebel soul, got into experiments with electricity generating arc lights with lightning which is sort of like radio waves but not so well defined. Never the less, telegraph was technically possible even back then so, allowing for a little Steampunk license, I thought perhaps a very early form of aether tweaking and gadget fiddling could open up the Matrix and let some AI's out.
Well hello Molly!