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I have some players interested in airships. You'd think these rules existed somewhere in one of the campaign settings or a Dragon magazine. Do any?

I'm thinking of things like flight speeds, costs, size or weight, etc.

I'm trying not to go the Spelljammer route.

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There was a series of articles published in Dragon Magazine from issue 153 (Jan 1990) to issue 188 (Dec 1992) called “The Voyage of The Princess Ark”. The article series followed the voyages of an Alphatian Skyship and was set in the D&D world of Mystara. The articles were later compiled together to form a boxed set called Champions of Mystara: Heroes of The Princess Ark.

Whilst this series were set in Mystara and used Basic D&D rules, BD&D rules are compatible with AD&D and could be adapted to either AD&D 1e or 2e.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ this is the rules system i ended up locating about 4 am, and the most consistent with what I was looking for. \$\endgroup\$ – Tristian Jan 10 '18 at 2:51
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AD&D 2e sourcebook TSR 9388, The Shining South, spends about three quarters of a page to describe Halruaan Skyships as "magical items".

The standard skyship is mentioned to be three-masted, with a broad beam to allow it to rest easily on the ground. The weight they can carry depends on the altitude, they cannot carry their own weight above 3600 feet. At an altitude of about 100 feet, they can carry 10 to 15 tons of cargo, a rather small amount as compared to equivalent sea-going vessels. They run at the mercy of the winds, presumably just like normal sailing ships. Additionally they have a special magical rod that allow control of the levitation fields of the ship to get it rise or dive at a rate of 120' per round. They offer no steady fighting platforms, though wizards are able to cast spells from its deck. In aerial combat, they have maneuverability class E.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Much congratulations on locating an edition specific example! \$\endgroup\$ – Tristian Jan 10 '18 at 2:52
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AD&D First Edition, Dungeon Master's Guide, starting on page 49 - "Adventures in the Air", followed immediately on page 53 with "Waterborne Adventures" seems like, combined, they might give you a large portion of what you are looking for.

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