The Airship Guide

Surprise! You have an airship! It won’t be in every adventure, but it’ll be around. But that means you need to know how it works and how your character can interact with it.

Your airship has some things in common with your characters – it has a high concept (although not a trouble) it has a refresh with fate points, and it has stunts. It also has some differences – your airship gives you a +1 bonus when using it a certain way.

Let’s talk about approaches. There are 6 different approaches; Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful. Quick, and Sneaky. Allow me to explain, say you were piloting your ship and you were flying past an uncompleted Death Star and your captain told you to “Fly casual.” You would use the sneaky approach. Maybe you want to fly your airship in showy manner, maybe with a few barrel rolls thrown in – well that’s flashy! Ram an enemy airship – you’re being forceful. I think you get the idea.

  • Careful: A Careful action is when you pay close attention to detail and take your time to do the job right.
  • Clever: A Clever action requires that you think fast, solve problems, or account for complex variables.
  • Flashy: A Flashy action draws attention to you; it’s full of style and panache.
  • Forceful: A Forceful action isn’t subtle—it’s brute strength.
  • Quick: A Quick action requires that you move quickly and with dexterity.
  • Sneaky: A Sneaky action is done with an emphasis on misdirection, stealth, or deceit.

Airships come in different sizes – shuttles, working ships, and major ships. Shuttles are very small, and hold less than 5 people and have no room for cargo. A working ship (the type that you’ve got) can have anywhere from 6-60 people. Most have crews on the smaller side so as to have more room for cargo. Major ships are big BIG. They generally have crews of 100 or more.

In addition to having a high concept, your airship has ship aspects. Every crew member of a ship that truly invests something of themselves into the ship gets a ship aspect that they share with the airship. Too be honest know one knows if the ship imprints itself on it’s crew or the other way around, but it is known that any long standing crew member of a ship who really loves the ship becomes a part of it. Many larger ships end up seeming a bit sterile. They might have a captain who loves them, maybe an engineer, but maybe not even that. For some reason it’s harder for a ship and a large crew to really imprint on each other.

Your airship started with a control station, and a free station of your choice. In addition it has 1 refresh, and one free stunt. A stunt for the ship can be an actual stunt that improves something or it can be an additional station or component. In addition a character may give one of their refresh points to the airship to add an extra stunt, component, or station.

A working ship has about 6 zones give or take, and we’ll want to sketch out a rough idea of what it’s layout is.

Running an airship

If you’re a crewmember of a ship, you’re vaguely familiar with all the stations; you can take any sear, even if it’s not your forte. If you’re trying to operate a ship you aren’t a crewmember of then you’ll likely need an aspect justifying your familiarity with the controls you want to use. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to overcome an obstacle to figure out how to work he unfamiliar layout.

When you use a station, you roll your own skills – your roll gets a bunus from the ship’s approaches if appropriate. See below for example situations where you would get a +1 when using a skill at one of the stations.

  • Careful: Investigate, Crafts, Will
  • Clever; Empathy, Lore, Wyrd
  • Forceful: Physique, Provoke, Fight
  • Flashy: Rapport, Contacts, Resources
  • Quick; Athletics, Notice, Shoot
  • Sneaky: Deceive, Burglary, Stealth

You’ll notice that drive is not on this list, mainly because you can use all six approaches to “drive” the airship.

Ship aspects and Fate points

Airships have their own refresh and aspects, which can be compelled by the storyteller or invoked by the players. This means that the ship has it’s own supply of fate points which can be used to resist compels the storyteller throws at the ship, even if nobody is on the ship when it happens.

To invoke ship aspects, including an situation aspects the ship picks up, players can spend their own fate points or the ship’s fate points. Airships tend to be slow at getting fate points, so using your own might be wise. Holding onto a bit of the ship’s stock might come in handy for punching a last-minute getaway or handling an unexpected boarding party.

Likewise, anyone operating a station on the ship can invoke or compel aspects – both their own and the ship’s – using their fate points or the ship’s supply.

Ship-to-ship conflict

In conflicts, folks and airships all act at the same time; for the most part, this means the crewmembers on the ships will be running around, creating advantages for the poor sap at the piloting controls to use to get out of trouble. When determining initiative, go through the motions for the crewmembers of the airship in the conflict. Don’t bother for the craft; they’ll act when their crews make them. Airships move through zones just like folks do. When a battle breaks out, sketch out a quick map of the area, where the ships are, and where the crewmembers of each ship are—if you find such a thing necessary. During a conflict, a character can spend an action to use a station, controlling some part of the ship. Each station can only be used once per exchange, but any number of stations can be used at once during an exchange. For example, a craft bristling with weapons stations could attack a half-dozen times.

Size in combat
The bigger a ship is, the more powerful it can be, and the harder it is to hurt. When ships of different sizes face each other, the larger airship gets a +2 to attack and a +2 to defense for each step higher on the ladder.

  • Major ship
  • Working ship
  • Shuttle
  • Single Person

Unlike characters, ships don’t use stress boxes to represent damage. Ships do have mild, moderate, and severe consequence slots, and the option to take extreme consequences. One thing with extreme consequences: they affect both a ship aspect and whoever shares that aspect. It might take some finagling to figure out how both parties get hit by that consequence. The only way a ship can take an extreme consequence is if a crewmember agrees to take the hit; if nobody is willing, the airship could be taken out.

Ships can recover from consequences just like characters do. However there are some differences. In order to begin recovery at least one character must spend at least an entire scene working to remove the consequence. It takes a total of 3 scenes to turn a severe consequence into a moderate one. It takes 2 scenes to turn a moderate consequence into a mild one. And finally it takes 1 scene to remove a mild consequence. The scenes spent repairing do not need to be consecutive. You can spend a bit of time working here or there, but the consequence isn’t changed or removed until the repairs are finished. Each scene spent working on a repair requires an appropriate opposed skill roll to justify a repair being done. The difficulty of the roll is determined by the severity of the consequence. A mild is a +2 difficulty, a moderate is a +4, and a severe is a +6. It is often useful to create advantages or to invoke situation aspects to succeed at these rolls, as a failed roll means your character spends a scene accomplishing pretty much nothing. (Although you do always have the option to “succeed at great cost.”


Airships hit milestones at the same time as it’s crew. They also advance the same way, except that the players need to agree on what advancements the ship takes. If you’re changing one of the ship’s aspects, remember that you’re also changing aspect of the character who’s aspect matches the ship.

The Airship Guide

Changeling: The Dreaming FATE mayhawk Jaygirl24