Hot Air Balloons
The balloons of Morvalistan are designed by the famous Italian aeronautical family, the Pallone. Although they resemble conventional hot-air balloons, Pietro Pallone has designed a remarkable aerial conveyance that combines a gas envelope and a hot air steering system. The steering system also allows the gas envelope to be heated to increase lift for short periods. As a by-product the steering system can be used as a limited propulsion system allowing movement against light and airy winds in the hands of an expert.
Reaching the right altitude is fairly tricky because there is delay between blasting the burners and the balloon actually lifting. Balloon pilots have to operate the appropriate controls just a little bit before they want to rise, and shut them off a little bit before they want to stop rising. Inexperienced pilots often overshoot, rising too high before levelling off. Controlled operation comes only with many hours of ballooning experience.
Generally these balloons operate in threes. Two of them carry the passengers or cargo and the third carries the extra gear needed on long flights; spare gas canisters and other spare parts.
Game rules - The Pallone Aerial Conveyance:
Balloon fabric has the stats W 3,4 Cr 5 D 6. In this case however - W inflicts 1 point damage, Cr 2 points and D 3 points. The envelope itself has an integrity of 10 points. Once this total is reached then the balloon may lift only one third of its load. When 20 is reached the balloon must sink to the ground or lose another third. When 30 is reached the envelope is too perforated to support any weight.
Each balloon is capable of carrying the aeronaut plus up to 4 passengers with luggage or about 1500lb of cargo.
Over and above the cargo each balloon is equipped with patches, spare gas cylinder, hot air burner and 10 ballast bags. Ballast bags may be dropped to counteract any damage (one bag per point) to the balloon envelope or to provide emergency buoyancy (2 bags for +1 on the change of altitude die). Each crew member may drop up to 2 bags in a turn.
Once the wind strength and direction are established the balloons must rise to their operating height. This is measured in 4 increments; Landed, Very Low, Low, Medium, High and Altitude. This latter is anything over 16 altitude and beyond worthwhile rifle range.
Landed is considered as being at virtually ground level with the basket on just above the surface. Any movement is normally controlled by a ground party on ropes. If free movement is attempted there is a risk of spilling. This occurs is a 1 is rolled on any of the movement dice. If the basket is spilled all occupants fall out on a d10 roll of 0 or 1, all items not secured are lost overboard on a d10 roll of 0-3.
Very Low is considered as being the lowest operating height but even here the basket may snag and spill if it contacts an obstacle like a tree, roof or other obstacle.
Low, Medium and High are the normal operating altitudes. The risk of spilling is reduced because the number of objects to collide with is few.
Altitude is the height used for long distance flights and is deemed to be above normal hazards.
Changing altitude is declared one turn and takes place according to a d6 roll 6 immediately, 2-5 next turn, 1 the turn after. The pilot rating is also used to modify the changing altitude die roll.
Depending upon the wind strength a number of d6 are rolled. The final score is modified for the direction of travel as shown on the template and for the pilots rating. The pilot is rated with a number this is the additional number of d6 that the pilot may roll. However the pilot must select which d6 rolls to discard so that the number counted is the same as that shown on the template. In this way an experienced pilot is slightly more predictable than an inexperienced one.
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