D&D 3.5e Airship And Flying City Creation Guide

D&D 3.5e Airship And Flying City Creation Guide

This is a guide on how to make Airships using D&D rules, and I will be adding some bits on Flying Cities later… its mostly a comparison of the various ways of using D&D rules to make an Airship!  Note that this does NOT talk about doing things like making advanced engines with Animate Object (only the simplest method of that is mentioned, due to precedent in the rulebooks), or using real world physics and engineering in airships.  While this can be done, and can be a way to even surpass the low cost of the airships here, it is beyond the scope of this particular guide.

First, I will be comparing the airships presented in the various 3.5e and 3.0e books, both on their own merits as complete ships, and as the basis for further enhancement.

Note: there is another airship handbook, here:

http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=14914.0

http://web.archive.org/web/20160313105255/http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=14914.0

Which focuses on options somewhat different than this one.

By the book airships:

By The Book Airship # 1:

Halruaan Skyship. From the book Forgotten Realms Shining South, pg 56
Pros: Traditional to FR. Looks like a ship — A Wondrous Item, so doesn’t require difficult to obtain feats to make!

Cons:  Needs a Huge Crew. Wooden, and normal wood even. Really expensive. Slow. Looks like a ship… uses Wind Power to move. Utterly vulnerable to natural antimagic area. Also vulnerable to attack. Not generally for sale; mostly prestige things that Halruaa makes.  Costs 400,000 gp; most expensive option in general.  If you are in FR, you can’t simply get it by taking craft wondrous item; you generally need to use lost techniques from Halruaa.

Conclusion: Generally the worst option of all the presented options.  Don’t go for this unless you can steal one and get away with it.

By The Book Airship # 2:

House Lyrander Airship.  From the book Eberron Campaign Setting, pg 267

Pros: Arguably, can stay aloft in a null magic zone.  The Eberron books disagree on, if the elemental is ever released or rendered nonfunctional, if the ship crashes or not.  However, they do not disagree that the alchemically treated Soarwood is what provides the lift, making the whole thing lighter than air, and the bound elemental merely provides the motive force.   This airship is in the core eberron book, and is easy to find.  It is relatively common in the setting.  It is relatively inexpensive, costing only 92,000 gp (though see the other handbook for discussion on this price).  It is fast.  Making wood ship lighter than air doesn’t require a powerful spellcaster; just an alchemist.

Cons: Doing this sort of elemental binding also needs a specific feat and a very high caster level.  In Eberron, one house has a monopoly on the technique.  Soarwood isn't too terribly durable. Locomotion doesn't work in a natural antimagic area, just the floating. Needs a crew too, though the crew is relatively small, being only 15 people.

Conclusion: A solid choice, especially at the price.  If you are crafting one yourself, you might want to use other options, though integrating alchemically treated Soarwood into whatever construction you use is a solid idea.

By The Book Airship # 3:

Gate Zeppelin, from the book Planar Handbook, pg 73

Pros: mundane flight and propulsion, can hover, can Gate to another plane 1/day.

Cons: Slow. A big target.  The actual space is a small gondola.  Not too durable. Getting a good place to set down is difficult. Expensive: costs 160,000 gp

Conclusion: Don’t go for this

By The Book Airship # 4:

Dragonfly Longship, from Dragon Magazine #331, pg 38

Pros: Doesn't need a big crew (implies two or three in the description), fast (winged) flying speed, with relatively good maneuverability.  Has a very, very useful weapon. Wondrous Item, so doesn’t require obscure feats to make.  Is actually somewhat like a fighter airplane.  Since it is a Wondrous item, is exceptionally simple to simply make it an intelligent Wondrous Item…

Cons: Expensive (175,000), doesn't work in antimagic area, not being a construct and instead being a Wondrous Item.  Can’t hover.

Conclusion: A solid sports car / fighter airplane option.

By the Book Airship #5 & #6:

Dirigible and Zeppelin, from Arms & Equipment Guide, pg 55

Pros: Crew is small, 10 or 6.  Lighter than air, doesn’t fall if in a nonmagic area.  Specifically mentions that the propellers are animated, implying that you can cast Animate Object on propellers in a permanent way (Permanency?), thus letting other airship types use this as a means of locomotion.  Can Hover.  Cheap: Dirigible is 35,000 gp, and Zeppelin is 60,000 gp.

Cons: Slow, all the problems with real-world zeppelins.  The guide doesn’t say what kind of gas is put in them, or how it is obtained, or if there is a cheaper gas which happens to be flammable (like real life).  Easy to damage.

Conclusion: Some of the cheapest options for a pre-statted ship.  Not bad, for that.

Too add: Firesleds from Secrets of Xen’drik.  Air-Skiffs from Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade and The Voyage of the Golden Dragon

Ships that were left out on purpose:

*The planar ships described in the planar handbook do not outright say that they can fly at the gravity of a full planet.  Their ability to move lowers in gravity wells on the astral plane, and they are implied to be astral-only ships

*Spelljammer Nautiloids, as far as I know, are not given a write-up anywhere in D&D 3.5e or 3.0e rules.  Also they need a spellcaster as a full time helmsman.  They were quite similar to the planar handbook ships in theme, though.

Airships that use rules in books, but aren’t costed out completely:

Option 1: Enchanting a Stronghold Space using the Stronghold Builder's Guide rules

Pros: Wondrous Item! Doesn’t require obscure feats to make.  Can be made of lots of interesting materials–not necessarily wood! Gives movement for interplanar options. Can be quite fast. Gives swimming/earthgliding/etc options, great!  If you want to do the magneto thing with walls of iron and shape metal and such, this is how you want to do it.

Cons: If you use these rules for the main way of doing locomotion, then the price starts adding up real quick. Very vulnerable to a natural antimagic area.

Conclusion: Use this set of rules to swank up an existing, other methods.  Especially get it aloft, or provide locomotion, with other ways.  It’s still good if you want larger airships, though.

Option 2: Making the ship an Effigy (From Complete Arcane)

Pros: Self Locomotion! Can follow orders! Can look like an animal or wyvern with added hit dice (and thus size) or whatever! Can fly on it's own power! It can fly and move about in antimagic area!

Cons: Requires Craft Construct to make. Has a low number of hit points, so it can be 'killed' with direct hit point damage. Arguably not a con — most of the rules for vehicles (stormwrack, arms and equipment guide, etc.) have them with low hit points anyway for some reason, and it might manage to get a hardness from those. It's not necessarily a 'smart' ship at this point. Will need to flap its wings to stay aloft. Might need some house rules to get the right form of an effigy — making it so much bigger than say, a normal sized Wyvern, might require DM intervention. Will need silly template stacking (like in that classic ‘mr roboto’ thread, seen here: http://web.archive.org/web/20140919063518/http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=4540.0) to not be too vulnerable. Might be targeted by intimidated people (‘AHH ITS A WYVERN AHHH KILL IT!!’).

Option 3: Using the actual spell (Suspension) in Shining South that is the basis of their ships, maybe in a Spell Clock or a Repeating Boon Trap (a la Dungeonscape, but not exactly using the Dungeonscape rules, since those are dungeon-defense specific designs), or just someone casting this as a spell.

Pros: Really, Really cheap. I mean, a Spell Clock or repeating trap or whatever of this would be RIDICULOUSLY cheap. Can get very large amounts of weight aloft. Did I mention cheap? Also, Wondrous Item, so it isn’t hard to get a feat which can make this.

Cons: Suppressed in an area of natural antimagic. It requires spells to be actively cast, either by a person activating a wondrous item, or casting the spell from their list, or pulling a lever for the trap, or a Spell Clock automatically casting it. Doesn't provide locomotion.

Option 4: Animated Object + Permanency

Pros: Immediately can get the item flight, wheeled mobility, etc. Cheap!  Just requires mundane building, casting of spells, and some XP, doesn't require item creation feats.  The Arms & Equipment Guide options imply that the speed can be improved beyond that of just the Animated Object spell description itself, by adding propellers.

Cons: Requires either a spellcaster to keep on casting the spell, or a spell clock or a repeating trap… or Permanency.  Can be dispelled (!). Arguably nullified in an area of antimagic: constructs work fine in an area of antimagic, but spells don’t (consult your DM).  Requires a few creative shenanigans to get it to actually work.  Flight is 25’ and clumsy, unless you can get the propellers thing allowed.  Can only work on items that fit within a 30 foot square box.

Option 5: Use a Soarwhale from Arms and Equipment Guide

Pro: Paralyzing Gas Breath Weapon! Two options in how to use the creature: A creature you can train, and place a howdah on top or a gondola on bottom (what the book suggests, or you could do both)… Ooorrrrrr you could make one into a giant undead zombie whale which you hollow out to make much more living space (presumably you leave the air bladders intact).  Is a creature you find and train (or…breed? domesticate?), so doesn't require feats to make.  Doesn't require much crew.  Really, really, really strong.  Really tough.  Huge number hit dice.

Con: Both options have problems.  The creature one doesn’t give much space.  The hollow zombie one, well…  You are flying in a giant undead zombie whale blimp.  And you probably have to make sure the air bladders –and whatever makes the gas– don’t rot (reinforce them alchemically maybe?).  Also the massive amount of HD means that you need to use something obscure and without a HD cap to make it a zombie, like a variant of the Elixir of the Unfailing Servant (Drow of the Underdark) or something.  And those are relatively hard to find, and you would need to make a non-drow version.  Also, you have to kill this 467-hit point monstrosity after pouring that elixir down its gullet. Also the gm would have to give you some means of controlling the thing. This is mostly in the realm of dm fiat, honestly.

Option 6: Skyberg from Frostburn

Pro: Tons of living space. Big, easy to dig out rooms in this flying iceberg. Doesn’t require a feat to make!

Con: It's a flying iceberg.  You will need to both add a significant amount of propulsion and keep it from melting somehow, probably from some Frostburn spell.

Some thoughts on Locomotion

Option 1: Get some tireless flying creature to pull it

Pro: You get a few flying effigies or flying mindless undead to pull your swank flying boat! Awesome! They can keep it moving in an antimagic fields, too!

Con: They can be targeted, and are vulnerable. Also the cables or ropes connecting them to the ship can be targeted. Also, having separate creatures from the ship providing movement to it gives miscellaneous problems of their own (controlling them, directing them, etc.).  Also, undead need to be controlled somehow, which generally requires a Dread Necromancer or a Cleric or something, which is tedious.  Also, constructs tend to be more expensive to make than Undead.  

Option 2: Decanter of Endless Water + Riverine [Stormwrack] Nozzle + Permanency-ed Wall of Fire (or a shaped, Permanencied Wall of Magma to provide both the heat and the chamber and nozzle)

Pro: THRUST. LOTS AND LOTS of thrust. Like, if you do things right, Jet engine thrust level! You can even call it a PLASMA DRIVE!

Con: You are spewing lots of water (or steam, or maybe plasma, I’m not sure what happens to the water when it is put under ridiculous amounts of pressure that this device would generate, even with only the limited heat of a wall of Fire…) behind you. This might upset people / the weather / the Druid / certain creatures. Suppressed in Antimagic area, unless the Magma version breaks Line of Effect. Also, someone generally has to interact with this item to get it to do stuff. Also, problems with aiming the thrust, you'll need a fancy rudder (or, uhm, whatever setup F-22’s use for vectored thrust…) setup of some sort.  Also problems with huge amounts of heat generation in your ship!  This is one of the setups for any of the ‘physics’ based options, of varying designs.  Unfortunately, these can cause huge arguments for exactly how much thrust the various methods provide… and the particulars of the boiler design.  Price, amount of thrust, the number of decanters needed, the exact construction, the spells needed, etc. etc. will likely need to be hand-waved.  Do be aware that WotC didn’t do the math with the ‘Geyser’ version of the decanter, so the water pressure isn’t actually Geyser-level.  You might have to talk to your GM about this

Conclusion: This is something you should reaaallly talk to your DM if you plan on doing this.

Option 3: Sails

Pro: Already in most settings. Cheap. Work in antimagic area.

Con: Can't generally go faster than the wind directly downwind, and not sturdy. Might require Stormwrack and Arms & Equipment Guide rules, which are cumbersome and don’t work that well (notably, those rules let you go downwind faster than the wind… without using a propeller setup).  If you want to get realistic, you can’t really do most of the neat sailing maneuvers that can be done with a keel in water, so this might be incredibly useless if your DM thinks about it for more than a second or two.

Conclusion: Eh. Cheap, and an okay backup, if the rules will be handwaved. You’ll generally have more lift than you need, so why not carry some sails or something?

Option 4: Using some perpetual motion machine on the inside of the ship, connected with gears, (there are a bunch that can be made with D&D spells) to move a propeller or something

Pros: Can improve speed, maybe even greatly.

Cons: Easily damaged.  Might need the heat metal / cool metal thing, or any of the other D&D perpetual motion machines options (animate object is a classic!).  Or you could just animate object the propellers themselves, but that is more subject to being dispelled.  No real rules cover exactly how much it can improve the speed of various options…

Conclusion: It works alright.  But this shouldn’t be the main way of providing thrust — animated propellers should be a backup method, perhaps

Option 5:

Coldfire Engine from Frostburn. Lightning Turbine or Cloud Keel from Arms & Equipment Guide

Pros: Uhm, the Lightning Turbine can double existing move speeds.  The Coldfire Engine is relatively fast too.

Cons: Expensive as all heck. I mean REALLY.  Who the heck priced these things??  Also, the Lightning Turbine needs a source of lightning to be hitting it regularly, which shouldn’t be too hard to provide with a magic trap or something

Conclusion: These are good ways of adding speed if you have extra money to burn.  However, if you have money to burn, why are you reading this particular guide? If you have a million GP to spend, read this guide instead: 

http://web.archive.org/web/20151031065840/http://community.wizards.com/forum/previous-editions-character-optimization/threads/1128391

Some thoughts on intelligent ships:

Option 1: Haunt Shift spell, from Libris Mortis

Pro: An easy way to get it intelligence.

Con: Evil, uses negative energy. Makes it, you know, haunted by Undead. Might not always let the inhabiting spirit have full control over everything. Requires some intelligent undead to start with. To bypass these issues (ie, get a Deathless / positive energy version), will need LOTS of DM Fiat / Custom spell research / questing. Probably suppressed in antimagic. From a fairly obscure source book, too.

Conclusion: I don’t particularly like this method… it’s great for a GM to make one of these and have the player characters find it, but it isn’t ideal to start with.

Option 2: Embedding a Sentient Magic Item in the structure/workings somewhere

Pro: Fairly easy to accomplish. Gives it Sentience.

Con: Will probably only work well with the Effigy version, and only if there's some way to link the commands of the magic item to what the Effigy does.  Would work with the Dragonfly Longship, though.  Maybe even the Halruuan Airship (though why would you?) Might not give it control over all the ancillary aspects of the ship, unless it has access to lots of unseen servants / mage hand / etc. sorts of things.  Possibly needs GM adjudication to get this to work fully

Conclusion: I actually prefer this, since I like effigy ships in general

Option 3: For the constructs, use Rudimentary Intelligence from Dragon Magazine #327.

Pro. Fairly easy to accomplish. Animal intelligence. Doesn't require humanoid constructs, unlike the feat alternative (yay!).  Also gives skill points!

Con: Somewhat expensive! Needs access to Circle Magic (ie, extreme caster level buffs, though you can get those elsewhere at high level if you want) to get it to normal human level intelligence or higher than that.

Conclusion: Pretty good.  There’s nothing wrong with having a ship with animal intelligence (or higher, if you get enough caster level buffs), really.  Plus doesn’t require GM intervention.  

Option 4: Make it a Guardian Ship, from Dragon Magazine #333, provided the DM will allow those enchantments to be used on other ship-like constructs (like the eberron soarwood ships)

Pro: gives some useful abilities

Con: Way, way, wayyyyyyyy too expensive…

One of my favorite ways of making a cheap, small ship that is high performance:

My personal favorite way of doing this is something a level 8 Artificer (with, say, Apprentice Craftsman and Extraordinary Artisan) can make, as follows (of course a bigger version would be needed to be more than just personal transport…).  Basically, it’s a hollow effigy with some add-ons.  Ideally, you will have access to a Rod of Invisible Spell or the Invisible Spell feat and be able to make certain bits of it out of Invisible Iron from Walls of Iron, which should then be able to be alloyed to various exotic steels scattered about D&D, and still maintain some of it’s transparency.  It also has some suggested cost reduction feats for the Artificer, too.  Anyway, here goes:

Checking D20 Modern, things like Helicopters and Cessnas are at least Gargantuan in size.  Thus, a flying machine to hold multiple people will have to also be Gargantuan to be useful.  Thus, a template to enlarge a low hit dice creature is needed.  Unfortunately, the only one that exists in 3.5e is Titanic.  While that would work for, say,  a high wealth game, that's not necessarily what we want.  What we need to do, for effigies, is maximize size while minimizing hit dice.  Also, the creature being a bit pudgy around the middle will help greatly.  Looking around, the Dragonhawk, from Eberron Five Nations, and a web excerpt describing that book (seen here: http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050706a&page=5), fits the bill.  Alas, there is no template for increasing size… However, Pathfinder has the Giant template to do just that, without increasing Hit Dice… And that template is functionally identical to the 3.5 chart that simply describes what changes you make to a creature whose size you arbitrarily increase, or when their hit dice increase enough to make their size bigger.

With Effigies, you generally want to stack templates for purposes of adding natural armor, basic stats, and movement modes.

Thus, we ultimately want to make a:

-Giant

-Half Dragon Li Lung

-Chameleon

-Magebred

-Half Scrag

-Wild

-Effigy

-Dragonhawk

Here are what the templates add, when applied to a creature that will ultimately be an effigy:

Magebred (Eberron Campaign Setting) adds: +4 to natural armor, +4 str, +2 dex, improved natural attack: claw

Woodling (Monster Manual III) adds +7 natural armor

Wild (dragon magazine 306) adds +2 str, +5’ to all speeds

Half-Scrag (Fiend Folio) adds +4 to natural armor, +6 str, +2 dex, -5’ land speed, 20' swim speed. Minimum Bite damage for Gargantuan is 2d8. Minimum Claw damage for Gargantuan is 2d6.  Gargantuan Rend is 4d6

Giant (see http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/templates/simple-template-giant-cr-1 and http://www.d20srd.org/srd/improvingMonsters.htm#sizeIncreases ) +4 str and con, -2 dex +3 natural armor, increases size of attacks, new size improves base stats for effigy. Sadly, have not found a 3.5e equivalent that is appropriate for non-medium creatures, though theoretically you could apply the ‘Titanic’ template (Monster Manual II) to the ‘Dire Hawk’ animal (Races of the Wild) rather than a Dragonhawk. However, the problem with that is that it bumps the hit dice an incredible amount, far more than is appropriate for this use.

Half-Dragon Li Lung (dragon magazine #356) adds 4 natural armor, str+8, burrow speed 10'.  For Bite and claw at gargantuan, set minimum to claw 2d6, bite 3d6

Chameleon: 10’ Climb Speed, Damageless Tongue attack with Reach. 

Effigy (Complete Arcane) adds +4 str, -2 to dex, adds 2 to natural armor, removes con and int, removes most special abilities, removes most feats, adds dr 5/adamantine, sets wisdom to 11 and charisma to 1.

Dragonhawk: STR 26, dex 12, Huge, 8 HD, 9 pt natural armor, 10’ Land speed, 120’ fly average, attacks: 2 claws size  d8, bite size 2d6, 2 wings size 1d6

Stats after all of this:

Magebred, Giant, Wild, Woodling, Half-Scrag, Half Dragon Li-Lung, Chameleon, Effigy, Dragonhawk

8d10+60 hp (106 hp)

10’ ft Move, 25’ swim, 15’ Climb, 15’ Burrow, 125’ Fly (Average)

Gargantuan, Mindless Construct

DR 5/Adamantine

str 54, dex 12, Wisdom 11, Constitution — Intelligence — Charisma 1

34 points of natural armor

2 Claws 2d6,  bite 3d6, 2 wings 1d6, Reach Tongue no damage (touch attacks only), rend 4d6

You will likely want to ask the GM to make this a bit more reasonable, and ‘not more badass than a Roc’, so something like:

8d10+60 hp (106 hp)

10’ move, 20’ swim, 10’ climb, 10’ burrow, 120’ fly (average)

Gargantuan, Mindless Construct

DR 5/Adamantine

Str 26, Dex 12, Wisdom 11, Constitution — Intelligence — Charisma 1

9 points of natural armor

2 talons primary 2d6+str, one bite secondary 3d6+half str

Should likely be reasonable.  You mostly want it for the movement capabilities anyway!  After all, you will have to remove most of those super-powerful capabilities to make it an airship that you are in from the inside.  You don’t want to be left on the outside of the thing when it burrows, do you? Even if there is supposedly a saddle for burrowing creatures in Races of Stone, I believe… Hence the invisible Iron.  Further, nothing is preventing you from adding rocket boost to this creature to increase its speed and maneuverability, perhaps using Decanters of Endless Water and possibly Animate Object on specially designed rocket nozzles for extreme vectored thrust like the X-31.

BASE PRICE

Gargantuan Body: 25,000

8 Hit Die: 16,000

Blueshine/Everbright (mic) ad-hoc anti-rust and anti acid (perhaps gives resist acid 10?, and immune to mundane rust and rusting effects?) treatment cost: 2,000

Cost of making it an airship and making controls: Assumed part of cost of body

Total: 43,000

Cost reducers:

Make it yourself: *.5

Apprentice Craftsman * .9

Extraordinary Artisan: * .75

Total cost for this character to make this aspect: 14512.5 gp

Embedded Item (in workings):

Collar of Perpetual Attendance (from fabulous cats web article, see here: http://web.archive.org/web/20180108122633/http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fools/20030401c ) Base price 2000

Speaking Sentient Item: 4000

Lesser Powers Ad-Hoc removed, instead it can use the construct's senses and pilot the construct directly, or direct it to move using its own capabilities, and also keeps the interior clean and tidy, and may even be able to perform minor repairs.  Two mental abilities are set to 10, the other is set to 14

Base Price: 6000

Cost reducers:

Make it yourself: *.5

Apprentice Craftsman * .9

Extraordinary Artisan: * .75

Total cost for this character to make this aspect: 2025

Suspension VTOL and Emergency Landing Repeating 'Trap' system (if the construct is rendered inert, this should enable the airship to land safely. it also allows it to hover and take off and land vertically.  Should also help with surfacing from underwater.)

500 gp x spell level 4 x Caster Level 7 = 14000

cost given is NOT sale price, it is making it yourself price, so no .5 for making it yourself

Apprentice Craftsman * .9

Extraordinary Artisan: * .75

Total cost for this character to make this aspect: 9450

Total cost for an Artificer with a few relevant feats to make a kick-ass Huge Dragonhawk airship that can fight and has some awesome features: 14512.5+2025+9450 = 25987.5 gp 

Which is between buying a +3 and a +4 weapon on the open market! Not bad!

——-

Off topic digression: Using some Mr Roboto stuff for solid Construct shock troops

Another good thing to do is to apply Magebred, Wild, Woodling, Half-Scrag, Half Dragon Li-Lung (no need for Chameleon) and Effigy to a ‘Girallon’ (SRD/MM) for shock troops.  If you don’t want to apply it to a Girallon, look for creatures that have lots of strength and useful attacks for their hit dice — various Wild Shape or Polymorph handbooks are useful, and talk about high value creatures like Dire Lions.  But we’ll use Girallons in this case:

This would create a cost 19,000 gp MARKET VALUE (!)

7D10+30 hp (68 hp)

Large, Mindless Construct

44 str

19 dex

con –

int –

wis 11

cha 1

45' land speed

10' burrow speed

40' climb speed

20' swim speed

90' fly speed (average)

dr 5/adamantine

25 points of natural armor (!)

4 1d10 claw attacks (primary)

1 1d8 bite attack (secondary)

1 1d6 slam attack (secondary)

+ 2d6 Girallon Rend

Improved Natural Attack Claw

Of course, that might be too hardcore for some DM's, especially since you can make this at like level eight. So comparing it to other golems makeable around the ~7-9 hd range, some modifications might be in order. After comparing it to a Flesh Golem (SRD/MM1), Serpentflesh golem (Serpent Kingdoms), a full improved Homunculus Iron Defender (EBCS, MoE), and a Fang Golem (MMIV), some more sane stats might be something like:

+10 natural armor

40 ft move, 40' climb, 40' fly (average), 20' swim, 10' burrow

dr 5/adamantine

7 HD + 30 hp (68 hp)

Large

4 claws at 1d6, 1 bite at 1d8, girallon rend 2d6

str 22

dex 17

Improved Natural Attack: Claw

Nowhere near as good as a fully kitted out Shadesteel Golem (Monster Manual III), which works best if you do the things mentioned here in this thread (read tippy’s posts all through this thread): http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?320604-What-is-so-great-about-the-shadesteel-golem&p=16637717&viewfull=1#post16637717 to one.  But they are passable until you can get the necessary spell and magic item support and caster level to make Shadesteel Golems the best melee brute minion in the game, which they are if you invest enough in one.

End off topic discussion about melee bruisers/shock troops

—————————

Methods of making a floating city stay up:

-Walls of Force, per Stronghold Builder’s guidebook

-Suspension spell, shining south (+using repeating traps or spell clocks)

-Find a Skyberg, or similar (earthmote? that is a bit 4e-ish, but many settings might have naturally flying landmasses)

-Use Soarwood components in the city, Ironwooded (the Spell) permanently (presuming this is possible, of course), or alchemically hardened if possible, as the base of the suspension structure

-Reverse Gravity spell, strategically placed (+using repeating traps or spell clocks)

-Wondrous Architecture in general (per Stronghold Builder's Guide)

-Stone Trap spell, from Shining South (with impossible trigger conditions for the trap to go off and fall, and building off of those stones, and glueing or bonding or stone shaping them together)

-There is an epic spell and associated mythallar that makes floating cities in either Lost Empires of Faerun or Player’s Guide to Faerun which shaves the top of a mountain, makes it fly up, and inverts it

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