Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

gavken
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Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by gavken » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:14 pm

So my the major supplier of Helium is in Helium City and thus North American Airships can get easy access to it and give the Emporer problems.

If I wanted to set a campaign elsewhere in the world how do the pirates get access to Helium? Or do they just make do with substitutes. My guesses are the following:-

a) The use a substitute such as Hydrogen which is infinitely more dangerous
b) The somehow import it from one of the few sources around the world
c) They use hot air instead
d) As a GM you cheat and invent a new discovery of a source of Helium nearby.

I must admit as a GM the easiest thing would be to cheat and use d) as an answer. Any official or unofficial answers appreciated.

Razorwing
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by Razorwing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:07 am

You've pretty much detailed the ways other Skylofts will deal with the need to stay in the skies.

Choice D is probably the easiest for most GMs, along with creating their own "Helium City" equivilent in the area they wish to use. It is even possible that some one has found away to synthisize Hellium through other means (maybe the discovered or created a Fusion Generator (cold or hot) that produces Helium as a by-product)

Choices A, B and C will probably be for those GMs looking for a more plausable explaination to avoid accusations of handwavium. An optional approach would be to do a little research to find other existing natural sources of Helium on the planet and place their games near those sites with a "Helium City"-like settlement.

As an interesting note, while Hydrogen is a lot more dangerous to use, it also provides about 20% more lift. This means that there may be some Pirates who feel that the risk of using Hydrogen is worth it to carry about 20% more cargo (loot) than they would normally be able to (or be a little lighter than most other ships of similar size as an unexpected advantage when it comes to combat).
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tkdco2
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by tkdco2 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:37 am

IIRC, Helium City is neutral territory, so anyone can go there without worrying about getting attacked. Still, since helium is relatively rare on Earth, hydrogen would also be used, as would hot air.

Grimwyrd
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by Grimwyrd » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:54 am

Just use hydrogen, it makes sense and would be cheap and abundant. Is it more dangerous then helium? Yup, but the threat level is very manageable, remember that almost two thirds of the people on board the Hindenburg survived the disaster. Surly a society that can make sentient robots could develop safety features for hydrogen use.
Last edited by Grimwyrd on Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Garn!
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by Garn! » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:09 pm

According to Wikipedia: Helium, Modern Extraction production of
helium were extracted from natural gas or withdrawn from helium reserves with approximately 78% from the United States, 10% from Algeria, and most of the remainder from Russia, Poland and Qatar.
So any of these locations would have some access to Helium. Although, as noted, other locations might use hydrogen or other gasses instead. This would only seriously hamper Asia and Australia; although I thought the Emperor wasn't active in Australia, so this might be moot.

Perhaps European, Asian or Australian scientists found a more viable extraction method, at least sufficient to field a more American AP type setting (as conjectured). If this is the case, natural gas is currently produced nearly worldwide in sufficient quantity (Wikipedia: Natural Gas) that Helium might not be as rare within the AP world setting. If an improved extraction method exists, I would bet that most political entities are engaged in espionage to get their hands on the process.

Besides simply using another gas to provide lift, perhaps as seen in the Frankenstein products, other means of segregation, control and megafauna safety has been put into use.

Assuming, of course, that the megafauna haven't killed themselves off in the wild due to lack of sufficient food. What megafauna remains might congregate around the Changecage Cities like a nature preserve/zoo. Which might sound a bit far fetched until you recall that the megafauna has been biologically enhanced to prefer humanity as a food source. If their are few sources in the wild, the megafauna should be trying to get into any human settlements.


PS: I don't own AP, so I might be ignorant of relevant material.

DavetheLost
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by DavetheLost » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:21 pm

Of course, just to play Devil's Advocate, the rest of the world may have very different situations to North America.

Robert being from North America really hasn't touched too much on the rest of the world yet...

gavken
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by gavken » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:46 pm

He did, it was his meddling in Actium and other places that caused all this in the first place :D

Since Helium can be obtained through natural gas my solution is as follows. There have recently been large deposits of natural gas found in the rocks in the UK and they are going to look at extracting it using fracking. Therefore two such extraction areas have been set up. One in Wales called Gastown (used by the Skylofts) and one just outside Stoke-on-Trent (called The Imperial Station) which has been taken over by the Imperial Navy. This way Helium is available but very expensive for airship captains. They can either pay the premium prices for Helium or take a much bigger risk and use hydrogen.

Razorwing
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by Razorwing » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:46 am

To be honest... I'm not really sure if using hydrogen is as big of a risk as people fear it would be. True, the Hindenburg desaster is an extreme example of what could happen, but from what I was able to learn, hydrogen filled derigables had been flown saftly for some time.

Additionally, upon further reading of the setting, the gasbags used by the vast majority of airships in this setting are more like a series of individual cells to prevent a single strike to the gas bag from causing all the gas to escape. Furthermore, there are few forms of ammunition that are used that would actually ignite any hydrogen used. In fact, the only weapon I can see that may ignite a hydrogen filled gasbag would be the Lightning Gun (portable or canon). Neither bullets nor cannonballs would cause hydrogen to explode... even if propelled by steam. Yes, the bullets/cannonballs may be heated by whatever is propelling them, but their velocity through the air also cools them. If they were still hot enough to ignite hydrogen, they would be hot enough to cauterize a wound.

Maybe if you shot a gun with the barrel right next to a gasbag where the muzzel-flash could cause hydrogen to ignite could there be a real danger. And yes, any open flames on a ship may also do this, but standard ammunition or hits to the ship are not likely to pose as much a danager as people may think. Also, the material used to make most gasbags in the setting, Calgorite, is said to be a rubber-like substance with self-sealing properties... suggesting that it would be resistant to static charges like the one that is believed to have caused the initial spark that caused the Hindenburg desaster.
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Dulahan
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by Dulahan » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:41 pm

DavetheLost wrote:Of course, just to play Devil's Advocate, the rest of the world may have very different situations to North America.

Robert being from North America really hasn't touched too much on the rest of the world yet...
Underneath the Lamplight gives a pretty darned good overview of most of the rest of the world though. At least from a Neo-Vic standpoint.

Razorwing
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Re: Playing AP in other parts of the world - Helium

Post by Razorwing » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:17 am

Dulahan wrote:
DavetheLost wrote:Of course, just to play Devil's Advocate, the rest of the world may have very different situations to North America.

Robert being from North America really hasn't touched too much on the rest of the world yet...
Underneath the Lamplight gives a pretty darned good overview of most of the rest of the world though. At least from a Neo-Vic standpoint.
It may have given a good overview of the other Change Cage cities, but that is hardly the rest of the world. Remember that probably 99% of Neovictorians never leave the cities. The few who do are either forbidden to speak of what they see, kept cloistered away so they can't tell anyone anything, or are not even allowed to return to the cities. As far as the Neovictorians are concerned (and a point that Underneath the Lamplight hammers home) the rest of the world may as well not exist because no one is allowed to be there. Only the cities are where humanity is supposed to be... and those not in the cities don't exisit.

While we got a lot of information on the other Change Cage cities, we were given next to no information on what is going on outside of them. There were a few references to a few Neobedouin tribes here and there and a few Skylofts, but nothing major about them... let alone where they get the resources they use. We know that the Change Cage cities tend to produce resources that they trade with each other... using the Bargefolk to carry these items from one city to the others... but no information on any trade with the other cultures. This is probably because such trade is almost nonexistant.

Like I said, we get alot of information on the Change Cage cities, but as big as they are, the rest of the world between them is even bigger.
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