As I have already posted over on my German blog, I attended a 1930’s themed party in Munich in April. Among the features of the event was a casino and I actually won enough at the blackjack table for me and my friends to win a bottle of whiskey after we pooled our chips but that’s beside the point…
But while gambling I had an idea: An airship cruising over international waters would be the ideal place for a really exclusive casino. Think about it, it would operate outside easy reach of almost every law enforcement agency and it would be more difficult to hunt down than a ship…
And what’s more, given steampunk technology (even better: dieselpunk technology) an airship would be the ideal base of operation for any sort of villain.
The trope of the pirate airship is common, well known and by now a bit overused. If you think about it, there are so much more uses for an airship and a criminal mind.
The usual raiding comes to mind but this is so… Usual. It is far more fun to pull every trick steampunk technology has to offer.
Equip your airship with a mobile drill or at least a leech-hose for pipelines and tap into the global oil-supply.
You could also simply annoy your nemesis and use it to deploy a mobile weather-control-ray precisely over their house and/or headquarters.
On a related note: Use some sort of “counter-sun-sail” and cast an enormous shadow. Yes, the last two are more on the side of the jovial evil but who says evil overlords cannot have a little fun once in a while.
In deed, no matter how far you want to take your Steampunk technology level, one thing becomes apparent: Airships are one powerful tool for an evil overlord. This naturally leads to the following conclusions:
- In a steampunk world, the technology to build airships will be tightly controlled, like every part of the military-industrial complex today. After all, I have yet to encounter a representative of the Royal or US Navy or the Bundesmarine flogging frigates on Ebay…
- Every nation in a Steampunk world, especially those on the border of what in the 19th century called civilization, will have constant air-patrols in place and AAA (anti-aircraft artillery) will be rather advanced.
- Radar technology or something similar will have been developed rather early.
- There will be stealth-airships sooner or later.
Hmmm… Come to think of it, I just realised I have not quite taken all this into account in my Steampunk role playing campaign, but this can be corrected in no time.