The Bolaship - one of the strangest contraptions in fantasy space - is propelled physically through space by the movement of six whiplike appendages placed on the nose of the craft. These appendages also serve as the Bolaship's main weaponry. As the bolas pick up speed, the ship's speed also increases. Each round, the ship can be accelerated or decelerated by 1 SR to a maximum SR 6. Twelve gnomes drive the bolas, pedaling wildly to keep them moving. If there are not enough gnomes available to fully man the pedals, the maximum SR drops (max. SR is 1 for every 2 gnomes pedaling), and acceleration or deceleration takes longer (increase time to accelerate/decelerate 1 SR point by 1 round for each gnome below the standard 12). When the Bolaship strikes with its whip, each of the six appendages must make a separate attack (THAC0 18) for 1 hull point of damage. If the attack roll is a natural 1, that particular bolawhip breaks, and the ship's maximum SR is penalized by one point. If all six break, the ship is immobilized.
While the Bolaship has a more standardized design than a Sidewheeler, it will still be constantly modified and tinkered with by the gnomes on board. As a result of this unstable structure, there is a 50% chance that any landing will result in a crash, just like with a Sidewheeler.
Bolaships will usually carry a crew of 25-30 gnomes. Only the position of captain is usually fixed aboard a gnomish ship for any period of time. All other positions are filled on a rotational basis on a schedule based on a number of variables such as time, ship's position within a sphere, aphase of a moon on the gnomes homeworld, or any number of other factors. As this often moves ill-suited individuals into vital positions, gnomish ships operate haphazardly at best. This week's chief cook might be next week's navigator.
Ship Uses Edit
Escort: The Bolaship was first developed as an experimental weapon to defend gnomish vessels from pirates. As such, the Bolaship is usually used as an unusual escort vessel. In this role the Bolaship has been moderately successful, not so much because of its effectiveness as a weapon, but because the sight of such a strange machine charging at full speed while the bolas flail wildly, has frightened more than a few enemy ships into flight.
Exploration: Like most gnomish vessels, the Bolaship is frequently used as an exploration ship, satisfying the well-known gnomish curiosity. The Bolaship is as effective as any other gnomish ship in this endeavor.
Other Configurations Edit
Racing Bola: One gnomish asteroid base has become obsessed with the Bolaship design. These gnomes have divided themselves into a half dozen different design teams, with each team operating their own Bolaship. These Bolaships differ from the standard design in that they are both topped out and stripped for extra maneuverability. Each design team constantly strives to make their vessel faster and more maneuverable than the ships of their rivals. These Racing Bolas compete in monthly races around courses through the asteroid belt in which the gnomes make their home. The winning team gains prestige and bragging rights - until the next race at least. A Racing Bola boasts MC B, requires a crew of 15 (plus the 12 gnomes required to operate the bolawhip), and has AR 7. Each Racing Bola has a great deal of modifications meant to increase the ship's speed, but none of these modifications provides any noticeable change in SR.