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“Let them look up into the sky and see that it is OURS.”

“How the hell did they get ground troops up here ahead of us?! They couldn’t have WALKED!!!! There’s half a bloody ocean in the way!!! I thought you said they didn’t have any heavy transport?!”

“Obviously my sources are wrong.”

“Oh yes, OBVIOUSLY.”

“Hawkmoons lead the way.”

“But Wayfinders find it for them.”

“Bloodriders blaze it.”

“Dark Waters run it in darkness.”

“Silvermoons light the way.”

“Horrorwoods take to the trees.”

“Wolf’s Path doesn’t need trails.”

“Skull Crushers smash their own way.”

“Sapphire Cobras like to dance in traffic.”

“Ghost Riders own the information superhighway.”

“Lost Eclipse is the nightmare of anybody else on the road.”

Thorondor Mrk 1 In-Atmo Heavy Assault Transport Edit

While the Shemarrians, both as originally conceived, and as they have evolved, tend to favor War Mounts over vehicles, for some purposes, there’s just no avoiding the need for vehicles. ARCHIE-3 didn’t want to saddle his defenders with large support-intensive vehicles that would be difficult to hide, easy to trace, and logistically much harder to keep supplied, instead favoring small, fast combat units. The Reformed Shemarrian Nation (both in its terrestrial and extraterrestrial forms) had different needs, and the smaller more elusive formations couldn’t move large amounts of personnel and material around fast enough from site to site as needs dictated. 

The Thorondor-class heavy airlifter fulfills the role of in-atmo aerodyne transport and attack vehicle, for those scenarios and worlds where individual war mounts, however numerous, won’t do, and using a starship is either inappropriate or not possible. 

Design Edit

The Thorondor is actually based on the Coalition States’ Death’s Head Transport, parts and plans for which had been acquired by the Wayfinder Tribe as part of their campaign against the CS after Tolkeen. The Wayfinders traded the plans to the Hawkmoons who used them as the basis of a new design, though prototyping and final assembly would take place in the Northwest (some sources say at reopened/reconstructed Boeing facilities in the old Washington State territories). Though sharing some traits in common with the DHT, the Thorondor looks substantially different, with a more streamlined look, wide forward-swept wings, and a distinctive ‘eagle prow’. With more carrying capacity than a DHT, but more heavily armed than a Skull-Lifter, the Thorondor is aerial troop transport, flying carrier, assault ship, and mobile artillery platform in one. 

Purpose Edit

The Thorondor is heavily armed, particularly with long range projectile weaponry. As a standoff weapons system, the aerodyne is dismissed by many Warriors as lacking the opportunities for glory as smaller, more personal warmounts, and the craft is frequently assigned to be crewed by Males, Tinkers, NeShemar, and novice Warriors. However, as airborne artillery, the Thorondor is invaluable on large campaigns. As troop transports, Thorondors are the centerpieces of aerial assaults, unleashing hordes of jetpack-equipped or parawing-borne warriors into the battlefield.

In addition to their heavy armament, Thorondors sport powerful sensor jamming suites, the better to mask their movements. This is particularly important on Rifts Earth, where the EShemarrians do not wish to tip off their movements or the locations of their major facilities to watchful opponents such as the Coalition States. 

Although the size of small starships like the AuxCv04 “Goshawk” Corvette, the Thorondor CANNOT operate in space. In order to move between planets, the air transport must be carried by transport starships, such as the Rhinochon-class transport, or by large Rift. This limits their operational deployments somewhat, and the Thorondor is thus primarily found with planetary aeries and garrisons, or with the larger planetary raid/invasion taskforces. 

Initially the property of the Hawkmoon Tribe (with several on permanent loan-lease to the Wayfinders), the Thorondor came to be adopted by several other Tribes for their planetary enclaves. The Thorondor name would be later adopted for more sophisticated aerial transports of more radical designs, used throughout the Hawkmoon domain, so the ‘Mrk 1’ is often added to distinguish the original early-model aerodynes from their later descendants. 

Statistics Edit

Thorondor
Type EShe-AFC-060-1
Class Armoured Atmo Heavy Combat Transport
Crew 9
Number Troops 1-50 winged/jetpack troops

Or 100 Shemarrians/400 human sized

Number of Warmounts 16
Original Tribe Hawkmoon
MDC By Location
Reinforced Crew Compartment 200
Main Body 1400
Main Wings 400 (2)
Lower Jets (6) 200
Rear Jets (3) 200
Heavy Rail Gun Turret (2) 200
Wingtip Laser Cannons (2) 200
Long Range Missile Launcher (2) 200
Medium Range Missile Launcher (2) 200
Physical Size
Length 255 ft
Width 180 ft
Height 80 ft
Weight 1300 ft
Cargo 300 tons no troops
Powerplant Nuclear 20 year
Atmospheric Speed Hover - 690 Mph
Max Altitude 50,000 ft
Sensors Comms
Standard Sensors Aircraft Standard
Addition Sensor1 Long Range Radar
Additional Sensor2 Radar Detector
Additional Sensor3 Terrain Following/LD
Special Comm System Long Range Radio
Special Systems
Special System 1 ECM
Special System 2 Sensor Jamming
Special System 3 EMP Shielding
Special System 4 Advanced Targeting System
Weapon Systems
Primary Weapon Heavy Rail Gun Turrets (2)
Secondary Weapon Wingtip Laser Cannon (4x2)
Third Weapon Point Defense Turrets (8)
Fourth Weapon Long Range Missile Launchers (2)
Fifth Weapon Medium Range Missile Launchers (2)
Sixth Weapon Optional Underwing Ordnance (4)
Seventh Weapon Down-Blast
Eighth Weapon Flare/Chaff Launcher (4)

Crew Edit

9, typically Males, Tinkers, or NeShemar

Troops Edit

Provision for 16 War Mounts and their crew (typically 1-2 riders each) and 1-50 Warriors with bionic wings or jetpacks. If not carrying War Mounts, can carry up to 100 Shemarrian-sized or 400 human-sized troops 

Cargo Edit

If not carrying troops and War Mounts, the Thorondor can carry up to 300 tons of cargo.

Comm Systems Edit

Long Range Radio Edit

500 mile range

Sensor Systems Edit

Long Range Radar Edit

100 mile range

Radar Detector Edit

Picks up enemy radar emissions and weapons locks.

Radar, w/ Terrain-Following and Look-Down Edit

Effective range of 85 miles. 

Special Systems Edit

ECM Edit

A broad area jamming suite that gives the craft a -6 to be struck by radar-guided weaponry.

Sensor Jamming Suite Edit

Sensor Jamming. An active, manned system that gives a 30%+ operator’s ECM bonus chance of jamming enemy radar, including radar guided munitions and missiles. Effective range of 50 miles.

EMP Shielding Edit

Extensive use of nonconductive materials, shock barriers, capacitator-sponges, redundant systems, and energy-dissipation technology protects the aircraft from the damaging effects of electromagnetic pulse, Triax Lightning Cannon, and other anti-electronics directed energy weaponry.

Advanced Targeting System Edit

Confers a +3 to strike with ranged weaponry.

Weapons Systems Edit

Heavy Rail Gun Turrets (2) Edit

Range 11,000 ft
Damage 3d4x10 MD 40 rd burst
Rate of Fire EGCHH
Payload 8000 rd drum ea
Under the ‘chin’ and atop the dorsal fuselage, behind the prow, are two large rail gun turrets.

Wingtip Laser Cannons (4x2) Edit

Range 2 mile
Damage 1d6x10+7 MD single
Damage2 2d6x10+14 MD double
Rate of Fire EGCHH
Payload Unlimited
Mounted at the ends of the forward-swept wings are a pair of double-barrel laser turrets, each capable of swiveling a full 200 degrees, and elevating/depressing 90 degrees.

Point Defense Turrets (8) Edit

Range Rail Gun 2 mile
Range2 Laser 1 mile
Damage Rail Gun 4d6x10 MD
Damage2 Laser 3d6x10 MD
Rate of Fire EGCHH (4-6)
Payload Railgun 2000 rd drum

Laser unlimited

The Rifts Earth versions were initially armed with straight laser turrets, but later models used dual rail gun and laser mountings copied from the space warfare construction programmes.

Additional ammunition can be stored as cargo, but will take 45 minutes to reload from stores.

Long Range Missile Launchers (2) Edit

Range varies
Damage varies
Rate of Fire Volley 1-10
Payload 10 missiles per launcher
Mounted on the dorsal side of the aerodyne are two large long range missile launchers that rise up from the fuselage to clear for action.

Medium Range Missile Launchers (2) Edit

Range varies
Damage varies
Rate of Fire Volleys 1-16
Payload 80 missiles per launcher
Two medium range missile lauchers round out the Thorondor's heavy weapons load.

Optional Underwing Ordnance (4 heavy hardpoints, 2 each wing) Edit

For ground attack, additional ordnance can be slung under the wings. The Hawkmoons favor ‘smart’ guided ordnance, but ‘dumb’ bombs and rockets can also be used. Note that using the underwing hardpoints will reduce the maximum speed of the aerodyne by 20% until the ordnance is expended.

  • Mini-Missiles----72 per hardpoint
  • Short Range Missiles----- 36 per hardpoint
  • Medium Range Missiles----18 per hardpoint
  • Long Range Missiles---6 per hardpoint
Bombs Edit

A pannier can be fitted to each hardpoint, capable of carrying up to 4,000 lbs of bombs each (total carrying capacity of 16,000 lbs/ 8 tons). 

  • 250-lb Bomb----2d4x10 MD to 50 ft blast radius
  • 500-lb Bomb----4d4x10 MD to 60 ft blast radius
  • 750-lb Bomb----4d6x10 MD to 65 ft blast radius
  • 1,000-lb Bomb----1d4x100 MD to 70 ft blast radius
  • 1,650 lb bomb (1d6x100 MD to 75 ft blast radius)
  • 2,000-lb Bomb----2d4x100 MD to 80 ft blast radius
Slammer Concussion Missiles/Bombs Edit

Knockoff Triax Weapon, acquired through industrial espionage. The missiles have been modified for longer range, while the bombs can be fitted with ‘smart’ guidance packages similar to the pre-Rifts ‘Paveway’ system.

  • Weight:(Missiles) 500 lbs (Bombs) 250 lbs 
  • Range:(Missiles) 6 miles 
  • Damage: (Missiles) 2d4x10 MD to 90 ft radius. (Bombs) 1d4x10 MD to 90 ft blast radius. 
  • 88% chance of knockdown (lose 1 APM and Initiative), 65% chance of being stunned (-10 to

strike, dodge, parry, and roll, NO Initiative, HALF speed and APMs for 1d4 melees) 

Decoy Drones Edit

These are LRM-sized mini-cruise missiles/reentry vehicles configured as ‘smart’ decoys that can be deployed from the craft, then fly off on their own power, emitting false sensor signatures, and their own ECM. Adding to the confusion, the drones can be programmed to behave in appropriately evasive ‘stealthy’ fashion, to give the impression that they are in reality a real target attempting to evade detection...only to pop up again later to confuse enemy observers. 

When their fuel/power is exhausted, the drones then activate a self-destruct device that destroys them completely ( destroys drone and does 3d6x10 MD to everything in a 10 ft radius)

  • MDC of Drone: 50
  • Size: 15 ft long, 3 ft wide, w/ 13 ft wingspan w/ wings deployed
  • Speed: Mach 1.4
  • Range: 1,000 miles
  • Damage: None, aside from self-destruct
  • ECM: Jams enemy sensors and radio transmissions with 50% effectiveness (range: 25 mile radius). Can also be programmed to pump out misleading radar signatures conforming to other craft, including larger aircraft. In an emergency, the drone can pump out so much signature that enemy missiles and sensor guided weapons targeted on the mothership (must be within 10 miles of each other to be effective) will be +4 to strike the drone, and will lose target lock on the Thorondor.
  • Bonuses: Drones are +4 to dodge attacks

Down-blast Edit

On close approach, the downwash from the aerodyne’s thrusters can constitute a weapon in itself, raising clouds of dust and debris, and knocking down and over unsecured objects and personnel. 

  • Range: 300 ft and covering a 500 ft wide area
  • Damage: Objects up to 600 lbs in weight can be picked up and whirled by the winds and thrown up to 100 ft, doing 6d6 SDC/MD damage on landing (or inflicting that much on hit targets)

Flare/Chaff Launchers (4) Edit

Standard countermeasure launchers

  • Range: Close Defense
  • Damage: None; similar to Triax-style chaff
  • 01-50 Enemy Missile or volley detonates in chaff and threat is neutralized
  • 51-75 Missile/Volley diverts and may pursue/lock on to other targets
  • 76-00 No Effect! Missile(s) still on target!
  • Will also temporarily blind and impede flying monsters who fly into it.
  • Reduce APMs/combat bonuses/ speed by half for 1d4 melees
  • Payload: 96 chaff clusters (24 per launcher)

Variants Edit

The Mrk 1 was only the first of a succession of Thorondors, varying in mark number and design, but even among the Earth-bound Mrk 1s, there were several Tribal variants:

EShe-AFC-060Wf Edit

Wayfinder variant, modified with technowizardry

TechnoWizardry (PPE-Powered) Edit

PPE Generator (‘Sorcerer’). 600 PPE battery capacity; recharges at 20 PPE per hour, 60 PPE/hour at a leyline, 120 PPE/hour on a nexus.

Magic Abilities Edit

  • Ley Line Flier. Can fly effectively indefinitely on a ley line.
  • Impervious to Fire (10 minutes per 5 PPE)
  • Impervious to Energy (5 minutes per 20 PPE)
  • Protective Energy Field (50 MDC per 10 PPE, 10 minutes per 10 PPE)
  • Leyline Booster (Accelerates the jet up to 50% greater top speed when on a leyline, -10% to pilot skill when engaged)
  • TW Fire Control System----Supplements the regular fire extinguisher system, and is often more effective at controlling electrical and chemical fires. Costs 4 PPE per minute/activation.
  • Tornado---It is said that the Wayfinder variant can spin up a mystically-fueled tornado fir 30 PPR, letting the 100-ft wide weather disturbance rampage for up to 10 minutes.
  • Atmosphere Manipulation---Another TW weather control trick is the ability to manipulate weather temperature and fog in a 3,000 ft radius for 300 minutes, at a cost of 25 PPE.
  • Summon Storm---Another weather-summoning trick, calling up a torrential downpour storm in a 10 mile area, lasting 5 hours, for 50 PPE. It is said that the Wayfinders have made liberal use of this ability in their renewed campaigns against the vampires of the SouthWest, swamping entire vampire nests.

EShe-AFC-060Sm Edit

Silvermoon variant, particularly eye-catching in its all-around coating of laser-reflective chrome (lasers do HALF damage). It drops the ability to carry underwing ordnance, but all laser systems aboard have 20% greater range. 

EShe-AFC-060Dw Edit

Dark Waters’ variant, configured to be fully amphibious. The -060Dw can land on water and float. Its medium range missile launchers can fire Kittani-derived ‘Seafire’ air/sea missile/torpedoes in addition to standard MRMs, and its bombload is frequently fitted as depth charges. It also has wing-mounted Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) booms for antisubmarine work. 

EShe-AFC-060Br Edit

Bloodrider model; because sometimes you just HAVE to incinerate the entire city block. In place of the ventral heavy rail gun, a massive plasma cannon is installed instead. 

Heavy Plasma Cannon Edit

Range 10,000 ft
Damage 6d6x10 MD 35 ft radius
Rate of Fire 2 / melee
Payload Unlimited
A heavy, long ranged plasma cannon that damages a large area, excellent for clearing landing zones.

EShe-AFC-060Sc Edit

Skullcrusher gunship variant that sacrifices speed for additional armament. The -060Sc returns to the DHT roots in having a prow designed to look like a skull, so much so that people assume the transport really IS a Coalition States DHT. 

Speed Edit

Maximum speed is reduced by 20%

Weapons Systems Edit

Skullshatter Cannons (4) Edit
Range 6000 ft
Damage 2d6x10 MD / rd ea
Damage2 6d6x10 MD 3 rd burst ea
Damage3 1d6x100 MD 6 rd burst ea
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload 820 rd drum ea
These are heavy six-barrel gatling-style rail guns, four of which are mounted in the ‘skull’, two at the temples, looking like abbreviated Shemarrian antennae, and the other pair positioned at the ends of the ‘mouth’, looking like mandibles. The four cannons have a 30-degree arc of fire forward, and can fire in synch for truly mountain-carving bursts. Sometimes called the ‘dambuster attack’ and the ‘damned-buster attack’ after it was used during the Minion War invasion to crack Infernal Hell-Pit fortress defenses. 

All four cannons firing simultaneous bursts would do 4d6x100 MD.

Underwing Ordnance Hardpoints (8)

The number of underwing hardpoints is DOUBLED from four to eight, making the -060Sc arguably a good match for the AirCastle Bomber.

EShe-AFC-060Wp Edit

’SkyDire’ Wolf’s Path variant, used for moving their troops around quickly and openly on planets. The SkyDire copies the -060Sc in having a prow reshaped to resemble a wolf’s head, complete with an articulated jaw that opens to reveal a troop ramp to the internal bays. These variants were particularly rare, and were based at special hidden depots under the guard of the Tribe’s Alpha Wargoddess’s house troops, being made available and dispatched when and where needed by direct order of the Wargoddess.

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