Knights-Marshal of the Commonwealth - Heavy Ornithopter!

Clint Staples

Will Thrasher's post of an ornithopter for the Pathfinder RPG system got me to thinking about how well ornithopters fit into the anachronistic design and civilization in the Human space in the Commonwealth. So I present to you the Gyrfalcon [See attachment for the PDF].


The Gyrfalcon Heavy Ornithopter, a product of Pembroke Arms Manufactory, is patterned after the magnificent gyrfalcons that soar the skies of the Homeworld of Humanity in the Commonwealth – Pembroke. Legend tells that the raptor is descended from genestock from Terra Progenitas, but the climes of its adoptive world have treated the creature well. Where once a gyrfalcon could comfortably land on a man’s arm, now the great birds are far too large, with wingspans of 5 meters or more they dominate the skies of the airy planet.


Pembroke Arms’ Gryfalcon attempts to provide the power, grace and maneuverability of the famed winged predator, and succeeds admirably. The mobile wings are capably of minute shifts and adjustments, making the craft extremely responsive under the hands of a good pilot. The twin Merlin engines provide admirable acceleration and top speed, in atmosphere or beyond, and, coupled to the advanced venting system, allow hover capability, mid-air braking and exceptional agility in flight.


In accordance with the Gyrfalcon’s role as Pembroke’s primary planetary defence fighter, standard load-out is a pair of medium-sized long-range lasers courtesy of DeLacy Smithworks, allowing engagement at distances outside of many similar sized fighters. The disdain held by Pembroke for missiles and bombs is well known, and thus the lack of either armament on the Gyrfalcon is not surprising. The paired LR lasers are intended to more than make up for the lack, allowing accuracy not seen at comparable ranges, even the ability to come out well trading fire with heavy guns. They also allow the ship to function without resupply as long as fuel is available. In truth, the design offered so little in the way of cargo and crew space that ammunition, especially in the form of missiles or bombs was impractical. 


If there is a fault in the Gyrfalcon’s design, it is the relatively weak sensor and targeting array. Space is probably the main factor in the decision to install Ricard Synthetics processors, but on-planet availability must certainly have played a role as well. How great a limitation this choice will be has not really been tested, but recent Sithik attacks on the Human border near Carlow might change that.