While working out the details of an organic elven skyship for my new Gazetteer, I updated how a crew controls its vessel’s maneuvers. One important thing to remember is that elven vessels are essentially alive and partially sentient. They are grown from living wood, using either magic-user or druid spells to speed up the process. They sense what touches them (crew on their decks, damage to their hulls, whether sails are deployed or secured on their yards, etc.) This was established in cal1 , page 118. Several key items are involved.
|Fwd Deck: Control Panel & Binnacle, side view.|
|Fwd Deck: Control Panel & Binnacle, top view.|
3. Strake: It is the part that runs below the hull, from bow to stern. It holds an enchantment that forces the hull to move along its centerline axis. This enables skyships to tack like seagoing vessels. When a maneuver command is sent to the steering device, it exerts a force on the strake’s enchantment, forcing the hull to point in the desired direction (up/down, starboard/port, and even roll over).
|Steering Chamber: top view.|
5. Sails: Canvas catching atmospheric or astral winds provide motion. Although magic could be used to provide thrust enabling horizontal motion, sails are often used for large vessels. Smaller craft (launches and shuttles) rely on simple fly spells and such which are enough to get them going (they do require a control panel as well to interface with the fly spells).
Flight outside a world’s atmosphere requires a number of
other enchantments (a self-replenishing bubble of breathable air,
heating/cooling, and artificial deck gravity). Skyships able to travel the
Great Vault can therefore fly upside down inside a world’s normal atmosphere
without everything on deck falling off. This is useful, as it allows a ship to
roll on its side and point its deck weapon to aim directly up or down at foes flying
at a different altitudes. In outer space, the steering device bases its flight
attitude on which way the hull was pointing when the vessel exited a world’s
atmosphere. It resets itself when reentering a world’s atmosphere to match that
Steering Chamber: side view.
There is a major challenge with living ships: they require sustenance to survive. This means that a significant amount of space in the hold is reserved for sap. When its reserve is low, a skyship must land either at a giant tree to replenish its sap, or on the ground where it grows roots and extracts nutrients like a normal plant. This process is a slow one. On the other hand, living ships can “heal” damage, help with the handling of sails (permitting smaller onboard crews), and grow parts when commanded, such as deck weapons. Two are described in CAGM01 Calidar Game Mechanics, page 6. All of the above requires additional sap.This article reflects the way elven skyships function in the upcoming Calidar Gazetteer about elves of Alfdaín and Alorea. Time is fast approaching to begin preparations for the project’s Kickstarter. Keep an ear to the ground (or your eyes firmly aimed skyward) if you’re interested. More updates will follow on this blog and elsewhere. Other sources of news about Calidar lie in this world's Facebook and Mewe chat groups. Thanks.