Seafaring Vessels: History, Original Inspirations.
The Major Design Influences for Modern Navalry, the Orcish Fortresses and Iwan Iceberg Ships.
What have you? An armada crafted by hands unseen to explore the seas and find this lost world of yours? When you have hands here, many willing to take your tutelage and learn from you as masters. Take on apprentices, take on students, become teachers and we will build fleets so numerous that they couldn't fit into this bay were they to constantly alternate throughout a day. Nay, they could spend a week in transit with none stopping as they passed through this bay that they would not be able to count the totality of our ships. Your Iwan hands have grown weary, let us sinners take hold of your burdens and carry us into this new age.The waters of the twin oceans are stirred by countless variations of seafaring vessels, yet they are all sourced from two basic designs. Those Iwan Iceberg Ships of the initial Dwarven Settlers, and that of the Orcish YenWai Fortresses. These two design philosophies have influenced the designs of ships well into the modern era. Giving a blend of technological marvel and excellence mixed with brutal efficiency and capacity requirements. The history of this design starts where many stories in Ithungsida start. With the reign of Vhaskus, Undeath of MerGus.
Orcish BargesWhile some claim that the first set of designed ships date back to when Man fled to Ithungsida with the orcs following behind, the earliest designs with the most impact are from the Orcish Reign of Vhaskus. When those Orcs roamed the lands unimpeded and smashed the trees into fields as they forced man into the Middling Plains and Dytikan Coast. As a way of containing them and keeping them from spreading to islands or fleeing, again, to some new continent, the Orcs made barges. Ideally, these were river barges, not suitable for traversing more than those outlets to the sea and otherwise remaining as near to the coast as one can be. They were stocky, made of split timbers and designed to hold war parties as well as war celebrations. The widest trees were felled and lashed together, the smaller ones split to fill the cracks and what wood was left over was formed into poles for direction and motion. They were unwieldy, they were not pretty, and they all bore that dominating flag of Vhaskus. Any recreations were burned, along with the corpses of those who made the attempts. And, it is thought to have remained in that fashion for an extended period of time. What need had you for a fleet if the people you were trying to contain had no ships? And, many scholars claim that it wouldn't have changed, were it not for the southern aggression of the Sea-People as they Marched on Vhaskus's Favored cities with little to fear from the shoddy craft that were used.
With this change in dynamics, Vhaskus began forcing improvements on his people. The city walls that held back the floods in the south grew bigger and stouter. The ships that patrolled the waters of what is now known as the Alma Bay grew larger and broader. Even greater trees were felled and hollowed to offer protection from projectiles and spies from the sea. After a time, the ships had grown to the point that they were nearly castles of their own, afloat in the seas. The same rocky construction that is iconic of the cities of Forkden and the Tower at Dromund Peak has been found in sunken ships beneath the sea. Where the castles were dropped beneath the waves by these sea-folk. Who these seafolk were and what became of Vhaskus's War against them, may be questions lost to time. However, the design of the ships remained. These gargantuan plodding fortresses of the sea, a mix of wood and stone for the maintenance of vast amounts of Orcish troops. The largest were said to be able to have held a thousand men ready to descend at any point along the nearest coast in the action of what was termed Vhaskus's favored tactic. YenWai, or Burning Water.
These are my lands, this is my world. I am the ordained and my flag is unfurled. Let this be a warning for those beasts in the sea. That their time has come to flee. For should they march upon my lands, and strike upon my world. I will see that they are removed and culled. Sea Beasts, ye now flee, Or the water will become fire and your corpses things to eat.
Dwarvish ShipsThe Fourth Fleet of Iwa is said to have been one of the stand-out naval forces in all of the The Fire Giant's domain. With a plethora of Iceberg ships designed to use the waters of the sea as natural defenses while obscuring their true size, the fleet was almost unnoticed as it made it's final approach to the Dytikan Coast. However, the fleet had a good idea of what it was approaching at this point. They had heard much from the tribal peoples they had traded and communicated with on their many stops in the northerly islands and Mt.Firth. They had heard of the "Land of Sin", the peoples trapped there, and the abandonment by the gods. However, they weren't certain what to make of these little villages of Humans that were clustered far from the shore. Or the raiding parties of orcs that made their way out from several of their fortresses. The Fourth Fleet made short work of both the raiding parties and the fortresses themselves, catching the orcish forces by surprise with sheer firepower and maneuverability.
Iwa's Iceberg Ships
A key thing to note about the rulers of Iwa, is that the people that found themselves suited to warfare were a specific kind of people. Those that believed in the tides of DraKaise, those that sought adventure and roared battle cries, and most importantly to our subject here; the people that lived mostly underground. Were there other types of ships? Yes. Were any quite as beloved by the army as the iceberg? No. They offered the same feeling of protection as living in the mountains. With strong barriers of water between the ship and potential attacks. In fact, for most variants of the Iceberg, the vast majority of the ship lay below the sea. Only a particularly rowdy ocean would unearth the majority of the bulk of an iceberg. And for the larger variants, this would only be mild amounts of what lay beneath. For someone unacquainted with the ships, they could easily be fooled into thinking that the blip of an iceberg on the horizon heralded not more than a faint interest. And that a fleet of blips were a laughing matter. After all, how could any realistic fighting force fit in such a small area... Vhaskus's troops made this mistake many times over the first few years. And, due to this folly, the Icebergs were perfect stealth ships in confrontations with Vhaskus. The majority of them could traverse the sea at their own whims. It prolonged the battles between the people from Iwa and the Lich-ruler of the continent. It gave them time to settle, to venture inland, to prove that the orcs were mortal, to incite dissent. It perfectly paved the way for the rise of Hongden.
Under the waves, Grug saw the iceberg creep. He told the captain, but was sworn to leave him to his sleep. For no matter the glint in the waves that shouldn't be. Icebergs are myths, so leave me to sleep. Up from the waves, Grug watched the iceberg ship. Far from the ship, he sailed in a safe little skiff. For the Fortress had no chance and the captain had no warning. As it all sank, grug wept as he drank and sailed into the mist.
Iwa may be lost to us, wrenched away by magic and divine mischief, but we can make our new homes where we are. This land of sin is vast and old. It's peoples hungry for advancement which we can bring. It's foes plenty and ready to hear our blades sing. We can destroy, we can remove. We can rebuild, We can make anew. Iwa may be lost to us, but SosIwans we will always be.