Blacksea Caravels

General Information

These ships are only used by the Shorewall Military, although various other types are common in Shardholm, Hope's Landing and The City of Marble.

Specifications

All caravels are three-masted ships with lateen sails; Only the flagship has the riggings to accommodate a square sail. Each ship has a cargo capacity of roughly fifty tons, and a total length of sixty-five feet. Each ship is identical in design to one another, though small differences in construction and maintenance needs end up with the crews of each vessel becoming attached to their respective ship. The carvel hulls of the ships are sealed with a combination of a specially-treated wood pulp and tar.
Due to the nature of their task, a single caravel is functionally priceless, especially when asking a member of the Shorewall navy. However the gold cost between man-hours and materials for a ship of this nature would cost roughly 45,000 gold or an equivalent weight in bullion.

Historical Misfortunes

To date, three navy whaling ships have been lost to their Unfallen prey. The entire fleet has been replaced twice, and a total of fifteen caravels have been lost to various disasters or accidents. Current events, such as the destruction of Shorebreak Mausoleum with the ensuing tidal waves and unseasonal storms, have left the fleet in shambles with only two ships in any shape to sail.

Design and Construction

Initially designed in Seawatch to survive the waters of The Abyss. Initial blueprints and prototypes were designed by the Chapine lineage over fourteen months, and had to be redesigned partially to be sturdy enough for faring the Blacksea and its tumultuous conditions.
A number of the initial designs for the vessels were also shelved, given their original purpose being for ship combat or transporting troops. After the Fall of Lady Death, the fleet was repurposed to keeping the northern shorelines clear of Unfallen.
All modern caravels were built in Shorewall, from materials shipped over from Shardholm and occasionally Seawatch, due to lack of abundant natural resources on the island. Previously, ships were constructed in Shardholm before Shorewall finished construction on its dry docks.

 

Naval Innovations & Outfittings

Basic Equipment

The caravels that make up the naval fleet have had to undergo a notable modification to make their task of keeping the Blacksea clear of Unfallen reasonably achievable. Every vessel is outfitted with three standard issue harpoon ballistae, two near the bow of the ship and one near the stern. The mountings for the weapons are affixed to the deck of the ship, though the ballistae themselves can be removed as necessary. Likewise, to assist in hauling Unfallen aboard, each ship has several nets and control poles to keep caught Unfallen subdued and the crew safe.

Disposing of Unfallen

Given the nature of dispatching Unfallen and their inevitable tendency to cause wrathful spirits to materialize in their wake, the ships have been outfitted with a metal ellipsoid drum referred to by seamen as the ship’s “clam.”   Constructed out of two shallow dome-shaped metal two halves, the drum is used for cremating the dead that are found and dealt with. The dimensions of these drums measure about eight feet across and a total depth of about three feet. The top half of the container overlaps the bottom with a significant overhang, hiding vertical rectangular gaps cut into the lower half which serve as ventilation for smoke. A square hole is cut into the top and covered with a metal hatch on a hinge, an access at which to put corpses inside which when not being opened is lashed shut. The lower half has metal bars, held in place by pins at one end, that functions as grates and run parallel along the length of the interior at its widest point before sloping towards the center. A circular hole is cut into the bottom drum, which allows a cylindrical metal fire pit, the bottom lined with stones, to sit underneath the apparatus.   In calm weather and smooth seas, the clam can be used as necessary, lighting a fire in the pit and tossing dispatched Unfallen within to burn. In poorer conditions, Unfallen are instead captured “alive” and carefully thrown inside the clam and held until a fire can be lit within fire pit, ultimately cremating them while they still move inside. At most a drum can safely hold three Unfallen before becoming too cramped to try and put another inside, let alone the hazards posed by opening the hatch. The metal grates can be removed, allowing sailors with less seniority to crawl inside and remove debris and bones left over. The entire construct is supported by three heavy metal legs that keep the clam from touching the deck’s surface, which are lashed in place to contact points on the deck to keep it from moving while traveling.  

Whale-Hunting Flagship

One ship in the fleet, the Risen Starbuck, is outfitted to hunt whales that have died and become Unfallen. These beasts are a monumental foe to even attempt to slay, so design precautions are necessary; no other ships are capable of this feat, however are normally present on a hunt to provide assistance were disaster to strike. Sightings of Unfallen whales are uncommon, so it isn’t necessary to outfit every ship with the ability to deal with them, especially given the cost for such alterations. Hunting this menace entails a strategy of luring one towards shore and causing it to beach itself, where then the whale is dragged upon the beach and anchored, lobotomized, and then lit ablaze with wood and oil.   Speed is a critical factor, so the ship is outfitted with portholes on port and starboard that run the length on the ship. When being pursued, part of the crew is assigned to help row the ship, to achieve a faster clip than the sails alone would normally allow, as well as give more potential handling when attempting to turn quickly near shore.   On the aft of the ship are two mounted ballistae, rather than the single one found on the rest of the fleet, that fire harpoons tethered to a buoyant drogue, of which the vessel carries twelve. These projectiles don’t do anything to harm the Unfallen whale, however the drogues are pierced at an angle with flat, wide pieces of timber, to cause as much drag as possible, as well as give a visual marker to the location of the whale. The keel and rudder of the ship are also reinforced with metal sheeting, in case their prey tries to ram the ship. The ship has to annually undergo maintenance to replace this sheeting due to wear and corrosion.

Manufacturer
Shorewall Military
Price
45,000-50,000 gp
Rarity
Built to naval demand; not available to civilians
Beam
L/B Ratio: 3.6-1
Length
65 feet
Cargo & Passengers Capacity
50 tons, 25 crew/passenger maximum


Cover image: by Damion Otter

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