MS Annwn Vehicle in The Morning Realm | World Anvil

MS Annwn ([ˈanʊn])

MS Annwn is the only surviving ship from the Seasteader Fleet. Hundreds of Halflings lived aboard MS Annwn for generations until they made it to the western coast of the realm. After disembarking, MS Annwn was sold to Philospher King Anu Asmau.   Anu Asmau sailed the ship for a few years until she sank in the Inner Sea. She was successfully salvaged four centuries later, in year 29 of the Imperial Era, and is currently preserved as a museum ship in Sios.


  The Seasteader Fleet arrived at the western coast around 380 WE. The halflings disembarked at the Heartian peninsula, which was at the time the domain of the Argosian Philosopher Kings. Descriptions of the impossibly small people and the massive ships they came on spread far and wide. By the time the story made it across the Boiling Mountains, the halflings had become thumb-sized people, and the ships the sizes of islands.   While most of the Seasteader Fleet was disassembled for resources, MS Annwn was sold to one of the Philosopher Kings, Anu Asmau. She was retrofitted to fit humans, and her sails were changed to fit a far more leisurely voyage. Asmau set out to sail her around the Realm, but the ship sank in the Inner Sea. MS Annwn remained at the sea floor for almost four centuries, occasionally disturbed by looters or a dropped anchor.   As the Argosian Empire rose in prominence in the early years of the Imperial Era, so too did interest in the Philosopher Kings of the past. Motivated by nationalism and a desire to prove the validity of the freshly formed empire, salvage efforts started in 27 IE. The final lift in 29 IE was spectated by thousands, and scryed on by even more.   During the first century of the Imperial Era MS Annwn's value was as a former possession of a Philosopher King. There was initially little interest in her origin as one of the halfling generation ships. "Across Seas, Generational Life aboard the MS Annwn," the life work of historian and antiquarian Ioanna Quillsweat, was the seminal work in the development of a new series of inquiries into the history of the ship.

Ms Annwn

Ms Annwn by Annie Stein
LaunchedMiddle to late Spoken Era
FateSank in 384 WE, salvaged in 29 IE
StatusMuseum ship in Sios, Argos
Length220ft (67m)
Beam40ft (12m)
Depth25ft (7.6m)
Draft20ft (6m)
Table of Contents


Recreation of the MS Annwn's Upper Level as sailed by Anu Asmau
Map created with Dungeonfog
The design of MS Annwn is extremely narrow compared to modern merchant ships. The sharp bow was able to cut through waters at high speeds, ideal for open sea but suboptimal when navigating in coastal waters.  


As she sailed along the southern coast of the realm, MS Annwn was gaff-rigged with three masts, the most popular southern style at the time. The rigging was easier to handle than other contemporaneous riggings, but wasn't particularly fast, and the lack of stability made it unsuitable for the open ocean or the harsher northern seas. It worked well, however, in the mild southern climate, and the low speed gave people more time to admire her.   The deck and keel shows signs of a fourth mast. It is believed it was removed by Anu Asmau, who wrote several treatises about the overengineering of ships, but it sometimes attributed to the tale of Asmau's fight against a dragon, suggesting that the mast suffered too much damage to remain.   During her original voyage MS Annwn was fully-rigged, save for the aftmost mast. Descriptions of MS Annwn as she originally arrived say that some of the spars were made out of whalebone. It is also believed that MS Annwn had numerous staysails to aid in tacking. The technique was lost, however, and only rediscovered with the advent of the modern Imperial frigate.

Where did the fleet come from?

The Seasteader Fleet surely must have set sail from somewhere. The unique plants and animals they brought with seem to suggest a land of abundance, which makes it all the stranger that they left. Were the halflings exiled? Did something happen to the old continent, making the Seasteader Fleet some sort of ark with what they could preserve?   None of the research into MS Annwn or the descendants of her passengers has gotten historians any closer to the answer.


  The contemporaneous ships of the era were much smaller and entirely out of wood. These ships were all constructed with a clinker hull, further limiting their maximum size. Seasteader hulls are stronger and reduce friction, but as the halflings had forgotten the technique of constructing seasteader hulls (or perhaps were never consulted to begin with), clinker hulls would remain the norm for another century.   Glue is an essential part of constructing seasteader hulls. In order to achieve the smooth fit, the planks must be adhered with an adhesive rather than nailed together. The halflings used a magical glue known today as sovereign glue, which could only be dissolved with an equally magical solvent. On modern ships regular animal glue is used instead for cost concerns.   Modern seasteader hulls are also treated with tar to prevent the animal glue from deteriorating upon contact with saline water. This tar also wears away with time, which increases maintenance needs.   The ships of the Seasteader Fleet were believed to have been treated with tar as well, but recent antiquarians have been able to identify faint traces of transmutive magic and oil alongside the outer hull. As sovereign glue cannot be dissolved by sea water, it is possible that the hulls were instead coated with oil of slipperiness, which would have further enhanced the ships speed.   MS Annwn sported a mithril frame. This frame made the ship stiffer, which reduced the danger of the ship breaking when crossing a wave. This technique has been adopted for modern war ships and more adventurous merchant ship designs.




Excavating MS Annwn was a challenge. She had been submerged for centuries, and there was a significant amount of build up of mud and silt around the wreck. To uncover her from the ocean floor, tunnels were molded underneath the wreck for cable slings. The process took almost an entire year, with the constant threat of the tunnels collapsing in on the excavator and further complicating the salvaging.   Teams of divers also descended to lighten the ship by clearing out as much of the debris and mud on top of and inside the ship. To avoid damaging the ship the clearing was exclusively done by magic.   The final lift of MS Annwn was preformed on the 14th of Leviathan, 29 IE, two years after the salvage effort began. This lift was not only spectated by thousands of intrigued onlookers on the nearby bach, but also scryed on all across the realm. Indeed some of the silt from the wreck had been collected, distributed and sold to make it easier for anyone who wished to remotely view the lift. The lift was successful, and once MS Annwn had been freed from the ocean floor, she was sailed to a drydock in Sios.   However it would not be a smooth sail. Exposure to air set several alchemical processes in motion that the sea had kept at bay. The antiquarians were forced to work under conjured heavy rain to prevent the wood from drying out, and figure out a solution that would allow the ship to be viewed.  


The conservation of Ms Annwn was a long and tedious process. All the wood was coated in enchanted resin, a decision that made later inquiries into the properties of the wood or its treatments much more difficult.   Parts of the mithril frame had been looted, but the remaining bits were well-preserved by the inate properties of the mithril.

Philosopher King Monumenta

Furniture recovered from Anu Asmau's cabin
by Annie Stein
  After MS Annwn changed hands, the ship had to be adapted to fit humans. Four levels were combined into two. The upper level was especially decorative. The carved inner walls were enhanced further with paints and gold leaf. Furniture was specially made for MS Annwn, blending the popular curved styles of philosopher era furniture and the original carvings done by the halflings.   It seems that MS Annwn functioned mostly as a pleasure ship during this time. The rooms of the upper levels were made to host dignitaries and grand feasts.   The lower levels functioned as servants quarters, and also housed some poultry to secure an always fresh supply of eggs. A wide array of finds are from this level, including clothing, copper coins, two sets of dragonchess, as well as several spare sails and rigging spares.
Anu Asmau
Anu ponders by Annie Stein
One of the famed Philosopher Kings of the Written Era.

Halfling Monumenta

Most of the possessions of the halflings that arrived on MS Annwn were taken along with them as they disembarked. Whatever remained that was not attached to the boat itself was presumably dumped.   The inner hull of MS Annwn shows clear markings of where the floors used to be, and some of the original inner walls remain partially intact. It is evident that when the halflings lived aboard the ship had four levels. All levels are equally decorated with carvings, even the levels believed to be dedicated to livestock. In "Across Seas, Generational Life aboard the MS Annwn," Ioanna Quillsweat claims this is evidence of an egalitarian society rather than the typical strict hierachy aboard. Other theories include that the carvings were a form of enrichment since they were at sea for so long.   The Seasteader Fleet must have been entirely self-sufficient, as oral accounts passed down in family describe years, if not decades, out at open sea with no docking for repairs or restocks. It is presumed that the whale-bone spars were replaced at sea. The halflings were also able to grow lot of their own food aboard, and were otherwise reliant on what resources they could hunt at sea.   MS Annwn's sides are lined with channels rather than railings. These channels were used by the halflings to grow produce and other materials they would have needed. All produce was grown in water cultures and substrate, as halflings had no access to soil. The channels likely also housed fish, which helped keep the water dense with nutrients and provided yet another source of food.   As for repairs, oral accounts claim maintenance on MS Annwn was done daily or weekly, in small batches. One of the ship mages would push the water back from a section of the ship, and rope ladders would be dropped down from the upper deck. The halflings would then descend to inspect the ship carry out any repairs or maintenance required.   After all, any threat to the integrity of MS Annwn was a threat to them all. It is interesting to note that despite their history halflings show no particular interest for the sea or ships compared to other humanoids. Perhaps indeed they were glad to finally set foot on dry land.


Seasteader Exchange
Many of the crops now ubiquitious in the Realm were brought by the Seasteader fleet. Among them are potatoes, tomatoes, vanilla, oyster mushrooms, sunflowers, cress and sootrice.   Some of the species once believed native to the Heartian Penisula are today believed to originate from the fleet. This includes wallowhens, goats and bluegills.  
Fortified Water
The halfling ships had no soil; their grops were grown in wood wool and other substrates fertilized with fortified water. Traces of manure, bloodmeal, bonemeal and seaweed have been found in the channels, but the recipes are lost to time.  
Sovereign Glue was used to seal the ship, dissolved with Universal Solvent for maintenance. The outside of the ship was likely coated in Oil of Slipperiness, which would have given it the much described oil-slick black colour.


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Sep 10, 2021 13:25 by Tillerz

Love it! <3

Sep 10, 2021 13:30 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Sep 10, 2021 21:31

Great article with lots of details and nice images! Of course after it being used for generations by halflings the first human that gets his hands on it manages to sink it in a few years :p   Quite some nice mystery with why the halflings left. It is also interesting how it was selfsufficient. One thing I wonder though for that is how they got access to fresh water?

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Sep 10, 2021 23:12 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I like to imagine he was told by one of the halflings that they went decades without drydocking and he just assumed that meant there was no maintenance required. A bold assumption to make about any ship.   And since you asked, Create or Destroy Water would be how they got fresh water! They likely also supplemented with the seawater they extracted salt from as well. It definitely wouldn't be enough for them to be wasteful though.

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Sep 12, 2021 20:53 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the detail you've put into this, especially the history and the changes made to the ship over the years. You've chosen some brilliant art too.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Sep 13, 2021 09:14 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! I hope to add many more illustrations, but we'll see how much drawing I can get done over the month ^^

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Sep 19, 2021 23:23 by E. Christopher Clark

I really enjoy all the thought put into this, and especially the liberal sprinkling of art throughout. Nice work!

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Sep 20, 2021 08:44 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Sep 23, 2021 12:28

Great article! I love the amount of detail you've put in there and the hook regarding the halfling origins.   Keep up the good work! :D

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Sep 23, 2021 13:26 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much, and thanks for helping me out with some editing ^^ It's much appreciated

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Sep 24, 2021 13:20 by Buzzard

Nice article. I really like the concept of a generational sailing ship. I also really like the overall design of the page.

Sep 24, 2021 14:26 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

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Sep 29, 2021 02:55 by Tim Day

Amazing! I really like the bit where they distribute the silt for broadcast scrying of the raising of the wreck... very cool.

Sep 30, 2021 09:26 by Annie Stein

Thank you! The Empire worked hard to get the cultural dominance they have today. Obviously one ship lifting didn't do it, but lots of little things like that helped make the Argosian Empire feel less like the scary massive nation to the south and more like part of everyone's shared heritage.

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Sep 29, 2021 21:42

AWESOME ARTICLE! The art use and placement is great, and you clearly put in a lot of thought (and no small amount of research.) The hook of the halflings origin is awesome, as are the ingenious ways they came up with to survive at sea for extended periods.   Also, a a former enlisted in the Navy and having perused the comments, i greatly appreciated the "I like to imagine he was told by one of the halflings that they went decades without drydocking and he just assumed that meant there was no maintenance required. A bold assumption to make about any ship."

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Sep 30, 2021 10:04 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! It was definitely a lot of research and reaching out to people who knew more about ships. I am really glad it makes sense and is appreciated by someone who has spent long at sea.   It didn't quite fit into the article and it's lost knowledge by this point, but I did actually work out how they managed to drydock at sea. They would've used magic to control the waterflow and push it off a small section of the ship, then descend down the outside of the ship on rope ladders. Basically inspection and maintenance of the outer hull was a constant endeavor. It can't have been easy mentally being out at sea for so long, so far from land and in a world where sea monsters aren't a myth but a very real reality.

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Oct 2, 2021 21:16 by Grace Gittel Lewis

You really go into a lot of detail! I appreciate that you not only described its construction, but also its excavation!

Oct 2, 2021 22:44 by Annie Stein

Thank you! The Vasa ship excavation gets a lot of credit here, I borrowed their methods and just subbed in magic where applicable.

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Oct 2, 2021 22:20 by Jeroen Heijster

I love the details, as a museum it could also serve as a hotel, something people might want to pay a lot of money for :D

-MoonRaven creator of Paldurog.
Oct 2, 2021 22:43 by Annie Stein

It's more like the Vasa Museum than a ship you actually get to go aboard these days. The ship is over a millennium old and of so much historical importance, it's very look, don't touch!

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Oct 3, 2021 15:34 by Jeroen Heijster

Always nice to preserve old ships like that :D

-MoonRaven creator of Paldurog.
Oct 3, 2021 12:44 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Great article, I love the technical details you give about how the ship was made, maintained and excavated and how you've chosen to focus sections on the excavation, what is know today about the ship and its history before and after the ship sank. And great illustrations as usual :D   I'm curious about that other continent now. Do people in your world still not have access to it? Doing research there might help fit the other parts of the puzzle.   When you say the mithril was looted, was that done by divers who found the location before it was excavated?

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Oct 3, 2021 14:18 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! They've never found another continent, it's just the leading theory on where they may've come from. The seas seem to go on forever, and if the halflings were sailing for generations, who knows how far away this second continent might be?   And yes, the mithril was looted by divers before the excavation. The site of the shipwreck was known, but not easily accessible, so it had been disturbed a few times. They grabbed whatever small valuables were near the surface. There's also some ancient coins rumored to have originated from this very wreck.

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