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.
HistoryThe 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.
|Launched||Middle to late Spoken Era|
|Fate||Sank in 384 WE, salvaged in 29 IE|
|Status||Museum ship in Sios, Argos|
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.
SailsAs 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.
HullThe 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.
ExcavationExcavating 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.
ConservationThe 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.
Illustration of salvaging techniques
Philosopher King Monumenta
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.