Foxglove

With the wind at her back and a star to guide her, this old girl has saved my life more than once.
Imhorn Bihn, Captain of the Foxglove
 
The Foxglove is one of the many light merchant exploration vessels that frequent the coastlines of Embercrest Bay and the greater Spiria Gulf. But the Foxglove herself, a modified qaribel class of ship, has a rich history that reaches back across the years, before its current infamous owner, or the Windtracer Company he works with.
 
She was built by the Ishnanor Shipwright Guild for the Eastledge Merchant Company in 1248AGC. Launched in late of 1248AGC, the Foxglove was under the command of Merchant Captain Matthias Harriton.
 
There, under command of Merchant Captain Matthias Harriton, the Foxglove was instrumental in opening new trade routes for the guild.
 
Primarily, this was upriver to the kingdom of Jata and south along the coast. The most famous of these would be the so-called “Vine Road” along the southern coast and upriver into the Civit Continent.
 
Between 1254 and 1256, she served with distinction during the War of the Eternal Night, becoming the flagship of the Eastledge fleet.
 

EMC Vagabond Captain's Log

Summer, Bloomcrest, 1255, Captain Escobar Akani commanding

It was the third night of the battle. My crew were exhausted and the young merchant prince I swore to protect was dying of a poison. He was only a boy who didn't deserve this.
 
Baron Garit, that vile man had hired the Layre pirate clan to bolster his own misbegotten ships. Layre with their mystics, turning the skies as black as eternal night. A starless night. Damn them to the deepest hells.
 
And then, the damn fool had the Layre find a way to call down a small magic storm. A mystical cyclone. The maniacal Layre created it and turned it loose toward us, using it like a 'battering ram' to shatter the fleet. Their own ships would be moving in behind the wall cloud to murder the survivors.
 
No stars and cloud banks so dark and thick that our ship's lights extinguished themselves in fear.
 
I did what I could and ordered the fleet to come about. We were sailing on the south end of Spiria Gulf. There were rivers, deep inlets, that cut far into Planus Continent. Some even so far as to reach near the Great Chasm. If we could make one of those, we could outlast the cyclone. We might even survive the Layre.
 
If we could find our way. My beloved horizon was betraying me as I couldn't find shore. Ship’s compass? Spun like a top. The Eternal Night was everywhere.
 
That was when I heard a call from on deck. My heart almost stopped.
 
"Magelight! Magelight sighted! A ship with a Schutz field! She's breached the cyclone and is waving for us to follow!"
 
"Captain! It's the Foxglove!"
 
By the gods, it was Harriton and the Foxglove. That clever bastard found a way to actually break a magic cyclone.
 
Right then, in my soul, I knew we were saved.
 
 
But after several refits and modifications, she was eventually retired then sold to her former First Mate, Imhorn Bihn. Imhorn, now captain, had the Foxglove refit once more, then took her to sea as an independent exploration and merchant vessel.
 
Her story has grown ever since.
Foxglove
Map of the ship, the Foxglove.
Class
Designation
EMC when in service to the Eastledge Merchant Company
Motto
"To The Far Horizon"
Owner
Price
Not for sale
Rarity
A qaribel ship is a common sight along the Planus coastline. The Foxglove has been modified so that it is unique.
Beam
15 ft (4.6 m)
Length
75 ft (22.9 m)
Breadth
16 ft 7in (5.08 m)
Draft
7.2ft (2.2m)
Speed
8 to 10 knots
Crew and Passengers Compliment
15 to 40
Cargo Tonnage
180 tons

Other Voyages

 
In the time under Captain Imhorn Bihn, the Foxglove has continued her legacy. During the Lavender Plague that struck the kingdom of Jata, it was Imhorn and the Foxglove that ran down the Layre mystic that stole the cure for the disease.
 
Later, she made a record setting trip from Ishnanor to the Azumanami Thalassocracy and back by ten days faster than any other ship of her size. A record she continues to hold to this day.
 

Lorekeeper Notes

  There's a lot of history there with that ship. - Lorekeeper Ihodis Jenro   I love getting to travel aboard her. You can just feel the history she carries. It's more energizing than those Schutz crystals she has scattered through her for defence. - Lorekeeper Gwelunis Istril   Well, you've heard what they say down at the docks about her? - Lorekeeper Rudigar Brockhouse   No? What? - Lorekeeper Gwelunis   Gods and goddesses all, they love fools, wayward children, and a ship called the Foxglove - Lorekeeper Rudigar

 

Power and Propulsion

 
Never you worry. She's got more than enough muscle where it counts!
Imhorn Bihn, Captain of the Foxglove
 
As with any qaribel, the Foxglove relies on wind and water for power and propulsion. Unlike the typical qaribel, the Foxglove has been refit with three masts instead of two. But she still uses the same triangular Lanarin sails that give the qaribel their famous speed and allow them to sail against the wind.
 
Coupled with her sails, the Foxglove comes with the dual propeller system. Powered by a spring wound gear mechanism, the propellers are used as a secondary propulsion system. They become vital during times of dead calm when there was no wind or to give the Foxglove an added boost to her Lanarin sails catching the wind.
 
To aid in her movement through the water, her hull is treated with an alchemical oil. This oil allows the ship a greater freedom of movement when under way. It smooths travel when sailing the wider rivers of the Planus Continent. On the open sea, it gives a small improvement in speed.
 
 

Armor and Defense

 
In combat, speed is one of the Foxglove's key defenses. But it isn't alone. Her hull design and the clever use of small Schutz crystals provide additional defenses.
 
The Foxglove, despite her appearance, is a dual hulled vessel. On the exterior layer, she is fitted with boards of treated springoak. Springoak is flexible and often used in ship hull construction. Behind that are a series of copper sheets that provided an added durability to the hull to resist damage.
 
This copper sheeting is also along the outside of the hull below the waterline. It provides protection against barnacles and other elements that try to eat away at the water layer.
 
To defend against magical storms, wild magic surges, and magical attack, the Foxglove has been fitted with an array of Schutz crystals. These stones are much smaller than what cities use as a defense against magical storms. Some would consider these stones nothing more than fragments.
 
But aboard ship, these fragments make up what is called a 'Blackstel shield', named after its inventor, Vobur Blackstel. During an attack by storm or a mage, a properly trained "shield crew" led by the "shield officer" is critical to "raising" a Blackstel deadzone shield around the ship to deter the magic. They can also be "extended" to protect another ship or object that is the same approximate size.
 
 

Weapons and Armament

 
The Foxglove, like all qaribel, is equipped with heavy crossbows and sling launchers. These are its primary means of ship based weaponry, aside the Foxglove's resident war mage. For the crew, an armory below decks contained cutlass, horn recurve bows with sun arrow ammunition for use.
 
Heavy crossbows, or a light ballista, is mounted at the bow on a swivel base. This base is locked down when not in use, but during battle, the rotating base grants the gunners a 180 degree field of fire against opponents.
 
Sling launchers are spring wound mechanisms that make use of a novel, "slingshot" technique. They launch "fire spears", or bamboo tubes filled with an alchemical oil and magical reagents for a fireball spell. After launch, the oil would react with the reagents and ignite the fireball.
 
A hole drilled in one end of the bamboo allows some parts of the flame to escape. Fins on the bamboo shaft allow the tube to have better accuracy at the target when launched.
 
Most see the Foxglove and think her an easy target because of her size. Most realize too late that she's got quite the fangs on her when she needs to use them.
Imhorn Bihn, Captain of the Foxglove
 

Cargo Hold, Galley and Below Decks

 
The Foxglove, despite her retrofits and modifications, maintains the same design and structure of any qaribel. There are four decks from top to bottom: the 'castle' deck, main deck, berth deck, and the hold.
 

Castle Deck

 
Foxglove Castle Deck Inset.webp
Foxglove Castle Deck by Kummer Wolfe ( CB Ash )
 
Crow's nest atop the main mast aside, this is the highest point of the Foxglove above the water. There are two areas, the 'forecastle' at the bow and the 'quarterdeck' at the stern. The forecastle contains the ballista mounted on a swivel base, hawsepipe and tackle for the ship's anchor.
 
At the stern, the quarterdeck contains the ship's wheel, some storage for lines and the ship's boat secured to the back of the quarterdeck.
 

Main Deck

 
Foxglove Main Deck Inset.webp
Foxglove Main Deck by Kummer Wolfe ( CB Ash )
 
Down from the castle deck is the main deck. Here the Foxglove’s first array of Blackstel shield crystals are mounted along the rail both to starboard and port. They are arranged between emplacements of sling launchers and their ammunition barrels.
 
Companionways connect the main deck to the castle decks above and to the berth deck below. A double door hatch allows direct access down to the hold at the lowest deck. Chests with rigging, spare sailcloth and more are mounted here ready for emergency use.
 
At the stern is the captain's cabin, the most spacious of all the living spaces aboard. Next to that is the captain's 'Ready Room' where he holds planning meetings with his officers as needed or enterains passengers to a meal.
 
 

Berth Deck

 
Foxglove Berth Deck Inset.webp
Foxglove Berth Deck by Kummer Wolfe ( CB Ash )
 
This deck has multiple roles. It is the first of the Foxglove's cargo holds, storing lighter or more sensitive cargo. The second array of the Blackstel shield is mounted on this deck to starboard and port. This is also the primary living space for crew and passengers.
 
On this deck is the crew's mess deck where they take their meals, along with a small galley at the bow that doubles as a room for emergency medical treatment. This is also where the ship's cook and their assistants sleep.
 
In the stern of berth deck are tiny officer quarters, with the first officer and quatermaster having the more spacious rooms. This is also where the surgeon's office and the ship's office is located. In the latter, the Foxglove's cargo manifest, pay records, navigation charts and all paperwork is kept and maintained.
 
Along starboard and port are the tiny bunk quarters for the ship's crew. When the Foxglove takes on passengers, the ship's officers will sleep here as well. This allows the passengers to use the officer's quarters for sleeping.

Hold

 
Foxglove Hold Inset.webp
Foxglove Hold by Kummer Wolfe ( CB Ash )
 
This is the lowest point of the Foxglove, sitting well below the waterline. In this space, most of the cargo carried by the Foxglove is stored here along with provisions, such as fresh water, for the crew. At the bow is the modest room used for the ship's stores.
 
Items from spare sails, lines, firewood, hawsers, and heavy tools are stored here. This is also where magical reagents are preserved and stored for the ship's war mage. This busy space also acts as a simple machine shop for spring and similar repair.
 
This is also where the ship's 'engine room' resides. At the stern, a gear-driven mechanism drives two massive underwater propellers, called 'screws', to provide the ship with power as needed.



Cover image: by Sade

Comments

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15 Sep, 2021 12:52

Nice ship with some well thought out features! The various improvements to speed and defence are quite interesting, especially the Blackstel shield.

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
15 Sep, 2021 15:23

Thank you!   In this world, hurricane level magic storms- wild magic or otherwise - do happen because of the mysterious near cataclysmic event that destroyed society centuries before.   So I figured, hey, a ship's going to need a little protection from that. But it doesn't hurt that it works against war mages being up to no good as well! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
20 Sep, 2021 22:18

I like this format of including a short story as part of the article. Great work!

20 Sep, 2021 23:25

Thanks! I'm loving this format, too! I feel like I can tell this extended story across the articles. It may build up to a full on short story! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
23 Sep, 2021 09:24

I love the narrative bit. Really adds life to the article! Also, the details of the decks are amazing.

23 Sep, 2021 12:34

Thanks! I had the most fun with the narrative. My biggest problem was finding a good place to stop! :D   And thank you on the deck details. I sweated about a month trying to figure out how how to make that map and all.

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
24 Sep, 2021 17:48

Great article about a really impressive ship! The Blackstel shield is fascinating, and I like the story of how the Foxglove used it to cut through the magic cyclone. The firespears sound cool as well - I certainly wouldn't want to be on a ship that is hit by those!

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   My entry for the Shipwright Challenge: Ycalla
25 Sep, 2021 11:08

Thank you! :D   And no, it would be a REALLY bad day to be aboard a ship hit by one of those!

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
28 Sep, 2021 17:03

I would possibly consider changing your ships dimensions to match the map, as you listed dimensions are around a 3:1 length to width ratio as opposed to your map, which is just over 5:1. Also, i would suggest changing depth to draft, otherwise it makes it seem as if the 3 levels of the ship are crammed into 7 feet of space.   Great job on the Captains log and lorekeepers notes, as well as the descriptions of the weapons and armaments. I especially like the fire spears   You also did an amazing job on the formatting of the article.

Check out my Shipwright Challenge Entry The Rum Runner
28 Sep, 2021 18:57

Thanks! I missed that on my last edit pass.

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
3 Oct, 2021 05:01

An impressive ship and I have to say I really love the captain's log. Makes me want to read more about the other voyages. Excellent article.

Read about the Dreamer's Wake!
3 Oct, 2021 11:39

Thank you! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!