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The Green Huntsman

"I'm told she was an awe-inspiring sight, but one that was best viewed from a distance. Preferably with a lot of cannons."
— Captain Kellam, of the Vervain

Summary History

The Green Huntsman is a Brigantine ship, designed and built by the dark elves in 1092 A.R. It was originally a dark elf naval ship, called the QSS Penumbra, before the ship's crew mutinied in 1112 A.R. and the ship became a pirate vessel, crewed by a group of pirates who became known as the False Widows. The ship terrorised the waters of the South Ikarin Sea and the Unfathomed Abyss for approximately two decades, but disappeared without trace not long after. No wreck, nor sign of the crew, has been discovered since: though many claim to have found such relics, all sightings have been proved false or dismissed on lack of evidence. Many speculations have been made regarding the ship's fate, the most widely-believed being that it broke through into a neighbouring plane and now terrorises the Otherdark, or became a team of mind marauders in the Dream Sea.

Description

The Green Huntsman is easily recognisable compared to other vessels. In its previous incarnation as the Penumbra its hull was painted dark grey, like all the brigantines in the dark elf navy, but some time after its capture the crew had it re-fitted and repainted, and the Huntsman now boasts a dark forest green hull. When it was last sighted, the ship's paintwork was scuffed and in poor repair, with the bare wood showing through in places, though the ship was presumably properly varnished over the damage as it showed no signs of rotting.
The figurehead is an upside-down scorpion, unchanged since the ship was built.

The ship’s flag is a white, stylised pair of fangs on a black base. Three red droplets of blood trip from the left fang- a reference to the ship’s captain and first and second mate, the only three crew members of the Penumbra to resist the mutiny and be killed.

The ship is rigged as a brigantine, with a mixture of square and triangular sails. Many of these sails are rather worn or patched over multiple times as the ship has taken its share of blows. It was originally designed for speed and this did not change post-mutiny. Overall it’s a fairly slim ship, and coupled with the crew’s skill, the Huntsman was never recorded to have been outmanoeuvred.

  The Green Huntsman is propelled by sails. The ship also has oars on its lower deck to propel the ship should the wind fail, although they were never seen to be used since the ship's transition to piracy. The ship was said to have some manner of magical propulsion, such as druidic wind magic, but these rumours are unproven.

Warfare and Combat

The Huntsman is only recorded to have lost two of its battles. The priority of the crew was to secure the cargo of other vessels, and as such it is only recorded to have sunk one ship, as opposed to looting it when it was half-destroyed and leaving the ragged crew to return to land as best they could.

As part of the Queen’s Navy, the Penumbra was primarily used for reconnaissance and espionage rather than direct combat, or was sent ahead to be part of a landing party.

Once converted into a pirate vessel, the ship was crewed very differently by the False Widows. There is rumoured to have been magic involved in the ship’s attacks, as survivors reported an almost supernatural ability to ambush other vessels, even in only light fog or cover of nightfall alone. The ship’s uncanny manoeuvrability meant that it was almost always seen to attack from upwind, and was therefore at a significant advantage at the beginning of every battle.
The primary tactics used by the crew of the Huntsman were to “rake” the opposing ship with cannon fire. Once initial damage had been caused, the crew would attempt to get close enough to use anti-personnel weapons on the above-deck crew; they were reported to use longbow and shortbow fire to kill or injure, and shot with a surprising level of accuracy. Finally, the False Widows attempted to board wherever possible, by placing planks between the decks, leaping between decks or swinging on loose ropes, or even- it was rumoured- teleporting from ship to ship.

Weapons and Armaments

The Green Huntsman has ten cannons, four on either side, one in the forecastle and one in the aftercastle; the ship's usual crew is not large enough to effectively manage a larger number of guns. Some of the crew of the Huntsman have spellcasting capabilities and all have hand-to-hand combat skills which they can use as a secondary mode of attack should the ship appear to be in danger of being boarded.

Notable Events

1092 A.R. - The QSS Penumbra is designed and built as part of the dark elf navy.
1112 A.R. - The crew of the QSS Penumbra mutinies, killing the captain, first mate and second mate, and taking control of the ship. The ship’s crew renames it the Green Huntsman.
1115 A.R. - The Green Huntsman attacks and loots the human merchant ship Boundbreaker. Six of the crew of 50 sailors, and two of the twenty passengers, were killed by cannonfire, and another seven crew members were killed when the ship was subsequently boarded. Eighty percent of the ship’s cargo was stolen, and the heavily-damaged ship returned to port at Lunenisle four months later than planned.
1117 A.R. - The Green Huntsman is sorely damaged after one of only two attacks recorded to have failed. The Smiling Omen, a human and moon elf galleon, was carrying two very powerful moon-elf sorcerers, who defended the ship such that it suffered no casualties, although the Huntsman lost more than a dozen men. The Huntsman itself escaped, avoiding any significant structural damage.
1118 A.R.-1127 A.R. - The Green Huntsman attacks and loots more than fourteen ships, including the HMN Amelia (human), the NQS Konjac (wood elvish), the merchant ships Grey Gauntlet and Peregrine (dwarfish), and the Paramour (sun elvish).
1121 A.R. - The dark elvish ship Ghostglide is found wrecked, believed to be the only ship ever sunk by the crew of the Huntsman.
1128 A.R.- Present - The Green Huntsman has not been sighted since 1128 A.R., though many unconfirmed and rumoured sightings have been reported.
 
To me, it seems most likely that the Green Huntsman, in one of its trips between the above- and below-ground seas, accidentally stumbled upon a gate to another plane entirely. Indeed, the cavern networks of the below-ground world, not excluding the Unfathomed Abyssal seas, form the ideal conditions for travel to the Otherdark, or perhaps even the Dream Sea or darker realms entirely. The ship and its crew seems to have been capable enough in this world, so one wonders if they would have similar luck in another, albeit likely harsher, plane. There are sightings and unexplained occurrences that suggest sonmething of the sort... travelling between planes by mistake is relatively easy in more volatile areas of the world... or perhaps, if the rumours are true, they would have methods of deliberately plane-jumping? Alas, I have no evidence to support my speculations, but nevertheless I cannot shake the suspicion that the Green Huntsman may still be sailing somewhere out there.
 
- From the research notes of Oskas Rialohondri, a renowned planestraveller, who disappeared at sea in 1210 A.R. on a venture to study a planar gate of unknown providence.

Deck Plan of the Green Huntsman
This map was drawn by hand digitally in Clip Studio Paint. It displays the three decks of the Green Huntsman, as well as the layout of the captain's and officers' quarters.

Glossary

A.R. - Anno Rubigo, literally the "era of rust". The current era.
HMN - His Majesty's Navy (human designation)
Lunenisle - A merchant port on the south-east coast of Ekenthis.
Mind Marauder - Pirates sailing the Dream Sea. Not much is known about them, but they are rumoured to be able to sever their victims' souls from their bodies and traverse the planes with ease. What they consider to be valuable cargo, considering the lack of any sort of market or bartering system in such a chaotic but overall rather empty plane, is also not known.
NQS - Noble Queen's Ship (wood elvish designation)
Otherdark - A parallel realm, superficially similar to the material world but twisted and nightmarish. Rumoured to be the origin of vampires, ghouls and similar beings. Connections between the Otherdark and the material world can form in any particularly dark place, making subterranean caverns a perfect ground for these gates.
QSS - Queen's Sailing Ship (dark elvish designation)
Unfathomed Abyss - An underground sea, connected to the above-ground world through various teleportation gates, though it is not connected to the above-ground seas through any physical streams. Rumoured to be the home of many extremely dangerous animals, some of which are undiscovered and many of which have certainly fallen out of living memory.
Nickname
The Scourge of the Undersea
Designation
(Prev.) QSS
Motto
(unofficial) "Fair fights are for fairer waters!"
Beam
7.5 metres (25 ft)
Length
33.5 metres (110 ft) (deck length)
Height
≈ 27 metres (90 feet)
Weight
≈ 55 tons
Speed
4 - 8 knots
Complement / Crew
≈ 32
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
≈ 95 tons

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Comments

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Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
3 Oct, 2021 00:34

I like the long history of the ship and that you weaved in several stories into the article

Before becoming the Etonia Council, the members had to make it to Etonia. My Shipwright Challenge entry offers a glimpse into that story. Dìondair Malairt