T.W. "Golden Empress" class Ley Line Junk / Ocean vessel:


Captain Lockley of the Ley Line Frigate Hermione saw a sight like she had never seen before. It was a sailing vessel about the same size as theirs but strange. The sails were the most remarkable feature. The ships was not square rigged but instead the sails ran along the axis of the ship. They also did not billow with the magical energies of the ley line. Instead, they held firm by ribbing woven through the sails. Each of the three masts was also brightly topped with slender pennants.


The hull was just as unusual. It was painted brightly with reds and gold. Unlike the Hermione, the vessel appeared to be flat bottomed. The bow did not come to a sharp point but instead was almost square. The Hermione featured a figurehead, supposedly of her mythic namesake. When the Captain put her spyglass up to her head, she saw that the ship had a pair of what looked like eyes on either side of the bow.


It did not take long before the two ships can alongside each other. The vessel had cannon ports so it was armed but it did appear to carry a fraction of the weaponry of the Hermione. She appeared to only carry four guns per side. Not a warship, whatever else it was. Bright artwork lined the size of the vessel.


Looking at the crew of the other vessel, they had unusual facial features and most had dark hair. Their clothing also was quite usual nothing like any of her crew wore. She wondered where they came from. The ship was a mystery but seemed to be friendly one. Still, they stood at their posts, seeming to be ready to defend the ship if it turned out that she was a pirate. Most appeared to be armed in some fashion.


To try to show her good intension, she waved as the ship passed hers. Back near the stern of the other ship, somebody waved back.




Most Ley Line ships are based on British or American sailing ships but China had a long and interesting naval tradition as well, building ships called "Junks." As such, it not be surprising that some have become ley line vessels. No one really knows where they come from. Some speculate that they come from the West Coast of what had once been the United States while others speculate that they come from much further away. There are even those who speculate that they come from the ancient and legendary lands of China. The majority of the crew appear to be of oriental descent and most seem to speak Chinese.


Even though of a completely different design than most of the vessels which ply the ley lines, many of their features are similar. The ships are works of arts which the people who build them seem to take as much care as the techno-wizards who build Western style vessels. Often, they are painted with beautiful brush work both on the sides and stern.


They are enchanted with the magic of "Ironwood" so that they might withstand the punishing world of Rifts Earth. It is most likely that they are enchanted after the ships are built so that they can be constructed. Most likely, the wood is created through elemental "Earth" magic although some of the wood may be natural. The sails are reinforced with bamboo which grows extremely fast and the hull uses softwoods instead of the hardwoods used in most "Western" type ship designs. Still, the ley line junks are quite seaworthy and able to withstand the same storms which their counterparts can. Top speed on the water is around twelve knots although on ley lines, the vessel can travel up to around one hundred and fifty miles per hour.


These ships are not warships and are only comparatively lightly armed. The ships have four eight pound carronades on either side mounted on the main deck. The two forward mounts can be maneuvered to fire across the bow. Shorter ranged than cannons, they still pack quite a bit of punch. Payload is light, only about forty rounds per cannon. As well, the ship has a single lightning blaster. This weapon is designed to be able to swivel and engage targets on either side. A few ships are protected by "Armor of Ithan" which can be activated up to three times per day. No battery for magical energy is usually carried. As well, no other protective enchantments are standard although quite a few crew have added enchantments of various types. Invisibility and Impervious to energy are among the most common. Some have speculated if there are any full warship versions of these ships although none have been seen.


Crew of these ships is much smaller than true warships, about twenty to thirty on average. Of course, far more can be carried in emergencies. As might be expected, these ships rarely embark troops although in most cases the crew are lightly armed for ship defense. Crew has at least two techno-wizard and in most cases a pair of other spell casters. Air Warlocks are often part of the crew. Crew quarters are relatively comfortable but appear to be fairly primitive. The crew sleeps in compartments in the stern with bunks instead of hammocks. Quarters for the officers, usually the techno-wizards and other spell casters, are more comfortable. These ships lack the magical life support compared to the "Western" designs, most likely a cost cutting measure.


As far as cargo, these ships can carry a surprising amount of cargo. Cargo loads of up to four to five hundred tons can be carried. Cargo can be almost anything from metal ore, wood, and even food such as rice or fresh fruit. The ships have a series of hatchways along the main deck used to unload the cargo.


Model Type: "Golden Empress" Ocean & Sky Ship
Vehicle Type: Ocean & Sky Sail Junk
Crew: 20 to 30 with usually at least two techno-wizard and two other spell casting types recommended but not absolutely needed (Often air warlocks)
Troops: None Standard.


M.D.C. by location:

18 pounder Carronades (8, 4 each side):100 each
Lightning Blaster Mounts (1, main deck):80 each
[1] Foremast (Forward Mast):160
[1] Mainmast (Middle Mast):240
[1] Mizzenmast (Rear Mast):160
[1] Sails (3 - One each mast):100 each
Rudder:180
[2] Main Body:1,200
[3] Optional Armor of Ithan Force Field (Three Times per Day):400


Notes:
[1] Destruction of a mast or sail reduces ocean and ley line speed by 1/3 for each mast lost.
[2] Destroying the main body causes the ship to lose structural integrity, causing the ship to sink if in the water. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats (one of the few items of technology added) to accommodate everyone on the ship.
[3] Optional: As per the spell “Armor of Ithan” - Magic, fire, lightning, and cold all inflict one-half damage. Each activation lasts for 30 minutes.


Speed:
Ocean Surface: 12 knots or higher depending on the wind (approximately 13.81 miles per hour or 22.2 km per hour)
Ley Lines: 150 mph (240 kph). Requires the Telekinesis Spell (double cost at 16 P.P.E.) or 20 I.S.P. to initiative take off and Telekinesis Spell (double cost at 16 P.P.E.), Levitate Spell (double cost at 10 P.P.E.) or 20 I.S.P. to land the ship. Otherwise, the ship will float away slowly (2 mph) at about 100 feet (30.5 meters) off the ground. The ship can only travel through the air along ley lines and can switch directions at ley line nexus points.
Height: While Flying, maximum of 1000 feet (305 meters) and minimum of 200 feet (61 meters) without landing.
Range: Effectively Unlimited. The ship carries two months worth of supplies on board.


Statistical Data:
Length: 120 feet (36.58 meters)
Beam: 28 feet (8.53 meters)
Draft: 10 feet (3.05 meters)
Displacement: 480 tons not including cargo
Cargo: 500 tons of nonessential equipment and supplies. Most of the ships spaces are take up by extra ammo, armor, troops, weapons, sails, and other equipment.
Power System: Magic and sails.
Market Cost: Costs around 50 million credits to construct. Increase cost by 5 million credits with the force field.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. Eight (8) T.W. 18 Pounder Carronades: Carronades fire a larger ball for a smaller cannon when compared to long guns but have a reduced range when compared to long cannons. The cannon balls look like standard Iron balls but in reality come in three different types. The first is Thunderball which inflict considerable damage and creates a thunderclap that effects everyone within 10 feet (3 meters) of the cannon balls impact. The second is called Thunderfire and it erupts into fireball and inflicts greater damage than Thunderball ammunition but does not have the Thunderclap. The Third type of ammunition is Magic Grape Shot. This shot is designed to be used against a wide area and is very effective against personnel. The ship has two mounts which can fire with the broadside or act as bow chasers. The cannons use telekinesis to throw the rounds and does not use any gunpowder.
    Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
    Mega-Damage: Thunderball Ammunition: 1D6x10 per round or 4D6x10 for a complete broadside. Each Thunderball will also release a thunderclap as per the spell (thunderclap effects a 10 feet (3 m) radius. Thunderfire Ammunition: 2D6x10 per round or 8D6x10 for a complete broadside. The Thunderfire will often also ignite flammable materials. Magical Grape Shot Ammunition: 6D6 per round or 3D4x10+10 for a complete broadside. Each Magical Grape Shot will effect all targets within a blast radius of 20 feet (6 m).
    Rate of Fire: One shot per cannon per melee (all cannons can be fired at the same time). Cannon can be loaded and fired quickly due to not needing to load gunpowder.
    Payload: 320 rounds (40 per cannon), 160 rounds of Thunderball ammunition, 80 rounds of Thunderfire ammunition, and 80 rounds of Magical Grape Shot ammunition
    Notes: If the cannons are used against small targets (personnel, aircraft, missiles, etc) the cannons have a -4 penalty to strike (Grape shot has +4 to strike and can be used against small targets) with no bonuses to strike to strike for hand to hand or physical prowess. As well, only a single cannon can be targeted against a small target.
  2. One (1) Heavy Lightning Blaster: While some Junks did mount cannons, this weapon is definitely a non standard weapon system. These cannons are the only know non-period weapon on the ship. The lightning blasters have a slightly better range and have an unlimited payload compared to hand held lightning blasters. Additional optics and fire control have been added to enable the system to track and target aircraft and missiles The weapon must be recharged once a month using the spells “Call Lightning”, "Energy Bolt", and 100 P.P.E.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D4x10+10 per electrical blaster
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.


Special Systems:




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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2010, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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