The Star Phoenix

Join the Star Phoenix in Stranger Skies in Bruce Heard's Calidar Setting.
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Big Mac
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The Star Phoenix

Post by Big Mac »

Are we likely to see any additional information about the Star Phoenix any time soon?

The Bye-Bye Princess Ark. . . Hello Calidar! announcement, linked to Bruce's Calidar blog entry and that said this about the ship:
Bruce Heard at his blog wrote:Calidar emphasizes skyship adventures. The final product is intended to include a gazetteer and a poster map. Written materials should amount to at least 80,000 words, of which 60% will be a story unveiling the adventures of the Star Phoenix and her crew under Captain Isledemer d'Alberran's command. The latter are inspired from the Princess Ark episodes published in Dragon Magazine twenty years ago. Though the ship, her crew, and their strange new world are different from those of the original series, the analogy remains intact in style and spirit.
That is more about the way the ship will be used than the Star Phoenix itself. Later Bruce mentioned some stuff about the design of various skyships:
Bruce Heard at his blog wrote:A Glimpse at the Skyships

Airships of Calidar are as varied as its people, whether spacefaring or not. Let’s start from the ground up: with the dwarves of Kragdûr. These fellows aren’t wizards, yet they build flying ships. Theirs are brutes of steel, fire, and brimstone. In keeping with their own love of things from the ground, dwarves fly powerful dreadnoughts whose hulls and superstructures are made of forged iron, steel, brass, and copper held together with rivets. Cannons are their weapons of choice. They use coal and special minerals found on their moon, providing lift and thrust enough to propel their massive beasts. Kragdûr dwarves favor a harsh warrior-like culture.

Elven designs depart radically from the dwarven paradigm. Alorean vessels look more like sail ships from the Golden Age of Clippers. These are wind-powered, quad-masted, wooden vessels built for speed. Their style and workmanship remain unmistakably elven, with a heavy emphasis on organic rather than functional. Up close, their artful designs are reminiscent of twisting roots and leaf patterns. Unlike vessels of other races, Alorean liners house extensive hydroponic facilities within their hulls. Alive, self-healing, and able to grow parts like davits, boarding planks, hammocks, and tether-roots, they also feature deck weaponry in the form of native Alorean plants living in symbiosis with the ships. These elves behave more like artful intellectuals.

Human-built skyships of Manaan are far more varied than elven or dwarven designs. They stand anywhere between the two extremes of demi-human ships, blending metal and wood in various proportions. Manaani commanders generally favor maneuverability over speed or strength, which implies a preference for galley designs. Style-wise, they depend on the region of origin, somewhat like real-world 16th Century galleasses and 17th Century galleons that can be fitted with auxiliary oars. This implies an inverted tri-mast design (two sets of upper masts angled in a V-shape and one set of vertical masts underneath the hull) to allow clearance for the banks of oars. They usually rely on combinations of magic and mechanical devices as main deck weapons. The Manaani are highly religious people, for better or for worse.

And what of native Calidar vessels, you might wonder? These ships are even more unpredictable as they mix and match designs from either of the three moons, making foreign observers cringe at certain very, very odd concepts. This habit goes back to the time when colonies broke away from their outer world overseers, and had to use whatever they could seize in combat or recover from wrecks. Anything goes, merrily blending dirigibles, wind sails, steam-powered paddle-wheels, mixed-dwarven and -elven medieval wood-and-steel bio-mechanics, ethereal ley line nets, four-winged flying beasts, and so on.
There’s more. . . how about the scaly, acid-spewing, glistening vessels of the evil Draconnic Knights? Giant flying junks and armored turtle-ships claim the skies in faraway Lao-Kwei. At last, let’s not forget the space Vikings with double- or triple-deck longships feared by all, including the mysterious starfolk.
So there are many designs of ships. Some skyships travel into space and others do not. The dwarves from Kragdûr*, the elves from Alorea* and the humans from Manaan* all have very different designs and the people of Calidar mix and match from these three designs.

* = Would I be correct in assuming that lunar ships are all spacefaring ships? Or do they have some skyships that remain on their own moons?

So, I am guessing that if the designs are that distinctive, it should be possible to work out if the Star Phoenix was built to one of the designs of the lunar empires or is a hybrid design from Calidar.

So is the Star Phoenix a stereotypical ship of one of those types? Or is it a non-stereotypical ship, that can not be pinned down to any of the styles?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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