​On Flying Skiffs and Their Mysterious Decline (Part I)

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  • On Flying Skiffs and Their Mysterious Decline (Part I) (Steam Bombers)


    One of the things that so much surprised my military sponsors during their ill-fated last conflict with Hammerhold was the appearance of fast-moving light flying skiffs of precious unknown design. Their appearance allowed the normally slow dwarven forces excelelnt scouting capabilities and even some skirmishing quite on par with that offered by our own Reiter squadrons, especially when combined with accurate fire from concealed Ranger squads.



    This being one of the explicit purposes with my studies with the dwarves, I asked Queen Haephaestia for permission, as was graciously allowed to study these marvelous creations both at dock and at flight. The Hammerhold fleet consisted of two heavily armed skiffs, at least four smaller vessels, and one much larger ship, which acted as a supply ship to the rest of the fleet as well as a potent combat platform in its own right. This chapter will detail the two skiffs.
    The one depicted in the woodcut above is the "Ancestral Wrath", a swifter twin-sailed design.


    While both skiffs were unique, and indeed according to my hosts, all such vessels are, being the remnant of a lost age of dwarven splendour, they still have many similarities. All such vessels are shaped much like a shallow-keeled boat, with a prow much like a northern longboat, and are kept aloft in disregard of all known natural laws by a powerful Runic Engine on the back of vessel, which somehow provides lift much like the wings of a great beast does. Such power is unpredictable though and the skiffs are known to dip and swerve almost at random, making them quite unsafe to sail in close quarters.

    Indeed on several occasions Reiter squadrons tried to trap these swift Skiffs against the mountainside to limit their mobility, only for the mountainside to erupt in a shower of bolts as well-concealed Ranger Troupes made their presence known.



    Such a unpredictable mount requires a very special crew, and even among a folk that tolerates the weirdness of Ranger Troupes, the insane fatalism of the Seeker Sect, the insular eccentricity of the Engineer Cult, and the single-minded fanaticism of the Forgemaidens, the crew of such vessels are seen as both unhinged and dangerous and are seldom welcome in polite company.
    Having a almost instinctive understanding of the eccentricities of their runic engine, split-second reflexes and a love for speed and the open sky that is most undwarven, they tend to twitch uncontrollably and feel at ill at ease inside most smaller chambers of a Dwarfhold.


    They are also heavy drinkers, which for dwarves is saying something! Whether in the sky or on the ground.





    While primarily used for trading with cities and Holds than cannot be reached by land (all such flying vessels are technically part of the Dwarven Trading Navy, not the militia or the Queen's Army) and scouting, the skiffs can defend themselves in combat with a light grapeshot cannon(originally invented to scatter the vast Harpy hosts congregating in some mountain areas long enough for the skiffs to break through) and a large munition of bombs that can wreak great damage to lightly armoured infantry to slow to shift in response to a sudden assault dive.


    The crew are generally organized with a older, more experienced captain steering the Skiff and a junior apprentice manning the Grapeshot cannonand dropping munitions.


    The single-sailed "Flying Hammer", masted much like the longboat it so resembles, was the second skiff i was allowed the take notes off.


    It is to me a mystery why the dwarves claim to no longer have the ability to make more of such miraculous vessels, for dwarven memory and bookkeeping are both exacting and ancient (their eccentricities regarding their Queens notwithstanding) so surely such a thing would not be allowed to become lost?
    But sadly none of the dwarves I questioned would answer my questions in this regard, merely gesturing angrily at the Skiff's figureheads and making oblique references to the skills needed being lost in the "Schism".
    Interesting enough the intonation on the words used for this Schism suggests that whatever it was, it was a great rift of both physical and political/religious nature.
    However as the figureheads offer no clue to me, I have little idea as of what they mean.



    I guess time alone will tell if this lost knowledge will be reclaimed or if the remaining vessels will surely grumble as the great statues of the dwarves do




    Of the Dwarves: Notes on Physiology, Military and Habitat, vol III, by Krugman Bartliebhafer, Imperial Scholar.
    I haz a blog! the-ninth-age.com/blog/index.p…-the-moment-aslo-batreps/.

    Mostly KoE and ID stuff. Now also some Void

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Comments 4

  • Omarcomin -

    One of each please.

    • Petterwass -

      Haha! They are actually quite easy to make :)

    • Omarcomin -

      Oh good $20 should do it then?

    • Petterwass -

      Haha, no. Sadly a lotta more expensive than that
      But I'm glad you liked 'em.

      I can give you the parts list if you want but since they're based on the GW Gunhauler they're not cheap.
      I got mine for half price of a Tumblr sale otherwise I would not have done it