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Month Index: August, 1996

From:     Paul Westermeyer <westermeyer.3@???.edu>
Date:     Sat, 3 Aug 1996 11:24:46 -0400
Subject:  Re: Realmspace Update:Shou Lung
        As is mentioned every time a dragonship is described,  the Shou a
take practical approach to spelljamming.  Unlike most primarily groundling
nations,  they purpose build their vessels for wildspace.  Indeed,  a Shou
dragonship is a solid ship by any standard.  Still,  the Shou are not a
major political presence outside of Realmspace because they concentrate
their energies on exploration and the hunt for curiosities.  Shou traders
are not unknown,  but they are few and far between.  The majority of Shou
vessels are owned by the Imperial government;  their numbers rise and fall
with the flucuations in the political fortunes of the Ministry of Glorious
Flight (the department responsible for most Shou spelljammers:see Shou
Lung: Science page 29 for the origins of this relatively small ministry).
Regardless of the political power of the ministry (often it waxes and wanes
many times while a given ship is away) all dragonships of this ministry
have the same basic command:  "Go forth, explore,  and bring back wonders
to the center of the Multiverse: The Emperor's Court in Shou Lung".
Despite a few mutinies and traitorous captains,  most dragonships take this
command seriously.  Since the Shou have so throughly explored Realmspace,
Ministry of Glorious Flight vessels usually fly directly to the crystal
sphere.  And from there to Bral (note: in my campaign Bral exist within
it's own sphere, Bralspace,  which is at the junction of many philogiston
rivers).  One of the duties of the Shou ambassador in Bral involves
maintaining a list of rumors, so that arriving Dragonships have a place to
start looking for curiosities.
        The Ministry of Glorious Flight is not the only department which
maintains a fleet of spelljammers,  the Ministry of War maintains a fleet
as well.  During the Horde Wars the Ministry of Glorious Flight was on the
downswing of political influence: all of the Dragonships were away,
exploring when the Horde struck.  Their absence was not noted by the court,
turn by the intrigues that accompanied the war,  but their return was
rather spectacular.  A single dragonship returning from its explorations
spotted a scouting column of 1000 Tuigan warriors,  roaming unusually close
to the Imperial city undetected.  The captain ordered an immediate attack,
and destroyed the unprepared column,  chasing the fleeing horse warriors
across the fields for many miles. The Ministry of war was quick to see the
advantages of spelljammers, as well as the dangers (they finally believed
the Ministry of Glorious Flights stories of the many fleets flying above
them).  They have established an official Shou spelljamming Fleet of about
45 Dragonships.  At any time 7-8 of those vessels are outside of
Realmspace,  assigned to Shou embassies in places like Bralspace or Refuge.
30 are assigned to the 3 ship squadrons that patrol Realmspace and Shou
Lung airspace.  These vessels attempt to suppress piracy (especially the
Wako) and protect Shou vessels.  The balance of the thirty vessels (7-8)
are in reserve at the port of Chumning,  their crews on leave.  In time of
War these vessels could be ready to fly within a week (1 is ready to defend
the port at all times).  In addition to these forces the Ministry of War
may coopt and vessels of the Ministry of Glorious Flight (over 100 vessels
scattered throughout the spheres).

The Shou use three versions of the Dragonship, described below:
Dragonship, standard class: This is the vessel first described in the
original boxed set.  It is well designed for exploration,  and usually
carries a Minor Helm.  Ministry of Glorious Flight vessels typically have
Wu Jen as helmsman,  and are commanded by adventurous young nobles (use the
Nobles kit from the Complete Fighters handbook,  modified for Shou) Several
individual temples have their own ships of this class as well,  their
vessels are crewed entirely by monks and Sohei of the temple.  Most Shou
vessels of any Ministry that must leave the sphere (and thus enter the
philogiston) are of this class.

Dragonship, flaming Dragon Class:  These vessels are similar to the
standard class,  but replace the medium ballistas with bombards.  These
vessels are popular with renegade Shou, and a few are used by the Ministry
of War.  Those other than Shou who use a dragonship often prefer this

Dragonship, War Dragon Class:  This is the primary warship of the Ministry
of War.  It appears as a standard Dragonship,  but adds two bombards
(arc:FP,FS) and a Greek Fire Projector (arc:F) that fires out of the mouth
of the dragon figure head.  The two ballistas are moved to the rear of the
main deck (arc:AP,AS).  The cargo capacity drops to 16 tons.  These vessels
have the following crew:
1 captain (F8-12, noble kit)
4 officers (F5-7, noble kit)
33 sailors (F2, Bushi Kit-see Dragon #189)
4 helmsman (P3-7,  Sohei Kit-see Dragon #189)
1 Ship's mage (M4-9, Wu Jen kit)
Note: The Sohei on all Ministry of War vessels are always of the Order of
the Dragon,  the have a reputation for utter loyalty to the Emperor.  The
personal weapons aboard Wardragons tend to be naginata and Chu-ku-nos
(repeating light crossbows).  The officers aboard these vessels carry many
magic items,  at least 2-5 each. The flagship in a given three ship fleet
will have the highest level captain(who will act as the fleet commander as
well)  and other officers.

The above contains TSR trademarked material,  as well as paraphrased
copyrighted material.  This use should not be construed as a challenge to
that status.

War Captain's companion: Book 1
Books 2, 3 and 4 of the Cloakmaster cycle
Forgotten Realms Boxed set
Spacefarer's Handbook
Kara-Tur Boxed set
Dragon #189

"We look on the same stars,  the sky is common,  the same world surrounds
us.  What difference does it make by what pains each seeks the truth?  We
can not attain to so great a secret by one road..."
Symmachus,  "Memorial on the Occasion of the Removal of the Altar of
Victory from the Senate House" (392 AD)

Paul William Westermeyer

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