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by Dorrik Stonecleaver

If they hadn't made her by magic, I would consider calling her an amazing piece of engineering. Why do humans need to use magic everywhere? Plus, she is intended to fly, so I ask you dear reader: Why would anyone want to fly when they can stay on solid ground, or better yet, underground? I believe these are fools who cannot recognise the true value of earth and rocks. Anyway, I'm just rambling here, so let's go to the real topic at hand.

The Concordia is the first skyship ever constructed in our benevolent kingdom of Karameikos. As such, she naturally is our flagship. She is a man-of-war of (nearly) classic Alphatian design, though her hull conceals in fact an exploration ship rather than an actual warship. Part of the space usually used to accommodate marines has been instead made into additional living quarters for civilians, and her cargo capacity may be used to carry goods and various stuff from all over the Hollow World back to Karameikos. The hull itself has no special, magical defensive strength, and the only siege weapons are two light ballistae.

(D&D Stats)

Length: 200'
Beam: 70'
Depth: 50', 4 decks
Sails: 18,000 sq. ft., three-masted
Tonnage: 950 tons
Cargo Capacity: 185 tons
Lift Capacity: 1,240 tons
Lift Power: Float in Air & ailerons
Motive Power: Wind
Air Speed: 180' (60')
Manoeuvring Factor: 1/2
Hull Points: 372
Armour Class: 6
Armaments: 2 Light Ballistae

According to Master Terari of the Karameikan School of Magecraft, construction of the Concordia required a lot of wizardry to fully enchant her. Terari himself, who had some experience in skyship design, supervised the construction. Many an Alphatian refugee that had settled in Karameikos after the war participated in the doing. Terari also used the school's resources, including making up a contest allowing the students to be of some help, with prizes to be won, like studies paid by the crown or minor magical items crafted by Terari himself. Wizards from Aeria also came to Karameikos and provided the needed experience and components for enchanting a skyship. If you believe this confidence from Master Terari, such a project had been in preparation for quite some time: Alphatian air-wizard refugees and Terari had exposed that idea to King Karameikos a few years ago; actual plans began when Thyatis used Aeria's vast resources to help the Empire acquire skyship technology. By the time the Polar Expedition returned with tales of the Hollow World, our beloved King had long signed treaties with the wizards of Aeria and the NACE.

But you certainly want to know how exactly those wizards enchanted such a ship. Well, although I do not know much in the ways of magic, here are the magical terms for you enchanter to be, straight from Terari's mouth (I couldn't have invented them even if I wanted to).

In order to enchant the needed 31 frame sections, 34 were wasted due to failed castings. Thus in all, 65 frames were made. This is mostly due to the fact that spellcasters of relatively low levels made tries at it, as there weren't enough high-level wizards to do all the enchanting.

Each section received the Prepare Enchantment spell, to improve the chances of success, and an initial Woodform spell. It was then imbued with Float in Air to give the ship her lifting power. Two subsequent Woodform spells were then cast, the first one to joint it to neighbouring sections, the last one to lock its shape against possible tampering.

Then 3 further Float in Air spells were cast to provide lift power for additional cargo; some partially-failed frames were used anyway at this stage to cut down costs, hence the reduced lift capacity compared to the expected 140% of tonnage. So, each frame (if successfully enchanted) was applied the following spells:

The total for a successful frame section is 24 spell levels, but considering the probability of failure, it was in fact 18.5 spell levels per frame. So, we cast a total of 1,200 spell levels for our 65 frames.

The time needed to enchant each frame was about one month. 10 wizards participated in the endeavour, 5 Karameikans (4 of them were in fact Alphatian refugees) and 5 air-wizards from Aeria. They all immediately set to work on their respective frames. Work needed to be synchronised in order to put the frames together, which was made harder when some of them were wasted, so that some time was naturally lost. Actual work began after my (Terari's Ed.) diplomatic mission to the NACE in Fyrmont of AC 1014, and was finished 7 months later when the Concordia made her maiden flight on Thaumont 28, AC 1015, though plan design and mundane work had begun months earlier, back in AC 1013. School students worked on less important parts, like the interior of the ship; their help was invaluable nonetheless as they handled the smaller details with the carpenters, weavers, leatherworkers, smiths and other craftsmen that the ten of us had no time to bother with.

If you are like me, you certainly wonder how much gold this marvel cost to the King's treasure. Well, it is not so easy to figure out, as that kind of numbers are not thoroughly advertised. However, with the help of craftsmen friends of mine, and official documents stating the price of Glantrian magical services and components within that dangerous country, and some leaks at the Karameikan School of Magecraft, I was able to at least evaluate it. It ain't no fun to a dwarf to count something with numbers written on paper rather than with actual gold nuggets and gems, but I did it, so here it is.

Object Cost (Royals) Notes
Prepare Enchantment 975,000 Includes spell components
Woodform 975,000 Includes material and spell components
Float in Air 395,000 Includes spell components
Aerian wizards' wages 650,000 Half-price wages thanks to exchange program with the NACE
Karameikan wizards' wages 480,000 Includes Alphatian refugees and school students. Part is paid with free years of studies or access to the school's resources
Experts' and labourers' wages 25,000 Includes mundane accoutrements
Total 2,500,000 All costs included

The Concordia's crew is composed of:

Sailors: 250 (125 Karameikans, 125 Alphatians), many of them are rookies hence this higher-than-usual number; some of their quarters may eventually be reconverted to civilians' quarters later.

Marines: 1 Karameikan regiment: 120 regular F1 marines (leather armour, longbows, normal swords), 3 sergeants, 1 captain.

Civilians: 50; there are quarters for 100 more. Includes a priest of the Church of Karameikos, a priest of the Church of Traladara, an ambassador from Karameikos and one from the NACE, and a few sages. (Note from Belzamith: the cook is one of my cousins.)

Captain: Lord Nikolai Delarius is both captain of the Concordia and leader of the expedition. He was leader of the famous Karameikan Polar Expedition that brought proof of the existence of the Hollow World. His deeds earned this young man of mixed Thyatian and Traladaran heritage and modest descent a rapid ascension in the military hierarchy, and popular recognition as well as royal attention (he has been recently granted nobility). He volunteered to lead a second expedition to the world below, and was given the responsibility of the very first Karameikan skyship and her crew. He is an adventurer at heart, who likes challenges.

Counsellor Exceptional: Lady Claransa the Seer, author of her best-selling Travels to the Centre of the World. She was longing for adventure and decided to board the Concordia as Counsellor Exceptional on Hollow World matters. She has spent 6 years down there and her knowledge may prove very useful to the expedition. The King has trusted her with the study of the peoples of the Hollow World, their cultures and customs, their history, the geography of the land, the flora and fauna, as well as accumulating additional data about the way magic works there; in one word, she is responsible for everything a sage of such talent can do. She has also been granted the honorific title of Lady.

The Karameikan sailors are by tradition superstitious about women aboard a ship, which they believe is likely to provoke the wrath of the Old Man of the Sea. Their fear remained the same with their new, airborne assignment, especially among the Traladarans. This is not true of the Alphatians, though, who are used to having female sailors and marines among them. By Kagyar, what could they fear of the Old Man of the Sea up there anyway, they should rather fear Thor's wrath, or more realistically those damn dragons! To avoid a refusal from the superstitious Karameikan sailors to board the Concordia, King Stefan decided to allow only male sailors, including for the Alphatians.

However, there is still one woman aboard, Counsellor Claransa, and Traladaran soothsayers have already foretold this will be enough to incur Protius' wrath...

One wonders if we should really trust the Alphatians that worked on the Concordia. They are strangers. King Stefan either trusted them, or watched them carefully. Well, she flies.