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Heldannic Warbirds: Uhuboote

by Bruce Heard

Uhuboote-Class Warbird
Tonnage: 64 tons
Hull Points: 45 Hull; 6 Sail
Armour Class: 7
Lift Capacity: 70 tons
Cargo Capacity: 5 tons
Air Speed: 360' (120')
Mov. Factor: 1/2
Length: 60' (incl. tail)
Beam: 90' (incl. wings)
Depth: 20'
Hull: mostly wood (wings/tail made of canvas over a wooden frame)
Crew: 20 (1 Knight Bachelor, 1 Prior, 3 brother knights, 10 brother squires, 1 brother chaplain.)
Weaponry: One blight belcher (light), two ballistae.
Defences: Darkness.

Description: The Uhuboote (owl ship, night owl) is a dedicated night- fighter. It is built to look like a flying owl, and painted in dark grey or black colours. Much simpler than the larger warbirds, it includes triangular outer deck (60' base, 30' deep forming the back and shoulders of the "owl"), a hull with one lower deck (40' long, and 20' wide and deep, giving the "owl" its body), and the bridge located inside the large owl head at the ship's bow (20' diameter). A single mast with a square sail stands in the middle of the upper deck. The tips of the wings and the tail are made of canvas stretched over a light wooden frame as ornaments.

One ballista is located at the port and starboard tips of the upper deck. A blight belcher is kept on the lower deck, underneath the bridge, or can be moved to a porthole facing aft underneath the owl's tail. Crew quarters are on the lower deck, while cargo remains secured on the upper deck, underneath a heavy canvas canopy stretching from the back of the owl's head to the aft edge of the upper deck. The ship's chapel is part of the bridge and includes the helm as well, inside the owl's head. The ship is light enough to be able to land on its legs, the tail frame acting as a landing keel.

The Uhuboote has the ability to conceal itself inside a sphere of darkness once per day. The spell is broken when a physical object or magical attack crosses through the sphere. It is a "one-way" darkness that does not affect vision aboard the owl. Infravision ability is otherwise available from the bridge, with a range of 300 yards. The owl's combat tactic is to ambush other ships at night and escape after its attack. Its ballistae normally fire javelins with both strike and silence spells. Some have been used with delayed blast flamestrike. Owls are recent additions to the Heldannic fleet (AC1016 or later), and are otherwise used as long range recon and spy ships. They sometimes act in owl packs when a specific target needs to be dispatched rapidly.