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Tanu Dragonship

Built by: Tanu

Used by: Tanu

Tons/Hull Points: 45

Crew: 7/45

Maneuverability Class: C {topped out}

Landing - Land: no

Water: no

Armor rating: 4

Saves as: Glassteel {metal +2}

Power Type: Psi-helm or Cloaking Psi


Grappling Ram

1 light ballista, crew = 1

4 Accelerators, crew = 1 each

Cargo: 20 tons

Keel Length: 160'

Beam Length - Deck: 30', Wingspan: 205'

After the capture of the Toril Batship, Tanu engineers spent several months disassembling most of the gutted ship in orbital drydock. While the secrets of the cursed Box Helm were lost in space forever, the intricate design that allowed the dreaded ship its unique movement proved to be endlessly fascinating to the gnomish crews who tore her apart. They attempted without success to imitate the jointed body frame, but realized it created structural instability ill suited to combat. It was surmised the Box Helm somehow held the ship together by magic. They abandoned this part of the design and instead concentrated on duplicating the wing articulation for use by live riggers.

What soft-wing design ideas failed during the creation of the Manta came back with a vengeance in the new Tanu space superiority fighter, the Dragonship. Due to the complexity of the wing design, these ships are also considered to be built 'topped out', and require large rigging crews for their size to operate. They lack the armor plating of the Triop, instead relying on their great maneuverability to avoid enemy fire.

The Dragonship has three open decks; two 'topside' areas across the belly and at the back of the neck, and the 'underside' deck on the 'rump' {anyone assigned to 'swab the rump' becomes the target of many ship-board joke opportunities}. While one Accelerator fires through the snout, the other emplacements are typically a pair set on the belly-deck, one Accelerator on the 'rump' and the ballista upon the neck. The forward facing feet are the ship's grapple-rams, and the legs are lined with rungs for boarding actions. The tail is actually a large towing clamp for taking prize ships that cannot sail on their own.

Due to its strange deck design, the Dragonship flies feet-first, at a near-15 degree angle to its gravity plane. All decks are ribbed to allow easy passage, and the command crew, stationed behind the eye-window in the head, sits in reclined seats to avoid neck strain. Also because of its unorthodox shape, the Dragonship can never land; all crewmen have proficiency in either rappelling or mountaineering, since crew drops onto planets require one to rappel down ropes from the belly or rump decks, and to climb back up the same way. This is accepted though, as the Dragonship is intended to remain in space for all of its life, acting as a deep-space patrol, blockade and interceptor vessel. To accomodate this unorthodox vessel in a dry dock, decking behind the head is removed, to reveal a simple, spring-loaded locking mechanism, integrated within the ship's internal structure. This is part of a gnome-designed docking clamp which the Tanu construct at the pinnacle of a large scaffold, and the ships literally 'hang' while they undergo repair. Aside from this docking equipment, a Dragonship's small cargo spaces tend to be taken up by ammunition and repair supplies; for the most part, Dragonship captains go to great lengths to secure magic items that supply unlimited food and/or water to save cargo space.

Aside from its maneuverability, the Dragonship mounts a large number of small weapons with rapid reload times, enabling it to keep up a constant barrage on an enemy while it circles and swoops around its prey. While the lone light ballista tends to target opposing rigging and weapons crews, the Accelerators put out a withering volley of fire at important ship areas each round. A typical tactic is to circle an opponent, wipe out the opposing riggers, attack weapon mounts, then shear their sails. The Dragonship then closes and grapple-rams the enemy, and marines swarm down the ship's legs to attack and capture the vessel.