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Tanu Manta

 

Built by: Tanu

Used by: Tanu

Tons/Hull Points: 50

Crew: 8/50

Maneuverability Class: C {topped out}

Landing - Land: yes

Water: yes

Armor rating: 4

Saves as: Glassteel {metal +2}

Power Type: Psi-helm or other

Armament:

Typical gunship:

Piercing Ram

2 heavy ballistae, crew = 5 each

1 heavy catapult, crew = 5

1 medium ballista, crew = 3 {tail}

1 Accelerator, crew = 1 {snout}

Cargo ship or other:

Piercing Ram

1 medium ballista, crew = 3 {tail}

1 Accelerator, crew = 1 {snout}

Cargo capacity: 20 tons {gunship}

Cargo capacity: 28+ tons {cargo ship}

Keel length: 135'

Beam: cabin 60', wingspan 185'

Modeled after a stunning brush with the great Spelljammer herself, the Tanu Manta is the basic all-purpose vehicle for the Wildspace Legion. After an attempt at building articulated canvas wings was scrapped as too delicate and hard to repair in space, a solid, fixed-wing design took shape in the Tanu shipyards at Argallus. This necessitated that the standard vessel be topped out to provide better maneuverability, and armor plating was sacrificed in favor of more modular design and versatility. The Manta comes in several different configurations, but the most common pair are discussed here: the gunship and the cargo carrier.

As a weapons platform the Manta is a good design. It offers a mostly enclosed deck plan, so that only 3 of the 5 weapon stations are exposed to the air. There are two swiveling heavy ballistae mounts astride the foredeck just behind the ship's head, and the catapult squats at the rear of the open deck surface amidships. This leaves the medium ballista which is nestled in the tail, and the Accelerator which fires through the 'snout'. There are no weapons mounted on the underside of the vessel, to facilitate landing. Different weapons can be interchanged for different configurations, depending on intended targets, but the mount capacities remain the same.

The cargo carrier Manta loses the deck-mounted weapons in favor of more internal space {bulkheads are whittled down beneath where the turrets would be}, leaving the tail and snout weapons to protect the vehicle. In some cases the entire 'bottomside' deck will be hollowed out entirely for very large cargo, and a bay door added beneath the tail.

In either configuration, the crew area tends to remain on the 'topside' of the gravity plane, with the 'bottomside' being cargo space and supplies. This eases the ship's need to batten down things when descending into a planetary gravity environment.

When presented with the task of topping out the Manta, the Legion gnomes could only add sail power to really one place: the tail fin. The only moving sail on the Manta is the wide, bisected fluke that rises over the rear deck, and so the gnomes over-built this jib for all they were worth. It rests on a ball-joint-like mount, and swivels in a curved arc by the manipulations of the riggers stationed inside the hollow tail. Above the fabric is bolted a second, curved Glass fluke, like a beetle's shell, which channels wind under itself and over the fluke sails, adding more 'lift' and allowing the ship to move as if it had more sail-area {at least, that's what the gnomes claim it does}.

These ships will staff widely varied crews depending on their mission & configuration; there is no standard.