Re: Waertagi

From: Sandy Petersen (sandyp@idgecko.idsoftware.com)
Date: Sat 25 May 1996 - 21:50:07 EEST


Ian Gorlick
>Other than their association with the Water and Water's wars with
the Air, why
>would the waertagi avoid using sails? The waertagi have to BREATH
air, so why
>wouldn't they learn to use it for their advantage?
        Because sails are inferior. Why don't modern ships use
sails instead of steam or nuclear power?

PROPULSION METHODS OF THE WAERTAGI

UNDINES: from colossal dragonships down to small boats, undines are
near-universal amongst the Waertagi, guided and compelled by their
sorcerer-priests. The larger the ship, the more undines are used, up
to several dozen for the large dragonships. On large ships, the
undines are used for specialized purposes -- some for propulsion,
some for steering, some for cleaning the deck, some for rescuing
children who fall overboard, etc.
        The Waertagi have an affinity for the water that lets them
control undines in the same way that Wind Children can control
sylphs (but in most Waertagi, this ability is weaker than in your
average Wind Child -- some have the seablood stronger than others).
        Undines are tireless, and can eventually get a ship up to
the same speed as they normally move. The undines form a large wave
at the stern of the boat, on which the boat surfs, rather than
sailing. Naturally, waertagi ships are shaped quite different from
human ones, since they are built to ride atop the waves. And the
waertagi well-know all the different types of undines, their speeds,
their personalities, etc.
        Speed spells and other magic are oft cast upon the undines
to assist them. The smaller undine-propelled vessels often have
tube-shaped keels, inside of which the undine sits.

SEA MONSTERS: in three varieties: tame, magically compelled, and
shapechangers. Tame sea monsters are fairly common. Of course, these
monsters are sometimes intelligent, which means they aren't so much
"tame" as allied or friendly. No one would consider a band of
helpful Gnydron as "tame". Compelled monsters are usually only seen
in battle situations or on specific tasks, where the Waertagi need
as many monsters as possible, and have purposely summoned them
forth. The Waertagi worship Triolina, plus there are some natural
shapeshifters among them, _plus_ they are friends with sea creatures
such as Tritons and lesser beings, many of whom are shapechangers.
Thus, you are never sure if a particular sea monster they are using
is "real" or not.
        Now, the waertagi don't normally tow their vessels behind
monsters. Instead, the monsters _accompany_ their other ships, and
act as vessels in and of themselves. Hence, instead of seeing a
large shark tow a small boat, you would see a waertagi or two riding
on the shark's back. Of course, for pulling cargo flats and such,
sea monsters can be used. The waertagi are nothing if not flexible.

CURRENTS: the waertagi know the ocean's currents as no other race
in Glorantha (better than the mermen). Glorantha has some very
strong currents, and for long voyages, the Waertagi use the flowing
water to move their ships. They have developed a technique to "tack"
against the water, much as sailing ships can tack back and forth
against the wind, and thus, they can actually propel their ships and
small boats _against_ the current. How do they do this? No human

knows. It might be incredible skill, or it might be magic -- not
necessarily waertagi in nature, but something inherent in the
currents.
        The currents normally move their ships fairly slowly -- no
faster than normal sailing vessels.

OARS: waertagi make fine rowers, and all their ships have sweeps.
True galleys are carried by some of the dragonships for operating in
and near shores or large rivers. These galleys are lowered from the
dragonship by cranes, and then zip around as well as any trireme
(or whatever size the ship happens to be). Since in a bad sea, they
can be pulled back aboard the dragonship, they prove to be a real
asset. The waertagi thus have all the advantages of Greco-Roman
ships (fast, low draft, light, deadly and maneuverable), without the
disadvantages (tend to sink on long voyages). Picture a combat
between a waertagi quinquereme and a Noloswal sailing vessel -- the
quinquereme would run circles around the hapless sailing vessel,
except in bad seas. But in bad seas, the sailing ship can't fight
either -- it can just weather it out.
        They also have small rowboats, of course.

OTHER TECHNIQUES: are also known, such as using special wood, hyena
hide, or other materials that are able to provide propulsion on
their own in the water.

SYLPHS AND WAERTAGI
        The Waertagi have nothing against sylphs or air gods.
Weather is important to them (though not so crucial as with human
sailors), and they keep tabs on the sky and stars.
        Most waertagi vessels have captured sylphs for use. The
sylphs are not used for propulsion, but rather for carrying men
aloft for scouting, seeking out lost vessels, and for carrying folk
underwater -- providing breathable air while so-doing.
        The waertagi LOVE sylphs -- sylphs and undines are the only
two elementals they can get on any sort of a regular basis. Shades
are okay in combat, but there's not a lot of shady places on the
ocean surface, and shades aren't that handy outside combat. Gnomes
are simply out of the question. Salamanders are used mainly in
warfare against human ships. Dragonships of course don't burn, and
their other vessels are built out of materials that are more-or-less
resistant to fire, such as sharkskin, whalebone, tortoiseshell,
etc.

Sandy P.

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