The 50-ton Drake-class corvettes are used mainly for fast patrol duty and transporting valuable cargo that would be too vulnerable on a Hammership or Squidship. Like all native-built Slothjemian spelljammers there are far too many crewmembers for these vessels to be used in long journeys. They tend to venture out only for a couple months at a time before dipping into a breathable atmosphere to continue along their way. Drakes that are equipped only for exploration duties are stripped of all of their light cannon on the gun deck. This reduces the crew necessary to fully operate the vessel tremendously (a reduction of 36 crewmembers). Drakes do not have rams and instead rely solely on the devastating broadsides of their light cannon. They rarely carry more than a few marines for guards and do not usually try to capture enemy vessels but rather do their best to simply destroy their foes. In standard configuration Drakes do not have the ballistae or catapult and only use cannon.
The large cargo doors (1) allow access from the main deck down through the gun deck to the cargo hold. The forward hold (2) is separated from the main hold (3) to prevent cargo from shifting all across the length of the cargo hold. There are crew quarters (4 and 5) on this deck as well, usually for the marines if any are stationed aboard. There is also a secure area (6) that can serve as a brig or additional light storage.
The gun deck has noncommissioned officer quarters (7) as well as an armory (8) where light weapons are secured. A cabin (9) is shared by artillery commanders while the artillery crews themselves sleep in hammocks or on the decks around the guns on the gun deck (10). The workshop (11) is a small tool room and work area. The powder magazine (12) keeps the smoke powder for the cannons secure. The pantry (13) is where all foodstuffs are kept.
The galley (14) is in the forecastle just like a traditional sailing vessel. The ship’s cook sleeps here too. The helm room (15) may seem cramped but it affords fine views via the windows in each of the outside walls. The captain and helmsman share a large cabin (16) towards the rear of the ship and this is also where the navigation and chart room (17) is located. The rest of the ship’s officers share the large cabin (18) in the stern castle. No matter how you slice it the conditions on a Drake are fairly crowded. The only upside is that the vessels can get from point A to B extremely quickly.
The Drake has adjustable wings that are mounted from near the forward portion of the port and starboard sides. These can be folded up to sit right below what would be the water line when the vessel is in water. When extended they look rather like a dragon’s wings and hang down rather than up to allow the cannons to have an unobstructed field of fire. The vessel edge of the wings are attached all the way back to around ¾ of the length of the ship. Each wing is about 70’ long when fully extended. These are the only means by which the ship can be steered however they are incredibly effective, giving the Drake a maneuverability rating of “C”. The crew needed to operate and steer the vessel beyond what the helm does is only ten. For simple travel over short distances the Drake really only needs a crew of eleven (ten crew plus the helmsman).
A variant of the Drake is being fine-tuned to serve as a terrestrial naval unit. Fitted with three masts and without a spelljamming helm these ships may prove to be the equal of anything currently sailing the seas around Partum. Once the wrinkles are ironed out for this design this could shift the balance of sea power in favor of Slothjemia in the Sea of Shadows and beyond.
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