The only thing that Slothjemian has ever had unrivaled success with in wildspace and with spelljamming in general is the movement of vast quantities of freight and armies. Admittedly their first attempts at producing decent war vessels fell well short of the mark and even the most hardened Slothjemian sailor and marine will freely shrug their shoulders and say “Yeah, that didn’t go the way we would have liked.” But even the haughtiest of elven wildspace admirals will eagerly attest to Slothjemia’s ability to get things moved to where they need to be and fast. The Elven Imperial Fleet has never had a satisfactory means to move great quantities of goods long distances. But in the sphere of influence centered on Domum that has all changed thanks to their goblinoid friends and the Slothjemian propensity to “go big or get the hell out.”
The largest cargo ship plying the trade routes of wildspace in this sphere is the incredible 100-ton Wyvern-class cargo ship. The basic design is not radically different from the Wyrm-class battleship with which they share a common keel design and general frame layout except in some key areas. First, the Wyvern-class cargo ships are only lightly armed for defense. And when we say lightly, we do mean lightly. Second, the sail configuration is smaller with only one vertical wing-like mast on the stern castle and one collapsible wing-like sail on either side of the vessel amidships near the water line. This gives the vessel a dismal maneuverability rating of “F” if only because the rating don’t drop any lower than that. So while it might look from a distance to be a battleship the Wyvern-class isn’t much for putting up a fight as it is for fleeing the scene.
The vessel is mostly open cargo decks, although there are some variations for specific vessels and their uses. The layout shown here is the commonly encountered and is used for hauling bulk items such as food and supplies to the far-flung outposts of the Slothjemian Empire, the Elven Imperial Fleet, and anyone else that these forces are allied to. There are two cargo doors, one fore (1) and one aft (2). These allow cranes on the main deck to raise and lower goods and passengers (if the ship is carrying soldiers, for instance) up and down quickly. Loading and unloading men and materials into the Wyvern-class is something of a sight to see as the crews waste no time in getting the job done. The lower cargo deck is usually divided into a forward hold (3) and an aft hold (4). Despite being used in wildspace where balance doesn’t matter the cargo must always be loaded with balance in mind because these mighty ship land in water and nobody wants to have to file a report that after a long voyage their ship capsized when it reached its destination due to improper loading. Likewise on the middle cargo deck there are usually a fore (5) and aft (6) hold.
The main deck (7) of the ship is kept open and depending on what needs to be transported this space can be used to stack still more cargo. This is especially useful for moving timber or long sections of lumber such as is being harvested on the Slothjemian colony of Waldenfelsen on a regular basis. The Red Guards have one Wyvern-class ship that hasn’t even got a main deck to speak of, and the middle cargo deck is likewise missing to facilitate the moving of their dragons. This was part of the Herzgraf’s early “Rapid Defense Force” scheme and it is still an important part in letting the Slothjemians reach out with overwhelming force anytime they think it is justified. In the stern castle structure on the main deck is the kitchen and dining hall (8) for the crew. These ships do not have many crewmen so the accommodations are actually quite generous when compared to how cramped the Slothjemian warships can get. All of the enlisted crew members bunk in the general quarters (9).
In the second level of the stern castle is the bridge (10) and navigation room. Unlike the warships which are frequently called upon to scout new areas and delve into previously unknown space the Wyvern-class ships almost always stay on fixed, well-established routes. Crewmembers liken it to maneuvering a brick. “Aim where you want it to go, and throw.” The chances of finding a Wyvern anywhere off the beaten path is highly unlikely. The helmsmen share a cabin (11) right next to the bridge, and further down are the quarters for the junior officers (12) and the senior officers (13) which includes the captain of the ship. Above this is the stern castle deck (14) where the only defenses are mounted in the form of three medium ballistae. Due to it’s light armaments a Wyvern that is carrying important goods will always be escorted by more powerful warships to keep pirates and other enemies at bay.
One of the many duties required of these great ships is to help Slothjemian battle fleets get from one place to another. With a minimal crew on board a Wyvern-class cargo ship there is enough fresh air to last for years. This air can be shared with any other warship if the two are able to tie up alongside while in flight. In this way the Wyvern can literally breath air right to a Wyrm, a Dragon, or a Drake while still maintaining its own crew with air left over. Another duty that they are called upon to perform from time to time is in transporting large numbers of civilians to and from colonial outposts in wildspace as well as to those in Partum. The colony of Gargano is the best example. Using Wyvern-class ships the fine folks of Gargano can count on reliable trade of goods and people back and forth with the Slothjemian Coreland. This makes the otherwise isolated folk of Gargano feel as though they are only a few hours from home. Clearly the Wyvern is the most useful Slothjemian spelljammer around and it will remain so for a very long time to come.