Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: Steamers of the Maru Sea


Like railroads and locomotives, Steamships (or Steamers) are an emerging technology first
championed by Othebean non-arcanists.  Steamships have altered commercial shipping in the Maru Sea.  What once had been the domain of sailing vessels changed significantly once Othebean steam vessels replaced the older vessels.  Trade became far more predictable.

Ithic boilers, with their arcane high-pressure injectors reduced fears of the explosions from such vessels.  In Ith, explorers and adventurers were quick to adopt the new kind of vessel, daring to take it out into the depths of the ocean.  Such explorers founded the tiny ports of call in South Ocrid, the easternmost islands of the Jade Lands and other places.

In the ocean, paddle steamers like those employed in the milder Maru Sea proved ineffective at times.  Ithic artificers developed the screw propeller.  The first of these, the ISS Ichaba, left the docks at Blackcliff and completed a successful route to southern Maliph and back.  The Ichaba also was the first ship to be completely constructed out of iron.  Soon Ith turned out larger vessels, including the legendary ISS Witchqueen.

The Witchqueen Expedition

The ISS Witchqueen had been commissioned as part of a larger expedition planned by then-Ith President Tasminya Taan.  Taan wanted to explore the regions of South Ocrid.  Unknown to most in the Maru Sea, South Ocrid was still somewhat close to Necruxa geographically.  Others had attempted journeys to South Ocrid, but sailing vessels tended to fail in the storms and tsunamis employed by the Ursyklon Druids of Kainen.

Steamships could bypass the sailing risks.  At least, that was the core of the idea behind the launch of the Witchqueen.  Co-captained by Yzekiel Aurelia and Aldo Sardhu, the Witchqueen Expedition would help to establish ports like Fort Paradise and Fort Newtown.  The Witchqueen Expedition expanded the knowledge of Ith, but distances and hostility from Kainen Ursyklons have prevented Ith from settling it further.

Should any new innovations occur that could enable Ith to reach its foothold on Ocrid, it would mark a chance for the Sorcerous Republic to expand farther.  Its dream of a place where magic might flourish could grow and perhaps make it one of the most powerful nations on Orphos.