Tuesday, August 2, 2022

On Worm Ships

Worm Ships are a peculiarity of Cuccagna, being a neccessity in some of its waters, for the perfect slight breezes which cool one in the gardens of that strange island are ill-suited to the occupation of sea craft, and the monstrous fauna which dwell beneath the waves of some its harbors, bays, and even some of its more turbid rivers are hazardous to vessels of more conventional type. The average worm ship looks like a largish gondola of pure white wood, often with elaborate carvings and certainly with fluted bow and stern to make it resemble in part the warships of ancient Acheron - though these "rams" are merely of wood and their similarity to those ships of old is but an aesthetic affectation. 

The most notable thing about the worm ship, regardless of its side, is its method of propulsion, for it relies not on sails but rather on a strange, shimmering-pink polychete worm bred for such purpose by some wizard of the island. The worminger, the sole necessary crewman on such a vessel, steers not from the back but from the front by prodding the worms with a specialized goad of wood and metal. Most work in teams of two or three, often accompanied by more conventional ship crews, for the prodding of an enormous sea worm is a dangerous business and the hardened bristles along the beast's segments can often snare the goad and hoy a man into the bosom of the ocean - and the waiting jaws of the worms.

The worms movement through the water drags the boat behind them, making the fact that the winds serve only the whims of some wizard of mercurial mood and great puissance a non-issue. Their perturbation of the water drives away the sawfish and swordfish which haunt this length of the Middle Sea. Cuccagna is well known as a site of shipwrecks and these creatures, who use their hardened and strangely shaped snouts to bore through the wood of a ship or to spear it at great speed, are one of the reasons why.

Worm ships allow characters to move across sea hexes as though they were traveling on foot on a road across clear terrain. Few wormingers will drive their away from site of the shore, for while the worms prevent the predation of weapon-snouted fish, there are more sinister things which lurk in the deeps near the island.

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