Seafaring

Seafaring

Ah, to sail the four seas of Alyria - the sea-faring Adventurer's dream. Through use of Materia Magica's unique ship system, it is possible to buy a ship and use it to sail the wide blue oceans, as well as to fight rogue pirate ships that seek to steal your booty.

Ships allow you to voyage between continents and other landmasses, and take passengers with you, as well. They are an efficient, relatively speedy way of travelling over water. Any PC (player character) can own and control a ship of his own.

Passenger Ships

In addition, some passenger ships are controlled by the denizens of Alyria (non-player characters, or NPCs) - to use those ships one must usually pay a fee of some sort. An example of an NPC-run ship is the Merdraco. The Merdraco travels the Oceanus Ingenii in a semi-circular route. It travels from Rune to Sigil to Pirate's Cove to Tellerium to Templeton and back. It is a free service and can be caught at regular intervals at the docks throughout the land.

Other examples of passenger ships include the Hallowhold and Riddenmast ferries, which, like the Merdraco, charge no fee for their transport services. The Hallowhold Ferry goes back and forth between the Townes of Lowangen and Tellerium, while the Riddenmast Ferry goes back and forth between the Townes of Rune and Sigil.

The Merdraco can be identified by a green "4" symbol on the ocean (the Riddenmast and Hallowhold symbols are the normal white, or they may be green as well, depending on the client you are using to play the game) and the captain will yell out if one of the ships has docked nearby. You can then walk along the dock until you see it and use the SHIP BOARD <direction> command to board the ship while you are safely on the dock. Once it arrives at your chosen destination (again, the Captain will announce the stops as you arrive and depart) use the SHIP EXIT <direction> command to leave the ship and step onto the foreign docks.

Pirate Factions

P.L.U.N.D.E.R.

Known for their stocking of port shops with contraband, these pirates have a reputation for destroying entire fleets just for a few thousand gold pieces. Though they do pick up cargo and smuggle it into other ports for a nice profit, they are "in for a penny in for a pound" and want every last gold piece they can steal. They often make late shipments because they meader their way to their destination looking for ships to target, but no shop owner is foolish enough to argue with them for fear of having his gold teeth ripped from his mouth (as legend has portrayed these pirates doing).

Life means nothing to P.L.U.N.D.E.R. and they will attack every target, whether it be a single skiff or a fleet of Super Dreadnaughts. Still, they are more thieves than murderers and tend to leave the crew of destroyed ships floating where they find them. Rumor has it that their hideaway is off the northwest coast of Hellbent Mountain, though it has never been confirmed. While they do often kill, they will do anything, no matter how savage, to protect their plundered treasure.

P.L.U.N.D.E.R.'s sworn enemy is the Brethren of the Sail, due to the several clashes they've had at sea - it's not unusual to see both P.L.U.N.D.E.R. and Brethren of the Sail ships trying to beat the other to a transport ship thought to be carrying particularly hearty cargo.

Horatio's Hornswagglers

Many a drunk in the land of Alyria has a silent affection for Horatio Landrick, the leader of this band of spirit runners Horatio is known for bringing the best spirits money can buy into various port towns and leaving with his ships' holds groaning with gold. Not a soul knows where the gold is kept outside of the crew, making it hard to find his small island haven, aptly named Horatio's Island. Horatio is a great storyteller and, on occassion, comes into the bars he stocks to capture everyone's attention (normally during this time his crew is stealing back the spirits he has just sold).

While Horatio may have the best collection of spirits in Alyria, he never drinks a drop. Horatio's father, a Baron from New Rigel, blew all of their fortune on drink and then blew his own brains out with a slug thrower after taking the life of Horatio's mother. An orphan at the age of 14, Horatio swore off all types of drink and instead gets a secret pleasure from supplying the means for others to ruin their own lives.

Horatios's crew also doesn't drink, though a few have strayed over the years. Those who were found drunk by Horatio were immediately sent to their death. Any ship silly enough to get in the way of his shipments has been destroyed and the few captains who ventured to find Horatio's Island have never been heard from again.

Horatio's Hornswagglers are sworn enemies with the Order of the Heaving Bosom, whose ships they attack on sight, due in no small part to several ill-concluded romantic encounters between the busty women of the Order of the Heaving Bosom and the swarthy men that comprise Horatio's Hornswagglers. Both factions scour the Oceanus Decarus of the Great Alyrian Underground.

Order of the Heaving Bosom

A faction consisting primarily of busty, swashbuckling women, members of the Order of the Heaving Bosom are known for their insatiable "appetites". While exciting tales of their erotic prowess have been repeated in hushed male voices far and wide, the few men who have been lucky enough to escape their red-taloned grasp have a slightly different version of events: many a sleepness night, as well as the unfortunate mention of other attractive members of their crew who eventually perished from exhaustion tending to the women of the Order. The less attractive members of their crews were used as slave labor, while the ships themselves are either stolen or burned where they were overcome in the ocean.

The Order was founded by Venus Tacula, herself a well-endowed, beautiful former privateer who was loyal to Lord Glomus (in more ways than one) until he broke her heart and chose another woman to be his mistress. Swearing revenge on Glomus and all men, Venus prowls the coasts of the Great Alyrian Underground with her small squadron of fast ships. It is said that each time she "liberates" booty from one of the many shipping vessels that pass through the area, she sends a gold coin wrapped with a single strand of her hair to Lord Glomus, to remind him of his lack of control over her actions as well as what he could have had should he have chosen her.

Active smugglers as well as pirates, the Order of the Heaving Bosom is known to frequent a small cave south of the Towne of Decara in the Great Alyrian Underground.

The Order of the Heaving Bosom is sworn enemies with the Horatio's Hornswagglers, whose ships they attack on sight, due in no small part to several ill-concluded romantic encounters between the busty women of the Order of the Heaving Bosom and the swarthy men that comprise Horatio's Hornswagglers. Both factions scour the Oceanus Decarus of the Great Alyrian Underground.

Congress of Blood

The foul members of this mysterious, evil faction are known for their motto: "Dead men telleth not a tale" and its subsequent bloody enforcement carried out on the shipmates of any unfortunate vessel that happens to cross their path. If their flag is spotted on the horizon, it is considered wise to immediately turn around and sail the other way as fast as possible. Pity the captain who has never heard of the Congress, or the foolhardy one who thinks he can overcome them!

The leader of the Congress is rumored to be the fearsome pirate Barton Mestotik. It is said he was raised by pirates himself (having poisoned both his parents at the precocious age of ten) and possesses the ability to freeze a man in his tracks merely by staring him down with his one good eye (the other having been lost in a barfight at the age of fourteen). A worshipper of the Dark Power in one of His many guises - that of the vengeful Sea Goddess Sistis - Barton has been known to prove his loyalty to his mistress through the use of human sacrifice, and altars are maintained on each member ship for this purpose.

No ex-members of the Congress of Blood are known to exist, because of the penalty for retirement (which involves one of three methods of execution - either walking the plank into shark-filled waters, the hangman's noose, or garrotting). The location of their hideout is heretowith unknown.

Brethren of the Sail

Led by Captain John "Stone Heart" Baldwick, this band of pirates lives for one thing alone and that is "the chase". Almost constantly employed as mercenaries, they have no loyalties except to their employer and each other. This band of mostly former thieves and murders found their calling and banded together under Captain Stone Heart, so named because he has a mind for money and nothing else. They take the toughest assignments and carry them out swiftly and without mercy. They receive their payment in the form of a bounty from their employer as well as whatever they can plunder from the destroyed target.

On odd occasions, the Brethren find themselves without an assignment and have been known to sail the seas aimlessly, destroying any ship in their path. They don't like to anger the authorities or other pirate factions because it may slow them down when next they get an assignment, so they generally pick off isolated ships wandering the seas. When not sailing, they frequent shallow waters northeast of Pirate's Cove, as they often use Baron Rothchild as a go-between for them and their clients.

Brethren of the Sail's sworn enemy is P.L.U.N.D.E.R., due to the several clashes they've had at sea - it's not unusual to see both P.L.U.N.D.E.R. and Brethren of the Sail ships trying to beat the other to a transport ship thought to be carrying particularly hearty cargo.

Fellowship of the Coast

A coalition of former privateers of various Lords who turned rogue for reasons of their own, the Fellowship of the Coast is the most honorable (if such can be said about pirates) of all the known pirate factions. Its members hold themselves to a strict Code of Rules known as the Fellowship Code. These rules govern everything from the length of their mustaches to how many ships they can plunder in a month.

The Fellowship does not seem to attack "innocent" ships, but rather make their living off of other more brutal pirate factions. They will, however, defend themselves strongly if attacked. On rare occassions a captain will hear about the treasures the Fellowship keeps and try to destroy them out of greed. When this occurs, the Fellowship shows no mercy in dispatching the aggressor.

The Fellowship of the Coast generally docks on the Eastern coast of Sepharia, somewhere between the townes of Rune and New Rigel.

The Fellowship of the Coast is sworn enemies with the Pirates of the Crimson Cutlass, due to the Pirates of the Crimson Cutlass' bloodthirsty actions (the amount of treasure the Pirates of the Crimson Cutlass obtains is also a notable reason).

Pirates of the Crimson Cutlass

Infamous for their favored execution method for captured ship crew, which consists of cutting their throats (known as "The Crimson Grimace"), not much else is known about the Pirates of the Crimson Cutlass. There is no known leader of the band and no living soul has ever seen a member of the crew. It is rumored by some that they are a band of "ghost ships". This rumor has been furthered by the fact that they have never been seen during daylight. Some have said that they saw the ships at dawn and that they simply disappeared.

It is not known where the hideaway of the Crimson Cutlass is or even if one exists. The only purpose they are known for is killing and one thing is clear: they never leave a crew member alive to tell the tale.

The Pirates of the Crimson Cutlass are sworn enemies with the Fellowship of the Coast, whose ships they attack (and plunder) with relish.

Owning and Using Your Own Ship

To use a ship, you must have a title to one. Ship titles can be purchased at cities with harbors and shipwrights. Shipwrights are usually found near or on the city docks, and you buy ships from them the same way you would buy something in a SHOP. Ships are quite expensive, running to the millions of gold pieces, and must be cared for just like any large purchase. They can be damaged and they will require maintenance.

To sail a ship in a specific direction, the anchor must be raised and the ship speed set. Be careful with the speed - if you run into obstacles with your ship, you risk damaging it and sinking. Most obstacles are visible. Some, like underwater coral reefs, are not visible, so you should use caution when exploring close to an uncharted isle or other location. A good example of this would be the reef that surrounds Irda Isle, home to the Proving Grounds of Lord Bloodbane. Take caution when you get near this island, as your ship can suffer considerable damage from invisible reefs. If you are worried that you may be in a reef-filled area, slow the ship down and proceed cautiously. If you run into a reef while going slower, the damage will not be nearly as severe if you hit one while going at top speed.

Ships take damage through their hull. Hull points are a measure of how much damage the ship can take before it sinks. When a ship reaches 0 hull points, it will sink. But fear not, sunken ships can be RECOVERed at a shipwright for a hefty fee.

When you board a ship, a prompt will appear. The prompt displays the current hull strength of your ship, the direction you are currently travelling, the speed, and the wind direction. Wind direction is important if you are travelling a sail-powered ship - it is necessary to make sure the wind is at your back or close to it, otherwise your trip will take considerably longer. Some magics exist that can change the course of the winds, and the wise captain always travells with a spellcaster capable of changing the winds, or is able to cast the spell himself through a spellbook or scroll.

You must be holding the title of the ship to use most of the ship commands. Holding the title designates you as the ship's captain.

Ships can be upgraded via options available at most shipwrights. The upgrades available vary based on the shipwright, and some upgrades may not be available at all locations. To purchase an upgrade your ship must be docked at the shipwright's pier somewhere, and you must be holding the title of the ship. Options can include things like a mount that will allow the captain to fly various flags on the ship, visible to those within eyesight. Other upgrades include such things as hull armor to reinforce the hull, engine upgrades and additional fuel tanks for steam-powered ships, and even magical shield generators that serve to protect the ship from disaster on the oceans.

For additional information, see the SHIPS help entry.