Sunday, February 26, 2023

Writing Enterprise

No use hedging or making any bones about it; I want to be a professional writer. My plan is to gradually (read: as soon as possible) build a writing-related income until I can subsist on it in an inexpensive area (or until I predict that my savings will carry me to that point), at which point I will make preparations to exit my career to focus full-time on writing and the activities necessary to refine, promote, and distribute it.

The primary effort for the time being is Fierce Firelight, where I put up my stories, readings and interviews.
Part of the ability to do something full-time is to have the resources to do it full-time, so I've set up a Patreon and ko-fi in support of Fierce Firelight.
It's good to have something to sell, so I'm commissioning a piece of art from Evlyn Moreau for Star Index, which I'll stat for several different games and then put on itch and dtrpg as a PDF. 

Once I have a full RPG book, I'll do a print run via Kickstarter.

When I was a little kid and they asked us what we wanted to do when we grew up, I gave two answers. The first answer I gave was "author," the second was something else. I already did the second thing, now it's time to pursue the first.


Гуси-лебеди, 1967

Friday, February 10, 2023

Maximalist Weird Fantasy War Galley Generator


Fame of Captain
Deck Features
Galley's Exterior
Ship's Rails
Prow Features
Prow Statue
Stern Statue
Wake Features

Captain's Status
Captain's Supporting Characters
Captain's Support Ships
Sample Distinctive Garb for Captains

Classification of Rowers

NPC Competitors
Cargo Prizes
Race Host
Example Race: The Mount Ñosájá Classic


Note: Big ships are no slower than small ships, they’re just less maneuverable. The exception is the tessarakonteres, which may or may not be slower depending on its amenities.
1 Liburna
2 Hemiola
3 Cataphracted bireme
4 Trihemiola
5 Trireme
6 Quadrireme
7 Quinquereme
8 Hexere
9 Octere
10 Dekares
11 Polyreme
12 Tessarakonteres

        Fame of Captain
1-4: Amateur
5-10: Professional
11-12: Famous

Deck Features
Amateur: 1 of the following
Professional: Roll a d4 (1-2: 1 of the following, 3-4: 2 of the following)
Famous: d4 of the following
1 Selection of luxury yachts of almost every size smaller than the galley, ready to be cast off at any time
2 Pyramid (tomb to immediately inter the captain, or treasure hold, or personal residence; in any case makes a great firing platform)
3 Forecastle, aftcastle, midcastle
4 300’ crow’s nest 
5 Huge golden mirror (vanity; possible thermal weapon vs stationary wooden targets)
6 Giant spider's web for rigging with dozens of colorful little birds in it, chirping desperately
7 Forecastle bathed in ethereal flames
8 Big serpent wrapped around the mainmast; smoke pours from the tips of its fangs
9 Long, sumptuous green carpet
10 Library and gymnasium 
11 Geobukseon refit
12 Black and white tile interspersed with geometric pictograms framed in silver
13 Mainmast’s base is a tree with a giant eye in the hollow
14 Golden doors sporting radiant suns beneath the lantern-lit roots of the mainmast 
15 Garden
16 Mosaics depicting famous stories
17 Indoor bath with hot water
18 Shrine with sacred, blazing brass tablets held in gothic gold safe, and a throne for the captain
19 Altar: can be to a deity, can sacrifice here (unreliably for speed/good winds/fair tides), can host a ghost/poltergeist, guardian spirit, possibly an elemental or demon depending on the type of altar. Additions: hierodules, eunuch priests, plunder pile
20 Below-deck brazier. You can throw things into the brazier to affect the rowers, and potentially the other crew
Brazier materials:
A seaweed that is pleasing to sea creatures when burnt
Some herbs/roots that will take the whole crew on a voyage to the netherworld
Powdered bones of ancestors that will summon them to egg on the rowers
Narwhal musth to drive the men berserk
Wildcat pheromones, wild lust with their tongues hanging past their own cheeks, translates decently to rowing power

        Galley's Exterior
Amateur/Professional/Famous: 1 of the following. Famous may optionally roll d4
60 (d6 and d10)
1 Black velvet with milky scenes of hanging foliage, lilies and mushrooms
2 Black stipple over sepia with the outlines of hinted bats
3 Green velvet with white-furred snakes draped luxuriating across it, their faces like spoiled cats
4 Black with rabbit fur pouring across raised surfaces 
5 Scaled with tens of thousands of interlocking and overlapping butterfly wings
6 Red leather with white spots a la fly agaric
7 Mosaic (sun saint, the phaerimm, fanged horses, cities on spider legs)
8 Dazzle pattern
9 Leopard print
10 Chinchilla 
11 Whitewashed, with a bunch of really shitty graffiti on top 
12 Stone fluting
13 Tiger hide
14 Blood red snakeskin
15 Lead sheets (primarily against woodworms)
16 Thousands of dead white hares, some gazing imperiously into nether space 
17 Electric blue and azure stained glass
18 Midnight blue felt with rubies cut into blood drops falling in even sheets
19 Riot of fighting and dancing figures crisscrossing each other, a jet and alabaster bacchanal 
20 Rolling tufts of lavender, purple and pale-red petals
21 Glossy black lacquer 
22 Ladybug
23 Light blue with white suns as twin eyes by the prow, networks of goetic symbols falling in long black lashes behind them
24 Black whaleskin tattooed with gleaming blue fish, crashing waves, and coils of red twine here and there amongst them
25 Fishscale plates of gothic armor blued and hemmed in gold
26 Midnight blue barely visible over the soaring flocks of golden birds across its surface 
27 Flaming hellscape wrought in gleaming amber
28 Tortoiseshell
29 Horsehair and pitch
30 Brocaded capes that are gold and black, bone and black, shimmering across stars so dense they’re like bright sand on dark skin
31 Sooty white like a storm cloud with rough regions of gold leaf here and there
32 Subtle brass organ pipes beneath portals of wrought iron; the groaning of the rowers hauling at ram speed emits a terrible bellowing 
33 The great wings of skyrealm birds are spread against the hull, watercolor green and blue, rust on teal, splashes of wine into surges of whitewater
34 Shields hung across the body of the ship, vivid red and gleaming bronze, designs of prickly stars and leering grinning monster faces, beasts of prey and predation
35 Plaster of ground seashell to defeat flaming arrows
36 Black and gold, red-figure pottery effect; heroes, ladies, craftsmen, beastmen. Murders, sex, the harvest, running-about
37 Black and orange, black-figure pottery effect; serpents, battles, animals, industry
38 Black crisscrossed with diamonds of steel, a ruby shard at the heart of each
39 Reams of white curtain draped from the rails, hanging clean in the waterline 
40 Scenes of robed wildcats wielding sabers assaulting pigs in sumptuous litters. Livid red backdrop
41 Glittering black at first; on close inspection a storm of black wolves with golden teeth and claws all fighting forward to reach the foe
42 Light blue darkening the rail as if the rising of the sky, and along the waterline temples gold in ivory scrollwork, against them saints and kings sporting solid gold haloes and cloaks of blue and black and purple encircled by intricate designs in all colors
43 Moss green with echoing bands of black which expand here and there like ripples in a swamp
44 Sheepskin
45 Black with amber metallic lines in the manner of a runestone running across it
46 Green with golden pictographic calligraphy 
47 Subtle chessboard in dark and light gray; in front of it, dozens of hanging red-hemmed banners, identically sized but sporting varying imagery, each like shelves containing something centrally placed, decored between
48 Smooth bark
49 Bluish glass subtly reflecting the sea below and the stars above 
50 Golden musculata like the sinews of a fish
51 The curving and recursive fern-fragments of an ornate carpet 
52 Black and dark-green shards over light green fabric like a carpet of ivy
53 Pastel blue curls impressionistically imitating the sea beneath
54 Snowy opal
55 Chainmail
56 Alabaster, snowy owl wings flitting through the surface as if skirting a mist
57 Smooth bark, the vertical lines revealing watching figures partly defined by wood-rot fungus or else sanded planes. Here and there stippled green columns are used to depict hanging foliage from an implied canopy 
58 Sepia linen sporting vivid pink and green pagodas, yellow and red blossoms in their trees, green and blue horses, purple crags and rich brown ibex
59 Vellum on which fans have inked their best wishes
60 Sleek black with explosions of gold suns and flowers, with leather bands sporting friezes of figures as gold constellations

        Ship's Rails
Note on rails: can be a rail, or just whatever’s at the edge of the ship
Amateur/Professional: 1 of the following
Famous: Roll a d4 (1-2: 1 of the following, 3-4: 2 of the following)
1 Wooden railing with vases and waving blades as supports
2 Entry towers skinned with pink velvet, floral blue curtains, orange light within, jade and gold canopies
3 Columns inlaid with switchbacking goosenecks and blades of orange and blue feathers up the center
4 An assortment of patiently watching, growling dogs, bears, wolves, rabbits and foxes
5 Trees fastened in planters by gold manacles and chains
6 Statuary alcoves (heroes, ancestors, defeated foes, propitiated deities)
7 Human skins tied to rails by their wrists
8 Tall, waving sticks whose branching tips have turnips cut into moaning jack o' lanterns jammed between them
9 Hundreds of little skeletal kodamas, standing or hanging like fetishes; they may turn to watch things happening at sea or on the deck 
10 Iron palisade against boarding
11 Ethereal deer gazing over the side of the ship
12 Rich moss, pale mushrooms

        Prow Features
Amateur: 25% chance of 1
Professional: 1
Famous: 50% chance of 1, 50% chance of 2
1 Eye: Black pupil, ivory lace over scrollworked gold iris
2 Spirals of three running legs emerging from each other, all over in bronze, as if running the ship through the water
3 White wings spread against hull
4 Spiraling jade fern leaves. Secretly very sharp to punish people attempting to climb up from the waterline
5 Giant green cat eyes, slit viperlike when the foe is spotted
6 Feathers carved into the wood; every last one is painted like a different bird
7 Black cats in dresses dancing with witches and skeletons
8 Depiction of rain, swan and sunlight spilling like serpents through boiling black clouds across a naked maiden
9 Painted badge indicating the naval squadron the galley used to belong to; sunset, sea horizon, seahorse breathing Greek fire over a melting hammerhead shark poking its head from the boiling water
10 Single image of a black goat leaping across a pale sun
11 Weaving snakes slithering forward to bite whatever the ship will ram
12 Ancestral warriors in headwraps, scale mail and cloaks depicting floods drowning fertile plains that spawned hordes of foes lean out of the sides of the bow, swords extended, water crashing around them
13 Nets filled with gold coins, tempting the foe: come and take them
14 Bronze cookware strung up against the side of the ship; very useful for making great feasts when the ship makes landfall, but also sounds a terrible portentous cacophony when the ship reaches ram speed
15 A gleaming lattice of gilded ribcages; may contain prisoners forced to endure the seafoam and splinters when the ram connects
16 Lovely curtains made up of stitched-together silk feathers sporting leafy highlights of white and blue; pulled back to reveal horrific grinning olm medusa heads of brass imprinted into the hull
17 Gongs whose suspended hammers are unstrung when preparing to make a ram attack, so that the gongs sound death as the galley crashes upon the waves
18 Observation decks a la box seats to watch a ram happen up close; can be sealed up in case of high waves and/or boarders from the waterline
19 Enchanted coral anchors that bring the ship undersea when aweigh, sealing the ship in an air bubble with the oars just outside it; this will gradually deplete and is no way to win races, as the ship is slower with the anchors in the water
20 The fleeces of mythological beasts slaughtered by the captain; gold fur, polycrystalline lattice hide, solid-state acid scales

Generally iron or bronze
Amateur/Professional: 1 of the following
Famous: 1, with a 25% chance of having 3 of the following in a triangular cluster
d40 (d4 and d10)
1 Kraken’s tongue
2 Lightning bolt (gilded) 
3 Flamberge 
4 Bound body with screaming face pointed up at the ship to be rammed
5 Characteristic tower of home port
6 Board game piece (horse, crenellated battlement, giant thimble)
7 Firebird beak 
8 Trident
9 Harpoon
10 Reinforced antlers (makes multiple smaller holes)
11 Veiny fist with brass knuckles
12 Minotaur's head
13 A fist surrounded by an esoteric-looking chakram of light
14 Big middle finger
15 Stylized terrestrial battering ram with (tortoise) and all
16 Giant wiener 
17 Cat’s head, slightly turned to one side, ears flat to nuzzle something
18 Unicorn head and horn
19 Whole front of ship shaped like the head of a narwhal
20 A really fat, mean-looking hummingbird with its long beak poised to pierce the offending ship 
21 Giant rubyscaled carp with its tongue extended as ram; its mouth actually consumes passing fish 
22 Salivating deathshead at the end of a spined neckbone
23 Diving peregrine falcon
24 Nudibranch horns
25 Snapping turtle head
26 Butting seahorse
27 Bamboo spear
28 Column made up of bodies falling into hell
29 Horse bucking back and kicking, the two hoofs touching, the rear legs forming the ram
30 Trilobite
31 Lighthouse with the brazier clearly stifled
32 Lit cigar about to be stubbed out into the enemy ship
33 Broadsword
34 Friendly dolphin
35 Giant pin between two fingers
36 Very pointy noise, as if part of the face of the ship's bow
37 Royal scepter of favored polity
38 Snowflake in dagger shape
39 Ornate knightly lance
40 Five-horned beetle head

Amateur: One of the following
Professional: d4 of the following
Famous: 2d6 of the following
1 Fire pots (at the end of long poles; dropped onto enemy deck)
2 Snake pots
3 Corvus
4 Sulfur smoke (emitter)
5 Hwacha
6 Huge slingshot that releases masses of razor-sharp caltrops
7 Kennel of rabid dogs released as broken arrow measure
8 Corvus
9 Harpax
10 Polybolos batteries
11 Bombard (1/20 chance of setting your ship on fire)
12 Rail handguns (tubes on poles)
13 Greek fire
14 Red hot, billowing sand
15 Swivel ballistae: Great against large creatures
16 Catapult/Mangonel
17 Trebuchet (likely to flip small ships; can be built into the hulls of the largest, particularly tesserakonteres because the weight can go between the hulls)
18 Elevated boarding ramp 
19 Rambade fighting platform around ram
20 Giant net cast by a catapult or linked ballistae to foul up oars and deck operations

        Prow Statue
Amateur/Professional/Famous: 1
Generally wood, often painted
d100 (d10 and d10)
1 A sheep-serpent with many thin black wings running up its body and great orange, blue, white and red feathers beneath the wings
2 Swan’s head, periodically closes its eyes and tosses its head to one side 
3 Three-headed hairy dragon
4 Monastic woman with the face of a stylized owl
5 Wooden king in gorgeous soft silk cape in pale green with a broad golden hem with shaded leaves and blossoms
6 Golden queen draped in a golden pectoral plate sporting a medusa's head; she gives an imperious salute
7 Dark arrowhead-shaped pyramid with tentacles emerging from the space beneath it
8 Queen with a crown bearing a goetic star. She has giant bat wings
9 Black moth with midnight-blue constellation patterns in its wings. It wears a porcelain mask
10 Figure of a devil presenting its own head in its hands
11 Red-winged alabaster angel wracked by hands emerging from his own body 
12 Rat King with subordinate rats held aloft in the air around it, fanned out like some kind of lotus
13 Some kind of creature composed of thick stalks of wheat with a single brown eye and a grinning, large-tooth mouth visible in amidst the bushy strands
14 Winged, feathered white worm with a giant, featureless orange eye at its tip
15 Frog poised in a bandana, clearly ready to leap onto the enemy ship
16 Rokurokubi whose head continually weaves around at the end of her wooden neck, seeking the best view of the situation. She does not speak but may attempt to point things out by jabbing her head at them
17 Leering, spiny, randy-looking tatzelwurm
18 Bull-headed spider with a grinning cat’s mouth
19 Wolfsheaded hydra
20 Phoenix with rose petals for neck feathers 
21 Roaring wolf rearing, trying to shake off the blood-red chains that bind it to the deck
22 Hero with a sickle holding up the head of a kitsune
23 Pallid corpse riding a giant mosquito 
24 Giant sword stuck in the deck impaling a satyr, a succubus and an ophanim in sequence
25 Giant rearing millipede with a staring eye on every segment
26 Grinning skull with a single giant red eye above the nose slits
27 Minotaur, bound and kneeling
28 Slathering, rangy werecat with gleaming pits for eyes
29 A maiden of solar fire sitting across the bow 
30 Gray stone statue of a harpy with 12’ of rich orange hair
31 Minotaur ripping a virgin in half overhead
32 Solar roc with constellations in its wings, a sun disc on its head
33 Stag with rack of horns the breadth of a leafless tree
34 Dark satyr leading many nude men in chains
35 Man and woman entwined yet facing forward; their bodies are differing hues of marble 
36 Warrior on horseback plunging a lance of light down into whatever the ship will ram
37 Angel with bare breasts, boar’s head, crow’s legs and a burning sword
38 Ornate-trousered, bat-winged cat standing upright sticking its tongue out irreverently 
40 Rabbit in a kimono smoking a pipe
41 Horned, hairy lamprey with giant cackling mouth, set low in the water, just above or below the ram
42 Fanged frog with spiral eyes
43 Humanoid with goat heads facing left and right, golden lungs and guts visible within its red outline 
44 Elegant maiden with nude and darkly-grinning yeti-like satyrs going arm-in-arm with her
45 Giant wolf with baby wolf sideways in its jaws 
46 Love Goddess, hot pink, breasts glow bright red when nearing finish line
47 Woman transforming into a spider, holding her face in horror but staring at whatever the ship is pointed at 
48 God of speed (winged sandals, winged helm, winged sword, wings, winged greaves, winged bracers, winged gauntlets, winged belt, being hoisted by fairies)
49 Cut-off head of a monstrous bear-serpent, its eyes crossed, its tongue lolling down the side of the ship, stone insects depicted alighting upon it
50 A chimera for the seasons: spring (stag), summer (lion), autumn (owl), and winter (arctic fox)
51 Horse with the eyes and legs of human women 
52 A naked man made tree of slats hung with the leering flesh of many faces coiled into grotesque masks by age and sun
53 Clawed many-colored elephant with eight horns like chitinous tentacles, six eyes and a nose like a vast millipede
54 A lion with a stag’s antlers, an arctic fox’s fur and an owl’s legs and wings. An ow-lion
55 Death holding a pair of great eyeballs; when the ship is closing in on a successful ram the eyes burst into green flames 
56 Flower with sprig-arms, in a dress
57 Goddess with stag beetle horns sporting a blood red sun between them
58 standing Persian cat with three layers of lavender eyes
59 Fairy girl sitting in a giant blade of grass, smirking down at the ship about to be rammed 
60 Mothman lifting the moon to the sun
61 Indistinct vampiric wraith hiding in the crescent moon
62 Cyclopean serpent with its body-half hidden in its long, ragged hair
63 A giant vase with a stalk emerging from it, at the end of which is a dryad’s cool face 
64 Maenad with a serpent for a headband whirling a thyrsus and a savannah cat through the air, stirring the crew and their enemies to fervor and madness 
65 Naked man covered in tattooed woad, an encyclopedia of poisonous plants and animals 
66 A saint sitting in a sea-monster’s mouth, reading a scroll charged with judgement 
67 A hero hoisting a mountain to crash down onto the ship to be impaled 
68 Hunger on an emaciated eyeless horse, carrying a pair of shackles for those to be conquered and a standard in red and black
69 Black lion weeping streams of pure gold
70 A hoplite kneeling on a smiling, naked man’s back, about to plunge a spatha through the man’s neck
71 A scroll charged with the execution of those to be rammed
72 A winged snapping turtle 
73 The legged house of a witch; doubles as an actual house for the captain, and during a desperate battle it will uproot itself and serve as a mobile firing platform
74 A crab with one really giant, mean pincer raised, the other very small, guarding its belly
75 Aquasaurus
76 A really sexy caryatid
77 An ogre in full plate
78 A dancing, reveling girl, intended to be splashed with blood in the press of battle
79 A huge, bladed, golden pineapple 
80 A skeleton, the bones of which are totally covered in feathers
81 A werecrocodile in fortification armor; not a scale is visible
82 A marine in blue greaves and white linothorax, a red thyreos and a black spear
83 A sentry dressed in a smock of hay to keep the rain off; he kneels, his sword sheathed and leaned between his knees, watching the horizon
84 A frog-ogre wielding a log as a club; it has many sets of antlers tucked between flaps cut into its skin, and has been painted here and there with blue feathers
85 An armored war elephant with a howdah; in battle, troops can board the howdah and skirmish, serving as an extra tower
86 A nude dryad, half tree to include her head; titillating art
87 The praying gleaming brass statue of a cross-legged lich
88 Naiad with many cascading peacock tails for hair, partially hiding her body
89 Hareman being grasped by the ears by a mailed executioner with a scimitar. The hareman is kneeling in prayer and the executioner looks resigned
90 White-winged three-headed cheetah
91 Androgynous figure with its head split in half as if by an axe; one side is male, the other female, and have a familial resemblance as if this is two versions of the same person, male and female 
92 Cat lolling on its back with its paws curled above it
93 Another, smaller model galley with characteristics that can be rolled from this generator 
94 Mermaid in a tall fisherman's cage
95 Tree made of fairy inkcap; these glow orange at night
96 Luminescent chromodoris lochi
97 Leafy sea dragon
98 Phyllodes imperialis caterpillar
99 Mighty-horned nudibranch
100 Satanic leaf-tailed gecko

        Stern Statue
Amateur: N/A
Professional: 25% chance of 1
Famous: 1
1 Serpent
2 Rattlesnake tail
3 Tiger tail
4 Scorpion tail
5 Longbow 
6 Lyre 
7 Crescent moon
8 Fist gripping raveled whip
9 Torch
10 Totem pole stacked with familiar spirits and deities
11 Column engraved with scenes from previous races, topped with (famous racer, captain’s father, captain, humiliating visage of most important defeated foe)
12 Rocky crag

        Wake Features
What drifts in the ship's wake?
Amateur: N/A
Professional: 25% chance of 1
Famous: 50% chance of 1
1 Toadstools and sharp little seaflowers falling away from the ship
2 Fairies humming around, lit up at night
3 Little golden orbs drifting through the air, gradually sinking into the water, glowing
4 Drops of blood
5 Gradually fading stars in constellation on the water
6 Lightning arcing through the surface of the water
7 Red petals 
8 Little floating paper lanterns
9 Little butterflies that linger on the surface for awhile and then take off
10 Mist
11 Acrid, churning charcoal smoke
12 Rolling cloudbanks
13 Venous stitchwork written in the waves like the surface of an iris
14 Peacock feathers 
15 Dark algae and seaweed
16 A Golden mane of hair, like a celestial wise man’s beard
17 A great net; the ship is continually trawling 
18 Little toadstools
19 Gold flakes
20 Pure mercury

His son was born shortly after Lepanto, but then died during childhood. It's as if he's handing the boy up to victory


60 (d6 and d10)
1 Crabman 
2 Jellyfish that has constructed a semi-rigid mechanical chassis for its body 
3 Giant sapient shrimp
4 Giant water strider; never actually gets on the ship, just rushes around shouting at the crew
5 Weremussel (eyes visible in darkness inside his shell; musscular arms and legs)
6 Siren (enthralled crew, though she doesn’t always use her song)
7 Drop of god semen and blood that has become beautiful cambion
8 Illusionist (utter mindfuck for competitors; target for early elimination, which he’s counting on)
9 Merking; galley is flooded and emerges halfway from the water, merman rowers blade coral oars between strokes underwater, hippocampi mush team helps offset drag; mermaid princess desperately tired of all this, wishes to escape this dreadful ship, if only for awhile 
10 16' long sapient shipworm; only protrudes from the hull to give counsel
11 Living prow
12 Pyromancer who's loaded his ship up with fire pots
13 Lizard King
14 Giant, noodle-loving worm. Straightforwardly inclined to provide fellatio
15 Ancient sage who loves to read, only closing whatever book he's reading when ship operations require his special attention
16 Maenad
17 Living tree carved into a statue
18 Werewhal whose deep scars continually weep whale oil, massive bounty on his head
19 Kobold, former swabbie
20 Dryad
21 Naiad
22 Satyr
23 Efreeti
24 Golem
25 Treeman (joined with ship)
26 Harpy
27 Angel
28 Demilich that floats around shouting at people; cackles wildly when taking the lead 
29 Oni
30 Really mad erinyes
31 Knight that loves to charge people with his galley, intuiting a category affinity between lancing and naval ramming
32 Woman surrounded by large, dangerous animals who she has tamed with a mere caress
33 Sphinx. Never shows emotion
34 Barbarian chief who uses the intensity of races to channel for his spirit-walking rituals 
35 Demonologist who must win a race or be claimed by a demon who is no longer pleased by the demonologist's virgin sacrifices
36 An octopus in a barrel. It has two holes on the bottom and a hole on either side, plus a viewing slit for the octopus’s eyes 
37 Wraith with many pale hands amidst the folds of its garments, antlers growing from its shoulders, a giant purple iris for a face and a goetic halo whirling about its crown
38 Butterflyman Prince
39 Earwigman Villain
40 Barnacleman; usually resides beneath the ship, keelhauls traitors across him
41 Giant cackling moth with a skeletal head
42 Sea witch; diminutive, wears a shag duster and tall conical hat which shades face; two perfectly round, lantern like eyes are visible beneath it; floats slightly off the surface at all times 
43 Purple shroud with the outline of orange eyes streaked diagonally across its surface
44 She never leaves her bluish plate armor and golden helm made in a raven’s visage. She has fearsomely sharp claws in her gauntlets 
45 Mind Flayer with mostly brain-bound crew. Habit of stress eating
46 Captains: Pair of armed serpents who regularly compete to devour as many warmbloods as possible in one day
47 Jet torc around a viper’s eye wreathed in blood orange fire; purple wings with feathers of molten fire radiate around the torc, and at the apex is a flanged black spike that gleams with yellow light
48 Berbalang
49 Giant hermit crab for which the ship is a shell; generally has his legs retracted so as to not generate too much drag, can walk the ship over land
50 Really old, creaky kappa who speaks painfully slowly but makes very wise decisions. Kind and tolerant unless you fart in his direction, in which case he will do everything possible to have you killed
51 Trickster spider, has a wooden mask
52 Remnant lord of precursor empire, trying to raise enough funds to recreate what was; white, ridged, ovular body with glassy spines around giant bulbous sacs of electric blue fluid
53 Ooze that has gained sapience; almost impossible to kill, even if you sink its ship and leave it behind. It can lose everyone and just gradually burble back to shore. It keeps a perfectly preserved, smiling human head floating inside of it as an attempt to put people at ease, though it speaks by electrifying its surface and creating a crackling vocoder-noise. Right now it's a harmless-looking guy, the ooze will eventually wise up and replace it with the head of a hot girl
54 Big game hunter who has graduated from living things and now primarily hunts galleys
55 Professional galley racer who has sponsorships from a bunch of different forests, lumber concerns and elvish holdouts, prominently featuring their wood, showering spectators with wood samples when they're close enough
56 Doppelganger imitating famous captain it's devoured
57 Neural worm currently inhabiting a trusted abbot; he's lately developed an unseemly preoccupation with racing, and has spent the abbey's funds to that effect
58 Leprechaun
59 Dark dwarf who's turned the ship into a biomechanical smog-belching nightmare
60 Giant dragonfly with the head of a horned sea-hag

Captain's Status 
25% chance of an additional status: But what is the captain?
(00: Sea Oligarchy, aka party of PCs)
1 Heir to monarchy
2 Kleptocrat who bought this to launder the money; will be in serious danger if he or she ever goes ashore, this ship doubles as a castle 
3 Drug lord just looking for something to spend the money on
4 Master smuggler, this ship is their baby
5 Master courier
6 Fell slaver; once threw several hundred chained slaves overboard to lighten his ship enough to escape a pursuing navy
7 Naval commodore with dozens of ships killed, none captured
8 Politician of thalassocratic republic seeking to win fame for election or re-election 
9 New naval captain being tested for command
10 Moralist philosopher seeking to demonstrate virtues in action
11 Impoverished genius given command of ship by consignor
12 Genius shipwright whose ship is amazing but whose rowers detest him
13 Undefeated admiral seeking to test himself in new endeavor 
14 Famed slaver; leaves ghost ships drifting in his wake 
15 Privateer who exclusively targets warships, never selling prizes, instead stripping them down for the choicest parts, which he adds to his race galley 
16 Decadent emperor quietly hurried after by dismayed minders
17 Banker on vanity enterprise
18 Agent of the ichthyarchy
19 Robber baron
20 Commander of the polity's sea patrol

        Captain's Supporting Characters
Amateur: 50% chance of 1
Professional: d4
Famous: d6
40 (d4 and d10)
1 Captain’s spouses (comfort captain endlessly)
2 Captain’s daughters (cheer/echo squad)
3 Captain's sutler
4 Soothsayer
5 Oracle
6 Seer
7 Chaplain to the Rowers
8 Marine padre
9 Loyal, straight-man first mate who will go energetically unhinged when freed to do his duty 
10 Captain’s Confessor: continually goads captain on
11 Mercenary artillerist from distant empire; gaudy and impractical garb (looks like some kind of lacquered red candle flute) constant recitations and gestures may be religious devotion, propitiation of the gunpowder spirits or OCD; extremely touchy. Has a literal powder monkey in identical garb
12 Ship’s Purser, continually dismayed (except when apparently about to win; then becomes rabidly encouraging)
13 Political Officer: fanatically concerned about winning glory for whatever community the ship represents 
14 Journalist allowed on board as publicity measure 
15 Goat-horned, wrapping-swaddled thing hidden in the corner of the hold; cannot be clearly seen, doesn’t come out of the corner, retracts if grasped for. Can be induced to give advice
16 Shipwright
17 Woodworker
18 Captain's concubines
19 Giant serpent that the captain uses like a couch
20 The controversial use of feral humans as ship’s cats (rat catchers). They are beloved but prone to health issues and often put down.
21 Stowaway-turned-ship’s-mascot
22 Giant spider who can turn into a beautiful human woman and seduce
23 Panting, frothing she-wolf that rushes about, giving suck to the rowers 
24 Moss-covered, undead, red-eyed falcon men before webbing them, liquefying and sucking out their guts. Serves the captain as an advisor, alchemist, and emissary
25 Mob minder here to make sure captain actually throws the race, as agreed
26 Champion javelin thrower; can pick people off on distant ships
27 Dark-spirited catoblepas advisor
28 Living boulder who wards off hostile spirits in exchange for small sacrifices; can also roll around in defense of the ship
29 Myrmecoleon steed
30 Pampered succubus
31 Mermaid exile; she has legs, but also a fish’s tail 
32 Al-mi'raj which the captain continually strokes but also handles kind of roughly
33 Flumph advisor trying and failing to get the captain to do right
34 Sage that’s half cat; the left half of her body is skeletal, and flower petals continually weep out from between the bones
35 Embalmer who makes statuary displays out of those killed on the mission, arranging them dramatically on the ship for the duration of the event
36 Bodyguard with gigantism; nice guy, unless the captain orders him not to be
37 Ichthyarchical emissary; same species as the captain, can help smooth over conflicts with certain sea peoples, continually acts to influence the captain in favor of the Ichthyarchy.
38 The captain's loyal ass, brought along despite the awkwardness of a donkey walking on a ship's deck
39 A great red and white bird whose black tailfeathers produce delicious red berries; the bird feeds on these and feeds them to the crew, but doesn't necessarily want to be picked all the fucking time
40 Living scroll that can pop out and suddenly unravel, with what it wants to say written on it. New text will burn across its surface, the ash gradually blowing away in the wind, leaving blank vellum

Captain's Support Ships
Amateur/Professional: N/A
Famous: 10% chance of one being present
1 Has a rescue ship on standby (the organizers won’t be providing one) to sail into the mix and get out as many survivors as possible
2 Halfling catering barge/steak and sausage fryer
3 Underworld titan's floating forge (water wheels and steam forges; makes quick upgrades to ship)
4 Light, fast warship to quickly go and take advantage of opportunities perceived outside the bounds of the racecourse

Sample Distinctive Garb for Captains
Amateur: N/A
Professional: 50% chance of 1
Famous: 1
1 Necklace of assorted golden leaves
2 Golden koi flit through the air around him; a jeweled catlike white dragon slinks across his shoulders 
3 Giant cavalier hat with an ostrich feather
4 Cloak that fastens to your cuff links so that black feathers run down your arms; may permit gliding from the crow’s nest
5 Black silk robe hemmed in gold; at the shoulders, golden wings rise to flank the head. Most effective when worn otherwise naked or with monotone underclothes
6 Black dress, the fabric of the sleeves and hem hang 8’ from the body in places, green and orange and gold
7 Golden stone braided beard
8 Humongous fur coat for cold nights at sea
9 Bright red cloak with golden eyes
10 An living eelskin that is warmed by passing water (worn around the body by a swimmer)
11 Carapace armor of hard lichen
12 Beautiful wings like midnight blue and black tortoiseshell with drifts of gold

Amateur: 1
Professional: Base 1, 25% chance of d4
Famous: Base 1, 50% chance of d4
60 (d6 and d10)
1 The captain’s many sons
2 Exiled terrorist death squad
3 Amazon archer squad
4 Gangers hired from a foodless, stone, half-flooded precursor arcology
5 Gladiators (commissioned from school or freed on condition of service, generally with inducements against mutiny)
5 Sacred Band
6 Maritime republic shipguards
7 Deserters
8 Armed Robbers
9 "Thorns" (evil men)
10 Naked longsword headhunters
11 Rhomphaiamen
12 Rentier elites fighting in Dendra panoply to maintain war skill
13 Fire worshippers
14 Takabara
15 Sparabara archer squads
16 Berserkers possessed by wild spirits and the souls of fractious heroes
17 Profoundly lazy island slingers. Lead ammunition
18 Assassins who get off and practice when the ship docks or comes near land
19 Adventurous Nobles
20 Corsair Billmen
21 Unit of secret police that has fallen into disfavor and is serving a tour on the ship as punishment. Extremely uneasy
22 Jacked clubmen
23 Steel bow dacoits
24 Free company
25 Human-faced serpent-parasites
26 Whalers; excellent with harpoons
27 Zealot militia; only have knives but absolutely determined, which counts for a lot at close range
28 A bunch of mutually-suspicious adventuring parties
29 Epilektoi epibatoi hoplites
30 Dirk-and-targe pole vault boarders
31 Falx peltasts
32 Criminals who ape the brutality of a predecessor empire despite having no appreciable ideology 
33 Androphage archers
34 Argyraspides; can almost blind people during assaults on sunny days
35 Dismounted cataphracts; 100% armored, but don't let combat last too long in the hot sun
36 Traveling Knights
37 Harem Guards
38 Wagoneer Zagaiemen: Fight with 12' javelins that they use to repel enemies trying to get into their wagons on the deck of their ship; throw some of them for offensive purposes. Wagons can serve as lifeboats but aren't much for amphibious assaults
39 Light Longbowmen
40 Bolomen
41 Écorcheurs
42 Hill skirmishers; phenomenal when hurling javelins from a higher deck, but so used to falling back in the face of charges and so unused to the sea they may go straight off the deck
43 Fanatically loyal warrior retainers, will die when masters fall (suicidal charge or suicide)
44 Plants transfigured into creatures of muscle and bone
45 Painted pavisiers
46 Firepipe strelsy (blast flame, roll off tubes, charge with bardiche, unless the enemy ship is already on fire)
47 Lizardmen who have sworn themselves to the captain due to being treated with politeness
48 Sappers; will attempt to axe and/or blast themselves through the enemy's hull to get at the soft juicy rowers while wrong-footing the determined marines awaiting them on deck
49 Phalangites; giant spears, tiny shields. Almost impossible to board, extremely easy to skirmish
50 Lamellar fortification crossbowmen; dress in a hoistable, semi-rigid cloak of lamellar and oxhorn while wielding repeating crossbow. Can trade fire devilishly, must resort to two-handed spears up close
51 Naffatun; can sling the stuff or throw it up close; the captain is cagey because these guys have sworn to burn the ship rather than allow it to fall into enemy hands, all of their own volition
52 Men from the mangroves; magnificent at hiding in the rigging, the underside of the deck castles and in the oar ports, suddenly hurling javelins or handfuls of banana spiders at the enemy
53 Noble bastards fighting by broadsword and chainmail for the captain, with his or her promise to eventually forcibly enfeoff every last one of them in their homelands; the captain has actually done it a few times, swelling the ranks of his grizzled, colorful complement
54 Wereskin skirmishers; each wears a headdress of a beast, and in battle will gradually halfway transform into such a thing; therefore a band of them becomes a half-treefrog hurling javelins from midway up the mainmast, a half-board suddenly rushing you with two javelins and two tusks pointed, a half-jumping spider sprinkling caltrops from the air, and a half-dormouse off to squeak a report to the captain.
55 Fire lancers; their pole-tubes mount bayonets
56 Urumimen; can strike their bending swords over the side of the enemy deck 
57 Sicklemen; might seem kind of corny until they're climbing up the side of your mighty polyreme
58 Canoe raiders, who can fight with their canoe as a kind of tower shield or ride it out for night raids and missions
59 Butterflymen; winged troops are a holy grail, but these guys are so prone to plunder and of lapping up the moisture that collects on the flesh of corpses that when you send these guys into battle you might not regain control of them again for a few days
60 Vanuastrans; can use the saltwater to form into any weapon, making them extremely versatile (and wounds they inflict hurt even more than usual). Less useful if they're suddenly deprived of water

        Classification of Rowers
Amateur: d4
Professional: d6
Famous: d8
1 Slave Rowers
2 Prisoner Rowers
3 Pressed Rowers
4 Citizen Rowers
5 Marine Rowers
6 Professional Rowers 
7 Competition Racing Crew
8 International Champion Team


Amateur/Semipro: d4 stages with 1 element each
Open: d6 stages with d4 elements each
Invitational: d8 stages with 2d4 elements each

You must finish to collect the prize. Simply being the last one standing is not enough.

Stages are consecutive. Each stage is characterized by one or more elements.

40 (d4 + d10)
2 Pirate archipelago
3 Hostile riverlands (tribes etc; canoes and other boarders)
4 Stormy seas 
5 Razor coral above and below the water
6 Constant lightning 
7 Sea monster(s)
8 Dangerous geographical features (collapsing cliffs, tide that suddenly exposes dangerous crags, shifting, unpredictable ice floes)
9 Sea of profoundly powdery ("moon dust") sand, from which who-knows-what will emerge. Vast, shifting dunes like waves on a stirring sea, moving to be lifted on these and then subsequently ride their ridges down is a skill best rapidly acquired during such a stage. The sand becomes airborne in a flux stone region (need different name)
10 Presence of superweapon
11 Seacaves and tunnels
12 Flooded ruins/ruins at sea 
13 Hermit state
14 Hostile series of locks (ie operated by people who don't want to let you pass; you'll have to dismount people and force the mechanisms)
15 Profound darkness
16 Naval graveyard
17 Body of giant creature (inside, outside, around, all of the above)
18 Drained undersea region
19 Labyrinth (natural or constructed)
20 Giant RGO
21 Robber states
22 Skylens; effect of sun is doubled
23 Hostile seas; sea creatures (whales, deadly giant jellyfish, climbing coconut crabs) will constantly assail the ship
24 Networked vortices
25 Volcano
26 Flux Stone Islands (floating islands that cause ship to float amongst them; use oars to push off of them, otherwise propulsion is all sails)
27 Nautical ossuary
28 Ancient aqueducts
29 Stelaes of listless melancholy; extra-hard to inspire rowers and crew, everyone generally gets super downcast and stops giving a shit about the race
30 Aerial hazards (from harpies to lightning up to rocs and dragons)
31 Urban canals
32 Swamps (must push way through using oars)
33 Demigod (result of program, nascent, disturbed)
34 Other plane
35 Occult site suffering astral corruption; entities may slip through from the void to devour individuals or whole ships
36 Giant salmon run, but with maneating swordfish
37 Enormous, rocky white water rapids
38 Extreme mist, to the point of fatiguing rowers
39 Lying stars 
40 Giant ancient aqueducts 

NPC Competitors
1: d4
2: d6
3: d8
4: d10

Cargo prizes may be scattered across the stages for ambitious captains to seize upon, stored in dilapidated cargo ships or on tow barges)
d10 x 1000gp in:
1 Betel
2 Paan
3 Perfume petals
4 Anaesthetic sponges
5 Areca
6 Ghee derived from adipocere
7 Graveyard cakes
8 Hyperoleaginous whale cancer
9 Sandalwood tincture
10 Seashells naturally alloyed with gold via filtration
11 Hyraceum
12 Succulent sea slugs (you can just suck on these puppies all day)

        Race Host
1 Storm giant
2 Solar angel
3 Deity
4 Demoness
5 Emperor taking bread & circuses measures; nevertheless his empire descends into chaos whenever there are games, as people become hyper-partisans for particular captains and massive industrial fortunes are wagered on the outcomes
6 Giant malevolent beholder who follows along, watching the race from above, guffawing malignly with his tongue hanging between his teeth
7 Great lunar bird with wings like lace; the whole race will be under cover as night with the moon glowing bright, where the bird and its guests will watch
8 Kraken, watching from below, perhaps stirring the sea where it pleases
9 Fairy Queen; whole race will get dreamier as it goes on
10 Creature with a head made up of a dozen overlapping disc-shaped eyes above alabaster tentacles, with a white spine that terminates in a radially-symmetric claw of bone. Its similarly bony hands and arms (actually sinew) outstretch to welcome you 
11 A mountainous creature of stone that rises from the sucking sea with a lake balanced in its head. At the conclusion, the winners will be carried to the celebratory archipelago with their galley riding in the lake atop the creature
12 Forest of unknown plants inside of an asteroid, the ore on the surface of which continually sparks and hums. The creature itself is a network of radial stalks terminating in the soil walls of the asteroid, joined at the center in a rhombus of bark with a hair of pink ferns. It has painted blue bands across this bark in honor of the sea
13 Magistrate seeking to encourage investment in his sea region; a lot of his constituents are pissed about the chaos that the race will bring, but it's not a democracy 
14 Divine crinoid
15 Tutelary deity
16 Dragon
17 Magical love princess
18 Gladiatorial ludus
19 Ethnic armed organization
20 Inscrutable myconid

        Example Race: The Mount Ñosájá Classic

Open Race
6 stages

Host (15): Tutelary Deity

    Stage 1: Mount Ñosájá
2 elements
(37) Enormous, rocky white water rapids
(33) Demigod
Summary: The race begins at the peak of Mount Ñosájá. Descend the rivers flowing from the snowmelt of a giant mountain; Iÿthúva, who is the rivers of the mountain and the host of the Classic, will be watching with keen interest, and may help or hinder those who demonstrate courage, cunning, or cowardice in this stage.

    Stage 2: The Locks of Thùt
3 elements
(7) Sea monster(s)
(14) Hostile series of locks (ie operated by people who don't want to let you pass; you'll have to dismount people and force the mechanisms)
(29) Stelaes of listless melancholy; extra-hard to inspire rowers and crew, everyone generally gets super downcast and stops giving a shit about the race
Summary: The Blood Nagas of Ñikak operate the Locks of Thùt, controlling access to the Ñosáján underworld of Zkík. They are not expecting you. Traverse their locks but be warned: the mountain's underworld radiates melancholy, and your crews may grow listless as you approach and then move away from the Throats of Zkík, the entrances to the underworld which the locks feed into. Do not enter the underworld; your path is through the locks and into the sea.

    Stage 3: The Arcology Archipelago of Shådåk
3 elements
(12) Flooded ruins/ruins at sea 
(33) Demigod 
(2) Pirate archipelago
Summary: Beyond the Locks of Thùt is the Ôsteo Sea, which contains an archipelago of stone ruins. This archipelago is notorious for the Pirates of Shådåk, fanatic plunderers who must surrender half of their treasure to the great and terrible bringer of magma, Dûnshet. This beast of the underfire opens pools of magma and then lava under permanent settlements which do not pay it tribute, so the pirates have never been extirpated from this sea.
The archipelago was once a stone arcology destroyed by Dûnshet for lack of tribute; the foundations of this once-great polity lay in confusion in the waters here, far above or just below.
Traverse the arcology archipelago and avoid your ship being turned into a tribute to Dûnshet. Find the Mouth of Zelåsh.

    Stage 4: The Mouth of Zelåsh
1 element
(11) Seacaves and tunnels
Summary: The Mouth of Zelåsh, which is the sacred fane of Dûnshet, is a great heap of collapsed archipelago wherein the pirates deposit their treasures in endless waterlogged heaps of gold and ivory. There in the center is a great well of lava where Dûnshet moans in ecstasy as the treasure is placed in swirling rings around him.
Traverse the labyrinths of fallen stone, through Dûnshet's sacred chamber, and come out of the other side. This is the pirates' most sacred place and they will pursue you here with terror and fervor.

    Stage 5: The Fangs of Dràlzàt
2 elements
(39) Lying stars 
(10) Presence of superweapon
Summary: The way in and out of the fane of Dûnshet is guarded by horn-like silver pillars that rise from the ocean as if the teeth of a giant crocodile. The night sky is black here, for these silver pillars are charged with starlight, forever preventing the influence of fell Dûnshet from spreading beyond the Ôsteo Sea in this direction. 
Beams of solar fusion dance from these silver teeth at random, filling the air with steam, cutting ships to flaming pieces. You must evade these beams and pass between the Fangs of Dràlzàt, the silver pillars that guard the way. You will be pursued by pirates here, no doubt; they will fear the wrath of their master more than the killing beams of a thousands suns. 

    Stage 6: The Shattered Sky
3 elements
(40) Giant ancient aqueducts
(38) Extreme mist, to the point of fatiguing rowers 
(26) Flux stone islands (the ones for this course don't shift gravity for the ships)
Summary: The stone arcology that once stood over the Ôsteo Sea was given water by a network of aqueducts arising from the surrounding sea. In this portion of the ocean, chunks of the arcology still float in the sky, carrying their aqueducts from the surface of the ocean, up through pumping and purification chambers in and on the dead stone stone cityscape. Ride these aqueducts up to the finish in Thermal Hall, but beware: many of these aqueducts have crumbled or lead to sections of arcology that have long since fallen into the ocean, and should you slide with the tide down one of them, you will find yourself falling many hundreds of meters to your destruction on the deep.
Mist blows past these aqueducts from the Fangs of Dràlzàt far beneath, obscuring the safe path.
You will finish in a great thermal pool that served as the personal pleasure lake of a potentate, inside a great chamber of glossy stone tile. The first ship to touch this pool will be the victor.

Grand Prize: 60,000gp

So far, three ships have registered for the Classic:

The captain is a professional racer
Geobukseon refit (it's a turtle ship)
The exterior has subtle brass organ pipes beneath portals of wrought iron; the groaning of the rowers hauling at ram speed emits a terrible bellowing 
It has an assortment of patiently watching, growling dogs, bears, wolves, rabbits and foxes
The ship has enchanted coral anchors that bring it undersea when aweigh, sealing the ship in an air bubble with the oars just outside it; this will gradually deplete and is no way to win races, as the ship is slower with the anchors in the water
The ship's ram has the shape of a snapping turtle's head (swapped with the ram of the Shadowfur before the race; the Kachhapa's original ram had the horns of a nudibranch)
Sports a boarding corvus
The prow carries a statue of a man and woman entwined yet facing forward; their bodies are differing hues of marble 
The captain is a demilich that floats around shouting at people; cackles wildly when taking the lead
It is emotionally supported by its spouses, who comfort it endlessly. It has retained a chaplain to minister to the rowers; the chaplain is uneasy working for a demilich, but thinks of the rowers
The captain employs "Thorns", evil men, to do violence in its name
Its rowers have been pressed into service

        Trihemiola Towers
The captain is an amateur racer
Forecastle, aftcastle, midcastle. This ship is much taller than it is wide
The outside is covered in lead sheets (primarily against woodworms)
It has entry towers skinned with pink velvet, floral blue curtains, orange light within, jade and gold canopies
The ship's ram looks like a really fat, mean-looking hummingbird with its long beak poised to pierce the offending ship 
Mounts a rotatable hwacha in the midcastle
The prow statue is a leering, spiny, randy-looking tatzelwurm
The captain is a sea witch; she is diminutive, wears a shag duster and tall conical hat which shades her face; two perfectly round, lantern like eyes are visible beneath it; she floats slightly off the surface at all times
When not racing, the captain is a master courier.
She has a sage that’s half cat; the left half of her body is skeletal, and flower petals continually weep out from between the bones. She's also allowed a journalist on board as publicity measure 
The captain employs a bunch of mutually-suspicious adventuring parties on the ship; each is assigned one of the ship's many little castles or towers
Her rowers are professionals

The captain is a professional racer
Big serpent wrapped around the mainmast; smoke pours from the tips of its fangs
The exterior is black with rabbit fur pouring across raised surfaces 
The deck is shaded by trees fastened in planters by gold manacles and chains
The front of the ship mount gongs whose suspended hammers are unstrung when preparing to make a ram attack, so that the gongs sound death as the galley crashes upon the waves
The ship's ram has the shape of the horns of a nudibranch
Sports a sulfur smoke emitter, a bombard and an elevated boarding ramp in its trees.
The prow statue is the god of speed (winged sandals, winged helm, winged sword, wings, winged greaves, winged bracers, winged gauntlets, winged belt, being hoisted by fairies)
The ship has a tigertail for a stern statue 
The captain is a barbarian chief who uses the intensity of races to channel for his spirit-walking rituals 
He retains a loyal, straight-man first mate who will go energetically unhinged when freed to do his duty. He has a political officer from his tribal confederation aboard, who is fanatically concerned about winning glory for the greater confederation, at the expense of the captain's tribe and gods if necessary. Set against the political officer is the captain's bodyguard, who has gigantism and is a nice guy except when the captain orders him not to be. The captain has enslaved a living scroll that can pop out and suddenly unravel, with what it wants to say written on it. New text will burn across its surface, the ash gradually blowing away in the wind, leaving blank vellum
The chieftain's men fight as firepipe strelsy (blast flame, roll off tubes, charge with bardiches, unless the enemy ship is already on fire)
He has pressed his rowers into service, but has not claimed them permanently as slaves

A hail of spears over an oncoming fleet, painted triremes lapping against blue waves, blue-armored men on chocolate wood, pinprick javelins flooding the blue sky. The crash and splinters, shearing oars, the sawdust wood-shop scent at sea. 

The blaze of glory imprinted itself onto him like a half-seen sun to a man in a meadow. A lockpicker following a threadway to the highest place. Not to be burned on barriers, but to follow truth in the maze of light. A golden moment; a dollop of gold in time. The rosy flame of passion is evergreen.

As are Legos

Lately I've been recording and editing stories (editing the writing, editing the recordings) for Fierce Firelight; this is super time-consuming and I hope to find ways to streamline the process. I look forward to a time when I have the process down and can continually write new stories, edit them with Dan's help, record them, sand down the audio, and post them with as quick a turnaround as possible. There is a lot that I want to explore.

Art - First Run