Angelfishes were amongst the first of the various designs of fish-ships used so commonly by humans and other species. Designed shortly after the eelship had become a common sight, the angelfish was intended to serve as a pure combat vessel, following an entirely different design philosophy from the lamprey which was being designed at about the same time. Whereas the lamprey was designed to get in close and destroy an enemy through ramming, an angelfish was designed to stay out of range of enemy fire while pounding them at long range with its many light weapons. This worked well against opponents such as eels, and other contemporaries, but before long larger ships began to become the norm. These larger ships could stand a lot more punishment, and the idea of destroying them with long-range light weapons became less feasible. Since the angelfish was never a versatile ship, once it became obsolete as a warship, it largely vanished from the spacelanes.
An angelfish could fight at full capacity with just over a dozen men, since only three men in addition to the captain and the spelljammer were needed to man the fins. Despite this, military angelfishes typically carried a full 20 men, since the ship was much less cramped than her contemporaries, and this allowed many replacements in case sailors or weapons crew were lost in combat. Exploration missions often ran with a crew closer to 12 men, to allow for longer voyages, while the few angelfish that were used as traders generally only caried 5 or 6 crewmen.
Ship Uses Edit
Warship - The intended use of the angelfish was as a warship. In its heyday, a combined fleet of lampreys and angelfishes was virtually unstoppable, but larger and more powerful warships have made the combat angelfish obsolete as anything other than a light support craft. Some human organizations still use angelfishes to harrass enemies during large fleet actions.
Goblin Reaver - The angelfish has become a popular warship amongst certain goblin tribes. The reason for this seems to be twofold. First, the goblins like the idea of fighting their enemies from extreme ranges, since theoretically it should keep them safer from harm. Second, an angelfish is relatively easily captured, even by a goblin porcupine. It should be noted that goblin raiders using these ships tend to flee from any ships larger than 20 tons, and any smaller ships that they suspect might be even moderately armed.
Explorer - Angelfish explorers fared quite well compared to other contemporaries. This was partly because the ships were less spartan than eels or lampreys, thus allowing for greater crew morale on long journeys, and partly because the ship was well-suited to running away from serious danger; an important quality for a ship which is venturing into the unknown. A major drawback to the angelfish as an exploration ship was its inability to land on a planet. As a result, most angelfishes carried a small launch intended to carry a few crew to a planet's surface. Usually the angelfish's jettison would be removed to install a docking mechanism for this ship's boat. The second drawback to the angelfish as an explorer was its low cargo capacity. As a result, angelfish explorers often had to rely on finding food and water in the course of their journeys. This sometimes led to explorer crews starving to death before they ran out of air.
Trader - A very small number of angelfishes were used as traders, and some still see use in this function in the safer areas of space. A trader angelfish will usually remove all weapons but the jettison, raising the cargo capacity to a respectable 11 tons, but making the ship dangerously vulnerable to attack. An angelfish used in this manner will typically attempt to evade any ship it encounters, since this is generally the only way it can survive in space.
Other Configurations Edit
Heavy Angel - Some early angelfishes were fitted with cone rams adapted from the lamprey. These ships were typically armed with 2 medium catapults (one on the top deck and one on the under deck), and 2 medium ballistas (in the open mouth of the cone ram) in place of the seven light weapons usually carried. The hull is also thickened in an attempt to strengthen the vessel to withstand the forces caused by ramming. The net result is a reduction of cargo capacity to a paltry 2 tons (only enough to carry enough supplies for a short tour of duty), but an improved armour rating of 4. This configuration proved to be a massive failure. Despite its strengthening, the heavy angel's frame was not designed for ramming, and each ram attack causes the ship to take 1d4 hull points of damage. Essentially the heavy angel was intended to fulfill the same role as a lamprey, but did it poorly.