A light and fragile-appearing ship, the elvish cutter is surprisingly tough. The design is streamlined and simple. The elves find this simple design advantageous because if its ease in construction and repair. It is also extremely maneuverable and agile, easily making tight moves and can quickly get into the best firing positions.
The "head" of the craft contains the main weapons pit with two medium ballista, each positioned behind one of the ship's massive glass "eyes." Typically, a half-dozen elves are stationed here, keeping the weapons firing at maximum efficiency. Behind this weapons pit is the main body of the ship. Most of the crew quarters are located on the same deck as the forward weapons pit, as is access to the cargo bay. Above this deck is the battle deck, where the officer quarters and the bridge is located. This is the "brains" of the ship, and it is from the bridge the captain commands the ship and the helm is located. The small deck fore of the bridge is where the elves conduct their boarding actions against enemy ships. This forward deck is also the elves primary position for elvish archers, and during a battle, a half dozen elvish archers will take position here to rain deadly arrows down upon their foes.
Above the bridge is the turreted medium catapult, which can be turned to fire upon enemy ships fore and aft. Three or four elves man this catapult; some of these elves serve double duty as archers when enemy ships come in range of their longbows. Behind the catapult is the flight deck, where elvish flitters dock with the cutter. Some captains put a medium ballista on this deck to increase firepower, but doing so prevents flitters from landing. At the very aft of the ship, behind the cargo hold, is the jettison. Typically, three elves will man this weapon, but sometimes this weapon will be unmanned if the enemy ship is enclosed. Four elves are needed to control the massive wings of this craft.
Most elvish cutters are owned and operated by elves, either by their military or private citizens. Military ships have a strict chain of command, but most other ships have very loose command structures. Despite the small size of the cutter, many IEN captains tend to be gun-ho and near suicidal in their approach to battle. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that most young elves start their long careers commanding these ships to learn proper military tactics before given the responsibility of a larger ship. A number of these craft have fallen the hands of other races. This is unavoidable given the vast numbers of these craft. Almost any crew can be encountered on a cutter, from men to illithids to scro.
Ship Uses Edit
Military: A vast number of cutters are in service of the Elvish Imperial Navy. These ships are standard in their configuration, but the elves keep a number of modified cutters on hand for special duties. Younger captains have little choice in the configuration of their ships, but the more experienced captains have the influence and resources in the Navy to modify their ships to suit their needs.
Free Adventuring: The small size of the cutter makes it a choice for adventurers without hordes of henchmen or the money to support a larger craft. Said ships are most often salvaged from ancient battlefields or hulks drifting in the void. Because these ships can repair themselves over time and can replenish their air envelopes make them very attractive to adventures. Configurations of such ships will vary greatly. One group, the Crimson Marauders, painted their ship black and red and embedded spearheads on almost every exposed part of their ship. Their ship, the Marauder, was dangerous to board because of the risk of boarders impaling themselves on the spearheads.
Trading: The majority of elvish cutters are in the hand of elvish merchants. Merchant ships are usually unchanged from standard, but sometimes the merchants will sacrifice the aft jettison to gain some cargo space. The jettison also gets in the way of loading cargo, and offers one more place for pirates to board the ship. The doors that the jettison fires out of are sometimes sealed and cargo is moved only through the huge cargo doors in the ceiling.