The Radiant Ship is a new development in the elven fleets. These light ships first appeared in Greyspace and Krynnspace, evidently as testing grounds for the prototype. Although it retains the classic butterfly shape used by most elven ships, the Radiant Ship is built from wood rather than being grown like most elven vessels. This is because the Radiant Ship was designed and built as a reaction to elven losses suffered during the second unhuman war. As the war progressed, the elves found that they could not grow new ships fast enough to replace combat losses. The Radiant Ship's light wooden construction allowed many of these vessels to be quickly built to serve as support craft, freeing up the many Men-o-War and Cutters that had been serving these duties, so that they could be re-deployed to combat duty.
While the Radiant Ship was never designed to enter into combat, it was intended that they be able to defend themselves. Since the vessel was less maneuverable than desired, and since its light wooden construction made it fairly vulnerable, elven mages came up with the innovative idea of covering the entire external surface with Continual Light spells. As a result, the Radiant Ship is as bright as the sun, and very difficult to look at directly, particularly for the goblinkin who were the main threat for the elves. Any attempts to fire at a Radiant Ship suffer a -4 penalty on the to hit roll due to the difficulty of looking directly at the ship. Creatures such as goblins or drow who suffer penalties in bright light have these penalties doubled when firing at a Radiant Ship, in addition to the standard -4 penalty to hit. Goggles of Darkness, a cheap, easily-produced magical item, are required equipment for all crew aboard a Radiant Ship, since without them they would be blinded by their own ship.
The armament of the Radiant Ship is intentionally made up entirely of light weapons, since the ship is meant to stay as far away from any enemy ships as possible. With the light weapons, the Radiant Ship can keep firing at an enemy ship from long range, while attempting to flee.
A shortage of trained elven sailors meant that one of the primary design considerations for the Radiant Ship was a low minimum crew size. The full crew of a Radiant Ship is 10 elves, which is the minimum required to operate the ship and all of the weapons. On a typical Radiant Ship, the captain may be the only experienced spacefarer, with the rest of the crew made up of raw recruits. Whenever possible the helmsman and navigator will also have some experience, although the best that can usually be hoped for is that they have previously served on merchant ships. Having a helmsman greater than 6th level is almost unheard of aboard a Radiant Ship.
Ship Uses Edit
Fleet Support: The Radiant Ships were designed and built to be fleet support vessels. These ships travel in convoys to resupply IEN fleets and outposts. Usually they carry food, weapons, repair materials, and ammunition. Sometimes Radiant Ships are used to ferry replacement crew and marines, but this is not common. In the role of fleet support, Radiant Ships are sometimes called upon to provide light combat support. In such cases, the Radiant Ships stay at extreme long range, peppering the enemy ships with their light weapons as a distraction while other combat vessels do the real fighting.
Other Configurations Edit
The Radiant Ship has yet to be seen in a modified version. This is partly because the Imperial Elven Navy discourages modifications, and partly because the ship is so new.