Art Showcase: The Canopized Mulcher

Another mass-produced vessel from the shipwrights of the Gatling Archipelago, the Canopized Mulcher is a far rarer sight on the rustling waves than the sales numbers would lead most to believe. It’s not that they aren’t out there – it’s more that they’re in places few ever care to look.

The Mulcher is one of the few ships designed to tackle not the surface of the upper canopy, but rather the tangle of branches and vines that supports it. As close to a true submersible as the New Chthonica shipyards have managed to design, the Mulcher boasts a fully enclosed section for engine, crew quarters and piloting linkages, as well as two exterior platforms for close observation and deep-leaf sampling.

Development

While earlier canopized designs focused on smaller engines and less effective cutting techniques to increase the ship’s ability to slip unnoticed through the waves, the designers of the Mulcher threw such concerns into the fire and went instead for the largest, noisiest and most dangerous cutting edge they could find. This approach has proven surprisingly effective, and the bank of toothen wheels at the prow can grind through even the thickest foliage with worrying ease. This, combined with the sleeker-than-average hull design, has created a ship able to slip beneath the waves at a moment’s notice. You’ll be able to hear it a mile away, as the ship-hawkers boast, but you won’t see it until it’s right on top of you.

Common Modifications

Though the New Chthonica would never be caught selling to piratical factions, and would vehemently deny such charges if they ever surfaced, the fact remains that many ships from the Muclher series have made their way into the hands of less desireable wildsea types. The exposed lower platform has proven a useful area for gun-mounting, especially broadside cannons and teslacation lances. It also provides a potential staging area for mass boarding, sometimes kitted out with grappling screws and winding chains to allow heavier-armoured raiders quick access to the undersides of targeted ships.

On the more placid side of modification there’s the potential to alter the canopized covering, creating a retractable nautilus-like shell. Several fungal-agrarian societies use the closed interiors of these mulchers to grow their crops deep within the darkness of the seas, heading to the surface when storms threaten to crank back the canopy and collect as much water as they can in the shortest possible time.

This particular model has also seen great uptake among leviathaneering crews, those hunters of the largest and most dangerous beasts of the lower waves. Not only does the Mulcher’s ability to dive after fleeing prey come in useful, the atrocious noise of the cutting prow tends to keep smaller creatures away, allowing crews to focus on their titanic quarries.

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