Changeling Skyship Blackjack

The Transforming Skyship of House Silversång

Destiny rides on the Blackjack. The fate of mortals, gods, and the moons in the sky depend on the choices made by the Captain and her crew. Sit with me to see how the story ends, I'll bring the bibingka!

The Blackjack has quietly plied the skies over western Krosia for fifty years, taking care not to draw attention to itself or its Captain. Secrets surround the Blackjack, its origins, its purpose, and its captain. Some remember the Blackjack as a simple trading barge, others recall a dashing privateer frigate. For most of its history, the owners of the vessel have avoided attention.

Nevertheless, fame has come for the Blackjack in a song gaining popularity throughout the Zone and Sovranty. The Tale of the Bakunawa Breakers features the Blackjack as a light cruiser that sailed to its doom in the Bakunawa's Grave.

The latest captain and owner of the ship Baron Niamhi "Nia" Silversång recently inherited it and has been unpeeling the secrets of the ship like layers of an onion. The ship came to House Silversång along with their rise to nobility and has been central to their power and wealth. Along with the ship and title of Baron, several unpleasant secrets were revealed to Nia.


Blackjack Deck Animation
Decks of the Blackjack Animation by Chris L

My dearest Niamhi, you are now the Fourth Baron Silversång and there are things you must know immediately. Firstly, you are tied by blood pact to the Hidden Fiend, the benefactor of our family for many generations. He guarantees House Silversång’s safety and fortune so long as we serve him.

Secondly, our blood is tainted by more than that hellish pact. I am a changeling. You and three of your siblings share my curse.

Thirdly, I write this and other letters for you as I prepare to descend into the Bakunawa’s Grave to break our family free. More letters will come from me as your power grows. I will share what I know, but carefully and only when the time is right.

Niamhi Silversång
Baron Niamhi Silversång by Chris L - HeroForge

Nia had been raised as a human, but her true changeling nature was now revealed to her. Also, much to her horror, a blood pact bound her to the "Hidden Fiend", making her a warlock. Her family's wealth and power directly strengthened that dark entity.

Along with her faithful crew, Nia has done everything in her power to break the Hidden Fiend's hold on her family. In the process she discovered the Fiend's identity, Malfador the God of Lies. Her family has been bound to the monster for decades. The details of how and why are still a mystery to her.

Skyship in Disguise

The Cult of Malfador forged the Blackjack with the end goal of bringing their dark god physically into the world after the gods withdrew from the mortal realm. With the power of a god on Erathia they hope to take over the interplanar resources of the Kirinal Pit and spread their power throughout the multiverse.

In order to achieve its mission, the Blackjack was annealed from the chaotic matter of Limbo by the ordered minds of Hell-worshippers. The ship vibrated with the power of transformation, but the Cultists couldn't make the ship's shapechanging power function. They needed something extra to give it the power to polymorph, the souls of changelings.

The Cult hunted down a wandering group of singers rumored to be changelings, the Silver Song Tribe. Once they ferreted out the truth, cultists descended on the tribe and sacrificed them all; man, woman, and child to the God of Lies. They bonded the sacrificed souls to the ship and emptied the mind of the last singer.

They refilled his mind with obedience and bound his bloodline to a pact with Malfador. He became the first Captain of the Blackjack, Baron Rars Silversång, the Weeper. He became a wealthy and powerful man with a long life and a loving family. However, he was known for sudden fits of crying and bouts of depression. Part of him knew exactly what he had lost and what he had become.

Xeno, Avatar of Malfador
Xeno, Avatar of Malfador by Chris L - Heroforge

The hell god Malfador possessed Xeno, creating the first avatar since the Withdrawal.

Changeling Skyship Blackjack - Assault Frigate

The assault frigate version of the Skyship Blackjack is made for speed and versatility.

Ship stats are for the Blackjack's Ionite Assault Frigate form.
Designation
HCS
Manufacturer
Owning Organization
Rarity
Unique
Beam
30ft
Length
100 ft
Height
34'
Complement / Crew
One captain, five officers, ten sailors.
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
40 crew and passengers
Skyships
Vehicle | Sep 5, 2021

Skyships ply the sky of Erathia through a variety of magical technologies. They connect the world together in a way that has never existed before.

Tale of the Bakunawa Breakers
Myth | Sep 27, 2021

The song of how Baron Nikolaus and the crew of the Blackjack released six lost moons from the belly of the Bakunawa.


The Shifting Ship

I flew the Blackjack for months between the Sovranty and the Zone. At every port the dockmasters were surprised that the Blackjack looked different than they remembered. I had no idea it could change shape. Just another secret that my father kept from me.

— Niamhi, the Fourth Baron Silversång

The Blackjack can change its shape into a handful of preset forms, drawing on the power of the quicksilver souls within it. Only the captain, a changeling from the Silversång bloodline, can command the ship to transform.

The current captain, Nia, has mastered two forms: a nondescript trade barge and a dashing frigate. She knows that the skyship has been a heavily armed light cruiser in the past, but doesn't know how to activate that form.

Originally the Blackjack had the forms of oceangoing vessels: from a simple cutter, to a schooner, or a barque. When skyships became common 50 years ago, Nia's grandfather converted the Blackjack into a flying vehicle.

Blackjack Trade Barge Form
Blackjack Trade Barge Form by Chris L

The crew recently learned that the Blackjack acquires new forms in a ritual where an existing ship is absorbed into the Blackjack's changeling matrix. The Blackjack digests the donor ship for later use as a template. The ship can hold six templates at one time.

Besides the ability to transform and some supernatural tendencies, the Blackjack functions like a normal skyship. It flies using an expensive hex crystal propulsion system controlled from the helm by an experienced spellcasting helmsman.

Ionite Assault Frigate

Captain Nia's favorite form for the Blackjack right now is that of an Ionite Assault Frigate. After months working in its trade barge form (basically a flying barrel), she enjoys the nimbleness and upgraded weaponry of the frigate form. The frigate lacks cargo space, but makes up for it with speed, power, and versatility.

Decks
The Blackjack has a lower deck and an upper deck along with a half deck on the stern.
Hull
The Blackjack's frigate hull is made of alder wood bound with steel and ornamented with bronze. Hex crystals stud the hull to provide lift. It is 100 ft long, 30 ft wide, and 34 ft tall.
Cargo Capacity
75 tons, 40 crew and passengers
Propulsion
2 Magus Valley Spell Thrusters powered by hex crystals and controlled by a magitech helm.
Alternate Propulsion
The crew recently recovered wood of Telperion from a wrecked Telperion Skyship that allows them to align to the gravity of the moon. They successfully used it to arc over the continent in one day, but almost destroyed the Blackjack in the process.

Helm Deck

The hex crystal helm that commands the ship is mounted on the top deck in the aft of the ship. When the helm is active, a low powered force screen activates to protect the deck from wind and weather.

A helmsman capable of using magic is always stationed here to steer the ship and power the helm. Two crewmen also stand guard here to protect the helm and helmsman.

Top Deck

The front of the top deck stands in open air. It is used for cargo and as a ballista or cannon deck.

The captain's quarters are behind one door towards the stern. An antechamber used for storage and meetings is through the other door.

The cabin in the rear of the ship functions as a mess and converts to crew quarters at night.

Cargo Deck

Two doors on either side of the ship lead onto this deck for loading cargo and passengers. All cargo is first assigned to the fore cargo hold to counterbalance the weight of the engine and helm deck. The rest of the deck is used as needed for cargo, storage, and additional crew space.

The medic maintains his quarters, which double as a sick bay, on this deck.

If the medic bay is a-rockin' don't come a-knockin'!

— Medic Lance Uppercut

The magitech engine is in the rear of the ship. The ship's mechanic, Spark, keeps his quarters here. His hammock hangs between a gap in his beloved machinery.

The Crew

Captain Niamhi Silversång

Baron, skyship captain, warlock, changeling, and heir to a complicated legacy. Nia rides the razor's edge of familial duty, dark secrets, and her responsibility to her crew.

I'd rather talk or sing my way out of trouble, but I have an eldritch blast ready if I need it!

— Niamhi, the Fourth Baron Silversång

Xeno the Navigator

The durable soulforged Xeno served as the Blackjack's Navigator, a solid bulwark that the rest of the crew relied on. Unfortunately his metal body became the cradle for the dark god Malfador to be reborn into the world.

"Life springs from liberty", "Don't let your mind chain you to your past", and "Only a fool defines their future by their origins."

— from "Meditations of Xeno the Navigator"

"Medic" Lance Uppercut

A noble-born aasimar sorcerer with the raw power of heaven at his command, Lance Uppercut flees the call of a mighty destiny as fast as he can on the Blackjack. He takes full advantage of his unearthly beauty, leaving a trail of broken hearts throughout the Zone and Sovranty.

Yeah, I know. My parents are rich, I was born with divine power, and I'm really good looking. How much for the hat?

— Lord Lanzo "Lance Uppercut" von Razak

Mechanic Of the Forge the Spark

An old friend of Nia's from their days on the Tourney Train, Of the Forge the Spark is a goblin artificer. The crew relies on his genius with magitech to get them out of scrapes and uncover the Blackjack's secrets.

So we crash UP towards the moon past the sky, plunge into the aether, then flip and crash down TO our destination!

— Of the Forge the Spark

Spellsword Elenwe Heskiloth

The newest member of the crew, the mysterious elven paladin Elenwe Heskiloth brought much needed fighting prowess to the Blackjack's crew. Elenwe hides almost as many secrets as the Blackjack itself.

I'm here now, fighting by your side. It doesn't matter where I came from or who I used to be.

— Elenwe Heskiloth

First Mate Thunderfox

The ship's shifter crew is led by the experienced paw of First Mate Thunderfox, a representative of the Moon's Orphans.

You can count on me Cap'n! I'll sacrifice whatever is... Oh noooo...

— Thunderfox

Songs of the Blackjack

As the adventures and exploits of the Blackjack have become known, the skyship has become the subject of several popular songs.

Bibingkas in the Sky

We'll wake early just to visit Lola Carly. (x3)

We'll be alright if we leap over the rail. (x3)


And we'll all land down alive

We'll chew... the right... Bibingkas in the sky(all) (x3)

The Blackjack Sky

We are the crew of the Blackjack Sky,

From the Zone to Sovranty we fly.


The pirates were hit and lost the brawl,

Their leader's escape turned into a fall.

The Bakunawa Breakers

The Blackjack's captain, he summoned his crew,

Their destiny done, their last quest in view.


Niklaus laments the Hidden Fiend's dark dreams,

"Friends I have failed, to foil my patron's schemes.



Cover image: Changeling Skyship Blackjack by Chris L

Comments

Author's Notes

The "Ionite Assault Frigate" is based directly on the Rassen Assault Frigate from Arcane Minis Skies of Sordane setting.


Please Login in order to comment!
8 Sep, 2021 19:50

Loving the concept of a form changing ship! Also pretty neat how the captain needs to master the different forms before being able to change the ship in them. Nice work already ! :)

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
17 Sep, 2021 20:46

'[She] has been unpeeling the secrets of the ship like layers of an onion' I love this quote. :D   Great work already. There are so many little bits of lore to dig into here.

17 Sep, 2021 20:53

Thank you! I'm almost done with the map and so excited to share it! Keep tuned.

19 Sep, 2021 21:56

Awesome job 3d printing and painting the ship. it looks great. Also great work on the history of the ship and its crew. Really enjoyed reading it all.

Check out my Shipwright Challenge Entry The Rum Runner
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
19 Sep, 2021 23:09

Nice work! I love seeing the art mingle with the writing here. You've done a great job with both. And I especially liked the section about (and the concept of) the ship being able to change forms.

20 Sep, 2021 01:18

Thanks! This is the ship that came to me when my player told me they wanted to be a changeling warlock and the group picked a skyship campaign! It's a pretty even mix of concepts that came like a bolt of lightning and stuff that developed during the campaign.

22 Sep, 2021 10:21

I consider your level of work to be the level of work I hope my work can level-up to someday. This is an awesome flying ship and I have to say that I love the spell cannon concept part the best. "Fire awaaay!!"

26 Sep, 2021 14:01

This is such impressive work you've put into this article- there is so much information, and none of it is overwhelming. And, you built the actual ship?! How cool is that!!! Lets not even mention how its my namesake... amazing work :D

Author of Interarcanum.
26 Sep, 2021 22:25

Thanks TC! It is definitely a Changeling ship, a cool coincidence with a cool person!

Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
3 Oct, 2021 01:28

From the spark of a player's background prompt, you made an epic journey. Great article!

Before becoming the Etonia Council, the members had to make it to Etonia. My Shipwright Challenge entry offers a glimpse into that story. Dìondair Malairt
4 Oct, 2021 20:14

Wow, you even made a model of the ship. You must have really put a lot of work into everything. Like this ship and the article a lot. :)

4 Oct, 2021 20:27

Thank you! It's sitting on my dinner table and my wife is annoyed at me. I'm so happy with it, I'm getting a shelf for it behind my desk!

7 Oct, 2021 05:51

I've been reading through a bunch of these Shipwright articles, impressed at all the different ships. Your writing is definitely up there, with so many good details on just about everything with your ship. I really enjoyed reading about the history and crew.   If I were to offer up any criticism, it would be the nature of the map you made (looks cleanly printed and well painted btw). Unless you designed the model yourself, it's not really that original of a map, so it kind of diminishes an otherwise great ship article.

7 Oct, 2021 10:50

Thanks for the reply and your opinion is noted. I did get the files for the ship from a Kickstarter last year. I stated that in the Author's Note. I feel differently about the level of effort, but I can see how you would feel that way.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
7 Oct, 2021 08:42

Great article and great model of the ship! Its story is really interesting and as always I love all the little quotes showing us the different characters and the crew :D   I like the idea of a shapeshifting ship and how they have to do a ritual to absorb another ship so as to gain a new form. Does that mean that they need to adapt that other ship before they absorb it, or can they do any changes to those ship after they do and it will retain them in memory?

Feel free to check my ship challenge article.
7 Oct, 2021 10:53

Thanks for the comment as always! The other absorbed ship is a template that can be adapted after the ritual. As a fun reference, the party picked up components they need for the ritual last night, they just don't know it!

8 Oct, 2021 14:23

Hi! Great job on the sculpting and map of the ship. I really liked that concept, and the amount of details you went in :)

With love,   Pouaseuille.
Powered by World Anvil