Chariots with Sails

Hey all, when reading Dragon Kings I stumbled across a pretty awesome little tidbit I’d overlooked for a while. They mention how chariots are a powerful part of a sorcerer king’s war machine and apparently their heavy chariots actually employ a sail for when the wind is at their back. Needless to say this sounded ridiculous and awesome, my favorite kind of fun. Dragon Kings mentions this doesn’t actually speed up the chariot but drivers insist it lightens the load for the beasts.

I then stopped and wondered, would using a sail taking advantage of desert winds actually speed up a chariot? I tried to do some research online and found this to be a rather hard point to figure out since chariots and boats work kind of differently. So I ask you fellow athasians, should a chariot sail make the chariot faster?

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Hmmm… that is a hard question. I think it would depend upon various factors. 1) Terrain 2) The type of sail employed 3) Wind Speed, and 4) if it did work, would you run over your beasts of burden or could they keep up? XD lol Of course that would depend on how the chariots harnessing system was built.

Edit: Though in general i would say ‘yes’. There is still the part of the beasts getting run over however… either way, cool find! Might use of it.

We know that the chariot is pulled by either 4 crodlu or kanks and the sail is made of leather. Furthermore although it has a wooden frame it is armored over with bone or chitin from monsters. It looks a little like this. As you can see when they say heavy chariot they really mean heavy chariot. Light chariots in Dark Sun look more like the ones used in real life.

Well then, assuming the crodlu can go about as fast as a Deinonychus (which is about 40 m.p.h. if i am not mistaken), then i would say ‘yes’! You could go up to the crodlu’s maximum speed limit. Making the chariots Athas’ fastest vehicles! Woopee!

Edit: Still have to take in to account terrain and wind speed though. Would have to have a relatively smooth hard surface with at least moderate wind speeds.

P.S. That gives me an idea for Draxan sports! Sailed chariot racing! It could be like a yearly big event, it could be a short race in an arena or a long race that takes many days across the wilderness! With the only rule outside the city being ‘Don’t lose’! I see many adventure plot hooks there!

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I agree that having the sail allow the chariot to go up to the beast’s speed with favorable winds makes sense. I imagine doing any real maneuvering with the sail would be a nightmare since you have to steer the animals and sail in sync. So odds are the sail would only be raised when the chariot is going in a straight line and lowered when any real maneuvering is necessary.

Also I am shamelessly stealing the sailed chariot death race idea. I have a quasi-city that’s a neutral trade hub in my setting that is definitely going to host that as a yearly event.

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Yes! That was the fifth point i could not remember! Maneuverability! Yes, very true! Go ahead with the idea, you opening this thread gave me the idea! Thank you!

P.S. Now that has me thinking of JetSkys on the Silt Sea… >:D

Absurd but cool. Chariots with propellers anyone?