Hundreds of ships hang in the sky, waiting and watching. Each bristles with weapons of unfathomable power and purpose, pointed into the void beyond the stars. Though they maintain a defensive position, there is something almost predatory about them.
At the center of the fleet is a single vessel larger than any of the others, marked with a sigil of three red eyes. Just looking towards it makes the mind hurt as the ship slowly shifts and morphs in ways that defy direction and even time.
The Dark Fleet is a collection of over one thousand battleships floating in space above Etera's world, and supported by nigh-countless smaller defensive vessels. At the center of the fleet is a huge ship, The Unknowable Chaos, which is almost more of a mobile fortress than a mere vessel like the others. The entirety of the fleet is commanded by an Avatar of Nyarlathotep who resides on the central vessel.
The size of the fleet's crew is unknown, and perhaps unknowable, but is widely estimated to be in the multiple millions. Countless species can be found on different vessels, although often among members of their own kind. Aberrations are particularly common, as are humanoid cultists, some plants, varied non-humanoid aliens, and a collection of outsiders.
Although deadly and menacing under even the most optimistic views, the Dark Fleet is not fundamentally evil and obeys its overlord with total loyalty in all things. The crew of the fleet is permitted almost any activities, but only as long as those do not threaten the integrity of the fleet.
Most of the vessels of the Dark Fleet are an odd mix of technological and organic components, merged together into a single, rather deadlier whole. Each ship in the fleet is fundamentally unique, with its own interior design and specific tendencies. Many of the ships in the fleet tend to shift over time to resemble the preferences of their inhabitants. For example, a vessel full of intelligent crabs may have flooded hallways and shell-like walls and doors, while a vessel crewed mainly by plants may be almost entirely organic and have sap pumping through its pipes.
The Dark Fleet is actively hostile to the group known as the Dominion of the Black. Contrary to the beliefs of some mortals, the Outer Gods and the Dominion of the Black are not affiliated with each other, and in fact generally despise each other. Various parts of the Dark Fleet occasionally depart on strikes against their hated foe, making it difficult for outsiders to get an accurate count of the fleet's size and power.
Flagship: The Unknowable Chaos
Dozens of times larger than any of the other ships in the fleet, The Unknowable Chaos is by far the most powerful vessel in the entirety of the Dark Fleet. In fact, some scholars estimate that it may have more firepower than the rest of the fleet combined and travels with other ships mainly because even it can't be everywhere at once. ...Probably. Its defenses are no less potent, capable of withstanding heavy bombardments from advanced weapons for years on end.
In truth, this nearly moon-sized vessel is what's known as a godship - it is itself another form of Nyarlathotep, intelligent in its own right and capable of changing its internal structure to fit different needs. Deep within the core of the ship is a small star connected to the Positive Energy Plane, from which The Unknowable Chaos can draw an effectively endless supply of energy (and thereby avoid the need to drain Nyarlathotep's godly power except in the most extreme circumstances).
The flagship possesses numerous construction and repair facilities, allowing it to singlehandedly build and maintain the Dark Fleet. Although hostile in the extreme to intruders, many of whom collapse in madness from the weight of an Outer God's attention on them, The Unknowable Chaos is fundamentally more benign to visitors and can seem almost normal when visitors come to meet with the more-talkative Avatar who commands the fleet.
As a physical version of a god's body, The Unknowable Chaos is largely immune to mortal magic, though battle fleet-level weaponry could theoretically harm it if they ever managed to get through the ship's shields. As it is only a lesser form of Nyarlathotep, The Unknowable Chaos is not quite as invincible as the god's true body. It is merely close to that, and as far as most people are concerned, there might as well be no difference.
Fleet Admiral: The Avatar Of Nyarlathotep
The Avatar of Nyarlathotep has countless forms and titles, and seems more than willing to respond to any of them. It only has one true rule for the Dark Fleet: Obey when I command. Thus, any activity that weakens the fleet's ability to obey is punished harshly, but anything that either has no impact on the fleet's readiness or actively supports it is allowed. The Avatar has occasionally destroyed entire ships to make a point, and having learned the lesson, the crew of the fleet obeys with fanatical loyalty.
The Avatar follows the whims and desires of the other Outer Gods, most of whom have basically no interest in the Material Plane to start with and don't particularly care about anything that happens on Etera. However, for reasons known only to them, the Avatar is extremely hostile to the Dominion of the Black and actively uses the Dark Fleet to strike against their enemy and prevent them from getting closer to Etera.
The Avatar claims that the Dark Fleet is there to protect Etera's world, and to their credit, have actually done so in engagements with other forces that have attempted to get close to the planet. The Dark Fleet also remains far enough away from Etera to not be a constant reminder hanging in the sky. As always, however, it seems likely that there is far more to Nyarlathotep's plotting than anyone has revealed...
Relations With Etera's Heroes
The Dark Fleet is not hostile towards Etera's heroes, although most of them (save any who worship the Outer Gods) are not allowed to go wandering anywhere they wish. Instead, the fleet appears to view the many mythic heroes of Etera as a useful resource, making requests for heroes to perform certain tasks on-world or even off-world, complete with transportation provided to reach different destinations. Many of these seem to directly or indirectly result in damage to the Dominion of the Black.
As heroes perform more missions for the Dark Fleet, they can raise Etera's Reputation Level with the fleet. This provides access to powerful new rewards and services.
Missions To Unlock The Next Level: 1
|Level 1 (Base)||Can accept missions from the Dark Fleet|
|Level 2 (Locked)||???|
The Unknowable Chaos - Flagship. Described above.
Mercies Of Madness - Diplomatic vessel. Well-defended, but not armed, and the place most visitors are likely to end up the first time they visit the fleet. It consists of numerous meeting rooms and hospitality areas, including entertainment for most interests. It also has dozens of shuttle bays and can rapidly ferry people to and from the surface of a world.
Eye Of Azathoth - Major battleship, somewhat larger than most of the others in the fleet. It functions as a secondary command vessel for much of the fleet, relaying orders from the Avatar. Its primary armament is an enormous nuclear energy cannon.