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    Naval Cultures of the Flanaess: Eastern Explorers
    Posted on Wed, July 16, 2008 by Dongul
    Crag writes "Eastern Explorers: “Glory and wealth await those daring enough to grasp them.” – Captain Riusmand

    Naval Cultures of the Flanaess
    Eastern Explorers
    By Crag

    Eastern Explorers: “Glory and wealth await those daring enough to grasp them.” – Captain Riusmand

    The Flanaess has evolved into a cultural melting pot of several diverse peoples; this diversity has stimulated various cultural approaches regarding the value of the sea and vessels required to exploit it. Cultural beliefs of the sea within a society have a profound effect regarding its fleet composition and the military doctrine that is developed to achieve the desired goals within the society.

    Naval Doctrine: The Oeridians migrated from the west into the Flanaess; they eventually conquered a large land empire. Oeridian naval power was developed as a means to safeguard this hard won empire; rather then any real desire to explore the oceans. However once a naval presence was established, the same ruthless demeanor that had conquered a land empire was adopted at sea. A relentless desire to dominate its foes fashioned a fearsome naval force. The oeridian philosophy seeks to annihilate an opponent as decisively and efficiently as possible; tactical finesse is disdained in the pursuit of victory. Naval victories are achieved by causing maximum damage to an enemy vessel and crew. Naval engagements commonly devolve into bloody battles of attrition. Oeridian courage and willingness to sacrifice themselves; often proves decisive against less resolute foes. A weakness of the doctrine is the single minded focus on the destruction of the enemy; captains have become fixated on the enemy. Clever foes have successfully used the tactic of a false retreat to lure Oeridian fleets into ambushes. Some notable naval fleets that adhere to this doctrine are: Ahlissa, Irongate, Nyrond and Sea Barons.

    Oeridian (Crew Protection & Evocation)
    Caravel (Exploration)
    Carrack (Transport and Warship)
    Coaster (Coastal Defense and Merchant)
    Cog (Merchant)
    Galleon (Warship)
    Heavy Caravel (Exploration) – Sea Baron Design

    - Over strong drink and cordial conversation; a serious problem is discussed -

    Gentlemen, a solution must be reached…
    Despite some problems, no rival can match our seafaring skill within the Aerdi Sea. The men are in good spirits and due to the solnor compact, we have access to several continental ports. These ports provide us with safe anchorages and access to the continental trade markets. Unfortunately the compact while economically and militarily of value, does potentially restrict our future endeavors as we become ever more dependant on the sufferance of Rel Astra. However the alliance does not address our current naval situation; the seas have always been perilous. A former barony has fallen into chaos, ravaged by lawless buccaneers and we are surrounded by potential enemies. Fortunately our formidable fleets remain a potent naval force; if you all will indulge me…

    Caravels perform well as a merchant or military vessel but excel at neither. Because of its smaller size, caravels are able to explore upriver and within shallow coastal waters. Its seaworthiness and agility make the ship one of the best sailing vessels upon the oceans. Although its square sail rigging and slightly rounded hull design does limit it’s sailing capability into the wind, exposing a real vulnerability. Militarily the caravel does not have a high forecastle or sterncastle; the small cargo capacity also limits crew size and troops which can reasonable be carried within the vessel.The caravel plays an important role economically and militarily within the fleet but they are desired foremost as vessels for voyages of exploration. Fortunately for us the poor windward sailing capabilities of the caravel has discouraged most captains from embarking on lengthy eastern voyages of discovery.

    Carracks were once the main warship of the eastern fleets; however their lack of speed and maneuverability necessitated its replacement as the premier warship of the eastern oceans. Its high cost to build and instability during high winds cause some to question its continued military value. Carracks are still used as troop transports due to their large carrying capacity. Given its high forecastle and sterncastle these vessels remain virtually impregnable to attack from the small craft commonly used by the primitive natives of the southern jungles. Unfortunately the southern jungle routes are now blocked to us and carracks due to their slow speed are highly vulnerable to attack upon the open ocean.

    Coasters perform both a trade and military role; used primarily as local merchant ships, although some reckless captains sail beyond coastal waters to trade. These ships are unsuited for lengthy open sea voyages; nevertheless these ships perform many important tasks, whether hauling local cargo, ferrying passengers and as a method of communication within the islands. When assigned military duties, coasters patrol local waters, safeguard ports and protect the local fishing fleets. Coasters while somewhat ridiculed are militarily important to our safety and vital to island trade. These vessels perform a valuable service; their contribution should not be dismissed.

    Cogs are well suited to its role as a merchant vessel, its size and crew compliment allow it to mount a stubborn defense if attacked enroute to distant ports. Its sturdy construction and large cargo capacity; makes it a common sight along the ocean trade routes throughout the flanaess. Despite its less than graceful appearance it is able to withstand lengthy voyages and volatile storms. The defensive prowess of the cog is needed as it is the preferred prey of pirates sailing the seas in search of plunder. To maintain fragile ocean trade routes still deemed unsafe; escorted convoys have become much more common especially for high value cargoes or vital raw materials considered essential to the reconstruction of war ravaged nations.

    Galleons are the premier warship of the eastern seas; an imposing vessel built to sustain and inflict punishment. Galleons require large crews but they can also transport an impressive number of soldiers. The galleon has high forecastles and sterncastles which easily support ballistae and catapult as well as a thick damage resistant hull. These warships protect merchant convoys, transport armies and confront our naval enemies upon the open seas. No other ship found within the eastern seas can match the military might of the galleon. Given the cost and prestige of these warships, careful consideration must be exercised before they are committed to combat. A decisive defeat of the main galleon fleet would cripple our naval prominence and expose these islands to a possible invasion.

    Heavy caravel design is truly impressive; its excellent seaworthiness and new triangular sail design allows more freedom to sail against prevailing winds which makes it ideally suited to explore unknown seas and lands. The more adventurous captains; aware of the new triangular sail rigging and sleeker hull design shamelessly plead with the master shipwright Walfrenden for consideration at his shipyard on Oakenisle. Many capable captains, who are needed to defend our home waters, now desire to sail into the eastern unknown filled with dreams of wealth and discovery.

    Our mages and priests strike fear into our adversaries; we choose to use magic directly against an enemy ship and crew. Which among us; has not seen the carnage wrought by a fireball or lightning bolt. The northern barbarians have little stomach to risk ships in direct confrontation and our southern foes care more for their blockade then victory. Let our enemies think they are clever; we shall send our foes to the ocean depths and rule the waves.

    In my view; the northern barbarian raids on the mainland are but mere nuisances. The northern peninsula is poor and barren; there is little plunder to be had for us, in the frozen north. A cessation of northern hostilities offers us much in return. With the north secure we can turn our full attention to the real threat; it is the south that has always held the greatest peril and opportunities for us. A concerted effort can reclaim Leastisle and allow us to raid the rich southlands. I would rather face the scarlet monks and their lordship lackeys on the high seas then wait for an assassin’s blade to find me.

    Be bold and Procan will turn his wrath elsewhere."
     
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