Naval Cultures of the Flanaess - Southern Traders
Date: Thu, August 28, 2008
Topic: Peoples & Culture

Southern Traders: “The people that control the trade routes control Oerth.” – Brother Omessa

Naval Cultures of the Flanaess
Southern Traders
By Crag

Southern Traders: “The people that control the trade routes control Oerth.” – Brother Omessa

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 suloise arrived in the Flanaess as refugees fleeing an ancient cataclysm. Some suloise settled in the southern coastal regions and a naval philosophy was soon established. The southern suloise desire to establish naval trade routes necessitated the creation of open ocean fleets. The southern suloise naval philosophy seeks to psychologically demoralize an enemy by destroying their mobility and maneuverability. Once a foe is rendered helpless; a demand for surrender is offered. If the surrender demand is refused; enemy crew members are targeted in advance of a boarding action. This doctrine is most effective when the attacker outnumbers an opponent. The primary aim of a naval engagement under this philosophy is to capture enemy vessels. The naval doctrine endeavors to minimize combat casualties and provides a ship a safer opportunity to retreat if an engagement appears to be going poorly. Doctrinal weaknesses of this philosophy are a hesitancy to fully commit to combat and an unwillingness to sustain excessive casualties. Some notable naval fleets that adhere to this doctrine are: Keoland, Lordship of the Isles, Onnwal, Scarlet Brotherhood and Sea Princes.           

Southern Suel (Movement & Ship Protection) 
Caravel (Exploration)
Carrack (Transport and Warship)
Coaster (Coastal Defense and Merchant)
Cog (Merchant)
Galleon (Warship)
Great Galley (Merchant)

- Surrounded by luxury; a patient parent calms a spoiled child –

Patience, have you not already gained much…
No one mocks the Scourge of the Waves; your enemies shiver when the honourific is uttered. We must have patience; our ships must be used wisely for they are precious. The blockade must be maintained for it divides our enemies and gathers coin into our coffers. That coin can be used to strengthen the fleet and assure the loyalty of men. Abroad that same coin can purchase influence and information from many sources. Allies will soon appear from the north to crush the arrogant oeridians but we must have time to convince the northern suel to accept their rightful destiny as you were convinced. Rather then seek the annihilation of his enemies; a true naval leader hopes to render his foe immobile and impotent. The capture of his enemies’ vessel is a validation of his superior seamanship and forces his humbled foe to acknowledge his greatness. Let us return to our evaluation of the impressive fleet that you command with such skill.

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 used primarily as vessels of exploration. Hepmonaland and lands more distant have been surrendered their riches due to caravel exploration.

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. Carracks are of use as tribute collectors to distant primitive ports, during such voyages their slow speed is not deemed a hindrance.  

Coasters perform a valuable service; their contribution should not be dismissed; they are used primarily as local merchant ships. True, these ships are unworthy of battle and are unsuited for lengthy open sea voyages. Nevertheless these ships perform many important tasks; hauling local cargo, ferrying passengers and as a means of communication within the islands. When assigned military duties, coasters patrol local waters, safeguard ports and protect the local fishing fleets. Coasters are important to the maintenance of the blockade and vital to island trade.

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. Cogs maintain the far flung lucrative ocean trade routes of the invisible empire.

Galleons are the premier warship of the eastern seas; imposing vessels 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.

The Great Galley is designed to be primarily propelled entirely by slaves, although it does use sails when the winds are favourable. Galleys are used for both warfare and trade; the versatility of the galley does make it a valuable naval asset. Galleys have a large cargo capacity but are also able to accommodate a large number of fighting men. In times of peace; galleys are used as merchant vessels; however in the event of war, these ships can be refitted for battle to bolster our naval strength. The galleys’ ram itself is worthy of respect; however once refitted with ballistae and enhanced hull protection, the ship becomes a dangerous naval foe. The speed and maneuverability of the galley has proven extremely effective along the southwestern jungle coasts and within the confines of the Tilva Strait.

Our mages and priests are beyond compare; whether providing enhanced defensive capabilities to our ships or enhanced travel to reach distant shores; our empire stretches beyond the farthest horizon. The newly liberated lands must be supported and encouraged to serve the empire; naval power is essential to this endeavor. Shores and peoples, undreamed of by you, bend their knee to the glory of the suel. In those distant lands tribute is taken and alliances made. Soon fresh armies will be raised, our enemies will be vanquished and all that we have lost will be restored to us. Patience is needed; for there are many concerns for the father of us all.

The blockade is critical to retaining the gains we have made and to reclaim misguided rebellious lands. Would you risk everything for petty vanity rather then restore your fellow suel of Idee, Onnwall and the Sea Princes to the blessed existence they but briefly enjoyed. I can not believe such a noble ruler, would place battle lust above his blood; leaving his brothers in arms to languish under the everlasting shame of tainted inferiors. Rest assured preparations are being made; one day, you shall sail the waves in triumph.

Be obedient and Xerbo will reward you.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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