A Jolly Rogers Tale: Skull & Shackles
Ships on the Sea
Traders and Raiders
Brig: These two-masted, square-rigged ships are employed as fast merchant vessels, but are also often armed as corsairs or privateers. They’re lighter than frigates, but able to carry a comparable armament. Brigs flying pirate flags are the scourge of the Inner Sea.
Brigantine: Two-masted ships with square rigs on their foremasts only, brigantines are smaller than brigs, and are slightly more maneuverable, though they cannot sport the same armament. Brigantines are often employed as armed merchants, escorts, privateers, or corsairs.
Caravel: Small lateen-rigged ships characterized by a high sterncastle, caravels are generally employed in cargo or fishing, but sometimes armed for raiding.
Catamaran: A catamaran is a small vessel formed of two hulls or floats held side by side by a frame above them. Very fast but not rugged enough for warfare, they’re most often used in tropical climes for fishing and transporting cargo Some island tribes, however, sometimes use catamarans to carry their warriors into battle, board unwary ships at anchor, or raid.
Galley: A galley is propelled mainly by one to three tiers of oars, but also sports lateen sails. Galleys are often used by slavers, though they’re occasionally employed as short-ranged warships. They are heavily armed with ballistae, catapults, and even bow rams. With a shallow draft, galleys are especially useful in shoal waters and rivers, and can move quickly using their powerful banks of oars. Galleys do not handle high seas well due to their low profile, and can founder in rough conditions.
Felucca: With lanteen sails on one or two masts, feluccas are fast, sleek vessels employed for fishing and transporting cargo, and-rarely-as warships. Feluccas have a shallow draft and can navigate rivers easily, employing both sails and oars.
Galleon: An eminently durable design characterized by loftly forecastles and sterncastles, galleons are used as heavily armed merchants or warships. They are square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast, and lateen-rigged on the mizzen.
Junk: Having square sails set on masts that are often stepped off the centerline of the ship, a high stern, and a flat bottom, junks are slow, sturdy craft employed as cargo vessels and warships by Tian nations.
Longship: With their narrow, open hulls, single square sails, and large numbers of oars that provide most of the propulsion, longships are commonly used by Ulfen for transport cargo and raiding.
Schooner: Characterized by a long keel and fore-and-aft-rigged gaff sails and jibs, schooners are fast, and can sail very close to the wind. They are used for fishing and as fast merchant vessels, but are rarely armed, relying on superb maneuverability to evade trouble.
Battleship: Often called line-of-battle ships, these vessels are used as main forces by large navies. Battleships commanded by commodores often head squadrons, hunt pirates, or escort merchant fleets or expeditions. With upward of 40 ballistae, three to four catapults, and often 200 fighting sailors, such a ship is rarely tangled with by a lone corsair.
Catawar: This large, shallow-draft warship has two hulls connected by a broad, firm platform, and is usually rigged with lateen sails. Each hull can be fitted with 100 oars, and the vessel can support large numbers of soldiers, archers, and siege engines. Despite its size, the craft can maneuver well using its huge banks of oars. Catawars are often used for harbor protection or in blockades.
Frigate: Three-masted and square-rigged, frigates are the smallest of the “rated” ships-those commanded by an officer of captain rank. They’re fast and heavily armed, with one or two decks of ballistae and a bow-mounted catapult. Frigates can hoist a huge number of sails, require large crews, and are often manned with specially trained fighting marines for boarding actions.
Man-o’-War: These sailing behemoths are the height of military naval engineering. Generally fleet flagships commanded by admiral, men-o’-war rarely leave port with fewer than a dozen other warships accompanying them. With up to fifty ballistae on three or four decks, half a dozen heavy catapults, and hundreds of fighting sailors, marines, clerics, and wizards, these intimidating ships are virtually unstoppable.