[HR] Naval Rules

Sailing will be interesting, since there are multiple factors (some of which are “known unknowns” at this point). Obviously, wind direction and wind speed matter. So, also, does the type of rig (square sails, fore-and-aft, etc). That rig can have effects on the crew size (lateen rigs in particular require more crew for a given sail size).

WARNING: HIGHLY TECHNICAL (and potentially boring to laymen) DISCUSSION BELOW

One thing I am trying to do right now is work on some mathematical formulas to help me work out ships I’m not terribly familiar with. Part of this has involved learning about block coefficients and hull speeds.

Block coefficient is a way of describing (in a number) the overall shape of the hull underwater. To illustrate, if you multiply the length, beam, and draft of a hull, you get a number that assumes the shape is a perfect cube. However, ship’s hulls are streamlined to some extent, even on barges. The ratio of the actual volume of the hull underwater to the perfect cube is the block coefficient. Most ships are between a .4 (for a sleek yacht) and .8 (for a ultra large crude carrier - the giant oil tankers). This, in turn, ties into the tonnage of the ship, since the volume of water actually displaced has a mass equal to the tonnage of the ship. Being able to estimate block coefficient based on known dimensions lets me estimate tonnage for ships that don’t have a listed tonnage (or, on the flip side, if I have length, beam, and tonnage, I can estimate draft). The polyremes already done have block coefficients ranging from .35 (for the bireme) to .54 (for the quinquereme), averaging .47. This suggests they’re adequately streamlined, and that the bireme and trireme may be a bit light (they’re at .35 and .36, every other polyreme is at .47 or higher). Then again, they are the light warships.

Hull speed is the theoretical maximum speed of a hull, which is directly related to length - it’s 1.37 times the square root of the length of the hull (in feet). Many modern ships can go faster than this through planing or shaping the hull to change how waves form off the bow and stern, but for ancient ships, it’s an adequate rule of thumb for determining maximum speed. In my case, I’m also using a factor based on the block coefficient to figure hull shape into speed - that sleek racing yacht will, for the same length of hull, be faster than the blocky tanker (or, in ancient terms, the galley will perform better than the cog). Based on this, the maximum theoretical speed for the polyremes ranges from 13 knots to 15 knots, so I’m pretty happy with the burst rowing speeds of 9 to 11 knots, since those are under the maximum speeds and the power produced by the rowers may not be enough to get to maximum speed.

Excellent stuff. A few little nitpicks - your numbers of crew (sailors and marines) are on the high side. Any additional people not actually required for powering or steering a polyreme are endangering the vessel. The standard marine complement for a trieres/trireme was 14 marines (12 heavy infantry and two archers). They’d then throw themselves around as outboard steerage when necessary. Standard sailor complement was 10. The Romans did like to overload their ships with marines, but that was because they were poor sailors and usually operating close to land. If you were travelling any distance, those numbers would risk the ship if a storm blew up.

A bireme refers more to the oar arrangement than its size; you could get a ship with a similar number of rowers to a trireme that is a bireme (indeed it’s likely a lot of the larger polyremes used a bireme arrangement). I reckoned the “small galley” in the book was equivalent to a pentekonter or hemiolia. I then slotted in a “medium galley” representing a trihemiolia (again not necessarily accurate, it could also refer to a trireme that could lower its sails without taking their masts apart) with 120 rowers.

How will you measure oarsman quality (ie training/experience), condition (fatigue and food) and morale? Raw conscripts is fine for slaves chained to their benches or green crews, but what about professional oarsmen? Or well-trained citizen oarsmen like Athens could draw upon?

If you’ve distinguished Light Hulls, they should be undecked (since that aids in lightening). Which means you can target the rowers, since there’s just boards for moving about up top, rather than a complete coverage. It does mean better ventilation for the rowers, since they’re not enclosed in a small space.

A trireme was probably faster under oar than a quinquireme, something about the power:weight ratio. A quadrireme was also reckoned slightly faster, but nowhere near as durable in a fight. The heavier polyremes (sixes, sevens, etc) should probably be slower; there’s a number of good reasons the five remained the mainstay of any serious navy.

Lastly, I see ramming, but not oar-shearing as an attack. Skilled navies like the Rhodians preferred to attack the oars rather than risk getting stuck in another vessel and being boarded.

Kiero - thanks for the input. I know you did a lot of work for your Greek-inspired campaign, and I appreciate having another pair of eyes look this over.

The number of crew comes directly from the article Actium: End of the Roman Republic, by David R. Higgins, in Strategy & Tactics #201. While the numbers you cited for a Greek trieres are correct, a Greek trieres under these rules would be a light aphract trireme, and would have a maximum of 10 marines, 4 fewer than the historical number. The 15 “sailors” are all non-rower, non-soldier crew, which (on a Greek trieres) consisted of the trierarch (captain), kybernetes (helmsman), prorates (lookout), keleustes (bosun), pentekonteros (quartermaster), naupegos (carpenter/shipwright), auletes (piper), and 10 actual sailors, for a total of 17 “sailors”, 2 more than listed on the trireme description. I will admit to having 10 more rowers than the Greek trieres is generally listed with, so under the current rules, a Greek trieres will have 4 more people on board than it should - 10 extra rowers, 4 fewer marines, and 2 fewer sailors. If you have any sources regarding the crewing of larger polyremes, I would appreciate knowing what they are, since I am always looking for more information.

With regards to bireme, trireme, etc, the reme portion comes from Latin remus (“oar”), while the Greek version is eres (“rowing”) - hence a trireme in Latin is a trieres in Greek. The Latin is clearly not literal (i.e. “two-oared” up to “ten-oared”), since a quadrireme would not work, let alone a decireme, if it was literal oars. Three is the maximum number of rows that works. Four doesn’t work at all. Five is right out. Instead, the Greek is more correct in its terminology, and it refers to the number of rowers in each vertical column - a “two-rowing”, a “three-rowing,” etc, up to Ptolemy’s tesserakonteres, the “forty-rowing,” which was a catamaran of two “twenty-rowing” vessels attached to each other, thus being a (twenty plus twenty) “forty-rowing.” The number of levels is irrelevant with regards to the nomenclature of the ship in the Greek, and the Latin is just confusing. As hull length and ship mass grew, the number of rowers needed to move it adequately increased, which is why the “two-rowing” is smaller than the “three-rowing,” etc.

Oarsman quality is currently only tracked indirectly. The single-level modification abstracts the ability to use the a scaloccio rowing style (to anachronistically use a Renaissance Italian term for a method used well before the Renaissance) into a reduced maneuverability and lower cost for rowers, as the ship needs only one trained oarsman per oar. The use of slave rowers would mean lower morale, as with other hirelings, which will affect attempts to reach and maintain top speed.

The Light Hull modification was intended to reflect a thinner hull more than an open hull, but I will think about how to incorporate open hull forms into the rules so that rowers are easier to target.

Speeds are another area where I expect to have revision. The current numbers are from the Actium article, but I am still doing research on this plus other topics (I have around 5,500 pages of various naval archaeology papers on my to-read list at the moment). I also need to make a short road trip to one of my alma maters, since they have copies of “The Shorter Science and Civilization in China: Vol. 5”, “The Archaeology of the Roman Economy”, and “Mechanics of Pre-industrial Technology : Introduction to the Mechanics of Ancient and Traditional Material Culture”, all of which I believe will help me add to the rules. Right now, the maneuverability of the heavy polyreme is its only disadvantage, but that’s subject to change.

On the topic of oar-shearing, I just haven’t gotten there yet. As with rules for sailing vessels, it’s on the to-do list.

I don’t have sources, I’m afraid, going from memory of a range of things read where the author had sources, but I didn’t go back and check them specifically. I did always get the impression that the Romans had very high numbers of marines to compensate for their poor seamanship. They’d rather close and board than test their opponent’s skill. Plus it was leveraging their advantage in manpower.

It would be good to feature oarsman quality more directly - it gives the players an incentive to hire a professional crew or even train up one of their own if they have the opportunity to do so if it materially affects performance. And indeed it should.

Otherwise, carry on, looking good! I look forward to being able to playtest them at some point, when my Greek game resumes.

Updates on what I’m working on, although without significant rules updates:

I managed to get some good research in yesterday. It’s amazing what you can learn when you remember your college gives alumni access to the research library. I have a very rough draft of a system where I can input the dimensions of a ship and the number of crew, and get outputs regarding maximum sail size, speed, and “cargo” mass available (cargo in quotes because it includes passengers, artillery, etc). I don’t want to release the current form because it’s very much based on interpolating polynomials and has some extremely fugly maths in it.

I also have a rough draft of how sailing will function. Maximum sail sizes will be based on the number of sailors, again using historical numbers and calculating averages. Basically, a ship with square sails and brails only (such as Peloponessian War Greek ships) can have up to 12m^3 of sails per sailor, while ships with more developed systems of stays can have up to 16m^3 of sails per sailor. Most ships will carry far less, since having sailors sick or dead would reduce the crew available and make those large sails unmanageable. The longer a ship will be away from port, the smaller the ratio of sail size to maximum sail size should be. Also, it is possible to “over-canvas” a hull, where it carries more sail than it should for its size. This makes the ship less controllable, and the excessive heeling and broaching will actually reduce speed. I’m trying to include this in the calculations by looking at when a ship’s (calculated) speed under sails exceeds its theoretical hull speed; this is when a ship will start running over its own bow wave, and for an unpowered ship, this is when that sort of wallowing can be expected.

With regards to “cargo”, my current assumptions are:

  1. Maximum available tonnage is 60% of displacement tonnage. This is based on a 17th century estimate that tons burthen was 60% of tons displacement.
  2. Crew averages 150 pounds per member. This does not include equipment for marines. Crew mass subtracts from available cargo space.
  3. Rations (food and water) averages 1 stone per crew per day.
    Equipment will have to be manually subtracted, at approximately .05 tons per stone (or 20 stone per ton).

To show some of the results, the Trireme above has 180 rowers, 16 officers and sailors, and 20 marines. Based on her dimensions and the number of rowers, her speed should be around 6.3 knots sustained and 9.5 knots maximum. (For comparison, Olympias achieved around 6.0 knots sustained and 8.9 knots maximum, but they had difficulties getting maximum power from their rowers because modern athletes are generally too large for the rowers’ space in a trireme). While she could carry 120 m^3 of sail, she actually carries a 95 m^3 mainsail (as well as a foresail that is primarily used for steering control and is not counted for speed) and is capable of 9.2 knots in perfect condition (note that this will probably be dropped by a rule limiting what wind conditions galleys can sail in - the rules don’t yet take into account sea state). The trireme can carry 48 tons of cargo, but 16.2 tons of that is the crew, and a single day’s rations is another 10.8 tons. Add in weapons for the marines and sailors, and there’s not a lot of spare mass left, particularly since the cargo is an absolute maximum and there would be some tools on board for the carpenter to effect repairs.

For comparison, Columbus’ ship Nina goes to the opposite extreme, carrying only 24 sailors on a 100 ton hull. She would have 150 shp, and is capable of carrying 320 m^3 of sail. The actual Nina only carried around 180 m^3 of sail, and this still left her over-canvassed according to my system. The Nina can carry 60.18 tons of cargo. Subtracting crew allows 58.38 tons, but adding 40 days’ rations reduces it to 10.38 tons; the most she can carry is 48 days’ rations with 0.78 tons of cargo space remaining. This puts the five week journey across the Atlantic within her range with some extra factor for delays, but there’s not much excess, and very little cargo space for such a long journey. Santa Maria, on the other hand, could carry 49 days’ rations and still have 33.34 tons of cargo space left over. Nina’s top sailing speed is 7.2 knots; Santa Maria could only accomplish 6.3 knots, while the swift Pinta was capable of 8.5. While this doesn’t perfectly accord with the Spanish reproductions’ speeds (6 knots for Santa Maria and 7 each for Nina and Pinta), it does accord with Columbus’ writings that the Pinta was swifter than the Nina.

Anyway, this is a long post and there’s a lot of broad detail in it. I’m not yet entirely happy with the sailing speeds for Greco-Roman polyremes, but I’m still reading on that. As mentioned above, I need to play with limiting their ability to sail in high winds, which will have the effect of limiting their practical speed under sail.
I am quite happy with sailing speeds for rounder ships, since I’ve run them on vessels varying from a 14th-century cog through the 15th-century Columbus vessels and up to a 18th-century 104-gun ship-of-the-line, and I haven’t broken anything so far (except for missing a parentheses early on and having the 104-gun ship sailing at 43 knots…)

One last post for tonight. I’ve recently begun a new health program for work, and it involves a lot of treadmill time, which is brainstorming time for ideas that just aren’t working for me. This time, it was on how to try to make speed more rational.

Accounting for speed
Speed is measured using the following table:

|Speed | Movement Points in Round: | 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7|
| 4| | 4| 4| 4| 4| 4| 4| 4|
| 3| | 3| 3| 3| 3| 3| 3| 3|
| 2| | 2| 2| 2| 2| 2| 2| 2|
| 1| | 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1|
| 1/2| | 0| 1| 0| 1| 0| 1| 0|
| 1/3| | 0| 0| 1| 0| 0| 1| 0|
| 1/4| | 0| 0| 0| 1| 0| 0| 0|

(laugh, laugh at my lack of HTML ability :wink: )

One movement point is roughly equivalent to two knots. If a ship has a speed that can best be represented by multiple speeds, it gets the cumulative movement profiles of those speeds. Example: a ship with a speed of 7 knots has a movement profile of 3.5, so it uses both the 3 and the 1/2 movement numbers.

Movement bonuses or penalties will move ships up or down a step on the charts. A ship with multiple movement profiles moves all of its profiles by the bonus or penalty. If the bonus would take a movement profile over 4, then the ship gains an additional profile 1 movement for the duration of the bonus; if a penalty would take a ship below profile 1/4, that profile becomes 0 for the duration of the penalty. Example: Our ship with profiles 3 and 1/2 gets a 2 step bonus. The 3 becomes a 4 and a 1, while the 1/2 becomes a 2, so this ship is now moving at a total speed of 7. After this bonus has worn off and the ship has returned to 3 1/2, it takes a two step penalty. The 3 becomes a 1 and the 1/2 becomes a 1/4. If it takes a third penalty, the 1 will become a 1/2 and the 1/4 will drop to 0.

Examples of bonuses would be the existing Burst Rowing or magic spells that speed travel. Penalties include weapon strikes disrupting rowers, sailing in light or excessive winds, and sailing at a close reach or a run.

“3. Rations (food and water) averages 1 stone per crew per day.
Equipment will have to be manually subtracted, at approximately .05 tons per stone (or 20 stone per ton).”

For rowers, I’d say assume 2 stone per oarsman per day; they needed more water than a sailor would. Rowing is sweaty work, and indeed hungry work too, so a double allowance for lots more water and some more food is probably appropriate.

What impact (if any) will insufficient food and water have on rowers performance? Is it just going to be a morale hit?

I agree. According to Professor Boris Rankov, during the Olympias trials, they went through 1.7 tons of water per day for 170 rowers and 30 crew. This works out to 17 pounds of water per crew member. This is in line with the estimates of 2 gallons of water per rower per day, which is 16.68 pounds of water per rower (at 8.34 pounds per US liquid gallon). Add in food, and it’ll be 2 stone per rower per day.

Sailors, on the other hand, did get much less for drinking. I don’t have truly ancient numbers handy, but during the Armada campaign, Spanish sailors received 3 pints of water and 1 to 1 1/3 pints of wine (along with 1.5 to 2 pounds of bread and around half a pound of bacon, cheese, fish, rice, or beans), while English sailors received a gallon of beer a day (plus 4 ounces of cheese and 2 ounces of butter, plus either 2 pounds of beef, 1/4 of a stockfish, or 1 pound of bacon, plus either 1 pound of biscuit or 1 pint of peas). This is around 6.5 to 7 pounds of total rations for the Spanish, and around 11 pounds for the English. Based on that, I think 1 stone per sailor/officer/marine and 2 stone per rower/paddler will work out as a good enough round number.

Insufficient food/water will cause both a morale hit for all crew and a penalty on the speed table for rowers/paddlers.

Incidentally, bonuses/penalties on the speed table will probably also be how rowing ships handle crew quality (while sailing ships will have their maneuverability affected).

For what it’s worth (I haven’t read the full thread and it is possible that you already know this and have decided to do it differently), ACKS Core page 96 says that rowers need 3 gallons of water (3 stone) a day.

I had missed that, but it’s a change that I’m going to stick with for now. I’ll use rules from ACKS where they’re important and/or where I don’t have anything suggesting different numbers, but I’m willing to change it where there’s historical evidence or where I feel small tweaks need to be made (for example, I’m planning to adapt the wind chart from Core page 96 so that instead of multipliers, it will use bonus/penalty bumps, and damage can be mitigated by reefing).

The weight of rations will change things slightly, but galleys will still be very short-ranged strategically, dependent on shore support. The difference shows up with the heavier troop transport trireme (170 rowers, 16 sailors, 40 hoplites) - at 3 stone per rower, the transport will have excess capacity of 55 stone to equip 40 soldiers, when post-Iphicrates hoplites need 167 stone, and heavy hoplites need 287. At 2 stone per rower, the ship can devote 225 stone to equipping soldiers, which allows a blend of heavy hoplites, light hoplites, and missile troops (toxotai).

I’m about to start a PbP game based around the crew of a trireme, so I might try to use these rules, if that’s alright.

Please do. I would particularly appreciate any playtest results. My local wargaming group is in the middle of a US Civil War campaign, so I don’t have my usual playtesters for at least two or three months. Right now everything is based on data and math, which is good in theory but sometimes doesn’t work out so well on the table.

I do have some refined speed formulas, but they’re still in rough form. If you’re going to use the chart rules, here’s a slight refinement:
Burst Rowing still uses the morale rules, but counts as a 2 point bonus on the speed chart (i.e. a 2 becomes a 4, a 3 becomes a 4 and a 1, etc).

Rowing MPs:
Trireme: 2 + 1/4
Quadrireme: 2 + 1/3
Quinquereme: 2 + 1/4
Hexeres: 2 + 1/4
Septeres: 2 + 1/4
Octeres: 2
Enneres: 2
Deceres: 2

Light ships of a base type with a fractional movement get a +2 to that movement (so the 1/4 become 1/2, the 1/3 becomes 1). Light ships of a type with no fractional movement get an additional 1/3 movement. Heavy ships of a type with a fractional movement lose the fraction. Heavy ships of a type without a fractional movement reduce their movement by 1 and gain a 1/2 movement.

No major update today, but I did want to share my bibliography (so far), so that anyone who’s interested can look into the sources I’m using.

Books/articles I have read (either entirely or in sections):
Bass, George F. Beneath the Seven Seas: Adventures with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
Casson, Lionel. Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World.
Cotterell, Brian and Johan Kamminga. Mechanics of Pre-industrial Technology: An Introduction to the Mechanics of Ancient and Traditional Material Culture.
Higgins, David R. “Actium: End of the Roman Republic.” Strategy & Tactics 281 (pp. 50-60)
Lo, Jung-Pang. China’s Paddle-Wheel Boats: Mechanized Craft Used in The Opium War And Their Historical Background.
Morrison, J. S., J. F. Coates and N. B. Rankov. The Athenian Trireme: The History and Reconstruction of an Ancient Greek Warship.
Ronan, Colin A. The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5.

There are a few more books on my to-read list; I have William Murray’s The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies on my shelf, and there are two more books that I know a semi-local library has, but they’re out on loan.

A neat little package of Proficiencies for a “trained oarsman”, which has already come up in my naval PbP game. Endurance, Labour (oarsman) and Seasoned Voyager (which is an Adventuring analogue for experience at sea, making camps on beaches etc). That leaves a Normal Man who is a trained oarsman with one free General Proficiency slot for personalisation.

Some thoughts on areas I need to work on (both for people to see and for me to have a written reminder I can check up on):

  1. I need to drop shp for ships in the next draft. I had missed the development post on structures (including ships) generally having 1 shp per ton. I had instead taken the core book values for galleys and fitted them to a formula curve based on tonnages I had for similar vessels. The formula was elegant, it worked within the limits of what was previously published…and it’s totally broken with larger ships. I tested it on Ptolemy’s “forty” mentioned above, and each hull would have had over 14,000 shp, which is just a wee smidgen higher than I want anything to have.

  2. Tying into 1, I need to go back and recalculate tonnages. I was using numbers from the Actium article, but the more I read of experimental archaeology and more scholarly works, the less I like the numbers from the article. I like the light/normal/heavy, aphract/cataphract, and multi-bank/single-bank splits, but need to figure how those would affect the size of the ship. I’ve gotten decent information on how to figure the length and width of ships based on the number of rowers, so that will help.

  3. I also need to figure how many soldiers can actually fit on a ship. I have some data points (Greek aphract triremes carried 14 marines, while cataphracts carried 40, and Roman cataphract quinqueremes carried 120).

  4. Tying into 3, I need to figure how engines of war replace soldiers. Again, I have a data point that a Roman cataphract quinquerene with a specific artillery load carried only 40 marines instead of 120.

  5. I need to finish up the sailing rules. Included in this will be small tweaks to the wind charts, which will affect sailing speed and potentially damage ships at high winds.

  6. I want to change cargo capacities to stone, to make them mesh better with how weights are measured in ACKS. This should also make it easier to figure how much is left over after adding crew and equipment.

  7. I want to add rules reflecting that war galleys typically didn’t carry masts in battle, and you really didn’t want to ram with a mast standing. This will involve rules for stepping or unstepping a mast, carrying an unstepped mast, and variants for the hemiolia/trihemiolia, which were much quicker to unstep the mast.

  8. Speaking of ramming, I want to tweak it so that different ships do different ramming damage. A bireme/liburnian just isn’t going to do the same damage as an enneres/deceres. Also, rules for shearing oars need to be worked out. I have an idea for this, but haven’t fully worked it out yet.

  9. I’m not totally happy with my speed chart. It works, but it’s more bookkeeping than I like.

The Dark - I’ll be very interested to see where your historical research leads you. The ACKS ship statistics were, partly, “legacy” statistics inherited from earlier iterations of D&D, so you might find that a deeper dive into history leads to needed corrections.

One area I spotted early on was how absurdly small the tonnages of cargo carried by B/X D&D ships were relative to their size. But the fact that those cargo sizes were so off suggests there might be other data flaws.

The best information I’ve found so far on cargo ships came from Lionel Casson’s dissertation, which was published by Yale. He used references from Greek and Roman sources to extrapolate information on merchant galleys. One of the vaguer ones is the lembas, which was a 50-oar galley that carried 25 tons of cargo.

However, far more detailed was the curcuros. This was a broad range of ships, which (according to source material) varied from around 9,000 to 18,000 artabs. From other sources, it is known that 40 artabs equal a modern ton (so these ships ranged from 225 to 450 tons burden, or around 375 to 750 tons displacement). It’s also known that a cubic cubit was considered to be 3 3/8 artabs, and that 10 cubic cubits is 1 cubic meter. Casson knew that merchant galleys had a beam:length ratio of about 6:1 (compared to 10:1 for war galleys), and that merchant galleys had their maximum beam for about 70% of their length, and that they had around a 2 meter depth of hold. Based on this, he estimated the size of a 750 displacement ton curcuros at 50 meters long and 7.7 meters maximum beam.

I’m still waiting for an opportunity to examine The Archaeology of the Roman Economy, which I am hoping will help further with developing non-warships. Honestly, though, the developments were so relatively minor from Greek to Medieval times (compared to the massive changes wrought by gunpowder and the need for gunports), that most sailing ships at this level of granularity have no distinguishing characteristics by era.

Also, there is a 10 that I forgot - ideas for nonhuman ships. This is partially done.

#1 (ship hull points) is done. #8 (ramming and shearing) is done (shearing can be a captain’s choice of attack or a random critical). #5 (sailing) is mostly done. #6 (using stone) is just a math change, and I have started recording things in stone rather than pounds or tons, using a 10 pounds to 1 stone ratio (or 200 stone to 1 ton when working with larger numbers). I think I will just live with #9 (the speed chart) unless I get some sudden spark of inspiration. It is mildly clunky on the bookkeeping side, but it works well enough as a unified mechanic that I don’t have a better replacement.

#2 (ship tonnages) I need to sit down and work math on; I was traveling for work last week, and didn’t have a chance to do any reading or number crunching. This goes likewise for #3 (number of marines that can comfortable fit on deck). #4 (siege engines on deck) may need to wait for D@W’s release, since I’ll want to utilize that information as best as possible.

#7 (masts) I will possibly get to this weekend. I’m still mulling over ideas.

#10 (ships for other races) has a tiny bit of work done so far. There’s a special piece of equipment for elves, and a type of ship for dwarves. Both are based on actual historical nautical things, but ones which I believe are unusual enough to work well for nonhumans.

Just a post to say I’m looking forward to seeing how these turn out.

I have a few questions for the peanut gall…I mean crowdsourcing participants.

  1. Does anyone have any good fiction references for ships? I’m keeping a bibliographic list, and currently it’s entirely non-fiction - useful for research, but unbalanced. I’m aware of (though I haven’t read) the Aubrey/Maturin and Hornblower series, but there seems to be very little fiction predating the Age of Sail that focuses on naval travel or combat. I suppose I could include the first few novels of David Weber’s Safehold series, since up until Like A Mighty Army it’s heavily naval-based, with the technology being late Renaissance to Elizabethan up through A Mighty Fortress.

  2. Are there any particular cultural parallels that people see with the nonhuman species (i.e. elves, dwarves, gnomes, Thalassians, orcs, goblins, etc) that would allow me to focus on making their ships a certain way? I already have ideas for dwarves, and I have a really nice reference work I want to incorporate into another species’ ship types (although I may have to really file off the serial numbers to avoid the appearance of Unfortunate Implications). However, if people say “oh, I see goblins as being similar to X,” then I can try to make their ships fit in with what X culture made.