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ZEITGEIST A history of Naval development between the 3rd Yerasol war and the Obscurati wars (wip)

This starts at the end of the period and I will be working backwards, as well as adding some more details. Where numbers are given for a ship they are taken from a comparable vessel in Conways all the world fighting ships 1860-1905 which coincidentaly is the same time frame between the launch of the Coaltongue and the theft of the 1st Danoran ironclad by King Aodhan. I have slighly slowed down progression compared to history as the Tinker Oddcog inspired superships are actually HMS Dreadnought which was built about the same time, the Danorans ships when I look at the will be slightly more advanced pre-dreadnought ships


Risuri Navy between the 4th Yerasol war and the Obscurati wars.

Both the Shale and Flint fleets were shaken by the effectiveness of the new Danoran navy during the war. Despite the best efforts of King Aodhan the failure of the the Shale fleet to absorb the new technologies had left it badly weakened and only its performance in the Battle of Rodney’s passage had left it with anything to show as an achievement from the war. The Flint fleet had tried to match the Danorans but the failure of their Central Battery Ironclads against the Turret ships of the Danorans had demonstrated the technical edge of Danor and the conflict between traditionalists and technologists had meant that the Flint fleet had been short of the magical equalisers that could have narrowed the gap. Both fleets responded in different ways in their post war construction
The Flint Fleet
Immediately after the way the Drakran ship interned during the conflict and reports on the Danoran navy ships were studied, efforts were made to hire several dwarven experts from Drakr and Governor Stansfield threw all his efforts behind a rapid development and increase in Flint Industry. The real reasons behind the governors enthusiasm are now well known but in the short term and despite endemic corruption and product loss he was able to build steel rolling mills to build armour plate comparable to that of the Danorans, The available gun works were also retooled producing the capability to finally build heavy breech loading naval rifles this was urgent as the use of smaller calibre rifled muzzle loaders in the war had been largely ineffectual and the complications of loading and firing the large muzzle loaders had crippled the rate of fire of the fleet.
These steps meant that within two years of the end of the 4th Yerasol war Flint was able to lay down its first class of armoured turret ships comparable to those of the Danoran fleet.




Kraken class Turret Ship
Displacement 9420t
Dimensions 325ftlength 68 ft beam
Machinery 2 Shaft engine generating 7500hp with a max speed of 16.5kts
Armour Citadel 18-14 inch sides, 16-13 inch bulkheads , turrets 16-14in, control tower 14in, decks 21/2 - 3in
Armament 4 12 in Breechloading rifles in twin turrets for and aft , 6 6in Breechloading rifles in single mounts along the sides of the superstructure


Notably these ships had largely steel structure and compound armour for the turrets and citadel made them much better protected and it was hoped resistant to the devastating 10 inch breech loaders of the Danorans ships.
The ships proved to be stable their rolling characteristics made them poor gunnery platforms in bad weather , the Flint navy tried to allow for this by assigning Druids to the ships to try and control the roll.


It was fortunate the design was a fairly good one as 4 of these ships were laid down and completed before the Obscurati wars , all 4 were lost in the ambush of the Flint navy outside the harbour, (Kraken, Sea Serpent, Underborer and Harpy)

There was some discussion with the Shale fleet leading to the construction of the Turret Ram Thunderchild


However the concept was not one the Flint fleet favoured and instead 4 improved Krakens were laid down. 2 of these ships were completed, the third was converted after the Keel was laid down into the famous Coaltongue , and once it became clear that vessel would be a success the 4th ship was cleared from its slipway to allow construction of the later improved Coaltongue class ships.
Improved Kraken


Scylla and Charybdis were the completed units and were able to survive the ambush and hide out along the coast during the reign of She Who Writhes over the seas. With the end of her Reign both ships were hurriedly fitted out and despatched to reinforce the Shale fleet and the Battle of the Axis of the World


Coaltongue

The improved Coaltongue class had 5 units laid down, of which 2 were close to completion when the Danorans attacked Flint and were sabotaged on the slipways leaving them wrecked and the other 3 had all their parts diverted to the King Aodhan class super battleships.
The class would have been larger than the Coaltongue with fore and aft turrets linked to the Capacitor and an increased range for the Brand.
The final phase of Battleship construction came for the Flint fleet with the innovations
Introduced by the notorious gnome Tinker Oddcog. His inventions included much improved propellent and explosives allowing much more powerful guns, electrical training for the guns linked to the first Analytical engines which for the first time in combination allowed long range fire from guns with a high elevation to be effective. His Planar energy powered turbines revolutionised propulsion and power for the magical defenses and capacitors of the ships. As would be proved when the ships finally saw action they had finally produced a vessel more powerful than anything Danor or Drakr could match, although the Pemberton Unions Great Wyrm class battleships came close to their capabilities.

As Risur realised the Obscurati wars were approaching every effort was made to accelerate the construction of the first 2 of the class the King Aodhan and the Queen Nevla. Unfortunately neither was available by the time of the Axis Island campaign only being completed during the Interregnum and being ready for the Succession wars.
The Shale Fleet
The Shale fleet learned that their wooden sailing ships with broadside gun armament had become deathtraps, fortunately they had learned this in time to avoid committing most of them to battle and so had preserved the sailors and magical specialists among those vessels. Unlike the Flint fleet which decided to play catch up with the Danorans the Shale fleet lacked the industrial base in Shale and the inclination to go down that route. Instead they learned from the successes of the Battle of the Rodney Passage. Stealth , Ambush and Ramming would be their weapons going forward fortunately their high level of magical support played into this strategy with clever use of illusions and weather control being developed to produce a workable set of tactics.
The only technical development they made use of was the Spa torpedo, a bomb on the end of a long pole out the front of a vessel, the Danorans had tried to use this weapon with their submersible the Hunley but it killed the crew. The Slate vessels would be on the surface and which combined with their more flexible wooden hulls protected the crew although it was expected some of the attack boats themselves would be destroyed. Even more fortunately by the time these weapons were used the crude firepowder warheads had been replaced with Tinkisite warheads with much greater explosive power.

The first class of vessels produced were Motherships for the short range attack boats, these were produced by cutting down the decks of the sail frigates and stowing the boats in place of the upper gun decks and fitting cranes to the rigging.
The attack boats were modified ships boats propelled magically by an Slipstream enchantment which moved the vessel along with its own wave , the enchantments were only charged for a couple of hours of operation but combined with transport to the operations area and the use of oars the vessels were tactically fast and maneuverable as well as hard to see with their low silhouette , most of them operated with an enchanted fog cloud effect around them and would try to take advantage of rain, natural fog or larger magically created fogs to make their attacks. They also deployed moored torpedo’s if planning an ambush to reduce the escape routes for the enemy ships or could float them down towards an anchored fleet.
These small attack boats were just about an acceptable solution in the tight waters of much of the archipelago or the coastal shoals and channels around Shale but would have been doomed in a more open battle. One solution was to provide some of them with Invisibility or masking illusion matrices making them less dependent of weather but this was expensive , the other solution adopted just before the Obscurati war was to carry some of the Ajax war rockets developed by Tinker , these weapons allowed a small boat to carry one or 2 salvo’s of weapons matching the punch of a capital ships guns although with shorter range.

The other solution to the limitations of the attack boats was the third class of vessels produced by Shale the Battle Rams. these turtlebacked vessels where protected by a combination of magical enchantments and an wooden shell transformed to Ironwood by druidic rituals, this process was expensive but provided solid armoured protection with out having to produce steel rolling mills and the techniques of building metal ships anathema to the community in Shale and their Duchess. These vessels were fitted with a collapsible sailing rig for strategic movement and a larger version of the slipstream matrices for battle. Armement was one or two large Rifled Muzzle loaders forward , at least 50 pounders running up to 100 pounders and one vessel with a single 150 pounder although it was decided that weapon was so low to fire it was of very limited value. The main weapon though was a heavy Ironwood beaked ram fitted to the front and usually rigged to a spell storage matrix capable of discharging a spell such as a fireball or lightning bolt into the enemy ship once the hull was breached although some vessels used a cloudkill effect.

At the time of the Battle of Axis island the slate fleet had Twelve battle rams, 9 motherships and 50 attack boats available
 

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Structure of the Risuri Military
The roots of the Risuri military organisation lie in the feudal past of the country each Duchy is required to provide a certain amount of military force based on its size while some of the taxes to the king go on either supplements for these ducal forces or royal units. The 4 largest duchies Slate, Flint,Shale and Bole dominate the military . Slate provides the infantry core of the army, Bole most of the Cavalry with some mountain troops as well, Flint provides an industrially produced navy and most of the artillery corp for the army and Shale traditionally provided the entire navy but now provides a traditional navy and a force of troops trained in amphibious warfare. Most of the minor duchies provide units as auxiliaries to the larger ducal militaries or specialist units. The duchies also all have a responsibility to organise a militia system which can be called up in the event of an invasion, this has only ever been mobilised along the Beran border and usually a partial mobilisation to defend against border raids while regular units hunt the raiders.
Shale normally bears the brunt of the fighting in the Yerasol campaigns with Flint taking a larger share as time goes by with infantry reinforcements from Slate. Importantly each duch decides on what sort of military to create and what to equip it with , the crown advises and tries to coordinate but the result of this has been that the deeply traditional duchy of Shale and the more technocratic duchy of Flint have produced wildly divergent naval forces and often coordinate very poorly

The 3rd Yerasol War
The 3rd Yerasol was was the first time the Danoran’s used steam powered ship. Both sides had started using cannon (In the Risuri Flint fleet and the Danoran fleet) some time earlier , the Slate fleet refused to use cannon but their smaller and faster ships specialised in closing and boarding or bringing mages to bear.
The early battles soon demonstrated that the magically assisted sailing vessels of the Risuri remained superior to the Danoran ships. Just adding a steam engine to the wooden walled ships of the Danoran fleet did not offset enough of the advantages conveyed by the heavy use of magic in the Risuri fleet although it did close the gap. Commentators at the time wondered why Danor had pushed this conflict when they did as post war discoveries showed that within a few years they could have had armoured steel ships in action with more powerful rifled cannon.

Two Danoran navy programs offered them some hope of redressing the balance ultimately neither would have the desired effect although the second would set the course of the future wars. The first program was an emergency production of small steam powered coastal monitors a number of designs were produced in small numbers but the typical ship had almost no freeboard with only a low deck, a deckhouse for navigation and a rotating armoured turret mounting two 25-40kg Rifled Muzzle loading cannon. These ships were horridly unseaworthy prone to sinking in anything resembling bad weather but combined with coastal forts inflicted nastly losses on some Risuri coastal raids, the one attempt to deploy them to break the Risuri blockade was a disaster when a storm summoned by Risuri druids broke over them and sanh six of them with all hands.
The second program was even more disastrous in the short term, part way through the war the Sovereign apparently realising that the armoured frigates would not be operational in time gambled in the conversion of one of their ships of the line to a hybrid armoured ship. Cut down to one deck and with armour plate intended for the Freedom class armoured frigates the vessel had been rearmed with a battery of 25kg rifled muzzle loaders and had nearly finished fitting out in the Cherage naval yards when a group of Risuri adventurers sneaked into the yard and stole the ship sailing it out of the yard and running the gauntlet of the coastal batteries to meet up with the Risuri blockade fleet. The leader of the Raid the future King Aodhan made his name for the raid and always insisted that they never fired the ships guns, while the Danorans insisted they had fired destroying an orphanage for the orphans of sailors located near the naval yards, King Aodhan maintained that any damage must have been done from wayward shells fired by the Danoran coastal defenses.
Not long after the theft a ceasefire was concluded and the Danorans were forced to give up several islands including Axis island to the Risuri. It was always clear that the peace settlement had settled nothing and at some point hostilities would resume between the two sides.

Risuri Navy between the 3rd and 4th Yerasol Wars
With the end of the war the Shale fleet was complacent they were happy with the performance of their ships although they did acknowledge that adding cannon or fusils to their ships would improve tactical flexibility and began a program to arm new construction with the weapons and refit existing ships were possible.
The Flint fleet were much more concerned by that they saw, while they rightly concluded that the monitors were no use for anything more than coastal defenses they carried out tests on the SDS Droits De Le Homme and concluded that the combination of the armour and the range of its rifled cannon would enable it to crush almost any of their wooden walled ships. Further they knew that the Danorans planned to build steel hulled ships soon which would be more powerful. With the support of Governor Stansfield they began a program to develop better steel mills, steam engines and cannon foundries. They feared correctly that propelling large iron ships with magic and magical sails alone would prove difficult so steam engines would be necessary. It would be some time before they could produce their own steel hulled battleships so they began a program similar to that of the Danorans in the war. As sufficient steel plate and engines became available they began cutting down (Razee’ing) their ships of the line adding engines and armour. All their ships were fitted with larger rifled muzzle loading cannon replacing the smaller smooth bores many of which went to the army or the Shale navy.
They also produced a number of small monitor type vessels initially with fixed mount cannon for coastal defense.
Fortunately none of the conversions were still in service by the time of the 4th war instead the purpose build warships and the monitors would make up the Flint fleet
The Hero class was typical of most of the fleet with 16 similar ships in the fleet

Displacement 6710t
Dimensions 280ft by 56ft
Machinery 1 shaft steam engine 2300hp 12.7kts , fully rigged with magically augmented
Armour belt 4.5in, battery 4.5in, bulkheads 2.5in. All of this armour was backed by about 18in of none structural wood giving flexibility to the armour and preventing spalling
Armement 24 75lb rifled muzzle loaders

As the 4th war grew nearer and tensions rose, King Aidhan took the throne alarmed by RHC reports of the Danorans building newer and larger ships but lacking in details he authorised the building of the six Minotaur class broadside ironclads

Displacement 10,600t
Dimensions 400ft by 59ft
Machinery 1 shaft 6700hp 14.7kts
Armour Belt and Battery 5.5 in amidships and 4.5in at ends with 10in wood backing, 5.5in bulkheads
Armament 32 75lb Rifled Muzzleloaders

The lighter units remained wooden sailing sloops and were largely intended for long range overseas duties and scouting
 

Structure of the Risuri Military
The roots of the Risuri military organisation lie in the feudal past of the country each Duchy is required to provide a certain amount of military force based on its size while some of the taxes to the king go on either supplements for these ducal forces or royal units. The 4 largest duchies Slate, Flint,Shale and Bole dominate the military . Slate provides the infantry core of the army, Bole most of the Cavalry with some mountain troops as well, Flint provides an industrially produced navy and most of the artillery corp for the army and Shale traditionally provided the entire navy but now provides a traditional navy and a force of troops trained in amphibious warfare. Most of the minor duchies provide units as auxiliaries to the larger ducal militaries or specialist units. The duchies also all have a responsibility to organise a militia system which can be called up in the event of an invasion, this has only ever been mobilised along the Beran border and usually a partial mobilisation to defend against border raids while regular units hunt the raiders.
Shale normally bears the brunt of the fighting in the Yerasol campaigns with Flint taking a larger share as time goes by with infantry reinforcements from Slate. Importantly each duch decides on what sort of military to create and what to equip it with , the crown advises and tries to coordinate but the result of this has been that the deeply traditional duchy of Shale and the more technocratic duchy of Flint have produced wildly divergent naval forces and often coordinate very poorly

Danoran Military Structure
The Danoran military structure is based around national conscription with a two year term served in either the army or navy . There are selected units with longer service personal. In practice the majority of conscripts serve in the Peoples Navy or Peoples Army. The Peoples army is in practice a much neglected force intended to fight a large scale land war, with Danors land borders being secured by inhospitable terrain and problems transporting an army overseas the training and equipment of the army is much neglected with many troops spending their time on civil engineering or agricultural labour rather than training to fight.
The exceptions are the Cavalry and Marine regiments, the Marine regiments expect to fight in the Yerasol wars and are largely long service regulars. The cavalry also expect to fight either against intrusions from the Malice lands or as dismounted units fighting in the Yerasol wars.
The navy uses long service professionals as officers and senior nco’s while the conscripts provide the bulk of the crew. Service in the navy is popular with conscripts as they can pick up training in useful technical skills

The 3rd Yerasol War
The 3rd Yerasol was was the first time the Danoran’s used steam powered ship. Both sides had started using cannon (In the Risuri Flint fleet and the Danoran fleet) some time earlier , the Slate fleet refused to use cannon but their smaller and faster ships specialised in closing and boarding or bringing mages to bear.
The early battles soon demonstrated that the magically assisted sailing vessels of the Risuri remained superior to the Danoran ships. Just adding a steam engine to the wooden walled ships of the Danoran fleet did not offset enough of the advantages conveyed by the heavy use of magic in the Risuri fleet although it did close the gap. Commentators at the time wondered why Danor had pushed this conflict when they did as post war discoveries showed that within a few years they could have had armoured steel ships in action with more powerful rifled cannon.

Two Danoran navy programs offered them some hope of redressing the balance ultimately neither would have the desired effect although the second would set the course of the future wars. The first program was an emergency production of small steam powered coastal monitors a number of designs were produced in small numbers but the typical ship had almost no freeboard with only a low deck, a deckhouse for navigation and a rotating armoured turret mounting two 25-40kg Rifled Muzzle loading cannon. These ships were horridly unseaworthy prone to sinking in anything resembling bad weather but combined with coastal forts inflicted nastly losses on some Risuri coastal raids, the one attempt to deploy them to break the Risuri blockade was a disaster when a storm summoned by Risuri druids broke over them and sanh six of them with all hands.
The second program was even more disastrous in the short term, part way through the war the Sovereign apparently realising that the armoured frigates would not be operational in time gambled in the conversion of one of their ships of the line to a hybrid armoured ship. Cut down to one deck and with armour plate intended for the Freedom class armoured frigates the vessel had been rearmed with a battery of 25kg rifled muzzle loaders and had nearly finished fitting out in the Cherage naval yards when a group of Risuri adventurers sneaked into the yard and stole the ship sailing it out of the yard and running the gauntlet of the coastal batteries to meet up with the Risuri blockade fleet. The leader of the Raid the future King Aodhan made his name for the raid and always insisted that they never fired the ships guns, while the Danorans insisted they had fired destroying an orphanage for the orphans of sailors located near the naval yards, King Aodhan maintained that any damage must have been done from wayward shells fired by the Danoran coastal defenses.
Not long after the theft a ceasefire was concluded and the Danorans were forced to give up several islands including Axis island to the Risuri. It was always clear that the peace settlement had settled nothing and at some point hostilities would resume between the two sides.

Risuri Navy between the 3rd and 4th Yerasol Wars
With the end of the war the Shale fleet was complacent they were happy with the performance of their ships although they did acknowledge that adding cannon or fusils to their ships would improve tactical flexibility and began a program to arm new construction with the weapons and refit existing ships were possible.
The Flint fleet were much more concerned by that they saw, while they rightly concluded that the monitors were no use for anything more than coastal defenses they carried out tests on the SDS Droits De Le Homme and concluded that the combination of the armour and the range of its rifled cannon would enable it to crush almost any of their wooden walled ships. Further they knew that the Danorans planned to build steel hulled ships soon which would be more powerful. With the support of Governor Stansfield they began a program to develop better steel mills, steam engines and cannon foundries. They feared correctly that propelling large iron ships with magic and magical sails alone would prove difficult so steam engines would be necessary. It would be some time before they could produce their own steel hulled battleships so they began a program similar to that of the Danorans in the war. As sufficient steel plate and engines became available they began cutting down (Razee’ing) their ships of the line adding engines and armour. All their ships were fitted with larger rifled muzzle loading cannon replacing the smaller smooth bores many of which went to the army or the Shale navy.
They also produced a number of small monitor type vessels initially with fixed mount cannon for coastal defense.
Fortunately none of the conversions were still in service by the time of the 4th war instead the purpose build warships and the monitors would make up the Flint fleet
The Hero class was typical of most of the fleet with 16 similar ships in the fleet

Displacement 6710t
Dimensions 280ft by 56ft
Machinery 1 shaft steam engine 2300hp 12.7kts , fully rigged with magically augmented
Armour belt 4.5in, battery 4.5in, bulkheads 2.5in. All of this armour was backed by about 18in of none structural wood giving flexibility to the armour and preventing spalling
Armement 24 75lb rifled muzzle loaders

As the 4th war grew nearer and tensions rose, King Aidhan took the throne alarmed by RHC reports of the Danorans building newer and larger ships but lacking in details he authorised the building of the six Minotaur class broadside ironclads
Minotaur Class

Displacement 10,600t
Dimensions 400ft by 59ft
Machinery 1 shaft 6700hp 14.7kts
Armour Belt and Battery 5.5 in amidships and 4.5in at ends with 10in wood backing, 5.5in bulkheads
Armament 32 75lb Rifled Muzzleloaders

The lighter units remained wooden sailing sloops and were largely intended for long range overseas duties and scouting

Danoran Navy between the 3rd and 4th Yerasol wars

Humiliated by their performance in the war the Danoran navy pushed hard to technological developments to match the Risuri. While it is now clear that their innovations in anti magical defenses came from their secret Obscurati allies their technological developments were still remarkable as was their ability to maintain secrecy.
In the immediate aftermath of the 3rd war the Soldier class broadside ironclads were launched but it was felt that these ships would never be strong enough to stand against the Risuri and all of them had been retired before the 4th war. Publicly development continued along these lines with the Republique class Central Battery Ironclads

Displacement 6197t
Dimensions 293ft by 50ft
Machinery 1 Shaft 4870hp 14.5kts
Armour 5in-4.4 in belt , 4.5 in battery
Armemement 16 21cm Rifled Muzzleloader
4 of these ships were still in use by the time of the 4th Yerasol war in the False flag squadron but never saw action

In truth development proceeded from the failed monitors , these ships had been unsatisfactory due to small size, muzzle loading cannon and slow speed all of which would be overcome. The design was disguised with much of the work being done in Drakran yards and building experimental ships for their navy. Then when the designs had been perfected and the Sovereign had set his course for the 4th Yerasol war and conquest of Axis island the Tyrannicide class battleships were laid down in secret supposedly improved Republique class ships the RHC failed to spot the significance of the new ships which were nearly as revolutionary as the later Risuri Monarch class.
Tyrannicide Class
Displacement 10500t
Dimensions 360ft by 70ft
Machinery 2 shaft engine 13000hp 18.5kts
Armour Main Belt 12-9in Bulkeads 8in upper belt 4in barbettes 9 -5 in casemates 6in CT 12 in Decks 2.5-2in
Armement 4 255 mm guns in twin turrets , 10 15cm guns in casemates

The armour was high quality steel greatly superior to that used on earlier Danoran and Risuri ships and the powerful heavy breech loading rifles in the turrets had higher muzzle velocities, threw heavier shells and could fire faster than the weapons on any earlier ship. They also had the speed and maneuverability to match the large Risuri ships for the first time. Eight of the Tyrannicide battleships were completed and remained in service until the end of the Obscurati wars

The escorts for the Danoran navy at this point were smaller versions of the Republique class ships very similar to the equivalent Risuri ships. Plans to produce smaller versions of the Tyrannicide class were not brought to fruition before the war
The 4th Yerasol war

The 4th Yerasol war was the war where Danoran technological capabilities closed the map with Risuri magical capabilities resulting in several serious defeats for the Risuri forces. Typical of these defeats was Battle of Cherage at the start of the war.
Elements of the Flint and Shale fleets set up a blockade of Cherage expecting to repeat the success of the 3rd War the shock began when a Danoran squadron left the harbour and none of the ships were sail rigged , these ships had heavy (26cm ) Breechloading turrets in Barbette mounts for and aft as well as smaller (15cm) Breechloaders in side mounts. It rapidly became clear that in the calm conditions the Danoran ships could at least match the speed of the Risuri ships and stand off at a range of 1000-2000 years were the Risuri cannon could not penetrate their armour while the heavy cannon of the Danoran ships inflicted serious damage on the Flint ships, and attempt to charge by the lighter Shale units aiming to board was shattered by the lighter cannon and the Danoran ships were revealed to have antimagic protections which blunted the effect of the Risuri wizards. In the end the Risuri druids managed to conjure a rain squall under the cover of which the surviving Risuri ships were able to withdraw after the loss of the Minotaur and Chimera as well as the smaller Hero class ships Achilles and Ajax and numerous light units from Shale.
This set the pattern for the war with Risuri units unable to stand up to the new Danoran fleet. The tight conditions of the island allowed the Risuri infantry to stand up to the Danoran New Model Army much better then the naval war but still with Danoran naval superiority several islands were forced to surrender with the loss of many troops. As it became apparent that the Danoran strategy called for an assault on Shale attempts began to shore up the defenses and pull back garrisons to defend the city from the islands. This lead to the Battle of Rodney Passage the only Risuri naval victory of the war , Commodore Morris Dawkins of the Flint fleet commanding a mixed force of Risuri vessels lead by the Manticore and the Hero class ships Nelson and Howe with a strong Shale flotilla was covering the evacuation of Axis Island. Druid scouts had revealed the 1st Danoran Battle squadron with 4 large turret ships and escorts led by Tyrannicide. Their approach would take them through the narrow Rodney passage as they attempted to trap the Risuri evacuation convoy against Axis island and destroy both the escorts and troop ships. The Commodore was advised to withdraw to protect his ships but replied he would not let the army down “It takes the Navy three years to build a ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition. The evacuation will continue”
Commodore Dawkins moved his fleet to the passage and planned a night engagement were his ships could get close and further augmented this by having his druids call up a fog. In the confused close range fighting that followed the Risuri guns continued be largely ineffective however the Manticore rammed the Tyrannicide amidships , opening her engine rooms to the sea, rapid flooding and what turned out to be the poor design feature of a transverse bulkhead lead the Tyrannicide to capsize. The Monarch a Shale wooden ship managed to close through the fire of 3 Danoran ironclads to enable the Wizard Tegethoff to deliver a lethal attack with Disintegrate spells and fireballs opening up the turret with disintegrate and then detonating a fireball in the ready ammo, the Danorans overconfident in their armour had neglected anti-flash precautions and the forward magazine detonated tearing the Commerce De Cherage apart. Miraculously the Monarch survived the attack , although the Howe was sunk and the Manticore badly damaged before the Danorans retreated allowing the evacuation to continue and the garrison was successfully withdrawn.
The final battle of the war occurred around the approaches to Shale, the Flint fleet with no suitable repair or refuelling facilities at Shale had been forced to withdraw to Flint after landing the guns from the Crippled Minotaur and several other ships. These guns were used to reinforce the shore batteries on the coastal islands surround the channel to Shale , a field or improvised moored torpedo’s was laid covered by these guns and this align with aggressive attacks by the Shale fleet frustrated attempts by the Danoran navy to force the passage light units able to clear the mines could not survive the guns and the heavy units could not get close enough to smash the batteries. This forced the Danorans to land troops and fight their way through the islands in an attempt to take the batteries from the landward side. Stubborn fighting by infantry from Shale and Slate frustrated the attempt and in the end the war was ended with territorial concessions from Risur including Axis island which later historians have concluded was the main objective of the Danorans in the war.



Risuri Navy between the 4th Yerasol war and the Obscurati wars.

Both the Shale and Flint fleets were shaken by the effectiveness of the new Danoran navy during the war. Despite the best efforts of King Aodhan the failure of the Shale fleet to absorb the new technologies had left it badly weakened and only its performance in the Battle of Rodney’s passage had left it with anything to show as an achievement from the war. The Flint fleet had tried to match the Danorans but the failure of their Central Battery Ironclads against the Turret ships of the Danorans had demonstrated the technical edge of Danor and the conflict between traditionalists and technologists had meant that the Flint fleet had been short of the magical equalisers that could have narrowed the gap. Both fleets responded in different ways in their post war construction
The Flint Fleet
Immediately after the way the Drakran ship interned during the conflict and reports on the Danoran navy ships were studied, efforts were made to hire several dwarven experts from Drakr and Governor Stansfield threw all his efforts behind a rapid development and increase in Flint Industry. The real reasons behind the governors enthusiasm are now well known but in the short term and despite endemic corruption and product loss he was able to build steel rolling mills to build armour plate comparable to that of the Danorans, The available gun works were also retooled producing the capability to finally build heavy breech loading naval rifles this was urgent as the use of smaller calibre rifled muzzle loaders in the war had been largely ineffectual and the complications of loading and firing the large muzzle loaders had crippled the rate of fire of the fleet.
These steps meant that within two years of the end of the 4th Yerasol war Flint was able to lay down its first class of armoured turret ships comparable to those of the Danoran fleet.




Kraken class Turret Ship
Displacement 9420t
Dimensions 325ftlength 68 ft beam
Machinery 2 Shaft engine generating 7500hp with a max speed of 16.5kts
Armour Citadel 18-14 inch sides, 16-13 inch bulkheads , turrets 16-14in, control tower 14in, decks 21/2 - 3in
Armament 4 12 in Breech Loading rifles in twin turrets for and aft , 6 6in Breech Loading rifles in single mounts along the sides of the superstructure


Notably these ships had largely steel structure and compound armour for the turrets and citadel made them much better protected and it was hoped resistant to the devastating 10 inch breech loaders of the Danorans ships.
The ships proved to be stable in bad weather although their rolling characteristics made them poor gunnery platforms in bad weather , the Flint navy tried to allow for this by assigning Druids to the ships to try and control the roll.


It was fortunate the design was a fairly good one as 4 of these ships were laid down and completed before the Obscurati wars , all 4 were lost in the ambush of the Flint navy outside the harbour, (Kraken, Sea Serpent, Underborer and Harpy)

There was some discussion with the Shale fleet leading to the construction of the Turret Ram Thunderchild

Displacement 6200 tons
Dimensions 288ft length, 58ft beam
Machinery 2 Shaft engine generating 4500hp 14kts
Armour Belt 12-8in citadel, 12-10.5 in Turret 14in-12in Bulkhead 11in, Conning ower 12in-6in decks 2.5 to 1.25in
Armament 2 12in Breech Loaders in a forward turret, 4 6in Breech loaders split along both beams
The Thunderchild proved unsatisfactory in service being too slow to be able to guarantee a ramming attack on a modern Danoran vessel , their low freeboard made them wet, slow and unstable in bad weather.
Given the disappointment of the result and the unpopularity of the concept with the Flint fleet favoured and the planned sistership Sunchild was converted after it’s keel had been laid to the experimental and later famous Coaltongue. instead 4 improved Krakens were laid down. 2 of these ships were completed, the third and fourth were converted in Mid construction to the improved Coaltongue design.
Thunderchild survived the ambush at Flint and joined the squadron at Axis Island


Improved Kraken

Displacement 10600t
Dimensions 330ft by 68ft
Machinery 2 shaft 11,500hp 17kts
Armour Belt 18-8in Bulkheads 16in to 7 in barbettes `4in-12in Conning tower 12in . deck 3in to 2.5 in
Armement 4 13.5in BL rifles in twin barbettes fore and aft, 8 6in BL in Side casemates

Improvements on the Krakens and based on intelligence on the new mountings for the heavy guns on Danoran vessels , the use of Barbettes allowed the guns to be mounted much higher than the heavier turrets on the earlier ships. Despite this being considered obsolete by the Flint fleet they were fitted with Rams and wer fortunate they never collided with an allied vessel


Scylla and Charybdis were the completed units and were able to survive the ambush and hide out along the coast during the reign of She Who Writhes over the seas. With the end of her Reign both ships were hurriedly fitted out and despatched to reinforce the Shale fleet and the Battle of the Axis of the World


Coaltongue
Displacement 6200 tons
Dimensions 288ft length, 58ft beam
Machinery 2 Shaft magically enhanced engine generating 9000hp 19kts
Armour Belt 12-8in citadel, 12-10.5 in Turret 14in-12in Bulkhead 11in, Conning ower 12in-6in decks 2.5 to 1.25in
Armament 2 12in Breech Loaders in a forward turret, 4 6in Breech loaders split along both beams

So much has been written about the epic career of the Coaltingue before its tragic loss that nothing more needs to be said

The improved Coaltongue class had 5 units laid down, of which the two concerted from the Improved Krakens were close to completion when the Danorans attacked Flint and were sabotaged on the slipways leaving them wrecked and the other 3 had all their parts diverted to the King Aodhan class super battleships.
The class would have been the same size as the improved Krakens much larger than the Coaltongue with fore and aft turrets linked to the Capacitor and an increased range for the Brand.
The final phase of Battleship construction came for the Flint fleet with the innovations
Introduced by the notorious gnome Tinker Oddcog. His inventions included much improved propellant and explosives allowing much more powerful guns, electrical training for the guns linked to the first Analytical engines which for the first time in combination allowed long range fire from guns with a high elevation to be effective. His Planar energy powered turbines revolutionised propulsion and power for the magical defenses and capacitors of the ships. As would be proved when the ships finally saw action they had finally produced a vessel more powerful than anything Danor or Drakr could match, although the Pemberton Unions Great Wyrm class battleships came close to their capabilities.

As Risur realised the Obscurati wars were approaching every effort was made to accelerate the construction of the first 2 of the class the King Aodhan and the Queen Nevla. Unfortunately neither was available by the time of the Axis Island campaign only being completed during the Interregnum and being ready for the Succession wars.

The lighter units of the fleet were often paid for by the smaller coastal duchies and provided escorts and long range cruising vessels for the fleet.
4 Large sailing frigates all similar named after admirals from the minor fleets
Admiral class

Displacement 7473t
Dimensions 280ft by 60ft
Machinery 2 shaft engine 6624hp 14kts. Also fully rigged with 3 masts and designed to operate under sail while cruising
Armour Belt 9-6in with 13in-10in wooden backing, bulkheads 6im-9in decks 2in to 2in
Armement 12 75lb Rifled muzzle loaders in a central armoured citadel
Internally the guns were separated by splinter proof barriers.
3 of them survived the Ambush at Flint and 2 of those sailed for Axis Island

There were sixteen smaller sloops


These ships were build with a composite wood and steel hull protecting against light guns and splinters. Named after wild birds
Petrel, Cormorant and Puffin classes
Displacement 1130t
Dimensions 170ft by 36 ft
Machinery 1 Shaft 950hp speed 12kts
Armament 2 75lb Rifled Muzzle loaders and 4 50lb Rifled Muzzle loaders. Guns were mounted on the top deck with some overhead splinter protection. All ships were fully rigged and designed for sailing operations
6 of these vessels supported the fleet sailin for axis island

The Shale Fleet
The Shale fleet learned that their wooden sailing ships with broadside gun armament had become deathtraps, fortunately they had learned this in time to avoid committing most of them to battle and so had preserved the sailors and magical specialists from those vessels. Unlike the Flint fleet which decided to play catch up with the Danorans the Shale fleet lacked the industrial base in Shale and the inclination to go down that route. Instead they learned from the successes of the Battle of the Rodney Passage. Stealth , Ambush and Ramming would be their weapons going forward, fortunately their high level of magical support played into this strategy with clever use of illusions and weather control being developed to produce a workable set of tactics.
The only technical development they made use of was the Spar torpedo, a bomb on the end of a long pole out the front of a vessel, the Danorans had tried to use this weapon with their submersible the Hunley but it killed the crew. The Slate vessels would be on the surface and which combined with their more flexible wooden hulls protected the crew although it was expected some of the attack boats themselves would be destroyed. Even more fortunately by the time these weapons were used the crude firepowder warheads had been replaced with Tinkisite warheads with much greater explosive power.

The first class of vessels produced were Motherships for the short range attack boats, these were produced by cutting down the decks of the sail frigates and stowing the boats in place of the upper gun decks and fitting cranes to the rigging.
The attack boats were modified ships boats propelled magically by an Slipstream enchantment which moved the vessel along with its own wave , the enchantments were only charged for a couple of hours of operation but combined with transport to the operations area and the use of oars the vessels were tactically fast and maneuverable as well as hard to see with their low silhouette , most of them operated with an enchanted fog cloud effect around them and would try to take advantage of rain, natural fog or larger magically created fogs to make their attacks. They also deployed moored torpedo’s if planning an ambush to reduce the escape routes for the enemy ships or could float them down towards an anchored fleet.
These small attack boats were just about an acceptable solution in the tight waters of much of the archipelago or the coastal shoals and channels around Shale but would have been doomed in a more open battle. One solution was to provide some of them with Invisibility or masking illusion matrices making them less dependent of weather but this was expensive , the other solution adopted just before the Obscurati war was to carry some of the Ajax war rockets developed by Tinker , these weapons allowed a small boat to carry one or 2 salvo’s of weapons matching the punch of a capital ships guns although with shorter range.

The other solution to the limitations of the attack boats was the third class of vessels produced by Shale the Battle Rams. these turtlebacked vessels were protected by a combination of magical enchantments and an wooden shell transformed to Ironwood by druidic rituals, this process was expensive but provided solid armoured protection without having to produce steel rolling mills and the techniques of building metal ships anathema to the community in Shale and their Duchess. These vessels were fitted with a collapsible sailing rig for strategic movement and a larger version of the slipstream matrices for battle. Armement was one or two large Rifled Muzzle loaders forward , at least 50 pounders running up to 100 pounders and one vessel with a single 150 pounder although it was decided that weapon was so low to fire it was of very limited value. The main weapon though was a heavy Ironwood beaked ram fitted to the front and usually rigged to a spell storage matrix capable of discharging a spell such as a fireball or lightning bolt into the enemy ship once the hull was breached although some vessels used a cloudkill effect.

The fleet had kept track of Tinker Oddcogs developments and were working at converting his Aetheric lifters to work with their own wooden hulls , and given the small size and simpler construction of their ships several of their Cloud Bombers were completed after the Battle of Axis island serving during the Interregnum and helping to establish the Risuri air fleet in the new world

At the time of the Battle of Axis island the slate fleet had Twelve battle rams, 9 motherships and 50 attack boats available

Danoran Fleet of the Obsurati wars
At the start of the conflict the six surviving Tyrannicides had been joined by six of the newer Praepollens Auctoritate class and twelve Armoured Cruisers, the existing small ships had been scrapped in favour of the new heavier ships.




Praepollens Auctoritate Class

Displacement 13150t
Machinery 2 shaft 13500hp 18 kts
Armour Belt 6in Bulkeads 10in-6in barbettes 12in casemates 6 in CT12in Deck 2in-1.5in
Armement 4 31cm guns in twin turrets, 16 15cm guns in casemates. 8 1,5kg Rapid fire cannon in deck mounts

Larger versions of the Tyrannicides the only new feature was the rapid fire cannon retrofitted to the Tyrannicides these 6 barrel rotating cannon fired 1,5kg explosive shells at a fairly high rate of fire and were a development of the Jordan rapid repeaters used by the Danoran army . They were intended to protect against attacks by the Risuri torpedo boats

Sovereign class armoured Cruiser

Displacement 9800t
Dimensions 4640ft by 66ft
Machinery 2 shaft 22000hp 23 kts
Armour Belt 4in-2in Barbettes 5in casemates 4in -2in decks0.75-2in CT 12in
Armement 14 15cm guns 2 twin turrets the rest in casemates, 6 1.5kg rapid fire cannon
These ships were designed to escort the battleships, run down fleeing Risuri ships and carry out blockade patrols.

There were also a dozen patrol sloops


Shark class sloop
Displacement 1580t
Dimensions 220ft by 35ft
Machinery 3000hp 16.5kts
Armour deck 2in-1in , 2in gunshields
Armement 6 12cm guns in individual mounts, 3 1.5kg rapid fire cannon

These were largely intended for patrol and peacetime duties but were pressed into fleet service to protect against the Fey Titan She Who Writhes with improvised depth charges. A very dangerous duty

Several experimental submarines had been developed but the destruction of the Hunley while testing the spar torpedo has left them without an effective weapon and used for special operations only instead of fleet support
 

Thats the last of it.
I have an obessive interest in Naval history and when my players asked me about the forces available for the navies I looked at the material on the ships in the published adventures and found I could not reconcile the descriptions given with effective ships of an appropriate period. I noticed that the interval between the 3rd Yerasol War and the events of the campaign is about the same as that between the launching of HMS Warrior (and the silly US Monitors) and the launch of HMS Dreadnought. Even given a lightly slower progression that made it very hard for sailing ships to be even slightly credible as opponents for the Danoran iron ships. Even HMS Warrior was expected to be able to take on 4 or 5 Wooden ships and win.
So I have tried to come up with a reasonable progression, all ships are actual British built warships of the period , one of them I have been on. I did not use Warrior herself using one of her later half sisters for the equivalant ships.
The two biggest discepancies from real life are
1) No propellents more advanced than gunpower, the last of the Danoran ship are equivalant to those at Tsushima however they will have shorter engagment ranges and less capable shells as in the realword gunpowder had been replaced. This also means no selfpropelled torpedo's which eliminates the whole class of Destroyer/torpedo boat ships and means I have removed many of the light guns from designs as they were intended to meet a none existant threat
2) Big classes of ships. In practice in this period most ship classes were only 2 or 3 ships before the rate of progress meant the next ships were of a slightly different class. This should be even more prevalant as I estimate the population of Danor and Risur as about a third of the UK's 30 million so their navies are smaller than that of the Uk so even smaller classes but that would be a real effort to write.

I am mildly tempted to stat these out for Fear God and Dreadnought my favoured naval wargame for the period but thats probably too much trouble as even I won't be fighting the battles out and it has no provision for wizards

I hope this has been of some interest
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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