Orphean Seas is Imperio's, hopeful, final finished and complete roleplay, made to be simple, in the vein of the highly successful Teirian Skies roleplay. Five hundred years ago, humans first colonized the known world of Orpheus, ringed to the south by the Kraken Glaciers, to the north by the hot, blasted wastes, and to east and west by the Tarus and Atlans mountains, and the vicious savages that dwell therein.
Although few records have been kept, it is known that humanity first settled Orpheus roughly five hundred years ago, starting the First Era, in vast iron-bound ships powered by raw fire. Most of such ships smashed their way through the northern wastes, shattering the great ices, and landing in the western shores, while others emerged from the depths like some great monsters in the far east. Such ships then disappeared from history, with only one, known to the modern age as Pythos, surviving in any form, as a wreck off the modern city of Danta.
For most of the First Era, humanity in the Ring was dominated by the Dantus Shashanate, with only a few small independent holdouts in the Far East. Such a time was peaceful and prosperous, and humanity grew steadily. However, in the last years of the First Era, discontent mounted, and, in 1E 418, the last Emperor, Maximil I, was assassinated by his harem, provoking several open revolts.
In the vast littorals and open seas of Orpheus, ocean-going ships have always been immensely valuable. Although the age of the vast ironbelchers is now gone, they have been replaced by every manner of sail and oar.
The Dantus Shashanate built warships, but haphazardly, as the greatest threats were mere pirates. Shashanate gallies, galleases, and dromonds prowled the shallower, heavily-trod seas, skirmishing with pirates and raiding rebel or independent holdouts, but pirates could never challenge the truly lucrative Inter-Ocean trade, facilitated by vast carracks and galleons, which were far too large for conventional assault. In the last hundred years of the First Era, however, frequent and ever-larger uprisings *did* threaten this vital trade, and so the Shashanate created several heavy vessels, bristeling with cannon of all different types, to deal with them. These were the precursors of modern ships of the line.
2E: 000-095 (present)
Large, three-decker warships have long been the prides of their respective fleets, embodiments of national honor, prestige, and self-esteem. Ranging from smaller, 90-gun warships, all the way up to 120-gun monsters, three-deckers are vast and powerful warships, and are extremely costly to build, maintain, and operate.
At the start of the Second Era, three-decker warships were largely divided into 100-gun and 90-gun variants, the former being much more common than the latter. 100-gun warships varied somewhat in size, but, as exemplified by the Sahin SSV Capitol and the Charlegn Aerean, were indeed fairly similar across the board, of 1800-1900 tons, with a main deck of 28-30 32-pounders, a secondary deck of 28-30 18-pounders, a tertiary deck of 28 8-9 pounders, and a quarterdeck and forecastle armament of 6-pounders. As the 2nd Era progressed, however, these flagship vessels similarly diverged in size, strength, and armament.
Unlike smaller two-deckers, whose sizes were as dictated by economic necessity as by needed increases in capability, no expenses were spared in the constructions of flagship three-deckers, and so there was a steady, if slow, increase in size and firepower throughout the Second Era. By the Third Coalition War in 2E 062, most flagship vessels had increased displacement to 2100 tons or more, and had replaced the secondary armament of 18-pounders to 24-pounders, and tertiary armament of 9-pounders to 12-pounders, greatly increasing their weight of broadside.
Both the Talazan Navy, with the Prophetic-class, and the Charlegn Navy, with the Aether, had increased their flagship vessel armament from 100 guns to 110 or more. The Prophetic in particular was armed with 32 guns on each of her three gundecks, along with a quarterdeck armament of 9-pounders, which represented a sizable increase in firepower over the smaller 100-gun flagships present elsewhere. There has been much debate over whether to continue with "modernized" 100-gun vessels or to move to 110-gun vessels of increased size, a debate which has not so much been resolved as sputtered out as even larger vessels were commissioned.
At current day, many of the 1800-ton flagship vessels are still in service, but have been superseded both by the larger 110-gun designs of the 50's and by even larger designs, mounting up to 120 guns. Typically having 32 32-pounders, 34 24-pounders, and 24 12-pounders on their three decks, weighing upwards of 2700 tons, these 120-gun vessels are the heaviest-hitting warships on the seas, and several designs have grown large enough to even mount 18-pounders on their third deck, further increasing weight of broadside. However, these mammothine three-deckers are poor sailers, and the loss of any of them would be utterly ruinous.
A few navies also operate smaller "workhorse" three-deckers, mounting 90-98 guns. Such vessels are cheaper than the larger three-deckers, though have increased commensurately in size. By 2E 060, 90-gun warships often weighed as much as their 100-gun contemporaries half a century ago, at 1800 tons; such weight was due to the heavier guns carried, with a 32-24-12 armament over a 32-18-9 armament, while 98-gun ships weighed slightly more, at roughly 1900-1950 tons. "Workhorse" development has somewhat stagnated, as heavier flagship three-decker production, combined with the advent of the 80-gun fast two-decker, has lead to somewhat of a lapse in demand. However, modern workhorse three-deckers still do exist, with the heaviest examples broaching 2100 tons, with 98 guns in a 32-18-18 armament which often grants them superior firepower to the older flagships they are technically subservient to.
Regardless, these "workhorse" two-deckers are poor sailors, being short, squat, and heavy; often slower than even their heavier flagship contemporaries. Some navies swear to them compared to their 80-gun two-decker counterpart, arguing that the far increased durability and intimidation of a smaller three-decker is superior to the heavier armament, speed, and maneuverability of an 80-gun vessel.
Two-decker warships form the bulk of conventional battlefleets. Since the beginning of the Second Era, the standard battle-line vessel has been a two-decked warship of roughly 70 guns. Early examples include the Talazan Eurydic-class, of 1230 tons, and the Sahin Escalos-class, of 1300 tons, both built starting 2E 005. These 70-gun ships had primary gundecks of 26 24-pounders, upper gundecks of 26 12-pounders, and a 6-pounder or 9-pounder quarterdeck armament. These 70-gun warships were much larger than previous two-deckers, such as the prolific Anvil-class, of 900 tons, which carried only 66 guns; the extra weight, however, was mostly absorbed by increased provisions and seakeeping capability.
However, with the five Charlegn Coalition Wars, the size and armament of battle-line two-decker ships grew massively. These 70-gun vessels, although cheap and easy to man, were considered highly undergunned compared to their larger 90-gun and 100-gun contemporaries, who increasingly mounted 32-pounder lower gundecks. Most major powers switched to two-decker vessels with 32-pounder gundecks as well, but the arming of the small 70-gun vessels with heavy 32-pounder cannon reduced their seakeeping and maneuverability, often to an unacceptable degree, while also putting stress on their hulls. Eventually, through much experimentation, nearly all eventually settled on the "standard type" 74-gun ship.
As exemplified by the Imperial Arrogant-class, first built in 2E 056, the standard type 74 was roughly 1650 tons, mounting 28 32-pounders on the first deck, 28 18-pounders on the second deck, and 18 9-pounders on the quarterdeck and forecastle. Ships of this type were fast, weatherly, and maneuverable, and their 32-pounder main armament allowed them to engage larger three-deckers with some hope of success, unlike their older 70-gun contemporaries. These standard-type 74s still form the backbone of most fleets today, although the nigh-constant conflict has lead to both older vessels being recommissioned, and to myriad variations on the basic 74-gun design.
During the Fourth Coalition War, the Sahin Navy produced a series of "large" 74s, beginning with the Saxos-class, which was swiftly adopted in limited numbers by many other powers. These large 74s were of 1850-2000 tons, and carried a 24-pounder upper gundeck. These large 74s, due to their increased waterline length, were actually somewhat faster than their standard-type contemporaries, and their more powerful secondary battery made them favorites of more aggressive captains. However, they were often seen as unnecessarily large, and so remained a relative rarity when quantity of warships was often favored over individual quality.
Another uncommon design was the 80-gun ship of the line. Favored by the Imperial Navy, the 80-gun ship of the line had 30 32-pounders for a primary armament, 32 24-pounders for a secondary armament, and 18 12-pounders as a tertiary armament. 80-gun ships were quite fast, and had a more powerful broadside than some smaller three-decker ships, but their long hull design of only two decks meant that they were fairly structurally weak, and required extensive maintenance especially when in frequent use. The Sahin Navy responded to this development with the building of a few 84-gun vessels, adding two 32-pounder and two 24-pounder guns to each of the two main gundecks. These ships stretched the limits of two-decker integrity, but the Sahin Navy, which mainly held them in port and kept them well-maintained, was largely satisfied with them as an alternative to larger three-decker flagships.
Despite the prevalence of the 32-pounder armed 74-gun vessel, many navies have continued to construct, and find use for, lighter battle-line two-deckers. The great numbers of older 70-gun vessels have resulted in many remaining in service for decades. As well, the size and cost of even the standard type 74 meant that many navies have continued to order and build smaller ships of the line simply to maintain their numbers. Although they were initially replaced with more 70-gun ships, most navies since switched over to constructing 64-gun vessels, mounting 26 24-pounders, 26 18-pounders, and 12 4-6 pounders. These ships were smaller and cheaper, and often were more weatherly as well; this made them excellent convoy escorts, as well as being preferred by littoral navies for their shallower draft and ease of maneuverability.
Many vessels still operate lighter two-decker warships, whether out of economic necessity, specific reasoning, or simple pig-headedness. The largest of these are the 64-gun vessels, weighing roughly 1200-1300 tons, which have remained largely unchanged for nigh over a century. Mounting a main armament of 24-pounders (instead of 32-pounders like their larger cousins) and a secondary armament of either 12 or 18-pounders, 64-gun ships lack the heavy gun armament of 74s and above, making them a liability in the battle-line. 64-gun ships do still have their uses; they are significantly cheaper than even the standard-type 74, and are often more maneuverable and weatherly; they also are smaller and have a reduced draft, allowing them to sail closer to the shore and in inland seas where larger battleships could not, and they were still powerful enough to ward off frigate raiding attacks on convoys.
At the beginning of the Second Era, the smallest unit of the common battle-line was widely regarded to be the 50-gun two-decker, most commonly armed with 22 24-pounders on the lower deck, 24 12-pounders on the upper deck, and a quarterdeck armament of 6-pounders, weighing roughly 1000 tons. However, as navies increasingly standardized on the 74-gun vessel and it's powerful 32-pounder main armament, the lightly armed 50 began to prove more and more obsolescent and undergunned in battle. However, the 50-gun two-decker still proves to have a few, distinct roles for which there is no ready substitute. Mainly, as a two-decker, it has the bare minimum cabin space necessary for a flag officer and his company; thus, 50-gun ships are commonly seen as flagships of distant, unimportant stations, mainly overseeing frigates and other smaller vessels. As well, despite their slow speed under sail and somewhat unweatherly performance, their 24-pounder armament proves them to be somewhat ideal convoy escorts, still highly capable of warding off all but the most heavily armed frigates. As well, 50-gun ships have a particularly shallow draught, a factor of their small size, which has allowed them to historically blockade far more close to shore than their larger cousins; and, in more recent times, 50-gun two-deckers have also been seen to be used as flagships for coastal or littoral forces, presiding over large forces of gunboats, gunbrigs, and other smallcraft as a kind of control ship. Finally, as 50-gun ships have been retired from combat service, they have often been used as troop transports or armed merchantmen, as their twin decks allow plenty of room for cargo, stores, or troops, and they can still be partially armed for self-defense. In this role, as auxiliary vessels, they have been joined by the 44-gun two-decker vessels, which have historically proven even more obsolete.
Frigates are ships with a single complete gundeck, an armed quarterdeck and forecastle, as well as a complete, unarmed lower deck. This lower deck was important because it gave frigates much greater "freeboard" - distance from the waterline - which made them highly weatherly and able to use their armament in far heavier conditions than two or three-decker gunships.
Although no longer properly considered frigates at this time, 20-gun and 24-gun vessels, popularly called "post ships," are still often referred to as frigates, for the sake of simple convenience. Post ships are fairly high for their length, rendering them somewhat slow and unmaneuverable compared to their larger frigate cousins, but are quite cheap and small - rarely surpassing 550 tons, with 20-gun ships not often being over 450 tons - and thus are fairly common commissions in peacetime. 24-gun vessels were commonly armed with 22 9-pounder guns on their gundeck and a handful of 6-pounders on their quarterdeck, while 20-gun vessels commonly had 18 or even all 20 9-pounders on their gundeck, and occasionally a few 6-pounders on their quarter. Post ships are fairly seaworthy, and are often used for endurance missions as a result. As well, due to their light draft, they are common littoral and coastal vessels, lending an additional punch to flotillas of gunboats. However, they are slower and less well-armed than larger frigates, and so are detested by frigate commanders. Nevertheless, their cheap cost and utility make them common acquisitons for number-pressed navies across the globe.
Although not often built anymore by major powers, 9-pounder frigates are still commonly found in the inventories of most navies. The first major design of frigate-class vessels, 9-pounder frigates were typically rated as 28s - mounting 24 9-pounders on the gundeck, and four 3-pounders or 6-pounders on the quarterdeck, usually weighing roughly 570-600 tons. Such ships were small, but fairly fast, and rapidly replaced the smaller sloops and two-deckers that had previously served in their roles. 28-gun frigates are still often used as small cruisers, commerce raiders, repeating ships, and scouts, especially in low-priority areas where more modern vessels are unavailable.
12-pounder frigates followed hot on the heels of their smaller 9-pounder bretheren, but their relatively large size relative to their firepower lead to a slow introduction, with many navies preferring the raw numbers of 9-pounder vessels over smaller numbers of larger 12-pounder ships. Through much experimentation, a standard main battery of 26 12-pounders was decided, with upper-works guns being 6 to 10 6-pounders, producing 32-gun and 36-gun ship variants, massing anywhere from 650 to 800 tons. However, the 12-pounder design eventually gained popularity, and now the bulk of most frigate fleets are made up of this design. Some powers have since upped the size, lengthening their 12-pounder frigates for increased speed. Such "heavy frigates" reach upwards of 900 tons, and have no significant increases in armament, but are both faster and more durable. With the advent of 18-pounder frigates, such investments have largely halted, but these heavy frigates still remain in service, proving a credible threat.
18-pounder frigates are the largest "conventional" frigates commonly seen in service, armed with 26 to 28 18-pounder deck guns, and 10 smaller 9-pounders on the forecastle, for patterns of 36-gun or 38-gun warships. 18-pounder frigates commonly weighed upwards of 900 tons, with the largest examples even reaching 1200 tons, and the smallest examples, small 32-gun warships with 26 18's but only a measly 6 6-pounder cannons on the quarterdeck, being a "mere" 850 tons. 18-pounder ships are expensive, but powerful, and those being built are commonly reserved for the most important roles in their respective navy's primary fleets - fleet reconnaissance and interception - while smaller frigates are utilized more for convoy escort and on away stations.
Ship Sloop: three masts
Brig Sloops: two masts