Caravel: This ship was sailed in late Medieval/early Renaissance times and was the type
of ship Columbus used to reach the New World. (It should be used only in late
Medieval settings.) It normally has two or three masts and square sails. No
oars are used. The typical caravel is 70 feet long and 20 feet wide. The normal
crew is from 30 to 40 men. The average cargo displacement is 150-200 tons.
Coaster: Also called a round ship, this is a small merchant ship that hugs the coasts.
This is a sailing ship, fitted with two masts and triangular sails. The average
size is 60 to 70 feet long and 20 feet wide. The rudder hangs from one side.
The crew is 20 to 30 men, and the cargo capacity is about 100 tons. Normally
there is only a small sterncastle. A coaster is slow and not tremendously
seaworthy, but it can carry large amounts of cargo with smaller crews than galleys.
Cog: This ship is a larger, improved version of the coaster, able to make ventures
into the open sea. Like the coaster, it is a sailing ship with one or two
masts, but the cog employs square sails. It is about 75 to 90 feet long and 20 feet
wide. The crew is only 18 to 20 men. There is normally one deck and fore- and
sterncastle. the cargo capacities of cogs vary greatly, but the average is 100
to 200 tons.
Currach: This is an early, primitive vessel. It is made from thick hides stretched over
a wood-and-wicker frame. A single mast caries a small square sail, but the
currach is usually worked by oars. It is normally 20 to 40 feet long. the crew is
approximately six to eight and the cargo space is limited--no more than five
Drakkar: The largest of the Viking longships is known as a drakkar or dragonship. Built
for war, this ship stretches about 100 feet in length. Although a single mast
can be raised, oars provide the main source of power. The crew of 60 to 80 men
rows, one man to an oar. Up to 160 additional man can be carried for boarding
and raiding. Due to its great size, a drakkar is not very seaworthy. This and
the fact there is no space on board for many supplies (certainly not enough for
240 men) or sleeping quarters keep the drakkar close to the coast where it can
put in for the night. Because of its cost and limited use, a drakkar is usually
built by kings and rulers and is not used for the mundane task of shipping
Dromond: This ship is the largest of the Byzantine galleys. Although it boasts one or
two masts and triangular sails, the main power comes from the 100 oars, 50 to a
side. These oars are divided into an upper and lower bank, with one man per oar
on the lower bank and three men on the upper bank. Thus, the total crew is
about 200 men. The dromond is about 130 to 175 feet long and 15 feet wide, making
it a very slender ship. The cargo capacity is around 70 to 100 tons.
A dromond can be used both for shipping and war. As a warship, a ram projects
from the front just above the water line. Castles are built fore, aft, and
amidships as firing platforms. The cargo space is then taken up by marines. With
such numbers of men, it is a very dangerous ship to attack. A dromond is not a
seaworthy craft, however, and usually sails in sight of shore. They beach at
night like all galleys, since supplies and sleeping accommodations are very limited.
Galleon: This is the largest and most advanced sailing ship that might be available in
the AD&D game. It should appear only in Renaissance-period settings. It is a
sail-driven ship with three or four masts. There are normally three through decks
(running the length of the ship), while the castles fore and aft have two
decks. The average size is about 130 feet long and 30 feet wide. Crews average
about 130 men. Although cargo capacity is about 500 tons, a galleon is mainly used
as a warship. (In the real world they were fitted with cannon, something beyond
the standard AD&D game rules.) They can easily carry men equal to their
tonnage, making capture by pirates nearly impossible.
Great Galley: Built during the Late Middle Ages, the great galley is an improved version of
the dromond. It is slightly smaller than the dromond, about 130 feet long and
20 feet wide. The main power comes from 140 rowers, one man to an oar, but is
supplemented by three masts; this combination gives it better speed and handling.
The cargo capacity is 150 tons. When outfitted as a warship, the front end is
built as a ram and marines are carried instead of cargo. Like all galleys, the
great galley is a coastal vessel, rarely venturing into open water. It is not
seaworthy in heavy storms and waits in port for these to pass.
Knarr: This small ship was a common cargo ship of the Scandinavian region. It is 50
to 75 feet long and 15 to 20 feet wide. It has a single mast and a square sail.
In times of poor wind, a few oars at the bow and stern can provide more power.
The crew ranges from eight to 14 men. The cargo capacity is small, anywhere
from ten to 50 tons. The ship is, however, relatively seaworthy and can be used to
make long sea voyages (although it cannot be called comfortable). Its flat
bottom makes it useful for sailing up rivers and estuaries, and it can be beached
Longship: This is the standard Viking warship. It is more substantial than the knarr but
not nearly as massive as the drakkar. An average longship is 75 feet long with
20 to 25 oars per side. Each oar is worked by a single man for a total crew of
40 to 50 men. There is also a single mast and a square sail. In addition to
the crew, the ship can carry 120 to 150 men. A longship can be used for shipping,
but its cargo capacity is only about 50 tons. It is, however, fairly seaworthy
and can sail across the open sea when necessary.
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