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Navies of the Old World - Other Human Nations and Groups

lcmiracle#6727lcmiracle#6727 Registered Users Posts: 1,327
There are maritime powers within the Old World that escapes Imperial intel, for many are the foes from both without and within the Empire's borders, that the fracturous states to the south demand little concern in comparison. While certainly of great interest in trade, the naval prowess of these nations and groups are either consider too distant, or too minor of a military threat to warrant dossiers. Nevertheless, this treatise seeks to examine that which lies beyond our immediate knowledg.

Part 1: The Southern Sea

The Southern Sea is an area of water flanked by the coastlines of Tilea, Estalia, and the northern coasts of Araby. The semi-enclosed sea is home to some of the most prolific seafaring cultures of the Old World; indeed, for the sea carries with it both food and commerce, and the people here are free-spirited and adventurous.

Above: A Chart of the Southern Sea. Source: Warhammer Fantasy Battle Rulebook, 3rd edition, p193.

Tilea and Estalia are human nations characterized by their many independent city-states, and petty kingdoms that grow around them. Though the petty lords' resources are limited, the wealth from trade as well as the skills of their sailors nevertheless marks them as major world maritime powers. Tilea, especially, is noted to have held the most advanced seafaring technology in the Old World by late 2nd millenium, and indeed, their vessels were the first Old World humans -- or so they claim -- to have discovered Lustria.

Source: WFRP2E: Shades of Empire p74,75.

There are several prominent ports in Tilea -- Miragliano being the greatest trading port, but Luccini, Remas, and Tobaro are all famed for their water-borne trade and expert sailors. Many of the major Tilean city-states were built upon ancient Elven ruins, abandoned by the Ulthuan Elves during the apocalyptic war between them and the Dwarfs in times long past. And with these Elven ports did the Tileans prosper. Tilean sailors are often piratical -- and that's before taking Sartosa in consideration! -- as fleets of different city-states often look to other vessels for plunder, regardless if they are Tilean! (WFRP1E p280)
In Estalia, the two largest cities, Bibali and Magritta, are both sea ports which depend heavily on trade (WFRP1E:Rulebook p277-278,280). The ports of Estalia, in contrast to Tilean cities, take a much grimmer view on piracy, and prosecute them wherever they may be found. Though that doesn't protect rival state's vessels from being boarded and their haul of goods confiscated to swell the city's coffers. Animosities between Magritta and the Tilea states over trade rights saw Magritta placing a blockade on her rival states in recent years (WFRP1E p278).
To the south of these lands lay the great golden dunes of Araby, though it is not at all as arid as the description suggests. Many oasis dotted across this vast desert landscape, and great cities thrive along the River of the Serpent: Copher, Lashiek, Martek, and Al-haikk chief of all. While the land has not always been in peace with her norhtern neighbors, and great wars did break out in the past, maritime trade proved far more enduring. The Arabyans are renowned sailors, having lived for centuries upon the bounties and cruelty of the sea, and are an adventurous people eager to exchange fishing and trading for a life of piracy (Warmaster Army List p48).

Tilean Ships

While no details are forthcoming, the makeup of the Tilean fleets are the most known. For example, it is known that the Tilea cities of Miragliano and Remas favor the use of small and nimble watercrafts, their speeds are perhaps a vital factor for running the Magrittan blockades (WFRP1E p278).

It is known the Galleys -- a type of ship using rows of oars as primary means of movement -- are still used by Tileans within the calmer Tilean Sea, since a lack of strong winds deminishes the value of many sails. The Tileans, be it through their own ingenuity, the Arabyans, or the Dwarfs of Barak Varr, were one of the earliest human nations to ultize gunpowder, and adopted the cannons for their ships. The Tileans favor the use of light cannons, supplementing a lack of of firepower with regiments of crossbowmen -- likely delivering hails of bolts to both enemy crews and flyers alike.

Yet, when the Tilean merchants began to explore the high seas, they made sailing ships with lighter frames, and arranged their masts in the style of the Arabyan Corsairs, improving their speed further. If this is so, this likely means Tilean vessels uses arabyan-style triangluar sails; maybe even Marienburg vessels, having taken notes from the Tileans to propel their own navy prowess to the world stage, share a similar design (Dogs. p90).

The largest Tilean warships appears to be the Galleons, as seen from reports of an incursion of the Dreadfleet near Luccini, when the pirate lord Jaego Roth led his so-called "Grand Alliance" engaged the Undead in a bloody sea battle without success. (Dreadfleet Rulebook, p47).

Estalian Ships

The Estalians, for their part, maintain heavily armed warships, and crew them with expertly trained sailors and fighters, in order to compete with their eastern neighbours (WFRP1E p278).

Arabyan Ships

Then, to the Arabyans -- that exotic realm in the eyes of those who dwell in the north; sadly even less is known, save for a type of vessel known as "War Dhows" are dominant within their fleets -- a type of vessels are characterized by its lateen rigging, flying triangular sails upon one or two masts. (Dogs, p88).

In recent years, a vicious pirate lord basing himself off the Tilean island haven of Sartosa, known as the "Golden Magus" and the self-styled "Sultan of the Sea", came to bedevil many sea traders. The flagship of this "Magus" is known by the name of the his enchanted blade, the Flaming Scimitar. Descriptions given by the survivors recall a great gelded barge with an eccentric design, with exotic twin triangular masts and a domed aftcastle, both strike an distinct arabyan style. Combing this with the knowledge that the Magnus is a master of the Arabyan "Djinn magic", perhaps he really is an heir to the Sultanate of Araby? Far more likely, however, this is but a trick to mystify the pirate himself and garner notoriety.

The Flaming Scimitar. Source: Dreadfleet p8

Part 2: Kislev

To the north of the glorious Empire of Sigmar, is the frozen domain of the Tzarinas of Kislev. The reigning monarch of the realm is the Ice Queen Katarin, who had inherited a nation scarcely recovered from the Great War Against Chaos over two centuries ago. Trading in the harsh landscape is depending on the sea port of Erengrad as well as upon the River Urskoy.
What mighty fleets must have docked at the port of Erengrad during the height of Kislev's power is, for now, lost to history. At present time, Kislev does not maintain a formal navy, despite the importance of Erengrad as one of the Old World's most important ports. The Tzarina relies on the allied Imperial Fleet and private armed ships to protect trading vessels across the perilous Sea of Claws. In times of great need, the Tzarina may press the armed merchant ships into serivce.

Source: WFRP2E Realm of the Ice Queen p10.

Source: Man O' War page 13.

Part 3: The Manannites & Stromfels

In the Old World, there are many gods of the waterways. It seems each river tributaries in the Empire has its own deity, whereas the Bretonnians have their Lady of the Lake. Practices from the Old Faith often intermingle with those of the prescribed religions, and who can say what minor gods are but aspects of a major one, or something entirely separate?


For the Old Worlders, Manann, sometimes known by different names, is the god of the sea. He is a violatile and unpredictable god, fickle as the ocean itself, and can turn on his faithful like non-believers with little warning. Perhaps none but his parents Taal and Rhya love Manann like they do with other gods such as Shallaya, instead all fear his wrath, and worship him in order to placate his temper. Manann's devoutes are chiefly mariners -- indeed, many of his priests are former sailors and fisherman. These would-be holy men and women hears the call of Manann and travel far to seek another Priest of Manann for the brutal process of initiation. (WFRP2E: Tome of Salvation p29. Claws p80,82).
Manann has many temples, most consider the site at Marienburg his chief temple but other notable temples can be found in Bordeleaux, in Miragliano, in Nordland. Most of Manann's temples and shrines are upon sacred alcoves and coastal caves, more than a few are built upon decks of aging ships. (Claws p84. WFRP2E: Knights of the Grail p59).
Manann is violent, yet not wholly malefic; just as the ocean swallows all, he too accepts all who are worthy of his tolerance -- as seen with Elsa "Elmar" Udermar, a formal pirate turned priestess of Manann (Salvation p32,34).

As with other cults of the Old World, the Cult of Manann has many orders and sects under its umbrella. Chief among them is the Order of the Albatross -- these priestly navigators of Manas, an aspect of Manann, are led by the High Matriarch. Manannite Templar Orders are military arms serving their regional churches. In Marienburg, the Knights Mariners protects the seas around the port from raiders and pirates, they are marine-sailors who maintain a sizeable war fleet, and sell their services for exorbitant tithes. In Nordland, the Sons of Manann train themselves both in fighting on decks as well as on horseback, their missions to protect ships from pirates and hunting down followers of Stromfels makes them natural allies for their fellow warrior-priests of the Stormguard. (Salvation p34.)
While High Matriach Camille Dauphina holds her seat in Marienburg, she does not rule the other temples. The cult has no formal hierarchy, and all the temples are held together by core common beliefs and mutual respect. The cult saw a recent schism over the rapid commercialiation of the Marienburg church under Matriarch Dauphina. Yet the faithfuls of Manann are not an spent power, and with great cause they may band together into a crusading fleet like the unforgiving tides of their god, such as the Battle of Manann's Teeth and the Pirate Wars, in which the Cult of Manann waged holy wars against their foes. (Salvation p32. Claws p7,81).

Followers of Stromfels

While Manann is a foe to all Gods of Chaos, his chief rival, as according to the cult's strictures, is Stromfels. Stromfels is a predator, many see him as a malevolent entity that delights in destruction. He is largely worshipped by pirates, who found Stromfels a natural patron for a life of bloody plundering. Before the signing of Amity and Commerce between Marienburg and Ulthuan, Stromfels was already outlawed; but after it, the Elves made it a capital offense. Today, templars and priests of Manann hunt the followers of Stromfels wherever they may find them (WFRP1E: Marienburg Sold Down the River p19,. Claws p88).
Yet is there truth to their claim? Few dare to thread this path, but in the dark lores of Sartosa, they too have their own "Daughter of Manann". If legends are true, this discarded norscan orphan found her foster father in the sea, and was raised by sea nymphs -- Aranessa, the Queen of Tides, is she called. Her black-sailed warship the Swordfysh has preyed upon the Norscan and Imperials ships alike around the Sea of Claws. Some say she is now part of Jaego Roth's alliance against the Dreadfleet, and if so, perhaps it's Manann's will that she cleanse the Undead filth from his domain? (Dreadfleet, p50,51)

Children of the Sea

Many great beasts dwell beneath the waves, these childrens of the sea came at the dawn of the World when the surface of the world were a primodial soup, predating even the Elves and Dwarfs. When Chaos swept the world, those creatures that did not turn to ashes were twisted into fell monstrosities, and have prowled the waves to this day.

The Triton

The King of these eldritch things is the being known as the Triton. This giant is the striking image of a regal man, a crown adorning his mighty brows, and elemental powers emanating from his mighty trident; yet below his man-like waist is the tail of a fish, the size of which could certainly crush the largest warships beneath the waves.
The Elves, who claim to have received their Sea Lore from Triton himself, thought him to be the last of his kind. Yet dark lores of the northmen speak of a renegade Dwarf killing several Triton lords during his undersea journey to Norsca. Are there more of his kind, or is Triton an immortal avatar of Manann himself? Regardless, no mortals had laid eyes on more than one such demi-gods at one time (Man o' War p5,12,13. Dreadfleet p66,67).
Manannites see the Triton as the favoured son of Manann, and believe him the messenger of the sea god himself. It is said that when Magnus went to Marienburg to preach the words of unity during the Great War Against Chaos, he was met with mockery, until Triton himself strode the waves. Under his gaze did the Manannites join Magnus' crusade. In addition, at least one manannite monastic order is named after the Triton. (WFRP2E: Tome of Salvation p23. Claws p81,85).

The powers of the Triton is such that, he can banish other sea monsters from his sight, unleash irresitable spells upon his foes, as well as summoning Sea Elementals -- legends claim these barely humanoid bodies of sea water were once Triton's kin, but as they aged, their flesh became more like the sea, until only Triton is left; wizards of the Jade College, however, claim them to be waters animated by concentrated Winds of Ghyran. Regardless, the elementals are fiersome foes, able to control the direction of the winds as well creating great tidal waves, with which to crush their targets (Man O' War p13. Claws p142).

Whilst aloft from affairs of the younger races, certain such creatures had earned Triton's fury -- chief of such offenders are the Orcs, Skaven, and the forces Chaos. But even more so he despise the Dark Elves for their enslavement of other sea creatures. Not even those Dark Elves who feverishly worship their own Sea God Mathlann are spared Triton's murderous fury. (Man O' War p12, Claws p148).


Another great sea monster of note, is the Megaladon -- a little known species of shark, four to five times the size of its nearest relative. It is a ruthless predator and utterly unprediactable by those foolish wizards who dare to summon them into battle. While the Megaladon is, like many other children of Manann, subject to the Triton's commands and be banished, the Triton harbours no grave intent towards the Megaladon. What could this mean? (Man O' War p12)

Part 4: Pirates

Pirates are found all across the oceans of the world. Be it the pirates that plowed the rivers and seas of the human nations, or the unsavory Elven Corsairs of that for western new world, or even beings that should have long passed onto Morr's Garden, all are their ilk. Yet, this treatise concerns only those human who so villanously prey upon their own kind on the high seas.
As has been written, many in the Tilean states as well as others in Araby, readily practices piracy, yet few cities would accept pirates into their gates openly. The Arabyan city of Lashiek is known as the City of Corsairs and the Bretonnia port city of Brionne has a secret reputation as a city of thieves, where pirates and smugglers regard it as a safe port so long as they do not offend the local authorities; In L'Anguille smugglers and pirates alike cling along the inhospitable coastlines (WFRP1E p275. Grail p43). Elsewhere pirates can be found along the many major rivers of the Empire, the Pirate Coasts of Araby and the islands within the Tilean Sea, to name a few.

Pirate Vessels

Commonly sighted around the coastline are the black-sailed pirate War Galleys. These are sturdy and reliable vessels, capable of sailing against the wind by oar, and are ideal for use within the many rivers of the Old World, as well as the calmer seas.

Above: a squad of pirate War Galleys, which are commonly encountered
Imperial navy mutineers are sometimes found among their numbers, selling their services like the scums that they are, such as the traitor Ironfist commander Siegfried Schmid.

Yet it'd be foolish to envision the vessels of these disorganised criminals to, somehow, all conform in a singular style. Indeed, while rare inland, the pirates have been known to use even larger ships at sea. The many notorious pirate lords of Sartosa have commandeered countless ships, thus vessels of all makes and ages have flyed the dreaded black sails.
Take for example, the notorious Sartosan pirate lord Jaego Roth, whose blasphmous stealing of the Church of Sigmar's flagship the Heldenhammer had surely brought damnation to his soul. The flagship herself was a monster of a ship, bearing 180 guns and a mighty brass statue of Sigmar himself wielding Ghal Maraz, which is driven by steam pistons that may be use to smash enemy ships in a ramming action. To think the despicable scums dared to desercrate the holy ship by flying the black flags upon her masts!

As well as the aforementioned Flaming Scimitar, the Swordfysh is a mighty square-rigged Galleon, antique in design yet no less dangerous -- was it of Tilean or Bretonnia design, who can say?

Above: the dreaded Swordfysh of the "Queen of Tides"

Another note on Bretonnia: is it mere coincidence that two of the three Bretonnian warships are named "pirate"? Pehaps these names had been given just as much for their fierceness as it was for their use? The cutthroat crews of the Buccaneers are already but one mutiny away from turning to piracy, but is it possible that the some captains of the larger Cosairs, may turn to such unsavory practices as well? Indeed, as it is not uncommon for coastal Bretonnian nobles to take on a life on the sea, some can well turn to piracy -- Lord Savaric of Bordeleaux, for example, harbours a dark past he wished not to be known...


But I digress. There is no city in the Old World where pirates rule -- except for Sartosa. Many of the aforementioned Pirate Lords are based on the island stronghold, which was said to be ruled over by a "Pirate Princess" -- though in truth she doesn't so much govern, but settle disputes with brute force.

Sartosa, like many other ports in the Tilean Sea, is founded upon ancient Elven ruins, and had been home to many peoples. The first settlers that came after the Elves were the Tileans, but they were carried off by Dark Elves raiders and the Tomb Fleet of Settra in ancient times. Then the Norse came, using it as a base to raid the rest of Tilea. After they were defeated, the Arabyan Corsair fleet of Nafal Muq wrestled control of the island from the Tileans in 1240 IC, and they would rule until 1501 IC.
The island did not became a haven for pirates until 1757 IC, when the already unruly mercenaries working for the Prince of Luccini mutinied, and soon found a career of piracy more lucrative and comparative healthier than soldiering. The island architecture is a mix of Tilean and Arabyan, with holes from occassional cannonades patched up in various ways (Dogs, p84).
From the strategical location, the Sartosan pirates are scourges upon the high seas, dreaded by all. It is, perhaps, not all that surprising then, that the only puglic temple of Stromfels, the Sea God of Sharks and Predators, is located on the island (WFRP4E: Sea of Claws p88).


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