This article is a
WotC Article

The contents herein are entirely copyrighted to Wizards of the Coast and represent official Birthright lore.
©1996-2010 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Original article from Dragon Magazine 232

©1996-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
©1996-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Note that at the time of publishing this was 2nd edition, thus all stats are still in 2nd Edition format
Cerilia is ringed by the sea. From the warm waters of the Bair el-Mehare, the Sea of the Golden Sun, to the ice choked mouth of the Krakennauricht, dozens of Cerilia?s realms sprawl along thousands of miles of coastline. With the growth of the BIRTHRIGHT® campaign setting into the regions of Khinasi and Brechtur in the expansions Cities of the Sun and Havens of the Great Bay, more and more realms that border the sea and depend on it for survival are coming into play.
For a kingdom with a strong navy, the sea represents many things?a highway to all the other lands of Aebrynis, a source of food and wealth, and a possible route for raids or expansion. On the other hand, coastal powers with weak navies (or, in some cases, an obsession with their land ward frontiers) must view their coastline as an undefendable border by which invaders may strike at will into the heart of the nation. Regardless of the question of national character, ambitions, strengths, every coastal domain of Cerilia must deal with the issue of sea power.
The term ?sea power? has many implications. Obviously, the military force that a nation can bring to bear on the main is an important part of its sea power. But a nation?s sea power is also greatly determined by its geographical constraints. A kingdom that does not possess a year-round ice-free port?like the various maritime powers of Brechtur?is limited in its ability to apply sea power in the months when its ports are closed.
The merchant marine of a kingdom is another part of its Sea power; the ability to carry out trade or supply distant forces when the land ward borders are hostile or impassable can be crucial in a prolonged war. Without exception, nations with large merchant fleets are rich nations. In the expanded naval rules introduced in Cities of the Sun and the BIRTHRIGHT Naval Battle System, roundships and galleons under the royal flag can increase a kingdom's revenues by an extraordinary amount.
National character, leadership, and expertise also play a role in sea power. The Vos kingdoms of eastern Cerilia possess an extensive coastline on the Dragonsea, but they?ve never been great sea powers; for centuries, their rulers have looked to expand and prosper inland instead of at sea. To become a sea power, a kingdom must develop the technical expertise to build effective warships, a cadre of skilled seafarers to man them, and a handful of great captains to lead them in war?and then, maintain this course for generations.
Finally, a kingdom or union of kingdoms will never become a true world power until it can command the sea. While a nation may become a continental power to be reckoned with, it can?t project its power against distant lands unless it has command of the seas. Many kingdoms ignore maritime interests in favor of building up land power?but in the long run, land bound kingdoms must face the threat of a rival with effective sea power dictating the terms by which discourse, trade, or conflict take place.
Today, 500 years after the fall of the Anuirean Empire, there are a dozen or so great powers scattered around Cerilia. Of all these great powers, only Avanil, Boeruine, Muden, Ariya, Khourane, Suiriene, and the Isle of the Serpentare sea powers of any significance.
A Brief History of War At Sea
Galleons and roundships are sophisticated vessels, requiring advanced construction techniques. They are not the products of a Dark Ages culture, and appeared in Cerilian navies only in the last two or three centuries. Like many other medieval technologies, the art of the shipwright tends to make great strides in one generation, and then remain at that level for several generations to follow. In our own history, chain mail was the armor of choice from the end of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Hundred Year?s War, almost 800 years later; in that same time period, the Mediterranean galley remained virtually unchanged.
So, what was sea power like in the early days of Cerilia? It?s easiest to consider four historical periods. Pre-Deismaar, dating from the earliest human emigrations to Cerilia up until the War of Shadow. Early Imperial, dealing with the rise of the Anuirean Empire (the first five centuries after Deismaar). Late Imperial, is the next five centuries after Deismaar, and the heyday of the Anuirean Empire. Finally Post-Imperial, dating from the end of the Empire at Michael Roele?s death up to the current day.
While elves, dwarves, and goblins inhabited Cerilia many ages before humans appeared, none of these races ever displayed much interest in seafaring; however, even in ancient Aduria, humans were a race of mariners. By far the most accomplished of these early voyagers were the Masetians, the most civilized of the old races. From their walled cities on the placid waters of the Suidemiere, Masetian galleys explored the coasts of Cerilia long before the first of the Six Tribes began their Flight from Shadow. The Masetian galley was an elegant vessel, light and swift. They fought by ram, archery, and boarding.
The Andu, Rjuven, and Brecht peoples were tribal barbarians at this time, organized by clan and holding. They built longboats that could be rowed or sailed. Unlike the Masetian galleys, the longboats were open, with no decking or raised structures. Despite their simplicity, they were durable and hardy vessels, better suited to the rough waters of the Sea of Storms than the fragile Masetian vessels. Unlike the Masetians, who viewed their armies and their fleets as property of the state, the more barbaric humans built their ships one-by one as the work of a family or clan. They had no concept of fighting at sea and used their vessels in war-time for nothing more organized than a raid.
Over the years of the Flight from Shadow, the Brecht and Rjuven relocated one clan at a time to the northern stretches of Cerilia, going by sea. The Andu marched overland instead, and thus settled much closer to the old land bridge to Aduria. Meanwhile, the Masetian cities fell one-by-one to the advancing evil. As the situation in the south worsened, more and more Masetian outposts and colonies were founded on Cerilia?s southern shores.
At Deismaar, the Masetian fleets stood against the navies of the other Adurian powers that had fallen under Azrai?s sway. Unknown sea monsters and other horrors rose from the deeps to fight on the side of evil that day, but the Masetians?the most skillful seafarers in the world in that era?defeated the southern fleets in a naval action that paralleled the epic struggle on land. Between the ghastly losses inflicted by Azrai?s sea monsters and the violent upheavals that followed the gods? deaths, the ships of the Masetian fleet?and indeed, Masetia itself?were destroyed beyond recovery.
Early Imperial
In the years following Deismaar, the Andu organized themselves into the Anuirean Empire beneath the leadership of the first Roele. For two or three centuries, they were busy taming their own lands and pushing overland to whichever lands were closest. But two great natural barriers?the Stonecrown Mountains in the north, and the Iron Peaks in the east?hemmed in the growing power of Anuire. In order to circumvent these formidable ramparts, the young Empire began to develop a navy. The cog?a sturdy, clinker-built sailing vessel with raised platforms at bow and stern?was coming into common use, and the Anuirean navy consisted of merchant ships pressed into military service whenever the legions needed to travel by sea.
All in all, cogs (and a variety of similar vessels, such as the nef and the knarr) represented an improvement over the old longships that had been built by humans in simpler times. Although they lacked the rows of oars that gave longships the ability to defy the wind, the cog was a far better sailing vessel and much more seaworthy. It was partially decked, and could carry several times the amount of cargo?or fighting men. Andu and Brecht-built cogs were very similar, but the Rjuven preferred to maintain some small rowing ability and developed the knarr instead.
Meanwhile, in the southern waters, the Masetians were dying out and vanishing into the new race of the Basarji. These people had come to Cerilia in the years before Deismaar on sailing rafts made from reeds. Along Cerilia?s calm southern shores, the old Masetian galley was still quite suitable for both trade and war, and the Basarji generally adopted Masetian shipbuilding techniques. Galleys were maneuverable by northern standards, and their ability to ram made them extremely dangerous in battle, even if they were not as sturdy as the cog or knarr.
While the Brecht and Rjurik peoples clearly required sturdy vessels such as cogs to survive their northern seas, the Anuireans had a harder decision to make. Their cogs did not fare well in battle against the southern galleys. For centuries, the Anuireans wavered between the northern tradition of merchant sailing ships and the southern tradition of war galleys.
Late Imperial
Over the course of time, the technology of shipbuilding continued to improve, especially in the northern powers. Once the shipwrights began to view banks of oars as more of a hindrance than a help, ship design progressed rapidly. Gradually, cogs and nefs evolved into vessels with complete decking and two or more masts. In Anuire, this lead to the development of the greatship, a floating castle with towering fore- and stern castles. The greatship required a crew of hundreds and, including soldiers, could carry over a thousand men. Yet, for all the greatship?s splendor, it was not an efficient fighting ship. It was ponderous and not very seaworthy; at least once or twice a generation, nothing more than a bad gust of wind that heeled her over too far would sink a greatship.
The greatship had other disadvantages, as well. It was enormously expensive, and only the richest nations could maintain a fleet of them. In Cerilia, this meant that Anuire (and some of her more prosperous colonies) could afford them. Due to their expense, the Rjurik sea powers never built greatships in any number, while the Brecht found the design too unwieldy in the treacherous waters of the Krakennauricht.
In the southern waters of Anuire and Basarji, ship-building remained fairly stagnant. The oared galley was still the warship of choice. Even the mighty greatship had to fear the galley?s ram. In the easternmost Basarji lands, a new ship type called the dromond was coming into use. Oared and sailed like a galley, the dromond raised its ram above the waterline, which improved its maneuverability and seaworthiness.
The most important development in this period was the introduction of missile weapons into the fleets of Cerilia. The Brecht and the Basarji both hit upon this idea at about the same time. Although ships of all types had carried great numbers of archers and slingers for many centuries, the Brecht began to mount light catapults on their sturdy roundships. Meanwhile, the Basarji experimented with volatile fire throwers and other incendiary devices. Although few ships could be sunk or even seriously damaged by catapult shot alone, burning pitch-pots or buckets of spikes or blades could set a ship afire or inflict grievous losses to a crew concentrated on deck.
While the Brecht and Basarji warships were maturing into their modern form, the Anuireans continued to develop both sailing ships and galleys. One curious hybrid was the galleas, a full-decked galley with high fighting castles at bow and stern that mounted catapults or fire throwers. It was felt that galleys still posed a mortal threat to vessels that were not oared themselves. In battle, the galleas was no match for the greatships or roundships of northern waters, although it was successful against the galleys of the south.
By the end of this period, naval warfare was no longer strictly a matter of ram-and-board, although many fights were decided this way. More by luck than by design, some captains began to experience success with tactics of standing off and firing at the enemy with a variety of nasty mixtures. At the very least, most captains would try to maneuver for deck clearing volleys of archery and grapeshot before closing for the final grapple.
As the Anuirean Empire fell in ruins, the extravagantly expensive Anuirean navy withered away. Captains and admirals joined whichever faction they fancied, taking their ships or flotillas with them. Within 50 years, the Imperial navy was a mere shell, and none of the successor states possessed a quarter of its former fighting strength. With the collapse of this mighty Empire, the other races of Cerilia began to flourish.
Naval development continued, at a slower pace than in the previous centuries. The basic ship designs had reached their effective limits; there was no point in building anything as large as a greatship, the experiments combining oars and sail had largely failed, and no great revolutions of weaponry would surface in this time. Accordingly, the shipwrights of this age have devoted themselves to perfecting the designs that work best.
Three major seapowers remain: the Anuireans, the Brechtur, and the Khinasi. The Anuirean greatship has become the smaller and more seaworthy galleon; the Brecht roundship is the best sailer of Cerilia; and the zebec is the only vessel built strictly for war. All of these vessels feature missile armament or naval artillery of some kind, along with plenty of marines or soldiers for the inevitable hand-to-hand fights that still take place. Until hell powder cannon come into common use at sea, tactics and ship design are unlikely to change much.
Current Naval Tactics
At the current time, a Cerilian sea battle features the same general tactics that have been used for the last four or five centuries. A captain has three options at his disposal: boarding, missile fire, or?if he commands a galley or similar vessel?ramming.
The earliest sea battles were nothing more than land skirmishes fought over the decks of ships floating next to each other. This is still the surest way to decide a fight; once two ships are grappled alongside each other, one or the other is almost certain to come out on top.
Obviously, for a captain to board his opponent, he must bring his ship alongside that of his enemy. For sailing vessels, this means that he overtake or run down his prey. The prospective boarder must run the gauntlet of his enemy?s archers and artillery. Finally, he must have some way of making his ship fast to the enemy. Dozens of grappling hooks, lines, or planks can be used to snag the enemy before the captain can send his soldiers and sailors across.
When your regent character is leading his navy into battle, he?ll want to remember a few things about boarding:
Boarding is a good tactic if your ship Out mans your enemy, or carries a crew of unusual quality. Boarding a ship with a larger or better crew is foolhardy.
Heroic adventurers can easily carry a ship manned by normal human sailors, so player characters, henchmen, and lieutenants can make or break a boarding action.
Never grapple with a burning or sinking ship. A ship alongside another that?s afire stands a 50% chance per round of catching fire, too. A ship that?s grappled with a sinking enemy may be fouled and unable to move for 1d3 rounds while the grappling lines and wreckage are cleared away.
If you have an advantage in missile fire, make several passes alongside the enemy to sweep his decks clean before you board him. Soften up the enemy before the hand-to-hand fight.
Boarding offers one advantage over ramming or missile fire?you stand an excellent chance of capturing the enemy vessel for later use in your own fleet.
If the boarding party gets wiped out, break the grapple and get away from the enemy. Many ships have been captured after they failed to win the boarding fight.
Magic use can be decisive in boarding actions. Most sailors and soldiers are 0-level characters who can be felled in great numbers by even low level spells.
The ram is one of the most ancient naval weapons, but it is still extremely dangerous. Of all the ships that are commonly seen in Cerilia, only the galley is designed for ramming?all other ships may ram if the opportunity presents itself, but it is a risky maneuver that could easily end up sinking both the ramming vessel and her target. Despite the risk, many reckless captains view a ramming attack as the perfect prelude to a boarding action.
A special tactic used by some galleys when fighting other oared vessels is the shear. In a shear attack, the galley tries to plow through the other ship?s oars, snapping them like matchsticks. The shear works just like a ramming attack. However, neither the ramming vessel or the target suffer hull damage. Instead, the target?s oars are wrecked, preventing it from using its rowing movement. The captain of the sheared vessel may attempt a seamanship check with a ?6 penalty to pull or raise his oars, negating the attack, but if this check fails he?s lost his oars and is now a sitting duck.
While your character may view a naval battle as a demolition derby in the making, most ships are not built to withstand the colossal stresses of running into things on purpose. A wise captain will save this desperate and spectacular maneuver for the most critical moment in a battle.
Don?t ram anything larger than your own vessel.
When battling galleys or other ramships, try to stay downwind or crosswind so that you can turn away and run when they bear down on you. Keep lots of sea room on your disengaged side. If you have to turn into the wind or the shore to avoid a galley?s attack, you?re as good as sunk.
If you are rammed, board your attacker immediately if you outnumber him. Boarding parties from vessels sunk by ramming have captured their assailants.
The best defense against a ram attack is a priest with a turn wood or lower water spell, or a wizard with wall of force.
Ramming attacks
Since ramming attacks weren?t covered in the BIRTHRIGHT Naval Rules, here?s a quick way to resolve them in a Naval War Card battle. The ramming ship must move into the same space as the target, and make an attack using the resolution cards. Just like a Grappling Check, the attack value depends on the relative movement allowances of the two ships. If the result is "F" or "?," the target evades the ramming ship. A result of ?H? inflicts 1d4-1 points of hull damage to the target. Add ±1 point per difference in ship size (as measured by hull point total). Add +2 if the ramming vessel is equipped with a ram, and +1 if the ramming vessel is moving at a Speed of 3 or better when it hits. A ?D? result indicates that the rammed vessel suffers a mortal blow, and sinks after 1d4 rounds.
For example, a galley with 2 movement points this turn attempts to ram a galleon with only 1 (it was caught turning into the wind). The galley attacks on the +1 column. If it scores a Hit, the galley inflicts 1d4-1 points of hull damage, +2 because it has a ram, -1 for the relative ship size.
The ramming vessel suffers 1d4-3 points of damage from executing its attack, ±1 point per size difference, -1 point if it possesses a ram, +1 point if it struck at a Speed of 3 or higher. In the example above, the galley would suffer 1d4-3 points of self-inflicted hull damage, +1 for the size, -1 because it was equipped with a ram. So, if this galley gets lucky it could deal out 4 hull points to the galleon with one blow without being harmed itself, but a very bad roll could result in no damage to the galleon and 1 point of damage to the ramming vessel.
There is a 10% chance per point of damage inflicted to the target that the ships are now stuck together and effectively grappled. An oared vessel, like a galley, can back away if it becomes stuck with a successful Seamanship check on the captain?s part. A sailing vessel requires much more time and effort to disentangle itself from its victim. If one ship sinks while the other ship is still stuck, the surviving vessel must make a seaworthiness check or be dragged down too.

©1996-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
©1996-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

The third tactic used at sea is the concentration of archery, magic, and artillery fire on one?s enemies. Cerilia?s navies are not equipped with cannon, so the tactics and technology of broadsides, crossing the T, and similar considerations just don?t come into play. A stout, well-built ship such as a galleon or roundship has little to fear from most missile attacks... but from time to time, a well-placed stone can hole a large vessel.
While smashing holes in the enemy?s hull is next to impossible with Cerilian technology, there are many other ways for missiles to be used to great effect. Catapults can throw burning pitch-pots at the enemy in an attempt to set it afire. Archers can cut down any sailors, soldiers, or officers who dare to show themselves on the open decks. And many wizardly spells can be every bit as devastating as a broadside of iron cannonballs.
The most terrifying enemy a wooden sailing ship faces at sea is the threat of fire. The fire thrower is a weapon specifically designed to burn ships to cinders. Other large missile weapons?the catapult, the mangonel, and the shot ballista?can be fitted for firing incendiary shot. When one of these weapons fires incendiaries instead of normal shot, it suffers a -2 penalty to its hull damage roll (see the Naval Armament card in Cities of the Sun), but it has a chance to set the ship afire. In terms of the War Card missile rating, the ship suffers a -1 penalty when firing incendiaries.
Whenever a ship suffers a hit from a fire thrower, incendiary shot, or certain fiery spells such as fireball or produce fire, it may be set afire. The chance is 25%, plus 25% for each point of hull damage inflicted by the attack. For example, a ship that suffers no damage from the attack of a shot ballista firing a pitch pot has a 25% chance to be set afire, while another vessel that suffers 2 hull points of damage from a fire thrower has a 75% chance to be set afire. Once a ship is on fire, it loses 1 hull point per round until it sinks. There is a 10% chance per round that the crew can extinguish the flames before the ship suffers more damage, although some spells or magical items may be able to smother the flames automatically.
There are two schools of thought on the topic of the most favorable wind for a battle to be fought with missile weapons. Aggressive admirals prefer to enter battle upwind of their enemy, so that they can close at will. Conservative admirals prefer to be downwind, so that they can turn away and open the range (or escape the battle) if necessary.
Range is crucial in missile engagements. If you find a range at which your weapons are more effective than your enemy?s, try to remain there for the course of the battle.
Most ships are very limited in their ability to fire straight over the bow or directly behind the stern. Position your ship in these blind spots, so that you can rake the enemy with your best concentration of missile fire while escaping any serious retaliation on his part.
If your ship is seriously outgunned in missile power, try to close the range rapidly and turn it into a boarding fight.
By far the deadliest missile weapon at your disposal is the use of magic. If your PC is a wizard or priest, he may command a variety of devastating spells that can seriously damage a ship (or sink it outright) with one blow.
Arcs of fire
The Naval War Cards included in the Cities of the Sun boxed set assume that an area of the battlefield is so large that a ship?s exact facing doesn?t matter for missile fire. This is an abstraction. In reality, a ship?s dimensions dictate that more weapons can be brought to bear the broadside than on the stern or the bow. To reflect this basic fact, subtract 1 from the ship?s missile rating if it is firing directly ahead or directly aft.
You may want to use a marker or chit of some kind to indicate which way a ship is heading. Naturally, its bow is pointing in the direction that it last moved, and its stern is pointing in the direction it moved from.
If your DM prefers to use the artillery statistics to handle individual ship combat, your character?s ship may be customized to carry catapults, arbalests, or other such weapons. Here?s the rule of thumb: no more than 25% of a ship?s weapons can be arranged to fire for on ward or aft. If a ship can only carry one catapult, for instance, that catapult must be limited to firing port or starboard. A ship mounting 12 arbalests could have as many as four firing forward and four firing aft, but the rest must be mounted for firing over the sides. The fire thrower is an exception to this rule; even though any ship can only carry one, it can be mounted to fire to any side.
Hellpowder and Sorcery
In our own history, the innovation of cannons arranged in broadsides didn?t appear until mid 16th century. The most advanced regions of have a technology equivalent to early 15th century. Brecht and Khinasi alchemists have been experimenting with a substance commonly known as ?hellpowder??the Cerilian equivalent for gunpowder.
Hellpowder is not going to lead to effective muskets, pistols, or even seagoing cannon in a single generation. Here are two ways you can deal with this question in your campaign:
1) Hellpowder is a magical concoction, unsuitable for production in any large amounts. It will remain a wizard?s toy, but will never be brought into common use on the battlefield.
2) The use of hellpowder is in its infancy. No one has yet devised an effective, accurate cannon. Ships can fling petards?barrels of hellpowder with burning fuses?with catapults or mangonels, and may mount very primitive bombards. This has the effect of doubling a ship?s missile rating for War Card battles. If the DM allows, characters may purchase bombards, dragons, and petards for their ships (see the Weapon Table, at the end of this article).
Wizards and Priests
On the other hand, while hellpowder weapons may or may not be available, wizards and priests are definitely available. A mid-level wizard is one of the most devastating pieces of seagoing artillery to be found. Finding wizards who are willing to sail on your regent?s ship anytime he wants to torch something may be hard; wizards are scarce in Cerilia, and many have better things to do than risk life and limb in a fight that doesn?t concern them. Therefore, wizards are only available as lieutenants, henchmen, or hirelings.
In order to find lieutenants or henchmen, the player character must make some unusual efforts to contact specific non-player characters. Simply hiring a wizard doesn?t require the player to roleplay the encounter or befriend a NPC, but it?s not easy. At best, there?s a 1% chance per point of domain power (the sum of the regent?s province and holding levels) that there is a true wizard in his domain who is willing to hire on as an artillery piece at any given time. This character may range from 3rd to 10th level (d8+2), and will demand at least 100 gp per level per month as his fee for serving in the character?s military forces.
Priests, on the other hand, are a little easier to find. Any temple holding of level 3 or higher has a 50% chance of having a priest of 2nd to 7th level (d6+1) available. Priests are hierarchical and organized; if ordered to by their superiors, these special characters will make themselves available to the regent. Persuading a priest regent to loan his most capable followers to the monarch?s military forces may require diplomacy, adventuring, or even espionage on the player character?s part.
New naval weapons
This is a primitive cannon, firing a stone ball weighing 60 to 90 pounds. lacking an efficient recoil system or carriage, the bombard must be re-aimed after every shot. It inflicts 1d4-2 points of hull damage, regardless of the ship?s defense rating. There is a 25% chance per successful hit that 1d6 random crew members may be injured or killed. A bombard costs 10,000 gp or more, and a ship can mount one per hull point.
A ship fitted with bombards may add 2 points to its missile rating for War Card statistics.
This is a small, primitive cannon mounted on the ship?s rails or castles. It fires a small lead or stone ball weighing about 2-4 Ibs. It inflicts 0 or 1 point of hull damage; compare the result of a d6 roll to the ship?s defense rating. If the roll exceeds the targets defense rating, it suffers 1 point of hull damage ? otherwise, the damage is insignificant.
A ship mounting dragons adds 1 point to its missile rating for War Card statistics. This is cumulative with the bombard bonus.
As noted above, a petard is a cask filled with hellpowder that is flung at the enemy. Timing the fuse is everything in a petard-shot. In the artillery statistics, a catapult or mangonel flinging petards instead of stones doubles the dice rolled to determine damage. For example, a catapult normally rolls a d8 and compares the result to the target?s defense rating; if the catapult flings a petard, two eight-sided dice are rolled, each of which may inflict one hull point of damage if it beats the ship?s defense rating.
When using petard-equipped ships in a War Card battle, simply add 1 point to the missile rating of the firing ship.

New ship types
This archaic vessel was formerly used extensively in Khinasi. It is a two-banked galley with a raised ram, a full deck, and usually two masts. The dromond is a fine sailing ship and also very maneuverable by oars
An unusual hybrid suitable for calm waters only, the galleas is a very large galley designed to mount the greatest missile firepower possible for an oared vessel. It is a poor sailer and not very maneuverable, but it packs a wallop.
Before seaborne artillery became popular, the greatship was the last word in ship design. It was a floating castle with towering decks, designed to carry the most soldiers possible

[top]Historical Battles

Battle of the Iron Cape, 479 HC
One of the greatest naval clashes of this period took place on a fine spring day, as an Anuirean armada tried to land an army on the shores of Halskapa. For many years, the Empire had been advancing into the southern regions of Rjurik, and the Anuireans hoped that a heavy blow against the strongest Rjurik state would break the region?s resistance altogether.
The Rjurik force consisted of 22 knarrs, 15 of which belonged to the jarl of Halskapa. The remainder belonged to scattered allies from Svinik, Jankaping and Hjolvar. Over 100 longships also answered the Halskapan call to arms, although as battle approached they were beached and their warriors embarked on the knarrs.
The Anuirean armada consisted of 30 cogs and six galleys that had made the tortuous journey up the coast. They hoped that the galleys, with their beaked rams, would wreak havoc among the Rjurik fleet. When the Rjurik leader?the jarl Anders Leifhund?saw the galleys approach, he sent some of his men back to man the longships and board the galleys if possible.
The Iron Cape proved to be an inconclusive battle. After a full day of vicious hand-to-hand fighting in which thousands of men on both sides perished, the Anuirean admiral withdrew, planning to land what remained of his force further south. A spring storm blew up, sinking his galleys and dispersing his fleet. The invasion of Halskapa was turned back and was never tried again.
War card scenario:
The Rjurik have four knarrs (each card represents five ships) and four longships; the Anuireans have six cogs and one galley. The Rjurik start on the north end of the map, which is bordered by land; the Anuireans begin on the open ocean on the south end of the field. The wind is light, from the west.
The Battle of Kfeira, 1299 MA
In El-Arrasi?s finest hour, he mustered a great fleet of the free Basarji states to face an immense Anuirean armada led by the Emperor?s nephew, the Prince Caercuillen. The armada was part of a two-pronged invasion of Ariya, an attempt by the Anuireans to crush the Basarji once and for all; while Caercuillen advanced by sea, his uncle, the Emperor Alandalae, led an army overland. El-Arrasi met the Anuirean armada off the shores of Kfeira.
The Anuirean fleet included 11 ungainly galleases, 25 greatships, and over 60 additional caravels, galleys, and other small craft. More than 75,000 men sailed in this fleet, and dozens of sorcerors and priests were scattered among the various flagships. Against this mighty force, El-Arrasi assembled 24 zebecs, 80 galleys, and several dozen smaller ships?a force of perhaps 40,000. As the Anuireans bore down on the Basarji forces, the wind died down to virtually nothing. The towering greatships were immobilized, but almost all the Basarji vessels were oared. Thus, El-Arrasi was able to pick off the Anuirean forces in detail while Caercuillen was unable to maneuver in response.
Despite the Basarji?s advantage with the weather, the Anuireans were not easily defeated. Individual captains showed great resourcefulness and courage in repelling the Basarji attacks. The greatships and galleases, now armed with formidable catapults and fire-throwers of their own, wrecked many galleys as the Basarji captains tried to ram and sink them. The battle opened late in the afternoon, and was fought all night by the light of burning ships. It wasn?t until the end of the following day that a breeze came up, allowing the beaten Anuireans to break off the fight. By that time, nearly half their ships had been sunk or burned to the waterline, a loss of catastrophic proportions. El-Arrasi personally captured Prince Caercuillen. He landed his forces the next day and marched overland to meet the advance of Alandalae?s army, defeating that attack as well. These two victories broke Anuirean power in the Saere Sendiere forever.
War card scenario:
The Anuireans have six greatships (each card represents four ships), three galleases, five caravels, and five galleys; the Basarji have six zebecs, two dhouras, and 10 galleys. The Basarji start on the east end of the map, the Anuireans on the west; the northern edge is considered to be bordered by land. The Basarji sorcerors and priests slightly outnumber the Anuireans; to reflect this advantage, assume that each zebec carries one 5th-level wizard and one 7th-level priest. There is no wind.

©1996-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
©1996-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

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