For all history buffs out there, you might notice that I got ships from all over history existing at the same time. This isn’t because of me never doing research, instead it’s about parallel development and re-invention of shipbuilding in the Age of Lions. So, cogs exist at the same time as barques and brigs because shipbuilding has not regressed, it has been re-invented at several different locations. Also, I use historical names for the sake of convenience here. In the finished version of the game, you’ll get local names and LotN specific names for ship types, but in general, who wants to deal with those when you’re reading this text while having breakfast?
First off, there are at least not yet any grand warships of the type historically called ships of the line that had two gun decks. The largest warships are frigates, which are armed between 20-30 cannons on the top deck, have three square-rigged masts, carry 200-400 sailors and marines and they’re between 40 to 50 meters long. In 2312, there’s only a small handful of ships of that size on the seas. Frigates are strictly military vessels.
The primary warships of the period are war sloops (or sloops-of-war) which are between 20-30 meters long, have three masts and carry 12-20 cannons. War sloops have crew complements between 80 and 120 sailors and marines, which make them much cheaper to run than frigates.
Brig-sloops are essentially smaller versions of war sloops that only have two masts instead of three, and frequently only carry around 6-10 guns. The difference between a military brig-sloop and a trading brig is mostly the fact that trading ships have smaller crews and don’t carry a marine detachment.
Trading vessels come in various shapes and sizes. The Republic of Hanö has a few larger ships meant for the open seas, which are called clippers. They’re very fast and have a narrow hull built for speed, since trading vessels frequently don’t carry guns or marines, though the Hanöan military is starting to transfer cannon and cannon crews to serve on the clippers. Clippers are around 50-60 meters long.
Most of the bulk cargos in the Baltic are carried by carracks, which are between 40-50 meters long and built not for speed, but for maximum cargo space. Carracks are rather primitive ships, much like the smaller cogs, but the cost of new ships keeps the shipping companies, the Pomeranian league and the Kirkosletian merchants from retiring them. What’s frequently considered the modern cargo ship is the schooner, which has two to three masts and is about 40 meters long. Schooners are relatively fast and maneuverable, which makes them perfect for the hard to navigate Archipelago Sea.
A specific type of ship worth mentioning is the Ålannish galley, which essentially is a modernized version of a longboat. The galleys are rather small vessels, only about 20 meters long and have two masts. In addition to sails, they also have banks of oars to propel them. They have a very shallow draft and are famous for being the ships used when the Ålannish states raided Svea in retaliation for the attempted invasion.
The most common sailing ship of the Baltic is the modest sloop, which is a small sailing vessel with one mast. They’re used both by independent traders, fishermen, couriers and as coastal transports.