Royal Navy


The Royal Navy was created by Act of Parliament in December 1643 and the first officers appointed to its ranks in January of 1644. Created to provide a standing force of ships to protect Albion's shipping and coasts, as a service it is incredibly young and has to develop a distinct personality of its own. Many observes are waiting to see whether it becomes a rival to the Venerable Order of Sir Walter Raleigh, or manages to carve out a new role of its own.

The sailors and marines of the Royal Navy were mostly recruited (or press-ganged) in the initial flush of patriotism that surrounded its creation. The ships currently in its service were all purchased from the Venerable Order, absorbed into the new Navy along with the officers and men that crewed them. It is not well-adapted to its intended role and likely to be extremely dependent on the generosity of Parliament in building new ships and creating docks and training facilities. The initial monies to create the Royal Navy came from the sale of land confiscated from the attainted traitor Jack Hooke, once Earl of Invictus.

Royal Marines

Unsurprisingly the Royal Navy is intended to fight primarily as a naval force; the Dragoons and Army of Albion remain Albion's infantry force both for the defence of her own islands and to project her force abroad. Nonetheless it was recognised that there was a requirement for a specialist force to guard the ships of the Navy and more importantly to fight in boarding actions in the confined spaces of a ship of war. The Royal Marines were created as just such a force; the entire force is about the size of a a single regiment of foot and is spread across the ships and naval bases of the fleet.

The Royal Marines also act as liaison for their brother soldiers in the Army of Albion when the ships of the Royal Navy act to transport them. The Royal Marines claim the role of the first soldiers ashore, the beachhead of any invasion. As such they view themselves as an elite formation, superior to the Army or even the Dragoons.

An officer of the Royal Marines is always considered more senior than an equivalent rank of the Army of England or the Dragoons when aboard ship and upon any tidal land such as a beach. The situation is reversed upon permanently dry-land.


Captains of the Royal Navy are entitled to capture ships of the enemies of Albion as prizes and to sell both the ship and its cargo. The lions share of the money thus acquired is allocated to the captain of the capturing vessel, with the shares to the officers aboard being generous. The capture of a rich vessel can be worth many years wages to the crew and the capture of a treasure galleon can make a captain instantly wealthy. It is thus strongly in the interests of a captain to take prizes and dangerous for the morale of the ship for him to be seen as unsuccessful in such.


In theory promotion in the Royal Navy is entirely dependent upon merit, and unlike the Dragoons and Army rank may not simply be bought. (This is in part a recognition that the successful captaining of a ship requires an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge in navigation and fighting. In part it is simply because the initial intake of officers from the Venerable Order simply couldn't be considered gentlemen.) Officers begin as ensigns at around the age of 12 and serve aboard ship for 4 or 5 years before taking their lieutenant's exam. This is a nerve-wracking experience in which the candidate must stand before a panel of captains of the fleet and answer any and all questions they choose to ask. Meritorious service, distinguished actions and a command of the knowledge required to run a ship are all vital. Unfortunately, it is often even more important to have a number of senior patrons willing to call in favours from the examination board.

After the lieutenant's exam promotion is theoretically by seniority. However, successful lieutenants and captains have a surprising tendency to move swiftly up the ranks; the Royal Navy is often said to be composed of more officers who are exceptions to the rule than those who follow it.

Why Join?

The Royal Navy is a prestigious service, and a more respectable role at Court than the glamorous but piratical Venerable Order. It is also a good match for a character with an element of wanderlust. Since his crew is paid and loyal, a captain may set sale to the Indies without needing to worry about capturing prize along the way with which to pay them! (It is possible to reach the rank of Captain with less wealth.) Finally, as a new service, a character can expect to exercise considerable influence in the running of the Navy and often rapid advancement.

Ranks and Requirements

Seamen / Marine (Rank 0)

Requirements: The Commoner quirk or a very good reason.

You work as either a lowly sailor or non-commissioned marine on board one of His Majesty’s ships. You may have been press ganged, persuaded more diplomatically or just thought it sounded like a good idea. However you ended up here, you now have little say in where you go or what you do and slim chance of advancement.

Notes: This rank really isn’t meant for PCs, but could be taken with something like the Favoured of the King quirk and is included for completeness.

Lieutenant (Rank 1)

Requirements for the Navy: Rank 2 Navigation, plus rank 1 in either Fighting or Wealth.
Requirements for the Marines: Rank 2 Fighting, plus rank 1 in either Navigation or Wealth.

You have passed the Lieutenant's examination and are qualified for responsible commands. (Ensigns generally pass their exam by the age of 16 if they are to pass them at all.) Although generally attached to a specific ship, lieutenants are often given detached command of small ships such as sloops or responsibility for small shore garrisons.

In either case you will be in command of a group of sailors or marines and lead a relatively privileged life aboard ship, though you are expected to lead boarding actions and set a good example according to the Articles of War.

Please describe what the Captain of the ship you sail on is like, or if you're currently without a ship.

Captain (Rank 2)

Requirements for the Navy: Rank 2 Navigation, plus rank 2 in either Fighting or Wealth.
Requirements for the Marines: Rank 2 Fighting, plus rank 2 in either Navigation or Wealth.

You command one of the ships of His Majesty's Royal Navy and all the sailors and marines that live aboard it. You are required to follow the orders you are given by your superior officers but given the poor communications that exist at sea, and the fluid situations and tactical and strategic judgement that you are faced with, you have a great deal of discretion in how you fulfil them. Captains of Royal Navy vessels are quite often the only servants of His Majesty for hundreds or even thousands of miles and as such are authorised to conduct a certain limited diplomacy in the King's name.

Captains of the Royal Marines are generally attached to one of the three great Admirals of the Fleets and serve as senior planning officers in large-scale action. On occasion they are attached to a commodore with a large contingent of marines or acting in liaison with a large force from the Army of Albion.

(If you are in command of a ship please provide us with its name.)

Commodore /Colonel (Rank 3)

Requirements for the Navy: Rank 2 Navigation, plus rank 2 in either Fighting or Wealth. Requirements for the Royal Marines: Unique rank, only one occupant!

A commodore is in command of an ad-hoc group of ships, outranking the captains of those vessels, but acting as the captain of the ship upon which he flies his pennant. Commodores are generally given command of important ongoing operations, an example might be a small fleet sent to patrol the waters around a recently captured island.

The Colonel of the Royal Marines is the most senior officer in that branch of the service, her superiors are the Admirals of the Fleet and the Lord High Admiral himself. Her seniority with respect to a commodore will depend on seniority and the nature of the mission. The current Colonel of the Royal Marines is the Lady Anastasia Hamilton.

Admiral (Rank 4)

Requirements: Rank 2 Organisation and rank 3 Wealth, plus rank 2 in either Navigation or Fighting.

The Fleet of Albion is divided into three great fleets: the Red, White and Blue fleets. The Admiral of the Red, the most senior admiral, is in charge of the defence of Albion and the waters which surround it. The Admiral of the White also sails from the ports of Albion but is given a wider ranging remit, from attacking the ports and ships of hostile powers to guaranteeing the safety of her ships in the Atlantic. The Admiral of the Blue has the least precedence, but is in charge of the all ships based at ports outside of Albion (including Gibraltar and Malta) and those with missions which take them to the Indies and Pacific and beyond. As such the Admiral of the Blue is often based outside Albion, though where depends on the wars and politics of the world at the time.

An admiral is entitled to set his flag upon any ship within his command; he does not replace the captain of the ship but instead commands the fleet as a whole. His ship is the flagship of the fleet, by definition, and it is generally an enormous honour for a captain to host an admiral (even if it does mean he loses the best cabin for the duration of his superior's stay).

The current Admiral of the White is Sir Joshua Bond, a man who never showed much success in the Privateers, but who has powerful friends in Parliament. Sir Henry Capell, the Lord High Admiral, is known to be hostile to the man and interferes heavily in the organisation and running of his command.

Lord Harte on the other hand enjoys the First Lord of the Admiralty's complete support. Although Lord Harte is an indifferent sailor (rumoured to still be subject to bouts of seasickness) he is a good tactician and excellent administrator, diplomat and some say spymaster. He was recently promoted to Admiral of the Red after a short service as Admiral of the Blue.

Lady Anastasia Hamilton is the Admiral of the Blue and also the head of the Royal Marines. She is a very capable administrator and manager and her skills are necessarily put to good use in both managing the Marines and commanding the Fleet at the ports outside of Albion proper, most notably Malta and Gibraltar.

Lord High Admiral and First Lord of the Admiralty of Albion (Rank 5)

Sir Henry Capell commands Albion's Royal Navy as a whole from his offices in Oxford Castle. He is not known for his skills as either a navigator or fighter, but rather as a capable politician and excellent administrator. He is known to listen to the advice of his subordinates and more importantly to be able to choose them well. He has recruited a mixture of officers from the Earl of Essex' Dragoons and the Venerable Order, as well as administrators from the Treasury and Merchant Companies, to act as his staff. It is early in the history of the Royal Navy.

navy.txt · Last modified: 2007/11/12 20:57 by innokenti