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Masters and Commanders of the Known World

by Jesper Andersen

It all started with the fact that whenever my players' characters need to take a ship anywhere in the Known World I always have to come up with the name of the ship and the captain on the fly. And I hate that.

So I looked in the Ierendi Gazetteer. There are these ship counters representing ships from the various nations as well as pirate ships and merchant vessels. Great. That took care of all the ships' names. Now, all that is left is to figure out the name of the captain as well as a bit of historical info on the ship.

I'm working on a long list, trying to give each of the 200 ships a distinct background or "feel" to it. Something to make it, its captain and crew or its history unique.

I have come up with a number of ideas, but far from enough for two hundred ships. Please, if any of you have ideas, feel free to contribute

Here are my ideas so far:

General ideas:
- Captain is of an unusual race or has a distinct look. A wooden leg, hook etc. (can be use more than once)
- Captain is female or belongs to some other maritime minority (can be used more than once)

Thyatian ships:
- Captain got his command via bribes. He is incompetent and his men are fearful.
- Captain is in the pockets of pirates and his crew protects them.
- Captain was posted far away as a punishment
- Captain is using his supply ship to smuggle things from the Isle of Dawn
- Captain is the son of a Senator
- Captain lost a brother to Ylari pirates and hates them deeply. He will provoke a naval battle and an international incident if he can.
- Captain was former a liaisons officer in Sundsvall and knows a lot about Alphatians and their tactics.

Karameikan ships:
- Captain is of Traladaran decent and his crew lacks respect
- Captain is a hero for hunting down pirates
- Captain is an alcoholic
- Captain is Thyatian and terrorizes the Traladaran crewmen

Darokin ships:
- Some of the ships operate on lake Amsorak
- The pride of the navy, the war galley Corunglain, has fallen into disrepair

Ostland ships:
- Two captains in king Hord's navy have a blood feud going on
- Captain adventured with King Hord in his younger days

Pirate ships:
- A pirate longship is crewed by undead and captained by a Priest of Hel. Its black sails are feared everywhere in the north.
- Ship belongs to the Iron Ring. It sails with slaves.

Privateers and merchantmen:
- the Bartolomeo is captained by a Darokin swashbuckler
- the Willoway was built by a former Ostland slave from Karameikos who turned shipwright when he earned his freedom. He now roams the seas, trading between Oceansend and Norrvik
- The captain of the Fjordvall is a trader named Sigismund. On his last journey between Oceansend and Soderfjord he encountered the Kraken. Now he trembles with fear at the very thought of putting out to sea again. He has taken to drinking a lot and the Fjordvall is for sale at the local dock in Soderfjord.
- the Brandywine is a small sailing ship captained by a stout halfling explorer and trader from Seashire. This vessel has sailed the seas from Oceansend to Atruaghin.
- the legendary Harpoon is one of the fastest ships ever built. It once completed the run from West Portage to Specularum south of the Island of Hattias in just XX days...
- the Peregrin belongs to a Hin privateer operating in the Gulf of Halag near Fort Doom.
- the Princess is crewed by hin pirates in memory of Nob's fair Navrilstar, a Traladaran princess.
- Few ships are as feared on the seas of the Known World as the Providence. In 731 AC the captain did something bad and was punished by the god XX to sail the seas forever. The ghost ship's crew consists of various undead and few encounter the Providence and live to tell the tale...

Masters and Commanders of Karameikos

Privateers and Merchantmen