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Retebius Air Fleet and Skyship Naval Forces

by James Ruhland

Many of you all might be familiar with the thread from the MML on the size of the Alphatian Skyship Navy. It might be interesting to discuss this here, but with a twist: the size of the Skyship Navy in relationship to the Retebius Air Fleet.

Anyhow, as a starting point, one of the proposals for the size of the Skyship Navy was along the following lines:

24 Men of War:
400 marines, 200 airmen each.
9,600 marines, 4,800 airmen total.
Total Crew: 14,400

30 Sky Brigantines:
75 marines, 75 airmen each on average
2,250 marines, 2,250 airmen total.
Total Crew: 4,500

40 Sky Schooners:
45 marines, 45 airmen each on average
1,800 marines, 1,800 airmen total.
Total Crew: 3,600

40 Sky Sloops:
30 marines, 40 airmen each on average
1,200 marines, 1,600 airmen total.
Total Crew: 2,800

Total Sky Navy:
14,850 marines, 10,450 airmen total.

Sky Navy Personnel: 25,300.

Now, we know that the Retebius Air Fleet is the Thyatian counterpart to the Alphatian Skyship Fleet. We also "know" (though now dispute) that Thyatis has about half the population of Alphatia. Per the trail maps, Alphatia has 215,000 troops under arms (70% of which are mercenaries), while Thyatis has 223,750 troops under arms (15% of which are mercenaries. Btw, they seem very precise with that total. Wonder how they arrived at it? Oh well). This might imply that the Thyatian RAF is approximately equal in strength to the Alphatian Skyship Fleet's strength, in personnel (anyone think the RAF has about 25,000 persons in it? Since no one raised their hands, I don't have to give you permission to lower them now).

On the other hand, we can see from the 1st PWA that they calculate the full-strength Thyatian military (army & navy) at roughly 122,750 personnel (though no figures are given for the RAF anywhere in that). But comparable Alphatian figures simply aren't available, and there are flaws with the PWA armies for both nations that have been discussed at length already, so we won't go into that.

Instead, we'll simply assume, for the sake of argument, that the Thyatian RAF is about half the size, in personnel, as the Alphatian Sky Navy is (and that the Order of the Knights of the Air is the Thyatian equivalent of the Alphatian "privately owned" skyships pressed into military service during wartime). If we include Airmen, this would imply a total of 12,650 persons in the RAF.

But I'm going to set aside that number as well, and simply calculate the total based on the number of Marines in the Alphatian Sky Navy, ignoring the Airmen. Assume the RAF is half the size of the Sky Navy (even though the Thyatian army seems to be larger than half the size of the Alphatian army). This results in a total of ~7,500 personnel in the RAF - which is less than 30% of the size suggested for the Alphatian Skyship Navy (in one of the "smaller sized" suggestions, btw - not one with 90 Men-of-War).

If we follow the % breakdown of mounts found on p.28 of the "Player's Guide to Thyatis", this results in a force composed of:

3,750 Pegasi riders
1,875 Hippogriff riders
750 Griffon riders
750 Sphinx riders
150 White Dragon riders
75 Roc riders
75 Blue Dragon riders
75 Gold Dragon riders

By comparison, the RAF that I designed contains 2,658 personnel (+500 in Airships, for a grand total of less than 3,200. You can add in the Hetaereia Augustiana if you'd like, and that adds 1,000 personnel). And some see even that force as too large (which is, without the Hetaereia, less than half the size of the RAF above, and even with the Hetaereia is 56% of the above force. Which would be about 16% of the size of the Alphatian Skyship Navy). And there are "only" 50 Dragons in the force I designed, as opposed to 300 in the above force.

To this some may reply "well, we have some figures in DotE upon which to base our assumption of the RAF's strength upon, the force stationed in Thyatis City." True - but in the same product we have some indication of what Skyships are like, but these implications are superseded by later materials (notably the CoM) - and thus this supersedes what is in DotE regarding the RAF strength as well; early materiel becomes dated and obsolete, displaced by later and more detailed materiel.

Now, if larger Skyship fleet sizes are chosen, then the RAF should be proportionately increased in size as well.

Now, if people believe that there are roughly 300 dragons in the Retebius Air Fleet, then some of my concerns about the multiplicity of Death Wands or Wands of Fireballs go away, I suppose - we end up with a very "high magic" setting, lots of wands, sphinxes, dragons.