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Imperial Navy Enlistment Primer

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Imperial State Navy




Sailor’s Enlistment Primer

 The Imperial State Navy, or His Imperial Majesty’s Naval Service, is the premier maritime force in the Holy Orenian Empire, dedicated to securing Imperial interests in combat, trade, and more out at sea. As a new recruit, or Landsman, in the Imperial Navy, it is up to you as an individual to learn the basics on what it takes to shift from the mindset of a Landsman to an Imperial Seaman. This Enlistment Primer is written to serve as an introduction to the Imperial Navy Culture and the overall culture, discipline, and skill that all members of the Imperial Military, both Army and Navy alike, should represent. 

Table of Contents:
Section I: Welcome to the Fleet
   I.I Basic Training
   I.II Oath of Service
   I.III Naval Culture
   I.IIIa Forms of Address
   I.IIIb Uniformity and the Imperial Navy Uniform

Section II: Organization and Structure
   II.I Rank Structure

   II.II Chain of Command

   II.III Naval Structure

   II.IV Billeting



Section I: Welcome to the Fleet


I.I Basic Training
 Each new Landsman of the Imperial Navy is required to enroll within the Imperial Military Academy, located in Helena at this current date (1779). Imperial Navy Sailor’s enrollment in the Imperial Military Academy lasts for a year for the purpose of learning basic military discipline, protocol, and customs in order to allow for better cohesion and understanding of the culture of the wider Empire. Following this year (one real-world week) of Basic Military Training alongside other recruits of the Imperial Navy and Army, individuals are sent to branch-specific training in their own respective locales.

After your year of Basic Training, Imperial Navy Landsmen are sent for a further year of Naval training onboard their assigned Imperial Navy Vessel. This training is designed to show and individual how to properly serve as a member of the Navy and will include lessons on things such as rigging, gunnery, and further ideals of Imperial Naval Culture.


I.II Oath of Service
The members of the Imperial State Navy, upon their entry into the Imperial Military Academy, must take an oath of service to the Empire. Each new Landsman, upon taking this oath, is committing themselves to at least three years of service in the Imperial Navy, including their two years of training in the Academy and onboard their first vessel. The Imperial Navy Oath is exactly the same as the oath taken by members of the Imperial Army, with the branch name modified, for the purposes of unification and the ability to swear in all new recruits of the Imperial Military at the same time, with ease.


The Oath is, as follows:

I, _____, do solemnly swear by the might of God and the venerable Emperor, that I will support and defend the Mantle of Mankind and the Legacy of Horen against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will never falter in my duties and obligations as a member of the Imperial State Navy; that I will give my life in exchange for this holy purpose; and that I will obey the orders of the Emperor of the Holy Oren Empire and the orders of the officers appointed over me. So help me God.
I.III “Naval Culture”

Much like within the ranks of the Imperial Army, members of the Imperial Navy are expected to rapidly adapt into the lifestyle of an Imperial Serviceman, being able to swiftly complete their given orders and to constantly seek to improve themselves, their province, and the Empire through their service and deeds. Imperial Sailors, upon taking their oath, no longer represent their cities, towns, villages, or Provinces; The Imperial Navy Sailor represents the Imperial Navy, and by extension, the Empire and Emperor himself. It is with this, that Sailors are expected to conduct themselves in appropriate behavior, in appropriate company, and to constantly strive to their best.


It is expected, at all times, that members of the Imperial Navy not ‘skip the chain’ to ask questions or make requests. For example, if a Seaman needs to request new armor, or time off, they should first talk to their Yeoman and Boatswain. If they are unable to help, then they may proceed to ask the lowest ranking officer, only going up when directed to. It is, with this, that we can prevent sailors constantly bothering Admirals or Captains for questions that experienced sailors can also easily answer.


Due to the possibilities of your fellow Sailors being less-than-savory individuals, criminals seeking to redeem themselves, or men who should never be trusted with a sword, it is, at times, possible to see Imperial Sailors acting in unbecoming manners. Due to this, officers and non-commissioned officers are expected to act with strict discipline, as well as understanding, to all situations.


The Imperial Navy Officer Corps stands to show the forefront of Imperial High Society, with most of its members being lesser individuals of noble families, sons of aristocrats, or aspiring politicians. Due to this, the Imperial Navy Officer Corps serves as an outstanding stepping stone into a career elsewhere in the Empire, and as such, officers are expected to be on their best behavior at all times, adorning proper cleaned attire, manners of speech, and even expected to wear wigs while on duty.
I.IIIa Forms of Address

Members of the Imperial Navy are expected to, at all times, address their fellow sailors, non-commissioned officers, and officers with proper respectful terms. It is within understanding that any man who fails to address their peers, superiors, or subordinates incorrectly is encouraging insubordination or fraternization, and should be scolded or punished for such.


Rated Sailors, or sailors ranking from Landsman to Able Rated Seamen, are expected to, at all times, be referred to as “Mister/Misseus Name.” 

Non-Commissioned Officers, ranking from Yeoman to Boatswain as well as those with special billets, are expected to, at all times, by their Rank/Post and Name.

Officers, both warranted and commissioned, are expected to, at all times, be addressed by their Rank, or Sir/Ma’am. In the event two officers of equal ranking be present, or to be more specific, you may also address an officer by their rank and last name, with first names only ever being used with given permission or if two officers of the same surname are present.


Along with these, certain exceptions are made on ships, with it’s commanding officer permitting, to use specific nicknames, or shortened forms, for ranks; However, these are typically expected to be between Sailors in the same ranking category (Rated, Non-Commissioned, or Officers). Examples of some nicknames are as follows:


Captain - Skipper
Boatswain - Bosun/Bos’n
Landsman/Seaman - Gob, Shipmate


To further explain how to address individuals, we will give examples using the topic of writing a letter.





Sailor Bill Barns: 
Formal - “Mister Bill, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - (Yeoman to Seaman) “Shipmate, could you help me write this letter?”


Sailor Kate Barns:
Formal - “Misseus Kate, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - (Seaman-to-Seaman) “Mind helping me wit’ t’is letter, Gob?”


Boatswain Miranda Hatch: 
Formal - “Boatswain Hatch, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - (Seaman to Boatswain) “Bosun Hatch, could you help me with this letter?”


Boatswain (Surgeon’s Mate) Mike Rover:
Formal - “Surgeon’s Mate Rover, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - “Doc Rover, could you help me write this letter?”


Ensign Mary Lamb:
Formal - “Ma’am, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - “Ensign Lamb, could you help me write this letter?”


Lieutenant (Surgeon) Mark Lamb:
Formal - “Sir, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - “Lieutenant (Not Doc!) Lamb, could you help me write this letter?”


Captain Mike Hawk:
Formal - “Captain, could you help me write this letter?”
Informal - (Officer-to-Officer) “Skipper, could you help me write this letter?”


I.IIIb Uniformity and the Imperial Navy Uniform

It is, on board any sailing vessel, one of the greatest concerns of it’s leadership, the status of sickness and disease. In order to keep better the health of all members of the Imperial Navy, it is required at all times that every individual Navy member’s uniform be in pristine, clean condition at all times. It is, with the hope of this, that sailors will also take care to clean themselves, at risk of dirtying their uniform by themselves being filthy. 

Along with sanitary concerns, the Imperial Navy uniform is not to be modified at all, in order to maintain proper uniformity and image of the Imperial Navy. The Imperial Sailor’s Tricorne is also required to be worn at all times while in the Imperial Navy, taken off only as a sign of respect, being placed over the heart before swiftly being returned to the sailor’s head. 

Alternative headwear may be accepted, or denied, based on the Admiralty’ discretion, by personal request sent to your officers.

Section II: Organization and Structure


II.I Rank Structure

Much like it’s counterpart in the Imperial State Army, the Imperial Navy is divided into two distinct ‘Corps’ of personnel, each further divided into their own two categories. The main body of enlisted sailors, weapons experts, medics, cooks, and other ship crew are the Enlisted Body, known collectively as Seamen or Sailors. Within this we find the Rated Sailors, or those new recruits or experienced Seamen who are assigned certain duties onboard the ship, or serve as general all-round crew, and Petty Officers, being that of Yeomen and Boatswains who serve as supervisors for the Rated Sailors or certain sections of the ship. Similarly, the Officer Corps contains all men of prestige set forth in command positions of the Navy, often leading specific decks or sections of the ship as it’s primary officer, or entire sections of the fleet in the case of senior officers. Within the Officer Corps we find two types of officers; Warranted Officers are those Ensigns and Lieutenants assigned their duties by the Admiralty for service on specific ships, often having served as Midshipman or Petty Officers before receiving their new authority. Commissioned Officers are Senior officers granted Commission by the War Office, signed by the Emperor, who are posted in command of new vessels or as part of the Admiralty.


The Admiralty



 The Admiralty serves as the leading board of the Imperial Navy. Though mainly composed of politicians who have little to do with the day-to-day running of the Navy, the Admiralty often has a large say on funding, special projects, and the broader scope of Naval Policy, leaving the Fleet duties to their Commodores. Within the Admiralty, as it is within the Army’s General Officer posting, a wide variety of ‘Starred’ Admirals exist, rating from the Lord High Admiral, Fleet/Vice Admirals, and Rear Admirals.


Officer Corps





The Commodore serves as the Senior most officer serving as the day-to-day commander of different Fleets or Flotillas within the Imperial Navy. Acting in a post equivalent to an Imperial Army Colonel, it is rare to see more than a single Commodore in a single place, with the role having mostly taken over the commanding duties previously held by the Admiralty.


There is only one Commodore per Fleet/Flotilla.






The rank of Captain differs highly from the title of Captain. While it is common for the Commanders of most Naval Vessels to be referred to as ‘Captain’, the rank of Captain serves only to be rewarded to distinguished officers of the Imperial Navy actively commanding a Post-Ship or Ship-of-the-line. Traditionally, the senior most Captain per Flotilla is considered the next in line to take the post of Commodore.


One Captain per commissioned Post-Ship or Rated Ship-of-the-line.




A Master and Commander, or Commander in short, is the commanding officer of a non-rated Imperial Navy ship-at-sea. The Commander is responsible for the maintenance of his ship, crew, and its duties while in service to the Imperial Navy. Often standing as the head of a smaller vessel, or one carrying less armament than desired, Commanders may also be seen as a privateer, or merchant Captain recently called into the service of the Imperial Navy.






A Naval Lieutenant serves much in the same function as an Army Lieutenant, serving as the assisting officers to their assigned Captain or Commanders. Within the Naval rating and billet system, Lieutenants are often seen commanding specific departments of larger vessels, with a Lieutenant serving as both the Second-in-Command onboard a ship and the officer incharge of certain ship functions. In larger ships Lieutenants may be seen serving as a ship’s Doctor, Quartermaster, Navigator (or Sailing Master), and more.


There are only as many Lieutenants as there are billets within a Flotilla or Fleet.




Ensigns serve as the lowest ranking officer within the Imperial Navy. Onboard a ship, Ensigns are often assigned to oversee specific compartments or decks, with an Ensign typically being the officer in direct command over Petty Officers and their subsequent Sailors. From commanding weapons teams, sail-riggers, or more, Ensigns are the most common type of Naval officer.


There are only as many Ensigns as there are billets within a Flotilla or Fleet.
Enlisted Force




Boatswain are Master Sailors, being granted supervision over other enlisted sailors. A Boatswain is often seen having years of service within a specific duty of the Imperial Navy, having mastered, or at least gained proficiency, in every task possible onboard their assigned ship. Within the day-to-day running of the Imperial Navy, Boatswains are charged with monitoring and commanding sailors in their assigned posts.




Yeomen are Senior Sailing Specialists chosen to act as assistants to their Boatswain by recommendation of the Boatswain or their Ensign/Lieutenant themselves. Yeomen often go by other titles, such as Master Gunners, Boatswain’s Mates, or more. Yeomen are given some authority over other sailors, being trained as future Boatswain.


Seamen (Ordinary and Able Rates)



Seamen are the main body of the Imperial Navy. As a naval seamen, you may serve under a variety of combat or non-combat roles in service to the Empire. Seamen are often found acting as gunners or sail-riggers, but may also be found to be cooks, carpenters, medics, cartographers, explorers, and more! Within the rank of Seamen is a hierarchy system of Rates; Able Rates are Senior Seamen serving within the Navy for a number of years, while Ordinary Seamen are often fresh to the crew, or have served only a minimal amount of time within the Fleet. As such, Able Rates often receive their choice of job duty, shifts, and are seen as more reliable.




Landsmen and Midshipmen are new recruits to the Imperial Navy. As per military tradition and laws, Midshipmen are the children of Nobles or Aristocrats, having often paid for a future Warrant and committed themselves into a multitude of years of military service. A Midshipman may join as young as the age of 12, and is committed to stay in the post of Midshipman until the age of 16, at which they are able to continue their service in hopes of receiving an officer position, or may leave the Imperial Navy. Landsmen are commoners, or those unable to buy Warrant as midshipmen, and serve in the Navy for a minimum of three years.



Regardless of the rank you join at, all Imperial Navy Landsmen and Midshipman are required to undergo a Year of training at the Imperial Military Academy, and a Year of on-the-job training at their assigned post. After their first full year of training following their two ‘entry’ years, Landsmen are automatically guaranteed the promotion to Seaman (Ordinary Rate) if they decide to remain in the Imperial Navy for more than the required three years.
II.II Chain of Command
In order from the top of the chain to the bottom:

  • The Emperor: Peter III
  • The Arch-Chancellor: Simon Basrid
  • The Secretary of War: Alren DeNurem
    • The Admiralty: 
      • Lord High Admiral: George de Sarkozy
  • North Bay Flotilla:
    • Flotilla Commodore: Oisin O’Rourke
      • HIMS Duke of Marna
        • Commodore: Oisin O’Rourke
        • Lieutenants
          • Sailing Master: Aplex Cenobia
        • Ensigns
          • Purser: Rotan Cenobia-Komnenos
      • HIMS Cock-of-the-Rock:
        • Coxswain: Santiana O’Rourke

II.III Imperial Navy Structure

  • The Emperor
    • The War Office
    • The Admiralty
      • Fleet
        • Flotilla
          • Task Force
            • Individual Ships
          • Support Vessels
      • Reserve/Merchant Fleet
        • Individual Ships


III.IV Billeting


Flag Officers

Flag Officers refer to Admirals and Commodores serving as active commanders in the day-to-day operations of the Imperial Navy. Flag Officers are billeted only as the Fleet needs and expands.



Post Officers are ship commanders at the rank of Captain. While the Fleet is always looking for new recruits, leadership, and vessels, the rank of Captain is a distinguished and earned Post (thus, Post-Officer), only for those commanding the mighty warships of the Imperial Navy under the command of Post-Officers.


The Sailing Personnel

The Sailing Personnel refers to any sail-riggers, navigators, or the pilots of small support craft. Sailing Billets are often assigned to those holding the ranks of Lieutenand, Ensign, Boatswain, or Yeomen. The following are a list and short description of each Sailing Billet.


Sailing Master: The Sailing Master is a warranted officer assigned over the steering of large Post-Ships and command of the Sailing Personnel.


Master’s Mate: The Master’s Mate, or Second Master, is a Petty officer assigned as the direct assistant and subordinate of the Sailing Master.


Coxswain: A Coxswain is a Warranted or Petty officer assigned to the command of a small craft, typically that of an unrated vessel or Imperial Navy Cutter, to command and pilot said craft in support of a larger vessel.

The Gunnery Personnel

The Gunnery Personnel refers to any individual working directly under the command of the Gunnery crew, acting as the master specialists incharge of operating, maintaining, and constructing siege weaponry or other weapons onboard an Imperial Navy Vessel.


Master Gunner: The Master Gunner is the warranted officer in charge of the Gun Deck, or Weapons Deck, onboard an Imperial Navy Vessel. Alongside these duties, the Master Gunner is also in charge of any and all weapons teams onboard an Imperial Navy Vessel.


Gunner: The Gunner is a Petty officer assigned as the direct assistant and subordinate of the Master Gunner.


Gunner’s Mate: A Gunner’s Mate is a Yeoman assigned to command and supervise specific batteries onboard an Imperial Navy ship. Due to the size or layouts of some Imperial Navy Vessels, gun bays may be divided or spread throughout a ship, requiring Gunner’s Mates to maintain control over specific areas under the authority of the Gunner and Master Gunner. 


Master-at-Arms: The Master-at-Arms is thePetty Officer or Warrant Officer in-charge of ensuring discipline onboard an Imperial Navy Vessel. It is the Master-at-Arms who holds the keys to the brig, or prison, onboard a ship.


Ship’s Corporal: A Ship’s Corporal refers to the assistant of the Master-at-Arms, aiding in ensuring discipline and uniformity onboard a ship.


The Support Personnel

The Support Personnel refer to any individual operating on an Imperial Navy vessel outside of the traditional sailing and combat categories. Support Personnel include on-board cooks, medical personnel, chaplains, quartermasters, and more.


Purser: The Purser is an officer in-charge of maintaining a ship’s supplies, rationing, and pay. It is the Purser who is responsible for maintaining a ship’s individual budget, equipping, food, and more. Pursers act as the Senior-most Quartermaster onboard a ship.


Quartermaster: The Quartermaster acts as the Purser’s mate, aiding in the maintaining of records and the purser’s duties onboard. While the Purser must always be an officer, the Quartermaster does not hold such a requirement.


Surgeon: The Ship’s Surgeon is the officer in-charge of all medical personnel onboard an Imperial Navy Vessel.


Medic: The term Medic loosely refers to all individuals acting as trained medical personnel under the Ship’s Surgeon.


Chaplain: The Chaplain is an Imperial Navy Officer operating with Church Training or Canonist Priest serving alongside the Imperial Navy, acting as the spiritual and moral leader onboard an Imperial Navy Vessel.


Ship Specialists: Ship Specialists refer to any individual on an Imperial Navy ship with a desirable skill, such as Carpenters, Coopers, Sail-makers, Tailors, Cooks, and more.

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Achille Nicephore wakes in a cold sweat, pawing at his linen smock. The raven-haired woman beside him wakes with a start, mumbling with inarticulate alarm – as he stares at the ceiling, flashbacks of grinning parents and sailor suits racing before his eyes.  

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