Naval Ranks

The following are the ranks and positions within the Royal Amber Navy. It is not an exhaustive list of all positions, and notably does not include a great many posts involved with support and logistics and various harbor functions. Also, naval ranks sometimes cause confusion because any officer who commands a ship is called 'Captain' on board his own vessel. This is in addition to whatever title he may regularly hold.

Amber's naval officers are, in the vast majority, nobles who have purchased their commissions (though many, of course, purchased commissions below their current rank and have been promoted in service). It is possible for non-nobles to work their way up through the ranks but it is significantly more difficult. More than the army, even, commissions are a very real source of income for the Navy and, under Gerard in particular, are vital to continued operations.

The Lord Admiral has authority to offer Letters of Marque, and thus Amber also retains privateers in times of war. It is primarily by this avenue that officers from the Golden Circle join the Royal Navy.

Officer Ranks

Lord Admiral: Also known as the Admiral of the Fleet. Traditionally, this position does not actually exist and is a function of the King. Currently, however, the post is held by Prince Gerard.

Admiral: Officer in charge of one of the two great fleets of Amber - the Northern or the Southern. Currently, these posts are vacant (or potentially filled by NPCs who can become PCs or be replaced).

Rear Admiral: A junior admiral whose responsibility is to handle the logistics and supply elements of a fleet. The title comes from the fact that such a position is best served from a vessel in the back of the fleet, as supply and logistics must be protected and kept out of the scrum of battle.

Commodore: Commander of a flotilla (collection of ships, smaller than a fleet). Flotillas are often tasked to a specific nation of the Golden Circle and the associated shadowpaths, but also serve many other functions as more tactically maneuverable units than the fleet as a whole.

Captain: Commander of a ship, without limitations as to ship size or function. See the note in the introduction about the uses of 'Captain'.

Commander: Commander of a ship but limited to smaller vessels (sloops, cutters, fetches) and not allowed to command galleons or ships of the line.

Lieutenant Commander: A junior Commander.

Lieutenant: An officer in the Royal Navy. It is important to note that this is not rank-equivalent to a Lieutenant in the Army but is, in fact, a higher rank (roughly analogous to a Captain in the Army). In general, ranks in the Navy are higher than similarly named ranks in the Army. This is not a function of quality, but of structure.

Lieutenant, Junior Grade; Ensign: Equivalent to 1st and 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, respectively.

Warrant Officers

Warrant officers are a set of ranks unique to the Navy and occupy a space between classic NCOs and commissioned officers. They often have specialized duties on ships and possess titles to match. There are three categories of Warrant Officers.

Wardroom Warrant Officers: These ranks represent specialists and experts of such vital skill that they are given the recognition normally reserved for commissioned officers. They include:

  • Sailing Master: Often shortened to just 'Master'. Navigator and helmsman for the ship.
  • Surgeon: Self-explanatory. Assisted by Surgeon's Mates.
  • Purser: Responsible for provisioning and pay on the ship. Often serves as something of a "gray market" for non-sanctioned goods for the crew.
  • Chaplain: Chaplains do not serve on every ship in the fleet and, in fact, this is not a particularly common rank as Amber is not a deeply religious land. However, should a priest of the Unicorn seek a position on a ship, this is most likely the rank he would be afforded.

Standing Warrant Officers:

  • Boatswain: (prounounced bo'sun) Serves under the Sailing Master and is in charge of sails and rigging for a ship.
  • Carpenter: Self-explanatory

Lower-grade Warrant Officers:

  • Master at Arms: Disciplinary officer for the ship
  • Armorer: Technically in charge of keeping the crew and marine's weapons in good repair. More practically, also in charge of keeping catapults, ballista and other deck artillery in fighting condition.

Lower Ranks

Petty Officer: This is the naval equivalent of the true NCO, or what would be a Sergeant in the Army.

Leading Rate, Seaman: The naval equivalent of Corporal and Private, respectively.

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