February 5, 2012

Hari Ragat: Vijadesan Ships

The Vijadesans have always been a maritime people, and use a wide variety of sailing craft.  Because of their environment – tropical climate, riverside settlements, a profusion of shallow coral reefs – their ship designs tend to light, shallow-drafted, but amazingly fast craft.  Here are some of the vessels Vijadesans commonly use, along with a wokou pirate junk for comparison, all statted up in the Vivid system:



The karakoa is the main warship of the Vijadesans, the equivalent of a Viking longship.  Like the Viking longship it’s built to be fast under both sail and oars, able to enter very shallow waters, and carry a lot of men.

  • Hull 4H
  • Sail 4
  • Oars 6
  • Draft 4
  • Seaworthiness 2
  • Gimmick: Fighting Deck
  • Hook: Exposed Rowers
  • Length: ~80 ft.
  • Beam: ~18ft. (hull only)
  • Crew: 100+ rowers and 30+ warriors on fighting deck

The karakoa’s elevated fighting deck (burulan) gives an Advantage in ranged and boarding combat vs. any ship of equal or lesser size that does not have a fighting deck of its own.



The balangay is the workshorse vessel of the Vijadesans, used for trade, fishing, exploration and carrying settlers, even as a raiding craft if no better vessel is available.  It can be compared, in its function, to a Viking knarr.

  • Hull 2H
  • Sail 4
  • Oars 1
  • Draft 5
  • Seaworthiness 3
  • Length: ~50 ft.
  • Beam: ~15ft.
  • Crew: 4-10+



The biray is a voyaging and trading ship, but large enough to be used as a raiding ship.  Many pirates use it instead of a karakoa because they cannot afford the latter; there’s also a better chance of catching prey off-guard because the biray can masquerade as a trader, while the karakoa is too obviously a fighting ship.

  • Hull 3H
  • Sail 4
  • Oars 2
  • Draft 4
  • Seaworthiness 3
  • Length: ~60 ft.
  • Beam: ~18ft.
  • Crew: 6-20+


A small, very fast craft, much used in fishing and voyaging, but also favored for fast raids by small groups, or as support vessels in a fleet led by karakoas.  They can be compared to the ‘snake boats’ or skute the Vikings used on the rivers of Ireland and Russia.

  • Hull 2H
  • Sail 6
  • Oars 3
  • Draft 5
  • Length: ~30 ft.
  • Beam: ~8ft.
  • Crew: 2-10+

Wokou Pirate Junk

The wokou are pirates from the southern Tien Xia Empire and the Lu Tzu Kingdom; outlaws and outcasts who have taken to living on the outlying islands and preying on traders and settlements as far south as the Jangalan Isles. Pirate junks are light merchantmen with some warship capabilities.

  • Hull 6H
  • Sail 3
  • Draft 2H
  • Seaworthiness 5H
  • Mantlets 4
  • Length: ~70 ft.
  • Beam: ~24ft.
  • Crew: 10-40+

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