The Imperial Navy was a collection of individual fleets spread throughout the Known Spheres.
Officially, the Fleet answered to the royalty of the groundling elves of each crystal sphere, as if all elves collectively belonged to the same empire; in truth, they operated as a distinct entity. The head of the chain of command was the Admiral of the Evermeet Fleet of Toril in Realmspace. Also known as the Grand Admiral, the Admiral of the Evermeet Fleet was assisted by a Council of Admirals known as the Cabinet, who were usually very old, even by elven standards. The Cabinet was composed of eleven admirals in total.
Below the Cabinet was the Bench, which served as a judicial branch, and Accounting Services. These did not hold true power of command, but were crucial to the functioning of the organization.
Fleet admirals were the next rank, and they were in charge of a force consisting of many captains. Fleet admirals usually controlled a single crystal sphere, although a captain might control a sphere if the number of elven ships in that location was very low. These senior officers, that is, admirals and captains, were awarded with command of their own spelljammers, usually men-o-war. During peacetime, captains could pilot their vessels wherever they wanted, subject to only an occasional check-in with superiors.
Admirals wore silver plate mail, but without helmets, and black boots speckled to look like stars. They wore black silk gloves and a black tabbard over their armor with the butterfly insignia of the navy over a starfield design.
Commanders were expected to show great flexibility; the same captain might be called on to lead an attack on enemy forces on one mission while acting as a diplomat on the very next. In word, disobedience to the orders of the Fleet was not tolerated; however, in practice, commanders who ultimately succeeded at missions were often forgiven.
Crew with a rank of 3rd class generally were in their first through twelfth year with the Navy. An exception were clerics, who started as 4th class and had to sever on average for more than a dozen years before promotion to 3rd class. The rank of sergeant was not attained until beyond one's 20th year. Most 2nd class crewmen had served between thirteen and 30 years. Again, for clerics, it took longer, typically at least 30 years, to reach the rank of 2nd class. First class was achieved after at least 40 years—or 61 years in the case of clerics. The quartermaster held the equivalent of a 1st class rank. There was fierce competition for these positions in the Navy. Applicants made appeals to specific commanders for promotion, who had full power to accept or reject.
The Fleet only allowed elves to join. This included nearly any subrace of elf except drow and sea elves. The former were of course rejected by their distant kin, but sea elves were prevented from space travel because of their need for water. Although other races, such as hadozee, could serve on elven spelljammers—if the captain allowed it—they could not become true members or attain rank. Spaceborn elves were preferred over groundling elves, and younger elves were favored over older ones. Membership in the Fleet felt something like being a part of a massive sphere-spanning family; one was a member for life.
The main activity of the Elven Fleet was the promotion of elven interests in the Known Spheres. After the Second Unhuman War, this activity was primarily communication between the elven realms in different spheres, since planar communication was impossible because of the phlogiston. At least once per year, Fleet vessels would visit every major settlement of groundling elves throughout the Spheres, and maintained embassies in most major human spacefaring settlements. They had strong ties with Evermeet and, before its destruction, Silvanesti on Krynn.
Despite the priority of communication among elven worlds, communication between the units of the fleets was terrible, as ships vanished frequently without notice.
Elven ships patrolled wildspace openly. The Fleet prioritized avoidance of interaction with non-elven groundlings and even limited getting involved in elven groundling affairs, but they would defend elves—and even non-elves on occasion—from space.
Base of OperationsEdit
Most elven space stations were armadas linked together in a circular arrangement. The headquarters of the Imperial Fleet was the space station Lionheart, the location of which was changed frequently. It was the home of the Cabinet.
About 300 naval officers and staff were stationed in the Elven Forest on the Rock of Bral. A few officers were stationed as observers and advisors at all times in Evermeet and Evereska, and they had a minor presence in the Elven Court of Cormanthor as well.
Elven spelljamming craft included the tiny flitters to the massive armadas. So many spelljamming vessels were controlled by the space navies of the elves and were so spread throughout the Known Spheres that not even the elves could account for them all. This was especially true after the end of the Second Unhuman War, which decimated so many of the individual fleets, making an accurate count near impossible.
Elven ships were pristinely maintained, under official naval regulations handed down by the Council of Admirals.
To humans, members of the elven fleets often seemed "pushy and presumptuous." Most trading costers and religious organizations of wildspace respected the elven fleets for the protection and stability they provided, but there were exceptions. The Chainmen considered them nosy. Most other military brotherhoods considered them too stuck-up, though they received strong support from the Company of the Chalice. The Xenos were perhaps the group who hated the elven fleets the most.
Members of the Imperial Fleet spoke the same Elven and Common languages used on Faerûn but with more slang and wildspace jargon. They often were learned in the languages of other spacefaring peoples of Realmspace as well, such as High Shou or the tongues of the Anadian halflings, the aarakocra and lizardfolk of Coliar, or the sea elves of Karpri, etc.
The elven fleets have acted in concert in several multi-sphere campaigns against enemies that threatened elvenkind. One of the most famous of these was the Unhuman War. During this war, the elves destroyed half of all orcish and goblinoid fleets in the Known Spheres, with the largest space battle occurring in Greyspace, where the elves amassed a force of 100 spelljammers and wiped out 50 orcish ships.
The war was begun by the elves, who debated for many centuries whether it would be best to eliminate all "unhumans" from the spheres. After they began the war, they did not re-debate the issue and carried out their decision till its completion. After the end of the war, they began debating a similar effort to remove the neogi from the spheres.
Before the Second Unhuman War, the Grand Admiral was a tiny elven woman who was centuries old. Sometime after 1362 DR and the beginning of the Second War, the Grand Admiral was briefly a male elf. Within a few years, he was apparently replaced by an elven woman named Serin Ghar, who was a near celebrity on the island of Evermeet.
The elves ultimately won the Second Unhuman War but at great loss to their fleets. At least one historian postulated that the elven fleets had spread themselves so thin that they were doomed to meet the same fate as the goblinoids after the First Unhuman War.
In the late 1360s DR, the Admiral of the Realmspace Fleet was Icarus, the Admiral of the Krynnspace Fleet was Yerthad, and the Admiral of the Greyspace Fleet was Krissos. Prior to Icarus, the admiral in charge of the Rock of Bral's sphere was Uliananor Cirathorn, but he was killed early in the Second Unhuman War.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Curtis Scott (1992). The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook. Edited by Barbara G. Young. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 84–85. ISBN 1-56076-347-7.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Dale "slade" Henson (March 1992). “War Captain's Guide”. In Jon Pickens ed. War Captain's Companion (TSR, Inc.), p. 55. ISBN 1-56076-343-4.
- ↑ Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Dale "slade" Henson (March 1992). “War Captain's Guide”. In Jon Pickens ed. War Captain's Companion (TSR, Inc.), pp. 19–20. ISBN 1-56076-343-4.
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Lorebook of the Void”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 55–56. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
- ↑ Roger E. Moore (May 1992). The Maelstrom's Eye. (TSR, Inc.), p. 42. ISBN 1-56076-344-2.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Roger E. Moore (January 1999). Demihumans of the Realms. (TSR, Inc.), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1316-9.
- ↑ Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
- ↑ Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- ↑ Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
- ↑ Roger E. Moore (May 1992). The Maelstrom's Eye. (TSR, Inc.), p. 80. ISBN 1-56076-344-2.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Elaine Cunningham (November 1992). The Radiant Dragon. (TSR, Inc.), p. 23. ISBN 1-56076-346-9.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Bruce Nesmith (1991). Goblins' Return. Edited by Anne Brown. (TSR, Inc.), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-149-0.
- ↑ Roger E. Moore (May 1992). The Maelstrom's Eye. (TSR, Inc.), p. 36. ISBN 1-56076-344-2.
- ↑ Roger E. Moore (May 1992). The Maelstrom's Eye. (TSR, Inc.), p. 18. ISBN 1-56076-344-2.