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The Province at War

Weaponry in the world of the latter-day Celts is similar to that used in many eras and in many places prior to the widespread use of firearms. The army of the Province has chosen to model itself in weapons and tactics on the ancient Roman model: substantial but flexible body armor, stabbing and throwing weapons, body shields, field artillery, iron discipline and training. But there are some major differences. First, the Province fields a powerful force of archers (the Line of Bows), all women and almost equal in number to the massed infantry (Line of Blades). Second, the Province’s artillery arm is also a female force. These practices maximize the number of male fighters in the infantry, a necessity brought on by the Province’s relatively low population compared to its potential foes. The Province’s land enemies (Ghaoth Aduaidh, Dubliners) are similarly armed, but with less efficient body armor, less standardization of equipment, and no artillery or massed archery corps. These armies rely in the main on numbers, valor, and determination. They have in the past caused great casualties in the Province army and fought it to a bloody standstill on many occasions.

At sea, the Province Squadron is crewed entirely by women, and for that reason the ships are armed differently from their Kernow Admiralty mentors. While Admiralty ships prefer to rely on superbly armed and trained Marines to board and destroy or capture enemy ships, Province warships are armed with eight long-range ballistae (bolt throwers), four to each side of the ship and mounted on swivels. (Ballistae are stored in above-deck lockers until the ship goes to arms.) These have a range of several hundred yards and can be used to fire killing bolts, “firebolts” that carry an incendiary, or grapple hooks. All crew members are highly trained archers ready to take to the tops and rain down fire on vessels within a hundred yards or so. Each sailor and officer can equally serve a ballista, take up the bow, or work the sails and rigging. When going into combat, officers and ballistae crews don heavy body armor, while archers and sail crews wear a lighter, less burdensome version. Finally, Province warships are built with massive oak bow timbers to allow the use of ramming. Though hand-to-hand combat is not sought and boarding an enemy vessel is not employed as an offensive tactic, Province crews are fully able to fight enemy boarders should that occur in close ship-to-ship combat.

Most of the nautical terms I use can be found in one of many online glossaries of sailing terms. To learn about an existing ship which resembles in size and sail plan the warships of the Province navy (and that of Kernow), spend some time at this excellent website: