Questions tagged [age-of-sail]

For questions set in the historical period dominated by sailing ships, or an analogous historical period in a fictional world. Usually pertains to transportation.

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16
votes
11answers
4k views

Can a low-tech sailing ship tell how deep the water is?

I'm trying to figure out the challenges faced by a low-tech civilization mapping its world. They have access to roughly Renaissance level technology, plus some (not very abundant) magic. One question ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Is a privately owned nomadic trading fleet economically viable?

A popular trope with some basis in history is the "travelling merchant", who visits remote villages carrying merchandise both common and rare, and many stories from strange lands. I've got a scenario ...
14
votes
5answers
571 views

An Aztec ship sails east - where does it land?

Given: An ahistorically powerful and advanced Aztec civilisation, anno late 1400s. A set of circumstances much like the ones that led Columbus west: one mad Aztec convinced the world was rather small ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

How feasible is a mobile city that sails across a salt flat?

Imagine a huge salt flat like Bonneville or Salar de Uyuni. Due to other logistical concerns, commerce between the economic powers on either side of the flat is forced travel across it. This has ...
2
votes
8answers
306 views

Massive naval cannons on age of sail ships?

So in a related question, I asked about cannons vs ships made of treated (magically) hardened, and while answers weren't as helpful as I hoped, comments provided a direction in which I focused my ...
5
votes
5answers
206 views

How could wyverns fight effectively if they can't carry stuff around?

So, two nations are in a war, land is off-topic as it's filled with zombies and necromancer zombies. The other logical option is the sea. Now, one nation has these creatures, called wyverns. Wyverns ...
0
votes
3answers
217 views

How can my 1.2 km long aircraft carrier catch ships like “Queen Anne's Revenge”? [closed]

Rod Reiss is the name of my fictional aircraft carrier. It's a 1.2 km long, 180 meters wide and 90 meters high slab of metalic foam of an alloy of aluminum, designed to withstand high temperatures. It'...
5
votes
2answers
192 views

Practicality of a ship-sized twisted-rubber engine

I was considering this answer I wrote: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/21374/75 It got me to wondering... if we had a flying sailing ship with a twisted-rubber energy storage device that ...