A fleet represents one or more ships; it could be a single large swift vessel or a fleet of half a dozen much smaller vessels. Fleets are able to sail to foreign ports to trade for resources and precious items that are valuable in the Empire.
If the players does not select a downtime option for their fleet, it is randomly assigned a single foreign port to visit between events. The owner gains the resources to be had from trading at that port.
A new player who starts with a fleet receives a random trading result from the table below. It is not possible to choose which port your fleet has traded at before you attend your first event.
You may choose one of ten foreign or barbarian ports to trade or raid. Each port provides different commodities for the fleet ower.
A fleet can be upgraded using weirwood obtained from the Bourse. A fleet produces more valuable resources each time it is upgraded, according to this chart of foreign ports.
To upgrade a fleet requires Imperial Wains of weirwood equal to the level the fleet is being upgraded to. So the first upgrade of a starting level 1 fleet costs 2 Imperial Wains of weirwood, from 2 to 3 costs 3 Imperial Wains, etc.
Instead of Trading with a Foreign port or Raiding a Barbarian port, you may choose to Raid a Foreign port or Trade with a Barbarian port. Doing either provides 1 additional effective level to the personal resource for the purposes of that action.
Raiding a Foreign port will aggravate that nation and will be investigated as a crime under Imperial Law if it is discovered. If sufficient raiding occurs it will lead to the port being closed to the Empire, and therefore unavailable for trading. If this occurs it will still be possible to raid that port, but there will no longer be a bonus for doing so. Further raids against that port may result in them offering aid to the Empire's enemies.
Trading with a barbarian port will aid those Barbarians. It will not make them more friendly to the Empire, and indeed is illegal.