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.
In military terms, a starting fleet is the equivalent of 100 marines - it has a military strength of 100. By comparison, a normal Imperial navy has an effective military strength of 5000.
This means that when the skills and experience of a starting fleet are assigned to an action then they add a military strength of 100 to the action. The combined military strength of all participants is crucial for the success of most military actions. If the action is privateering - then the wealth received by the fleet is dependent on its military strength.
Each upgrade increases the military strength of the fleet by 20 with enchantments providing similar bonuses.
Any fleet can always choose to engage in privateering. This happens automatically if the owner does not select any other option. The unit has an equal chance of gaining herbs, ingots or measures, money, or mana crystals as a result of this action - as if it were an appropriate resource of equivalent level.You are free to roleplay the details of this attack as you wish, as it does not have an impact on the ongoing campaign.
Each downtime, the player can choose one of three different types of action which are described in general terms below.
The production the fleet gains is based on the option the player selects each downtime. If the option provides any benefits, then they will usually be dependent on the military strength of the fleet. Depending on the actions taken, the fleet may receive the Imperial guerdon.
If a player does not select a downtime option for their fleet, then the unit defaults to privateering. A new player who starts with a fleet receives a random trading result; it is not possible to choose an action for your fleet before you attend your first event.
Take Independent Action
A fleet can choose to take independent action. They will always be able to choose to take privateering; other options may be available depending on the campaign.
Privateering provides a standard return based on the rank of the fleet, but other independent actions do not provide any returns by default. Make sure to check what production is shown when you select the action from the dropdown if that it is important.
A fleet may trade at any foreign port that is open to Imperial shipping, usually this is the main port of any nation that the Empire is at peace with. Each port provides different commodities for the fleet owner and production can also vary from season to season based on the state of the relationship between the foreign country and the Empire.
Declarations of war and peace are in the hands of the Imperial Senate and The Throne, but foreign nations may also choose to restrict the access of Imperial shipping to their ports - or even close them altogether if they are offended by the actions of the Empire.
A fleet can choose to support an Imperial navy. They will always be able to support any Imperial navy, provided a navy exists; at present the Empire does not have any navies to support. Other military engagements may be available depending on the campaign.
Any fleets assigned to support a navy are automatically assumed to help carry out the orders issued to the navy by the admiral, whatever they may be. You can see what order you will be supporting when you select a navy to support.
Fleets do not automatically earn wealth unless they take privateering, a type of independent action. Other options may provide income for the fleet, but they do not do so by default.
The Quartermaster General of the Imperial Armies has control of the Imperial guerdon, a purse drawn from the Imperial treasury to recompense commanders who act in the interests of the Empire. It is shared between military units whose actions the Quartermaster deems eligible. The Quartermaster makes an announcement to the Imperial Senate each season to indicate which military options will benefit - they may choose any of the options available - they could even give the guerdon to those units taking paid work if they cared to.
The value of the Imperial guerdon is divided between each captain whose military unit supports an army in proportion to the military strength of their unit. The Senate may vote to increase or decrease the size of this fund.
A fleet can be upgraded using weirwood obtained from the Imperial Bourse. Each time a fleet is upgraded, the military strength of the unit is increased by 20. This means a 20% increase in returns from privateering, and a similar proportional increase in the share of the guerdon assigned to the fleet if it receives the guerdon
When trading 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.
A fleet cannot be diversified.