Check out Toy Soldiers: Old School, our live Pathfinder 1e campaign on Twitch!

Ensign

The lowest ranked commissioned officer, an Ensign is mostly responsible for support tasks

As seen in A Few Good Elves
7.Ensign.png
An Ensign is the most junior commissioned officer aboardships. Also known as a "2nd Lieutenant," a "Junior Lieutenant," or a "Sub-Lieutenant," they usually assist the other officers in support tasks. Ensigns are rated according to order of seniority aboard an Avalonian Imperial Navy ship.   The name "ensign" is another word for a flag. As might be gleaned from this, Ensigns are responsible for the flag and signaling. The on-duty Ensign in charge of this is also called a Yeoman.   Ensign is also the typical rank assigned to a Ship's Druid , who is responsible for tending the ship's garden, and for the health and "repair" of the Starseed ship on which they serve.   Ensigns are of sufficient rank to be assigned permanent duty as a Star-Pilot, which usually means they Pilot pinnaces, messenger-craft, and transports, but can also mean a subordinate position as a Pilot on a ship-of-the-line. They may also command a prize-ship, a watch, or a crew on their Captain's orders.

Qualifications

Ensigns are chosen from among promising Midshipmen as candidates for command. They require a basic education in literacy and mathematics. If they intend to train as a Star-Pilot, they also need to be capable of casting some form of magic.   A particularly promising Druid may be allowed to "bone up" on the other necessary qualifications of an Ensign's rank in order to facilitate their advancement.

Requirements

An Ensign is required to have been a Midshipman for at least five years before they are considered for the position. It is worth noting that many Midshipmen are still younger than the age of majority (40 years) after this period, so as with Middies. all minors are dismissed from service if combat conditions present themselves to the crew of their ship; whether this due to wartime conditions, or just particularly dangerous assignments.

Appointment

After the required five years, with a recommendation from their commanding officer, a would-be Ensign must pass an examination from the Navy Board that tests their knowledge of navigation, command, mathematics, literacy, and starfaring. Assuming they pass the test, they receive the promotion.

Duties

Ensign is a commissioned rank, and therefore falls directly in the chain of command. NCOs answer to them. In practice, this is more likely to mean than the Junior Lieutenant relays the commands of the higher-ranking officers to the non-commissioned ranks, but occasionally it may mean giving orders of their own. They are expected to put on a brave front in the face of danger, and to show leadership qualities to inspire the crew under their command. There is also a greater expectation of not embarrassing the Navy with their actions; they are expected to be a good example.

Responsibilities

Avalonian Navy Crest.png
Avalonian Imperial Navy Crest
An Ensign begins to assume the duties of command. Such duties might range from commanding a sail crew, to commanding the signals, to commanding a weapons crew, and even to commanding a boarding action, a small messenger or warship, or a prize ship's crew. However, most of their duties, unless they are the Ship's Druid, are support tasks; running messages, fetching coffee, and doing paperwork.   An Ensign serving as a Ship's Druid is responsible for the tending, care and growth of the Starseed ship and the ship's garden. A ship's garden both serves as an additional source of food and medicine, and as an additional refresher to the air supply.   A Sub-Lieutenant who is training as a Star-Pilot may be called upon to either serve as a secondary Pilot on a warship, or to Pilot pinnaces and, potentially, small fighter-craft. They might also be called upon to Pilot prize-ships back to an appropriate port-of-call. They are not usually trusted with the responsibility of Piloting an Imperial messenger ship.

Benefits

An Ensign is paid 18 Galaxies (platinum) and 5 Novae (gold) per year.   Like all Naval starhands, a Junior Lieutenant's food and accommodations while on active duty are provided. Further, an Ensign is a commissioned officer, and is entitled to receive "half-pay" when not on active duty. This is literally half the wages they typically receive when in active service.

Accoutrements & Equipment

2.Ensign Pin.png
Ensign Rank Pin
Ensigns are issued a standard uniform that includes silver-grey trousers, navy-blue dress shirt, navy-blue dress coat with white trim and brass buttons, brass-buckled belt and bandolier, sea boots, sword, and a Starmetal Talisman worn about the neck against a starched white collar, to provide them a short period of air and pressure, should they happen to fall overboard. They are also issued a blue beret with white trim, which is the main immediately-visible difference between their uniform and that of a Midshipman.   If a Junior Lieutenant is also a Ship's Druid , they are issued a blue headband, which carries a live plant, usually a Starflower or other starfaring flora. The exact plant used varies with individual fleet tradition. A Ship's Druid does wear sword and bandolier, but this is often ceremonial, since their calling may require them to only use natural, unworked weaponry.   An Ensign-Pilot is also issued a silver-grey flight suit. The suit is designed to be loose fitting and comfortable, and may feature a butt-flap. There is a patch on the front with a metal chevron and button, which, on a Sub-Lieutenant's uniform, are both made of brass. Ensign-Pilots are also issued a shorter boot to replace the hot, sweaty sea boots, a bomber jacket with brass strips along the sides, goggles, and a silver scarf. These suits are more easily worn with the belt buckle version of a Starmetal Talisman, which is less constricting, and less hot and itchy, than the collar.   The rank insignia of an Ensign is a brass double-crescent pin, worn at the collar of a coat or flight suit. Coats also feature an embroidered epaulet with the double brass crescent, and this is also stitched onto the middle of the upper back part of the flight suit. For this reason, regulations require that a Pilot keep their hair off of their neck, exposing the insignia.   To more easily distinguish them from Middies, Ensign-Pilots are required to wear their berets with their flight suits.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

A Junior Lieutenant can be dismissed from service for inappropriate conduct, abusing their position, inappropriate behaviour, or dereliction of duty, through a court martial. They can also be dismissed due to unfitness for service due to physical or mental defect.   As a commissioned officer, it is more difficult to dismiss an Ensign from service than an NCO. Demotion is far more likely, although due to most officers being drawn from the noble classes, this is viewed with a certain shameful stigma.
Don't forget that you can click on the blue compass on the left to access the Table of Contents at any time!
A Few Good Elves WA.png

Want to read all of the Toy Soldier Saga fiction, even before the rest of the world does?Subscribe now!

07a AIN 2nd LT Ensign.png
Basic uniform of an Ensign
Type
Civic, Military, Commissioned
Form of Address
Ensign, Junior Lieutenant, Sub-Lieutenant; elan (sir,) elana (ma'am) or elanan (non-gendered term of respect)
Alternative Naming
Second Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant, Junior Lieutenant, Sub-Lieutenant
Equates to
Marine Ensign
Source of Authority
Star Command
Length of Term
Indefinite
Reports directly to
Related Organizations
Ensigns are often assigned to Pilot pinnaces and small fighter-craft.
New uniforms and rank insignias from the tailor arrived the next day. Shaundar wondered who had ordered them. They came with a certificate of promotion.   “Ensigns now?” Selena asked. “You get a promotion for defying the Mithril? That’s a switch.”   Shaundar nodded. “Well, we’ve officially taken our Oaths now. So if they’re going to recognize our previous service, we’d have to be officially commissioned officers.”   Selena nodded. “Right! Because Cadets and Midshipmen have no command authority.” She grinned and sketched them a salute. “Congratulations, sirs!”
A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison

ManoWar2010v3.jpg

Man O War 2010 by Silverblade the Enchanter

Ship's Druids are responsible for the care, growth, and "repair" of a Starseed ship.

07c AIN 2nd LT Ensign Flight Suit.png
Ensign's Flight Suit
07d AIN 2nd LT Flight Suit Variant.png
Ensign's Flight Suit with Protective Gear
07b AIN 2nd LT Ensign Druid.png
Uniform of a Ship's Druid (Ensign's Rank)


Cover image: Ranks & Ratings Cover by Verti

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
26 Mar, 2021 11:40

Really thorough article! I really enjoy the detail you go into about the ranks. They really make the navy feel like a living, breathing entity. :)

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea! Please check out my peculiar plants entry! :)
27 Mar, 2021 08:04

Thanks, Emy! That makes me happy because that's my hope. The Navy is so central to my plot, it's really important for the reader to understand how it works and believe in its authenticity :)

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
Powered by World Anvil