The enlisted Warrant Officer in charge of a particular job shipwide
Avalonian Imperial Navy, this is an official rank as well as a rating, descending from sailing tradition. Occasionally, they are assigned to command smaller vessels, or posted to a temporary command when commissioned officers are in short supply. Masters are Warrant Officers, meaning that they have achieved a position of authority through a technical specialty that demands recognition, as opposed to a Commission from the Crown. The Warrant Officers are further divided into Wardroom Warrant Officers, who mess with the junior commissioned officers of the crew, and the Standing Warrant Officers who, unlike most of the crew, stay with the ship even when it is out of commission, and continue to receive full pay through the Royal Dockyard. The Wardroom Warrants include the Standing Warrants include:
- The Ship's Master : the senior warrant officer, a qualified navigator and experienced seaman who sets the sails, maintains the ship's log and advises the captain on the seaworthiness of the ship and crew
- the Chiurgeon : who treats the sick and injured and advises the captain on matters of health
- the Purser : responsible for supplies, food and pay for the crew
- the Boatswain or "Bo'sun" : responsible for maintenance of the ship's boats, sails, rigging, anchors and cables, and also for managing the crew
- the Ship's Carpenter : responsible for maintenance of the ship's hull and masts
- the Artillerist or "Gunny": responsible for care and maintenance of the ship's weapons and ammunition
Not only must a Master have familiarity with sailing, they must have an intimate knowledge of a particular technical specialty.
Masters are distinguished by their knowledge, skill, and interest in a technical specialty aboardships.
A Master is recognized and warranted by the ship's Captain or other commander.
A Master is in a position of considerable authority and trust. They need to provide organization and leadership for a lot of people, and often under tense conditions. Often they are seen as almost a parental figure to the crew beneath them, with the accompanying unspoken (and often unrewarded) duties of dealing with personal grievances, anxieties, and other personal issues. Likewise, a Master often finds themselves in the unenviable position of a person who must break in a junior officer, who may be younger than they are, and likely knows a lot less about the job than the Master does -- but who technically has command authority. Many a Master has broken in a young officer through "white mutinies" and other manipulative tactics to make their commander's job as difficult as possible, or has guided them through difficult times to build them up into a worthy commander.
A Master is in charge of a particular specialty aboard a ship. Responsibilities vary according to the specific position, as detailed above, but regardless, the Master is in charge of a particular aspect of shipboard life, and advises the commissioned officers on this area of expertise. A wise officer listens to the Master and generally does what they suggest, even though the officer has the final authority.
A Master is paid anywhere from 100 to 164 Galaxies (platinum) per year, depending on seniority. Like all Naval starhands, their food and accommodations while on active duty are provided, but these benefits are not provided when their ship is not in active service, unless they are a Standing Warrant (Master, Carpenter, or Purser).
Accoutrements & Equipment
Masters are recognized by their distinctive round, flat-crowned hat, usually in silver-grey, but for a Chiurgeon it might be white instead. They are also issued a standard work uniform that includes silver-grey trousers, white dress shirt, navy-blue vest and dress coat, sea boots, navy-blue tie, and a Starmetal Talisman in a brass belt buckle to provide them a short period of air and pressure, should they happen to fall overboard. In addition, Masters are issued whatever basic equipment they might need for their tasks (surgeon's tools for Chiurgeons, carpentry tools for Carpenters, writing implements for Pursers, whistle for Bo'suns, etc.) Mates with particular specialties might be issued a variation of the uniform more suited to their trade. For example, a Chiurgeon and a Carpenter are both issued a navy blue shirt that is easier to keep visually clean, and a navy-blue coat with many pockets. These coats have different-coloured sleeves to distinguish them from junior commissioned officers. Chiurgeons who are clergy may wear their holy symbols in place of their ties. The rank insignia of a Master is a copper crescent patch, worn at the top of the shirt sleeve or the epaulet of a coat.
Grounds for Removal/Dismissal
A Master 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.
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Civic, Military, Not Commissioned
Form of Address
Master, Mister, Miss; may also be addressed by profession title (ie. "Chiurgeon," "Carpenter," "Bo'sun")
May also be referred to by profession title (ie. "Chiurgeon," "Carpenter," "Bo'sun")
Source of Authority
Length of Term
Reports directly to
A bo'sun's whistle: a symbol of authority, as well as a necessary tool for signals
Avalonian Imperial Navy Flag by Diane Morrison - ship by Aaron Siddall