Archipelago: a whole mess of islands in one spot. (Orumchek's First International Book o' Words.) Method of cultural transmission and economic integration in an archipelago: not walking. (Orumchek's Book o' the Obvious.) - The single most dominant fact of life in the archipelago, as an archipelago (as opposed to a scattering of isolated cultures) is sea transport. It has been brought to my attention that we have yet to discuss how this is accomplished. Okay, yeah, by boats. But I think we might want some more detail than that. So: what sort of ship tech are we looking at? To start us off, I'll say that there are basically three methods of pre-industrial propulsion available: (1) oars; (2) sails; (3) both. I think we can safely assume that some form of sail is in use, as I'm not familiar with any long-distance seaborne trading that relied exclusively on oared vessels, not even in relatively tranquil, enclosed bodies of water. Which still leaves us with a lot of territory. Ships capable of both sailed and oared propulsion have definite advantages once one gets near shore, or even when one wants to go one direction and the wind rudely insists on some other. Or, worse, none at all. They also have definite disadvantages, the biggest I can think of being that they require a lot more crew, which cuts into operating budget and, more importantly, cargo space. Sail-only ships maximize cargo space and minimize crew requirements (Columbus' three crappy little ships had a total of 86 crewmen, and they made it across the Atlantic). While any trained crew can tack with the wind, it's a lot easier not to have to–and a lot faster, especially during docking; and prior to gunpowder weaponry (something else I don't believe we've addressed), they aren't going to be much good at fighting anything that does have oars… especially if it also has a ram. Of course, this leaves out the possibility of having harnessed giant sea turtles or whatnot, but I figured we should probably start with the basics. I'd also say that, unlike many other technologies, whatever we decide on for this one is probably the overwhelming standard throughout the archipelago, since, considering its importance to all the archipelago's inhabitants, any innovations that produced genuine improvement would be seized upon and copied almost at once. That doesn't mean that all ships are identical; it does mean that there isn't going to be one culture with square-rigged three-masters while everyone else is still using single-masted, lateen-sailed ships. Note that this also only applies to the primary long-range merchanting (and possibly military) ship types; ships that remain in coastal waters could still be conceivably just about anything. So: who wants what?