Fantasy Guide to Carriages, Coaches and Vehicles
Your nobles are ready for the ball and your adventurers are ready to go off in their quest. But how to get there in style rather than run off on horseback? You may need to hitch a ride in these bitchin’ vehicles.
The cart is an open, flat wheeled vehicle that usually transports people and goods. The cart would be used by the commons, escpecially those travelling with goods such as wares to sell in markets. The cart would also be used by nobility and royalty as well to carry their trunks and chests. The cart would be horse-drawn or even people-driven.
The carriage is a private vehicle that is horse-drawn. Commoners could hire them like public transport to get to long distance locations but these were often shared. Carriage were not always comfortable as they were set on leather straps or strings which can sometimes jostle the occupier. Queen Elizabeth II complained that her carriage for her coronation made for a bumpy ride because of this.
A coach is a closed-in four-wheeled carriage drawn by horses. The coach was usually driven by a coachman accompanied by footmen to open and close the doors. Coaches could be hired within cities but grand ones were a status symbol. The more horses that took to pull it, the richer you were because the greater the expense of keeping them. Mistresses in the Baroque period often showed off to each other by driving their coaches up and down before the houses of rivals. (of course when one did to Nell Gwyn, she responded by driving a mile cart up and down the rival mistress’s house yelling ‘whores to the market!’
The tanga is an Indian horse drawn carriage set on two large wheels. The passengers would sit in the rear while the driver sits up front. A canopy would be draped over the passengers to shield them from the sun.
The troika is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses harnessed abreast. The three horses each have a different gait: the middle horse trots while the side horses canter. The troika became a status symbol during the later years of the Imperial years of the Russian Empire. The troika was often hung with bells to warn people of its coming.
The barouche is an open carriage drawn by two horses and set on four wheels. Four passengers could be seated with within it two facing the horses and two face the rear. A roof could be drawn up over the passengers to protect them from vad weather.
A buggy is a horse-drawn carriage able to bear two passengers and set on two wheels. The buggy had a folded roof and was often driven by one of the passengers. It was used as an informal vehicle for the rich for going about the country and the poorer just it for travelling long distances.
The Berline is probably the first thing one thinks of when thinking of a carriage. It was a covered four-wheeled vehicle usually drawn by two of more horses. The driver would be seated outside while the passangers sat with.