Haunted Sea
“If it is true, all things go to the ocean, the Haunted Sea is the destination – and the journey — of hate, malice, and evil.” - Elias Stern, seaman and cartographer

Capital: None
Settlements: Kormus (2,500), Port Calist (3,900), Sthenno (2,800), Xebic (2,400)
Ruler: None
Government: Dictatorships
Races: Forlarren, Half-Medusa, Human, Maenad, Orcam, Obitu, Ratfolk, Satyrine, Tiefling, Undine
Faiths: Kamus, Lyvalia, Nise, Rajuk Amon-Gore, Shade
Resources: Seafood, slaves, spices, treasure
Languages: Abyssal, Aquan, Common, Maenad, Necril, Orcam, Sylvan, Terran
Border Conditions: Restricted (an irregular porphyrite border surrounds the Haunted Sea). The seas change location within the oceans of Porphyra. A decipherable pattern of their predicted location is known only to a select few.

History
In another place, a primitive place where the waters grew higher every year, there was an archipelago whose name has been lost to time. Never a peaceful or a pleasant place, those who lived there were not, either. Storms wracked the shores of the islands, and they were very dear to the mercurial goddess of storms, ships and the sea, Nise the Battlemaiden. When she brought the transient islands to Porphyra during The Calling, the Elemental Lords treated them no better than she had, taking delight in the destruction and persecution of the inhabitants. Nise’s bold strategy of making the islands move with the moons aided their contribution to the NewGod Wars, though it made it no better for the people.

Storms intensified, volcanic islands sprang up, and the waters became infested with unnameable horrors. Those who survived the transition and the war found themselves subtly changed, and the seas around them boiling with cruelty, unspeakable things, and the undead. They also found the mangled heaps of shipwrecks from a thousand worlds, and treasure the likes of which Poprhyra had never seen. As the battles of the gods and elementals ebbed, tales of the horrors and wonders of the Haunted Sea began to spread and brought hardened men, women of fortune, and treasure hunters from every corner of the world. Pirate colonies like Port Calist and Kormus grew to serve the growing ranks of buccaneers, who prowled the local waters.

One of the new islands, Sthenno, was home to a colony of medusae and half-medusae, and quickly asserted its power in the Haunted Sea by claiming the nearby islands of Telmon and Rortuk, and enslaving the inhabitants. Bridging the open sea between the islands they created the first true nation state in the Haunted Sea. This new power was quickly challenged by Xebic, an island city that took its name from the titanic dragon turtle upon whose back the island rested. The war between Sthenno and Xebic shaped much of the latter history and politics in the region. Necromancers on both side of the conflict “conscripted” thousands of zombies, wraiths and more dire forms, to crew privateers and terrorize their enemies. The conflict escalated until the dark magi lost control of their vassals: the ghost ships coalesced into what came to be known as the Plague Armada.

Led by a revenant known as the Black Goat, the Armada threatened to wipe all life from the Haunted Sea. The monstrous fleet forced the powers of the region and the pirate kings to work together to contend with the threat, culminating at the Battle of the Vortex. After the Plague Armada took the island of Kandul and regrouped for an assault on Port Calist, the allied navy formed a flotilla around the mystic turtle Xebic, coordinating their attack as an ambush at the Jadji Vortex, the largest whirlpool on Porphyra. The Plague Armada had other ideas, reanimating all of the poor souls dragged down by the maelstrom over the years. The outlook was bleak, but then the flotilla opened up with spell and cannon, covering for the great turtle, Xebic, who had prepared a monumental spell. No one is sure what Xebic did that day, but both navies were surrounded by blinding green light, and when it faded, the shell of the turtle was empty, the Black Goat had vanished, and the Plague Armada was decimated. Mauled but victorious, the allied navy split up and returned to slave trading and piracy.

Current Events
The unique mobile nature of the Haunted Sea and its islands has served to make the vile ports there incredibly cosmopolitan, and the buccaneers that live there extremely adaptable to the needs and possibilities of the locale. When in the Eastern Cold Sea, they raid the Brown Coast villages for slaves, or sell arms to the zendiqi.

When in the northern Opal Sea, they sell prisoners to the gulags, and hire themselves out to the Jheriaks as troop ships. Only in the Bay of Gods do they find a single dedicated purpose; harry the fleets of Freeport, and make them pay. Capturing a Lyvalian Patron is the ultimate goal, and the bravo who does so will be well rewarded.

When not preying on other nations nearby, the nation states and tribes of the Haunted Sea are in a state of undeclared naval war, and have been so since the Battle of the Vortex. Most privateer ships carry multiple letters of marque and act as pure mercenaries. Sthenno, Kormus and Xebic are still the primary powers in the Sea, but the wealth and pirate connections of Port Calist have rocketed the once small fishing community into a local power of great importance in both trace and military might.

Settlements
The major settlements of the Haunted Sea are:

  • Kormus is a center of debauchery and vice, the finest in the Sea. Boasting dozens of casinos, brothels, and other pits of sin, Kormus caters to those whose tastes are too exotic to be sated by Port Calist and Xebic.
  • Port Calist, once a sheltered fishing village, ‘The Port’ became the favorite port of pirates, adventurers and merchants looking for extraordinary goods and services. The calm-watered docks welcomes any and all who wish to spend or sell, and is now quite rich by Porphyran standards.
  • Sthenno, called the Viper’s Nunnery by most sea dogs, is an island-state populated almost entirely by medusae, half-medusa, and their slaves. Little is known about the inner workings of the place other than Queen Antropda is the absolute ruler, a spellcaster and assassin of great skill.
  • Xebic is a city still in mourning of its vanished spiritual leader. The floating island is anchored six miles from where the great turtle gave its life to save its people. Recently maenads have colonized the inner shell of the lost Xebic. The port of Xebic is the chief producer of ships in the region.

Intrigues

  • Reports of a white ship, called The Reckoning, is attacking slavers and pirates in the Sea. Crewed by archons, divas and obitu, it is a huge dreadnaught bearing uncountable cannon, and a haloed captain with wings of fire. Queen Antropda has offered a cask of gold for his head.
  • A new island, covered in thick jungle has appeared in the Cannibal Island chain. Nothing too unusual, but ten empty ships are moored on its shores- and there are rumors of the Black Goat in the region. Several merchant companies are offering rewards for a map of that island, and answers to what happened to the ships.
  • Something off the coasts of Kormus is stirring. Years of cultic activity on Kormus have been ignored by the port-holders, until a purplelightninged storm wrecked the Liosalfar, a beautiful elven barque captained by the local Thieves’ Guild boss’s brother. In his grief, he has sworn to shut down business in Kormus until the cult is expunged.

See Also