In summer, hurricanes can develop on the sea and sweep in almost any direction, but most often strike the southern lands.
The Azure Sea is a known habitat of merfolk, many living in the coastal waters near civilised lands. Sahuagin seem to prefer
colder waters and encounters with them are rare.
This is more likely an ocean extending southwards for thousands of miles. It is used only by necessity by ships sailing
through the Tilva Strait between the central and eastern seas of The Demesnes. Even so, ships stick
to the coasts for fear of sea monsters and fierce tropical storms. Pirates from the
Olman Islands prey on such traffic, making it a long and arduous journey.
Few ships from The Demesnes have ever sailed further south, and it remains mysterious and unknown.
Warm currents from far to the west sweep through this ocean, making the climates of Zeif
and Ekbir hotter than would be expected at this latitude. In winter the warm water
combined with the cold air produce thick fogs which drift far inland, providing the desert regions with most of their
annual moisture. The ships of Zeif and Ekbir sail to the west to distant lands and bring back exotic spices and silk,
though sometimes fall prey to unknown dangers along the way.
Grendep Bay is wracked by severe winter storms which preclude any shipping on its waters. As soon as they abate in
spring, however, the longships of the Frost Barbarians and
Snow Barbarians make their way south for the raiding season. They try to
return as late in the autumn as possible, since the warmth of summer attracts many large sea monsters to the deep waters of
the central bay. Ratik maintains a naval presence on the bay to deter the barbarians,
as well as a small merchant fleet which sails southwards to trade with more civilised nations.
The Icy Sea freezes over in winter, breaking up again each summer. The people of the
Hold of Stonefist and the Ice Barbarians
sometimes venture on to the ice to hunt seals and polar bears. Longships of the Ice Barbarians sometimes venture into the
treacherous waters for raiding expeditions - but many fall prey to the icebergs and thick fogs. Small boats are however
commonly used, for fishing and whaling.
Little more than a private sea for the Hold of the Sea Princes, Jeklea Bay
sees little shipping. The Sea Princes sometimes mount expeditions to the Amedio Jungle
for rare woods and spices, but hostile receptions from the natives make these a dangerous proposition.
This lake is vast but relatively shallow. It is bordered by marshes which form a habitat for bands of lizard men.
Perrenland lays claim to the entire lake, but the
Wolf Nomads often camp on the northern shores. Since the nomads do not build
ships, Perrenland's ships are the only ones which sail on the lake. Occasionally they run into trouble, however, from
monsters. There are rumours of pirates operating out of a secret base near the
Yatil Mountains, but nothing has been proven yet.
Also known as "The Lake of Unknown Depths", the Nyr Dyv is the largest body of fresh water in The Demesnes. Several
navigable rivers flows into the lake, and two drain it to the sea, making it a natural hub for shipping. Despite the
concentration of cargoes, piracy is rare thanks to the presence of strong naval forces from the surrounding countries.
The Nyr Dyv is the home of the Rhenee bargefolk, who live on their big, flat barges. They ply the waters of the lake and its nearby rivers, seeking opportunities for trade, but always return to the lake for winter.
The depth of the Nyr Dyv is unknown, but the lake is known to be very deep indeed. Occasionally huge sea monsters rise
from the depths to terrorise ships, though such are usually dispatched by massed naval hunts. More commonly, sahuagin
attack ships on the open water, and sometimes raid coastal towns. There is some conjecture that the sahuagin population
in the lake is linked to that in Woolly Bay, raising the disturbing possibility that sahuagin
travelling parties swim the length of the Selintan River, right past the City of Greyhawk.
The Oljatt is a large stretch of open water extending south-east along the coast of
Hepmonaland. Ships from the Spindrift Isles
and the Lordship of the Isles sometimes sail south to search the jungles for
valuable commodities, but the trip is dangerous because of enormous sea monsters. The monsters of the Oljatt Sea are reputed
to be larger than anywhere else, and tales of them dragging down entire galleys are common. Additionally, summer hurricanes
on the sea are devastating. For these reasons, it has been little explored.
This is a busy shipping lane for merchant traffic between Nyrond,
Almor, the Great Kingdom, and the
South Province. A few privateers can be found, sponsored by one or another of
these countries, but cargo vessels are generally safe here due to a considerable naval presence from all four nations.
A greater threat is posed by sahuagin raiders, who are relatively common in this area, and the occasional sea monster.
Sea of Gearnat
The Sea of Gearnat is the most crowded open-water merchant shipping channel in The Demesnes. Cargoes arrive downriver
from the Nyr Dyv and surrounding countries, making their way to the
Great Kingdom or Almor, or into the
Azure Sea and to countries beyond, as well as moving in the opposite direction. It is also
unofrtunately close to The Pomarj, from where pirates prey on the rich picking.
Strong storms can lash the sea at times, usually in the spring and autumn. Sahuagin also attack ships and sometimes
raid coastal settlements around the sea. Gearnat also marks the northern limit of known merfolk settlements, though
there are persistent rumours of them being found in Woolly Bay and Relmor Bay.
It is not known how far eastwards the Solnor stretches. The Sea Barons claim to have
sailed for weeks to the east without encountering land. There are some odd rumours of the
Ice Barbarians or Snow Barbarians
having discovered a rich new land to the east, but most do not believe such things. Either way, the ocean is a dangerous
place, with terrible storms, large becalmed areas, and huge sea monsters. It also supports many sahuagin, who sometimes
raid the coasts of the North Province,
Great Kingdom, and the Sea Barons.
The calm, protected waters of Spindrift Sound see some of the fiercest naval action in The Demesnes. The fleets of the
Sea Barons and the Spindrift Isles clash
frequently with no quarter asked or given. The Spindrift Isles claim the right to tax all traffic passing through the
sound, a policy with which the Sea Barons naturally disagree, since most of their trade is with the
See of Medegia and the Lordship of the Isles.
Adding to this explosive mix are occasional sahuagin raids. A few merfolk also call the sound home.
The narrow Tilva Strait is the only link between the central and eastern waters of The Demesnes. As such, it is used by
a fair number of ships, but not as many as one might think for the journey is dangerous once the
Densac Gulf is reached. Additionally, savage tribes from Hepmonaland
sometimes launch attacks in large canoes on ships which wander within sight of its shores.
White Fanged Bay
This bay is named for the sharp icebergs which float on it, calved from the glaciers which descend from the
Griff Mountains. Although it does not freeze solid in winter, shipping is hazardous
in the extreme and the Hold of Stonefist operates only a few vessels which make
the short run to the Forlorn Forest for hunting and logging.
This large lake drains via the Veng River to the Nyr Dyv. It sees some trade, but in recent times it
has mostly been witness to naval proliferation as Furyondy,
The Horned Society, and Iuz all go to war with
one another. The Rhenee bargefolk still travel as far as Whyestill, looking for trade, but the situation has all but
stopped other commercial shipping.
Some merfolk are known to live in the lake, but sightings have been scarce since the wars erupted. Monster attacks have
however been increasing due to less vigorous monitoring.
A very busy shipping channel, Woolly Bay sees a great deal of traffic making the run from the Nyr Dyv
to or from the Sea of Gearnat and places beyond. The presence of the
Wild Coast and The Pomarj make it hazardous,
however, with many pirates preying on the merchant fleets. Add to this no strong naval presence, plentiful sahuagin raiders,
severe winter storms, and the odd sea monster or two, and sailing the length of the bay becomes an adventuresome proposition.