The Isles of Refuge were established by the Far Seas Trading Company. For the most part they are a collection of islands resting in the large central body of water in the Shattered Lands, the Tranquil Sea. It is from these islands that the Far Seas Trading Company can best base their trade routes out of. There are numerous islands in the Tranquil Sea, not just the Isles of Refuge. These islands are diverse in resources, keeping the Far Seas Trading Company very busy and their mysterious leaders very rich.
One of the most important resources that the Far Seas Trading Company found were the many refugees that had been marooned on any number of isles throughout the Tranquil Sea. All the islands in the Tranquil Sea were once part of the large continent of Antonica. During the Age of Cataclysms the undercontinent below Antonica, Subtunaria, erupted in violent quakes. Much of Subtunaria collapsed and this brought down large sections of Antonica, helping to create the vast Tranquil Sea and its many islands. Marooned out on these shards of a once great continent were a great many villagers, clans, tribes and adventurers.
Not all islanders are seeking refuge within the great and mighty cities of man, but for those that do there are the trade boats of the Far Seas Trading Company. Those cargo ships visit many islands to collect resources to be sold in various markets. Far Seas Trading Posts pop up on many small isles. Not all of those trading posts are public knowledge. Many are secret ports that the Far Seas will share with no nation. I am sure we will discover more islands of the Tranquil Sea in the future, with or without the permission of the Far Seas Trading Company.
There are many oceans and seas on Norrath that have yet to be rediscovered by adventurers or even the FSTC. It will be quite some time until we visit theses oceans to find if any changes have occurred on the surface or below the waves. But we do have a decent chart of the seas resting within the Shattered Lands.
The Shattered Lands has numerous seas dividing its islands. Most of these seas were formed in the recent rending of Old Antonica, what the Shattered Lands used to be. Most of the waterways are dangerous for both the extreme conditions as well as the dangerous denizens that inhabit the water of the air of a given sea. Here are the known seas within the Shattered Lands as charted by the Far Seas Trading Company.
The Coldwind Coast
Relative Island: New Antonica in Karan
This is a cold temperate sea. It has strong winds and choppy waves. It is a great territory for sailing, but only within a ship worthy of ocean travel. Birds of many sizes glide with the currents. Beneath the waters lurk dangers such as sharks and aqua goblins.
The Tranquil Sea
Relative Island: All
This sea is nearly always sunny and with clear skies. It is the largest sea in the Shattered Lands and nearly all islands have direct access to it. The waves here are gentle and allow ships to skim across them with little resistance. This would be a wonderful place to sail if it were not for the lack of wind current. The winds blow far too gently in this sea. Many great ships must employ rows of oars and even magic to provide locomotion for their great hulking vessels that must pass through this sea to reach the Trade City of Freeport located in the Commonlands.
The Neriuss Flow
Relative Island: Nektulos in D’Lere
This is a sea of dark waters. Ash floats above the waves creating a dense black fog. The ash floats in from the northern territory of Lavastorm. It shields many of the lurking beasts within the water as well as occasional Kheklok raiders, a relative race of the frogloks that exists within the ocean depths.
The Sea of Mist
Relative Island: The Enchanted Lands
This is a sea of gently rolling waves and wind currents. It is most known for forming an odd mist during the early hours of dawn. That mist flows with the current to enter the shores of the Enchanted Lands.
The Sea of Crossed Swords
Relative Island: Zek
This is a sea located near the orc island of Zek. The waves here are tall and they create slow navigation, something undesired to any mariners who sail this sea. There are numerous orc patrols sailing these waters and even deep sea orc war galleys passing through to perform raids in adjacent waterways. This sea is considered the territory of the Deathfist Empire.
Relative Island: The Thundering Steppes in Karan
The Seafury is a sea notorious for violent storms and extreme ocean conditions. It is almost always stormy in this region and the waves here dwarf any other sea. Visibility is nearly cut to a minimum and only the largest and strongest creatures can survive in the harsh environment. Aviak air raiders also stalk the winds in search of ships to plunder and sink.
The Sea of Sand
Relative Island: Ro
This sea is like a wall of sandstorms that races around the island of Ro. Any ships that dare sail into this maelstrom is soon to be sandblasted and its crew most certainly with it. There is no known passage through this anomaly. What sort of creatures could exist in this sea is unknown. Rumors abound that the massive sandstorm that comprises this region is actually a sentient being. Such babble is usually scoffed at.
The Gunthak Flow
Relative Island: Ykesha
The Gunthak Flow is a sea of many small uncharted isles. These isles have a great number of lost pirate booty and ruins of old troll fortresses. It exists in a tropical environment. The seas are warm and humid as is the gentle breeze. The breeze occasionally gives way to fierce hurricanes, but that is not a common occurrence.
Relative Island: The Feerrott
This is a sea of countless naval battles. Ages ago this sea was controlled by the second coming of the Rallosian Empire, a brutal ogre militaristic empire that ruled with an iron fist. There are often many shipwrecks to be found in this sea as well as an occasional floating hulk of what was once a formidable ogre War Galley. Numerous stories of ghostly ships abound and cause many mariners to shun this body of water.
The Fanged Sea
Relative Island: Everfrost
This is a sea filled with icebergs and chilling cold winds. A chilly haze fills the sea, cutting visibility down to dangerous levels. Naval vessels will often need to avoid smaller bergs or take damage upon collision. Many ships have had their hulls cut open as easily as a knife cuts through butter jum. Ice storms are frequent in this region.
Relative Island: The Commonlands in D’Lere
This is a sea of rolling waves and an equally gentle breeze, but a breeze of cutting chill. The water is thick with brine and islands of seaweed float along the surface. There is a gentle uneasy calm about this sea. It is well known for the frequent aqua goblin assaults upon nearly any ship that dare cross it. Some sailors report that their ships were boarded by pirates in aqua goblin costumes or even members of the Seafury Buccaneers. The Seafury Buccaneer piracy reports are quickly dismissed since they are part of the Freeportian armed forces and would never return to their days of high seas raids. The sky of this sea is filled with a canopy of gloomy gray clouds that shower down gentle drizzle. The water’s extreme saline content makes it difficult for even normal salt water denizens to exist for long periods of time.
Relative Island: Lavastorm
The Cauldron sits in a locale with an extremely large number of geothermal vents beneath the waves. The sea boils and large bubbles may form that can actually cause damage to a ship’s hull should they collide. Whirlpools are a common sight in this sea. Some portions of the Cauldron can only be navigated by ships reinforced by great magic or technology to survive the boiling sea and searing winds.
The Straits of Twelve
Relative Island: Highbourne
Nestled by the tempest of the Seafury in the north and the Blackwater to the south, this sea can be found. This sea is filled with jagged spires of rock with no accessible land. The spires are the tips of the shattered peaks of the once great Rathe Mountains. The majestic mountain range dropped into the ocean when a massive collapse of the Underfoot occurred beneath it. What land exists is rocky and barren of vegetation. Most spires are too steep to offer level ground to set foot upon. One great danger of this sea is its shallow and jagged basin. Much of the once mountain range sits below the tides and many a ship have had their hulls gutted by unseen daggers of rock stretched towards the surface, but never breaking through. The grandest sight in this sea is the twelve peaks of the Rathe Mountains that jut high above the waves. Their odd and almost lifelike appearance recounts the tales of these twelve mountains actually being titanic beings of earth and rock defeated ages ago by a legendary ogre champion.
The Dead Calm
Relative Island: Unknown if any exists
The Dead Calm is a waterway no seafarer ventures no matter how brave they may be. But there are those who are foolish and it is from tales of these foolish mariners that we get what little information of this sea. All wind and all tides completely cease when you encounter the boundary of this sea. The foolhardy that trudge onward by oars slowly begin to loose energy and become extremely lethargic. As they row onward, their faces and bodies appear to loose fullness as it appears that the life is being sucked out of them. By the time they realize their mistake to enter this sea, it is impossible to retreat to safe waters. The foolish seafarers become part of the derelict graveyard of ships and floating islands of bones that drift in the sea. No mariner has ever been able to survive in this sea to explore the horizon and discover any isle that may hide at the heart of the Dead Calm. A hint of an island at the center of the sea is sometimes reported.
Norrathians have returned from the treacherous seas in the northern territories of the Shattered Lands. With them came wondrous tales of sights never seen One of these tales is said to be a glint of light in a deep frozen atoll. The chill of that fills the bowl formed by the steep cliffs of the atoll makes visibility nearly impossible, yet, a ship dared to brave the mist. What they found was deadly to say the least. Only one sailor made it back, the same cannot be said for his sanity. He ended up in the padded cells of the Freeport Infirmary and Asylum. He told a tale of a glint of light shining in the mist. His captain forced the ship into the thick white fog and onward to this glint. They found a frozen tower, an elven tower. This tower seemed to offer no access, but apparently it did withstand a powerful blast of cold wind. This blast froze the tower, made evident by the long thick icicles that stretch off to one side. The sailor said they found a breach within the icy armor of the tower. They all entered, but only one made it out. His mind gone, all he could mutter was the word, “Fayspire”. How such a madman managed to sail that ship out of there is a mystery just like the frozen atoll that cannot be found on any map.
This island actually exists as part of a grouping of isles known as the Isles of Ebb. I will try and send you some lore on the whole island chain some time, but here is a bit about the island in question. This is a small blurb from early design, enjoy:
o Talysra’s Paw
This is the largest island of the chain. A small volcano mount sits on the island. This island has a bumpy wide sand bar running along the north half of it. The sand bar’s four high points are always above water and give the island the appearance of a massive cat’s paw. The Kerran’s who have come to inhabit this island are a secluded sect of the Kerran society. They have named the island after their newly found cat god, Talysra. They have also built a small village called Talys on the island. The densest woods of Aqua Palms appear here as do the regional flower and coconut trees. A small fissure in the side of the small volcanic mount has a tiny trickling floe of lava that seeps down to the northeast corner of the island where it runs into the water and creates vapor.
Oh wow, and here is a bit about the actual village on the island. Some of this lore may never be seen, but I hope you enjoy the original write up:
This is the only village in the sea and is a frequent stop of sailing vessels. The village is inhabited by a secluded sub tribe of Kerran’s calling themselves the Laahr. These Kerrans have come to study their roots and unlike the Kerrans of Kerra Ridge, they worship a new found deity known to few Kerrans. The village is small but has adequate facilities for any traveler. There is an inn located across a bamboo bridge and on one of the islands sand bar isles. A gnome from the Academy of Arcane Science, Professor R.J. Skittlewit, has come to Talys to challenge his wits of engineering by providing the natives with contraptions made out of the natural materials and employing natural resources. Machines exist such as a mill made of bamboo and reeds powered by the steam vent of the volcanic fissure. There is a vault also created by the gnome for adventurers to store supplies, allow for banking and store export goods. The Laahr have built a dock and supply outriggers for rent.
It may be a bit more than you see in the Age of Turmoil, but here it is:
o Isle of the Dead
Long ago, in secrecy, the ——— placed the crypts of the most evil mortals of the time on this island. The island appears as a rocky island surrounded by jagged rocks. The topdown view of the island is that of a skull. Massive stone totems were placed on the shoreline to ward away the curious and keep in any evil spirits. There is an ancient mortuary and tomb for five ——- and ——-. A small temple was eventually built on the island. This temple hides the ———–. The entrance is sealed by magic placed upon a massive stone disc that must be rolled aside before one can gain entry. There is one long wide passage that tells the story of the island through images. There is a center chamber with ———-. There is —— in the middle that is used to ———. There are many —— in —–. Each passage tells the history of the vile acts committed by the mortal whose tomb lies at the end of the passage. Many ——– guard the inside of the tomb. The topside of the island is guarded by evil itself, evil specters and apparitions to repel any who wish to gain entry into the tombs.
There are numerous islands located in the Shattered Lands. Not all of these islands will be presented in game, but we know they are there. One of these islands happens to contain a chunk of forestland once known as the Unkempt Wood. The Far Seas Trading Company believes that a portion of that woodland is what forms the island that they call The Forbidden Forest. The cliffs of this towering isle are nearly impossible to scale. If one were to begin the long climb along the cliffs they would no doubt encounter one of the many birds of prey that dwell there, many of which are quite large and vicious.
Veiled by the constant downpour of the sea known as the Phantom Sea, rests a little isle feared by those who are unfortunate enough to know of its existence. This isle is known by seafarers and avoided for the countless fears that rest on the isle. A dense woodland that swallows this forest isle shields what lies within and only one end offers access to those who dare step foot upon the land. Seafaring tales hint at what may rest inside the thicket. Some tales say that during the day it would seem to be a lifeless land. The land is uneven and trails are like mazes between clearings. Some say a fort of rangers long dead exists far to the end of the isle. It would take nearly a day to trek to and from the fort if one was lucky to correctly navigate the trails. Trees are now long dead and those that have leaves offer little color to the environment. No birds are heard chirping. No deer are seen galloping. It is dead. In the evening this becomes even truer. At night the ground is breached by hands of bone of two undead armies rising again to do battle under the moonlight. It is during this time that no one wishes to be caught upon this little isle of horror.
This last one is a bit of babble about a little known isle called The Serpent’s Fang. Jutting up from the center of the vast Tranquil Sea is what remains of the mammoth Serpent’s Spine mountain range, or at least its greatest remnants. This portion of the sea is quite dangerous for sea travel. Hulls of the greatest ships have been known to rip apart as they barely scrape the tops of the jagged sea mounts lurking just below the surface and in between the jagged isles of this area. Most of what one sees as they near this location are tall spires of eroding rock. The spires of rock are too steep and sheer to scale in any way and have little flat ground to support even a single shack. Many spires contain nests of the behemoth birds of prey called Rukhs. The Serpent’s Fang is the largest remnant of the Serpent’s Spine Mountains. What lies in the cloud covered spires crown is unknown. But some say there are those that walk amongst us that do know… quite well.