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The Sea of Steam and the Farend Oceanby LoZompatore.
Here is another "cumulative" topic about the Sea of Steam and the Far-End Ocean.
Most of the information about these seas is shrouded in mystery. Anyway I think that it's possible to flesh out a background for this region given some canon and some more or less logical deductions.
- Blackmoor was on Skothar, Evergrun was where now stands the southern polar opening
- I kept the two "Sea Kingdoms" tags showed in the Master set. I supposed that at the end of each arrow shown in the original map there is a separate Sea Kingdom.
- Canonical info are based on these sources: HW, PC3, CoM, PWAIII, HW:KoN, GAZ5, Master Set and Dragon Magazine #200
- The map below does not refer to a specific historical period. Instead it collects the whole known or deduced info about the southern seas region
Here is the map:
- The migrations/explorations of the Elves, Oltecs, Cestians, Oceanians, N'djatwas, Yavis and most of the Tanagoros migrations are taken from canon (HW set, GAZ5 and CoM);
- I assumed that the Milenians coast the island of Bellissaria in order to reach Minaea. The Milenians are not very good seafarers (from PWAIII, for example); given the fact that they are obliged to cross the Spearpoint Strait in order to reach the Minaean region, I supposed that they sailed in sight of the Surshield coast in Bellissaria (let's suppose that the Alphatians didn't give the permission to settle there) and then they crossed the Spearpoint Strait to landfall near their future capital city.
- I highlighted in red the MINIMUM extension of sea that is for sure in reach of the Zyxl's galleys. This extension may be easily deduced from Dragon Magazine #200, where it is said that a Zyxl galley is waited in the city of Gombar (in the Immortal's Arm). In order to estimate the minimum "active" radius of the galleys I used the distance of the narrowest part of the Tangor strait between Zyxl and the Immortal's Arm. Being a minimum radius, it is possible that Zyxl's galleys are able to reach even farther locations.
- About the Sea Kingdoms: I don't know if they are "pure" undersea kingdoms (like the ones described in PC2) or if they also include some islands. I bet for the second choice, so I considered the position of the five kingdoms as possible candidates for the placing of some archipelagos. Notice also that there is a superposition of the easternmost and westernmost sides of the Master's set map (this is deduced from the general Mystara's map of the HW set), so the northernmost sea kingdoms appear to be not very far from Izonda's shores.
- The Tanagoro's movements come from the HW map and from other DotE and CoM information (about the colonising of the Pearl Islands and the Serpent Peninsula). Moreover, from VotPA, it seems that there was some kind of contribution of Tanagoro traits in the Oceanians' appearances (the royal family members of one of the Cestian kingdoms have very dark skin and some other "African" traits, thus being something similar to the present Caribbean population).
We may think that a Tanagoro expedition settled in Oceania sometimes between BC2500 and BC1200 and intermingled with the original Oceanians (of Oltec stock).
From the HW's migration map we see also multiple dates along the same Tanagoro route. For example the route from Tangor to Vulcania shows an intermediate date of BC1600 and a final date of BC1200. So I supposed that these migration stopped along the way for some centuries, colonising some islands that are placed where the arrows of the HW map stops.
- I added some canonical Nithian explorations. For the expedition to the Savage Coast I chose the shortest route, with a land crossing in the Kladanovic/Tyjaret territories. I chose this road because the X6 module describes some Ierendian explorers that are trying to find the shortest route to the Savage Coast by land. CoM says that the Ierendian explorers should be substituted with Nithians, so...
There is also a Nithian route towards Tangor. This is described in the HW:KoN module, that speaks about Nithian explorers reaching the "insular Tangor civilisation that apparently survived the Great Rain of Fire and the Glantrian Catastrophe intact".
Considering that in the same period the Tanagoro are conducing an exploring campaign themselves, I supposed that the Nithians/Tanagoro meeting happened along the road, possibly along the southern shore of Skothar. The colonisation of the Pearl Island may well be a consequence of this early contact between the two cultures (the eastern Alatians being Nithian colonies, from what may be deduced from the names of villages in the IoD map of DotE)
- I showed the ancient trade route between Evergrun and Blackmoor, as per HW pre cataclysmic map with respect to the position of these two kingdoms. This route may be a useful references in order to insert ancient Blackmoorian ruins or lost elven communities in the nearby islands and landmasses.
Aquarendi, merrows and tritons migrations:
From PC3 it is possible to trace back the migration of the Aquarendi from Evergrun to the Sunlit Sea. Here is the relevant bits of information about the Aquarendi movements. Notice that the tag "Aquarendi" in the HW pre-cataclysmic map is for sure located in a wrong position, because it is not in agreement with the information below:
Manwara restored to the Aquarendi the ability to breathe and live underwater. The Aquarendi departed from their kin with great sorrow, and entered the warm seas (3100BC). Never very large in number, the Aquarendi dropped from the pages of the Elven Chronicles; their existence was forgotten entirely in the years of suffering that followed the destruction of Evergrun and Blackmoor.
In the oceans, the Aquarendi discovered many new races.
From these the Aquarendi learned of the struggles taking place between the Immortals as each strived to secure the dominance of his own Sphere.
The sky turned yellow, red and then black. Ash obscured the sun... dark waves lashed against the land, and the canyons of the Deep split open and gouted out fire and destruction... when the ocean stilled, Manwara released his people and they awoke to find a different world. The seas had grown cold, and the land was covered in ice. The peoples divided and sought new homes along the warmer currents that flowed from the north.
As the elements battled one another, the sea peoples turned north and discovered warm seas and tropical islands bordering the southern continent. Here they grew and thrived, but they were no safe from the elemental battles which swept the seas. Volcanoes frequently destroyed their homes, and even sea peoples could not stand up to the great tidal forces that lashed the open seas. It soon became apparent that new seas must be found if the races were to survive. The sea peoples spread throughout the world, and many faded forever from the knowledge of the Aquarendi.
Sundered from their land kin and believing them lost in the destruction of Evergrun, the Aquarendi grieved for many centuries. Then a group of Aquarendi discovered elves living to the north. These were the Meditor and Verdier elves... overjoyed that some of their people were alive, the Aquarendi moved north to the edge of the continent to live next to their cousins.
From the first sentence we must think that in 3100BC the Aquarendi left Evergrun, to settle in a warmer sea. This mean that they moved towards the Pelatan coast, which is shown as a tropical region in the pre cataclysmic map (both in the HW set than in my pre-cataclysmic maps).
Now, the second bit of information says that after the GRoF the Aquarendi's sea become cold and the surrounding lands are covered with ice. This means that the Aquarendi lived near the coast in a region that moved near to the present South Pole after the cataclysm. The only tropical region that turns polar after the Great Rain of Fire is the coast just south of the Pelatan Bay, so I supposed that the Aquarendi lived there in the 3100-3000BC period.
Not very far from Evergrun, but possibly far enough to be forgotten by the land elves.
Notice that in this area the Aquarendi meet other sea races, This is an important clue about the placing of merrows and tritons (see below).
In the third fragment it is said that the Aquarendi moved northward, searching for warmer seas. Here they reached some tropical oceanic islands. These archipelagos may be easily identified with some of the sea Kingdoms, possibly the ones near the Izondian coast. Here huge tidal forces and volcanic upheavals divided the Aquarendi. The biggest group, the one that will reach the Sunlit Sea, possibly entered the sea of Dread from the Izondian Deep and the Serpent Strait.
Notice that a Dungeon magazine adventure ("The Ghostship gambit", DMG#9 ) has some Aquarendi operating somewhere along the coast of the Izondian Deep, which supports this theory (the official setting of the adventure should be Kladanovic or Tyjaret, even if the location of the city of Koll is almost perfect at the southernmost bit of the Immortal's Arm).
I connected their migration to the Aquarendi's movements. From PC3:
The merrow were the second race to enter the warm, shallow sea formed by the drowning of the continental shelf.
Fleeing tremendous elemental clashes in the great ocean which surrounds the continents of the D&D Known World, the merrow crossed hundreds of miles of Ocean to reach the warmer waters of the north. Arriving at the Thanegioth Archipelago in the Sea of Dread, many merrow settled among the reefs and mountainous slopes of this great island chain. Others travelled farther northward until they reached the drowned lands. Delighting in its warmth and bright waters, they named it the Sunlit Sea... The elemental struggles of the area, while of less magnitude than the ones they had fled, were still not to be taken lightly.
From this fragment it is clear that merrows originally lived in the open ocean, in an area that was even more exposed to the elements than the Aquarendi's one.
Considering that the merrows like tropical climates (also from PC3) I placed their ancestral lands in the northern part of the Far-End ocean, in a region that was a tropical sea before the Cataclysm. The merrows would have followed the Aquarendi's migration entering the Sea of Dread from the Izondian Deep, that is the shortest route to settle the Thanegioth Archipelago and the Sunlit Sea.
As regards the tritons, we know from PC3 that they came in the Sea of Dread pursued by the devilfishes, which are deep water creatures.
So I thought that they took a different route with respect to the Aquarendi and the merrows, and I supposed they took a long journey to the sea of Dread via the Alphatian seas. In this way I think it's possible to explain why the tritons reached the shores of the Known World over 1800 years after the Aquarendi.