A Light in Darkness
The Nocturnal Sea
Cultural Level varies by island, most are 7 (Medieval) or 8 (Chivalric)
The treacherous Nocturnal Sea lies to the east of the Core, its cold waves lapping on the beaches below the plateau. Weather on the sea is violent and erratic. Gray storm clouds constantly race across the sky, rumbling with lightning. Savage storms blowing freezing rain and sleet can whip up in an instant, battering ships mercilessly. Near islands, jagged shoals lurk beneath the waters, posing a deadly threat to all but the most experienced mariners. The perpetually overcast sky makes navigation difficult for vessels without magnetic compasses. No sun, moon or stars peek through to provide bearings, forcing sailors to navigate by sparse landmarks and instinct.
The Nocturnal Sea is dotted with islands, though many of these are tiny and uninhabited. Known islands include Liffe, a rustic island of farmers and musicians; sober Graben and Knammen; L’ile de La Tempete with its mysterious lighthouse; the ominous Isle of Ravens; and frigid, forsaken Todstein.
Although vessels from throughout the eastern Core frequent the Nocturnal Sea, sailors from their lands rarely choose to settle on the sea’s bleak islands. Settlements are scattered, wind-beaten outposts of civilization in an otherwise vast and forbidding ocean. Few generalizations can be made about the islanders that dwell there, save that they have remarkable perseverance to survive amid such bleak waters. They are protective of their privacy and autonomy but remain receptive to commerce with outsiders. The appearance of islanders varies widely, and while many are of Nova Vaasan or Darkonese descent, others are of unique and isolated ethnic groups.
No formal government. No domain claims the Nocturnal Sea as its own, though maritime tradition holds that a realm’s sovereignty extend a half-mile out to sea. Since safe sea lanes have not yet been established in the Nocturnal Sea, control of maritime traffic is not seen as an asset to most domains.
A handful of islands have their own rulers, but government is usually decentralized and informal. Liffe is the realm of Baron Evensong, a highborn bard who prizes his island’s independence. On Graben and Knammen, settlement elders called deacons oversee governance with the mandate of the Grabens, a wealthy merchant family. The masters of the Nocturnal Sea’s other bleak islands are unknown and, in the superstitious judgement of sailors, perhaps best kept shrouded in mystery.
Resources — potatoes, corn, sheep, dairy, cod, herring, mackerel, lobsters, seals, talk, salt, ships. Coinage — none. Trade is conducted through barter on most islands, but merchants in Liffe have begun to deal in the currencies of Darkon and Nova Vaasa.
Although exceedingly hostily to seafaring, the Nocturnal Sea nonetheless draws many merchants and explorers into its gray embrace. Inhabitants of the more hospitable islands are eager to trade with mainlanders, and the opportunities have been worth the risks to merchants in the eastern Core. Likewise, the possibility of discovering new lands beyond the Mists have drawn many a brave captain to plunge into the sea’s uncharted waters.
Realm Magic Rating
The magic rating in the Nocturnal Sea varies almost as much as the islands and their inhabitants. Travelers can find any rating from 2 through 5 in different areas. Liffe usually maintains a stable level 3 in much of its area.