Sea Barons

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Greyhawk Realm
Dominion of the Sea Barons
SeaBarons02.png
The arms of the Sea Barons, as depicted in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (2000).
Motto/Nickname
Region Old Aerdy East (former Great Kingdom)
Ruler His Noble Prominence Basmajian Arras, Lord High Admiral of Asperdi, Commander of the Sea Barons
Government Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary leadership; a different noble family governs each island, but all owe fealty to Asperdi
Established 102 CY
Capital Asperdi
Major Towns Asperdi (pop. 8,100), Oakenheart (pop. 5,000), Ironport (pop. 2,000), Port Elder, Vernport
Provinces Three islands under government control; two not controlled
Resources Seafaring technology and knowledge, shipbuilding supplies
Coinage (Modified Aerdy) orb (pp), gold baron (gp), noble (ep), penny (sp), common (cp)
Population 154,000
Races Human 79% (OF), Halfling 9%, Elf 5%, Dwarf 3%, Gnome 2%, Half-elf 1%, Half-orc 1%
Languages Common
Alignments CN*, CE, NE, N
Religions Procan, Xerbo, Osprem, Norebo, Syrul, Kurell, Nerull, Ralishaz, Celestian
Allies Rel Astra, Ountsy, Roland
Enemies Scarlet Brotherhood, Lordship of the Isles, Frost Barbarians, Ice Barbarians, Snow Barbarians, Lendore Isles (distrusted)

The Sea Barons, properly known as the Dominion of the Sea Barons, are an independent feudal monarchy ruling, at least in name, over five islands in the Asperdi-Duxchan chain in the Solnor Ocean.

History

The region known today as the Dominion of the Sea Barons was settled by the Flan long ago, though still older races inhabited the isles when the very shape of the land was different. During the Great Migrations, the Suloise colonized its southern islands.

In -195 CY (or 450 OR, the calendar used at the time), some groups of mixed Oeridian and Flannae descent dwelling near the Gull Cliffs developed more advanced nautical skills than was typical for the natives of the Kingdom of Aerdy of that time and so became known as the Aquaerdians. They launched two expeditions across the Solnor Ocean; both returned with news of a habitable land far to the east, ripe for colonization though, they judged, unsuitable for trade.

In -122 CY (522 OR), disenchanted as they were with the current expansionistic politics in Aerdy, the majority of the Aquaerdians departed the Flanaess for Aquaria; those that remained behind were among the ancestors of the Sea Barons.

After the founding of the Great Kingdom, the overkings sought to expand their dominion overseas in order to counter the raids of the barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula and the Suel pirates to the south. During the first century CY, Overking Manshen sent colonists to the isles and decreed a competition between the Celestial House of Garasteth and House Atirr, with the builder of the greatest fleet given rulership of the new realm. Baron Asperdi of House Atirr won handily, and the largest island was named for him and his descendants. The Oeridian colonists always avoided the Isle of Serpents, fearing its alleged curse.

Under the leadership of Lord Admiral Aedorich, the Great Kingdom captured the Suel-dominated Lordship of the Isles in 168 CY. After the founding of the Iron League, the Lordship of the Isles seceded from the Great Kingdom, and the Sea Barons and the Lordship of the Isles became deadly enemies. The Sea Barons defeated them at the Battle of Medegia in 572 CY, but the Lordship of the Isles has regained its power in recent years with the resources of the Scarlet Brotherhood at their disposal.

In 584 CY, Leastisle was sacked by marauders. Its city of Vernport is now a dangerous and anarchistic free city.

Geography and climate

Sea Barons02.jpg

The Dominion of the Sea Barons is made up of five islands, sometimes known as the Asperd Isles. From north to south, these are Asperd Isle, Oakenisle, Fairisle, Leastisle, and Serpent Isle. A sixth island, known as the Sinking Isle, occasionally rises from the sea near Asperd Isle in the Bay of Gates.

The Sea Barons are sandwiched between the Bay of Gates and the Solnor Ocean. The strait between Fairisle and Leastisle is called Cape Rarn, while the strait between Leastisle and Serpent Isle is called Spindrift Sound.

The local climate is temperate, but warm and mild throughout much of the year and hot during the summer months. Most of the islands are fertile and lush.

Asperd Isle

Called Asperdi Isle in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer and Asperd Isle elsewhere, this island is the largest and most populous in the Sea Barons, with over half of the nation's total population. The major cities of Asperd Isle are Asperdi, which is set back from the coast, and the port town of Ironport.

Unknown to any on the island other than its ruler, beneath Tar Hill is the mysterious and blasphemous Cauldron of Night.

Oakenisle

Oakenisle is largely wild and untamed, covered with profuse vegetation including its famed oaks. There are many rodents, snakes, lizards, and a species of deadly dragonfly on the eastern side of the island. Sahuagin and other monsters are more common on Oakenisle than elsewhere in the Sea Barons, and there is a standing bounty on sahuagin heads.

There are some mysterious ruins in the wilderness, but there are no settlements on the island even of village size other than the seashbuckling port of Oakenheart, which was once known as Crede. The Ladies of Crede are a wizardly society based there.

Fairisle

Fairisle is characterized by fertile rolling hills and pristine white sand beaches. In the northeast is a colony of large wild apes prized for their fur. In the south are Suloise ruins, avoided for fear of the same curse that plagues the Isle of Serpents.

Fairisle's major city is called Port Elder.

Leastisle

Leastisle is an anarchy overrun by pirates and marauders. Vernport and other, smaller settlements on the island are havens for cutthroats and scum. The Scarlet Brotherhood would very much like to establish a base here.

Serpent Isle

The southernmost of the Asperd Isles, the Isle of Serpents is avoided by outsiders and thought to be cursed, and is very hard to access in any case due to its intimidating cliffs. It's overrun by snakes, of course, and contains ruins of Suloise origin. Nagas are known to inhabit the island as well.

The Sinking Isle

In the waters between Asperd Isle and Winetha is a mysterious sixth island that is sometimes there, sometimes not. The majority of the time it sleeps on the bottom of the Bay of Gates, but periodically it emerges from the depths, its twisted towers and strange, high-arched architecture thrusting just far enough to ensnare unwary ships. Other times it surfaces entirely, revealing its ruins to those foolish enough to enter them. The ruined buildings seem to have been created by a lost race predating the elves or Flan. Some believe that when the island sank, its inhabitants became the first of the sahuagin.

People

The Sea Barons were settled mainly by people of a mixed Oeridian and Flannae blend, though there were some Suel settlements on the southern isles, now mainly in ruins. Ivid the Undying says the people are of an Oeridian/Flan mix for the most part, though the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer notes the population as predominantly Suel with a lesser Oeridian strain.

The people of the Sea Barons are widely seen as pirates and freebooters. Slavery is legal in the isles, and they would gladly take over the slave trade now controlled by the Scarlet Brotherhood if they had the chance. Most slaves, or their ancestors, hail from Hepmonaland. Most of the population that are not slaves are serfs owned by their local baron, though they are comforted by the fact that the slaves have it much worse than they do.

The folk of the islands wear loose pantaloons and baggy, wide-sleeved cotton blouses. Those of heavy Flan descent still decorate their bodies with paint.

A scattering of demihumans have come to the isles, though most of the elves have recently abandoned it for the Lendore Isles.

In the nearby waters, sahuagin are a continual problem. Krakens arrive with the chilly dark northern currents, chasing away the sahuagin until the currents shift again and the waters become once again warm and clear.

Religion

Temples to the Oeridian sea-god Procan are common on the isles, though the Suel sea-gods Xerbo and his lover Osprem are also propitiated to a lesser extent. Other popular deities include the thieving trickster-gods Norebo and Kurell, the Suel goddess of deception Syrul, and Ralishaz, the god of misfortune. Navigators often pray to Celestian to help guide them on their journeys.

Languages

The dominant language in the Sea Barons is Common, a blend of many older languages spread by the Great Kingdom throughout its empire.

Government

The islands of the Sea Barons are independent baronies, each ruled by its own baron, though they all owe fealty to the Lord High Admiral of Asperdi.

Economy

Resources

Foods grown here include bananas, galda fruit, plantains, and figs. Seafood (including squid and a large, tuna-like striped fish) is caught off shore, and the local shellfish (especially the giant clams of Fairisle) are prized delicacies. Iguanas are plentiful and edible, as are wild goats. Fairisle grows many spices and herbs.

The oak of Oakenisle is considered superior for shipbuilding, and the shipbuilding facilities of Oakenheart are highly renowned. Most of the population of the Sea Barons makes its living from the sea, whether through fishing, piracy, or exploring.

Tar Hill on Asperd Isle is the source for a kind of tar much in demand by seafarers, both to caulk ships and to set aflame to fling at their enemies. If treated with a solution of ammonia it becomes as hard as steel.

Currency

The currency used in the Sea Barons is a modified form of the Great Kingdom's. It includes the platinum orb, the gold baron, the electrum noble, the silver penny, and the copper common.

Bibliography

  • Looby, Paul. "The Cauldron of Night." Wizards of the Coast. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008. Available online:[1]