Golarion's Seas

Antarkos Ocean
The great southern ocean
Temperature: Cold waters
Hazards: Dangerous currents, icebergs, storms
Resources: Ice, whaling
Thick ice covers much of the great ocean at the planet’s southern pole. Dangers lurk below the ice shelf, and storms batter its surface. This ocean is the largest on Golarion, and is easily the most dangerous as well. As seasons change and ice breaks off from the frozen mass, immense icebergs f loat away, some barely perceptible above the turbulent waves. When moving too quickly into warmer waters, these icebergs are known to explode, sometimes throwing gigantic splinters of ice miles away. The captains of ice ships hook ropes to small icebergs and tow them to port, allowing the wealthy of southern Garund to enjoy harvested ice year-round.

The storms and unpredictable waters get stronger in the region where the Antarkos Ocean gives way to the Valashmai Sea. In this region, thunderheads hang low, clinging to the icy sea and hovering over the tops of massive icebergs.

The Antarkos Ocean is home to a large number of spirits, ghosts, and animate dreams, leading to its other name—the Ocean of Frozen Dreams. Many of the ghosts are neither from the area nor killed there, but still somehow prowl this frozen ocean and its permanent ice shelf. Sages
agree that something draws spirits and dreams to the bottom of the world, but never agree on what is to blame. Some say a portal lies below the ice, accessible only to the incorporeal, while others posit a powerful magical device that is collecting the past lives and experiences of Golarion’s sentient creatures.

When the heavens are not veiled by storm clouds or fog, colorful auroras dance in the sky and play upon the ice. Tribes of degenerate ice trolls revere these lights in the sky, and their shamans interpret the patterns and colors to determine the tribe’s actions. In places near the edge of the central ice shelf, currents melt away holes in the ice. Here aquatic mammals come up to breathe, and surface predators dive into these holes to hunt in the deeps. In
the seasons when there are no whales, the ice trolls and other intelligent creatures trade with an enigmatic race of aquatic giants. It is said these aquatic giants can read minds and control a creature’s thoughts and dreams.

Many say they use this knowledge to provide the bounty of their hunts below the ice to the inhabitants above, but also that they take advantage of this situation and practically
enslave the creatures of the surface.

Arcadian Ocean
Dynamic ocean cradling a shattered continent
Temperature: Cold, temperate, and warm waters
Hazards: Aboleth schemes, lost magic, piracy on the western shores, shallow submerged ruins, unpredictable currents
Resources: Fishing, scavenging
The eastern and western shores of this ocean teem with life and activity, while the center, which contains the remains of Azlant, is largely unexplored. This once-calm ocean now has erratic seasonal surface currents due to the ruined continent. Beneath the waves, cities of aquatic elves, merfolk, gillmen, and sahuagin fight for space.

Deeper below rests an old aboleth empire. It is there that the Sightless Sea flows upward into the Arcadian Ocean; the aboleths fiercely protect the area with powerful magic and a seemingly limitless number of enslaved soldiers.

The Arcadian Ocean is relatively shallow, and some sailors make a good, but dangerous, living scavenging shipwrecks and Azlanti ruins. These scavengers must evade the eye of the elves who protect these ruins and defend themselves against the creatures that make the ruins their dens. Despite the danger, strange and powerful artifacts from lost Azlant surface from time
to time, and many a sailor has retired early from the proceeds of just a single find.

Embaral Ocean
The prize and power of the east
Temperature: Temperate and warm waters
Hazards: Doldrums, marine deserts, seasonal cyclones
Resources: Fishing, rich trade
In the open ocean, the Embaral falls dead. Few fish swim through the region and the winds die down, leaving miles of glassy ocean pulsing with low swells. Outside of this marine desert, strong currents move north and south along the shores of the continents. This pattern facilitates trade up and down the coasts of Tian-Xia and Casmaron, but presents difficulties for those wishing to cross the ocean east or west. Twice a year, in spring and autumn, the currents dig into the open ocean, stirring life into the marine desert and kicking up winds that make crossing the ocean through the middle more reliable. At these times, fleets of vessels take to the open seas, bringing the treasures of their homelands to foreign shores.
Though it is the second smallest ocean, the Embaral boasts varied climates and a vibrant ecology.

Whales are common in its waters, and their great migrations bring fleets of ships trailing behind them for the hunt. Most whaling takes place in northern waters, as the creatures
are protected in the equatorial region: an ancient dragon turtle named Calan attacks whaling ships that enter his warm waters. The cecaelias claim they once ruled an empire in the northern depths of these oceans, the discarded ruins of which might still exist today—if they
ever existed at all.

Obari Ocean
Deadly ocean passage
Temperature: Cold, temperate, and warm waters
Hazards: Dangerous sea creatures, doldrums, sudden storms
Resources: Fishing, trade
Despite being the smallest of the oceans, the Obari may well be the richest. Exotic trade goods cross its waters to and from Casmaron and Garund, eventually making their way north to the Inner Sea. Trade vessels from Vudra and other nations hug the coasts, as sailors report that sea dragons, living islands, and aquatic fiends claim territories in the open ocean. The central region of this ocean is also prone to sudden cyclones and thunderstorms—the sky will be clear and bright one moment, then an hour later black as night and streaked with flashes of lightning. Only the foolhardy or those desperate to make good time point their ships across the Obari Ocean’s treacherous expanse.

A powerful azi named Kasperi controls hundreds of square miles of the central Obari Ocean. Stories tell of this gandareva maintaining a dozen secret caches of treasures plucked from ships crossing his territory. For the past 900 years, Kasperi has worked this region, collecting fantastic wealth and generating a rich legend that draws treasure hunters to the Obari Ocean. While no one but Kasperi and his minions know the location of these caches, shady
mapmakers frequently produce maps of the Obari Ocean with marked locations for the Twelve Vaults of Kasperi. These undersea vaults are certainly shrouded in magic and protected by powerful aquatic beasts.

Okaiyo Ocean
Vast and mysterious sea lapping upon faraway shores
Temperature: Cold, temperate, and warm waters
Hazards: Cyclones, doldrums, sea monsters
Resources: Exploration, fishing
The Okaiyo Ocean is the second largest ocean on Golarion, after the frozen Antarkos. Because of the relatively sparse population along the western coast of Arcadia, this ocean is largely unexplored. Unpredictable winds make travel through the widest part of this ocean dangerous,
and many explorers and trade vessels have been lost to its waters—or worse, have perished and returned to their home shores as undead creatures to raid their own ports and terrorize the coastal waters. Some wealthy merchants and noble houses sponsor exploration fleets on a yearly
basis, but few if any of these parties return to report on their journeys.

A deep trench splits the sea floor running nearly from pole to pole. Called the Sintos Trench, this massive rift supports thousands of undersea cities of varied aquatic creatures. Iku-tursos fight with siyokoys for territory, using merrows as soldiers, and both fight back against the everexpanding sahuagin empire. Years ago, a fishing fleet witnessed a flumph seedpod crashing into the Okaiyo Ocean that nearly capsized one of the boats. With no recent sightings of flumphs in the area, sages wonder if the larval creatures even survived.

Seas of Golarion
When the vast oceans break along the continents, their world-spanning currents churn into gulfs and large seas. These are the waterways traveled most frequently by natives of Avistan and Garund, or spoken of by the most frequent visitors to those shores. Other more distant and
mysterious waterways certainly exist.

Castrovin Sea
Untamable heart of an ancient continent
Temperature: Temperate waters
Hazards: Keleshite navy, piracy, rocs, sea stacks, storms
Resources: Rich trade
This rough inland waterway pulses at the heart of the continent of Casmaron. Trading vessels from the glittering markets of Kelesh, the rugged frontiers of Iobaria, and stranger lands endlessly skirt the coasts, their bulging holds making tempting targets for pirates and ship wreckers—especially along uncivilized coasts. Many of these dangers could be avoided by sailing deeper waters, but only the most able and daring crews make the attempt. The interior
waters of the Castrovin Sea prove notoriously treacherous, the brewing place for many dangerous storms, and the territory of many viciously rocky islets and difficult-tochart
sea stacks like Casador’s Maw, Citadel Allatro, and the Pillars of Trajheir. While the surfaces of many of these dangerous sea-bound structures appear smooth and featureless above the water, below they bear the icons, totems, and legends of tribes about territorial locathahs and pale-scaled merrows knowledgeable of many connections between the Castrovin’s depths and the Darklands.

Fever Sea
Hunting ground of pirate lords, sea monsters, and worse
Temperature: Tropical waters
Hazards: Dangerous creatures, piracy, storms
Resources: Ruins, trade
On the waters known as the Fever Sea, furious nature, canoe-bound cannibals, and the merciless greed of deadly pirate lords unite in a tidal crush of danger and despair. From the Eye of Abendego, these dangerous waters slither south along the jungle coasts of Garund,
encompassing the whole of the Shackles and numerous islands beyond. Upon hundreds of treacherous islands and beneath uncaring waves sprawl the hunting grounds of primeval hunters, the ruins of foul Ghol-Gan, the secrets of strange and ancient magic, and the corpses of generation after generation of explorers, imperialists, and pirates who failed to claim the treasures of these rich waters. Upon the maps of leaders across Avistan, the Fever
Sea looks like a path to incredible riches, choked only by the Shackles and the Eye of Abendego. Those who ply its waves, however, know it for what it is: a sea of ancient mysteries, hungry terrors, weird legends, unscrupulous sailors, and boundless ambitions—which is to say, a pirate’s paradise. Many of the most exciting locations, creatures, and inhabitants of the Fever Sea are detailed in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Isles of the Shackles.

Inner Sea
Hub of western civilization and power
Temperature: Temperate waters
Hazards: Naval warfare between competing nations, piracy
Resources: Fishing, trade
The youngest major waterway in the world—formed only a few thousand years ago by the same cataclysm that sank Azlant—the Inner Sea holds the City at the Center of the World and acts as a cradle for humanity. The nations ringing the shores of the Inner Sea are among the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. Many of these nations boast formidable navies, and conf licts at sea are common.

Ivory Sea
An icy inland sea rich with whaling
Temperature: Cold waters
Hazards: Icebergs, predators, weather
Resources: Ivory, sealing, whaling
The changing seasons bring aquatic mammals like seals, walruses, and whales to the waters of the Ivory Sea to feed and mate. Humanoids and other opportunists hunt the waters and coastlines for meat, ivory, and blubber. In the winter, some whales find themselves trapped as parts of the sea freeze over with expansive ice sheets. Small melt holes in the ice bring whales to the surface to breathe while they wait out the spring thaw. In these vital places, they are most vulnerable.

Shining Sea
A strange icy sea where the auroras dance upon the ice in the long night
Temperature: Cold waters
Hazards: Ice, weather
Resources: Fishing, fur trading, whaling
Erratic currents churn the waters of this small and turbulent sea. All-too-common storms make travel in these waters a treacherous experience in the spring and summer, and ice sheets choke the waterway in the winter. Polar bears prowl the ice, hunting fish and aquatic mammals. Auroras give the sea its name as their wispy colors dance across the swells and glisten on the ice. Luminescent plankton seem to echo the aurora’s display, and natives
claim the colonies communicate with the cosmic colors in a strange, light-based language.

Sightless Sea
A vast underground waterway spanning the depths of Golarion’s Vaults
Temperature: Cold and temperate waters, some pockets of thermally heated waters
Hazards: Dangerous creatures, harsh conditions
Resources: Strange artifacts
This water-filled Vault of Orv covers nearly the same area as the Arcadian Ocean, but lies miles below the sea floor. In the center of this sea, a feature known as the Braid rises
up to the ceiling of the cavern, where it pools slightly before emptying via a network of tunnels into the bottom of the Arcadian Ocean. Aboleths first used these tunnels to pass between the surface world and the Darklands, and fiercely protect the area and the magic used to keep the two bodies of water in equilibrium. While aboleths certainly inhabit these dark waters, all manner of Darklands creatures live in and around the Sightless Sea. Urdefhans and drow sail these waters, and a small nation of sahuagin have established a toehold below the waves. As the Darklands are rife with horrific monsters, unearthly aquatic monstrosities surely dwell on the sea floor. Despite its strangeness and the dangers that lurk beneath its unpredictable tides, the Sightless Sea is the lifeblood of numerous costal communities and facilitates trade between merchants from numerous shadowy ports and beyond.

Songil Sea
Rich northern sea
Temperature: Cold and temperate waters
Hazards: Dangerous creatures, storms
Resources: Fishing, whaling
Few know where whales breed, but a number of species of whales are known to come to the Songil Sea to birth their calves. These waters make for rich fishing grounds, fed as they are by a warm current from the south that enriches the sea with nutrients, supporting abundant life in the upper latitudes. A teeming ecology exists here, and with it comes vicious predators. Sharks prowl these waters, sometimes whipped into a frenzy by the sahuagin who hunt here. Giant squid stalk the same whales the surface races hunt, and every so often
one of these horrors of the deep pulls down a whaling vessel instead of its intended prey.
Old sailors speak of the terrible kraken called Tupta-Wa, who they say surfaces every dozen summers and feeds voraciously. Fishermen and sailors know the legend and fear the outcome, and all but the most foolhardy sailors remain in port as much as possible every twelfth
summer. Fishermen must work close to shore to provide food for their families during these periods, and rarely have enough to sell. But even on shore they are not safe from Tupta-Wa. One summer 36 years ago, the creature destroyed an entire port town, plucking people
from the streets as they fled.

Steaming Sea
Cold and rocky sea
Temperature: Cold and temperate waters
Hazards: Dangerous creatures, storms
Resources: Fishing, light trade
Many mapmakers argue whether the Steaming Sea is truly a sea or simply a greater part of the Arcadian Ocean. Some maps name the Ironbound Archipelago and the island nation of Hermea, but
omit a name for the body of water. Ice creeping south from the Crown of the World creates a belt of ice called Thremyr’s Shield that separates the Songil Sea from the Steaming Sea for most of the year. Mordant Spire elves operate out of the Steaming Sea, acting as protectors of the Azlanti ruins. While strange and harsh, their presence here helps police threats to
the sea and results in relatively safe travels. Although the elves rarely overtly threaten those who travel through their territories, most northern sailors know to give their sleek vessels a wide berth and avoid their island homes. Rumors also tell of standoffs between treasure hunters plumbing half-sunken ruins and the Mordant Spire ships that come upon them seeking to drive them off, confrontations that are said to end with the sea’s weed-shrouded assassins rising up from the deep to claim the intruding souls. Of course, human sailors aren’t the only ones with tales, and among the Mordant Spire elves pass stories of the Mistmourn, a human-made ship from southern ports that raided elven vessels, taking both their hard-won relics and their crew members’ lives. Fourteen elven vessels sank before the pirate ship f inally joined them in the depths, but supposedly that briny fate didn’t last for long. It’s said the Mistmourn, its crew lost to the depths, hunts elves upon the Steaming Sea once more, seeking the plunder it was denied.

Valashmai Sea
Sea of strange creatures and savage storms
Temperature: Cold and temperate waters
Hazards: Deadly creatures, erratic currents, savage storms
Resources: None
Easily the most dangerous waterway in all of Golarion, the Valashmai Sea is wracked with persistent storms and fantastic creatures. Its waters threaten to claim the life of any sailor who dares venture far from the coastline of southern Tian Xia. People crossing this violent body of water must hug the southern coastline of Tian Xia if they hope to pass from the Okaiyo Ocean into the Embaral or Obari Oceans. Seafarers in southern Tian Xia sometimes venture into the Valashmai to pass through to the lost lands of Sarusan. These skilled sailors, who live their whole lives on the water, charge a hefty rate for such passage. Any
vessel straying too far into the churning sea of storms not only risks destruction from wind and waves, but also risks falling victim to a plethora of sea creatures. While many of these beasts are unknown to the civilized world, sailors report a large population of fanatical adaros who relish the stormy weather. Sailors also claim the sea is full of whirlpools—including one so large you cannot see the other edge.

Golarion's Seas

Skull and Shackles Lord_AO