Monday, February 20, 2012

Prominent Geographical Features of Greyhawk - Bodies of Water


This body of water is one of the main carriers of commerce between west and central nations. Freebooters are fairly common, and the savages inhabiting the islands of the Amedio coast practice piracy. There are a sprinkling of other pirates in the east, and the Sea Princes are not above occasional buccaneering.



This body of water is the largest fresh water lake known to us, although legends and tales report a veritable sea far to the west, if such stories can he believed. Much commerce plies the waters of the lake, for Nyr Dyv has many navigable inlets (Artonsamay, Veng, and Velverdyva Rivers) and outlets (the broad Nesser River, and the Selintan to a lesser extent). Its central position combines with these river routes to make it the busiest body of water in around the Flanaess. The cities of Admundfort, Radigast, Leukish, Dyvers, and even Greyhawk rely heavily upon this mercantile shipping. Squadrons of warships move continually about its surface to keep raiders to a minimum and combat occasional predatory water creatures as well.
One of the most unusual features of the Lake of Unknown Depths is the people who make their home upon great barges. These folk travel about trading, fishing, and generally earning their entire livelihood upon the bounty of Nyr Dyv; for unlike Lake Quag which sometimes freezes over much of its surface, and Whyestil which is cold and unwholesome in winter, Nyr Dyv’s southern shores remain relatively pleasant year long, and there these barges winter. Being both clever at barter and trade and able fighters as well, these folk are seldom molested. They are said to be skillful thieves and pirates by some, but such charges are unproven, although quite possible, and are ardently denied by the barges. Calling themselves the Rhennee, the lake folk can be found in all waters rivers and lakes, which connect, to Nyr Dyv – navigable by their barges, but always returning to Nyr Dyv in winter.
A typical barge is about 12 to 18 feet wide and 30 to 45 feet long. Each has a lug sail, and the larger usually have an aft rigged gaff sail as well. They also can be propelled by sweeps and poles. Although these craft have a relatively shallow draft, the hull is deep enough to be decked over, and a small cabin usually is built just abaft of the beam. Rails are planked over for protection, and many heavy crossbow mounts are stationed along them. Some barges carry scorpions at bow and stern. Each is crewed by a “lord” who dwells with his family in the cabin, and “cousins,” servitors who may or may not be related, who find living space on or below deck. A typical barge is thus home to 15 to 20 souls. All adults and able youngsters work and are trained in defense. When “camped,” the bargefolk chain their vessels together; this device also is used in defense. Most barges carry a small boat for use in communications, fishing, or shuttle. It is said that the bargees have developed a sophisticated communication system, which uses flags in daylight, colored lanterns at night, and sometimes even smoke. Similarly, it is reported that they use a special speech whose cant is understood only by others of the Rhennee. If the bargees are as rich in gold, jewelry, and prized fresh water pearls as stories tell, it cannot be determined from their dwellings, dress, or habits.
Nyr Dyv also is well known for the monsters, which inhabit its waters. Deep beneath the surface lurk huge creatures, which prey upon unwary sailors or anyone so unlucky as to fall into the water. Warcraft, and occasionally merchants or bargees will bring back such monsters as trophies, as constant warfare upon these creatures is necessary to make the lake useful and usable.



Aerdi Sea: The reach of water from the Tilva Strait to the northern tip of Asperdi Island, as far west as the islands beyond Spindrift Sound, and generally demarked by the islands which border the east coast of the Flanaess is referred to as the Aerdi Sea. Much seafaring takes place upon these waters, and many monsters are found upon and under its waves. For additional information see Spindrift Sound hereafter.

Densac Gulf: It is thought that this body of water stretches for a thousand miles south between Lower Oerik and Hepmonaland. Who sails upon its waters and what lies below is not known.
Dramidj Ocean: This body of water continues far westward. Warm currents from this direction sweep past Zeif and Ekbir and turn northward. In winter this ocean is cloaked in great fog layers, and huge chunks of ice move about on its waters as if they were ghost ships.

Gearnat, Sea of: This sea is full of shipping coming down the Nesser, crossing, or on its way to or from the Azure Sea. It is a treacherous place during both spring and autumn, when great storms sweep across and lash its surface into towering waves. Raiders from the Wild Coast, the Pomarj, and elsewhere make sailing a perilous adventure in the summer months.

Grendep Bay: This great arm of the Solnor Ocean is the favorite means of travel for the barbarians of the North when they raid the mainland. These brave sailors usually are anxious to cross southward as early in the spring as possible, however, and return late in the fall; for during the warm summer, great sea monsters are often seen sporting in the bay.

Icy Sea: The Solnor sweeps northward around the Thillonrian Peninsula and ends in the Icy Sea. These northern waters are frozen except in high summer months. The Northern barbarians sometimes take their galleys into these waters to hunt for ivory and furs and occasionally do a bit of raiding, too. Even in summer the Icy Sea can be dangerous due to thick fogs and floating mountains of ice.

Jeklea Bay: This small arm of the Azure Sea is little more than the private lake of the Sea Princes. Only their ships ply its waters, raiding into Amedio and returning laden with spoils.

Oljatt Sea: The water to the north of Hepmonaland and east of the Duxchans is known as the Oljatt Sea. These warm, deep, blue-green depths are dangerous in the extreme, for many creatures haunt this sea. Some are large enough to carry a ship to the bottom, and vessels going into the Oljatt are said to chain themselves together and have men with pikes and bows ready to fend off the monsters.

Quag Lake: Lake Quag is the third largest body of fresh water in the Flanaess. As the only civilized nation which borders upon it is Perrenland, it is exclusively theirs. It yields considerable food, although sometimes the fishers are themselves eaten.

Relmor Bay: The Gearnat between Nyrond and the South Province of the Great Kingdom is called Relmor Bay. Shipping from the south part of the Great Kingdom seldom makes the long journey round Onnwal through the Azure and Densac, round by the Tilva Strait and then northward up the coast, or vice versa. Therefore, the ships encountered there will be either those plying between Almor, Nyrond, or Onnwal, or will be those seeking to prey upon them the squadron from Ahlissa based in Prymp Town, in all probability.
Solnor Ocean: It is said the Solnor reaches for a thousand leagues and more eastward. The Sea Barons have reportedly sailed eastward for some distance and returned, but these rumors have never been confirmed. Great monsters dwell in the Solnor and sport in Grendep Bay when the sun warms the waters there.

Spindrift Sound: In these waters are fought some of the fiercest sea actions, for when Sea Barons and ships of the Lord of the Isles meet, no quarter is ever asked or given. Unknown pirates and buccaneers frequent these waters also, making it a lively place indeed.

Tilva Strait: This narrow strip of water between the cockscomb of Tilva and Hepmonaland must he used by vessels sailing to or from the central waters and those of the east. This commerce is preyed upon by piratical vessels – sometimes-whole fleets – so that squadrons of warships will be seen patrolling at times when important commerce is at a peak.
White Fanged Bay: The ice formations common to this body of water resemble the teeth of a predator, and thus the bay is named for the great ice-coated rocks and bergs that menace vessels attempting to land along its shores. In the summer, numbers of seals and walruses (and even odder creatures) bask along these rocky coasts, and there parties of hunters seek after ivory and furs. (Some say that the name of the place is based upon the long teeth taken from these creatures rather than the icicles and frozen spray.)

Whyestil Lake: The lake is bordered by Iuz, the Horned Society, Furyondy, and the Vesve Forest. Before the evil of Iuz, considerable trade used to ply Whyestil’s waters, to and from Dora Kaa, Crockport, and up and down the Veng from Nyr Dyv. Only the latter traffic now exists, and even that at great peril. The Furyondians maintain a strong fleet upon the lake, but the vessels of Iuz are numerous, and the Horned Society menaces the river traffic.

Woolly Bay: The wag who named this terminus of the Sea of Gearnat and made it stick is lost to history, but the appellation is not inappropriate. The small cogs, which move up and down the Wild Coast, are as often pirate as merchant. Considerable traffic moves through this area, from the west and from Greyhawk. Shipping rounds the Pomarj or Onnwal to or from the Sea of Gearnat, going east or west to or from Woolly Bay. Elredd, Fax, Safeton, and Hardby are all port towns, and most vessels can negotiate the Selintan to Greyhawk City, and the lighter craft can venture all the way to Nyr Dyv beyond. Some unscrupulous captains still put in at the humanoid-controlled town of Highport to trade.

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