The Sea of Shadows
Those Who Inhabit the Sea
((More will be added whenever something relevant is found out during the campaign
The Empire and Its Allies&Subjects
Citizens of the Stolen Empire
The human inhabitants of the Isles are by far the most numerous of the Empire’s subjects, as well as the most common crew members of any ship setting off to sail from London or other major ports. Scots, Englishmen and the Welsh are the most numerous, but there are some scattered Irish and people of other nationalities who got stuck on the Isles during the Theft of the Sun as well. The new world has forced many of the old ways of Victorian England to be abandoned, but the Empire still exists, and it still has its subjects. Some, of course, no longer respect the Crown as they once did, especially with the Devils of Bastion spreading rumors of how they rebelled against their own leaders of noble blood. Still, the humans have adapted surprisingly well to this new world. What they lack in otherworldly powers, they make up for in experimental and bizarre technology. There has also been talk of there being other human populations on the sea, others Stolen earlier…
The Revolutionary Devils of Bastion
The Empire’s uneasy allies, the Devils. Nobody knows exactly what the Devils are in the Empire, whether it be the monsters of myth, another sentient species, cursed human souls or bees from another world (surprisingly popular theory for some reason), especially as the Devils themselves often tell contradictory ‘facts’ about the Bastion and their people – although, it should be noted, individual devils never change their stories, so it is possible that several versions of the stories are true at the same time. Even if they are contradictory. And certainly the appearances of devils varies quite a bit so an argument could be made for several types of Devils existing, although the vast majority of them seem humanoid. Red skin and horns seems to be a fairly common appearance for devils, although some seem more or less human – still, you can always tell a devil from a human.
There is also the fact that the Devils appear to be just as stuck on this otherworldly sea as others – some of the Queen’s advisors even seem to think that the reason for the Devils’ revolution was the belief that their leaders were keeping the Devils here on purpose. It appears that they did not. Whatever the truth, there are things humans have that Devils need, and the Devils have things that humans need, so an uneasy alliance was born. Even if souls being just another currency for Devils was a bit distasteful for the Empire at first.
The ‘natives’ are actually an incredibly varied group of different races of sentient beings native to the Sea of Shadows who are just collectively called the natives by the Stolen Empire because of good old fashioned racism. Their cultures and technological levels are seen by the Empire as primitive, and ‘the Human’s Burden’ means that the British have aggressively begun to ‘bring them civilization’. While certain attempts have been met with disastrous failure due to these ‘primitive’ cultures understanding the dangers of the Sea, and that they have access to shamanistic magic and blessings of the strange gods of the Sea, some individual tribes have become the subjects of the Empire. While most of them do not hear the Call, often curious natives join up on the Empire’s ships – most of them have not traveled too far from their home waters, after all. And the sailors, for their part, see them as good luck charms, most of the time. That said, sometimes when luck turns ill, well, the ‘good luck charm’ might end up as a blood sacrifice to quell raging storms, to avert pirates or any of the other myriad reasons superstitious sailors might kill people for. Of course, sometimes the native is a powerful witch and the sailors end up regretting their deeds, but such is life on the Sea.
As a general rule, the natives are divided into two groups – the ones who have fish tails, tentacles or other fishy things as a lower half and the ones that don’t.Usually the ones who have only a humanoid upper half are more at home in the water than the ones that have legs, and, curiously, have their humanoid half looking more human than the ones who have legs. There are exceptions of course, but such is the general rule. Empire’s best scholars are, once again, mystified.
Other Major Powers of the Sea
The Iron Kingdom’s primary holdings are to the north of the Stolen Empire, and few in the Empire know much about them, and the Iron Kingdom is happy to keep it that way. Their large and heavily armed ships jealously guard the waters the Iron Kingdom consider as theirs.
The Northmen are vikings. Vikings that worship the Traveler (who is probably changed Odin), and a few other surviving deities from that pantheon. It would appear that they have somewhat adapted to the Sea during their long stay here, as their skin’s pallor has turned grey or ashen, and their mastery of strange unnatural powers of the Sea is far superior than that of the Empire’s human citizens. It is even possible some Native blood runs in their veins, as some visitors to their northeastern lands have mentioned seeing cross-species couples…
Despite their level of technology being somewhere around the middle ages, they are still more than capable of surviving at the Sea – indeed, it would appear many vikings cherish the challenge. They are more than happy to leap from their longboats to on top of massive sea monsters to hack at the beasts with their rune covered axes, and having a massive feast afterwards where the monster’s carcass is cooked so the whole clan can partake in this victory.
The Uncommon and the Unknown
Exiled Hellish Aristocrats
The Empire knows basically nothing about Bastion’s former masters, except what the Revolutionaries have told them. They are generally agreed not to be a reliable source on the subject matter, but it would appear that usually the infernal aristocracy at least looks more monstrous than the ‘lower’ Devils, based on art imported from Bastion – and that the forms of these Devils vary in even greater amounts than those of the common Devils. There are also rumors that they are able to disguise their monstrous nature and hide amongst humans, but officially the Empire does not believe these rumors. Unofficially, the Empire would very much like to make contact with these fallen lords.
Sharkpeople, ‘Sharkies’, ‘Fishies’
The Empire officially denies their existence. Nobody really knows why the Stolen Empire bothers to completely deny their existence, as much stranger things have been proven true about the Sea. Why deny the existence of these humanoids resembling sharks? None know but the highest levels of Empire’s governance.
A strange species of insectoid people living on the isle of Baba Yaga. Divided into two camps, the outcasts and the rest. The outcasts apparantely broke some terrible Taboo, but what it was, it is unclear. The main group apparantely practices ritualized cannibalism.
They have apparantely spread away from the island of Baba Yaga as well, as one enterprising couple on the island of Indhee proved. These two apparantely had converted to Christianity, and did not participate in ritual cannibalism, considering that they are still a couple and not just one female Mantid.
There are some Void Creatures on the Sea who are not immediately hostile to all other life. So far, HMS Lightbringer has only ran into Mister Hadwick, but few things are truly unique on the Sea. If one person survived being consumed by the Void in some form, there may be others.
The Travelers of Indhee
Strange race of large part avian part reptile people who have mastered technologies far beyond human understanding. The only known location on the Sea with members of this enigmatic race is the island of Indhee/Indie, where they buy strange artifacts and machines from people who hope to get some of the miraclous machines of the Travelers for their own use.
The Jotunn of Surtr
Also known as the fire giants, they are followers of Surtr, the strongest fire giant. They are sworn enemies of the Northmen, and followed them to the Sea in an attempt to snuff them out after Ragnarok was derailed in the world Surtr and the Northmen came from. They are strong, cruel and generally speaking consider humans as vermin at best. Thankfully their numbers are fairly few, but their size and strength mean that they are a threat regardless.
There are, of course, other beings on the Sea as well, but the Empire knows little of them. Despite the Stolen Isles having been here for several decades already (or more? Time does not seem to work like it used to), there is so much the Empire does not know. The Devils try to pretend they know more, but they are just as lost humans in the end, and the Natives have plenty of myths and legends, but separating fact from fiction is nigh impossible.
The Dead and Lost Civilizations of the Sea
The ruins of Atlantis lie close to the Stolen Isles, a grim monument to the deadliness of the Sea. None know what happened to its inhabitants, even if the Natives living in the ruins have some legends pertaining to it. They are vague enough, that it is impossible to infer anything concrete from them.