Deep within the heart of the Great Woses, lies an inland sea that few care to visit. Nevermind the ogre-infested swamps that surround it, the place is just disgusting. While known by many names – the Belching Sea, the Eternal Loogie, Gluumraag's Blessing and sometimes, the Slimy Deep – most simply call it the Sea of Snot.
Waves of thick, clear fluid lap slowly against the shores, coating the surrounding landscape with a foul-smelling slime. Amphibians of all kinds lay their jelly-like eggs in the warm goo, dotting the sluggish waves with patches of green, black and yellow. The sea extends as far as the eye can see, its waters in perpetual motion from both the tides and the numerous gassy bubbles that constantly break the surface.
Myths and Legends:
Though the ogres of the Great Woses are not known for their conversation (being generally more inclined to kidnap you to make Buck-Ogre Rum), they do have a tale or two to tell of the Sea. According to the earliest ogrish legends, the Sea was formed when their patron diety, Gluumraag the Vile, hocked a loogie of contempt over an ancient kingdom that had dared to insult him. The kingdom was drowned in his righteous snot, and the ogres issued forth from the Eternal Loogie shortly thereafter.
To this day, the Sea of Snot holds special significance to the ogres. To them, one is not a “proper swamp-ogre” if one wasn't born within its slime. Every ogre mother must therefore make a pilgrimage to the sea shortly before her time. After being released into the waters, the child's forehead is smeared with frog eggs and its umbilical cord is tied off with a bit of the “bubble-weed” that grows from the sea bed. In this way, the ogres strive to maintain their special connection with Gluumraag.
The Sea's surface hums with activity near the surface. Giant water-skimmers glide across the sluggish waves, searching for drowning insects or amphibian eggs on which to feast. Frogs, salamanders and newts go down to its waters to breed and lay their eggs. Armored toads, the size of small dogs, snap at the water skippers and then fall back into the water with a loud plop. If one is lucky, one may even see the yearly migration of the “mumbo snail” as they leaving the sea in a mass exodus.
A sea with such thick, syrupy water does not support small animal life very well, whose bodies are too weak to move quickly through the goop. Most small creatures, then, are either part-time residents like the amphibians or are highly poisonous. Also, instead of fish – whose delicate gills would be ripped apart by the thick water – one finds many creatures who can either breathe through their skin or must surface to get air.
The exception to the rule are the several species of “hooker fish” that live around the ubiquitous bubble-weed. Bubble-weed grows in long tendrils from the seabed, forming a sort of underwater forest that the fish love to hide in. The weed closely resembles kelp, but has adapted to the unusual sea by growing numerous gas sacks along its stalk, giving it a sort of warty appearance. This makes the bubble-weed a prime resource for the oxygen-breathers in this area; those who are too far down to surface can break off a bubble sack and breath in the contents (if it doesn't mind getting covered in weed-spores). When threatened, hooker fish will clamp onto a sack using their spine-like “hook” and cut it loose, using the sack as a sort of crude jet propulsion to escape the large predators.
Of which there are many.
Most of the creatures in the Sea of Snot are big. Really big. The viscous liquid requires a certain amount of strength to swim through effectively – humans can swim at about normal speed through it, but smaller creatures are at a disadvantage. The curiously shaped dolphins are about the smallest thing that a traveler will encounter (aside from the hooker fish). A diver can expect to encounter many large species of squid or octopus, along with gigantic snakes and poisonous sea-slugs. The greater swamp ray, with a "wingspan" of 10 meters, glides through the weed forests with deadly grace. More exotic predators, such as the Organi are rare, but chilling sights.
The greatest predator of all, however, is the giant sea-serpent whom the ogres call Grunlum. He dwells in the deepest reaches of the Sea of Snot, surfacing occasionally to prey upon the lesser creatures, including the ogre mothers. His name is a curse in their society. The ogres don't know from whence he came, but their legends imply that Grunlum guards a vast treasure at the bottom of the sea, perhaps something left over from the ancient kingdom that used to stand there.
Mumbo snails are an extremely rare delicassy. Any nobleman who wishes to be known for his discerning palate will serve steamed mumbo at an important banquet. While generally hard to find, the snails do perform a mass exodus from the sea during their breeding period, returning to its waters about a week later. With the snails being worth more than their weight in gold, there are several merchant companies who are willing to brave the surrounding swamps to bring home the prize.
The rumored treasure of the Sea has become a common local legend. There have been expeditions to recover it – both mercenary and scientific – but all have failed. This time, however, the crown itself is getting involved and is providing guides through the swamp and a stake in the treasure to any team it feels is competent enough to come back alive. It is generally accepted that the giant sea-serpent of the ogres is an obvious fabrication; the brutes just want to keep others away . . .
In the past few decades, a tribe of resourceful frog-people have begun moving into the area. They threaten the ogre nurseries and consume resources that the ogres would rather keep to themselves. The ogres want them gone, and are willing to share their knowledge (legends, a sitting with their famous Oracle, ancient tablets from the lost kingdom, etc) with those who drive them off.
Note: This is a gift-sub for Scrasamax, who provided advice when my home-brew campaign was going down in flames. It's a bit late coming, but thanks, Scras!