Known as the First, the last, and as the Seventh in the mouths of sailors, the Astral Sea is equal parts myth, legend, lies, and something more than can be expected.
The Astral Sea is a mysterious and nearly impossible to find body of water. Entrances to this sea can be found predominantly in areas of open ocean, well beyond the sight of land. On rare occassions, such entrances can be traversed by accident on rivers, lakes, underground seas, or any other body of water large enough to float a ship or raft. The challenge is that none of the locations are fixed, the Astral sea flows and ebbs with a tide not goverened by things like the moon.
The Astral Sea is often a place of thick fog during the day, as well as doldrums that can leave sailing ships dead, or nearly dead in the water. The fog has a eerie other-worldly presence to it, and is at the very least unnerving. There are many dangers to be foud in this ancient and starlit sea. Their are true leviathans here, beasts the size of mountains, and as long as rivers move through the depths. Whirlpools can burble to the surface to pull ships down to the most unimaginable of destinations.
Crossing the sea requires a steady hand and concentration. As oars splash in the water, or what meager winds push against the canvas, the helmsman must keep a steady destination. Ships that are left rudderless, or fall to despair are almost certain to never be found again, to add their slowly rotting timbers to the other hulks that have been lost to the sea, yet not taken by whirlpool or leviathan. Regardless of propulsion, be it by many oared trireme, or a hand paddled raft, crossing the Astral Sea takes six days, no matter the destination, no matter the speed of the ship.
The destination could be a port a few hundred miles away,or a mad dash for where home might have been, or the voyagers could find themselves on the shore of a strange and new world. And of course, going home is never quite as simple as just turning around and going back the way they came.
Alternate Forms of Travel
For almost as long as RPGs have been around, the Astral Plane has served as a continuum between the planes. This sort of cosmology, tied with our modern understanding of planets and physics creates a rather cold and sterile place that seems very much out of sorts with the usual grim and vigor of genre fantasy. At its very core, the Astral Sea serves the same purpose as the Astral Plane, a continuum between various planes of existance without delving into often munchkinish planar mechanics, or a discussion that leaves everyone without a degree in quantum physics either baffled or nursing a headache.
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? Responses (9)-9
A harmonious, yet esoteric concept! I love this place, and hope to see more of it in the future! As an idea, in and of itself, its brilliant. Subtle, beguiling, tempting...
Hoist your sails Citadelians! Upon this Sea, one may traverse the myriad worlds of our site, from one bizarre place to the next!
I need MORE!!! Explorers? Beasties? more esoterica? magical sextants and astrolabes to guide the traveler?
p.s. This is one nebulous paragraph away from becoming an HoH and a 5 for me!
Alternate Forms of Travel- well said!
I need nothing more really. It is 'The True Sea', the Archetypal Sea that all bodies of water are connected by. It is a metaphor made manifest.
It is also the coolest form of transdimensional travel I have seen in a while. And I tend to be an afficionado of TD travel (See Fang, Amber, Merchant Princes, any number of Time Patrol and CrossTime series, Everwhen, and Fey Travel).
There are probably coins, gold hauled up from the depths of these seas... from a ship lost here, that can make the passages to the Sea easier. They look like Spanish Pieces of Eight, but the language on the coins is not Spanish. Having such a coin increases your chance of finding the sea. Focusing on a destination (the way you actually travel here) increases your chance by 3 fold. Knowing a 'magical' cantrip charm to find the Sea and such a coin makes finding an entrance to the sea.. in the right places of course... nearly automatic. Hmmm... I need to make this a submission.
I want to invent a beast for this Sea. 5/5
Good stuff! Love that we seem to be breaking out of the high fantasy mold around here. Reminds me somewhat of Steven Erikson's Drowned Warren. Nice work.
Not a big fan of transdimensional travel, but it's mostly for the reasons you have outlined, Scras- the boringness and cliche of the whole 'planar' set-up.
This, I think, fits in better with the whole idea of fantasy.
Now this is good stuff. Short but sweet.
Can I steal it for my Spirit World? Without any major changes it fits right in there, and can be the embodiment of the spirit of the Sea, an entity too slowly existing for most to notice, being the home for many, many strange creatures.
Don't forget a ship of ghosts that would consider these waters home.
Oh, and just to add the detail: any fish caught and eaten here would not provide any sustenance.
or maybe it would provide sustenance...of a different sort. bwahaha
An awesome way to interlink anything, anywhere, any time.
Any ship becomes the equivalent of a starship, bringing you to any and all worlds.
(or at least those with water :P )
A way to travel between worlds without high tech.