High Seas

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An orca smashes a Chelish ship during a naval battle within the Eye of Abendego.

The High Seas, spanning the Arcadian Ocean from the Mordant Spire to the north to the Shackles in the south.
Hurricane Queen Tessa Fairwind, elected leader of the Free Captains of the Shackles.
Symbol of the Mordant Spire.

The nations and territories that make up the High Seas region bordering Avistan and Garund's western coasts are tumultuous and lawless realms that include dragon-dominated Hermea, Mediogalti Island controlled by the Red Mantis assassins, the piratical Shackles, and the elven realm of the Mordant Spire. Beyond the control of any single nation, the Arcadian Ocean is infested with pirates and marauders, ranging from the Free Captains of the Shackles to the dragon-adorned longships of the Linnorm Kings. While Cheliax's navy has curtailed the access of these brigands to the Inner Sea by gaining control of the Arch of Aroden, a colossal ruined bridge spanning the Hespereth Strait between Avistan and Garund, the seas remain perilous and far from secure.1


The yellow-sailed slave galleys of Okeno engage in a relentless and bloody pursuit with Andoran's abolitionist Gray Corsairs, while various indigenous threats lurk in the depths. Nevertheless, despite the inherent dangers, the waterways of the Inner Sea region are vital for trade. Merchant fleets of diverse origins navigate its shipping lanes, transporting goods and travelers between neighboring nations or embarking on voyages to distant lands.1

While the Inner Sea region thrives with bustling trade, the island nations scattered across the Arcadian Ocean have a different approach: taking what they need by force. Only the most daring merchants dare to engage in business within the pirate-infested ports of the Shackles, where payment often comes in the form of a drawn blade. To protect themselves, merchant ships in these waters are often heavily armed with mercenaries, rivaling the offensive capabilities of the pirate vessels themselves. Mediogalti, although slightly more organized, still operates with a degree of lawlessness, attracting a fair share of business due to pirates' lavish spending of their ill-gotten gains.1

In contrast, Hermea relies on importing most of its raw materials but compensates by capitalizing on ingenious inventions, magical innovations, and the expertise of mercenary professionals, generating significant profits through their export. On the other hand, the Mordant Spire elves take great pride in their complete self-sufficiency, shunning reliance on external sources for their needs.1


The most commonly spoken languages in the High Seas region are Azlanti, Diabolic, Elven, Hallit, Mwangi, Taldane, and Skald. Popular deities worshipped include Achaekek, Besmara, Calistria, Cayden Cailean, Gozreh, and Norgorber.2


Most coastal nations possess some form of naval force, but a few stand out for their notable prowess. In a perpetual state of conflict, Andoran and Cheliax boast the largest fleets, their warships constantly harassing each other without escalating into full-blown war. Once a formidable naval power, Taldor has recently begun rebuilding its navy after a period of decline, benefiting from its legendary shipyard capable of constructing a warship within a single week. Absalom maintains a significant fleet, supported by the Azarketi and the unique hippocampus-mounted cavalry known as Wave Riders. As the most strategically important port in the Inner Sea, Absalom has frequently relied on its navy to safeguard its independence. However, like most nations, it limits its operations strictly to defensive measures.1

On the Arcadian Ocean, fleets tend to be smaller in scale, with the Free Captains dominating the southern waters and Cheliax guarding the northern expanses. Nevertheless, nations like Rahadoum and even individual cities such as Magnimar, using the Magnimar Navy, and Korvosa must maintain substantial defenses against marauding seafarers and the multitude of monstrous threats lurking beneath the waves.1

Relations between nations

Relations among the nations of the High Seas region are highly strained. The Free Captains are perpetually on the brink of conflict, with even the slightest provocation capable of igniting violence between them. Their hostility extends to outsiders, who receive even less hospitality. The Red Mantis, known for their ruthless nature, are only approached by the truly desperate. While the Hermeans are not as xenophobic as the Mordant Spire elves, they maintain a reclusive stance on their island. While many from the mainland admire their impressive abilities and actively seek them out, a significant number view them as unbearably arrogant, if not morally reprehensible, due to their pride in their meticulously arranged bloodlines and practices associated with eugenics.3

Arcadian Ocean

Since the fall of Azlant during the cataclysmic event known as Earthfall, venturing across the Arcadian Ocean has been deemed madness by many residents of the Inner Sea region. The distant western continent of Arcadia itself has become a half-myth, with tales of intrepid adventurers pillaging the shattered isles of Azlant in the middle of the Arcadian Ocean for their fabled treasures lingering amidst the submerged ruins. In recent times, news of state-sanctioned overseas colonies has captivated the popular imagination. However, for most sailors in the region, the Arcadian Ocean represents the western edge of the known world. The majority of traders seldom venture far from the sight of land, and those who dare to venture further are often dissuaded by merfolk, sea devils, brine dragons, and other predators lurking in the treacherous depths of the open ocean.1


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Erik Mona, et al. High Seas” in World Guide, 62. Paizo Inc., 2019
  2. Erik Mona, et al. High Seas” in World Guide, 60. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. Erik Mona, et al. High Seas” in World Guide, 66. Paizo Inc., 2019