Steaming Sea

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Steaming Sea
Steaming Sea

Varies by island
Source: The Inner Sea World Guide, pg(s). 178-181

The Steaming Sea is the cold stretch of water which lies north-west of the continent of Avistan, beginning roughly at the northern borders of Nidal, past the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, and all the way to the frozen Crown of the World. It is part of the great Arcadian Ocean. The ice shelf of Thremyr's Shield separates the Steaming Sea from the Songil Sea to the west. Numerous islands are scattered across the sea, many of which are populated. Separated from the Avistani mainland, some of these island societies have gone unchanged for millennia.12


The Steaming Sea is named for the thick mist that often hangs over the water. Storms are common, their squalls swallowing the largest ships.1 In the north, Thremyr's Shield and lesser glaciers calve off great icebergs year-round. The volcanic activity of the Hellrung Mountains on Cape Almhult extends offshore in a network of steam vents, ridges, and lava floes, and new volcanic islands occasionally erupt from the sea's surface, making the Steaming Sea difficult to chart. The currents are unpredictable, with frequent underwater earthquakes that cause tsunamis.3


The Steaming Sea is home to many isolated cultures, most notably Hermea, the Ironbound Archipelago islanders, and the elves of Mordant Spire. The Mordant Spire elves take it upon themselves to patrol the sea's waters, protecting Azlanti ruins on the sea floor and fighting off would-be treasure hunters.2

The elves tell tales of Mistmourn, a legendary pirate ship that once plundered the elves, only to be sunk by an elven armada. They say the Mistmourn and her crew would not stay drowned, and now hunts the Steaming Sea as a ghost ship.2

Beneath the waves, the Steaming Sea is home to abundant sea life.1 Animals and monsters that inhabit the sea's depths include sharks, orcas, giant octopuses, sea drakes,4 alghollthus,5 grindylows, devilfish,6 krakens,78 sea serpents,9 and vydrarchs10.

Many aquatic humanoid races have societies beneath the Steaming Sea, including aquatic elves, cecaelias,5 athamarus,811 merfolk, sedacthys,1213 storm giants,14 and Usena azarketis.615


According to frost giant myths, the god Thremyr fell into the Steaming Sea in ancient times. Chunks of his icy body calved off like icebergs and became the first frost giants.1617

Places of interest

Bordering nations

From north to south, the sea is bordered by Almhult (in the Crown of the World)3 and the Avistani nations of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Varisia, Nidal, and Cheliax.118


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 178. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Adam Daigle, et al. “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 69. Paizo Inc., 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jason Nelson. Crown of the World” in The Hungry Storm, 69. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. Matthew Goodall, et al. “Linnorm Kingdoms Bestiary” in Lands of the Linnorm Kings, 53. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 Adam Daigle, et al. “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 59. Paizo Inc., 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 Adam Daigle, et al. “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 60. Paizo Inc., 2012
  7. Anthony Pryor. Kraken” in Mythical Monsters Revisited, 38. Paizo Inc., 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 Adam Daigle, et al. “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 61. Paizo Inc., 2012
  9. Richard Pett. Sea Serpent” in Mystery Monsters Revisited, 50. Paizo Inc., 2012
  10. Adam Daigle & James Jacobs. “Denizens” in Magnimar, City of Monuments, 62. Paizo Inc., 2012
  11. Paizo referred to athamarus as locathahs until the publication of Rage of Elements.
  12. Adam Daigle, et al. “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 62. Paizo Inc., 2012
  13. Paizo referred to sedachtys as sahuagins and sea devils until the publication of Monster Core.
  14. Jason Nelson. Storm Giant” in Giants Revisited, 56. Paizo Inc., 2012
  15. Jessica Catalan. Azarketi” in Ancestry Guide, 13. Paizo Inc., 2021
  16. Sean K Reynolds. “Other Gods” in Gods and Magic, 49. Paizo Inc., 2008
  17. Brian R. James. Frost Giant” in Giants Revisited, 25. Paizo Inc., 2012
  18. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, poster map. Paizo Inc., 2011