tethys sea

Location: Port Sapphire

Qualities prosperous, strategic location, notorious, tourist attraction

Government Parliamentary Monarchy (Sultanate)

Population 160,000 (60% human, 12% elf, 10% dwarf, 5% half-elf, 5% halfling, 8% uncommon races

Notable NPCs

  • Balasaryx, the Sapphire Sultan (LN ancient blue dragon)
  • Xander Corbluff, High Councillor (N human aristocrat)
  • Vice Admiral Sandor Shorewood (LN human soldier)
  • Toad (CN halfling merchant)


Port Sapphire is the most populous city in the Tethys Sea, and is the base of operations of the Gigolo’s Slipper. Built upon the ruins of a pirate stronghold, its towers and spires glitter with gold and azure bricks, and can be seen from dozens of miles away. It is built on and around Sapphire Bay, a natural harbor and it gleans wealth from trade all across Tethys Sea.



  • Cliffgarden is Port Sapphire’s most affluent district, and is home to most of the aristocracy. The Council House rules here and makes most of the city’s day-to-day laws. In the northern corner of this district lies Wyrmhold, the palace of Balasaryx, the Sapphire Sultan. Here he keeps his enormous hoard and grants audience to a few lucky visitors.

The Bazaar

  • If there is one thing that Port Sapphire is famous for, it is its enormous market district. They say anything can be bought or sold within the Bazaar, and its open-air marketplace is crammed with vendors selling jewelry, arms, armor, trade goods, and clothing. The famous blacksmith Dwali has his shop in the Bazaar, and his craftsmanship is second to none.

The Anchor

  • The Anchor is Port Sapphire’s residential district, boasting attractive apartments, houses, inns, and shops. The Merchants Guild of Tethys has their headquarters here, and one would be hard-pressed to find a better dinner outside of the Black Dog Inn.

North Docks

  • Most of Port Sapphire’s cargo comes in through the North Docks, and this district has all manner of facilities to tend to sailors’ needs. Ishmael’s Emporium is a popular odds-and-ends shop right off the docks, and sailors can usually get a cheap brew or get into trouble at Toad’s Alehouse.

Sapphire Bay

  • Sapphire Bay is usually occupied by Thurian Navy ships, and is generally a safer harbor for travelers than the rough-and-tumble North Docks. In fact, the Thurian Navy has their headquarters here, and it isn’t uncommon for privateers to be seen leaving the HQ in hushed whispers with a coinpurse in their hands.

The Cauldron

  • The seedy underbelly of Port Sapphire lies in The Cauldron, a run-down district packed with tenements and whorehouses. The streets in The Cauldron generally aren’t safe at night, with pickpockets and worse roaming the filthy roads. The Rose Room is the most popular brothel in the city, and it is the least likely one to inflict diseases on its patrons.

The Bastion

  • The Bastion is a fortified military district, and contains the garrisons for the Port Sapphire Guard, as well as the Thurian Army. The knights of Thuria are known as Serpentsworn, and swear allegiance to Balasaryx until death. They can be seen parading about the town in glittering blue and gold armor, willing to serve their city at any cost.


Balasaryx, the ancient blue dragon, is the official monarch of Port Sapphire and Thuria. He crowned himself the Sapphire Sultan several hundred years ago when he destroyed the pirate stronghold that used to rule Sapphire Bay. After annihilating the pirates, he ordered a new city be built upon its ruins, one that he would rule. Ever since, Port Sapphire has been a stabilizing force on an otherwise chaotic region of the world.

These days, Balasaryx leaves the running of the city to a council whose members are elected from noble houses in Port Sapphire. They run the bureaucracy of the city, with Balasaryx only occasionally joining the conversation. Otherwise he is content to count his enormous hoard and research magic items.

The Dent de Morcles

When the large nappes of rock detached from the lower crust and were pushed up and folded like a tablecloth to form the Alps during Africa ongoing slow motion collision with Eurasia, the sediments of the now defunct intervening Tethys Sea became mountains (see http://on.fb.me/1oYxD67). The rocks ground and roiled into their current folded positions, including these marine Mesozoic (65-245 million years ago) limestones that now form this 2969 metre peak in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. They have been folded so powerfully as the nappe pushed onto the Eurasian crust that these rocks are nearly now upside down relative to their depositional position, and are now part of the limb of a recumbent fold.


Image credit: GLOBE at Night via EPOD

Resource: More Firearms

I was super excited that the DMG had rules for Renaissance-era firearms, but since I was running a pirate-themed campaign I wanted to expand on what was given. I also wanted to make firearms more accessible to my players, so I changed the prices to reflect that they were more common in my world.

All firearms are martial weapons.

Weapon Properties:

  • Loading: Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make. Loading the ammunition into the weapon is part of the action used to make the attack.
  • Slow Loading: This weapon is especially cumbersome to reload. After making an attack roll, you must spend another action to reload the weapon and prepare to fire it again. Otherwise, this functions the same as the loading property.

Weapon Descriptions

  • Pistol, wheel-lock
    • Wheel-lock pistols are relatively low-tech firearms that require a special key and wheel mechanism to wind and reload after every shot. 
  • Pistol, flintlock
    • Flintlock pistols are use a mechanism involving a spring arm loaded with flint to fire the weapon. They are easy to load, and are relatively concealable.
  • Dragon
    • Dragon pistols are short pistols with a flared barrel, and are effectively miniature blunderbusses. They can be packed with almost any type of ammunition, and are devastating at close range.
  • Musket
    • Muskets are long, heavy firearms that are cumbersome to reload, but can deal heavy damage to targets out of range of most other firearms. Muskets can sometimes be fitted with a bayonet. A bayonet is treated as a spear without the Thrown property.
  • Carbine
    • Also known as a musketoon, carbines are cut-down versions of muskets. They are lighter and easier to load, but do not pack as much of a punch.
  • Blunderbuss
    • The blunderbuss is the most devastating short-range firearm on the Tethys Sea. Its potential for up-close destruction is unparalleled. Its unusual barrel shape allows it to be loaded with a variety of different types of ammunition.

An amazingly detailed fossil shrimp (Aeger tipularius) from the Solnhofen Limestone in Germany now in the collections of the Houston Museum.  During the Late Jurassic, the Solnhofen Limestone was an archipelago at the edge of the Tethys Sea.  This included placid lagoons that had limited access to the open sea.  When salinity rose high enough that the resulting brine could not support life. Since the lowest water was devoid of oxygen most scavengers were no present. Any organism that fell, drifted, or was washed into the lagoons from the ocean or the land became buried in soft carbonate mud. While fossils are not numerous in the Solnhofen, the preservation is often spectacular.

Be sure to follow the Fossil Porn Tumblr Blog for more great fossil photos and links.

Location: Wolkestrad

Qualities Strategic Location, Trading Hub, Oppressed, Notorious

Government Feudal (owned by nobility, magistrate appointed to rule)

Population 11,000 (75% Human, 10% Half-Elf, 10% Dwarf, 5% other)

Notable NPCs

  • Rogeric Wulfrum, Magistrate of Wolkestrad (NE human aristocrat)
  • Father Cebert, Priest of Poseidon (CG human acolyte)
  • Gaston Decroix, Head Warden of Wolkestrad Dungeon
  • Marin Stormsdottr, local rabble-rouser (CG half-elf sorcerer)


Wolkestrad is a tempest-tossed port city along the northern coast Brune, and is the second-largest port in the nation. Most of the citizenry that mill about its rain-slicked streets are dock workers, fishermen, or practice some other trade related to the sea. While never a terrible cheery city, Wolkestrad has fallen on hard times in the past year. A new magistrate, Rogeric Wulfrum was recently elected, and monstrous rumors surround his habits and agendas. No matter the gossip, however, it is hard to deny the fact that since Wulfrum has been in charge of things, the state of the city has suffered greatly.


1. Wolkestrad Dungeon

  • Wolkestrad Dungeon is constructed atop a dark grey spire of rock off the coast of Wolkestrad, accessible only by a well-guarded drawbridge. Wolkestrad Dungeon has the well-deserved repuation of being one of the most secure prisons in the entire Tethys Sea, and countless pirates and brigands have met their ends on the hangman’s rope here.

2. Brunic Merchant’s Guild Headquarters

  • The merchant guild has fallen on hard times lately in Wolkestrad, along with everything else. Wulfrum’s exorbitant taxes and tariffs on cargo in the city have ensured that most business remains unprofitable. Rumors say that some merchants in the guild are desperate to make a buck, and would even be willing to employ smugglers or dabble in other illegal activity.

3. Storm’s Inn

  • Storm’s Inn is the go-to alehouse for the workers of Wolkestrad after their shifts. The beer may not be great and the roof might be leaky, but the citizens of Wolkestrad always know that they can find a warm hearth and a good story at the Storm’s Inn.

4. Wulfrum’s Estate

  • This waterlogged mansion is surrounded by a steep garden wall and a half-drowned courtyard. Its previous owner kept it in better repair, but since Wulfrum took office it appears to have deteriorated quickly. Wulfrum himself is scarcely seen outside it, and it is is guarded day and night.

5. Warehouses

  • These warehouses used to keep incoming and outgoing cargo in storage, but have been largely unused for most of the year, making them a good place for illicit meetings to take place.

6. Temple of Poseidon

  • Wolkestrad’s largest temple is appropriately dedicated to Poseidon, the god of storms and the sea. Father Cebert keeps the place up and running, and is known to be fairly generous to those who need the help of the church.


Wolkestrad isn’t unusual in that it is owned by a noble family and run by a magistrate. However, it is unusual that weapons and valuables aren’t allowed to be carried in the streets of the city. Wulfrum is adamant about this rule, and he has confiscated most of the arms and armor of the citizenry in the past year. More sinister rumors abound that young men and women have gone missing in the streets as well, and most folks keep their doors closed after nightfall.


Whales in the DESERT: Stunning images reveal graveyard of sea mammals that swam in a long lost ocean 50 million years ago

  • Whale skeletons were first discovered in Wadi al-Hitan, or the Valley of the Whales, in Egypt in 1902
  • The Valley of the Whales was made into a conservation area in the 1980s and is a UNESCO world heritage site
  • The area formed part of the ocean floor of the Tethys Sea 50 million years ago before the continents formed
  • Unique fossilised remains belong to ancestors of modern whales called Archaeoceti have been unearthed here

Read more:


Character: Minghira of Saramance

This is Minghira, a human monk from the far-off land of Saramance.

Saramance (nation number 23 on this post ) is a clan-based kingdom covered in swamps and marshes, ruled by nomadic clan-lords. Minghira’s family offered her to the local monastery as payment for a debt, and she was raised there until she was an adolescent. The orc tribes of Bloodhold made a daring raid into Minghira’s clan and destroyed them almost completely. To escape, Minghira’s master got involved in some shady business, and long story short she was captured as a criminal and brought to Port Sapphire.

Although technically innocent, Minghira spent three hard years in a Thurian prison before being released. Since then, she has worked odd jobs on ships all over the Tethys Sea, looking to uncover the truth about her old master.

Location: Wythover


Wythover is a land of warfare. Over thirty years ago, a succession dispute fragmented Wythover, Osmis, and Waldermore into a trio of warring nations in a conflict that has since become known as The War of Three Kings. A relatively integrated nation, humanoids from Wythover can be found living and working nearly everywhere on the Tethys Sea.

The Sovereign Kingdom of Wythover (CN)
King Yanic Tiveslav

Capital: Crozca

Coat of Arms: Diving gold eagle and a crown on a field of maroon

A Kingdom At War

The War of Three Kings has waged for over thirty years, but the major borders of Wythover have not changed drastically since the early days of the war. The Tiveslav kings have done their best to starve out their neighbors to the east, controlling land trade into Osmis and Waldermore. Most citizens in Wythover have jobs that contribute directly to the military, with conscription being mandatory in the past few years. Humans, dwarves, halflings, and other races fight side-by-side against the forces of Osmis and Waldermore.

Mountains and Rivers

The Ironspine Mountains cut through Bursk and northern Wythover, and great dwarven clans reside beneath the mountains and at their foothills. The Klado River forms Wythover’s western border, and many towns use the river as their livelihood and source of income, shipping goods from the mountains south into Thuria.

Winged Warriors

Among the most prestigious members of Wythover’s military are the Eagle Warriors, accomplished knights and horsemen that ride into battle with large decorative wings upon their backs and golden helms. Some of these armor pieces are magically enchanted, allowing Eagle Warriors to fly about the battlefield and deal death to their foes from any angle. As such, the shriek of the horns that announce the arrival of the Eagle Warriors is usually enough to cause any foe to retreat. The Eagle Warriors are a powerful tool of intimidation, and their martial prowess is renowned across the Tethys Sea.

Terraces picked out by snow

Agriculture in mountain regions is always a tricky proposition, but once the human population in agricultural societies increased beyond the carrying capacity of the fertile lowland floodplains, more marginal land had to be brought into use, within the vagaries of that century’s climate. Britain’s highland regions are often infertile granite or limestone, and were traditionally used as pastureland for sheep or goats. In the Himalaya, where many of the rocks are sedimentary mudstones rich in organic matter from the bottom of the Tethys sea that once separated the continents of India and Asia, or amongst the volcanoes of Indonesia with their fertile mineral rich soils, terraced agriculture has been the mainstay of subsistence since time immemorial.

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