This is to be a complete copy of the rules of the High Seas campaign setting. The following pages are in the public domain. No non-SRD D&D content created by Wizards of the Coast is included, except in the form of fair use references to the appropriate source material.
Before the Inundation, the world was like any world: populated by the usual array of races, with the usual conflicts and the usual alliances. Then, 570 years ago, the god Quasxthe brought the Inundation. Over the course of 50 years, the land slowly sunk beneath the waves, leaving nothing but ocean.
The elves grew floating forest-cities from mangrove swamps, bringing as many natural specimens with them as they could. The gnomes and dwarves combined their expertise to build a fleet of submarines. The drow picked up and moved their entire civilization to the Deathly Plane of Shadow. Most other civilized races settled for old-fashioned ships, or one or two naturally-occurring floating islands. Many uncivilized races died out.
Humans settled the floating island of Shell. The gnomes and dwarves gradually interbred, giving rise to the race now known as engineers. On pirate ships, every race interbred, giving rise to a great many mongrelfolk. The pirate king Gus Dreadworm retired, mooring his fleet together. Mongrelfolk settled on these ships, and moored more to them, creating the floating mass that would come to be known as the Disreputable City.
After 500 years, a group of adventurers (their names are known: Cofniben, Morgram Crow, Arossi, Sir Bucket the Bold, and Saito) managed to partially reverse the Inundation (an event known as the Subsidence), before being stopped by the fiendish Baron Terek Rogan. A number of small continents rose above the waves, and were quickly reclaimed by the survivors.
Baron Rogan was lavishly rewarded by Quasxthe for stopping the adventurers. His family was dispossessed and Terek declared the Eighth Count Rogan, ruler of the Disreputable City, and he was given a notorious pirate captain for his bride. Quasxthe also steered the Disreputable City to a newly-formed landmass, as the actions of the adventurers had inadvertently caused it to start sinking.
Terek Rogan then declared himself King of this new continent, which he called Gus, after Gus Dreadworm. He founded a new city at the mouth of a river, which he called New Disreputable City. The inhabitants found this too much of a mouthful, and referred to it instead as NDC, which was almost immediately corrupted to Endeesy.
Among the humans were a proud and warlike subculture that immediately claimed another continent, calling it the Omorashi Empire. Unfortunately, as the waters continued to recede, the Omorashi Empire turned out to occupy the same continent as Gus, leading to endless border disputes between the two countries.
After a few years, King Terek was assassinated in the night. Some say he was murdered by his wife, or by one of the surviving adventurers, or by the leader of the Defiance, an antitheist cult.
He was succeeded by his son, the young King Terek II. As what little military and diplomatic corps it controls is perpetually occupied dealing with the Omorashi Empire, the court of Terek II is a strong believer in the notion that there’s no problem that can’t be solved by posting a bounty and letting adventurers handle it.
Ludus Carcerum posts about High Seas.