Trophy: Things Lost to the Blossoming Sea

If the forest of Old Kalduhr represents mankind’s fear, then the Blossoming Sea represents its imagination. Over the centuries, all manner of treasure and people—even gods—have disappeared after setting out on its crystalline waters. In fact, a common saying among people wishing to account for something missing is “it must be lost to the Blossoming Sea.” Many treasure-hunters seek the capital necessary to fund expeditions to the Blossoming Sea, in the hopes of discovering (or recovering) these lost wonders. What sorts of things might they find on their voyage?

We are putting together a standalone setting book for the Trophy RPG called Trophy Loom. One of the things we’re going to do with this book is include numerous tables that help flesh out the world Trophy takes place in. Keeping with the spirit of Trophy as a community project, we’re going to be crowdsourcing many of the elements that go into these tables.

For this crowdsourcing, we’re focusing on things lost to the Blossoming Sea. In particular, we’re looking for three types of entries:

1. Rumors about people and treasure that might be found somewhere on the Blossoming Sea.

2. Historical events that took place on the Blossoming Sea in which something was lost (this could be literal objects, or it could be “lost” in the sense of “losing a battle” or similar).

3. Myths related to things lost to the Blossoming Sea.

You can submit as many entries as you wish, in any or all categories, by posting a reply here. By submitting here, you agree to let us use your contribution in the Trophy Loom book and PDF (you will be credited as a contributor if we use your entry). Submissions should be fairly brief (no more than a sentence or two). Here are some examples:

“An empty sarcophagus dating from the time of Old Kalduhr is rumored to have washed ashore recently. Now, treasure-hunters and explorers the world over are wondering how many more god-kings and high priests from the ancient times may have been buried at sea.”

“Historians speak of a whaling ship, Deep Reaver, whose captain was so heartbroken at having lost the love of her life to plague, she and her crew undertook one final, suicidal expedition to hunt the last leviathan born during the Beginning of All Things. The ship never returned.”

“Everyone is taught about the Whispering Isles from a young age. These islands, likely a myth, are said to be where the First Sisters were canonized—where the gods whispered to them the essential truths they would need to guide mankind.”

(Art by Victoria Shaad)

3 Likes

Once there was a great and benevolent manta ray, or so the story goes. The ray’s vast fins supported a seafaring monastery of mystics, who taught prayers and rituals at each port. When the beneficiaries of these teachings put them to selfish and destructive ends, the betrayed and grief-stricken ray swam far from land, never to return. But perhaps doughty enough sailors could find it and reap the secrets of the (doubtless now uninhabited) monastery upon its back…

3 Likes

Fragments of an alluring set of opulent crockery, ornate, multi-hued and gilded, washes up on the shores of the Blossoming Sea. The rumor is that comes from the treasure galley Aureate Bounty, dashed on the rocks many years past. As it went down, holds groaning with the blood-soaked treasures of the Kaldurh, it was said that the hungry ocean took back a trophy of its own. It is said that those who find fragments of the set will be compelled to seek out its fellows and reunite them, throwing their spoils and themselves into the waves.

2 Likes

There is a tale of a voice which calls across the wind during the evening of a waxing crescent moon. The voice calls for a love lost at sea in hopes they will return.

“I’ll leave by a new moon and return before the crescent. I’ll return with riches and we will both sail away.”

The last words spoken by the lover. No on truly knows if this tale is real. The voice can be heard but it’s origins unknown. A ghost trapped in an endless loop, or an ancient call beckoning those foolishness to find out. If you find yourself sailing at these times, ignore the call. It could be the last you answer.

2 Likes

There is an attendant for the lighthouse adjoining the Blossoming Sea. She is believed to be hundreds of years old, but no one has seen her face. Knocks at her door are ignored and when confronted, she is hunched, covered in a shawl, and her face is wrapped like a mummy with thin cloth. Some blame her for the disappearances or believe her to bring the visitors of the sea into a cosmic balance.

The lighthouse is constructed of an impossibly smooth brick and stands taller than any other lighthouse in the region.

4 Likes

A king that used to reign in Kalduhr became increasingly paranoid that his throne was coveted by his brother. He attempted everything to hide his fortune, paying great expense to make decoy caravans during travel, charging an entire city with creating a deep mine to house the riches, and even killing one of his queens when he believed her to favor his brother.

As his final act, he set sail with all of his goods to cross the Blossoming Sea, believing he could find an island that no one could possibly reach. No one has seen him–or his immense wealth–since.

2 Likes

While browsing a junk shop you find an ancient parchment requesting something called “Spirit Sands” from a small island community far out across the Blossoming Sea. It appears that these Sprit Sands are quite sought after by arcanists. Perhaps there’s profit to be made.

During the last war the royal family was forced to flee by ship out across the sea. There’s no record of arrival at their intended destination, nor was a shipwreck ever located despite extensive searching.

The fisherfolk down by the docks are saying that ships are going missing recently because Old Malachi has returned. They say that Old Malachi is a massive sea turtle, larger than the largest frigate with a shell made of quartz and granite. Surely that can’t be true.

They say that no captain can safely navigate Dranin’s reef. They passages are too narrow for a large ship and the currents too strong for smaller craft. While they’re likely just tall tales, folk tell stories about wealth beyond measure in the islands beyond the reef.

Out past Jerund’s Point the waters turn red. Sailors are afraid of the unnatural waters, but that’s where you get the red pearls. Just watch out for the carnivorous oysters.

There’s nothing better for reinforcing a ship’s mast or hull than Leviathan bones. Too bad they wash up less than once a year. Anyone brave enough to scour the sea floor for a leviathan’s corpse would come back to a life of wealth and leisure. Surely no one is foolish enough to attempt to hunt a live leviathan.

During the last imperial invasion, The Grand Legion’s ships were scuttled by saboteurs leaving all their cargo at the bottom of the sea. The wrecks should still be intact because no sailor will go near the area because of rumors that the Legionnaire’s spirits haunt the waves.

2 Likes

The Corsair Princess Brass Maw slaughtered the Pilgrim armada on these seas when the troubles last raged. The Pilgrim’s leader - 3rd Prophet of Love was beheaded on the deck of his burning jade sailed triērēs and his head, still prophesying, cast into the hungry sea.

As a divine being the prophet endures, sea changed, with pearl eyes and locks of green weed on a barnacled skull, and still proclaims the holy secrets of love, charity and peace. Most recently pulled up in the nets of a poor fisherman – the now beatific old man claims that he heard only a word of love before the head was wrestled from him by a pod of black dolphins who dived with it to their living coral temples. The singing fish revere the Prophet as a god, praising him with holy mockery. Should the Prophet’s head return to the world of mortals he will speak the 12 secrets of peace and 24 words of love – assuring a cataclysm of fiery joy and 12 years of absolute peace.

3 Likes

I told this story to my son, who told it to his daughter; and for them, I tell it to you. There once was a little paper boat, painted with wax, set to see by a child who lived in a village not far from here. It came back every year until the child was an old man, whose grandchild built a boat of their own to travel with it. For two centuries the Paper Armada has returned to that shore to take new boats among its number, built by people young and old, to take their hopes to sea. But a vicious hurricane called up by the Shrieking Mother of Sirens destroyed that village five years ago. Now the Paper Armada has no home, no place to return its memories and gain new ones. Please, friends–make a new home for them. For my son and his daughter, if no one else.

3 Likes

The Wizard-Scientists of Old Kalduhr were particularly proud of Understation Arcane 7, not the first underwater laboratory but the first dedicated to the study of underwater cultures. Part science station, part diplomatic outpost, UA7, was devoured by the sea when a heat vent opened beneath it, swallowing it and all of its gathered lore forever.

2 Likes

“Down past the cliffs in the whimsical waves, past the shifting shoals and sailors graves, lies old Bone White. In his socket a crab’s claw ticks, in his maw a reef I saw, through his ribs a home he gives, near his toes some grass it grows. In the sand he sits and sits, the sea around him swirling fits. He’s waiting there for you you see, to join him 'neath the deep blue sea.”
-A children’s rhyme in Pearl’s Perch

4 Likes

It is widely rumored in the small villages that litter the edges of the Blossoming Sea, that deep below, the last creation of a mad sea god lies. Rumored to be a lure, for any and all creatures, it rests at the bottom, it’s mad whispers of all your heart’s desires. The soothing images and empty promises dragging more and more adventurers down to the depths, ever casting for a prey no one knows.

4 Likes

Old Lazlo once washed ashore
A monk who twice lost allure.
He came to sail the Blossoming Sea
Embraced its currents with saccharine needs.

He lost his ship to brine and foam
Not quite living, haunted alone.

He has a map of old regard
To find the text of Saint Ulnaur.
The pigment moves beneath his eyes
A glimmer of gold, a shimmer of lies.

Come with him now to sea’s embrace.
For fate demands truth of faith.

2 Likes

At the height of the Last Empire, its decadence and glory a fever of waste, the mad Golden Heresiarch ruled the capital, now sunk beneath the sea. He called for tribute from all polities, and all gave tribute to him, so great was the power he had usurped. Bloated with stolen riches and plunder from the commonweal the Heresiarch demanded more and his soothsayers, witches and heirophants complied in pain and extremity. Other spheres were sent declarations of power and demands of tribute. Most laughed, the celestial thrones quaking with mirth that his advisors hid from the Heresiarch, but born of insatiable curiosity and decorum the Brass Ones of the Inverse Brass Pyramid sent a treasure ship across the void in response.

When the ship lighted in the harbor of the Capitol, a vast chariot of brass and silver, held aloft by a piece of the sun the harbor burned. The Empire laughed and rejoiced, the Heresiarch squealed with contentment at his power. The Brass Ones looked out from their vessel and saw only depravity. Their metal faces wept with the unreason and folly of the dying Empire, squandering the stored labor of ages, the wealth of slaughtered peoples and fruits of the tired earth to please the ego of one mad man. Their tears carved paths across masks of horror and their minds broke under what they witnessed. The child sun the rode snuffed out in bleak incomprehension.

The treasure ship sank, boiling into the harbor and with it items of power beyond human ken. It sink beneath the waves, beneath the silt, beneath the rock - carving a path with the grave of a dead star. With it sank the Capital, the Heresiarch and the Empire. Famine, flood and fire rippled outward from the site of the Heresiarch’s crime, and left only scavengers, and eaters of men to wonder from the poisoned shore at the placid spread of the Blossoming Sea where once spired the towers of wealth and distinction.

On calm nights, sailors claim that in the dead stretches of the Sea a keen listener can still hear the bells of the Last Empire’s temples tolling in the currents below.

1 Like

Ships that regularly cross the Blossoming Sea have a curious practice—the calling of the daily roll of all aboard from a list kept by the ship’s master. Although life at sea is always dangerous, sailors on these waters might lose their lives—quite literally, if the tales of old salts are to be believed.

The origin of the superstition is unclear. References to it are found in a variety of letters, reports, and testimonies dating back to the earliest records of the Sea itself. Perhaps the most famous is the story of the Merrystar , a derelict schooner found adrift by a crew of whalers. The ship was empty of crew—alive or dead—but more curiously also empty of the traces of crew: there were no belongings in the lockers, no signs that the bunks had been disturbed, and the ships stores appeared untouched. The only thing the searchers found was a log, but this journal provoked more questions than it answered.

So the story goes, the log was largely mundane—or as mundane as any record of the Blossoming Sea could be. The Merrystar was a trader, captained by a man named Wrisp. The book contained several years of journey notes, punctuated by infrequent stories of odd or unsettling occurrences not uncommon to those waters. However, on their last journey, the narrative took a strange turn. Three days out, the captain recorded a disturbance within the crew, and made multiple references to disciplinary actions in subsequent days. A week from port, Wrisp recorded the testimony of a midshipman who seemed to be at the epicenter of the problems. The man—Krispin—had been a steady seaman on the crew for years, but seemed to have gone a little mad shortly after leaving port. Krispin insisted that another member of the crew had gone missing. He spoke quite fondly of this other man and in great detail, insisting that like he, this other sailor had crewed for Wrisp for years; however, neither Wrisp nor any other member of the crew had any recollection of the man described. Stranger still, Krispin related this other sailor had related something very similar to Krispin himself, insisting that the ship had left port with eight souls, and now had but seven.

The log entries that followed became more confusing still. Wrisp recorded a growing hysteria among the crew and decides to return to port. However, as he left “shorthanded,” maneuvering the vessel becomes increasingly difficult. At one point, he reread the previous log entries and was dumbfounded by what he found—though he recognized his own hand, Krispin and the names of the other crew recorded he did not. Wrisp recorded that he searched the ship and could not find any trace of any crew other than himself; even his first mate’s cabin was empty. Wrisp confessed that he had not seen the woman in a day, but whether she was lost to this “strange forgetting that you have forgotten” or some other thing, he could not say. In the final entry, dated the day before, Wrisp reported that he has seen a ship on the horizon that he intended to signal, but was compelled to record first a strange dream that he has had. He began to relate this story that he had returned to his home port but that no one knew him, not even his wife. Alone and forgotten, he made his way to the docks, where a man he recognized as Krispin greeted him, and told him that the ship is ready to make sail. He asked Krispin where they will sail to, but Krispin’s reply is not recorded. As the story goes, the log ended in mid-stroke.

Some tellings of the Merrystar ’s tale end there, but a few say that there was more, that the captain of the whaler was an unimaginative and practical man, not given to superstitious nonsense, and that he dispatched what crew he could spare to the other ship and together they sailed back to port. The whaler captain recognized the shipwright’s work in the lines of the Merrystar and, hoping to but a claim of salvage to the owner, visited the crafter. However, the shipwright had no recollection of ever constructing the ship nor any captain named Wrisp, even when—after some persuasion—he was able to find these names in his ledgers. Prompted by the scant details in Wrisp’s log, the whaler captain revisited the other man’s life, but no one remembered any such man, his crew, or his ship. The whaler captain finally visited the woman Wrisp had named as his wife, who insisted that she was unwed and had never known anyone of that name. Sensing something more, the whaler pressed, and under his insistence, she finally did allow that though what she had said was true, she had—only a few nights before—had a strange dream in which a man had confronted her claiming to be her husband and that though she could not remember the name he had given, it might have been that….

So, every day at dawn, sailors on the Blossoming Sea gather for the calling of names. And should a name be called that is unknown to others, a wise captain will set course for the closest port.

1 Like

For decades, the Trawler’s Spyglass has been little more than a natural curiosity of the southern seas. A column of crystal clear fresh water in the middle of the ocean, sailors sought the Spyglass to refill their stores and to gaze upon the ocean floor far below. Now, the mariners say the Trawler’s Spyglass has begun to move, roaming far from its place on the charts, and that in the depths below the column, something has begun to writhe.

2 Likes

There is a place in the icy north where the Blossoming Sea grows shallow. The ocean floor rises until the water is scarcely higher than a man’s knees, and bold sailors continue on foot. Those that have sailed to the edge of this Sodden Plateau whisper of a monolith on the horizon, glittering like a diamond in the last rays of the setting sun. Those that have traversed the plateau to seek the edifice say nothing, for none of them have yet returned.

2 Likes

There are enormous statues, older than our cities, standing partially submerged in sand and surf near the settlements of Brackrok, Elder’s Care, Old Baleeng, and Epa’s Falling. Known collectively as The Widows, or the Wracks, the statues are not identical, but share features in common: humanoid shapes; a grasping hand stretched seaward; deeply set and sad eyes; and open mouths shaped by grief that pierce the entire head of the figure, front to back.

Sailors in fog claim they can navigate along the coast in dense fog, steering by the mournful tones that sea breezes blow through these mouths. Those new to life at sea are teased that if they could string a rope through the heads of each of the Wracks, then run them stiff and straight to where each figure points, a treasure awaits where the ropes would meet. But that’s ridiculous. More likely these were merely navigational aids, or some warning for an earlier age.

4 Likes

There once was a woman, so fair and so bright that all who met her loved her. She gave all her would be suitors impossible demands - pluck stars from the sky and gift them, spin gold from wool for her wedding gown, etc. The local lord coveted her as a dog covets a bone, but she would not have him, nor could he answer her challenges. Instead, she accepted a betrothal from a poor fisherboy, who she had asked to bottle wind, and who had done as she had requested. Together they whittled their wedding bands from seal bone, a beautiful matched pair of sea ivory.

Everyone remembers her tears when he was lost at sea. Some, even, remember the way she stormed the keep, demanding to know whether the lord sabotaged her intended’s small boat. But no one was there to remember the night she threw herself into the waves, or the letter she burned before doing so. The whole town woke the next morning with the lord’s demands that they scour the waves for her.

Lost to the blossoming sea, was she, until the day of the lord’s funeral, when two great tuna were caught and prepared for the feast. Inside each of their mouths, under their tongue, was a small circle of carved bone.

3 Likes

In the middle of the blossoming sea exists a small islet, on which stands one thing - a statue of a woman with her arms outspread, inviting the viewer in for a hug. At her feet are myriads of human bones. The direction she faces changes over time, perhaps due to some instability in the earth below her. For the most part it’s an innocuous mystery, as the land is so small and no culture has claimed it, or her.

However, seafaring towns have a story about her. You see, if you ever feel desolate and alone, and look out at the sea, you might see a path emerge over the waves leading you into her arms. It’s inviting, to be sure, but any who take this path are gone forever, lost to the blossoming sea.

4 Likes