Beyond the Spider Moon
The first truly habitable world from the sun is the watery world of Quelya, studded by long chains of islands criss-crossing her blue face. Humans and halflings rule the surface of this world, gathered into merchant clans that lay claim to various archipelagos and even currents and tradeways. Beneath the waters lurk the the sahuagin, who believe themselves rightful owners of the entire planet. Stories tell of even greater evil in the deepest parts of the world-oceans.
Climate / Terrain
The ocean covers more than 90% of Quelya’s surface. Broad continental shelves make for vast shallow seas in most cases, though great abyssal chasms plunge miles into the dark depths.
The climate of Quelya ranges from tropical (in a wide band around the equator) to temperate (between the equator and polar regions) to cold (in the world’s small polar areas). Temperatures don’t vary much from season to season due to the moderating influence of the ocean – temperate regions enjoy temperatures from 50 to 80 degrees year-round, while tropical regions range from 60 to 100 degrees.
Storms are a common sight on Quelya, particularly during the late spring, when hurricanes are most prevalent. Such weather can strip an island bare of buildings and construction in mere hours, so most Quelyans have storm shelters to which they can retreat.
As one might expect, most life on Quelya is aquatic or at least amphibious. Fish of every conceivable variety swim in Quelya’s planet-spanning ocean. Sharks, octopuses, and squids, are all common, with the largest known aquatic predator being the dire shark, which has been known to attack small and mid-sized boats.
Some mariners claim to have seen giant squids, and others believe that the mythical kraken lairs in the deepest ocean canyons. Storm giants occasionally lay claim to entire islands.
Three humanoid races call Quelya home: the humans, halflings, and sahuagin (though again, sea tales tell of merfolk, selkies, and even stranger people beneath the surface).
The humans and halflings share the sparse land available to them. In most cases, the two races live as one, with little – or no – social distinctions between them. Only a very few all-human or all-halfling settlements exist, a testament to the two races ability to cooperate. Most villages and towns center around a single merchant clan, which dominates daily life in most ways. Larger towns and cities bring up to a dozen merchant clans together to share power in a tenuous balance.
Halfing lore speaks of a time when they had to defend themselves against the sahuagin without the help of “big folk,” which suggest that the two races haven’t always lived together. However, they seem happy now to have the larger and more powerful humans around for defense against sahuagin raids.
For their part, the halflings tend to gravitate toward positions of monetary influence within the shared society. Thus, many of the merchant clans of Quelya are controlled – either directly or indirectly – by halflings.
Humans seem more comfortable in the role of defender of the surface territories. Often content to leave financial and business matters to the halflings, the humans prefer a more active lifestyle.
The other major civilization found on Quelya exists entirely beneath the waves. The vast empires of the sahuagin include most of the planet within their territories. These natural predators see themselves as the rightful rulers of Quelya and loathe the surface-dwelling humans and halflings. Only the never-ending territorial wars between the various sahuagin kingdoms and baronies keep them from becoming a unified force capable of wiping out their surface enemies. Even so, their predations are a constant threat to the humans and halflings.
The teeming ocean of Quelya provides a bounty of fish, far more than needed to feed the natives. The shipwrights of Quelya are legendary for their aptitudes, a necessity on this dangerous world.
Like the other planets in the system, Quelya has its share of ruins said to hold vast treasures. Most of these ruins lie on the shallow ocean floor. The sahuagin make no claim to these structures – indeed, most shun them as profane sites – suggesting that either another aquatic culture once built these sunken towers and temples,or that vast areas of the continental shelf once sat above sea level. Regardless of their origins, they attract many treasure-seekers willing to brave the fearsome denizens of the deep.