"You know what's odd?" said Rena out of nowhere. Nobody had spoken for at least an hour.

"No," said Bill the Marcher. He still had his eyes closed, and Rena had assumed he was asleep, like Suvi White-Eyes. Cosy and warm beneath the bearskin blanket. "What's odd?"

"I was just thinking. Isn't it strange that the Jotun don't like the sea?"

"How so?"

"Well, you know who else doesn't like the sea?" Bill didn't answer immediately, ruminating over the question. The Leaguer, Corte, looked up briefly from her little book, then went back to reading, her lightstone balanced expertly on her shoulder.

"Does anyone like the sea?" said Bill after a few moments. "I don't like the sea I know that much. I only really went on the boats because my da needed someone to help with the nets and then when he drowned someone had to keep the fish coming in and... sorry. What were you saying about the Faraden?"

He yawned heavily, his words tailing off slightly. Rena wasn't about to let the topic drop however.

"I was saying it's odd isn't it? The Jotun and the Faraden. One of them likes raiding other peoples' countries. The other are apparently great traders who send caravans all over looking to make money. And neither of them use boats to do it."

"My mam had a saying that covers that," he said, yawning. Rena waited expectantly.

"There's nowt as queer as folks," said Bill, burrowing back down under the blanket. Rena opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted.

"Actually, it's interesting because you know who else doesn't seem to like boats much?" Corte had delicately closed her little book around a pressed flower, a speculative expression on her face.

"No, who?"

"The Thule. I mean I know they say that the Sea of Snow is impassable, but it's still a little odd. Three people - Faraden. Jotun. Thule. All bordering the Sea of Snow, more or less. All suspicious of the sea, in some cases to the point of absolute terror. Makes you think, doesn't it? It makes me wonder if maybe we'll be happier if the Senate doesn't fund the mapping expedition. You know what I mean?"

Rena had lived with the sea for as long as she could remember, and in a way she did know what Corte meant. As Bill started to snore, the pair of them sat in silence for a time, staring out through the door of the tent, out into the curtains of rain, down towards the storm-tossed shore.
Never be found at home.jpg
The Sea of Snow extends to the west and north of the Empire, and is largely unknown to Imperial sailors.
Click for audio version


Last season the Empire took the fight to the Jotun, with fleets and military units launching a vast raid on Skallahn. They dominated the Gullet and vessels attacked the Kongegőr - the land bridge that connects Narkyst and Kalsea by linking Skallahn and Hordalant to the south. The bridge is essential to the Jotun, allowing them to move their troops between the two territories with ease, but it also restricts passage from the Gullet to the Sea of Snow beyond. A lone ship might slip through, but it prevents any large naval force from getting past.

The attack is successful, bridges are destroyed, watchtowers and garrisons overwhelmed, and a thousand years of infrastructure are torn down. Until the damage is repaired it is impossible for them to interdict the passage. As a result there is now a chance to send a large force of fleets to map the Sea of Snow to the west of the Empire. The Jotun are already hard at work trying to restore the bridge, if the Empire wishes to know more about the mysterious Sea of Snow then the opportunity needs to be seized right now.

Senate Motion

Creating a highly detailed map, one that would be of use to magicians, is feasible only when the Senate creates a spy network to allow Imperial soldiers to scout a territory. Yet at the moment they do not even know the names and locations of the territories that surround the Sea of Snow, or even how many territories they are dealing with. A few ship captains know more than others of course - a handful of merchants from Wintermark and the Marches have dared to slip past the Jotun defences to reach the Sea of Snow over the years, to map routes out to far lands like the Commonwealth and Jarm. But their maps are of limited use, being little more than naval charts of where to go and things to avoid.

The Imperial Senate could pass a motion to call on brave ship captains to engage in a concerted effort to create a map of the Sea of Snow, one that would be available to all Imperial citizens. The civil service would make cartographers available to any captain prepared to commit to the project, and coordinate their efforts to efficiently create a map of the major features of the Sea of Snow and its shoreline. This project would not be free however - the Imperial Senate would need to provide 50 thrones to provide materials and recruit specialist cartographers to aid the ship captains.


If the Senate passes and funds this motion, in the coming season, there will be an additional option accessible through the spying dropdown menu - Map the Sea of Snow. This may be taken by any fleet owner, and represents committing a fleet specifically to create an Imperial map of the Sea of Snow.

Each standard fleet assigned to the "Map the Sea of Snow" action effectively adds 100 points toward successful resolution of the opportunity. Each additional rank for an upgraded or enchanted fleet adds another 20 points. Rituals and other effects that increase the ranks of a spying fleet (specifically Muffled Oar) will increase the effective strength for purposes of this special action. As with the previous Raid on Skallahn, fleets from nations without easy access to the Gullet will have a -1 penalty to their rank if they take part in this project. Only fleets belonging to Wintermark and Marcher captains will operate at full strength.

Mapping the Sea of Snow will not involve raids against the Jotun; the goal is to avoid encounters with the enemy and focus on gathering intelligence so that the majority of time can be spent on mapping the coastlines of Jotun lands and beyond. None-the-less there may be a few opportunities for plunder and even some chances to trade if the fleets can reach friendly ports. As a result, a standard fleet taking this action will receive 4 random ingots of metal and 30 rings in plunder with upgraded fleets receiving increased rewards. The Quartermaster General of the Imperial Armies could also choose to assign the guerdon to the action, offering to pay captains as if they had supported an Imperial navy.

In a similar manner to a spy network, the total strength assigned to the opportunity will determine the outcome. All the results shown below are cumulative, so if the Empire can assign 20,000 or more military strength to map the Sea of Snow they will gain all the benefits shown.

Names and Faces
Less than 2,500 strength
Without sufficient ships to cover the coastline in detail the Empire will be unable to produce even a simple map showing the outline. All they will receive is the name of the territories they have seen from the decks of the ships and the identity of whichever power controls it. While any intelligence is useful, the Empire won't find out much more about these territories than their name and approximate location.

The Route to Faraden
2,500 - 5,000 strength
With enough vessels, the Empire will be able to force their way past the Kongegőr and turn south past Hordalant. This Jotun territory is already well mapped, but what lies beyond? Ships captains will need to hug the coastline to avoid becoming lost on the Sea of Snow, but that will allow them to create a map of the coastline that lies beyond Hordalant. There is rumoured to be at least one more Jotun territory, this is a chance to find out exactly what is there.

For centuries Faraden's caravans have made the dangerous journey through Lasambrian lands to reach the Empire - lured here by valuable opportunities for trade. But what if there was another route? Imperial captains have often wondered if it might be possible to reach Faraden by ship. The Faraden are not sailors, they fear the sea every bit as much as the Jotun do, but if enough fleets join the expedition then the Empire could reach Faraden and confirm once and for all that a sea route exists.

The Palace of Gudmundur Arason
5,000 - 10,000 strength
With this many fleets, the Imperial cartographers will have enough time to collect information on large territorial features visible from the coastline. The maps they create will include all the details they can observe, providing valuable intelligence on important sites in Narkyst, the southern landmass of the Jotun. Gudmundur Arason is the King of Narkyst, if his palace is near the shore, then the Empire might find out more about this distant figure.

If the Empire's fleets can reach Faraden, then they will gain similar detailed information on that nation's territories that border the Sea of Snow. If that happens there will be an opportunity to open a valuable new port with their sea-fearing neighbours.

Beyond Skallahn
10,000 - 12,500 strength
With enough strength in depth, captains and cartographers will be able to travel north as well as south. They can sail quickly past Skallahn, for that land is already well mapped, but doing so will allow them to produce a simple map of the coastline as you travel north. The map will name and show every coastal territory in Kalsea, the Northern Kingdom of the Jotun, all the way to the point where the sea meets the ice floes of Tsirku.

The Bear's Dominion
12,500 - 17,500 strength
Small boats can put to shore to let Imperial spies and cartographers gather vital collect information on key features that are close to the coastline. This will allow them to include crucial details on their maps, showing ports, fortifications, cultural, religious and economic sites in the dominion of Yrsa Jansdóttir, the Queen of Kalsea. If her palace is near the shore, then the Empire might find out more about this distant figure.

Floes and Fins
17,500 - 20,000 strength
With a big enough armada, the Empire can reach the icy lands of Tsirku beyond Kalsea. Almost nothing is known of Tsirku for the howling winds of Sydanjaa make it impossible to reach by land. There are legends that describe glaciers, icebergs and ice floes that choke the waters, alongside more fantastic stories of tropical jungles buried in the heart of the frozen north. The waters are not just chillingly cold, they are said to harbour terrible creatures, sea monsters that prey on vessels and consider human flesh a delicacy. This would be a chance to discover what truths there are in any of this.

Passage to Ultima Thule
More than 20,000 strength
More than two centuries ago, the heroic explorer Pusa Far-Seer was the only survivor from a naval expedition that left the Gullet and headed north. He returned with wild claims of being attacked by a great sea beast with eyes the size of cartwheels and twelve terrible limbs that reached from the waters to pluck his crew one by one from the deck of his vessel, the Sea Hawk. One part of his extraordinary tale was a claim that he had sailed so far north that he had gone through Tsirku, until at the last, he reached Ultima Thule, the land of the northern orcs that lies furthest from the Empire.

It is almost certainly a myth, but if there is a passage to Nithoggir, to Ultima Thule, then as with Faraden, there might be an opportunity to open a valuable new port with the northern orcs.

Long Term Economic Investment

  • If the Empire can access new ports that will support new business opportunities in the territories that border the Gullet and increasing the tax revenues accordingly

The Imperial Senate is heavily dependent on the tax revenues generated by the territories of the Empire only supplemented by the income from the Imperial Bourse auctions. If the Empire is able to access new ports, in Faraden or, incredible as it may seem, in Nithoggir, then that will create valuable new business opportunities in all the territories that border the Gullet. Daring merchants will take the chance to slip past the Jotun and sail to where the best profits can be had.

If that happens, then tax revenues from Kallavesa, Mitwold, and Bregasland would increase. Of course Bregasland is currently under Jotun rule, so any benefits from there would only accrue once the territory is back under Imperial control.

Limited Opportunity

The opportunity to map the Sea of Snow is only available this downtime. Within three months the Jotun will have started work repairing the Kongegőr and that will make such an expedition impossible without their permission.

Restoring the Kongegőr will end this opportunity, but it won't remove any gains that have been made. Even with the defences restored, individual captains will still be able to sneak past the Jotun defences, just as they do at the moment. The Jotun won't be able to block access to new ports.