April 13, 2011

Lands of Syrene: Kermassar

The island of Kermassar is tiny, but it is one of the most important ports in the entire Sea of Mirages because of its harbor, Ten Gods Bay.  What makes Ten Gods Bay even more interesting is that it is largely artificial; its huge stone enclosure is the remnant of an ancient Khamsaran city that was destroyed by the Great Flood, and it is named after the ten gigantic statues that remain standing in the water.   On prominent display is the ancient skull of a sea serpent stuck atop a huge broken column, placed there by the hero Datu Nagamatta after he slew the serpent and led settlers from Ceram to found his own kingdom here.

The people of Kermassar live among the ruins dotting their harbor and the hilly island, many in houseboats moored to ancient stone quays and pilings, and they are masters of aquaculture.  Scattered across the shallower parts of the bay are floating bamboo pens of hogfish, which the Kermassarim like many Islanders raise for food.  The Kermassarim also grow oysters and mussels on weighted ropes left hanging in the water, and leave myriads of clay pots on the bottom to attract lobsters and octopi which they harvest simply by pulling up the pots.  Thus without any arable land at all Kermassar can support a surprisingly large population, with as many as thirty thousand full time residents and sometimes a thousand or more visitors at a time. 

Sea rovers come here to spend the typhoon season in the sheltered waters, and to trade for pearls, gem coral, edible birds’ nests, and the euphoric, aphrodisiac drug kharibdas, which the Kermassarim extract from a poisonous snail native only to these waters.  Kharibdas is normally taken mixed with wine, and is one of the most expensive and highly desired trade items in Shingtsao.  In turn the Kermassarim buy grain, charcoal, timber, pottery, metal and metalwares, textiles and other such things as they cannot make themselves.

The Kermassarim are a warrior people, used to fighting both pirates and the monsters of the sea, but the raiders of Pirai are their most hated enemies.  The Kermassarim fight with spears, small round shields, and most warriors favor the wavy-bladed kris over other blades.  The colors of the Kermassar kingdom are red, white and black, and its banner shows a lionfish.


  1. Interesting. So who are the ten gods of ten gods bay?

  2. Guess what, I have no idea yet! :D

    That said, since I'm basing the Khamsaran civilization on the Chola and Pallava kingdoms of South India, I'll probably look for my inspirations from South Indian Hinduism.

    I'm thinking the Kermassarese don't know the exact identities of the Ten Gods either, and have their identities figure as part of an adventure.


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