The Rhine archipelago is situated quite far north. During the months of Napen and Obern (the eighth and ninth months of the year, respectively), the islands are completely ice-locked (this period of time is called the 'Freeze,' which sometimes starts during Murh and occasionally lasts into Pim). It is during the Freeze that the islands of Northpoint and Southport come into their own. The two islands provide clear docking area for sea-faring vessals to load and unload their cargos. This cargo is transported to ice-skimmers that provide tha main means of inter-island transport during the Freeze. Despite the bitter cold of Rhine winters, many travellers visit during this time of year to participate in Centralian holidays and watch the popular skimmer races.
A few of the smaller islands, much further north than Northpoint, become inhabitable during the coldest weeks. The rest of the year is less eventful. The oceans thaw and life returns to its more normal state.
Centralia island exists in the center of a large grouping of islands called the Rhine Archipelago. The Archipelago is large and has mostly been explored at one time or another. The people of Centralia, however, were not great cartographers and anything not immediately of value or entertainment was unfortunately overlooked and forgotten. Thus, many islands and locales may be hidden in the waters, places of untold adventure…
The Lojem Region is located about 2 months to the southwest. Ageron is located even further southwest, taking about a 5 month journey by ship to reach. Kratal is loacted about 4 months to the southeast.
The Rhine Rhombus is an area of the Rhine Archipelago that is notoriously dangerous for ship travel. Until recently, no one who had ventured there had returned alive. A recent expedition to the Rhombus discovered a giant item on the bottom of the ocean there, which sucks down ships, trapping them and their passengers forever. The group managed to deactivate the item long enough to escape but it could start up again at any time. This region of seas is located to the southwest of Centralia, between Taegel, Southport, and Centralia. Many ship graveyards, shallow reefs, and dangerous choppy waters still make traveling through the Rhombus difficult.
The predominant language of Rhine seems to be Ferric. In most cities Ferric may be the only language spoken. On Centralia island, it is becoming increasingly likely to run into someone who speaks Paroli, caused by the influence of southern trading companies and the influx of refugees after the Seige of Karfelon. Other islands have a mix of different languages depending on their populace. There are many lizard settlements that speak a mix of Sel'ict and Paroli, especially in the reefs and atolls of the Rhine.
A few groups have a social, political, and/or economic influence over large parts of the Rhine. These factions wax and wane in strength over time, some dying out entirely, others forming anew. Currently, these are the existing factions in the Rhine:
The Knights of Neptune was founded by Akvo’ka, the Ekvilibri of Helmrest's Natatorium, and a couple of their crew in the 10050's. It began as a small regiment of 3 ships, but quickly became known as folk heroes after saving a colony ship from a group of ruthless pirates. For the next 20 years, they’ve gained more in repute around the southwestern Rhine but are still limited to a handful of ships, crewed by firm believers in helping the common sailor and protecting the seas of Neptune. Recently, the movement has been gathering followers and equipment, and now has about 2 maraujos, 2 metioujos, and 4 kurujos, as well as a small number of patrolling attack ships. Their main focus is on protecting those who cannot protect themselves, or afford to hire the expensive services of the Stormfin Sharks.
Leaders: Akvo'ka (also goes by Akvo)
Heraldry: A white trident inside a seashell, emblazoned in the center of a dark blue field.
Based in Centralia, the Stormfin Sharks guild acts as mercenary ships for hire, protecting the interests of anyone with a bit of coin to throw around. Often, they have been hired by the Centralian Lords to follow their ships around to provide protection. They always fly a pair of flags, their main flag above a secondary flag that acts as a sort of “taxi light”. When acting as ships-for-hire, they fly a flag that looks like a ship’s silhouette with a deep blue background, as opposed to when already on a job, they fly flags that look like a ship’s silhouette with a bright red background.
Most of the Sharks act as 9-to-5 workers, bodyguards or insurance for merchant ships. They get annoyed when people mess up their name, since their brand is important to them. People sometimes mistakenly call them “Sharkfins” which they are quick to correct.
The Sharks have a working radius of 200’ before attacking ships that approach too close, firing a warning shot when a ship comes within 250’. This policy is made very clear, as they advertise this policy as much as possible.
Leaders: Oliver “Oli” Sharpe
Heraldry: A black shark fin facing the right, cut through by a black lightning bolt striking from the upper right to the lower left, in the center of a gold field.
The Pirates of Scourgetide name themselves as such because they believe in and uphold the agreement and pirates’ code established at the pirate town of Scourgetide. This code values honor and mercy, taking only what they need from those that can afford to lose it, and not killing unless it is absolutely needed. They believe that all pirates under this banner have a form of brotherhood and kinship, and that betraying that is condemning oneself to a lonely deserted island far away from any trade routes.
Leaders: Katura Jax (“Cap'n on High”), Fatima Abiduan (“First Mate”)
Heraldry: A white skull facing the right above a white cutlass (facing left) crossed with a white olive branch (facing right), in the center of a black field.