The Great Ocean or Great Western Ocean, known by the Lizardmen as the World Pond[3c][3d], is an open sea that separates the Old World, Araby and the Southlands from the New World (Naggaroth and Lustria).[1d]
The Great Ocean has many smaller seas connecting to it, such as the Sea of Malice and the Sea of Chill near Naggaroth, and the Sea of Claws, the Sea of Chaos and the Tilean Sea near the Old World. The Great Ocean also surrounds Ulthuan and Albion and connects with the Far Sea and the Sea of Dread at the southern capes of Lustria and the Southlands respectively, two other large oceans.
Creation of the World Pond
- "Then the Old Ones perceived that the time for opening up the World Pond had come. And the Slann set about this task and it was done. (Mendoza: Undoubtedly this refers to the separation of the continents of Naggaroth and Lustria from the Old World and the Southlands.)"
In the beginnings of the world, the Old Ones established themselves in Lustria and started to enact their Great Plan. They spawned several generations of Slann, Saurus, Skinks and Kroxigor, and founded the first Temple-Cities.[1c] The Slann Mage-Priests of the Fourth Generation were more numerous, and were spawned to attend to the warp gates above the poles and to aid in the great separation of the continents.[3a] This took place some ten thousand years before the founding of the Empire - the super continent was split into separate, smaller lands, the Great Ocean was created, and the Southlands moved across the globe, separating the Temple-Cities. Such physical distances meant little, for travel and communication between the cities was instantaneous.[3b]
Ancient legends still tell that the Southlands were once joined to the continent of Lustria, and this is borne out by the many identical species of flora and fauna indigenous to both. The hidden city of Zlatlan is said to have been founded before the continents were split asunder and certainly there are Lizardmen to be found on both sides of the World Pond, as the Lizardmen call the Great Ocean. Over the centuries, the Slann on Lustria have attempted to re-establish contact with their lost spawn, but such communication is sporadic and erratic at best. In addition to the loss of their masters' ancient guidance, the few spawning pools in existence spawn less and less frequently and many of the warrior lizards such as Saurus do not arise in any meaningful numbers. As a result, Lizardman society has begun to devolve. The spawning pools in the caverns below their cities simply do not spawn as regularly as the Slann feel they should, but they accept that this is the will of the Old Ones. Without great numbers of Saurus to fight their battles, the Slann of the Southlands are forced to rely on Skinks to defend them and use the few Saurus which have spawned to train the Skinks in the ways of war that came so naturally to them. The small number of Saurus who were spawned were primarily those destined to become Temple Guard and this has been seen as a sign that the designs of the Old Ones are unfolding as they had planned.[3d]
Beyond the shores of Bretonnia stretches the Great Ocean, imaginatively named for its immense size. The largest known ocean in the world, its rough and wind-whipped waters are plied by ships of every race and nation. Aside from the constant threat of piracy, slavers and seasickness (a danger not to be sniffed at), there also lurks a darker, more primal menace: sea monsters. The deep waters of the Great Ocean hide not only the sunken wrecks of Tilean treasure ships but also hideous rubbery, tentacle waving serpents filled with malice and a general disregard for all shipping. It is even said, by old crusty sea dogs, that the dark currents of the Great Ocean actually hide an entire underwater kingdom. Such wild speculation can hardly be given credit, though it is difficult to disprove.[6b]
A legend of the ocean is that of Bone Island. Reputed to be the rotted carcass of a massive kraken, it has become a favoured haunt of the Crimson Corsair pirates, who use it to store their ill-gotten wealth. The island of course is notoriously difficult to find as it moves slowly with the currents, and only those with a good knowledge of the heavens and seas can plot its course.[6b]
Where the northeastern Great Ocean meets the Old World, there are a number of deep gulfs and seas: the Sea of Chaos separates the Chaos Wastes from Norsca, and its deepest reaches are known as the Frozen Sea. In turn, Norsca is separated from the Empire and Bretonnia by the Sea of Claws, which is called the Gulf of Kislev to the east and the Middle Sea to the west, and has a well deserved reputation for piracy. Of course pirates and foul weather don't stop dozens of ships sailing from Marienburg and other northern ports, making it quite accessible for those wishing to cross it, either on their way to Norsca or other places further afield[6a]. Further south, Tilea and Araby stand on opposite shores of the Tilean Sea, which becomes known as the Pirate Coast between Sartosa and Nehekhara, and then flows into the Black Gulf between the Border Princes and the Badlands until it reaches the cliff fortress of the Dwarfs of Barak Varr.
Along the shores of Naggaroth, the northern half of the New World, the waters of the Great Ocean are known as the Straits of Fear (a gulf between the north of Lustria and the south of Naggaroth), the Black Coast (where there is a small High Elf colony called Arnheim), the Forbidding Coast (west of Tiranoc in Ulthuan, at the mouth of the Sulphur River), the Clawed Coast (further northeast, along the Twisted Glade) and the Dread Cliff (northwards, next to the Broken Lands). Past the Bittercleft straits and the islands that surround Karond Kar, the ocean penetrates into Naggaroth through the Sea of Chill, perpetually battered by gale-force winds, icy rain and tidal waves the size of mountains[4b], and then becomes the wider Sea of Malice, whose shores are known as Devdorer's Bay (between Har Ganeth and the Blacklight Tower), the Gulf of Naggarond (the innermost region, with Naggarond itself at its end), the Soulshil Strand (at the mouth of River Redvenom, north of Clar Karond, the chief shipyard of the Witch King Malekith[4c]), and the Poison Shore (from there back to Blacklight Tower).[4a]
The great island of Ulthuan, roughly northwest from the center of the Great Ocean, has an inner and an outer coast, connected by the Straits of Lothern in the middle of Eataine. The outer coasts are known as the Bay of Tears (to the south of Saphery), the Shrouded Shore (east of Saphery), the Dead Shale (northeast of Yvresse), the Whitereach Bay (north of Cothique - this is a highly dangerous area to sail, not just because of the perilous waters, battered by chill northeastern winds, but because the seas contain Kraken, huge shark megalodons, Behemoths and even dread Black Leviathans[5c]), and the Sundered Strand (along Nagarythe). The inner waters of Ulthuan are divided in three seas - the Sea of Dusk to the northwest (whose waters churn wrathfully beneath Tor Elyr, the capital of Ellyrion[5b]), the Sea of Dreams to the southeast, and the Inner Sea in the center, around the Isle of the Dead.[5a]
The eastern coasts of Lustria, the central and southern part of the New World, have received several names. The Sea of Serpents is located between Hexoatl and Pahuax, along the Isthmus of Lustria, and most of the human colonies (Skeggi, Port Reaver, Cadavo, Swamp Town and Dalmark Town) are built on its coast[2a]. Southeast from the Isthmus of Lustria and Pahuax and to the east of the fallen Temple-City of Spektazuma, the City of Lenses, lies the Cactus Coast. Past the mouth of River Amaxon and east of Xahutec there is the Scorpion Coast, which after Tlax becomes known as the Tarantula Coast. The World Pond turns southwards then along the Vampire Coast, an infamous region controlled by the Undead armies of Luthor Harkon[1a][1b]. From Axlotl and the mouth of River Qurveza to sunken Chupayotl, the shore is known as the Mangrove Coast.[3c]
The western coast of the Southlands, from Nehekhara to the Fortress of Dawn, also takes a number of names - between the Arabyan city of Al Haikk and the ruins of Zandri, it is known as the Pirate Coast of Araby, while next to the Corsair City of Lashiek there's the Bay of Corsairs, and between the Sorcerers' Islands and the Land of Assassins lie the Shark Straits. South of El-Kalabad the ocean marks the end of the Great Desert of Araby and the beginning of the Plain of Tuskers at the Gulf of Medes. Lastly, the watery expanse that separates the Lizardmen of Zlatlan from their cousins in Lustria is known as the Churning Gulf[9a].
- The Great Ocean is roughly equivalent to the Atlantic Ocean in the real world.
- Although it has never been officially stated, it is possible that the Churning Gulf west of the Southlands[9a] is related to the 'opposite Maw' that some Ogres that have travelled around the globe claim there is "in the ocean on the far side of the world - a vast, fanged whirlpool that devours any ship that strays too close".[10a] This would have been created by the same warpstone meteorite that created the Great Maw west of Cathay in ca. -2750 IC, as it is said it burrowed its way through the world for two years, emerging in the opposite hemisphere and causing the ocean there to boil.[10b] Alternatively, according to the Dreadfleet novel, the Maelstrom in the Galleon's Graveyard would be the opposite of the Great Maw, drawing in death like how the Great Maw draws in life.
- 7 Warhammer: Total War (PC Videogame).