Caribbean Geographic Location in Hoist the Colors | World Anvil


It’s the crossroads of the world. Those islands are rich with history and hope for a fresh start. But behind all that lurks monsters of our own making…
- Helena Barrow, Captain of the Horizon’s Rose
The Caribbean. A wide archipelago made up of the Caribbean Sea with its collection of islands and island chains. It’s a tropical region between North and South America, known for its diverse cultures, settlements, trade, and a storied, bloody history. The region has always been home to one culture or another for over 7000 years.
It has been witness to, and withstood, invasions from Europe, trade wars of conquest, plagues, bloody pirate rampages, and a worldwide cataclysm. Specifically, the event called Crossing’s Fall that shoved the region and its inhabitants into the world’s view.
At midnight on October 31, 1712, the mysterious events of Crossing’s Fall changed the world. Warped it with shattered fragments of Otherworld appearing and melding with Earth. Near mythical animals appeared around the globe along with refugees from Otherworld. The landscape changed as well. In some places, it was dramatic, but in others, subtle. In the case of the Caribbean, it was more the former instead of the latter.

Changed Lands

Like elsewhere on Earth, the land itself had changed. Fragments of Otherworld became new mountains or foothills in places like Cuba, Jamaica, or Puerto Rico. Rocky islands rose along the coastlines of South America, New Spain, and Florida. The Bahamas, an island chain of scattered small islands, became even more fragmented, and dangerous, with primeval jungles having overrun the more remote ones.
Across those islands are towns and cities nestled in those dangerous jungles. Ports of call for ships from around the world from Europe, Americas, Japan, China, and beyond. Not to mention local ships such as pirates prowling the waves for a fresh kill. Deeper inland, lost Earth cities are mixed with Otherworld ruins, from ancient stone forts to lost tombs and forgotten libraries. Riches and relics wrapped in fog-shrouded mystery or lethal curses.
But the most remarkable change was not on land, but in the water. Sirens and other threats joined sharks and other perils already there. Then, across the Caribbean expanse, there was the appearance of the mysterious Arcane Gates. Those alone changed everything.

Riddle of the Gates

The gates appeared for a moment at the stroke of midnight, October 31, 1712, in flashes of emerald lightning. It was dozens of Arcane Gates across the Caribbean, each with their own unique knotwork and mysterious lettering. Then, as quick as they appeared, they vanished. But they weren’t gone.
As learned in later years, the Arcane Gates had gone ‘dormant’. Waiting to be sensed by a Wavebinder, Navigator, or anyone trained in the Etherwave Arcana. Later, Maria Fairbain, a Sunweaver thayan and seasoned Wavebinder relic hunter, ‘discovered’ the first of many Arcane Gates in the Caribbean. It lay in the middle of the sea between Puerto Rico and Hispanola islands and wasn’t alone.
To date, Navigators and Wavebinders have discovered more Arcane Gates in the Caribbean region that exist anywhere else in the world. No one understands why and the Gates gave no clue. But dozens of Arcane Gates were enough to upset the balance of trade and power around the world. Which was already overturned by the change to the lands, people, and a flood of the Etherwave Arcana into the world.

Transformation of the Trade

Trade, and traditional trade routes with their goods such as the infamous slave trade, had been shattered because of Crossing’s Fall, changed it brought, and the Arcane Gates. In the latter's case, the ability to sail through a gate and cross to the other side of the world in a second upended the balance of power. New trade routes opened and new goods were in high demand.
This has been most visible in the Caribbean. Most trade ships use Arcane Gates from their home ports around the world to travel through the Caribbean to use the gates there. Gate use is risky but less dangerous to Navigator and crew if the gate is a ‘natural Arcane Gate’. This has caused many countries, and specifically trade guilds, to use natural Arcane Gates where possible.
As a result, the Caribbean has become a melting pot of the world. A transportation hub around which the world now revolves. People from dozens of cultures and all corners of the world now pass through, or stay in, the Caribbean. Not that the region is heavily settled. Far from it. Cities expanded and grew, but few new settlements were built. This has entirely been because of the threats that roam the Caribbean, such as pirates.
The rise in trade and traffic from the Gates caused a rebirth in piracy, which had been on the decline by 1712. Now? Piracy is alive, healthy, and well in the region. As is the number of bounty hunters or privateers devoted to curbing piracy, provided the money is right.
Pirates? Oh, they’re a right proper problem. But if you think that’s the only thing that keeps the waters churning and dangerous, you’d best think about that again. Mother Nature herself is out to get her own pound of flesh, too…
- Helena Barrow, Captain of the Horizon’s Rose
World Of 1722
Tropical Archipelago
South of North America, North of South America, and East of Central America
Common Trade Goods
  • Molasses and related products
  • Bamboo
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Limestone
  • Sun's Eye gemstones
  • Emeralds
  • Exotic plants
  • Giant Iguana and other exotic animals
  • Bananas and other fruits
  • Honey and related products
  • Salted Boatfish
Islands, Island Chains and Regions
  • Cuba
  • Bahama Islands
  • Jamaica
  • Hispanola
  • Puerto Rico
  • Pearl Islands
  • Cozumel Chain
  • Windward Isles in the Western Caribbean
  • Mayab Unity and New Spain of Central America
  • Florida in the League of Nations
  • Little Ant Island Chain in the Southern Caribbean
  • Turtle’s Shell Chain
Major Cities, Forts, and Settlements
  • Port Royal
  • St. Juilian
  • Port of Prince
  • Havana
  • Kingston
  • Spanish Town
  • Port Antonio
  • Fort Royal
  • Fort St. Peter

Mysterious Islands

Even after Crossing’s Fall, the Caribbean has much of its historical geography. Tropical islands are scattered through crystal-clear turquoise waters with white sand beaches and lush, dense rainforests. Rolling hills on the larger islands give way to rugged mountains. Meanwhile, freshwater streams and rivers wind through the larger islands, supporting a wide variety of life.
But Crossing’s Fall left a mark all its own. The jungles are more dense, and in many places larger than before. Giant jungle vines and other plants dwarf local houses and towns. These over-sized plants remind many a visitor of myths about the ‘Fae lands’ and ‘Underhill’, where the average human, grimling, thayan, or morasu are often dwarfed by a Barbados Lily the size of a small tree.
The changes didn’t stop at just flowers. Trees, bushes, vines and animals were far more than what they were. Toads, butterflies, crocodiles, iguanas, and even the simple pig became giants compared to what they were. Iguanas and toads the size of small dogs, and crocodiles larger than horses. Some could be partially tamed, like the iguana, but others, like the crocodile are considered a deadly threat in the area.
While enlarged, the animals and plants still seem to maintain a healthy natural balance. The only imbalance being the towns and settlers there. But the imbalance is small by comparison in more ways than one.

Phantom Sails and Misty Lands

Ship at sunrise by Stockart from Depositphotos
There is far more to the Caribbean than its towns and over-developed jungles. The region possesses its own mysteries brought on by Crossing’s Fall. Some are dangerous, or tragic, but can be explained, while others defy even the simplest explanation. That is, aside from guesswork and more than a little superstition.
To compile a list of the strange phenomena that now call the Caribbean home would take years. But there are some that stand out to the point of being infamous. First are the Phantom Sails.
Ghost ships are an uncommon to rare sight in the Caribbean and more than a little unnerving. Translucent, glowing ships that sometimes still have a working crew prowl the waves between islands. In the first years following Crossing’s Fall, there was no explanation for them. Other than they would harass, attack, and sometimes sink the living. But an explanation was eventually uncovered.
Phantom sails, or ghost ships, are a deadly hazard in the Caribbean. Tales from Navigators and Wavebinders talk of ships and crews that are trapped halfway between the living world and inside the Etherwave Arcana. The place where ships sail through when they use an Arcane Gate. Most theories say these empty ships, or even the crewed ones, are serving out a curse or punishment. One that calls them to hunt other ships for a relic, or even a person, to satisfy a desire by the Gate that cursed them. But in the Caribbean, the phantom sails are not alone.
Those lost souls, and I even mean the ship itself, are as much alive as they are dead. Cursed by the Gates to wander eternity…
- Lyrandar Starwhisper, Navigator of the Sea Path
Other than the phantom sails would be the Mists, also called the Tumble Mists. Despite the innocent name, the reality is far more sinister. Tumble Mists, as the name describes, are low-lying patches of dense fog that roam the Caribbean Sea. They have been encountered during the day, but largely happen upon a ship at night.
There isn’t much known about the Tumble Mists, other than tall tales. Most believe that the Tumble Mists are a predator. A slow-moving creature that glides along the surface of the water, searching for its next meal. Once the beast encounters a ship, it billows up at night to surround the ship to confuse navigation and lead them astray.
If the ship has moved off course, or the Tumble Mist is tired of waiting, the creature slowly encompasses the ship. Almost, in a way, as if swallowing it whole, crew and all. Once it covered a ship and her crew, the Tumble Mist quickly devours the crew, with their clothing and items left behind. After feeding, it withdraws, leaving the ship abandoned and spotless, while it slithers off over the water in search of its next meal.
It was an abandoned merchant hauler. Perfectly spotless. That was our only warning…
- Lyrandar Starwhisper, Navigator of the Sea Path
For reasons unknown, Tumble Mists mainly prey on ships. There has only been one story of a town swallowed whole by a Tumble Mist. But it’s dismissed as just a tall tale.

For Everything a Season

The Caribbean is known for its tropical climate and occasional fierce storms. It has a distinct wet and dry season, with little change in between. But the events of Crossing’s Fall even brought changes to the weather.
Storm surges in the change from wet to dry season are now more common. Hurricanes and impressive tropical storms still appear, but a few are not what they seem. On rare occasions, at the center of those terrible storms lies a rogue Arcane Gate searching for an island or town to destroy.
Last there are the rare earthquakes. These are more common in areas such as Cuba or the Bahamas where mountains, said to come from Otherworld, impacted the world. While the earthquakes are dangerous, the small tidal waves that race out across the Caribbean Sea are no less deadly. In the years following 1712, the larger cities and forts have built seawalls in hopes to deflect some of the deadly force of those waves if they appear.

Natural and Unnatural Resources

Minerals, metals, crops, and people were four of the largest trade goods and items before Crossing’s Fall. But the disaster, and the emergence of the Etherwave Arcana, broke that trade system to pieces. The balance of power shifted, taking control away from monarchies and into the hands of trade guilds. But those guilds had to contend with new and powerful factions and nations across the world. Many who embraced the use of “Wavebinding” and channeling the Etherwave Arcana.
The Caribbean was one such a place where that happened first. But, in its place, rose a new economy and trade. Agriculture still maintains a solid place among trade goods across the Caribbean. Fruit and vegetables grow large and lush in soil enriched by the Otherworld remnants that merged with the islands.
Minerals and metal mining were unaffected. Other than that mining guilds were no longer able to use forced labor. It’s hard to force miners into dangerous holes in the ground when one or two of them can channel a fireball to demand better pay, and a better way of life.
As for the rest, the infamous slave markets were abandoned almost overnight. Skills in channeling the Etherwave Arcana supplanted forced labor, as did the brilliant clockwork devices that suddenly appeared. The latter were from collaboration between grimling Septs, human craft guilds and other inventors the world over.
Jamaican waterfall by Stockart from Depositphotos
New trade goods also appeared. The wealth of relics the world over, in Otherworld mixed with ancient Earth ruins, has given rise to the ‘relic hunter’. These relics either find their way into private collections, trade guilds, or back to the cultures who the items belong to. But it’s a dangerous, but lucrative trade for Privateers who take on a warrant to hunt for those lost items.
All Hands! Otherworld, Ahoy! by CB Ash *
Along with relics, the mix of Otherworld landmasses with Earth has brought rise to new fruits, vegetables, and even minerals. From gemstones that can harness the sun for a time, to strange metals not even the refugees from Otherworld have seen before. Then, there is the act of trade itself.
With so many Arcane Gates in one small location, “island hopping” to use the Caribbean as a ‘middle ground’ for trade appeared quickly. With a skilled Navigator, ships from Africa, Europe, Japan, China and even farther soon appeared. They brought rare spices and other goods from around the world. In return, part of the Caribbean economy turned its eye toward supporting being a ‘crossroads of trade’. Which put the towns and cities in competition for who could offer the most lucrative deals to these trading companies.
As a side effect, piracy became more lucrative than before. Pirates plied their bloody trade against merchant ships heavy with cargo. This caused a rise in bounty hunting for those pirates, another risky, but lucrative, job for Privateers. Conflict between factions looking to free people from the tyranny of trading companies or old Imperial ways also comes into this dangerous trade of blood money.
Last in the Privateer trade is dealing with the supernatural and other threats. Tumble Mists are a clear and present danger. As are saltwater sirens who stalk unwary ships for a quick meal. Warrants are often issued to Privateers to hunt, and prevent if they can, supernatural or other threats that threaten lives, shipping, factions, and more.

A Forge For Tomorrow

Despite the conflict and turmoil, weather and wealth, the Caribbean has become a place of opportunity. One where humans, thayans, morasu, and grimlings come to find a fresh start. Forge a new future for themselves, even if it may be founded in old grievances. Here, the past shatters against the present and future. But in the collision, it has created new, if not dangerous, opportunities for those willing and curious to explore what is out there.
In the bloody history and heart of the Caribbean lies the promise of adventure mixed with the peril of the unknown. The dark legacy of the old world meets the magic and ingenuity of the new. A tempting lure of learning about the unknown for those looking to leave their old lives behind for new stories of tomorrow.
- Jasmine Elara, Historian at the New World History Society

Cover image: Midnight Oil by CB Ash using Krita and MidJourney


Author's Notes

Photos are stock art courtesy of

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Dec 31, 2023 23:11

What a super creative enhancement on the Caribbean which makes a fantastic interesting place to focus on for this setting. You male it so easy to get lost in the details.

Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
not Ruleplaying
not Rollplaying
Jan 1, 2024 00:12 by C. B. Ash

Thanks! I was really hoping it would shine as a base "campaign setting/campaign city" for the setting. A good foundation for the rest.

Jan 3, 2024 23:05 by Mardrena Lockehart

There's just something timeless about the Golden Age of Piracy aesthetic. The layout just knocks it out of the park. I only hope someday I can properly set up my page to stand out in its own striking style.

Crazy Anime Cat Lady and Gamer Nun, Proud Texan Enjoying Renaissance Faires.
Jan 3, 2024 23:27 by C. B. Ash

Thank you! :D To be honest, it's a labor of time and love. I can't say I'm actually done! There is more small touches I want to add once I get a free weekend

Jan 26, 2024 05:32

Such an amazing article. It is so beautifully structured and detailed.

Jan 26, 2024 13:44 by C. B. Ash

Thank you! It was a lot of fun to put together. :D