Southern Sea

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The Southern Sea of the Dreamlands, including Oriab (AKA "Isle of Oriab") and neighboring islands, first appeared in H.P. Lovecraft's "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)". As the name suggests, the Southern Sea is placed to the South of the Dreamlands.

Southern Sea

The illimitable Southern Sea with all its curious secrets, which is the way to the Isle of Oriab, neighboring the Cerenarian Sea.


An island located in the Southern Sea, Oriab is a small but thriving civilization. Its major city is Baharna in the north, the rest of the residents mostly live in hamlets or villages dotting the coast, generally concentrated on the northern end of the island.

Accursed Valley

The Accursed Valley of Oriab is a blasted land below the southern slope of Mount Ngranak, a difficult terrain of lava and desolate crags and the bleak mountain face, pierced by curious cracks and caves, bleaker and wilder than those seaward lands than the rest of the isle.

"Mount Ngranek" illustration by Mark Poole

Mount Ngranek

Mount Ngranek is one of Oriab's most notable and famous features: a great image is reported by travellers as carved on the solid rock of the mountain Ngranek, and hints that it may be a likeness which earth's gods once wrought of their own features in the days when they danced by moonlight on that mountain; the features of that image are very strange, so that one might easily recognise them, and that they are sure signs of the authentic race of the gods. The mountain is honeycombed with onyx mines used by local stone-carvers and masons, as well as passages that allegedly lead deep into the Underworld.

Lake Yath

The inland lake of Yath beyond Oriab's city of Baharna, connected to the harbor by an underground canal and barred by mighty onyx gates; on the farther shore are the vast clay-brick ruins of a primal city whose name is not remembered. A path along the lake's shore leads from Baharna to Mount Ngranek.


Oriab is a very great isle, and its port of Baharna a mighty city; the wharves of Baharna are of porphyry, and the city rises in great stone terraces behind them, having streets of steps that are frequently arched over by buildings and the bridges between buildings. There is a great canal which goes under the whole city in a tunnel with granite gates and leads to the inland lake of Yath, on whose farther shore are the vast clay-brick ruins of a primal city whose name is not remembered. At evening the twin beacons Thon and Thal gleam a welcome at the mouth of the harbor, and in all the million windows of Baharna's terraces mellow lights of that steep and climbing seaport become a glittering constellation hung between the stars of heaven and the reflections of those stars in the still harbour. Quarters may be found in an ancient tavern opening on an alley of steps in the original part of the town, which is built of brick and resembles the ruins of Yath's farther shore.

Nameless Ruins

A vast, ancient, and forbidding clay-brick ruin of a primal city of Oriab whose name is not remembered stand on the far side of Lake Yath from Baharna.

Other Islands

"Basalt Pillars of the West]" illustration by Michael Kimble

Basalt Pillars of the West

The Basalt Pillars of the West, beyond which simple folk say splendid Cathuria is said to lie, but which wise dreamers well know are the gates of a monstrous cataract wherein the oceans of earth’s dreamland drop wholly to abysmal nothingness and shoot through the empty spaces toward other worlds and other stars and the awful voids outside the ordered universe.

Sunken City

The Sunken City (AKA Underwater City) lay five days from Dylath-Leen, the weedy walls and broken columns of a sunken city too old for memory; when the water was clear one could see so many moving shadows in that deep place, and simple folk disliked it - indeed, many ships had been lost in that part of the sea, having been hailed when quite close to it, but never seen again. The ocean rises here in underwater hills, and one could clearly mark the lines of ancient climbing streets, the washed-down walls of myriad little houses, suburbs, and finally a great lone building on a hill, of simpler architecture than the other structures, and in much better repair. This building is dark and low, covering four sides of a square, with a tower at each corner, a paved court in the centre, and small curious round windows all over it, draped in weeds and built of basalt, apparently a temple or monastery, and an odd high monolith in the middle of that central court is said to be a place where sea-devils sacrifice sailors to their unspeakable gods by binding the sailors upside-down with their eyes gouged out.

Nameless Rock

In the Southern Sea north of the Cerenarian Sea on the way to Inganok stands a great jagged rock; it had no name and had never been sought by any vessel because of the sounds that came from it at night - a dull and ceaseless howling against which good seamen pray and chant till the noise is out of earshot, leaving sleeping sailors only terrible dreams within dreams in the small hours of following nights. The monstrous Moonbeasts make their camp here, in Black Galleys sailing trade routs to and from the Moon.


The spires of infamous Thalarion, that daemon-city of a thousand wonders where the streets are white with the unburied bones of those who have looked upon the city's eidolon, Lathi, and wherein reside all those mysteries that man has striven in vain to fathom. Over the wide stretches of grim, grey walls and the city's huge carven gate Akariel, one might spy only a few roofs, weird and ominous, yet adorned with rich friezes and alluring sculptures, fascinating yet repellent.


Zar, abode of forgotten dreams, where dwell all the dreams and thoughts of beauty that come to men once and then are forgotten, with green shores bright and beautiful, and lordly terraces of verdure, tree-studded, and shewing here and there the gleaming white roofs and colonnades of strange temples, and there too are forms and fantasies more splendid than any ever known; the visions of young poets who died in want before the world could learn of what they had seen and dreamed. Wise sailors set foot upon the sloping meadows of Zar, for it is told that he who treads them may nevermore return to his native shore. (See "Heresies..." below for Chaosium's additions such as the City of Zar).


The charnal gardens of Xura, land of pleasures unattained, the lily-lined shore of its pleasant coast gay with blossoms of every hue, where as far inland as one could see bask lovely groves and radiant arbours beneath a meridian sun. From bowers beyond view came bursts of song and snatches of lyric harmony, interspersed with faint delicious laughter; wind blowing from over the flowery meadows and leafy woods will bring a scent at which men tremble, filling the air with the lethal, charnel odour of plague-stricken towns and uncovered cemeteries.


Sona-Nyl, blessed land of fancy, the harbour of which is guarded by twin headlands of crystal that rise from the sea and meet in a resplendent arch. This is the Land of Fancy, and we walked to the verdant shore upon a golden bridge of moonbeams; here there is neither time nor space, neither suffering nor death; and green are the groves and pastures, bright and fragrant the flowers, blue and musical the streams, clear and cool the fountains, and stately and gorgeous the temples, castles, and cities of Sona-Nyl. Of that land there is no bound, for beyond each vista of beauty rises another more beautiful, and over the countryside and amidst the splendour of cities rove at will the happy folk, of whom all are gifted with unmarred grace and unalloyed happiness.

Heresies and Controversies

These are additions by Chaosium and others to Lovecraft's Dreamlands in the Southern Sea:

  • Andahad: a small, second city on Oriab, added by Chaosium, and described as the furthest southern outpost of the known Dreamlands.
  • Tyrhhia: The nameless clay-brick ruins on the shore of Oriab's Lake Yath, given a name, and connected to Yath-Li. (Brian Lumley?)
  • Granite Pillars of the South, an addition (by Chaosium?) to Dreamlands lore that holds a rumor of these pillars standing far to the south of Oriab, said to lead to the Dreamtime. (Terror Australis)
  • Mtal, a neighboring island of the South Sea (added by Chaosium?) notable for its crystal-clear water and profusion of shellfish, including gigantic clams big enough to swallow a galley's anchor and snap its chain.
  • Zak/Zar, an island added by Chaosium as the place where Zar (see above), city of forgotten and unremembered dreams, can be found. Here resides every dream that has ever been forgotten. In the city of Zak live amnesiacs, who have even forgotten themselves. The island is haunted by unremembered/forgotten dreams, and not all of them are good ones. A Season of Uthlos comes to Zar rarely and lasts only a short time; during this season, the forgotten dreams may be remembered again. There are some who say that gods which are forgotten by man come to live in Zak; then the coming of Uthlos will be a time to be feared rather than hoped for. The Caves of Life are beneath Zak. (scenario "The Land of Lost Dreams")
  • Zura, The Land of Pleasures Unattained, is Chaosium's version of Xura, a beautiful graveyard Land of the Dead for the Dreamlands, ruled by a Ghoul-Queen of the Dead, Zura.
  • Sona-Nyl is portrayed by Chaosium as a timeless Fantastic Land outside of the Dreamlands proper, with an entrance on Zura, land of Pleasures Unatained. The city is surrounded by a gigantic wall called the Giant's Causeway.
  • Thalarion is a paper construct of the Ter-Men. (Brian Lumley, The Hero of Dreams)

Associated Mythos Elements