The one thing that all the thousands of nations that span the Endless Isles have in common is that they burn their dead. The people know that any body that is not burned will one day be claimed by the sea, and one day return as yet another footsoldier for the dread nation known as the Bloat.
Nothing is known of the origins of the Bloat, or of its goal. Seaside towns know to fear when drowned men wash up on shore, for the black water flows within their veins and soon they will rise up to drag the living back to the depths with them. Smaller Bloat raiding parties often walk out of the sea to assault the living, and most villages have a watchman with an eye to the sea at all times.
Even more feared are the Bloatships, rotting wooden hulks kept afloat by churning masses of bodies floating beneath their keels. Teeming with the angry dead, these ships assault other vessels or larger ports and can take an army to drive off. Many a village or merchant’s craft has vanished completely only to reappear as crew of a new Bloatship.
Some sailors have spoken in hushed tones of entire islands of the dead, with their own twisted ecosystems and cities of bone. A few speak of a Bloat King who rules over the largest such island and seeks to turn the living entirely to his horrendous subjects, but these are dismissed as merely rumor.