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The nations of the surface teeter and crumble, but beneath the waves; the mighty empires of the voracious Xoc remain inviolate. The brutal "Shark-Men" war with each other, the Teuthians, the merchant marines of the air-breathers, and horrors from the unlit depths. The Xoc are lithe, muscular, and shapely. If not for their black, circular eyes or wide mouths, filled with three rows of jagged, sharp teeth they might be considered handsome by air-breather standards. Their tough skin is usually stark white on their front, and grey on the back, and many have patterns of darker spots or stripes on their backsides. Occasionally, a Xoc will be completely dark all around, with light spots; but the Xoc themselves do not give any significance to this.

The Xoc have a profound sense of direction and geometry, and are very well suited to fighting in three dimensions. Their underwater battles usually consist of groups with spears and tridents harrying their foes towards an ambush from above with nets or boulders, or an ambush from below from wrangled sharks.The Xoc cannot breathe air, but their warriors are capable of holding their breath for longer than an air-breather could underwater; their fights on boats tend to be chaotic affairs with staggered waves of warriors climbing onto the deck, fighting for a few, frantic moments before jumping overboard and recovering.

The Shark-Men are organized into a series of polities ruled by hereditary dynasties. These kingdoms nominally rule vast stretches of the ocean; though this roughly translates to how far they can range out in pursuit of vessels before they run into rival Xoc. Because the ocean itself provides for all their needs, the Xoc's preoccupation with plundering ships and killing air-breathers amounts to pursuing their dual obsessions with protecting their territory from intrusion and hoarding. Because their habitat is ill-suited towards technological innovation, and because they're not mystically oriented like their Teuthian foes; the Xoc are fascinated with all things from the surface world. Metal weapons are the most valued items, but the Xoc collect every bit of surface detritus they can.

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