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Also could be called Pirate Punk, though the setting may not even have so much as a single pirate in it in many cases. Life in a mostly watery world (or a mostly watery part of the world where the rest isn't of much matter) with distant islands connected by trade routes, ships sailing back and forth, and of course, many Pirates and buccaneers, whether they're wielding cutlasses on sailing ships or the aquatic equivalent of Humongous Mecha. May contain Organic Technology, and have a large focus on what happens under the waves as well as over.

This may also be a type of After the End setting, if the writers are trying to teach An Aesop[1] about global warming.

For a similar setting that trades the water for the skies, see Sky Pirates. And since Space Is an Ocean, you might have Space Pirates. Compare and Contrast its exact opposite Desert Punk.

Examples of Ocean Punk include:

Anime and Manga



  • Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy setting.
  • Settings like these may be in part inspired by the story of Noah and other 'great flood' stories from folklore and mythology.
  • The Robin Hobb Liveship Traders series
    • Except that the C plot (Malta) takes place almost entirely on land. Plot lines A (Althea) and B (Wintrow) certainly qualify, though.
  • The Scar by China Mieville
  • Tranquilium starts out overwhelmingly maritime, with the human population being concentrated on islands of various sizes. At the end, it becomes an extreme example of this trope as most of the world's known landmasses are submerged and the population moved to huge arcs that travel in search for new lands.
  • The parts of John Birmingham's Without Warning that deal with the crew of the Aussie Rules.
  • Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series is set in the Pacific Ocean of an alternate Earth where that pesky asteroid never wiped out the dinosaurs so it qualifies. Since the main characters are the crew of a WWII era destroyer that ran afoul of a time-space rift it also has elements of Dieselpunk.
  • The second Pendragon novel, The Lost City of Faar, takes place on the territory of Cloral, which is covered entirely by water until the mountain of Faar is raised at the end. Cloral has generally advanced technology, including water guns that can blast through walls, plastic made from processed water, and water-based propulsion systems, with specialized floating cities called "habitats" housing residents.
  • Vampirates.
  • The Wave Walkers trilogy by Kai Meyer.

Live Action TV

  • The Crystal Maze replaced the Industrial Zone with the Ocean Zone in later seasons - a Titanic-style sunken ocean liner trapped within an air bubble on the ocean's floor.
  • Storm World is a juvenile SF series set on a world where the inhabitants (all sucked there through wormholes) are constantly at odds because of the scarcity of land, and above all fresh water.
  • Sea Quest DSV

Tabletop RPG

  • FASA Traveller module Rescue on Galatea. The main action takes place on the Ocean Planet Galatea.
  • Dungeons & Dragons module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. One of the alternate worlds accessible from Lolth's Web was the Ocean Planet "The Great Ocean". The human inhabitants "sail the ocean in great catamarans to carry the trade of their vast mercantile empire from island city to island city."
    • The Crowded Sea in the Al Qadim campaign setting (a subsetting of Forgotten Realms), explored in the Corsairs boxed set, serves this purpose.
  • Rifts World Book 7: Rifts Underseas - Pirates, Powered Armor-wearing Dolphins, Shapeshifting Orcas, giant squid Eldritch Abominations with tentacles miles long, fish-headed mutants, magic singing, playable Humpback Whales, floating cities, Extradimensional aquatic conquerors, and the U.S. Navy, among others. Actually pretty par for the course for Rifts.
  • Owing to the fact that the Elemental Pole of Water is located there, this tends to be the theme of any Exalted campaign set in the West. Common hazards include: Cannibalistic demon pirates, water and air elementals, ornery storm deities, aquatic variants of The Fair Folk, Magitek Lost Technology battleships (some of which may be sentient), gigantic sharks, crazed Wyld mutants, various tribes of aquatic Beastmen and the Lunars who rule them, malevolent empires of the dead...In fact, according to the Sidereals splatbook, the Convention of Water is the single most overworked group of Sidereals in existence. Considering that the job of the Sidereals is to keep Creation from going to pieces, this should tell you a lot about the West.
  • Fifty Fathoms is all about the swashbuckling piratey oceanpunk goodness.


Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

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