Adventure Island - Prison / Campaign Diary: Archipelago Adventures - Pt. 31
Last week we talked over the story for the rest of the campaign and touched on what each island will be focused on. Today, we are going to take our first island, Prison Island, and dial in what will make this island important and begin working on it. I expect this will be a two week process for story islands just so I can get feedback on if things make sense or not.
Let’s review last week’s information:
Our party arrives at an island for prisoners. This will probably be some sort of mining operation or as a workforce to build up hobgoblin fortresses.
I already have an idea what we are going to do here, but first let’s go over why the party is here. They were tasked, after a brutal attack on Nepu-Nepu, to go into this uncharted archipelago and find the kidnapped citizens/townsfolk/important people and bring them back. Our party was given a warship, not to keep, and so they sailed off into the islands. After sailing around a little bit, getting lost once or twice and then finding information to lead them to the Prison Island, they finally arrive with their crew.
This is when the party get a chance to employ the age-old tactics of putting together a plan and launching a smash and grab. Though, if your table is anything like mine, they will spend a week outside of our session going over plans send tens of thousands of messages and then the first minute at the table someone will go off script and ruin all their plans. They never seem to plan for the murderhobo inside all of them , but that’s not their fault… well… actually it is.
But, this isn’t about how players can never follow a plan. We are going to talk about our Prison Island!
Now, we obviously need something for our prisoners to be doing. The hobgoblins didn’t go through all this trouble just to have them sitting around. Our prisoners will be busy working in a mine for a rare mineral that we are going to call smokepowder. Oh yes… this shall be good! I want to tie this first island into our next Story Required Island, as well as one of the other Side Story Islands… more specifically the Weapons/Equipment Island that will get them special weapons to help them fight the hobgoblins. We are talking bonafide cannons on our ships! Now, I know some worlds refuse to have gunpowder or guns in their world but this is smokepowder so it’s completely different! (No it’s not)
The mining operation for the smokepowder will be a clue to the party that they can get better equipment, and we will have to come up with three ways that our party may find out this information. Why three? Cause I know that players are going to miss things, and we should have ways for them to get this information so that they can get cannons! Our three ways of finding out where to get the special equipment are:
Ledgers in a building will point towards an island and can reveal its location. (Roll on the Island Coordinates Chart, Check 7-12)
The rescued prisoners have heard that the smokepowder was being transported to an island far away and it was to be used in powerful weapons. They only know that it seemed like the record keeping was taking part in the building with the ledgers.
A goblin NPC will surrender itself to the party and can provide limited information about a powerful weapon being developed. Doesn’t know specifics, but can take the party to the building with the ledgers.
So, we have three ways for our party to get this information for a side island. Finding it by chance, them asking prisoners about what they were mining and a goblin NPC trying to save itself from certain death. Not too shabby, and really… if someone goes and kills Grunug, the goblin, they deserve to not get the cannons. Grunug is a lovable dolt and deserves better!
Now, how do we tie this first Story Required Island with our next story island? Well, our players have been tasked with returning the citizens of Nepu-Nepu back to their city so they will be sailing back to Nepu-Nepu. We need something to bring them back into the uncharted archipelago, and we need to provide something that will make them want to go back into the archipelago.
For our story, we need them to go to Hobgoblin General Island and retrieve the magical helm that will allow them to get to the Hobgoblin Leader Island and end the threat. One idea that comes to mind that as they arrive back in Nepu-Nepu, the Hobgoblin army appears and attacks their warship. This has the problem that they aren’t going to be very high leveled for this, and thus will be substantially lower than I’d like for this story beat.
Another idea would be the people of Nepu-Nepu offering them the ship as payment for going back into the archipelago and taking the fight to the Hobgoblins. If anyone could stop the attacks and raiding parties, obviously its the party because they have been the only ones to rescue prisoners! Plus, it get’s them their own ship and they can redecorate it! I think the tie between these two islands will need a bit more work, and I’d love to hear your opinions!
Now, we’ve talked to death the story so far, but what about the island itself. What is going to make this island different from other islands they have visited? Besides the fact that there will be a garrison of goblinoids, this is also home to a large mining situation as well as prisoners, which can tie into another one of our Side Story Islands to find allies in the fight against the goblinoids. Apart from the goblins and mines, we are also looking at a port for ships to be docked at to load and offload supplies.
Our party is going to have to figure out how to assault an island that is well defended, large and home to a large force of goblinoids… all the while only level 4 to 6. That’s going to be a tall order, and will require our GMs to balance a few things so it feels awesome but doesn’t end in a TPK immediately.
I’d also like to see another conflict on the island than just the party storming the beaches. The hobgoblins need to have an enemy on this island, and I think the best enemy they could be fighting for control of the island from would be the Grungs. These little frogs first appeared in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and then again in Tomb of Annihilation. The grungs are lawful evil, highly territorial and will be an interesting encounter for our players will have to find some way to communicate with xenophobic frog-men that don’t speak common. Or they may decide an alliance with the grung just not with the trouble and ignore them. Either way, they are given options when it comes to trying to take over this island.
Of course, deciding there will be Grung here means that we are going to be forced to have a tropical forest on the island and as this is a story island, we are going to make it a large island. If the party can eradicate the goblinoids and give the mines over to the Grungs… maybe they’ll even make some allies willing to help them out… or they’ll just piss off the frogs and that’s that!
So our first big story island, besides the best island of them all… Nepu-Nepu, is roughed out and next week we will build up the island and get it all prettied up for the adventure! If you have ideas, thoughts and considerations… let me know! I’d love to talk more about this adventure and find every way to make it better!
Oh no! I seem to have ran out of ocean encounters! Why don’t you give me a few ideas!