Island Discovery 2 | Campaign Diary: Archipelago Adventures - Pt. 12
So last week we finally arrived at our island, and then spent a long time trying to figure out what an island would look like for us using math and other things. I’m not going to rehash it here at all as there is a lot to it. If you want to learn more, just look at last week’s article.
Oh, Munta… your beauty is well known… at least, it might be. I have a lot of ideas as to what some islands will look like, but let’s go ahead and use our spreadsheet from last week. I’m going to roll a d100 and find the corresponding value on the spreadsheet. I get a 59, which gives us a result of:
Island #: 59, Munta
Island Size: Small | 9 miles or smaller (on one side)
Population: Moderate | Inhabited, but not over-run
Tier: 1 | Character Levels 1 - 4
Resources: Fertile | Enough resources to live off of
Now last week, I didn’t touch on what a moderate population was, or what fertile means in terms of resources… I think we can semi-rectify that this week.
When referring to population, I’m not just talking about humanoids and intelligent creatures, this can also refer to beasts, monstrosities and things that go thump in the night. This means that we can have an island completely inhabited by giant badgers and still call it moderately populated. Mostly what this will tell us is that there is wildlife, there are monsters and there can be creatures… but not so much that the island is bursting at the seams.
If there are sentient creatures, it might involve hiking through the forest to find them. If there are monsters, they won’t attack non-stop. If there are wildlife, they aren’t just lousy and all over the place. By allowing all creatures to be under the population, we have more options for our islands.
Probably one of the most important things for our players are resources. If there crew doesn’t get food, moral is going to sink… and eventually bottom out when everyone dies. Just sitting here, I can easily imagine a group of heroes being stranded in the middle of the sea when they decided to stop feeding their crew so that the party would have enough resources to live… and it kind of makes me laugh…
But, let’s talk about the resources of an island! This should be something that will give the crew of the ship, and the party, something to do besides just exploration on the island. Resources are important, this could be metal, wood, food, exotic materials or even just fresh water. Fresh water is insanely important, and is a good resource to have on an island!
All Together Now
So, what does this translate over to for our island? Well, let’s go ahead and figure out some of the more important questions we are going to have when our party lands on its perfect, sandy white shores.
What do we do here?
Are there people?
Are there monsters?
Can I claim it and name it, Sir Island?
I think those five questions will get us going, but please go ahead and leave a comment for other important questions we would have about an island.
Now, let’s start with question five… the answer is no. This island is already claimed and is called Munta… next island you can name it… maybe.
Alright, one question down, let’s move on to the next one!
What do we do on this island? Well… that could be a variety of things! Each island should have something unique about it, whether its a vicious monster or just shenanigans with yaun-ti, each island should have something that will keep the party there for a session or two, maybe even longer! It took them a long time to get there, they may as well enjoy some time on solid footing and explore the islands. This will be something we create for each island, and will have to come back too.
This will probably tie into the Tasks/Quests for each island, and so one can’t really know until they get onto the island. I assume that some islands will be hostile towards them, others will be neutral and others will take a keen interest and may ask for them to take on quests for them! This is another discussion for the future, and one that will tie into making the islands.
Definitely yes. There should be plenty of monsters on each island, otherwise why did we bring all these sharp pointy sticks? I think asking if monsters are on an island is a pretty straightforward question, there needs to be monsters on an island… it just depends on what type.
When working on our island, I think of tropics and lush fruit trees and maybe even angry monkeys throwing shit at adventurers… cause monkeys.
Now, how do we translate resources into something that the GM can work with for the party? They are going to need resources whenever they decide to leave the island so they can get to the next island… or they’ll need trading supplies!
I think we are going to have to abstract resources or we’ll never solve this problem… and frankly… resources are going to be taking up probably a lot of articles by themselves. The Unearthed Arcana, Of Ships and The Sea, barely talks about food supplies and so we are going to have to make our resource system for our table… which we are going to try and make as exciting as possible!
Very few people like keeping track of all their supplies, and if we abstract it out enough, we can try and make it a mini-game within the game… but that’s talk for a future article.
The Last Question
Ha! I fooled you, I actually had one more question about our island that our players are going to want to ask immediately… what’s it look like?
That’s a pretty simple question with a pretty complex answer. Someone, probably yours truly, is going to have to draw up 100 islands and… well.. that’s a lot. I’m going to use Inkarnate for creating the islands and provide a key for the GM.
I also imagine that there will probably be a few point of interest spots on the island, which will be numbered and explained in whatever document we create for this. I’ll go ahead and design Munta with the knowledge that it has resources, a population, is a small island and fit for Tier 1 players.
Would you look at that… got some jungle trees, a few palm trees and a swamp on the south-east side of the island! Next week we will tackle a bit more about our island, what the party might find when it comes to islands and I’m sure we will get distracted by something else.
Let’s go ahead and do our encounter for the week!
As you are traveling through the ocean, you can see a beautiful reef below the ship. This requires the captain to navigate through the reef and to make a DC 15 Intelligence (Water Vehicles) check in order to avoid colliding into the reef. On a fail, the ship’s hull takes 8d10 bludgeoning damage from the collision.
Furthermore, the party can decide to investigate the reef. By diving down beneath the waves, they can find all manner of fish and other wildlife. Roll a d6 to determine if anything takes notice of them.
1 - 1d6 reef sharks take notice of the party and attempt to eat them. They’ll swim away if at least half of them are killed or badly wounded.
2 - A ravenous giant shark tries to attack a character and drag it off deeper into the reef.
3 - 1d4 merrow are alerted to the party and try to drive them off from their territory.
4 - Sea hags have claimed this section of the ocean and will attempt to drive off any adventurers that get too close to their reef.
5 - A small colony of oysters can be found inside the reef, characters can dive down and retrieve them for a meal. There are 2d4 oysters with pearls inside of them, each pearl is worth about 25 gp.
6 - A large school of fish has made this reef their home and players are able to fill up nets and fishing poles with a large bounty. Morale is increased on the ship, and they are able to restock a portion of their rations (TBD).