Island Discovery 4 | Campaign Diary: Archipelago Adventures - Pt. 14
Today’s article is going to start off with a bit of a rant. I started this post on Monday and fully attended to finally be ahead of schedule in preparation for some vacation time in June… what happened instead? It’s 1:30am on Wednesday and I am finally writing this post… Sigh. I’m not sure I’ll ever get ahead of schedule, now on to the post.
Last week we talked a bit more about Munta and the conflict afflicting Munta of goblins and faerie dragons. It’s a pretty fun tale thinking of those devious trickster dragons messing with goblins… though I doubt the goblins are laughing much. Let’s go ahead and drop in that map as a quick reminder:
Ah, Munta… You are as I remember… A strange little island with a forest and a swamp. Marvelous! Now, let’s get into it.
This week is all about how I see the design of showcasing islands would look like, and I drew a lot of inspiration from Dungeon of the Mad Mage as… well, this is just a fancy dungeon dive except our dungeon levels are islands and they are really far apart. Though, that line of thought kind of extends to most games of DnD… Everything is a dungeon dive if you abstract it out enough.
But enough of that, let’s go over the basics of what our overall design needs to do:
Tell the DM what the conflict is on the island
Have information about the size, tier, resources and other things in an easy to locate place
List the main NPCs
Brief description of the island
Random things on the island
What to do
Any maps we need
And from that list, let’s go ahead and start with what our first page should have:
Information about size, resource, etc
Description of Island
Map of island
Those are the basics of what we need, and if we are lucky we can add in more. In DotMM, they have things broken out into a few major sections: Dungeon Info (first paragraph that tells the DM what level characters should be at for this dungeon level), What Dwells Here (a lengthy section about what creatures are here and the conflict between them), and if it’s a quick dungeon level a short summary about exploring the level and anything interesting that the DM should prepare for specifically.
Luckily for you guys, what took me way longer than it should’ve is pretty quick for me to just show you.
We have the Island name, along with a paragraph describing the island by tier of play, size and resources available. Then a brief description followed by the Conflict of the island. We then go into what dwells on the island, and I even get to add in a few extra encounters, like crocodiles and goblin hunters!
And then… our beautiful map… sniff. So happy to finally be at a point where I can create at least something besides yet another chart. Now, what I really need from you guys is information about what you need if you were going to run this. I am… a very improv focused DM and that may mean I am not providing enough material for you to run something like this. It’s very important that I learn what DMs would need now, early on… so give it some thought please!
Now, after our first page is done, we then move on to the next page. In a perfect world, I wanted this island to be two pages. I know its not a physical product, but I am trying to be very aware of my page space. I don’t want a massive tome that is a pain in the ass to read through, and if I can keep most islands at the two page mark, that will really help with the readability of this adventure… sadly, I failed and it’s three pages.
Here is our second page! We talk about the goblin fortifications and have a lovely hand-drawn map of what the fort would look like… its hand drawn because Chris, the other half of Dump Stat, refuses to OK my art budget for this campaign… as I’m sure it would easily cost us tens of thousands to get someone else to do it all… so enjoy my maps!
As for the style of artwork, I have several programs I can work with and I’m not yet sold on what the style should be for the maps. This is a horrible attempt at the cross hatch style of maps (influenced by Dyson Logos) and is still a bit of a work in progress. If I decide to keep with this style, then I’ll eventually come back to it and clean it up and prettify it.
Now, beyond the artwork, we have a description of the fort and everything going on for our gaggle of goblins here. The adventurers will charge in, murder the goblins and the faerie dragons will rejoice! Or… the adventurers may decide to get the goblins to work for them! It’s up to the players, and again… I would love feedback about anything I am missing for when it comes to information the DM needs.
Now, our third and final page has the remaining information about the island. It then has a closing statement about what happens to the island if the adventurers help vs if they don’t help.
Plus… we get some more of my beautifully hand drawn map! I bet WotC can’t wait to hire me!
Now… my favorite part that took me a bit to realize… I have a lot of room at the bottom of the page, which might not always be the case, but going forward I will have to be conscious I do so… I can put down information about Island Resources at the very end. I’m not entirely sure how the resources will work in the adventure, and is an article for another time… but I think it’ll be important to make sure Resources can get highlighted in a specific area of the island information.
And if you prefer PDF:
So there we have it! This brings much of our first island to a close and we even have something in a semi-finished state for us to work with going forward. I’m pretty pleased with our relatively simple island, and I think it provides a bit of fun for the adventurers if they are land on its beautiful beachy shores. Let me know what information I’m missing, what you’d like to see and how amazing my maps are! I can’t wait to create a few more islands and really get this thing going!
Next time, we are going to be heading out to sea again and locating our next island! More rules to follow and maybe… if you are really good, and I can’t think of an idea for another article… we can talk more about the overarching story line for this adventure!
Known as Sea Devils, this vicious creatures kill for sport, entertainment and sometimes even for food. They are violent, untrustworthy if you aren’t a shark or sahuagin and worship the demonic god of sharks, Sekolah.
1 - Sahuagins are sighted swimming along the side of your ship. 1d4 of the Sahuagin climb up the side of the ship and try to drag a character or one of the crew into the water so that the others in the water can kill them. They will quickly run off if force is used against them.
2 - Sahuagins are being led by Sahuagin Baron and 4d6 of them attempt to board the ship quite sneakily. Their main objective is to capture several creatures to bring down to the underground lair and put on a spectacle for their village.
3 - Sahuagins have used large amounts of seaweed to clog up the rudder of the ship, forcing the crew to have to pull to a stop. If someone goes down in the water to clear out the rudder, 2d4 Sahuagins and 1d4 hunter sharks are waiting for them.
4 - A mob of Sahuagins has decided to make the ship a giant sacrifice for their shark god, Sekolah. They are planning to murder all on board, and are willing to fight to the last as a sacrifice to Sekolah, they are led by a Sahuagin Baron and have several Sahuagin Priestess to help the sacrifice.