Island Discovery 5 / Campaign Diary: Archipelago Adventures - Pt. 20
On part 20! Which means I have been talking about this island adventure for 20 weeks… and some of you are still sticking with it! That’s pretty awesome! I’m glad my little diary of building a big campaign has intrigued you and that you find what I’m doing interesting. Hopefully you will get a chance to run this yourself and thanks for sticking with it! Now let’s talk islands.
It’s been a while since we last discovered an island, all the way back at part 11. So let’s go over the basics of our island. We want certain key information before we can start building the island out.
These five things, well really only four of them, will set the basis for our island. Let’s go ahead and roll a random number on our spreadsheet we made before and start digging into this island.
Island #: 9, Kataigída
Island Size: Medium | 10 - 16 miles (on one side)
Population: Sparse | Some inhabitants
Tier: 3 | Character Levels 11 - 15
Resources: Fertile | Enough resources to live off of
I went ahead and named this island because I had such a wonderful idea for it when I looked at the stats… and because I just had a vacation in the islands of Greece (Hello Crete & Santorini!).
See, according to Google (who has never led me astray) Kataigída means storm… and I know exactly what occupants are going to be occupying our medium sized island… Storm Giants! Well… more like, a storm giant. Storm Giants are typically solitary creatures and they prefer to be alone. Additionally… there will be something else on the island waiting for our players if they decide to get too murderhobo-y for our Storm Giant.
Setting the Scene
Upon arriving at Kataigída, the players will see a massive mountain stretching up to the sky, seemingly piercing the clouds themselves. At the very top of the craggy mountain is an observatory that looks out into the stars themselves. If the players brave the long and arduous climb to the top of the mountain, they are greeted by the sight of a massive female Storm Giant, Fenja. She is searching for clues out in the night skies and was thinking of venturing out from her island when she noticed the character’s arrival.
A meteor recently landed on an island not too far from Fenja’s island and she would like the party to go investigate it; she would go investigate it normally but there is a very interesting transition of the stars above with other celestial bodies and she’d hate to miss it. If the party agrees to journey to this island in search of the meteorite, and bring back any chunks of the precious space-metals, she will be overjoyed and offer the party a precious (read: magical) gift to them.
On the other hand, if the party decides that they’d rather kill off Fenja, she has a pair of mated Behirs on the island that she keeps as her guard dogs. She will call for them if attacked, and they will fight to the death to protect Fenja from the party.
So that’s the island of Kataigída, but we aren’t done yet. We have that other island that Frenja wants the party to investigate. What about that island? Well, let’s go ahead and set up that island. We will go ahead and choose it as #10 as that way it is close to Kataigída when it eventually comes to laying everything out. I’ve made a few adjustments to the google sheets for this island to better match the story we are creating.
Island #: 10, Astéri
Island Size: Small | 9 miles or smaller (on one side)
Population: Sparse | Some inhabitants
Tier: 3 | Character Levels 11 - 15
Resources: Barren | Little-to-no resources
Now, what does Astéri mean? It’s Greek for star (according to the infallible Google). And you are about to learn why! See, one of my favorite monsters to ever come out of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is the Star Spawn. These weird aberrations are the soldiers of the ancient Elder Evils and are brought forth by cultists and warlocks working for their evil masters, they are summoned from passing comets and are trying to unleash their masters. An entire campaign can be created out of these creatures and they are a lot of fun to run… so of course I have to add in evil cultists calling forth ancient evils into this… at least as a random encounter!
So, our players arrive on the island Astéri and are immediately hit by a few of the weaker Star Spawn, probably the Grue and the Manglers to really drive home the fact that they are in some weird shit right now. If they choose to push forward, they will find a small cultist outpost that is largely devoid of life except for a few Star Spawn that will try to devour their bodies. Moving past that, they can venture further into our small island and find the large summoning circle that the cultists created to summon the meteor that crashed down onto the island. Dead cultists will be laid out across the summoning circle and in the center will be a Star Spawn Seer and a few other Star Spawn… all ready to summon forth an Elder Evil from its prison. The characters would be the perfect sacrifice for the ritual, and the Star Spawn Seer is more than willing to try and convince them to accept this great honor. Failing that, the Star Spawn will be happy to forcibly turn them into sacrifices.
Islands of Adventure
And that’s two islands down! Next week, I’ll go ahead and map them out and figure out some more of the finer details and probably get them mocked up in GM Binder to share with everyone. While these adventures aren’t necessarily aquatic-like adventures, they don’t all need to be. Sometimes it’s nice to just destroy an evil cult… or attack a Storm Giant trying to do research on the movements of stars.
Jumping and playing behind the stern of the ship are a large pod of dolphins. They seem quite intent to stick behind you for quite some time as you are churning up a large quantity of fish.
1. Multiple pods of dolphins have formed a superpod, a group of hundreds of dolphins. The amount of noise is almost deafening and several have started swimming around the ship, looking for food. The dolphins cause a bit of a stir on board with the crew, and you only make half your progress for the day as the massive grouping of dolphins slows the boat down considerably. Increase the morale of the ship if the captain allows the crew to watch the mass of dolphins for a while.
2. 3d12 Dolphins have been following the boat for quite a while, and several of the sailors have been naming the creatures. It has come to the attention of the crew that almost half of them have disappeared in the last few hours and several of the remaining dolphins seem agitated and scared. If the party goes to investigate, there are 1d4 Giant Sharks following the dolphins and eating through the pod slowly. If the party does nothing, the remaining dolphins swim off and the Giant Sharks chase after them.
3. Among the many dolphins following the ship is actually a Young Bronze Dragon by the name of Biovnyrin. He has snuck on board under the guise of a rat and has inspected their treasure hoard. If the party has anything valuable or especially shiny on board, he will jump on board and transform into a handsome elf and ask the party for a trade for anything that might strike his fancy that the party has on board. If they refuse or attack him, he will take his leave of the party. If they are hostile to him, he might decide to blast a hole in the side of the ship with his Lightning Breath before leaving them to sink in the ocean.
4. The pod of dolphins have gotten clever and keep attacking the fishing nets that the sailors try to put out for food. Unfortunately for the ship, the nets have been destroyed and the crew is unable to gather more food. Decrease the morale of the ship unless the captain is willing to give the crew double rations to make up for the loss of fresh meat until they can get the nets repaired.