Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Continuing the Gazetteer and Module Tradition Beyond the Known World.

Moderators: Seer of Yhog, OldDawg

Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby LordJuss » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:00 pm

OK, I'm looking for an idea. I have something to put on all the islands of the Thanegioth Archipelago except one. It's the small one (about 18 miles long) 3rd in from the west end of the chain.

So far I've included all the suggested islands (Arachne, Bararna, Sekorvia, etc.) and a few I've created myself, based on the literary discussions we had a while ago (19th Century adventure being the theme). Following OldDawg's original parameters I'm not going for any Known World colonies as that doesn't lend itself to the edge-of-the-map feel.

My original idea was to boost the size of Crocodile Isle (NM2) and use that, but I can't decide if it might work better at it's original size. Any thoughts?

If I don't do that, I need a nice self-contained idea I can put onto a smallish island - any takers?

LJ.
LordJuss
Hobgoblin
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby eldersphinx » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:18 pm

Ruhaladero the Pitiless, Scourge of the Seas, The Ruby-Eyed One, Master of the Storms, Reclaimer of the Nine Treasures, and many other grandiose (and mostly self-bestowed) titles besides, is one of the less predictable inhabitants of the Thanegioth Archipelago. Originally one of the many wizards that pass for nobility in the small kingdom of Jaibul, Ruhaladero's unpredictability and open use of necromancy and other dark arts eventually became too much even for Jaibul - and yet he was too powerful to simply kill. So his rivals instead played on and encouraged his growing madness, and set him up as the new Goptri of All the Oceans, charged with making all who sailed upon the ocean waves fear and respect the Rajahstan of Jaibul.

That was... a considerable while ago. In the years since his promotion/exile, Ruhaladero has honestly not accomplished much - mostly finding his way to one of the smaller islands of the Thanegioth and magically erecting a 'magnificent palace' (read: barely structurally-sound wizard's tower, sometimes clumsily glizted up with illusion spells) from which to hold court and issue proclamations over a wholly-imagined realm. Sometimes, he's still sane and broods on how he might be able to put one over on the fools who arranged his ouster from the Jaibulian court. Most of the time he's cheerfully (and dangerously) delusional, and spends his time 'commissioning new warships' (magically crafting and launching crude wooden longboat hulls, crewed by animated ghouls), 'putting down rebellion' (teleporting above some island and dropping half a dozen fireballs and ice storms on anything he imagines as insufficiently obsequious) or 'collecting tribute and dispensing royal favor' (playing with worthless trash and holding lively conversations with the voices in his head). In the meantime, he's a threat... but not one predictable enough to manipulate, or persistent enough for a major power to squash.
I have left the Piazza and will not be making new posts or checking PMs. If you wish to correspond with me about my past work, please use the Mystara Mailing List.
eldersphinx
Troll
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:10 pm
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby CmdrCorsiken » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:33 am

That is an interesting idea. You could play this guy as truly, dangerously insane, requiring a group of PCs to deal with him. OR, you could play him will more humor than risk; the real danger lies in the various magics he has unleashed without maintaining control.
My hat's off to the 'freaks.' Whenever I see their post counts, I feel like a go-cart at the Indy 500.
User avatar
CmdrCorsiken
Stone Giant
 
Posts: 664
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 6:17 pm
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby LordJuss » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:01 pm

This was quite similar to something I was doing elsewhere, but this idea is so much fun that I've replaced my mad wizard with this one.

LJ.
LordJuss
Hobgoblin
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby briatan » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:22 pm

I hope this isn't too late...

I don't know how many creatures you have as the inhabitants of the other islands, but this could be an ideal time and placement for one of the lesser used, often misunderstood creatures that dates back not only to the original edition of D&D, but also going back to the mythic days of antiquity--the cyclops. Actually, it would more appropriately be the cyclopskin. While the cyclopskin is present among the list of creatures available in the AD&D setting, I can't say that I've heard of them being used appropriately in a setting. Based on the description in which they were presented, they appear as little more than a slightly shorter, one-eyed version of the ogre. But IMHO this is shortchanging them.

Nothing is mentioned of their skills in stonemasonry, nor is a word mentioned of their ability in weaponsmithing. The cyclops in Greek mythology was in many ways the counterpart of the dwarf in Norse mythology. While the dwarves created Thor's Mjolnir and the mighty chains which bound the fearsome Fenris wolf, the cyclopes similarly fashioned the weapons of the Greek gods, including Artemis's bow, Apollo's bow, Zeus's lightning bolts, Poseidon's trident and Hades's helmet of invisibility. Also, while the dwarves are renowned for their skills with stonecrafting, the Cyclops also had great skills with stone, as mentioned in "D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths", p20:

"The one-eyed Cyclopes were not only smiths but masons as well, and they built a towering palace for the gods on top of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. The palace was hidden in clouds, and the goddesses of the seasons rolled them away whenever a god wanted to go down to earth. Nobody else could pass through the gate of clouds."


This would work out perfectly with my other idea--having artificially created islands of stone built on the coral reefs which are so predominant around seemingly all of the islands of the Thanegioth archipelago. This is based on the historical model of Nan Madol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nan_Madol), built using stone age technology hundreds of years ago and thus easily mimicked by these cyclopskin. I can't name another creature short of dwarves which would have the desire or initiative to build stone islands. Dwarves would have made nice, uniform, ideally chiseled stone blocks which fit together perfectly into a masterpiece of masonry. But cyclopskin would add a bit more character to the project. With the brutish strength of the cyclopskin behind it, these islands could be pieced together with massive blocks. And instead of perfectly carved blocks which fit together perfectly, it could truly be an example of 'cyclopean masonry'(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclopean_masonry)--stonework where the blocks are not the same size or shape, yet which do still fit together in a tetris-like, jigsaw puzzle kind of manner.

Not only that, but in keeping with the idea of a giant-sized theme, I would furthermore have the islands fashioned so that even at high-tide, each island would stand many feet above the water level, while towering over the water at low-tide. I'd have each individual island connected to the nearest adjoining island by rope and plank bridges, so that the island complex was only readily accessible by a single, well-defended island from which the cyclopskin could handily defend their home. As an added precaution, I'd stack loose stones along the edges of each island to prevent easy purchase of a grappling hook, as well as to serve as a noise-maker for anyone trying to scale the walls manually. These same stones could double as ranged ammunition for the cyclopskin. While their single eye hurts their aim with ranged weapons, if any attackers should happen to be moored against the walls of an island, all the cyclopskin will need to do is push the stones over the edge to attack such a foe. As the stones would bounce down the walls, they would serve as a nasty rain of fire from above.

In regards to the cyclopskin society itself, there could be a number of ideas to work with. At its base, I would mimic the historical precendent of Nan Madol: the residents of this chain of artificial islands would be the heirarchy of the cyclopskin, while the more common cyclopskin would still live in the mountain caves of the island itself, only coming to the artificial islands to serve.

Another way in which the cyclopskin mirrors the historical model is in regards to the charge of cannibalism. The AD&D description of the cyclopskin appears heavily influenced by the story of Odysseus and Polyphemus, and as such it mentions that the cyclopskin will eat humans. It could be worked into the backstory that the cyclopskin will capture some of the local humans and keep them in a holding pen on one of the islands, storing them for use in some of their sacrificial ceremonies or simply as food for celebrations.

In regards to the cyclopskin warriors who defend the islands, I don't know if I'd actually do anything special in terms of armor. I don't recall seeing anything about the cyclopes wearing armor in the Greek myths, and the AD&D entry for cyclopskin mentions that they prefer not to wear armor. I suppose they could always wear some small bits of armor on their arms and shoulders much like a roman gladiator.

I would focus, though, on making sure that they were armed appropriately. Instead of giving them primitive clubs or spears as described in the AD&D entry for cyclopskin, I would give them something more befitting their mythic origins. Massive, two-handed hammers or mauls would prove a formidable opponent of these cyclopskin. Yet if I were to toss in a little reference back to their origins in Greek mythology, I might at least arm some of them with tridents--remember that the cyclops Polyphemus, on which these cyclopskin were heavily based, was a child of Poseidon, whose own trident was crafted by the cyclopes. This helps tie in the nautical nature of these cyclopskin and at the same time arms them with a lengthy weapon which would help them to knock down any intruders who might be trying to breach the island walls from the sea. I might actually choose a slight variant, though, to spice things up by giving them a slightly different design like the tiger trident.
briatan
Kobold
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:37 pm

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby Gecko » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:47 pm

ooh, an M-Nan Madol sounds like a neat idea.
User avatar
Gecko
Storm Giant
 
Posts: 1547
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:51 am
Location: Marooned in California

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby briatan » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:53 am

Gecko wrote:ooh, an M-Nan Madol sounds like a neat idea.


I've been fascinated with the idea since I first heard about it years ago.

Supposedly HP Lovecraft also thought the same thing. It's mentioned in the Wikipedia article that Nan Madol is believed to have been the model for R'lyeh in the story "The Call of Cthulhu".

Remember: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"
briatan
Kobold
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:37 pm

Re: Gaz XF1: Island ideas please

Postby LordJuss » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:29 pm

I hadn't included the Nan Madol thing (despite its inherent cleverness) due to lack of room. However, on coming back to the project, it seems a real shame not to use it. I'll have a think about where to fit it in.

LJ.
LordJuss
Hobgoblin
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm


Return to GazF Mystara

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests