Friday, August 20, 2021

The Island


The island is near nine miles long and roughly five miles wide with sheer cliffs rising from the sea. It has one safe harbor ringed by a jagged seawall of heaped black stone; a sturdy tower of square-cut stone squats upon the shore, keeping watch for ships that fail to fly the flags of Hell. Only on the opposite side of the island will one find a sandy shore where a small craft may be beached; access to the island may be gained by scaling the hundred foot high cliffs that seclude the beach or through a large cave that opens just above the high tide mark. This latter leads to a cavern complex infested with giant crabs and poisonous sea spiders and (eventually) the lair of the Raarshashar’rr the dragon (see encounter area #36). 

There is a 70% chance that any ship approaching from the harbor side will be spotted by the tower watch (reduced to 35% during the night time unless the ship is highly illuminated via continual light spells and similar). If alerted, 1d3 large galleys, ram-equipped and girded for battle, will be dispatched to intercept would-be invaders. They will use light catapults and crossbow fire to incite surrender, hoping to take prisoners (who will be used for slaves, food, and entertainment). Galley crews consist of heavily armed hobgoblin marines, human officers, and orcish oarsmen. 

The docks are managed by a small garrison town of approximately 800 soldiers, of which roughly half are hobgoblin; all others are either human or half-orc. Another 200 slaves, nearly three-quarters of which are orcish or some orcish mixture, serve in support of the garrison. 

In the surrounding hills, some 1800-2000 slaves work the countryside, eking out a living for their masters. These are mostly bred on the island and 90% of them are orcish or some strain of orc. Their lot is enforced by overseers (about one for every ten slaves) who are drawn from the ranks of the soldiery or who are elevated from slavery by right of exceptional strength and cruelty. All have been raised in the ways and “ethics” of the Nine Hells; exploitation and abuse of the weak at the hands of the strong is the universal expectation on the island. 

The Temple has done its best to create Hell on Earth.


[all of that was written on June 24th, as part of the background section to my adventure submission for Prince of Nothing's "No Artpunk Contest." I had decided that my original idea for the adventure for low-level characters called The Ice Box...wouldn't work as it drew too many elements from different editions (Prince's contest rules require a straight By The Book adventure using a single particular edition). So I decided to go for something different: specifically, a high level assault on a stronghold of Lawful Evil using the AD&D rules. However, the contest also called for a straight "dungeon adventure" of some 20-30 rooms and, as one might gather from the above, my simple "evil-temple-on-an-island" morphed into a whole community of awfulness, supporting the temple and its business...which is a bit too big for the project at hand.

[SO...all of the above (and its accompanying info) is getting deleted. I just wanted to post it somewhere as I felt it had a nice "1st edition" flavor to it. Plus, I might want to revisit this more elaborate scenario at some point in the future.

[right now, I've got about 11 days to complete the writing for the stuff that didn't end up on the cutting room floor..."The Under Caverns" beneath the temple crypts...and hope that, by itself, it provides a suitable enough challenge for the high level party it's intended to entertain. We'll see. I've only had the chance to return to the project since the in-laws left, and what with the back-to-school preparations, well...time sure does slip away, don't it? Took me three hours or so to get the treasure distribution right, and I think I'm still going to have to go back and throw in a scroll or four (there's room in the budget, it's more a question of WHERE to place them). But I'm pretty confident I can get the edited version finished by the deadline.

[in case you don't hear from me...that's what I'm working on.]


  1. It has a great 1e feel. That could totally come from one of the Slave Lords modules. However, it's a bit dry for Gygax. ;)

    1. I am not nearly as well-read as Gygax; consequently, my vocabulary is quite limited in comparison.