Monday, August 5, 2013

So What's the Deal About the Isle of Saturday?

My autumn game is coming up, and I really want to do a sandbox hex-crawl. It feels a little overwhelming, though, so I have decided to start the players out on an island with no easy way to leave, then making sure several of the adventure hooks lead to a way off. All in all, the set-up is a little contrived, but I think my players want more structure than I have been giving them, anyways. It also gives them things to want; I always wished my players would give their characters more motivations and ambitions, but having just rolled a character for a clearly defined setting, it dawned on me I never told them anything about the world other than what they needed to now at that exact moment.

So, here are the things that everyone on the island, including Level 1 PCs, knows. It also fits onto one page, so I have done my due diligence in not giving players homework. 

The Isle of Saturday  is currently under the effects of a dragon's curse; no wind blows and no current flows for hundreds of miles around, making travel to mainland impossible. It has been this way for hundreds of years.

Well known (but still difficult) ways to get off the island:
  • Help the engineers at the decrepit and widely scorned University construct a self-powered ship (a project they have been working on with no success for some centuries)
  • Destroy the source of the curse, an ancient and powerful dragon sealed away beneath the Isle by the long dead and still revered Hero Saturday.
Famous things:
  • The Vaults: numerous dungeons scattered across the Isle. Each contains the tomb of a companion of the Hero Saturday, as well as the now legendary weapons they used to fight the dragon
  • The Merchant Guild: organizes the trade caravans that link the Isle's ailing bastions of civilization. Always looking for guards, and those with enough money might even be able to set up a business and join as a member
  • The University: Though crumbling and thought to be an endless source of white elephant projects, its members will pay handsomely for creature specimens, archeological finds, and pieces of ancient technology
  • Castle Drear, the abandoned castle of Hero Saturday, now being excavated by the current Lord of Saturday for reasons unknown.
The Isle's Factions
  • Havenhoist, The Duke of Saturday: Hereditary ruler of the Isle. All towns, villages, and settlements belong to him. He commands the only army on the Isle, and Wonceworm, his loyal Court Wizard, is the famous for his magical ability (in addition to being the one who enforces the Duke's ban on uncertified magic). The Lord of Saturday's capital is Brass Town, built directly above the dragon's prison. 
  • Lady Orchid: Exiled sorceress and Pretender to the Throne. She plots coups and invasions from her lair in the Dark Grotto, and leads a coven of warlocks, werewolves, and undead. The most distant, wild places of the Isle are her domain.  
  • Irk, The Bandit Chief: colossal leader of a loose network of brigands, burglars, and grifters that spans the Isle. He is based in an ancient heathen temple.
  • The Dragon Bishop: leader of a cult that worships the dragon responsible for the Isle's curse. He leads his followers from the Temple of the Dragon, carved from the petrified remains of what is rumored to be the cursed dragon's sibling.

map for players, location names subject to change

Court Wizard Wonceworm. from suikoden.

Bandit Chief Irk. from suikoden.

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