Days of High Adventure
Dungeon World: The Shunned Isle

Chris Brackett | 25 Feb 2010 21:00
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Even in a world full of crypts, catacombs, dungeons, and all other types of subterranean environments there's plenty of danger above ground.

Take for instance the generally peaceful lands east of the city of Stonebrook. Normally tranquil and serene, the coast east of the city has been the favorite target of a large band of pirates recently. Sailing from one of the craggy islands that comprise The Sunken Kingdom, these raiders have been sacking the villages that line the coast and the lower Stony River for several months. Since few are brave enough to sail into the haunted islands off the eastern shore, the pirates' depredations have until now been generally regarded as an inconvenience.

That changed a fortnight ago, however, when the pirates made an unprecedented foray up the Stony River and attacked the city's riverside port. Among the loot and prisoners they sailed away with was Alina, the daughter of the mayor of Stonebrook. Just arriving from travels up the river, her ship was in the wrong port at the wrong time.

The mayor was beside himself, but he knew that the pirates' usual method was to ransom prisoners back to their families. So he waited for a ransom demand... and waited... and waited. No demand came, nor were the pirates seen again.

Finally, a week later, he sent a ship bearing emissaries to search for the pirates' base and negotiate with them for his daughter's release. For several days there was no word from the ship - until two days ago, when one of the ship's boats was found caught in the tides south of the mouth of Stony River. Inside were the captain and several of his crew - bearing grievous wounds and all dead but for one sailor.

Delirious and near death, the seaman told those who found him that they'd found one of the pirates' ships and given chase. They easily overtook it and captured the skeleton crew they found aboard her.

The crewmen told them that the pirates said they had been using one of the islands - known locally as "The Shunned Island" - as their base of operations. But after the last raid they were attacked by unseen enemies in the darkness as they unloaded their booty and prisoners. The ship and her skeleton crew were - to the best of their knowledge - the only survivors.

The dying seaman said that they then went to the island but were attacked en route by creatures that climbed out of the sea and overran their decks as they attempted to make port. (The creatures were sahuagin.) In the battle, he and several other crewmen managed to lower one of the boats and bore their mortally wounded captain away as their fellows fell to their assailants.

As the seaman coughed out his last breaths he left a grave warning:

"Beware the devils that rise from the sea!"

Desperate to save his daughter from the clutches of whatever foe now holds her, the mayor of Stonebrook has issued a summons for adventurers who are willing to brave the dangers of The Shunned Isle.

The Shunned Isle

(For a map of this dungeon, click here - and the players' version of the map can be found here.)

This adventure is primarily a "wilderness" adventure. There are no significant indoor locations involved, so the only map necessary is that of the Isle itself. The DM should feel free, of course, to add such locales to the adventure as he or she sees fit.

The terrain of the Isle is generally rough and difficult to move through. Aside from the three beaches noted on the DM's map, the shoreline of the Isle is comprised of cliffs twenty to thirty feet high. The island looks like it is part of a larger land mass that has had much of its material ripped away, leaving jagged, exposed rock faces. (Which, in fact, it is, being a portion of what was once an inland part of The Sunken Kingdom.)

Ships may approach to within no more than one hex of any cliff face. Any closer and the ship will founder on the rocks. Boats attempting to move alongside a cliff face have a 15% chance per turn of forced by the waves into the rocks and shattered. (A character falling into the water near the shore must make a Save vs. Dragon Breath each turn or suffer 2d4 damage from drowning, exposure, and being battered against the rocks. Characters in armor heavier than leather suffer a ‐4 penalty to their saving throws while wearing the armor.) The cliffs are wet and constantly buffeted by harsh winds - a character climbing the jagged walls must make a Save vs. Paralysis each turn or slip and fall into the churning waves below (For normal falling damage, plus damage for being in the water as noted above. A character using a rope to climb the cliff gets a +5 bonus to the saving throw made to avoid a fall.)

Inland, the Isle is composed of rocky, uneven ground covered with thick brush and the occasional stand of densely packed short trees and/or low hillock. The going is so difficult that all characters should have their normal outdoor movement rates halved. In combat, any time a character rolls a natural 1 he or she immediately suffers 1d4 points of damage, as well as a ΒΌ current movement penalty from a sprained ankle for 1d3 days.

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