Sunday, June 9, 2013

Setting Snippet: Mhajapor V - Treasure Island of the Dragon King (expanded)

So, my last few posts were about Mhajapor.  I'd dug into my hard drive, and used the first document I found: "Mhajapor Brief".  I kinda thought I'd written a little bit of extra material, but didn't worry about it.

But then, after posting, I glanced at the entry for the Treasure Isle of the Dragon King, and realized that at least 75% of it was not there.  "Mhajapor Brief" was an overview document I'd edited DM material out of, and not what I intended to post at all.

The Treasure Isle of the Dragon King was missing the most material; I'll post the other missing material later.

The Treasure Isle of the the Dragon King
                One of the lesser isles, this fabled isle would be scare worth a mention, save for one pertinant fact.  It exists.
                The Treasure Isle is an ancient volcano, countless ages old.  It sat dormant for centuries after it's initial formation, and was slowly covered with a thick layer of sediment.  In a final burst of activity, though, the volcanoe reawoke and sealed the soft stone under a hard shell of lava.  Again, centuries past and the waves worked against the solidified magma while the caldera filled with water.  Finally, the sea broke into the soft inner crust.  Tunnels and caverns were etched out of the soft stone, a labyrinth of flooded passages and whirling currents.  The caldera was breached, and salt mingled with fresh water.
                Nowadays, the isle resembles a doughnut; a circular wall of obsidian cliffs and lava fields impossible to traverse by foot, surrounding a flooded caldera.  Treacherous riptides and undertows race through the connecting passageways, certain areas flooding in a matter of minutes as the tide pours in.
                In the center of the caldera, a single black isle rises above the waters.  The volcano's last gasp, this small island is hollow, as the magma has subsided far below the oerth's surface, emptying the lava tube and leaving a pit nearly 700 feet deep, roofed over by 100 feet of solidified magma.  When the Dragon King located his treasure here, this pit was breached and flooded.  99% of the fabled treasure of the Dragon King lies here, in pitch darkness, 700 feet beneath the ocean's surface.
                Geology is not the only guardian of this sacred trust, though.  Coral reefs encircle the island, and no safe passage has every been recorded.  To enter the caldera, a person must either fly over the volcano walls (a dangerous prospect as noted below), or enter the labyrinth of caverns.  All but one plunge below the surface of the water, necessitating water breathing or similar magicks.  The last leads to a shallow harbor in a cavern inside the wall of the volcano, and then to a slippery, narrow passage, parts of which are subject to sudden floods, and edges along a cavern wall above a roaring whirlpool.  After passing these dangers, the tunnel emerges on along the upper rim of the caldera, leaving intrepid adventurers with a long, exposed, trek back down to the shore.
                Inside the volcano walls sharks, octopi, and ixitxachitl swarm the underwater maze, mingling with the likes of barracuda, moray eels, and vicious swarms of saltwater piranha.  Any blood released into the water is sure to bring a swarm of these hungry predators in 1d4 rounds, and more each round afterwards.  A small number of yu lung (carp dragons) also lair in this maze.  These are not as docile as traditional yu lung, and will viciously attack any intruders, while other yu lung alert the greater guardians of the Dragon King's treasure.  Stirges and other cave predators haunt the upper passageways, and often attack just as the party reaches a narrow ledge or slippery downslope.
                Outside the caverns, a family of long-lived basilisks (brought here, perhaps, by a desperate mage's last spell), prowl the cliffs.  They survive on volcanic stone and the occasional bird or stranded fish, but will ruthlessly pursue warm-blooded prey.  Dragonnels also live on the isolated cliffsides, seeking whatever prey they can catch.  They are tolerated by the Isle's greater guardians, and cannot be forced to attack them, save by magical means.
                Finally, the caldera is home to the designated guardians of the Dragon King, two venerable tun mi lung, or typhoon dragons.  These two great dragons take turns patrolling the ocean around the isle (and inflicting hurricanes on the other nearby islands).  If necessary, they may summon 1d6 shen lung (spirit dragons) or lung wang (sea dragons), depending on whether the intruders are inside or outside the caldera.  Finally, their fear of the Dragon King's wrath is so great that each would rather die than be responsible for the loss of the treasure, and any looters foolish enough to leave on (or both) alive will soon face the unfettered wrath of the tun mi lung and as many allies as they can call up. 

                Each maintains an lavish palace on the floor of the caldera, and each is linked to the maze of passageways inside the volcano walls.  In past times, the tun mi lung, a male and a female, have mated, but neither has been inclined to do so for the last four or five centuries.  They have grown accustomed to each other's presence, but would each gladly go their own way if the Dragon King released them from his service.

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