Saturday, July 7, 2018

Scartha: Isles of the Aeroseas

Scartha: Isles of the Aeroseas
An adventure for all editions of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder
Written by M. A. Packer

Broken and scattered, the floating isles of Scartha stand as a fleeting reminder of the world’s past, when the lands had once been joined together under the soundness of nature’s laws.  Now the land deteriorates, with the edges of the islands slowly eroding away from the relentless winds of the Aeroseas that surround them.  What is more, Luna Oceanus, the watery moon, which orbits low and treacherously over Scartha, grows more unstable with each passing year, threatening to drown the world in its former oceans and seas.  Out of desperation, a council is held with the elders of the five elvish tribes, all in the hopes of finding the truth behind Bhriseadh Na Domhan: the breaking of the world.  Should you and your companions uncover the event that triggered Scartha’s downfall, the elves hope that a reversal may be affected, restoring the world to its former state.

The Look and Feel of Scartha
Clothing and buildings of Scartha are very much similar to 11th Century Europe and Asia.  Boats are often carved with prows shaped to resemble eagles, swans, dragons and sometimes even ducks.  Theses stout craft are propelled by lofty sails that capture the wind, and are upheld by the aforementioned Dromarisite stones.  Though only the simplest machinery is made by Scartha’s inhabitants, strange ruins from the past, such as those found on Aestrarchs, boast some highly advanced designs.

The world has four distinct features: a planet comprised of a small,dense orb enveloped in a cloudy, but livable atmosphere with floating islands that remain airborne due to the abundant Dromarisite stones, which repel the solid core's powerful magnetic field.  Thousands of years ago, the world suddenly collapsed during a catastrophe known as Bhriseadh Na Domhan, forming a core, now called Croi Talamh, with fragmented islands remaining in their old, albeit disjointed, positions above the Stormscape.  Croi Talamh also suffers from an infestation of powerful monsters and unpredictable magic, which will be discussed much later.  Though gravity is strong on the core mass, it is possible to venture on its surface, albeit in nearly complete darkness, broken by intense eruptions of lighting, as the Stormscape, which lays between Croi Talamh and floating islands, block light from the sun and produces terrible friction from the heavy landmasses moving above.  The moon, Luna Oceanus, drowns out light whenever it passes over in its terrifyingly low orbit, and disturbs the surface with heavy rains and intense updrafts of wind and vapor.

What is Needed
            This campaign is designed for any edition of Dungeons and Dragons as well as the Pathfinder role-playing system.  With modifications, it may also be used with any other fantasy role-playing system, such as GURPS, FATE or Rolemaster.  The properties contained in this adventure are somewhat generic, making it quite easy to utilize any rule system, though the referee will need to consider the following before running the adventure: firstly, some preparations will be needed, such as maps for different locations.  Second, if you lack certain rule books, items and monsters may need some tweaking.  For example, if you run into a description of a monster in the text that you lack in your collection of books, simply use the closest thing you do have available, or else create one.  Just remember to scale the encounters appropriately for your players’ characters!

Introducing the PCs
            Once characters are created and their starting equipment purchased, each player should listen to the GM as he or she reads the following scenario:

            “As the council hall of Mactira empties, the words spoken within still ring in your ears: Scartha is failing and will crumble into ruin unless something can be done to reverse the effects of the ancient catastrophe, Bhriseadh Na Domhan.  You and many other adventurers have been given scant few clues as to how you might proceed to unravel this mystery, yet one thing is certain: you must somehow reach Eagobasai.  This twisted, central island, which the sages believe to be the staging grounds of the catastrophe, is the most likely place to find clues that will help restore the fate of your dying world.”

            At this time the players have the opportunity to introduce their characters to each other.  From here they are free to explore the world of Scartha, but it must be made clear that traveling between isles is treacherous.  They may barter for passage on a speirbaid or, if they wish, they may spend time grinding and earning money enough that they may purchase their own.  There is no actual time limit on the campaign, but the party should remain aware, for the sake of the plot, that the planet will soon die if they don’t find a way to save it.  After they have been introduced, read the following, explaining that they are approached by an elvish sage:

            “Might I have a moment of your time?  Please excuse my rudeness, my name is Rastlefel and I feel it fair to warn you that, while it is imperative you reach Eagobasai, I would not rush off too quickly.  I have been to that accursed landmass and can only say that certain death awaits hapless and unprepared fools.  Take the advice of a long-lived person and ready yourselves in whatever manner you may before setting off.  I see you are already equipped with common gear, the fare of meager merchants, but such tools will fall short against the dangers that surely await you on Eagobasai.  Venture forth to all the lands, doing whatever good for the denizens of each isle you can, while laying up for yourselves treasures and trinkets to buy better goods.  What is more, you should purchase a fine Speirbaid to ply the treacherous aeroseas, and gain trustworthy servants and companions to help bear your burdens.”

Some Important Points to Consider
While Scartha is a massive world with many countless islands stretched around its middle layer, this campaign focuses on one region where the history stretches back directly to Bhriseadh Na Domhan: the breaking of the world.  Very few scholars know why the world lost its cohesion, but they know that it occurred at a time when the peoples of the planet were at a much more sophisticated level of technological and magical achievement.  The only clues that will help the party figure out how to proceed are found on Eagobasai, the central island whose middle is cracked and broken.

The hulls of these ships are magically etched with Dromaris Powder, which is ground from the Dromarisite stones, allowing them to float upon the air and move to and froe with sails.  Marauding corsairs often haunt the open Aeroseas and flying monsters lurk in the clouds, waiting to ambush all manner of prey.  In spite of the dangers, these flying ships, which are called Speirbaids, are the best means of travel and trade between the islands.  Spierbaids use the same stats and maneuvers as their water bound counterparts, but cost four times as much!

Elves of Scartha
The long-lived cousins to the human race, elves come in many varieties as they have used their magic upon themselves for the purpose of understanding the innumerable facets of the natural world.  These elves do not gain special properties besides those had by core elves, with the exception of having access to one related level 1 spell, which they may cast once per day.  This is in place of their automatic proficiency with the bow and longsword.  Other than this they simply affiliate with their specified culture.  The elves feel directly responsible for mending Scartha as it was their ancestors who first helped to shape and beautify the world.
Metal Elves:     loftiest of the elves and masters of all things related to metals, both precious and mundane.  Metal elves are grey-skinned with black hair and dwell up in the mountains.
Earth Elves:     elves who dwell in what few cave systems remain, they are masters of earth and stone in its many varieties, and great lovers of precious gems.  Earth elves have black skin and white hair, and dwell primarily underground.
Wood Elves:    comfortable in forests and plains, these elves either live up in the bows of massive trees or down in grassy meadows.  Wood elves have tanned skin, light hair and dwell primarily in the forests.
Water Elves:    these elves prefer keeping their feet wet and have the ability to move about through water with ease and for long periods of time.  They dwell primarily within Luna Oceanus where they simply wait for all of Scartha to collapse, dragging them into the expected maelstrom of destruction.
Fire Elves:        masters of fire, these elves prefer hot, dry places and employ magics that utilize fire and electricity.  Fire elves have bronze skin, fiery red hair and dwell near the old, dead volcanoes where they pray for the land to be restored to its original form.

Traveling the Aeroseas
            It is important to take precautions before simply setting out into the Aeroseas.  Firstly, the Aeroseas consist of the open air that stretches outwards between each major landmass.  These are beset by fierce winds and stormy weather, not to mention the Stormscape, which churns and crackles with lightning below.  Anyone who falls into the Stormscape is instantly slain as it is plagued with unstable energy, causing fierce winds and torrents of chaotic energy.  What is more, many kinds of monsters and villains ply the Aeroseas, attacking hapless travelers who venture too far out into lightly trafficked expanses.  Such dangers consist of the following:
            1: Speirbaid pirates, mainly consisting of goblinoids and humans
            2: Wind and Storm Elementals
            3: Dragons in transit between islands
            4: Griffins and Manticores in transit between islands
            5: Powerful storm systems, which occur at a frequency of 25% of the time.
6: Upward torrents that bridge Scartha and Luna Oceanus (these tend to destroy ships, but may be used to reach the moon, as will be detailed later).

Location and Encounters Descriptions
A comprehensive blow by blow list of every locale for the campaign, which the party may engage in non-linear fashion.  It should be made evident in the text that some places are considerably more dangerous than others, requiring the party to exercise caution once they reach a new destination.  In other words, they should never be too proud to run!
            As the party reaches a new destination, read the italicized texts to better acquaint them with the flavor and conditions of the area.  The players should also be introduced to the Areas of Interest, but the details attached to each area of interest should only be introduced in the manner described!  It is recommended that the referee read through each location and their areas of interest before running the campaign so that he or she may have a good feel for what to expect.
            Should the party wish to encounter monsters to farm experience points, each location is accompanied by a list of example monsters that one will encounter.  Any treasure to be had by these encounters should be kept rather minimum, especially with creatures that tend to have hoards.  When gifting the party with money and experience points, use appropriate tables and award them based on their level!

Location I: Isle of Mactira
“Called by its people, the Jewel of the Region, Mactira still manages to retain its natural beauty amid the swirling chaos surrounding it.  Lush forests and fields are nurtured by crystalline water, and animals roam freely with little plaguing the serenity.”

Starting location of the campaign, Mactira is meant to provide an easier experience for the party, should they wish to level and obtain gold.  There are monsters here, but these are of a weaker variety and have little by way of treasure.  The party’s best hopes for prosperity is through fulfilling quests for the human and elvish settlements.  It should be noted that many smaller settlements dot this island, but those mentioned below are significant settlements where most forms of trade may be enjoyed.

            Areas of Interest

1- City Capital Mactira: largest human settlement in the region, this city buys and sells most kinds of goods, including mid-range magical items.  The city also sells Speirbaids, which are mentioned earlier in this module.  If the party wishes to simply hire a captain to ferry them to another location, the rate of passage is 100 gold pieces per person.  Lord Aesegrim, the ruler of this city, has many troubles that need tending to.  Though he is also involved with the elf tribes’ efforts to restore the land, he also requires the party’s assistance in the following areas:
A: many of the farmers complain of swarms of vermin devouring their crops.  The party will need to slay the vermin as well as a mad druid who has set them against the field, believing the people of Mactira responsible for the rapid decay of the land.
B: out of fear of the state of the world, a radical group of brigands have been robbing storehouses for provisions, which they intend to store up in the mountains where they hope to survive the final collapse of the island.
C: travelers are avoiding trails along the river, fearing that they too will suffer an attack from the kuo-toa who swim upstream from Shimmerbasin Lake.  A company of them camp under an old, stone bridge and have captured a small caravan of merchants.
D: in light of recent attacks from rogue wood elves, Lord Aesegrim needs someone to deliver an epistle to the elvish king, informing him that the humans of Mactira are closing off all trade with wood elves until the attacks stop.  The epistle is being sent in the hopes that the king of the wood elves will look into the matter and put a stop to it so that peaceful relations may continue between the two races.
E: Lord Aesegrim has offered a bounty to anyone who can uproot and put a stop to a brazen cult, which has been sewing discontent among the citizenry.  Looking into the matter will reveal that the cult operates out of the cellar of a large windmill out in the country.  The cult hopes that, if they can stir up the people to anger against the lord of Mactira, they will be able to create an uprising that will place them in positions of power over the island.
F: the party happens upon a messenger dying of a crossbow wound.  The messenger has a scroll containing evidence of an assassination plot against Lord Aesegrim by a rogue wood elf.  This assassination is part of a plot by a group of evil adventurers who hope to see the people of Mactira go to war against the wood elves.  Should the party slay the assassin, they will never learn of the true culprits, but if they successfully capture the rogue wood elf, he will inform them of the evil adventurers and their hideout in the attic of a disloyal vassal to Lord Aesegrim.
2- Shimmerbasin Lake: immediately west of Mactira capital is the lake known as Shimmerbasin.  Dragon turtles dwell here and prevent people from fishing in the crystalline waters.  These particular dragon turtles are of evil alignment and are under the direction of a wicked mage by the name of Liklam.  Liklam makes his home out of a tower, which rises up from the middle of the lake, but cannot be seen as it is enshrouded in a veil of invisibility.  The interior of the tower is quite large and filled with magical traps and creatures.  Liklam surrounds himself with an entourage of skeletal warriors and should not be approached until the party is higher leveled.  His destruction will earn the party a lofty reward in coin and experience.
3- Eastern Mountain Range: many camps belonging to human bandits riddle the slopes and spurs of the eastern mountains, and some suspect that they are connected by a vast network of tunnels.  There are reportedly ten camps in all, each one lead by a brigand fighter of 4th level and anyone able to purge these secret hideouts of banditry will be rewarded by Lord Aesegrim.
4- Holthaven and the Southern Forest: home to wood elves and tightly secured by patrolling elven archers.  Ruled by Lord Alicahn, who desires more than anything else to preserve the traditions and sacred places of his kind.  The party is not welcomed here unless on business or if they can prove themselves friendly to the elves.  The wood elves’ secret tree city, which they call Holthaven, offers moderate magical items, such as weapons and armor of up to +3 in quality, and lower tier wondrous items.  The party may also perform services to the elves in the following ways:
A: Lord Alicahn is concerned with a band of hill giants who recently entered the woods and have begun felling trees in his kingdom.  The hill giants seek one of their eldest clan chieftains who was petrified and entwined within the trunk of a great tree before the cataclysm of Bhriseadh Na Domhan.  They have a potion, which they intend to use to revive the lost chief, but should this happen, the chief will rise up as a terrible threat to Mactira and will lead his host of hill giants in a raid against the elves and humans.
B: a cult of evil druids have been casting strange spells on local animals, most especially bears and deer, turning them into vicious, mad beasts.  There are four of these druids in all and they dwell in a small cave, the exterior of which is protected by several deranged beasts.
C: perhaps the greatest concern facing Lord Alicahn and his people is a coven of hangs who dwell in a deep, dark part of the woods where they surround themselves with troll and ettercap servants.  Together these monstrosities work to poison the woodlands and spread illness as they seek to aid in the deterioration of the world.
5- Central Forest: east of Mactira capital is a dense woodland that people have avoided in recent months ever since strange lights were seen to cascade from the trees during the night.  The light is being caused by a celestial being who searches for a small ornament, which he claims fell into this forest.  The ornament is shaped like a silver shard and has penetrated the trunk of a tall tree, which has become infested with large centipedes.  Recovering and returning this ornament will earn the celestial’s gratitude and he will bestow the party with the gift of three magical items.
6- Western Forest: a bit west of Mactira capital is a forest popular to a band of gypsies whose leader is a bard of great fame.  The bard’s name is Jameldrix and he has traveled to nearly every major landmass in Scartha, gaining him plentiful knowledge in nearly every area.  He will identify anything the party brings him at the cost of 10 gold pieces per item!
7- Tiny Southeast Island: little is here except for a crashed Speirbaid whose owner is trying to reclaim enough broken parts to perform a magical mending, not to repair the damaged ship’s flying capabilities, but rather to reshape it into a home from whence he can open a magical trade business.  Completing these tasks will allow the party to purchase moderate to high leveled magical gear, such as weapons and armor up to +4.
A: the ship’s bow hangs precariously over the edge of the island and is surrounded by many dangerous vermin.
B: the ship’s missing floor planks are in the middle of a barren patch of wilderness where an umber hulk attempts to drag them down into its lair.
C: lastly, the ship’s sails are caught up in a tree where they flutter in the wind.  Attempting to claim them will cause a mighty gust of wind to blow them up into the air where a manticore will swoop in low and claim them.  The manticore will head back to the Mactira main island and deposit them in its cave up in the mountains.

            Example Enemies
            1- kobolds
            2- goblins
            3- vermin
            4- human bandits
            5- rogue wood elves
            6- animals (many varieties)

Location II: Trighulin
“North and a bit to the west of Mactira is the small island chain of Trighulin.  These islands run in a curved line, ranging from largest to smallest, causing denizens of the region to refer to them as Grandfather and His Children.  Though not a sovereign state, they are a power in their own right as the peoples who dwell on the small islands fall under the rulership of a mighty mage lord who goes by the name of Milltain.”

It should be noted by the game referee that this location has one rigid quest, which once encountered must be finished in order to avoid dying from the effects of a powerful Geas spell.  Unlike other Geas Spells, this one cannot be broken until the task is fulfilled.

            Areas of Interest

1- Ponc: small town on the largest of the three islands, which is run by a wealthy mage known as Milltain.  His tower overlooks the entire town and once the party enters he will send a raven to drop a note at their feet.  The note invites the party to his home where he will immediately cast a powerful Gease spell upon them.  The Gease is slightly complicated, requiring the party to act on his behalf until he obtains what he is looking for.  Milltain is an evil mage and should the party seek violent retribution against him they will be in for quite a fight as he is a 10th level magic-user who employs four iron golems and a host of fighting men to protect his tower.
A: the first part of the Geas requires the party to infiltrate a local man’s house and steal a bound tome, which he keeps hidden under his bed.  The man will not be home at the time the party must do this, but if they are witnessed by members of the community, their reputation will be damaged, raising prices Ponc by 100%.  The bound tome will turn out to be the wrong one and Milltain will send the party on another errand.
B: the second part of the Geas will involve the party traveling just outside of Ponc where they must infiltrate a hag’s hovel and steal yet another bound tome.  The hag will send giant rats and bats after the characters as soon as they arrive, but once defeated, the players will discover the book among her possessions, along with appropriate treasures for the encounter.
C: the third and final part of the Geas will require the party to watch and bear witness as Milltain releases the tome from its bindings and opens it.  The book, as he claims, will allow him to ascend to a higher plane as a more powerful being.  As Milltain reads the book, an aperture into another world will open above him, drawing him through and changing him all at once.  The party will be released from the Geas once this happens, but Milltain’s tower will begin to crumble as the magic he cast to create it will fail, requiring the adventurers to flee the structure before it collapses.  Should the players choose to dig through the rubble, they will find upwards around 5,000 gold, 10 gems and 4 magic items.
2- Taergach: on the middle and medium island of Trighulin is a simple, open plane with sparse trees, dotted with clear, crystalline lakes.  At the center of this landmass is a nomadic tribe of berserkers who dwell in a single, long oaken house, which they name Taergach.  These people choose to eschew contact with the other denizens of the region, preferring to live simpler lives in which they hunt and grow crops.  In recent days, however, they have fallen prey to the sudden arrival of a pack of dire wolves, which attack them during the night and slaughter their flocks.  The Jarl of Taergach has lost half of his Houskarls and seeks stout adventurers to help him repel the dire wolves and seek out their master: an enigmatic cleric who worships a lesser god of hunger.  Once defeated, the party will be rewarded with two magical weapons and a suit of magical armor.
3- Anaibas: smallest island where many cockatrices roam with one rare cockatrice that has a golden hide worth around 8,000 gold.  Locating the golden cockatrice will require the party to camp in the area for three nights in a row.  If the party manages to slay this creature, a group of hunters will appear and attempt to strongarm the carcass from them.

            Example Enemies
            1- griffons
            2- berserker humans
            3- quasits or mephitis
            4- cockatrices
            5- giant ants
            6- giant wasps or bees

Location III: Reimeirog
“This region of broken rocks had once been an island well known for its production in Dromarisite.  During a lesser cataclysm in the past, the island broke apart, slaying nearly every living thing that had dwelled on it.  Now all that remains is an expanse of dust and broken stones, which orbit chaotically around each other and serve as concealment for many dangers.”

The game referee should be aware that this location holds the base of operations for all Speirbaid Pirate activity in the region.  If the party ventures into this place they will be watched, but the pirates will only attack if the party draws close to the innermost portions of Reimeirog.  Should the party encounter and defeat a pirate raid, they will be marked by the entire organization and attacked in full force before they can leave the location.  Speirbaid pirates are not powerful by themselves, yet they use many ships and superior numbers to try and subdue their foes.  Each pirate ship is under the command of a 5th level warrior and as many as two evil clerics or mages.

            Areas of Interest

1- Outward Expanse: envelope of smaller rocks, which surrounds Reimeirog.  These stones are plentiful and range in size from one to twenty feet, making navigation quite challenging.  As soon as the party enters this area they will be attacked by a swarm of stirges, which originate from a large hive that clings to the side of a larger mass of stone.  If attacked, this hive will produce many stirges to repel the party, but successfully raiding the hive will turn up a sizeable treasure trove.
2- Inner Expanse: deeper within Reimeirog are much larger fragments of land, which range in size from thirty to 200 feet.  It is here that speirbaid pirates will attack the party should they wander through.  Initial attacks by speirbaid pirates will be somewhat minimal, but if the party manages to repel them, they will be attacked by a greater force who will do anything they can to prevent the party from betraying their location to other islands.  Apart from the speirbaid pirates, this portion of Reimeirog is filled with innumerable dangerous monsters and one such monster is a fabled silver manticore.  Slaying the manticore and selling its steely hide will bring the party some 10,000 gold pieces.  Any time the party enters the Inner Expanse there is a 15% chance of encountering the silver manticore.
3- The Still-beating Heart: at the very heart of reimeirog is a dense cluster of floating earth and rock, which tightly clusters around a core very much rich with veins of Dromarisite stone.  Hidden within these folds of precious stone are gems, but mining them out will draw every Speirbaid pirate in the location, and monsters will be drawn to the sounds of mining.
4- Baeluaimh: lair of a strange purple worm, which has gained the ability to fly after ingesting vast quantities of Dromarisite stone.  This creature will attack anything that enters into its domain and devour it in short order.  Should the party encounter this creature, they will need to navigate its bowls, fighting off the many creatures that still live within it, and locate its heart.  Once the heart is destroyed, the party and their craft will be able to depart in safety.  The referee should note that somewhere within the worm is a trove of treasure containing five magic items and 10,000 gold.
5- Polmadra: perhaps the largest portion of earth that remains, heavily marred and broken in half so that a narrow gap runs through its middle.  Within this crack, which is barely wide enough to admit the largest of Speirbaids, is a cave system and twin rows of docks where the pirates maintain their ships and house their men.  Coming here is exceedingly risky as the Speirbaid pirates give no quarter to trespassers, regardless of their manner of approach.  Unbeknownst to the entire region, the pirates work under the guidance of a Glabrezu demon and his Vrock counselors.  Once this menace is dealt with and their shrine defiled, all pirate activity will cease throughout the region and the party will share a reward of 10,000 experience points.

            Example Enemies
            1- wyverns
            2- nightmares
            3- chimeras
            4- harpies
            5- rocs
            6- juvenile dragons

Location IV: Eagobasai
“At the very heart of the region floats an island so broken and marred by the cataclysm of Bhriseadh Na Domhan that it scarcely resembles the land it once was.  Chaotic energies permeate the air surrounding the landmass and winds howl continually, spiraling outwards from the centermost point of Eagobasai as portents from a ruinous past.”

As stated at the beginning of the module, this location is the ultimate goal of the party, but the players should be well advised to avoid coming here before they have gained sufficient levels as the enemies on Eagobasai are quite powerful.  Once the party reaches the Shrine of Stillfast and procures the stone tablet, which details the particulars of the main quest, they will be able to fulfill the necessary means in order to repair the world.

            Areas of Interest

1- Land Spiraling Outward: a virtually barren, wind-lashed and scorched landscape lays between the rims of Eagobasai and the Shrine of Stillfast.  Crossing over this place is fraught with danger as powerful creatures will attack any other living thing they come across.  It is very easy to get lost on this island as the erratic powers that move through it make compasses fail and magical detections to go awry.  What is more, any spell cast on this landmass will have a 35% chance of failing.
2- Shrine of Stillfast: crumbling shrine of white marble, which runs in a semi-circle around a great, crumbling hole, which runs through the center of the island.  At the highest point of the shrine, which may be reached by one of three sets of stairs, there is a platform where an obelisk once stood.  A single stone tablet remains on the ground, which when translated will provide the party with the Main Quest Line, which is detailed later on in this document.
3- Downward Descent: a column of open air drops down through the Stormscape, directly to the core of Scartha, but without the protection of the shrine’s obelisk, anyone attempting to descend down to the core through this gap will be eradicated by powerful currents of energy.  Once the obelisk is completed, a shimmering platform will appear above the Downward Descent and provide safe transport all the way down to Croi Talamh.

            Example Enemies
            1- basilisks
            2- elder dragons
            3- earth elementals
            4- water elementals
            5- fire elementasl
            6- wind elementals

Location V: Baribas
“Cankered with cruel energies and alive with undeath, the island of Baribas feels cold, even in the midst of summer.  Though the living hold habitation here, one cannot escape the ever-present feeling of dread, which hangs heavy over the land like a veil.”

While there is one friendly community on Baribas, most of it is infested with the powers of necromancy and undeath.  Skeletal and zombified creatures are common in the wilderness, but these are little threat compared to the denizens of an especially foul cult of necromancers who slay any living outsider that enters their boundaries.  Monster encounters here are less frequent than other locations but yield the greatest numbers all at once.

            Areas of Interest

1- Death’s Door: town on the southernmost rim of Baribas where the party may freely rest and purchase supplies, though there are spies who watch them from the INN and will approach them in the guise of pilgrims who will ask them to safely escort them to another settlement.  If the party accepts, they will lead the party a distance into the wilderness to a ruined community.  Here the spies will shed their disguises, revealing themselves as a band of necromancers.  If the party refuses to help them, they will set off into the wilderness and ambush the party later.
2- Bas Tirith: the largest city on the island, which is run by wicked necromancers known as The Disfellowed Coven.  The locals will be quick to report the party’s presence to their masters, though they will do so discreetly.  At the very worst, some folks will simply ignore the party, but careful observation will show them that the denizens of Bas Tirith are watching them carefully.  Should the party stay the night here, or linger in the city for at least an hour, they will eventually be ambushed by a whole platoon of evil warriors and six mid-level necromancers.  They will demand that the party come with them to the Palace, which has necromantic ceremonial chambers in its basement.  The enemy will try to get the party into one of these chambers where a high-leveled necromancer will wish to sacrifice them to his deity.  There is much treasure here, but it is guarded by a dreadful undead dragon.
3- Creaking Woods: the trees of these woods are drenched with slime, causing its matted branches and canopies to adhere to one another so that the wood itself is like a dripping cave with only the smallest cracks allowing light to penetrate.  Zombified creatures and slimes of every kind populate these woods, which at times produce noxious fumes that may cause the party to go unconscious.  Should this happen, they will be ambushed by many monsters.  Carefully searching the woods will turn up an immense wooded chamber with a single hole in the slime-coated canopy from whence the light of day shines down on a single spot.  In this spot a shard of stone juts from the ground.  A skeletal knight is bound to the rock by strong chains and will beg the party to free him with the elvish tongue.  Should they do so a host of skeletons and ghouls will rise from the ground and attack.  Freeing the elvish skeletal warrior will earn the party a random magical weapon and a magical suit of armor.
4- Montusk Mountains: these mountains howl with unearthly winds and the many creases and folds of its rocky slopes conceal all manner of undead creatures.  These creatures will ambush the party frequently as they explore the slopes, but carefully searching the Montusk range will lead the party to an ancient road, which climbs up to an overlook where a crumbling tower stands.  The tower is infested with shadows and shades, which will wait for the party to fully enter the tower before launching an ambush.  The very top of the tower has a treasure trove with some magical items, but as soon as the party acquires the treasure, the tower will begin to crumble all around them.  The party will need to successfully escape the tower within three rounds or else suffer severe damage from falling debris.  The noise of the tower falling will summon flying skeletal creatures, which will attack the party as they leave the Montusk Mountains.
5- Cauldron of the Sleepers: what was once a great mine is now a great, open pit whose bottom is filled with a veritable lake of slime.  A camp of necromancers is stationed here and is used to bring captives to the lake.  The captives are dropped in and instantly turned into zombies.  Should the party choose to intervene they will be attacked by a great host of zombies, skeletons and low-level necromancers.  When the party comes close to defeating the host of enemies, a dracolich will rise up from the Cauldron of the Sleepers.  Slaying the host and the dracolich will cause the slime in the lake to dry and crumble, and all the gloom of the island will melt away.

            Example Enemies
            1- zombies
            2- ghouls/ghasts
            3- skeletal humanoids
            4- wights
            5- carrion crawlers or similar
            6- skeletal monsters

Location VI: Gainolmhor
“The largest landmass in the region, Gainolmhor stretches onward as one immense mass whose sheer enormity is reminiscent of how the world had once been before the catastrophe.  Blanketed in desert and dry, rocky hills, crowned with mountains and burdened by unusual heat, the greatest of all islands stands as a testament to the harshness of nature.”

Home to the earth elves who live in the valleys and survive amid the perils of the desert.  Metal elves also live here, having forged a habitation for themselves in the mountains where they preserve great mines for gems and precious metals, which they jealously guard.  Lastly, goblinoid races who dwell in the wastes where they constantly build their forces in an endless effort to drive the elves from the island.  Though none of the races care for each other, the earth and metal elves have forged a truce in light of the hastening destruction of their world, though this in no way means they fully trust one another.

            Areas of Interest

1- Cirdalamh City: the eye-shaped capital of the earth elves is the loveliest jewel in all of Gainolmhor.  The only thing move enjoyed than the delicate stone and wood architecture of the city is the peace and serenity that garnishes its streets, a calm that the earth elves wish to preserve, preferably without bloodshed.  Unfortunately, in recent months there have been bombardments from siege weaponry, which scouts say is being fired from the wastes in the south, but before the elves can rally against it, all evidence of the siege equipment is gone.  Should the party investigate it they will be hindered by a strong sandstorm, which will show them several trap doors.  These trap doors lead into an underground network of tunnels where ballistas are stored and set to fire out of small openings that align with Cirdalamh.  The removal of these siege engines and the elimination of their orcish operators will earn the party a goodly sum of money and prestige among the earth elves.
2- Crucible Woods: concave forest to the north of Cirdalamh where the elves go to perform their most sacred of festivals and holidays in the gaping clearing.  Even now the elves prepare to set up for the next great festival, but every time they set up tables and pavilions, the next day they vanish into a mist.  It turns out the mist is an illusion created by a rogue group of wood elves who live in the woods.  Their hideout is hidden beneath the roots of the larger trees and they will protect their domain by setting enchanted wood golems after the party.  Once defeated, the wood elves will sue for peace and allow themselves to be taken into custody by the earth elves.  If the party solves this problem as peacefully as possible, the earth elves will allow them to take part in the festival and will each be gifted with a rare potion that will allow each party member to receive a bonus rank of 1 to any chosen ability score.
3- Four Brother’s Isles: small islands to the north of Gainolmhor, which upon first inspection appear normal and unimportant.  Closer examination shows that, during the night, these islands glow with florescent plant life.  Fairies and dragon fairies tend these mushrooms, which have potent curative properties.  A disease is afflicting the mushrooms, however, and the fairy creatures fear that they will soon lose all of their harvest for good.  They believe there is a druid from Trighulin who may have a cure, but the druid roams about in the form of a deer and will flee from anyone who approaches her.  It will require some convincing to bring the druid to the aid of the fairies, but if the party is successful they will be gifted with three random magical items.
4- Caemcaol City: a vast city, carved out of the mountainside with many stairs and platforms ascending into narrower, yet wealthier avenues.  The metal elves who dwell here fill the day with chanting and prayer, hoping to reverse the rate of deterioration that threatens Scartha, but the mood of the people is dour and hopeless.  As though the looming calamity weren’t enough, these elves are further troubled by an influx of robberies.  The robberies are targeted against clerics and typically involve the removal of sacred relics.  Further investigation shows that there may be a single elf conducting the robberies and this selfsame elf turns out to be the high cleric who has concealed his ties to evil deities.  Taking him on will require the party to fight him, a higher-level cleric and twelve mid-level elvish warriors.  The metal elves will be deeply troubled by this revelation but will graciously award the party with a random magical weapon and a random magical suit of armor.
5- Oasis of Ill Omen: out in the deepest part of the desert sits an oasis, but all who have ventured into the oasis have vanished and never returned.  The party, should they be intrepid enough to brave it, will discover that the oasis is an illusion created by a company of evil gnomes.  The illusion hides their tunnels where they use their cunning to create a powerful engine, the sole purpose of which is to tear the island in half.  The engine is nigh indestructible and protected by iron golems, and its interior is like a labyrinth with many branches and conduits leading into the core, which is powered by a trapped efreeti.  Should the party release the efreeti, it will grant the party one wish.
6- West Pike Range: along the western edge of Gainolmhor looms a range of jagged peaks, which elves report to have violent tremors from time to time.  Apart from dangerous monsters roaming the slopes, careful exploration of the range will turn up a wide fissure, which rumbles as though from an earthquake.  Down at the bottom of a fissure is a great titan under the effects of a blind rage, which causes him to rail against the rocky cliffs and shake the land.  Examination of the titan reveals that he has some form of strange creature attached to the back of his neck.  Destroying this creature, which is roughly the size and strength of a common stirge, will end the titan’s rage.  He will show his gratitude toward the party by teaching their wizard(s) any three spells of their choosing.  If there are no wizards in the party, he will gift a warrior with a belt of hil giant’s strength.
7- Grugrum: this stone city, which serves as home to all manner of goblinoids, is built with walls made from the bones of giant desert monsters.  The city guards will allow the party to enter peacefully, provided there are no elves among them, and also under the condition of paying them 100 gold pieces each.  Refusal will cause the party to be attacked by a large band of orcs.  If they peaceably enter the city they will have the opportunity to simply take part in their great arena, which is situated at the very heart of the kingdom, adjacent to their king’s palace.  In the arena, the party may fight nearly any creature that the orc king’s shaman may summon.  Each victory will earn the party 50 gold pieces each, and after ten successful matches, the orc king, Kurshim, will challenge the party’s mightiest warrior.  Kurshim is a high leveled fighter and should the party’s warrior defeat him, his shaman will preserve his life, but he will gift the party with a +5 battle axe.
8- East Saber Range: these mountains, which run along the eastern edge of Gainolmhor, are not quite as grand as the West Pike range but serve as a lair to the dreaded Tarrasque.  All intelligent beings avoid this place out of fear of the mighty beast, but rumors speak of a ruined and ancient city being up in the mountains.  Exploration reveals that the city is indeed the lair of the Tarrasque, but it slumbers deeply.  The party may explore the ruined city, which is infested with many silent and stealthy monsters, and there is indeed a great treasure hidden in the ruins of an old castle.  As soon as the party attempts to leave with the treasure, the Tarrasque will awaken and attack the party.  No matter where they go, the Tarrasque will follow, making its defeat a priority lest it destroy all settlements on the island.
9- Broken South: large islands where goodly gnomes and halflings are building a massive crossbow in the hopes of drawing the islands back together, but a host of dragons prevent them from doing so; the dragons have nests and lairs dug into the edges of the broken south, which will be crushed if the islands are drawn together.

            Example Enemies
            1- giant centipedes and beetles
            2- dinosaurs of every kind
            3- ankhegs
            4- bullets and other burrowing monsters
            5- dragons and drakes (rare)
            6- earth elementals (rare)

Location VII: Sairmarbh
“Barren and unwholesome to behold, this island somehow projects a sense of reverence with its powerful landscape, ruggedly cultivated by the ancient geological forces that once shook Scartha before the cataclysm.  Sairmarbh consists of a flat expanse of volcanic land, crowned by now long dead volcanoes, which stand through a mantle of dust.”

Home to the fire elves who dwell primarily underground in ancient tunnels that had once been carved out of the living rock by veins of magma.  Now they glisten and sparkle with glass ornamentation, which the fire elves cherish like precious gems.  The open wilderness of this island is dominated by powerful monsters and dragons, but should the party find a way to the abodes of the fire elves, they will find security and comfort.

            Areas of Interest

1- Bleak Plateaus: network of horsts and grabens cluttered with boulders and infested by dangerous monsters.  Lairs of these creatures are hidden in every crack and crevice, but the residents of these vile nests roam about in the open, hunting anything they deem easy prey.  Locals warn of the dangers one will face exploring these curdled lands, but none are greater than that of the lair of a powerful green dragon who holds residence in a muddy cave.  This cave is the only source of water in this part of the wilderness and should the party recapture it for the elves, they will be gifted with 3 random magical items in addition to whatever is kept in the dragon’s horde.
2- Sairmarbh Crown: the dead volcanos are treated as a holy place by the fire elves, but the recent quaking and decay of the land has kept the people from enjoying it.  They would like someone to brave the volcano and retrieve a sacred relic from their holy shrine.  This shrine is held by a band of evil fire elves who have claim to the relic.  These elves are lead by an evil ranger who has four hill giants as his personal body guards and a manticore, which serves as his mount.  Aproaching the shrine will cause the evil elves to try and convince the party that they had already been sent by the elders in the great hive to protect the relic and that the party may depart in peace.  If the party believes them and departs, they will be attacked from behind.  Defeating these villains and returning the relic to the fire elves in the great hive will earn the party a random magical staff, along with whatever treasure the evil elves possess.
3- Mirrorcaves: a twisted maze of dormant volcanic tunnels whose walls are lined with cracked, glistening glass formations.  Rumors speak of a powerful mage’s tower being hidden within the depths of these tunnels.  Careful searching will bring the party to a location riddled with strange illusions and hallucinations of people from another world.  Should the party interact with these images, they will be transported to the campus of a real-world university, at the center of which is a tall administration building.  Exploring this building will bring the party to a computer lab in the lower floors.  A professor over the lab will explain that his school has been taken over by a powerful demon, which lives at the top of the administration building.  Defeating this demon and destroying a large key worn around its neck will return the campus to the real world.  The party will return to the Mirrorcaves where they will find the illusions utterly vanquished, but in their place is a pile of gems that had once belonged to the school’s geology department.
4- Fire Elf Hive: the bejeweled and ornate stronghold of the fire elves rests buried in the earth just below the Sairmarbh Crown.  Here the elves have crafted small channels of water, which feed the community before emptying in the sewers where an eternal flame boils and recirculates the water back to the higher halls.  The sewers serve as the only access to the chamber of the eternal flame, and lately the denizens of the hive have noticed the water becoming vile.  Exploring the sewers and the water reclamation system will reveal that otyughs have begun to overpopulate the sewers and spread their refuse into the purified water channels.  Further investigation shows that ragged and evil mages have been breeding and feeding the otyughs for the purpose of poisoning the populous.  The high elders of the hive will reward the party with an Instant Fortress if they eliminate this threat.
5- Old Growler’s Gut: empty cavity of rock where lava once flowed, now is a network of volcanic tunnels.  These passages run deep below the fire elves’ hive city and lead into a massive, spherical chamber where a false sun glows at the ceiling and the lower slopes grow with jungles.  Water collects into a circular lake at the very base of the chamber and is home to a tribe of sahuagin.  These creatures are neutrally aligned and will offer to give the party treasure if they will enter the jungles surrounding their lake and eliminate a group of young black dragons who repeatedly attempt to poison the lake water.  These dragons will attempt to trap the party by leading them into a dense patch of jungle where poisonous fungus grows.  The treasure reward will consist of 3 magic items and several kinds of coin.

            Example Enemies
            1- stirges and similar flying pests
            2- evil ogres, ettins and stone giants
            3- giant insects
            4- dinosaurs and other giant lizards
            5- earth elemental (rare)
            6- roc (rare)

Location VIII: Laithlaide
“A festering expanse of mud and tepid water, this island is virtually uninhabitable.  Everything from soil too damp to support houses and festering disease, Laithlaide repulses any sane person and sullies all attempts to settle there.  Yet whispers speak of some form of civilization at its heart and of a mad mage who vanished long ago.”

Massive swamp island and home to many trolls and other grimy creatures.  Because of the stagnant nature of the swamps and marshes here, anyone entering will run the risk of becoming horribly ill, but the effects of this sickness will not take effect for at least a day.  This disease may be cured by any normal means, but while the party is afflicted by it, they will not be able to recover hit points naturally and will suffer penalties to every physical action until cured.

            Areas of Interest

1- Lohbahd Marshes: mucky, humid marshlands infested with peculiar zombies made from mud (these have the same stats as regular zombies).  Putrid gases rise up from the ground, which will are quite flammable and will harm anyone in the area should open flames of any kind become exposed to the combustible vapors.  The gases are especially prevalent near a cluster of muddy hovels that are home to a fierce tribe of trolls.  These trolls guard an ancient, rusted iron golem, which if brought to life will wander out into the marsh.  If the party follows the golem, they will see it stop in a place where water rises up to a man’s knees.  Here it will bend down and grasp a hidden chain, which it will pull, causing a great box to rise to the surface.  Inside the box are the remains of a long-dead mage who will rise up as a lich.  This lich will ask the following favors of the party:
A: first the lich asks the party to retrieve a box, which it believes is hidden in the watery lair of gigantic toads.  The box is buried under a cluster of toad eggs and contains a large, scorched key.
B: second, the party must find a mystical orb, which is hidden in the trunk of a gnarled, mossy tree.  The tree is stuffed with skeletons, which will come pouring out and attack the party.  The orb will drop out of the trunk if stricken hard enough, and will sparkle with eerie light.
C: the lich will use the orb to recharge the energies of the key, causing it to become immaculate and golden.
D: last, the party must escort the lich to its home, the Castle in the Muck, and use the key to unlock its gates and retrieve a spellbook.
2- Castle in the Muck: ancient castle, half buried in a field of mud and water.  Reaching it will prove very difficult as anyone who attempts to enter the mud will begin sinking.  The lich will suggest that the best way to reach the castle is with a moldy raft, which is barely large enough to support six people.  While approaching the castle, the raft will be attacked by giant serpents.  The gates leading into the castle are far below the surface of the swamp, but a large, open window may be reached by climbing the vines that encase the structure’s exterior.
The inside of the castle is dark and mossy, and many undead creatures lurk within.  Several patches of floor in the castle will collapse, creating the potential hazard of drowning in the muck on the lower floors.  There also looms the risk of ceiling tiles collapsing if disturbed by too much combat.  In the highest levels of the castle, the party will find the lich’s personal study and the book needed.  Upon disturbing the book, several tattered heaps, which lay strewn across the floor, will rise up as mummies and attack the party.
Upon returning the book to the lich, it will cast a spell on its castle, causing it to be restored to its original, glorious form.  The gates will lower and the lich will enter therein upon which time the castle will compress into a conduit into another realm, but not before a box is dropped in front of the party.  The box contains several types of coinage, some gems and one magic item.

            Example Enemies
            1- all kinds of trolls
            2- giant centipedes
            3- giant frogs and toads
            4- young black dragons
            5- catoblepas (rare)
            6- zombies (mud zombies, which use the same stats as regular zombies)

Location IX: Croibriste
“Once whole, now divided in the most literal and spiritual sense.  Populated by dwarves and gnomes, the island separates the two by a fracture, which is now spanned by the grandest bridge ever known.  Built in the hopes of reuniting the dwarvish and gnomish people, it now serves as a staging ground for an uneasy standoff between the two races who have fortified either end with mighty siege engines set to collapse the bridge at the first sign of invasion.”

A dwarf and gnome islands that are having an uneasy standoff across the bridge while their island continues to buckle and break apart from a horrible earth rot.  Whichever side the party encounters first will cause the opposing side to immediately take a disliking to them unless they are seen doing something that is mutually beneficial to the island as a whole.

            Areas of Interest

1- Comortas Bridge: seventy feet wide and almost five-hundred feet long, this bridge is magically enhanced dwarvish craftsmanship, heavily ornamented with symbols and images of natural formations.  While powerful enough to withstand the elements, this bridge is susceptible to siege engines, such as those erected by the gnome and dwarvish armies on either of its ends.  Anyone who sets foot onto this bridge will be fired upon and, barring any magical aid, will fall to their deaths as the bridge collapses.
2- Dhorncrua: dwarvish city built in the northern half of the island.  This city is mainly underground, but fortified roofs and crenelated battlements protrude from the earth.  The dwarves here do not accept visitors save for fellow dwarves, but anyone who proves to be friendly to them may enter.  Anyone able to resolve the standoff between them and their gnomish neighbors will be able to purchase magical arms and armor up to +2 in power.  The dwarves speak of intercepted epistles from the gnomes, which speak of the gnomes mounting an invasion.
3- Nihmlaihm: gnome city on the southern portion of the island.  This city is built underground, but is marked on the surface by great, rolling hills and chimneys, which rise up like awkward trees.  The conditions for entering this city are the same as those at Dhorncrua, and also like the dwarves, the gnomes claim to have captured dwarven spies carrying epistles that speak of immanent dwarvish invasion.  Anyone able to resolve the problems here may purchase any potion from gnome merchants.
4- Pollpholach: hidden cave with a counterfeit operation that produces fake epistles designed to keep the gnomes and dwarves at odds with each other.  The ones responsible for this operation are evil dwarves and gnomes who secretly work for a demon.  The demon has quarters in this cave system, and if slain, the party may search his room for valuables.  Among treasure commonly possessed by the demon, the party will discover a scroll written in abyssal, which tells of his connection to the powers that stir below the Stormscape.  Bringing this scroll to the officials at Mactira’s capital will prove most helpful to the council who in turn will reward the party with a mighty Speirbaid war galley and a crew of 20 level 5 fighters.
5- Creimead: southernmost portion of the islands where the land is being eaten away by a strange corrosion.  Exploring this inlet will turn up a tunnel leading into a shaky cave network where earth constantly shifts and crumbles, dropping down on the party’s heads from time to time.  This system is infested by burrowing insects and one large earth elemental, which resembles a skeletal bear.  This elemental seems responsible for spreading much of the blight and slaying it will cause the earth to become still.

            Example Enemies
            1- owlbears or
            2- nagas
            3- witches or hags
            4- worgs or other monstrous dogs
            5- basilisks (rare)
            6- unicorns or pegasuses (rare)

Location X: Luna Oceanus
“Looming dangerously low over Scartha’s crystalline skies, the moon, heavy with the world’s oceans, rolls across the horizon.  As it passes over, the very sky is disturbed, causing fierce winds and prevailing darkness, which only breaks as lightning flashes all about.  As heavy rains fall, torrents of wind and moisture surge upwards to the aquatic sphere, threatening to tear asunder any frail craft of man caught in the bizarre flows.”

Any time the Luna Oceanus appears overhead, the party will be hard pressed to find shelter as the winds and rains can prove quite hazardous.  Any time the party travels a lengthy distance, there is a 10% chance of falling under the path of the moon, and should the party travel too close, their vessel runs the risk of being ruined by the Upward Torrents, unless they sail directly into one and manage to steer their craft true.

            Areas of Interest

1- Upward Torrents: though quite dangerous, the Upward Torrents serve as the only practical bridge between Scartha and Luna Oceanus.  As stated above, if the party sails directly into one and manages to maintain a good course, their Speirbaid will be lifted up directly towards the moon where they will come to rest on relatively calm and curved seascape.  It should also be noted that, once on the moon’s surface, the only way to return to Scartha is to sail all the way down where the orb comes closest to the world.  Here the rain falls upwards toward Scartha and the strange forces causing this will lift the party’s Speirbaid, turning them about and dropping them somewhat quickly towards their world of origin.
2- Tranquil Coast: a single, long island floating just at the surface of Luna Oceanus whose coast is plagued by some of the fiercest aquatic creatures known in Scartha.  A small town of Water Elves stands just above the beach.  These locals are warm and receiving to visitors and offer some trade goods, but more importantly serve as emissaries to the Orchid Palace and will vouch for the party if they can clear out a number of troublesome monsters from the beach.  Without the approval of tranquil coast, the party will not be allowed to enter the Orchid Palace.  What is more, in order for the party to move through the interior of Luna Oceanus, they will need to purchase an enchanted brass rod from the elves of Tranquil Coast.  This rod, which is called The Scepter of Life’s Breath, will create a bubble of breathable air above the maindeck of whatever vessel it is used on.  The rod has unlimited uses and costs 10,000 gold pieces.
3- Orchid Palace: heavily defended and virtually unchallenged, the palace serves as haven and home to the majority of Water Elves.  Though they had sent an emissary to the council regarding the deterioration of the world, they have consigned themselves to their fate and choose to remain aloof from the majority of Scartha’s dealings.  The party will not be welcomed here unless the elves on Tranquil Coast can vouch for their character.  Even when accepted into the Orchid Palace, the party will need to perform a few tasks for the Water Elves in order to gain their assistance in reaching the Broken Lunar Core (which becomes important later in the main plot as this is where one of the fragments of the obelisk is said to be hidden).  Though the palace has been enchanted to provide breathable air to the populous, the party will have a hard time reaching the Orchid Palace without aid from the elves on the Tranquil Coast.
A: as with Mactira, the Orchid Palace is suffering from the effects of vile propaganda, which has been orchestrated to turn the elves against each other during troubling times.  The tracts, which are being distributed to the populous, are produced by local elves who follow orders from The Orator.
B: the party needs to travel into the sewer systems of the Orchid Palace where followers of The Orator speak of a hideout.  The hideout is guarded by several monsters, and evil elvish warriors and clerics.  After infiltrating a small, fortified section of tunnels, the party discovers a letter to The Orator, warning him or her that the Water Elven Council of Princes is coming close to discovering the whereabouts of their hideout.  The letter further advises The Orator to return to his or her professional trade until things have settled in the palace.
C: clues left in the sewer hideout lead the party to believe that The Orator is in fact some kind of performer at a carnival on the outskirts of the Orchid Palace.  The carnival appears lively when the party approaches, but as soon as they enter, the illusion creating the happy, festive atmosphere melts away and the party finds themselves surrounded by assassins and six owlbears.
D: The Orator is inside his personal caravan, which contains an extradimensional space wherein he has erected his own mansion, filled with phantasmal creatures and animated suits of armor.  The Orator himself is a 10th level illusionist and makes use of a pack of hellhounds to protect himself.
4- Inner Void: below the shimmering globe of oceanic waters is a dark and deepening abyss.  The inner waters of Luna Oceanus churn and flow along strange magical paths, making any transition a difficult and confusing ordeal as vessels and swimming creatures may suddenly and unexpectedly be swept along onto another course.  Fortunately, it is impossible to get lost as there are always two directions pointing the way: the lighter oceans, which flow towards the surface, and the deep, dark shadowy nucleus where the old lunar core may be found.  Though the Inner Void seems bleak and featureless, there are a few notable locations one may discover within the deep blue:
A: a massive school of great jellies swims through the interior of Luna Oceanus, comprised of many thousands of colossal jellyfish, which cluster together and form a forest with their long, rippling tendrils.  These are quite harmless and produce a dazzling spectacle of iridescent light, which draws many dangerous creatures.  Hidden in this maze of jellies is the skeletal remains of a long-dead dragon, which had become tangled during the cataclysm.  Magical treasures still cling to its body, which is overgrown with sea life.
B: a cluster of ancient, wrecked ships orbits within the Inner Void.  These ships are bound together by kelp and choral growths and form a strange labyrinth of rotting wood.  Many creatures live in here, but treasure abounds, most especially in the hull of a crumbling old war galley, which a kraken uses as its lair.
C: an enormous orb of rock, riddled with holes and craters, hurdles through the interior of the Inner Void.  The rock is filled with jagged caves, which are home to many kinds of dangerous fish.  At the core of a rock, a trio of skeletal warriors guard several bound tomes, which turn out to be 4 random magical books.
5- Broken Lunar Core: at the heart of Luna Oceanus is the remains of what was once a solid, silvery moon.  Now it is bleak and forever cast in shadow as its broken fragments flow and orbit around each other.  Some of the most dangerous creatures in all of Scartha dwell here, where they lurk in the gaps between the moon’s fragments.  Many strange, alien ruins lay scattered throughout the broken core, but devious magical enchantments protect them.  Bypassing these enchantments will awaken a slumbering Old One.  Slaying this fiend will grant the party access to its treasures, which contain many magic items as well as a fully functional ray gun, which has unlimited ammunition and deals incredible damage.

            Example Enemies
            1- giant fish or squids/octopuses
            2- nagas or sahuagins
            3- sea serpents or leviathans
            4- aquatic dinosaurs
            5- dragons (rare)
            6- water elementals (rare)

Location XI: Oskion
“Below the sun-clad surfaces of every isle is a dark underside where few have ventured.  Ever drowned in darkness and lashed by fierce winds, Oskion is as inhibiting a place as any above the Stormscape.  It is clear that only an inversion of gravity upon one’s self is the only means a person will have of traversing the Aeroseas’ most peculiar angles.”

The underside of the floating islands, home to thrikreen who in recent years climbed over the lip of Mactira to beg for assistance against the blight, which causes the lands to crumble.  These thrikreen are neutral at best, but will gladly assist any who work to solve the mutual problems that threaten the world.  As stated above, the only way to reach Oskion is to cast spells that reverse one’s gravitational pull as the forces below each island and landmass is too great for even the mightiest Speirbaid to surmount.  Any ship that attempts to pass down to the underside of an island will be plunged down into the Stormscape and destroyed, killing anyone on board.

            Areas of Interest

1- Mactira: the underside of Mactira is relatively smooth and featureless, but careful exploration leads to an ornately carved tunnel entrance, which opens up into a thrikreen city.  These are the first thrikreen to contact demihuman kind and are openly friendly to anyone visiting them.  The thrikreen are in need of someone who can cast spells that shape earth.  These spells will be put to use repairing damage to some of their major tunnels.  Any mage in the party able to help with this must cast six such spells.  Doing so will bring the party a reward of treasure appropriate to a thrikreen encounter.
2- Croibriste: the underside of this split island is rough and broken, creating many cracks and fissures in which flying monsters nest.  Exploring this terrain is fraught with peril, both natural and animal, but careful searching will turn up wreckage of a steel Speirbaid.  This vessel, which is approximately the size of a cog, has a journal belonging to its former dwarvish owner.  The purpose of the craft was to explore the depths of the Stormscape, but a powerful updraft caused the vessel to crash and wedge in a deep crack.  The ship is beyond repair, its original crew long gone, but its holds contain many adventuring suppies, including a +3 adamantium war hammer.
3- Baribas: beneath this accursed landmass is a smooth, dome-shaped underside exposed to an immense maelstrom in the Stormscape.  Lightning crisscrosses this place and the air is ruptured with fierce thunderings, but hovering just above this maelstrom is a circular platform, which may be reached with a long, massive chain anchored into the underside of Baribas.  The platform is guarded by six iron golems, which encircle an alter containing a peculiar book.  If the book is taken to a sage for translation, it will reveal the locations to the components of a complete suit of armor:
A: the leggings rest atop a mountain in Mactira, but is guarded by a small, violent clan of fire giants.
B: the armings are hidden deep in the forest on Baribas and is guarded by a red dragon.
C: the cuirass is buried in the middle of the desert on Gainolmhor where the top of a small pyramid, which must be excavated to enter.  The pyramid has one chamber and is guarded by an evil sphynx.
D: the armor, which is named Blitzmail, is useless until its major components are combined, at which point it functions as a +5 suit of full plate mail, which grants the wearer total immunity to electrical attacks.
4- Gainolmhor: the largest area in all of Oskion, the underside of this landmass has several thrikreen communities, which barely cling to life due to a lack of water.  They have erected ropes and pails, which they hang down into the Stormscape to collect water, but as of late, hateful dragons destroy these collectors whenever they are lowered.  If the party can locate and slay all five of the dragons living under Gainolmhor, the thrikreen will reward them with a bounty equivalent to one dragon’s hoard.
5- Sairmarbh: the underside of the great volcano has a massive crater, which once connected with an underground lake of lava.  This crater has many veins of gemstones, which may be harvested, but every time the party attempts to harvest them, they will draw attacks from hordes of gargoyles.  Each wave of gargyles consists of 5d10 individuals, and each time the party mines a vein of gems they will acquire 1d10 random gems.
6- Laithlaide: the underside of this landmass has cracks that drip with water as though raining.  will-o-wisps flourish in this place and swarm anyone drawing near to the raining cracks.  If the party slays enough of the will-o-wisps, the remainder will descend into the Stormscape and summon a powerful storm elemental.  This elemental functions

            Example Enemies
            1- all kinds of bats
            2- giant ants
            3- slimes and oozes
            4- giant scorpions
            5- dragons (rare)
            6- wind elementals (rare)

Location XII: Croi Talamh
“Here at the deepest reaches of your world, all is hidden under the shadow of the Stormscape.  Through the gloom, winds howl and storms rage, granting only brief glimpses of a hellish and fractured land with each bolt of lightning.  Though you cannot imagine any living thing surviving the constant onslaught of elements all around you, faint voices sound on the wind, almost taunting your very existence as you embark on the end of your journey.”

The broken core, which surges with powerful energy and is positively crawling with unearthly monsters.  The party will need to have reassembled the Obelisk of Convergence and recharged it with the help of Scartha’s most powerful mages.  The obelisk provides a shimmering platform, which will transport the party down safely to the surface of Croi Talamh where they must seek out the one responsible for bringing about the cataclysm that robbed Scartha of its wholeness.

            Areas of Interest

1- Path to Ruin: long, winding trail that leads to an unfathomably large pit.  This trail is fraught with many encounters with terrible creatures that will do everything in their power to hinder the party’s progress.
2- Deepening Tunnel: the pit drops down nearly a thousand feet to a bottom so dark and cankered with chaotic energies that it is impossible to see.  The path leading down consists of a broken, spiraling band, which constantly erupts with electricity and shakes from the instability of the world’s core.  Once the party passes below the chaotic flow of dark energies, they will see a jagged crater at the very bottom where a figure rests inside a spire of crystal.
3- Chaos Domicile: this crater has little standing room as massive crystals jut out from the ground, all pointing towards one especially large crystal in which the party can see a figure encased.  The figure is none other than Lord Hesstri who telepathically warns the party against stopping him from meeting his goal.  He additionally promises to make them his marshals once he has emerged in his new form.  If the party accepts his offer, he will instruct them to enter into their own crystals, which will immediately rip the souls from their bodies and replace them with the villain’s own followers.  If the party refuses the offer, several demons will emerge and attack them.
            The only way to defeat Lord Hesstri is to attack the crystal housing his body.  This will prove difficult as several demons will attempt to stop the party, using reckless, desperate tactics.  The crystal has 100HP and absorbs the first 30 points of damage dealt to it each round.  Once it is broken, Lord Hesstri will fall to the floor, but rise up and attack the party.  He is a 25th level magic-user and will summon other creatures before launching any other kind of offensive against the party.  See the end of the module to learn what happens when he is defeated.

            Example Enemies
            1- evil titans
            2- powerful elementals of every kind
            3- undead dragons
            4- many kinds of demons
            5- many kinds of devils
            6- powerful undead

Main Quest
Use the following when the party is ready to pursue the main quest of the module.  The party should be encouraged to adventure on Mactira and then explore other islands before taking on this main quest as the enemies they face will prove quite formidable.  Once they are ready, the elven sage they meet at the very beginning will guide them in the following manner:

I: Rastlefel the elven sage will recount a time when he was very young and the earth began to groan powerfully.  This was the beginning of Bhriseadh Na Domhan: the breaking of the world.  Though he does not remember much, he does recall his father and mother speaking of a man named Lord Hesstri, a powerful mage and noble who claimed that the earth was dying and that greater administrative magic was needed to control its rate of decay.  He constructed the Obelisk of Convergence, powerful device, which required the aid of Scartha’s most powerful mages in order to combine it with the functions of the natural world.  Rastefel believes that the powerful obelisk was actually a device used to destroy the world, but for what reason he does not know.  He advises the party to seek out the Obelisk of Convergence on Eagobasai, which is supposedly the land where Lord Hesstri performed his ritual.

II: on Aegobasai, the party will find a recess on the highest platform at the Shrine of Stillfast.  This is where the Obelisk of Convergence once rested.  Nearby is a stone tablet written in a strange language.  If brought back to Rastefel on Mactira, he will translate it and provide the following text, along with the locations of the eight fragments of the obelisk:

“When earth became sky and sky unfurled, the master of evil plunged to the black heart where he sits enthroned.  As the master feeds on Scartha’s last light, the world will die and all become dust.  Before the master left, the obelisk he did scatter to the four winds.  This servant knows well where the pieces lay hidden, and he who repairs the destroyer’s pillar may yet recue this world and restore balance to the chaos.”

III: the first fragment of the obelisk is on Mactira where it rests hidden in a small dungeon beneath what is now a farm.  The party will need to convince the farmer to let them excavate his well, which leads to the dungeon in question.  As the party explores the dungeon they will hear a telepathic voice shake the tunnels, warning them thusly:

“Abandon your cause and trouble yourselves no more from the cares of powers greater than yourselves.  Pursuing this course is vain and will only hasten your inevitable destruction.”

IV: the second fragment of the obelisk is on Gainolmhor, hidden in the desert.  The clues given by Rastefel and the stone tablet say that the fragment is buried at the foot of a god.  Locals speak of a rock formation, which when illuminated from behind by the sun will cast a shadow resembling the reclining form of a man.  If the party digs at the feet they will discover the obelisk fragment alongside a suit of +3 banded armor and a +2 scimitar.  Claiming these items will cause skeletal warriors and regular skeletons to rise up from the sand and attack.

V: the third fragment is on Trighulin, buried in the cellar of an ancient watchtower.  Carefully searching the watchtower will reveal a peculiar pidgin form of elvish written into stone.  This will need to be translated by a sage and one will conveniently present himself soon after the discovery of the writing.  After the sage translates the writing, the party will have another small dungeon to navigate.  Upon finding the fragment of the obelisk and leaving the dungeon, the party will find the sage waiting for them, along with a party of evil adventurers who will try to take the obelisk fragment.

VI: the fourth fragment is on Croibriste, wedged into a cliff face in the Comortas Gap.  The party will have to find a secure way to climb down as winds come blasting through here, threatening the stability of anything exposed on the bare rocks.  Acquiring the obelisk fragment will cause another telepathic message to enter the party’s minds and to shake the rocks of the island:

“Still you persist, against powers beyond your ken.  I warn you once more to cease the gathering of these fragments lest you incur wrath that boils, even as the hells, for all eternity.”

VII: the fifth fragment is on Laithlaide, buried somewhere in the swamp.  Captains of Speirbaids and other travelers speak of rumored lights shining during the night, which run in meandering lines like a procession.  Should the party pursue this clue they will discover a tribe of lizardfolk moving through the swamps at night, bearing a strange object on a richly adorned litter.  The litter is taken each night to a pool where an ancient lizard king bathes with a fragment of the obelisk, believing it to grant him power.  If the party hopes to obtain this fragment, they will need to acquire it either through stealth or brute force.  If brute force is used, the party will have to face off against at least fifty lizardfolk warriors and their lizard king.  At least ten of these lizardfolk are shamans and will curse the party with their magic.

VIII: the sixth fragment is on Baribas, hidden in an old church on one of the small northeastern islands.  The church’s floors have caved in and open into a deep tunnel lined with alcoves and wall crypts.  These empty recesses are occupied by many sleeping ghouls and wights, which will awaken as soon as the party reaches the end of the tunnel where the obelisk fragment is contained, along with other treasures, in a large trapped box.

IX: the seventh fragment is on Sairmarbh, kept in the lair of a truly powerful and ancient dragon.  The dragon seems confident that it could slay the party with great ease, but because it doesn’t want to risk damaging any of his treasures from even mild conflict, he offers a deal.  He would like the party to travel to Mactira and seek out a merchant who allegedly sells special armor and trinkets made from dragon scales.  If this is true, he would like the merchant slain.  If the party finds the man they will find he does indeed sell items made from dragon scales, but he only sells what the thieves’ guild gives him.  If the party slays the merchant they will gain the obelisk fragment, but if they find the head of the thieves guild, a masterful dragon slayer, and slay this man instead, the dragon will be especially grateful and give them treasure as well as the obelisk fragment.

X: the eight and final fragment is on Luna Oceanus, where it has been snagged by a powerful dragon turtle.  The great monster swims through the interior of Luna Oceanus like a meteor, drawing everything behind it as an inescapable vacuum.  The obelisk fragment is wedged in a crack at the front of the dragon turtle’s shell, requiring a dangerous trek from the back of its shell all the way to the head.  The party will be fighting the current all the way, requiring feats of strength to scale the shell against the surging waters all around it.  After the fragment is acquired, the dragon turtle will stop and groan as a final psychic message is delivered to the party.  The message will simply consist of the phrase “you have been warned”, and immediately following it, a fissure into another dimension will appear above the dragon turtle, bringing horrid creatures into the material plane.  These creatures will attack the party, and upon defeating them, the dragon turtle will shake them from its shell, then turn about and ask them about the strange occurrence.  If the party answers truthfully, the dragon turtle will admire the party and offer to teach them every arcane spell.  These spells must be purchased and learned one at a time.

XI: when the party returns to Eagobasai with all of the obelisk fragments, Rastefel will cast a spell of mending to restore it to its proper form.  With the obelisk completed, the elf will confess that, though he was a child at the time of Bhriseadh Na Domhan, he was loyal to Lord Hesstri, believing that the man would save their world.  When he saw the world ending, he quickly recorded the locations that Lord Hesstri sent the fragments of the Obelisk and went into hiding for many centuries.  Now, at the end of the world, he finally hopes to undo the harm he helped cause.   Rastefel will suggest that, before using the restored Obelsk of Convergence to restore the world, the party must slay Lord Hesstri in case he tries to undo everything again.  While the party ventures down, the elven sage will gather other powerful magicians and together they will create a ritual to repair the world.

The following occurs upon defeating Lord Hesstri and marks the end of the campaign.  Though the main plot is fulfilled, the party may continue along whatever adventures the game referee feels fit to produce for them.

            “As your last stroke falls, the quivering form of Lord Hesstri falls to the earth while ushering forth a terrible groan.  Croi Talamh quivers all around you as though overjoyed by the curing of a great plague.  Bursts of energy erupt from the rocks and crystals, which shatter and send trillions of fragments through the air.  At the very moment it seems you will be buried with your slain enemies, radiance descends upon you from somewhere above the Stormscape.  As you are swallowed in the light, you feel your bodies condense, as though drawn through an aperture into the heavens.
            “Vision returns and you find yourselves on the battered land of Eagobasai.  Rastefel and several arch mages approach you, their faces a mix of disappointment and relief.  During your travels back to Mactira, you are told that Scartha will ever remain in its current state, never again to rejoin itself as a whole.  But not all is in vain, for as Rastefel and his fellows explain that even as they performed the ceremony, a weave of magic was released, which bound itself to every mass of land in the known world, stitching together the undersides of every island and rock so that the erosions and decay of ages would no longer gnaw your world into oblivion.
            “Such it is that the world you know will remain in its current state, a peculiar flower in a vast cosmos of celestial forms.  And with the end of your journey come the riches of whatever fifes the many kingdoms can lavish upon you.”

Thank you for playing Scartha: Isles of the Aeroseas!  I hope your adventures were memorable.

Inspirational Sources
Final Fantasy 1,3 and 9                         Ultima 6                                    Skies of Arcadia
Everquest Franchise                              Gulliver’s Travels                       Castle in the Sky movie
The Never-Ending Story                        Battle Angel Atilla                      Stargate Franchise
Rendezvous with Rama                         The Worm Ouroboros                Planescape Torment

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