The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Iceforge's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Tribes, factions, groups of savagery and different worldviews - On an Island

    Greetings playgrounders!

    I am shamelessly trying to harvest ideas from the hivemind of good ideas that reside here for one of my homegames, where I am going to be running a Westmarches styles campaign with heavy inspiration from SleeperIsland, an online westmarches game that I play in occationally.

    One the reasons of trying to engage the hivemind is that I fear the diversity will feel less if only my own ideas are added.

    One thing I would like to add more of to the Island, preferably before we get too deep into a campaign, would be various different tribes and cultures that could be living on the Island and that the exploring adventure parties could end up encountering, and either make friends and enemies off.

    They can be straight up hostile and nearly impossible to make friends with, or have a very different way of existing/viewing the world, but peaceful if this barrier can be somehow overcome, or anything, really.

    The setting is Faerun, for 5E play, but the Island in question has not been colonized/inhabited for millenia, at least not as far as any from the "normal" world knows, and as such, adventures are getting free fare to go help explore and settle this island. So things can be strange variations of regularly found monsters or something whole-cloth new (reskinned or just homebrew)

    My most solid idea so far:

    1) A loosely connected collective of Kobold tribes living in underground tunnels somewhere on the Island, who are friendly, but generally fear the surface races and will attack if they feel threatened and are not outnumbered. While prefering staying underground, they will come to the surface to hunt and gather and for a few annual holy celebrations done on the surface, signs of these celebrations might seem strange to the surface dwellers (ribbons of loose-strained robe tied on trees in a circle around a larger tree thats caked in dried mud, that kind of thing)
    Awesome Avatar by Ceika

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Recherché's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Its Complicated
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Tribes, factions, groups of savagery and different worldviews - On an Island

    What's the general environment of the island like? What's the climate? How big is it? Is it all one island or are there outlying smaller islands? What's the technology level? What's the magic level?

    Sorry for all the questions but they do all inform what kind of cultures will be on the island.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Iceforge's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Tribes, factions, groups of savagery and different worldviews - On an Island

    Quote Originally Posted by Recherché View Post
    What's the general environment of the island like? What's the climate? How big is it? Is it all one island or are there outlying smaller islands? What's the technology level? What's the magic level?

    Sorry for all the questions but they do all inform what kind of cultures will be on the island.
    Don't be sorry, thats an awesome list of questions and stuff I should really taken into consideration. I would love to share the map I got, but not sure if public sharing is part of the package I paid for when ordering it on Fiverr.

    The general enviroment of the Island includes a lot of temperate forrest, marshy swamps, massive coastal areas and quite a few areas with mountain ranged and more inhospital grounds. There are also a collection of luminiscent rocks on one beach to the eastern side of the massive island.
    - Areas inside the more temperate forrests could be more like warm humid jungles, if that fits an idea anyone has, it will just be of a supernatural or magical origin, that might never be fully explained

    Climate - Generally a temperate climate, but probarly on the warmer side at the default elevation, but going up to rather cold in some the mountains to offer some variety.

    Size/big - The aim is to set the scale so it will take a bit over a week of horseback riding to cross the island in either West to East or South to North fashion, even if avoiding any of the mountains. Not entirely sure what area that gives in miles.

    Quantity - There is 1 huge main island, but there are a few quite small outlying smaller islands, the most massive of which, given the scale above, would take about a day to traverse east-west (due to mountains) and about 2 days north-south, and has a hidden temple on it (gave my cartographer free range to add stuff randomly)

    Technology level is definitely prefered to stay close to "classic fantasy" / classical Faerun, I do allow artificers and gnomes, which does boost it a bit over some kinds of classical fantasy, but nothing approaching Eberron stuff

    Magic Level - Not sure how to describe that really besides classic Faerun/DnD magic level, like everyone probarly knows magic exists, and the majority of the world population has probarly seen an act of magic being performed during their life, but spellcasters still defiintely make up the minority of the population by quite a margin and can evoke fear by some people, specially in rural areas, but in large cities it will be seen as more of a "normal" trait to be able to do magic. It hasn't yet been improved on a massive "making life comfortable for everyone" scale

    EDIT: There are also going to be ruins on the Island, indicating that it used to be populated by humanoid creatures, possible very distant ancestors to humanoids found elsewhere in Faerun, but whose history has been forgotten over vast time. Some these might been repurposed by more intelligent creatures, maybe even remnants of some race that was a huge part of people leaving this island behind ages ago.

    I also have the idea of having a previous lost expedition having ended up here maybe a few hundred years ago, something to possibly first indicate with them potentially finding a shipwreck near the coast thats old and weathered, and there might be someone still alive from it (either of a long lived race or perhaps having magically enhanced his/her lifespan, maybe they was the cause (intentionally or not) of the wreck, and was fine not being easy to find until now, well, many small undeveloped ideas at my current stage.

    Will also add ideas here myself, for anyone else to take and use in their homegames
    Last edited by Iceforge; 2019-08-25 at 02:18 AM.
    Awesome Avatar by Ceika

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Tribes, factions, groups of savagery and different worldviews - On an Island

    Have you considered just using a module? It's probably not exactly what you want, but there are some out there that are brilliant sandboxes.
    The first option is Isle of Dread. It's a classic and I'm sure you can find a pdf on DMsguild. It probably is a lot bigger than what you have in mind, but it's very empty. It's up to the DM to fill in the blanks, so it might be a good choice if you want to drop in something cool.
    The second option is Hot Springs Island, which is also a sandbox. It's really good, but expensive. Unfortunately, there are some misogynistic elements and adult themes in the books, so maybe it's not for everybody. It might just be worth it just because it's such a good example for a sandbox.
    Both are set in a tropical setting though. Ofcourse, you already have a map so this is probably not what you're looking for anyway. It still might be worth it to check in to this stuff for inspiration.

    Based on what I've seen in Hot Springs Islands, you should have a couple of factions that oppose each other. Pirates maybe? A macguffin might help. Maybe the kobolds have a gold mine?

    Edit: Hot Springs Island uses a trade company that has a claim to the island, but it isn't very detailed. Maybe you could use something similar?
    You could also add some kind of aquatic race that lives near the island. Merfolk, Sahuagin, Lovecraftian horrors. It doesn't really matter. They'd be sufficiently isolated from the Kobolds to not cause troubles.
    Fantasy flora and fauna. Make up some new weird stuff or take some things from the Monster Manual and reskin them. Your players are exploring an uncharted island, they should discover new things. Maybe you should reskin the kobolds too.
    Last edited by the_david; 2019-08-25 at 04:00 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Iceforge's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Tribes, factions, groups of savagery and different worldviews - On an Island

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Have you considered just using a module? It's probably not exactly what you want, but there are some out there that are brilliant sandboxes.
    The first option is Isle of Dread. It's a classic and I'm sure you can find a pdf on DMsguild. It probably is a lot bigger than what you have in mind, but it's very empty. It's up to the DM to fill in the blanks, so it might be a good choice if you want to drop in something cool.
    The second option is Hot Springs Island, which is also a sandbox. It's really good, but expensive. Unfortunately, there are some misogynistic elements and adult themes in the books, so maybe it's not for everybody. It might just be worth it just because it's such a good example for a sandbox.
    Both are set in a tropical setting though. Ofcourse, you already have a map so this is probably not what you're looking for anyway. It still might be worth it to check in to this stuff for inspiration.

    Based on what I've seen in Hot Springs Islands, you should have a couple of factions that oppose each other. Pirates maybe? A macguffin might help. Maybe the kobolds have a gold mine?

    Edit: Hot Springs Island uses a trade company that has a claim to the island, but it isn't very detailed. Maybe you could use something similar?
    You could also add some kind of aquatic race that lives near the island. Merfolk, Sahuagin, Lovecraftian horrors. It doesn't really matter. They'd be sufficiently isolated from the Kobolds to not cause troubles.
    Fantasy flora and fauna. Make up some new weird stuff or take some things from the Monster Manual and reskin them. Your players are exploring an uncharted island, they should discover new things. Maybe you should reskin the kobolds too.
    Thank you for the input!

    I am definitely going to mine through various monster source book (not just monster manual, do love Kobold Press), just love the idea of adding even more variation, like just adding goblin tribes in the mountains is a bit dull, but perhaps someone could help come up with a unique idea for the goblins.

    Also due to being a hexcrawl WestMarches game with interchanging players from session to session, most modules does not really work straight out the box, but I could look into some modules to harvet stuff.

    Any the stuff published for 5e by WoTC you (or anyone else) would recommend to source for inspiration?

    After supporting FGU kickstarter, I had a little spending spree during summer sales, so do own a digital copy of all adventures WoTC made for 5E


    What I got already + Tome of Beasts and Creature Codex from Kobold Press purchased seperately
    Spoiler
    Show

    1 x D&D Curse of Strahd ($14.99)
    1 x D&D Dungeon Master's Guide ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage ($14.99)
    1 x D&D Ghosts of Saltmarsh ($25.49)
    1 x D&D Hoard of the Dragon Queen ($11.99)
    1 x D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver ($8.99)
    1 x D&D Monster Manual ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Rage of Demons: Out of the Abyss ($14.99)
    1 x D&D Player's Handbook ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Princes of the Apocalypse ($14.99)
    1 x D&D The Rise of Tiamat ($11.99)
    1 x D&D Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Storm King's Thunder ($14.99)
    1 x D&D Tomb of Annihilation (5E) ($14.99)
    1 x D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal (5E) ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Volo's Guide to Monsters ($17.99)
    1 x D&D Waterdeep: Dragon Heist ($14.99)
    1 x D&D Xanathar's Guide to Everything (5E) ($17.99)

    Total price: $336.56
    Last edited by Iceforge; 2019-08-25 at 06:04 AM.
    Awesome Avatar by Ceika

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Iceforge's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Tribes, factions, groups of savagery and different worldviews - On an Island

    As promised, some more my own ideas, you are free to lift for your games, some are not really taking any original spin, just lifting straight from the book, but thats why I'd love to hear ideas to twist these or anything else into something unique and make it feel like a more real group to encounter, potentially :)

    2. Deep within a forrest, the players can find a clearing where it appears a wild haphazardly looking area of chives, wild herbs, garlic and onions. The area appears to massive and well covered to be entirely natural, and while haphazard, a DC 13 nature rolls reveals this is not an entirely wild garden, but is maintained and cultivated by someone.
    Any kind of destructive behaviour will draw the ire of the gardeners, a large tribe of Alliumite (onion people) that are the keepers of the garden (See Creature Codex from Kobold Press for more details on Alliumites)

    3. Definitely not intended for early campaign, but in ancient tunnels they can find an underground lake with some creatures living next to it (which currently undecided, but probarly going to be a related tribe of creatures living not that far away, who fear the tunnels due to their kin never returning if they go there, but they seen them still alive from the distance), the underground lake is home to an Aboleth, and the creatures living at the edge of the lake are currently enslaved (and charmed) by the Aboleth and has been so for a long time.

    4. Both Bullywugs and Grungs living in relative close proximity, their territory bordering and (from their respective views) overlapping in some areas. The Grungs are sticking to their caste system and minding their own business, seeing the Bullywugs as a nuissance, but something they tolerate, due to prefering sticking to tradition and avoid change, while the Bullywug King resent the Grungs not bowing before him to stroke his ego. Grung will be careful of outsiders, while the Bullywug's will initially just use Outsiders to stroke the Kings ego by making them beg him for mercy, flatter him or bribe him, after they capture any adventures reaching their area. In time, they might see the adventurers as a tool to use against the Grung.

    5. A Fey collective including Dryads, Pixies, Treants, Unicorns and satyrs, but not limited to such. They might be the ones who initially created the Alliumites and are on friendly terms with the Alliumites, who provide shelter to the Fey when needed. Could use ideas for how to make them unique and more interesting/otherworldly, as Fey should be.

    6. A Reclusive necromancer, who will not like others having arrived at the island where he stranded centuries ago and has since been continuing his experiements and research. He is on his way to becoming a lich, and has created many undead creatures, some still under his control, some he just let roam freely after they served his purposes.

    7. A tribe of Gnolls who prefer making temporary home in the mountains, but does roam all the island in search of prey, prefering to leave survivors who can rebuilt after raiding other creatures, as they are scavanging the other factions for supplies and materials. They are generally hated by all others on the island, but their nomadic nature makes them hard to track down and deal with. They often try to use extortion first to gain tribute without having to risk their own lives, but will gladly engage violently if no tribute is offered.

    8. I think a Hag coven would be nice, but would like a new spin on them, if anyone got on. I tend to always lean heavily against the sisters from The Witcher and its getting a bit predictable for players.

    9. Jackalwere tribe living in the mountains, trying to live peacefully and secluded, they have shaken their more savage oriigins of their breatheren. They usually give tribute if found by the Gnoll's, but then they moved their settlement many times, each time getting better at hiding their location and has now lived a few decades without the Gnolls finding them. They will be very wary of outsiders who finds them, but willl try not to use aggression unless it is to defend themselves. Their racial trait of telling the truth hurting them still applies, but they manage that in everyday interactions internally with ease, but might make dealing with outsiders a lot harder.

    10. Kuo-Toa calling one of the sea bottoms near on the bays of the island home. They will be very curious about any settlers they spot on the land nearby and might even kidnap humanoids to find out who they are and why they are here, if they see their chance to do so. They do not consider this an act of aggression or an unjust thing to do to someone else. They willr egard themselves as acting friendly unless they actually kill another creature. (Might be members of the Kuo-Toa who are enslaved by the Aboleth). They stick to one bay because the rest of the coastal waters belong too...

    11. A Merrow Kingdom, who are aiming to redo the ancient ritual that brought them to the Abyss, where their ancestors was transformed from Merfolk into Merrow. They will harass and raid any ships they notice on the waters surface, but mainly harass other undersea creatures and collect them for their sacrifices to Demogorgon.
    Awesome Avatar by Ceika

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •