The proud and independent elf maiden, forced into quite a different mold by the vagaries of Fate.
An interesting character, she could pose a variety of dilemmas for adventurers, depending on how the GM wanted to incorporate her into a campaign. If encountered while the is the "All-mother" of the tribe, many groups would hope to rescue her: Her refusal to cooperate with the violence that most adventurers rely upon might come as a frustrating surprise to them.
What happens after the leaves the islands could be even more sad, depending on her people's reaction to her return. I could picture her becoming a victim of her own success: She returns to her people, bitter and victimized. Once there she draws upon her vast experience of humanity to counsel withdrawal and isolation, but once those Elvish leaders who are most isolationist gain power, they reject her as "tainted" by her centuries of dwelling among humans.
On a side note: The islanders would need to practice strict exogamy (marriage/mating outside their own tribe) or would soon face the consequences of inbreeding, as Ashala's myriad descendants became common within the population. Go to Comment
Just watched Dawn of the Dead so I had some good mental pictures of the island.
Can the zombie bodies be used as nutrients for the trees? With the quick growing I would think that there would be some experimentation with their shapes over the years. Perhaps created some intertwined trees, good bends, etc for use in religion, buildings etc. Might not want to be too obvious with the uniquely shaped trees as more questions on their creation would be asked than they would probably want...but I am sure, for the right price, things may have been done.
Also thought about the possibility of placing an iron rod (or some other metal) inside it and let the tree grow around it making it even stronger. Not sure if the magic of the tree would allow that, but would be interesting.
I love subs that describe how magic interacts with society and its development, the consequences of spells on a large scale (beyond 'u pwn teh orkz') and the synchronous development of magic and tech. The iron rod idea is pure genius, too. Go to Comment
The island is garrisoned by an oversize Cohort of veteran soldiers (1000 men), all trained in forest and marine combat. The tours of duty are long - a full year, and 1/2 the cohort is rotated out every six months. The troops are brought to the island via a long and convoluted route, and are kept below-decks the entire voyage.
The Garrison is based in a secure walled compound large enough to be partially self supporting with farms and livestock. The walls serve to protect the garrison from the various creatures wandering the island.
Patrols generally consist of no less then 20 well equipped soldiers with additional spell casters. Go to Comment
The trees on Mastwood island are the sole surviving product from trade that existed between the Empire and the strange and dangerous people known as The Rephatians.
The Rephatians are a strange and little known people, with a powerful affinity for the workings of life. They will be the subject of further submissions in the not-so-distant future.
They grow at an incredible rate and produce a strong, tall and straight tree. They do have a huge impact on the soil and require significant fertilizer to maintain growth. If sufficient nutrients or water are not provided for an extended period - 3-6 months, the trees will turn inwards for nutrients and the strength of the wood will be greatly decreased. For this reason, these trees cannot occur naturally.
Depending on the desired size, the trees reach full growth within 10-20 years. After reaching full growth, they must be harvested quickly or they eventually will grow too high. At some point, the weight of the tree will exceed it's own ability to support its weight and the tree will snap.
The Mastwood trees occasionally suffer from a growth defect which causes severe internal stress to build up within the trunk. This will continue until the stress reaches the breaking point and the trunk explodes - sending sharp splinters in all directions. This can be detected by careful examination of the trunk, but touching a stressed area is liable to trigger the burst. Go to Comment
In addition to the military garrison, the island is defended by the Necromancer Kazarad the 3rd and his entourage of undead. The Empire normally does not sanction the use of necromancy, but the unique requirements and high secrecy of Mastwood has allowed for special permission. The use of undead and dealing with the Necromancer is a closely held secret within the Imperial council.
Due to the gradual degradation of his undead, the corpses of executed prisoners, disaster victims and others are occasionally shipped to the island along with the vast amounts of fertilizer needed to supply the trees. Kazarad makes use of these corpses to increase and replace the undead patrolling the island. The undead are commanded not to attack those in Imperial livery, but they do not always obey - which makes life interesting for the human garrison of the island. Go to Comment