About 30 miles south of the Bloodmaw, the Sanguis Isles (sanguis is Latin for blood) is anÂ archipelago. Though most don't know the actual physics behind it, the Sanguis Isles is a dormant caldera. It has not exploded in centuries. The Sanguis (pronounced Â Â San-gui) Isles are marked by the treacherousness of the seas nearby, though this is to be expected for anÂ archipelagoÂ just south of the Bloodmaw. There have been many shipwrecks in the area because of changing currents, submerged rocks, and deadly reefs. In fact, the natives generally don't need to use wood from the forest because of theÂ prevalenceÂ of driftwood.
Sanguis Isles used to be the home to three tribes, one for each of the major islands. These tribes were highly peaceful. There is nothing moreÂ embarrassingÂ than to send half your menfolk out to war, only to have them die inexplicably when the currents change. But soon technologically superior people, the Naeporue, came and conquered these tribes, and set up base. And eventually, Sanguis Isles were given there liberty because Naeporue didn't want the hassle of sending ships to support them, only to have to send a second (and possibly third) when the first one got destroyed.
Though the islands themselves are, usually, fairly nice, the fact that it isÂ difficultÂ to travel in between islands forces each island to be self-sufficient. This atmoshere breeds an independant, stubborn, and resilient people
The islands of Sanguis are in a general circle, around an empty space. The larger islands tend to be nearer the center, on the central ring, but this is not always the case (see Palus Island). The currents around the islands are unpredictable, and can switch suddenly. There are reefs lurking under the surface, which can tear a ship's hull to shreds. And the rocks are just as bad. It takes a skilled helmsman to steer a ship around. Generally speaking, most of the larger ships are not taken into the center of the islands, in favor of the smaller, nimbler crafts. The Sanguisians usually just use canoes if they want to go somewhere, and bigger boats if they are transporting large goods or lots of goods.Â
Note: This is only a selection of the five most significant islands. There are numerous islands that are inhabited by people, and probably double that that are uninhabited. There are many more islands than the five presented here. And as a side note, all the names of the five islands are Latin words reflecting something about the island and/or people.
1. Potens Island: The second largest of three main islands, Potens is roughly 20 miles in diameter. The land gently slopes upward toward the center, and back down again to the opposite shore. A small bay lies on the northeast shore, the side facing the empty area in the middle of theÂ archipelago. On this bay is the capitol city of Sanguis Isles- Patior. The area around the bay is generally used for the raising of sheep and a little agriculture, and the bay is used for shellfish, pearls, and fish. The water for this comes from a small lake in the center of the island. This lake is mostly a naturalÂ reservoir. It consists of mostly rainwater, wit a small bit provided by a small spring. When the isles were taken over by the Naeporue, they almost died when they used up the water too quickly. Now, the city carefully rations who gets how much water from it, while importing barrels of it from neighboring countries. Another way the people of Potens get past the lack of water is by alcohol and juices. The Patiorians generally only drink apple juice (the apple is a native species) and beer, both of which is made locally.
2. Poena Isla: A sharp contrast to the other islands, Poena Isle is nowhere near a beach paradise. It is 3 miles in diameter (roughly). All it is is a reef that was thrust upward with geological uplift, though no one knows of that. It is mostly limestone, a porous rock, which means that there are no lakes, streams, or freshwater sources. The water simply vanishes into the rock. Because of this, walking across the terrain- even if you walk very carefully- will shred boots. Going the three miles across Poena will turn a new pair of boots into Â a couple strips of leather. It is possible to walk across the island with bare feet, but not for non-natives. Only native people can get across the island with bare feet and expect to have feet at the end of the trip. The 1/10 of the island that is not rock is separated into further tenths. 6/10 (or 6/100 of the entire area) is located on the west shore. This is where most of the inhabitants live. This area is mostly beach. 3/10 is located on the northeast shore. Only a few people live over here, much less than on the west shore. And 1/10 is scattered over the center of island. The economy of Poena is composed ff luxuries. The small beaches of Poena are the haunts of sea turtles, several flightless bird species, and some other living luxuries. The small northeast beach is particularly famous for the amounts of sea turtles that go there.
3. Palus Island: The third largest island, Palus is 17 miles in diameter. It is the nearest island of Sanguis to the mainland. As such, the Sanguis have established a military base and customs check there. All goods must stop on Palus before coming to the rest of Sanguis. Most of the island is plains. There is no sources of water besides rain, and as such, the military has set up a large reservoir near the center of the island. The island also has a good bay, which is used to house Sangui's navy. Some of the inhabitants of Sanguis Islands feel that there are secret government tests going on here for military purposes, but if there are, the government isn't talking.
4.Pravus Isle: Lying on the north side of theÂ archipelago, Pravus Isle is avoided by all. Its a small island, roughly a mile in diameter, and is composed of almost all sand, with a few trees here and there. The whole thing is usually covered by a low fog, which is only dispelled at noon. At night, it is next to impossible to see the moon, and is impossible to see stars. No animal life lives on Pravus Isle. Most say that ghosts inhabit the island. Whether this is true, or simply a trick of the light (or lack of light), Pravus Isle is an island cloaked in mystery.
5. Praemii Island: The largest island, Praemii is a respectable 30 miles in diameter. Praemii (pronounced Pray-me) Island is the breadbasket of Sanguis, with almost all the farming being done on it. The whole island, besides the small town, is farm land. Because of the fact that they need bountiful harvests, Praemii imports manure by the shipload. In fact, Praemiians call the ships bringing in the manure a 'Shit Ship.' Praemii also boasts the most dependable freshwater of all the islands, with a permanent small river. Though the river is used mostly for agricultural purposes, water is much cheaper there than it is on any of the other islands.
Sanguis is, strictly speaking, a monarchy. But because of the fact that ship trade is soÂ undependable, what with trick currents, hidden rocks and killer reefs, most of the islands can be considered self-governed. The king can handle relations with other countries and play in his court while we handle the day-to-day business of raising sheep, catching fish, or growing crops. As such, the people themselves enforce, govern, and Â determine laws. Each island, and groups of small islands, has a council composed of 12 citizens (male, free, citizens). The council generally meets once a month to discuss happenings on the island.
Taxes are light, and generally paid to the council, which uses it for purposes it determines. Sometimes the king will send a tax collector to each of the islands if he needs extra money. If this happens, then the council will be required to give a quarter of the taxes it got to the king, though the council will usually lie and give half that.
Imports: Metal (iron, gold, silver, etc), agricultural products (wheat, barley, beef, etc), timber.
Exports: Fish, sea turtle, shellfish, wool, pork.
Naeporue (67%), Natives (16%), hobbits (7%), elves (7%), dwarves (3%).
The Modern Currents: all ready bad enough, the currents have grown worse. Now almost no ships can travel between island and island. This makes the whole country poised to crumble. Most of the islands have no farmland, or at least not enough to feed themselves. As such, they are dependent on the ships bringing in food. With the increased currents, those ships cannot reach the places they need to go for fear of getting shipwrecked. When these deadly currents go back to th norm, the king receives a letter threatening months of these currents if the senders demands are not met. Who but the PCs can save the day?
Bridging Gaps: to make travel between islands much easier, the king is attempting to make a system of bridges between as many islands as possible. Of course, to do this, the king has to connect islands that are not fully explored yet. As such, just in case, he is hiring a bunch of mercenaries to protect the hired labor as they build. And what do you know, the PCs were hired, and now have to take out Orc, goblin, and undead infestations on the neighboring isles so that the bridge progress can continue.
The Dead Can't Progress: a truly horrible thing has happened. The king of Sanguis has given women their rights. And certain neighboring countries... disagree with the notion that a women's place could possibly be outside the kitchen. Some of these countries disagree so much that they have declared war on Sanguis, while others support it whole heartedly, and are willing to defend it. And it looks like things are shaping up for WWI (world war one, not wizard war one). Will the PCs try to negotiate peace back to the land? Will they fight for women's rights? Will the male players decide to annoy the female players by fighting against women's rights? Or will they all decide to go kill things that don't have anything to do with Sanguis?
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? Responses (10)-10
Where to start with this one? The islands are believable enough, I suppose. It is obvious that you put some thought into each island's economy and resources. However, they are just a tad bit . . . dry. I can't think of any reason to send a party here, and that likely means that my players won't either.
You could mitigate this by adding plot hooks, perhaps, but I would honestly go over the islands again and look at them from a game perspective. What makes these islands unique? Why would anyone want to go here? Do they hold something of significance (prison colony, rebel base, prominent school, precious resource, etc), or are they host to an important event of some sort (major battle, site of prophecy being fulfilled)? What are some major problems for the locals that the PCs could potentially help solve?
If you take the time to inject a little more color here, this could become something great. Keep at it!
P.S. The paragraph on Potens Island continually references Poena instead.
Yeah, when I wrote up potens, I had originally named it poena. I must have forgotten to change the name in the paragraph. I'll do that now. As for the use... I'll admit, I didn't write up Sanguis with a pack of PCs in mind. Sanguis Isles can be used as a hometown for the pcs, or as a place they gotshwrecked on while traveling by boat. You could use Pravus Isle as a way to get them there, but other than that, I wrote this with no intention of forcing pcs to it. If you want, send the pcs villain to a particularly storm cursed rock Sanguis, but it isn't necessary. Use Sanguis as a footnote, or a place the pcs sail by on some quest.
If you really feel that I need plot hooks I'll add them, but does every single country need to be pc-oriented? Can we not have one place that doesn't need a group of homicidal maniacs to fix there problems?
I agree with you in sentiment, caesar, I really do. The entire world doesn't have to revolve around the PCs -- in fact it shouldn't, in order to preserve a certain versimilitude within the setting.
That said, I believe that most submissions on Strolen's are judged for their usefulness within a game. If there's no reason to send the PCs here, then the islands *might* make a footnote on a map somewhere, or might be mentioned in passing by a random NPC, grumbling about shipping costs. But that's it, really.
When it comes right down to it, as a GM we must cater to the party and to our players if we want to have a good game. No matter how detailed or realistic a place is, it will never see the time of day in someone's game otherwise. It's not that this location is *bad* -- your writing is rather good, and I like it's internal consistency -- it's just not very useful. Just my 2c, man.
Update: Fixed the Potens thing, and added demographics
Read it but don't really want to vote on it in the current state. More of a stub in its current form, even though there is a lot of information it doesn't tell us anything. Even if we were running a pirate campaign or something. Not like we could get water from the place and the pull of turtles is the only thing a ship might find useful, but could say any island has turtles in fewer words. I would say maybe a 2.5 in its current state because, honestly (and I am sorry) there really isn't much to use. Like Dossta said, even if you disagree, each island needs a hook of some sort to make it useful to us. Yes, they all need to be PC orientated, that is our purpose here. We aren't wikipedia, we want stuff to use in our games.
That is why I suggest a stub. If that is your thought process for these, for it to be an island in the distance with nothing worth mentioning on it, it should probably be a stub to save you some low votes.
Okay, fine. I'll give in to the pressure and add some plot hooks. Happy?
I'm torn. On one hand I agree with Dossta and Strolen's take (i even just up-voted the comment), yet I feel i have to add my 2 cents as well here, and stick up for caesar. This is a location in his world. He is describing a place, travel log style. It is geography with cultural, day-in-the-life bits, and it is as useful for gms perusing the site, as any other submission may be that features 68 plot hooks, and 900 ways to use a sub from a pc's perspective. I can actually prove my point by linking DOZENS of submissions here as examples of locations, tales, etc that feature NO plot hooks or any OVERT pc interest whatsoever, that strolenites loved and voted highly on. Why am I so sure? because *I* am a gm who peruses this site for locations (among other things) and find myself not caring at all whether or not a place has pc plot hooks or not. I can add those ,i mean, its my job to make up the evening's 'adventure'. But in the case of this sub, I can choose to use this geography and the cultural notes as a base, if for example, i don't feel like wracking my brains for a detailed location, where all the action happens. THEN, i can put whatever i want in these islands, and come up with 1 million different ways to hook pcs. I guess my point is i personally don't mind reading location subs that don't cry out to pcs. I can also steal the little things...like the 'shit ships' coming in full of manure. Very flavorful tid-bit (seriously) Or the ghost rumors on Pravus, etc... Having said that, I do agree this place can use a bit more 'oomph' :-)
The added plot hooks do help to increase the value for this location. I'm bumping my vote up to reflect this.
Ceasar I agree with your sentiment regarding this place completely, most writing for role-playing games doesn't have a narrative, but is piece of a narrative and the story of a character could certainly use a peaceful island. You we only have some many temples of doom. But you could add a few things that might focus on character interaction with setting a bit, for example what is the weather like. are their latent conflicts between the natives and the conquerors, who is the King and from who is he descended. If I visit the island what should I use for money, where should I stay, will I be able to stable a horse and then there are visuals. We don't have many. I am not saying you need all of this but I suggest you a pick a direct goal for what this piece is trying to communicate. Here some options to consider
Is this piece for strangers who have never visited the island, perhaps you could do it as a travel log entry, (steal the format from one the lonely planet books and go with that).
If this is a meta-piece for GMs then give the GMs a few sample scenes or something least they pull this location out their binder and watch the players eyes glaze over when you list off continuing fractions and imports. Obviously a GM will have to make up somethings, but you can fill a lot of gaps with suggestions of depth.
Is this piece designed to give you world some cultural vocabulary as you suggested, could this be where a character is from or place the characters have heard off. If that is the goal, what is the cultural baggage that they carry by being raised here. Obviously the will instinctively view water as more valuable then other players and they might in their heart the beach is always just right over that next rise, but that could be any island nation. What are Sanguisinites like how does their independant, stubborn, and resilient nature manifest in day to day life on the islands?
Overall I like the piece