For years trading ships have come to the Islands of Teanoi seeking treasures of gold, pua shell, and exotic herbs and spices. Trade has dwindled, and ships vanish without a trace, but the trade is too valuable to give up, and thus the ships still come. The islands also lay close to a shipping lane, and are a regular stop for ships seeking only to take on fresh supplies of foodstuffs and water.
Soon merchants begin seeking outside aid to protect their ships from the unknown menace that the islanders call Teanoi...
For millenia the island chain, and the ocean for hundreds of miles around it have been the domain of the behemoth named Teanoi. When humans arrived in barkskin canoes they made offerings of incense and blood to appease mighty Teanoi, and they were granted homes on the island by the beast, but only so long as they continually offered it human sacrifices.
Sometimes, an island clan would withold sacrifice, sometimes out of inability to offer one of the their own or no captives, or sometimes out of arrogance, not needing Teanoi's blessings to remain.
Teanoi, great demon of the ocean, would visit the islanders, rising out of the water in the form of a shark but only massive beyond imagination. The waves of the beast rising would flood the offending island, destroying villages, and ripping the island down to bare stone and sand, denuded of all living things. Cast into the sea, the survivors would be drawn screaming into the maw of the sea demon, where they perished; their souls forever forfeit to the hunger of the dark god.
Thus, the islanders, primitive by 'modern' standards retain a tightly knit community that is often warlike, and more than willing to take the unwary or the criminal to offer to the dark god to ensure their own survival.
A recent event shattered the peace that existed between the merchants and the islanders. For many years, the islanders would offer the bounty of their islands, of their crafts in exchange for better weapons, criminals, and the most derelict cast-offs of society. They increased their wealth both conventionally, and in gaining the pleasure of the demon god.
A merchant captain of a theological bent accidentally came upon the islander's brutal sacrifice, where the human sacrifice was bled into the water, and torn apart by the jaws of hungry sharks, all the while the islanders screaming and chanting into the night, dancing around bonfires and often gashing themselves with their knives and spilling their own blood into the water. Those who escaped with all of their limbs were given great honors among the island villages. Those who were taken by the sharks only ensured the continued safty and prosperity of the tribe.
Horrified, the captain set his men ashore and attacked the islanders, cutting them down with blade, and spells cast by the ship's wizard. The sharks, servants of Teanoi were smitten with harpoons, and other cruel weapons, and many were slain. The captain rescued a single man who had been to be executed, a criminal of the most desperate nature, a murderer and thief. Obviously the man was grateful to be rescued, but such was not the end of the tale.
Angered by the intrusion of outsiders, the tribe drew together, and cast a curse upon the merchant ships. The tribe continued to accept the vessels, trading as they always had, but the shaman of the tribe would cast a spell at the ship, and vanish quickly. A spirit of blood clung to the ship as it left the trading port, heavy with gold, spices, and the wealth of the island. Drawn to the 'scent' of blood, mighty Teanoi rose from the depths and would crush the ship with a single mighty bite.
As many ships have been destroyed, it is increasingly likel that there are going to be survivors. The PC's could be survivors of an attack, and must first escape the maw of the demon, and then must find dry land, and negotiate with the tribe to avoid becoming the next sacrifices.
The rest of the adventure could be taken up with several options.
- Escaping the island by a friendly ship, but only after defeating the local shaman from casting the Blood Spirit curse on the ship. There could be encounters with islander warriors, adept shaman, or even water encounters with sharks or other denizens of Teanoi.
- Trying to convince the islanders that they have nothing to fear from the demon, a task that would be as daunting as destroying the demon itself. They could try to convert the islanders to worshipping another marine deity and seeking it's protection from the demon. A 'Clash of the Titans'-esque battle could ensue between an avatar of the marine god, or his chosen warrior(s) and Teanoi.
- The PC's could try to get on the good side of the islanders to find a way to their own freedom. If the islanders know how to avoid the great shark, perhaps, for a price, they would be willing to share that knowledge?
- The PC's attempt to gain the pleasure of the demon by making a sacrifice of their own. Pragmatic, and an easy path to the dark side, mwa-ha-ha-ha.
- For a plot twister, let a ship rescue the PC's after they witness the 'evil' islanders, only to find their would be rescuers are slavers who make a tidy profit off of the islanders without incurring the wrath of Teanoi, or the Shaman. (They know where not to meddle) The slavers could then pawn the PC's off to the islanders as the next in line for sacrifice. See manical laugh above, repeat.
- Teanoi, despite being an incredibly powerful demon, has little interest in the islands save for their continued worship. It does little to make peace among the tribes, as it's attention is mostly consumed by dealings with the powerful entities of the Elemental Court of Water where Teanoi must content with spirits of the deep ocean currents, the spirit totems of the whales, fish, and other marine creatures. There is considerable hostility between Teanoi and Tursiops, the animal deity of the Dolphins.
- The Blood Spirit is created in a ritual that bleeds all of a living creature's blood into a ceremonial vessel and it is then dedicated to Teanoi, and poured into a specially prepared fire. The shaman then has a limited amount of time to designate the target of the blood spirit before the spell dissipates. Teanoi will not attack in an area where such an attack would damage his islands.
- A potent talisman of another marine deity might deter Teanoi from attacking a ship, or the holder of the item. Something not very useful, not a weapon or shield. The Horn of Triton, or the Silvered Conch of Neptune, or somesuch other item would suffice nicely, it need not be in depth, but shrounded in mystery.
- A talisman of Teanoi will have the same effect mentioned above. A talisman of Teanoi is a large shark tooth made into a necklace of dried plant fiber, pua shell, and bits of human tooth and bone, soaked in blood and salt water, and consecrated by a shaman.
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? Responses (8)
I'm going to use it for my Armorican Kingdoms. Teanoi would be a great example of one of those Almighty Evils.
Of course, the islanders themselves are not evil, they are merely, in fact, protecting themselves.
Oh, by the way... I accidentally clicked 4, but I meant 5. I've been making that mistake a lot lately.
I was going to rate this a 4, but I will rate it a 5 to balance off our clumsy captain.
I like this for its originality and clever aspects. Fitting it into most campaigns might be a challange, but if you introduce an age of exploration or a 'far away place' that must be reached only by sea going vessel, it will be a pleasure to run.
Had the idea after watching the new Sinbad flick and seeing the island fish tow the ship. The movie isnt bad, just not as well exploited or well done as it could have been. Some of it looked like CGI before texture mapping. I would give it a 3/5, but would only recommend it to gamers, or fantasy enthusiasts.
Nice background, gives us everything we need. This is even great to use even if they don't go to the island to make a more 'living' world. Trade could be disrupted where the PCs are driving prices higher, rumors spinning about the missing ships and such. Even if the PCs don't get involved there is now a sense of more going on in the world beyond the PCs little circle.
Really nice - I remember having read it before at some point but had forgotten about it.
I like the Clash of the Titans idea best. Sorry if this comes out twice.)
A couple of really good ideas to take out - could competing talismans on a ship provoke the Titan Clash? And it really like the slaver twist - frying pan to fire, and then it could get much worse... :)
A great nautical adventure! This could even be the _starting_ point for a campaign - the PCs being survivors from a ship of political prisoners which was sold to the islanders, and the demon was not completely successfull in devouring all of the prisoners. The PCs wash up on an island and start off in a survival situation with little to no equipment.