Uuthli Solen is a staggering sight to the sea weary sailor. The island rises from the sea with an almost palatable sens of tectonic violence and earthen might. It's tree clad mountains rise to great height, and it seems to almost be an affront to the sea and its waveriding gods. The surf itself roars against the teeth of the island, creating dangerous tides around much of the island. There are no reefs or sandbars however, more than hundred feet or some from the island, the bottom drops away with alarming speed.
There is a clear harbor on the southern side of the island, large enough to accommodate anything from a desperate raft od survivors to a deMadden 10 master. The mouth of the harbor is market by stone pylons that rise over 100 feet from the water and are roughly a quarter mile apart. Passing through the pylons is a sure pass to safety from even the most violent of storms as such break around the island, their winds rebuked by the mass of it's mountains.
The Uuthlians are a fair and honey-skinned folk with startlingly blue eyes and hearty constitutions. While they are certainly of good health, their numbers are low and inbreeding is a constant concern among them. They have survived by two means, by breeding with sailors from ship wrecks and the rare intended visit and they have a pact with the spirits of the island.
The Spirits of the island are called the Solens, though the majority of Books of Elementals would name them orieds, rock spirits. They are fewer than 100 in number, but are delicate as sea spray and have smooth and polished limbs. Their most striking feature is that they have large and perfect star sapphires for eyes. Unlike most elementals, the Solen have living in close proximity to humans for a long time, and as such have refined their physical form to closely resemble humans. They live in a sort of isolation, as their island is surrounded by the mass of the ocean and they do not dare venture into its depth for that is the realm of Ma-O, the great demon of the ocean. They spend their time gathering precious stones from the vaults under the island and delivering them as gifts to the islanders.
By most standards the islanders are incredible wealthy. There is not a woman who does not have many strands of jewels, or man who does not have fine adornments of gold and obsidian. Yet for their material wealth, the Uuthlians are very poor. Their homes are made of branches and leaves, needing to be rebuilt on a yearly basis, and they have a hunting and gathering economy that depends entirely on the bounty of the island. Bad storms can ruin unripe fruit, causing famine, the native wildlife can quickly be depleted if there are too many islanders. This creates the worst of the situation. The island can only support so many humans, and this number is not large enough to prevent inbreeding.
The Solen have seen the plight of the humans who dwell on their island. While they have no interest in fruit or fish, the orieds would be saddened if their island home was emptied of humans. They would have no one to make gifts for, and no one to sing to them or braid their spiderfine hair with ribbons of dyed plant fiber. To prevent this from happening, the Solen agreed to help the humans, providing them with a bit of diversity. This infusion of elemental blood into the human stock helped alleviate the inbreeding to an extent. The natives became hardier and stronger, and the instances of congenial defects decreased. There was only so much that the Solen could do as they themselves were an isolated clutch of true female elementals and could not increase their own numbers.
The Solens knew that their matings with the islanders would not prolong their breeding forever, so they worked together and summoned one of the Xzarian Mountainbuilder elementals. Named Xzoil, the elemental of turgid lava rose from the sea floor, pushing aside the flailing tendrils of the deep sea gods and fins of the benthic leviathans. At the shore, with the ocean boiling around it, the leader of the Solen beseeched Xzoil to build around part of the island a safe place for the floating islands of men, so that they would not break upon the noble rocks. Xzoil agreed to this task and lifted the pylons above the sea and crafted a sea wall that caused waves to break long before they reached the sheltered bay. His work done the giant sank again beneath the ocean.
The Time of the Blue Harbor
The island did well for many years after that. On rare occasions ships did find the harbor, and found the natives to be wealthy and generous in the things they desired. While food was scarce, the ships could load themselves with gifts from the islanders and refresh their water supplies. More than a few islanders were tempted into serving on ships while a few crewmen would be left behind, and the population was left strong for the most part.
The Red Tide
Things took a bad turn when a ship drifted into the harbor, a two master with a black pitch hull, her sails in tatters from stormwinds and her hull damaged from heavy fighting with other ships. The natives greeted the sailors of the new ship, but were horrified by what was to happen. Rather then being good and generous men hungry for a sip of water and a tumble with a honey-skinned island princess, these were evil men.
They took over the residences and demanded all of the gold and jewels, leaving the natives stripped of even the most meager of rubies. Those who attempted to resist were beaten and thrown into makeshift pits or cages of island wood. Many were pressganged to help fix the damaged slaver/smuggler/pirate ship. As the ship was returned to good working order, the Solen noticed that their islanders were unhappy with the newcomers.
The Solens came to see these new humans, and the slavers knew a new kind of greed. They attempted to capture the Solens and drag them back to the ship. There was a battle on the beach that left many dozens of islanders dead or grievously wounded. many of the slavers themselves were maimed in the battle as the Solens proved to be daunting if naive foes. Yet nearly a dozen Solens were taken aboard the ship and twice as many were left with injuries. The worst of the injured were the Solen whose eyes were chiseled out by greedy men with iron tools.
Xzoil was roused by the commotion and would have broken the back of the slaver ship except that the Solens beseeched him not to, for such an act would condemn all of the captured Solens aboard to their deaths. The Mountainbuilder held his wrath as the ship caught the winds and made its way from the island.
The New Tide
The injured Solens were able to mend their wounded bodies, and some without eyes took up new stones to replace their lost jewels. While generally of inferior quality, these pieces of ruby, amethyst, and citrine allowed them to see once again, though some noticed changes in their demeanor. Those who retained their sapphire eyes sought to return the island to its old peace, despite the cairns raised above the bodies of those slain by the slavers.
Those with new eyes were filled with bitter thoughts, and sought to protect the island better. These wanted to make weapons of stone and metal like the slavers had and to build strong walls to protect their islandfolk. The most affected were the ruby-eyed Solens who wanted revenge on the slavers, but were left impotent as they could not leave the island.
An Oddity - The PCs encounter one of the sad Solens who was abducted years ago from the idyllic island. Her tears are crystal as she weeps for her lost home, as she is likely now in the possession of a wealthy merchant lord or sorcerer. She beseeches the PCs to help her gain her freedom so that she might return home. If they can help her she would lavish gems and gold upon them for their deeds. The PCs have to liberate her from her current owner, find a ship and be willing to listen to a stone spirit to navigate back to Uuthli Solen. The PCs then have to face the island divided between the sapphires and the rubies.
The Prize - The PCs have been hired/contracted to plot the course of an old slaver ship to find the legendary island of jewels. While seeking wealth and treasure and adventure, the PCs backtrack an old ship to find the island and potentially lead into another violent confrontation between outsiders hungry for wealth and the natives who want to live in peace.
Marooned - In typical Robinson Crusoe fashion, a single or small group of PCs survive being shipwrecked on the island, are left to forage for themselves for a few days before being found by the natives. The PCs are brought before a fire-eyed rock spirit who considers them evil outsiders, while the blue eyed rock spirits want to give the PCs a chance to prove themselves.
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? Responses (7)-7
Drat! I don't have time to send a group of heroes on an island vacation and I want to now! Another one for the queue of 'cool adventure ideas'.
Wonderful submission. It has built in drama. It is a place in motion with a timeline of events for you to interact with AND powerful forces in motion. A nice setting to find it all. Really a top notch location.
Beautiful!! (from the name of the island on down.)
As always, beautiful execution of an idea. Will HoH this tmr. I think I'm developing into a fan of Scras' writing.
A vividly imaginative setting. I love the history of the place, and was saddened by the islanders' plight.
Excellent! This is awesome and pretty much is a module ripe for making.