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An Introductory Adventure for
Five Ancient Kingdoms
Published by Running Beagle Games Copyright 2013
IMPORTANT NOTE: READ THIS FIRST!
UNLESS YOU PLAN TO RUN THIS ADVENTURE AS THE DRAGON MASTER, YOU SHOULD STOP READING IMMEDIATELY! This booklet provides the notes for an introductory adventure scenario of the 5AK adventure game and is intended only for the eyes of the player who plans to act as Dragon Master (DM) during the game. If you want to run a player character (PC) through the adventure, it may spoil the entertainment to know the secrets of the scenario ahead of time…part of the fun of an adventure is the gradual unfolding of events and encounters in the course of play and adapting to challenges as they arrive. However, once you’ve had a chance to play it, you’re certainly welcome to read the adventure…hopefully it gives you ideas for crafting your own adventures when it’s your turn to take the part of DM.
SORCERER ISLAND: Setting Introduction
Nearly five hundred miles west of Bagdabha lies the ancient Assygarian city of DAMOSCENAS, one-‐time capital of the Salamaic Empire, prior to the foundation of magnificent Bagdabha. Since it’s removal as the home of the caliphate and Salamaic power, Damoscenas is but a shadow of itself with a population somewhat less than 50,000, despite its renown as a manufacturer of high quality weapons (“Damoscenan steel” is a phrase well-‐known through all the Five Ancient Kingdoms).
Still, it remains the seat of governorship for the Syranian province, and there are emirs of Assygarian descent who would like to see Damoscenas returned to its former glory, a sultanate independent of Bagdabha. The religion of Salama has never quite taken hold in Damoscenas, with nearly half the population being of the Chisholm faith and the other half worshipping the old pagan gods of Assygaria. For the most part, it is the rulers who pay lip service to the Salama religion, and they tread lightly so as not to stir the region into armed revolt. So long as the poll tax is observed, people are allowed to go about their business as they have for the last several centuries.
Such is the case with most of the province as one travels west to the great Sea of Rhyma. Less than seventy miles lie between Damoscenas and the coast, an exceptionally rough and mountainous land peopled with hardy folk inclined to follow the “old ways” now that the capital has moved farther inland. Even so, some have embraced both the teachings and philosophy of the Prophet, and a follower of the True Faith will not feel terribly out-‐of-‐place (Damoscenas itself boasts several beautiful mosques constructed within the last century). But it is a wild territory, and dark stories filter out to other parts of the empire, luring adventurers of every stripe.
25 miles off the coast, perhaps half a day’s travel under sail with good winds, lies a dark outcropping of storm-‐drenched stone – a black mountain of ominous rock rising from the sea, daring sailors to step ashore and face its danger. Old maps give it the
name “Devil’s Point” and legends say the isle was once a peninsula joined to the mainland (till vengeful gods destroyed its bridge of stone in their rage). The locals, however, call it SORCERER ISLAND, and it is believed to be the final resting place of XUTHUS OF DELOSI, a wicked sorcerer who lived centuries before the coming of the Prophet.
Delosi was an ancient island kingdom, revered as the birthplace of the twin sibling gods Dia and Deus, similar in many respects to the Holy City of Chem…until the Rhyma Empire decided to destroy it five centuries ago as a point of “naval strategy.” It is not known if Xuthus was actually of Delosi, nor whether he was born there before or after it was razed, but it is always cited as his place of origin. What is known is that he was a decadent magician that trucked with demons and creatures of infernal origin and that his black magic was the scourge of the coast prior to his destruction. What the legends do not say is how exactly the sorcerer met his end, and some whisper Xuthus might one day rise again, such was his power.
Regardless of the truth, Sorcerer Island is considered a haunted place (at best) or the lair of demons (at worst). It is believed pirates and brigands use it as a hideout for coastal raids and if there are not still artifacts of Xuthus to be found in its caves, perhaps there is buried treasure to be unearthed by enterprising adventurers.
PLAYER CHARACTER MOTIVATIONS
For any game of 5AK, it is important to consider the motivations of the player characters and the reason they might embark on a journey into perilous danger. Giving the players reason for their characters’ adventure not only helps put them in the proper mindset, but leads them to make choices based on that motivation, allowing them to reap the rewards of doing so (XP bonuses) and enriching the game play experience for all participants.
The following possible motivation tie-‐ins are given for the adventure:
Excitement/Curiosity: “Who wouldn’t want to know if the island is really haunted?” Fortune: Pirate loot or the sorcerer’s buried treasure. Knowledge: Is the island really haunted? Historic knowledge and fact-‐finding. Family: As per fortune, but for the PC’s family. Glory: Make a name for yourself by braving the infamous site. Duty: Destroy the pirates that use the island as a base of operations. Love: A chance to