Wednesday 13 February 2019

d100 encounters in the islands

The setting here is Wind Waker + Miyazaki + Earthsea. Sunny meadows and silent forests, cute villagers and comedy pirates. In my mind this is what's south of Yoon-Suin. Make it into a hexcrawl if you want. Also read this Japanese monster manual from 1776, it's very good.
  1. Giant flying machine frozen in ice. You'll need a giant's stove to melt it and you'll have to clear out all the ice monsters before you can use it.
  2. Forest of looming redwoods, home to serow and giant spiders. Circled by clan of swarthy nomadic loggers, living on massive raft, who want to cut it down but are afraid of spirits.
  3. Inn built into windmill, with famous pumpkin soup. If you can catch all ninety-nine of the yellow butterflies that live in the nearby meadow, the owner will give you a bottle of her Special Soup, which makes you super strong and able to breath underwater for exactly one minute.
  4. Giant mangrove baobab, surrounded by root maze, home to clan of goblin pirates. The tree is carnivorous but slow, and hates the taste of goblins but can't get rid of them.
  5. Smoldering caldera with goblins scraping sulphur from the rim to use in their horrible fireworks. Also home to iguanamen.
  6. Horrible toxic bug forest exuding poisonous wind in all directions. If you can get a single drop of clean water into the spring of venom at the centre, the whole island will be purified.
  7. Big friendly turtle with small village on his back. Scares easily. One villager must be on hand to soothe him at all times, in case he gets spooked by a passing cloud and dives into the sea.
  8. Enormous colony of breeding cormorants that build nest complexes out of their own valuable shit. A hermit who can tell the future lives among the birds.
  9. Clan of hermit crabs who live in skulls and are always looking for bigger ones. At night they scour the bottom of the sea for shipwrecks, and therefore know where a lot of sunken treasure is. Discarded bones everywhere.
  10. Floating casino where you can lose your shirt at snail races, mahjongg or fighting-fish fights. Run by a guy called Lucky Pao who always smiles and is never happy.
  11. Beehive palace of the bug collector, high in the branches of a big dead tree. Will pay you for exotic bugs. Will also hold your family hostage until you get exotic bugs for her. Has a whole root-cellar dungeon full of hostages and bugs.
  12. Big fat dragon who is sad because he can't find a girlfriend. Has landed in the middle of the village and refuses to leave until somebody can satisfactorily explain to him how relationships work. Smells awful.
  13. Atoll of the floating coconut people, who look like hairy little babies and need your help to defend themselves from a tribe of hungry monkeys. Don't have any treasure but will pretend that they do.
  14. Giant shark who lives in a tidepool and is terrified of the open ocean. Very hungry. There's treasure at the bottom of the pool but you need to convince her to leave to get it.
  15. Masked cultists sacrificing people to a volcano. After the ritual they'll take off their masks and invite you to a feast.
  16. Two iguanamen, each surrounded by sacks of trinkets, sitting at opposite ends of a sandbar. One is fat and one is thin. They're both salesmen and will compete with each other to sell you junk at the cheapest possible price.
  17. The tomb of the demon prince who fought the creator goddess at the dawn of time. Surrounded by chanting shrine priestesses whose job is to make sure nothing comes out. They'll let you go in though.
  18. Nest of the golden roc, which is currently away hunting for whales to feed its chicks. The chicks are smarter than you and very curious. They keep a shipwrecked sailor as a pet and defend him from the bugs and goblins who infest the nest.
  19. Wide sandy bay, home to the all-archipelago surfing contest. Winner gets to have tea with the Emperor in his floating palace. Current frontrunner is an ex-pirate named Three-Toe Deng.
  20. Shark farmers. Wooden corrals in the ocean, attached to floating platforms, full of sharks segregated by species and age. Like the setting of the film Deep Blue Sea.
  21. Giant's Causeway hexagonal basalt pillars. Pressing them all in the right order opens a whirlpool in the sea. Jumping into the whirlpool leads you to the secret cave of an ocean giant, who will not be pleased to see you.
  22. Permanent, stationary tornado. Shop on the island in the eye sells luxury goods and powerful potions at very reasonable prices to anyone who can get there.
  23. Ronin marooned on a sandbar, whittling a chunk of driftwood into an exquisite figurine of a courtesan with her katana. Wants revenge on the pirates who left her here.
  24. Crabs whose shells look like the faces of angry samurai. A clan of goblins is smashing and eating them, angering the spirits of the warriors who died in an ancient battle here. Goblins are immune to ghost anger, so they take it out on everyone else.
  25. Fish and chip shop, in boat tethered over coral reef. Owner wants to catch and fry up Goliath, the enormous blue-spotted coral grouper that lurks in the reef's depths.
  26. Village of wrecked ships. Definitely not interested in wrecking more ships so the chief's newlywed daughter can build her own place and finally move out of home.
  27. Dark pool hidden deep in redwood forest. Moth fairy within, big enough to ride, wants a picture of the moon. Remembers it from her youth and misses it dearly. Show her a way to the actual moon and she'd be ecstatic, fly straight there.
  28. Whole island is a mimicking ooze, sending out pseudopod blobs to gather data on you. A nervous pig sits in a rowboat in a sheltered bay, slowly training the island to mimic doubloons.
  29. Treasure hunters in primitive diving gear scouring reef for lost doubloons and overgrown treasure chests. Get very salty if they think you're trespassing on their patch.
  30. Old graveyard overgrown with flowers. Beekeeper tending his hives. Ghosts speak through the bees, helpful if you give them offerings, vicious if you try to take their honey.
  31. Rock arch blesses every third ship that sails through it and curses the other two. Wizard skeleton hanging from it in gibbet. Sailor clinging to nearby shipwreck explains how it works, but isn't sure of exact number of ships that gets blessed, just knows there's a pattern.
  32. Pink salt lake surrounded by rainforest. Super buoyant, enough to float a cannonball. Mud at the bottom of the deepest point is a powerful curative, can regrow lost limbs. Some very relaxed hippies living in lakeside huts.
  33. Blue hole - deep, deep sinkhole surrounded by coral atoll, full of hammerhead sharks, caverns at the bottom that lead to a labyrinth of limestone caves. On moonless nights the kraken emerges, to kidnap attractive people and take them back to its lair.
  34. Bubbling caldera lake. Holes in side of mountain lead to fire-themed minidungeon with goblins, firebats, burning oozes, magma snails and centipedes. Prize is gauntlets that let you pick up fire and carry it around. Taking them reactivates the volcano.
  35. Castaways spit-roasting a dead manatee. The manatee's mate circles the island, singing a song which is so sad that anyone who hears it tries to drown themselves.
  36. Village of giant friendly tortoises that invite you into their homes and slowly entangle you in their passive-aggressive tortoise drama.
  37. Hot springs with prankish monkeys that wait for you to take a bath then steal your stuff, throw rocks at you, etc. Hollow tree somewhere full of stolen loot.
  38. Prison carved out of huge barren rock, home to the archipelago's most dangerous pirates and criminals. Only entrance is big hole in top of rock. Only food source is fish caught from barred windows overlooking sea. No guards. No exit.
  39. Mad scientist and bumbling assistant trying to build a space rocket out of gunpowder and baobab trees. On their seventeenth attempt. Keep a strange glowing anemone thing in a jar and claim it fell from the moon one day.
  40. Scarecrow standing in a wheat field. The family in the nearby cottage is dead. The scarecrow can talk and will tell you to get revenge on some nearby monster - but it's vague on the details of what actually happened. Actually it killed the family itself, out of jealousy and loneliness, and is now in denial.
  41. Floating carnival village where everyone is clowns, firebreathers, jugglers, etc. Mayor is the ringmaster. Crave audiences, since the village is poor and they're much better entertainers than fishermen.
  42. Skeletons playing music - one with a fiddle, one with a flute, one with a drum. They're rehearsing their act, hoping to get good enough that the Emperor will invite them to play at her floating palace. They could use new music and new talented skeletons.
  43. Network of limestone seacaves, flooded at high tide, home to giant sea slug that squeezes through small spaces and secretes corrosive slime. Its flesh is a delicacy to the right consumer.
  44. School of intelligent, friendly, doglike jellyfish that crowd around your boat, demanding that you play with them in piping, childlike voices. Cause agonising pain if touched.
  45. Used-boat salesman, travelling around in big makeshift raft of nine or ten boats tied together. Will buy your boat for a pittance and sell you a slightly better one. Terrified of, and extremely attractive to, pirates.
  46. Elaborate hedge maze, guarded by stomping one-eyed ogres with halberds that follow predictable paths and only attack anything in their direct line of sight. Fairy fountain in centre will permanently increase your health by one point, once.
  47. Ramshackle hotel run by grumpy old tyrant who's bossed around by his shrewish wife, with incompetent foreign waiter who's always getting into scrapes. Variety of colourful customers. Haunted by ghost of maid, murdered by wife out of jealousy.
  48. Village built around sleeping giant. Signs all around telling you not to wake her. Villages move very quietly, hate loud noises. Giant cannot actually be woken by any means.
  49. Village run by children, with all adults permanently asleep in their beds. Children do a pretty good job of administering everything themselves, have stupid theories about why adults won't wake up.
  50. Merchant ship w/cowardly crew hiding in isolated cove from pirates that may or may not actually exist. Merchant who owns the ship wants to move on, since she's losing money every day, but has been overruled by the captain she hired.
  51. Nobles in silk robes fighting a distance duel with hwacha, launching rocket arrows across the narrow channels that separate their islands. The noise is terrifying the native population of talking moles.'
  52. Abandoned castle, falling apart, wooden walls penetrated by cherry-blossom trees. Used as a base by goblin pirates who are constantly on the verge of burning it down, barely kept in check by their captain's authority. Haunted by samurai ghosts. Sea vultures perched on rooftops, flooded basement dungeons infested by crabs.
  53. Huge moai head, blocking the entrance to ground hole that leads to fungus-filled minidungeon. Surrounded by other, smaller moai heads, all looking away from it.
  54. Fleet of fishing canoes. Fishermen eating whitebait alive, competing to see who can swallow the largest squid whole. Sea vultures following in their wake.
  55. Floating noodle shop w/ tame pigs swimming around it. One of the pigs has swum away to take shelter among the palms of a nearby atoll. Must be caught and brought back so it can be made into soup.
  56. Giant oyster with head-sized black pearl in its mouth. Pearl sucks anyone that touches it into a shadowy dungeon zone where they wander through the blackness at the bottom of the sea, fighting formless luminous predators that represent their own doubts. Famous samurai has been trapped within for the last five hundred years.
  57. White-robed noro priestess alone on tiny rock, tending sacred fire that must never be allowed to go out. Has lost her sacred umbrella and is nervous about coming rain.
  58. Ancient formal garden with eroded stone lion statues that come alive if anyone disturbs the vine-shrouded mausoleum they're set to guard. Headstrong yuta shamaness trying to raise the spirit of a buried queen.
  59. Village with communal outhouse mounted over fish pond, haunted by vengeful toilet kami that takes the form of a blind women with a spear and long poisonous hair. Villagers have not been able to take a peaceful shit in days and will give you everything they have if you can make her go away.
  60. Giant paintbrush of the creator goddess, slowly decaying, bristles home to monsters that form from rotting, congealed paint. The few remaining droplets of untainted paint are a valuable reagent that can be used to create new life.
  61. Giant sitting on ocean, submerged up to his shoulders, meditating. Kung-fu monastery on top of his bald head. The monks grow pears in his ears and distill them into potent wine, which they use to practice the drunken-master style.
  62. Whalers herding panicked herd of pilot whales into bay and slaughtering them on beach until the waters run red with blood. Not one whale can be allowed to escape, or it will carry word of the whalers' disrespect back to the ocean goddess and the whole sea will turn against them.
  63. Village of pearl divers locked in mortal feud with village of seaweed gatherers. A travelling merchant has been deliberately stoking drama in order to sell weapons to both sides, and also for fun.
  64. Sugarcane plantation. Fields are infested with goblins. Owner wants to drive them out but is worried that if she pisses the goblins off too much, they'll started a fire.
  65. Elephant-seal colony. Band of ragged sealers camping in the hills. They came here to club and skin the huge white bull that rules the beach, but he's already sunk their boat and killed half their number.
  66. Massive spiky skull-festooned fortress of the goblin pirate queen, built into the side of an extinct volcano, over an elaborate network of magma pits and lava tubes. Any ship coming within a mile gets bombarded by rockets until it sinks or sails away.
  67. Hunters with aconite-poisoned arrows stalking carnivorous cranes through a reedy salt marsh. They need the crane's feathers to become full members of their tribe.
  68. Monstrous bear, injured by a spear, too ill to move and mourning the loss of her cub, which was taken as a present for the Emperor and is currently being held offshore in the trophy-filled boat of the world's best huntress. You get the bear's blessing if you bring the cub back.
  69. Noro priestesses holding an extravagant funeral for a beached whale, with drinking and dancing and feasting and eulogies praising the whale's many virtues. A spy from a rival temple is plotting to sabotage the ceremony.
  70. Old woman living in tower above seacave that's home to a vast colony of bats, which swarm out every evening to feed on nightfish. She's trained the bats to deliver messages and can send a small object anywhere in the islands, for a price. Goblins keep trying to steal her bats and tie bombs to them.
  71. Huge hollow banyan tree inhabited by shy kodamas and a potion-brewing witch, who throws bottle bombs down on you if she thinks you're likely to disturb the kodamas' peace. Can only be climbed from the inside. The witch needs children's teeth and rare fishscales for her potions. She is terrified of octopi.
  72. Scared old man in hillside shack festooned with clamshell amulets. The east-facing wall of the shack is fortified with dozens of runes and seals. The old man has offended the spirit of the east wind, by stealing her magic boots, and is terrified of revenge. The boots are buried below the shack's floorboards.
  73. Shadow puppeteers on the beach, putting on a show for an audience of no-one. One of the shadows has come alive and is commanding the puppeteers to make it dance, fuck, perform heroic deeds, etc. If they stop playing it will suck out their souls and leave them frozen corpses.
  74. Village with a canal running through it, from one side of the island to the other, where dragon boat races are being staged. One of the boats is a clear favourite, but its drummer has been poisoned and is too sick to beat time for the oars.
  75. Village celebrating the Hungry Ghost Festival. The lion dancer going from door to door is actually a ghost and if you don't give it food it will eat you. All the other festival shit is on the level though.
  76. Vents of white smoke that age anyone exposed to them. Wrecked boat. Old man running away from angry naked teenager with the morality of a toddler.
  77. Stand of bamboo. Rock-throwing war between two rival tribes of tanuki over who has the biggest, bounciest testicles. If you show them your tiny testicles they'll be united in laughter and forget their differences.
  78. Fox caught in a trap, pretending to be a priest that was turned into a fox by an ogre's curse. If you let it go it'll ask you to help it lift the curse, lead you somewhere dangerous, wait for you to die and eat you.
  79. Tiny samurai - needle for a sword, straw for a scabbard, bowl and chopstick for boat and paddle. Floating around in a pond looking for a giant to kill.
  80. Cheerful tanuki running an inn, secretly chopping up guests and making them into delicious noodle soup. Owns a magical hammer that grants one wish to anything you hit really hard with it.
  81. Cave of the fetus-eating witch and her baby, who is huge and red and hairy and strong and cries all the time. The witch only eats fetuses because she's been made cranky by the crying - it's like chocolate to her.
  82. Maze of wrecked ships shrouded in permanent fog, in which the webs of the spiders that live inside the ships are almost impossible to see. Only the screech of a goblin trapped up in the rigging alerts you to the danger.
  83. Village where it constantly rains, cursed by an umbrella salesman and the one-eyed hopping demon umbrella that controls him. The crops are rotting and everyone is miserable.
  84. Fleet of fishing boats plagued by an ingenious sea scorpion that destroys their nets and creeps aboard at night to snip the heads off sailors with its claws. Don't want to return to a hungry village empty-handed.
  85. Stone temple, ruined and worn away down to the foundations. Cats everywhere. One of the cats has nine tails and is the key to the big stone door, if you can catch it.
  86. Figure in a broad hat and cloak of dirty straw whose enormously long arms are covered in eyes. Offers you secrets to lure you closer, then plucks away your valuables and bounds off through the trees. If you don't have anything valuable it will steal your bones.
  87. Mysterious flames that resolve into a ghost ship when you get closer. Ship seems abandoned but that's only to lure you aboard so the ghosts can get on your ship and sail off with it.
  88. Horrible gelatinous serpents that crawl all over your ship for hours, bleeding heavy oil that will sink you unless it's constantly bailed out. Almost impossible to hurt. Don't like salt though.
  89. Giant headless skeleton wading through the sea, looking for its lost skull. You will hear its cry - "HAVE YOU FOUND MY SKULL?" - before you see it.
  90. Tree with cyclops heads for fruit. You can suck out the eyes of the heads like they were raw oysters and they will give you confusing visions of the future, if you can keep them down. Cooking them makes them delicious but destroys their powers.
  91. Giant floating peach, hollowed out and made into a pirate ship by children. The children are deadly serious about being pirates and will absolutely try to kill you, though they're not very competent.
  92. Luxury bathhouse built into side of mountain, over system of hot springs. Has been taken over by a huge hairy stinking ogre who lolls in the biggest pool, demanding more sake from the terrified staff. She wants to get clean enough to marry the Emperor
  93. Dog buried up to its neck in the earth, surrounded by filthy people behaving like dogs. Anyone it bites becomes possessed by a dog spirit and is forced to join its pack. At night it comes off and flies around with burning eyes, biting people.
  94. Creepy bald man with a cane that approaches you across calm seas, walking on top of the water. Asks for a bucket, then uses the bucket to throw water in the boat until it sinks. The only way to escape without incurring his wrath is to give it a bucket with a hole in it and sail off while he's confused.
  95. Abandoned trading town that's overrun by hungry rats. The biggest mansion in town is now home to an iron-toothed ghoul, the spirit of a beggar woman who starved to death in the main square while rich merchants passed by and laughed. Put her to rest and the rats go away.
  96. Lumbering blob of flabby, faceless flesh with stumpy arms and legs, cast away on a raft by traders who discovered it stowed away in the hold. Stinks like death. Harmless, just wants a friend.
  97. Tired-looking woman who asks you to hold her baby so she can get some rest. If you take it, the baby becomes incredibly heavy and impossible to let go of. Then a sea monster with the head of a bull, the teeth of a shark and the body of a spider crab comes out of the water and eats you. Also the woman has a snake's lower body and is hiding it beneath her robes.
  98. A swarm of floating lanterns that eat bugs and imitate human voices. Hang just out of reach, making fun of you and refusing to let you sleep until you get them some delicious bugs.
  99. The red-coral palace of a sea dragon. He's served by jellyfish, he owns jewels that control the tides, he's a gracious host who can take human form at will and in each wing of his palace it's a different season. It's rumoured among his guests that the secret fifth season, Gosper, is being kept prisoner in his basement.
  100. The floating palace of Emperor Jingu, surrounded by the boats of petitioners. Some of them have waiting years to get through all the formalities necessary for an imperial visit, and a whole urban economy has sprung up around them. The Emperor is of course just a puppet controlled by the shogun, who no-one ever sees, and who is rumoured to be a hundred-year-old goldfish that lives in a small glass jar.