[Campaign Idea] The Lost Islands

One thought that has occurred to me is that an "Isle of Dread"-type setting could be a wonderful vessel for bringing BCK elements into an Auran Empire (or equivalent) campaign. I am thinking about running it for traditionally-minded players who will want to play dwraves and elves, but I'll introduce them to all the weird Lost World lizardry stuff.

rashed alien saucer on a "lost world" island with Ancient ruins, lizardmen/geckomen, and dinosaurs. Which "ordinary" fantasy heroes come to visit.

This is not Kanahu transplanted into a generic fantasy world, mind you, but a setting allows importing BCK material into a limited area of it.

This will have a "regional" map (1 hex = 6 miles) with several islands. And yes, with pirates (arrrrrr) too.

I was thinking about the Islands being a small part of a sunken, Mu-type continent, where there was once an Ancient [human] civilization (Mesoamerican-flavored). When the Ancient Land sank, the survivors made pacts with reptilian totems of the islands for protection. This was a blessing and a curse - the Ancients became various types of lizardmen; the Chaotic among them became Serpentmen and Toadmen.

So you get various lizard tribes - you get the Monitor [standard lizardman] Village, the Gecko Village, the Chameleon Village [new class/creature] - and the Serpent Temple!

Later, a millennium or so ago, humans islanders from other parts of teh world came and settled a peninsula; they fortified the Ancient bridge connecting it to the main island and thus enjoyed some protection from dinosaurs and other dangers of the main island. They settled on a few of the smaller islands as well.

Finally, very recently, the Empire came and set up a trading-post on the peninsula to trade with local humans and with the "Lizard Village" (Monitor Village). Pirates from the Empire also settled on the Islands.

There was also an alien saucer crashed into the dormant vulcano's flooded caldera; possibly damaged by Ancient magics when investigating them.

So you have:

  • Dinosaurs and other weird fauna and flora.
  • Ancient [Mesoamerican-style] ruins with all sorts of magic (or technology?).
  • Lizardmen/geckomen/chameleonfolk, serpentmen, toadmen. May provide henchmen.
  • Local human tribes. May provide henchmen.
  • Pirates! Arrrrrr!
  • Alien ship; aliens; alien beasts/robots. Alien tech.
  • Imperial presence.
  • Islands just waiting to be conquered and inhabited!


What do you think?


What do you think?


I think you've got yourself another successful book in the making, that's what I think. :)

Many thanks!

I think an Isle of Dread like scenario would be welcome/useful for the the Auran Empire setting, or any BX flavored fantasy setting. The Nethercity KS is going to include methods by which its material can be adapted to settings other than the Auran Empire. Perhaps your setting could do the same with either guidelines you'd suggest and/or borrow from the Nethercity KS. 

I believe Alex actually ran the Isle of Dread in his original Auran Empire home campaign with some modifications, so the idea should be a good fit.

I always loved the flavor of the Isle of Dread, which I originally read in its Hebrew translation (as part of Hebrew B/X). Dinosaurs! Mysterious Kopru! Wild jungle islands! Pirates! Zombies! Wilderness exploration!

This is an ACKS campaign I think I can get players for, even more than for my old Barrowmaze campaign. Dinos are always a welcome theme, and hexploration is something many players haven't done for a while.

So this is something I'm considering investing quite a lot of work in - wilderness map, lairs, and the two medium dungeons (Pyramid of the Snake and the crashed saucer). Potentially a few dungeons as well for some additional crawling.

Do you think that some existing modules (or one-page dungeons), other than X1: Isle of Dread, can fit here? Looking for reptilian/amphibian/alien/cthulhu themes.

Time to research Mesoamerican architecture!


Do you think that some existing modules (or one-page dungeons), other than X1: Isle of Dread, can fit here? Looking for reptilian/amphibian/alien/cthulhu themes.


WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. If you're looking for Lovecraftian horror in D&D this is one hell of a vein to mine for ideas.

Wonderful! Thanks!

For a discussion of WG4 you might check out http://www.greyhawkgrognard.com/2018/04/12/thoughts-on-forgotten-temple-of/

Of particular note is a set of posts that Rob Kuntz did on WG4. For reasons unknown these posts were deleted, but one of the comments in the post has links to the Internet Archive version of the posts. While I don't know that the aesthetics of Tharizdun in particular would match what you're going for I think the "Cold Text Files" can be a useful read. 

Tentative factions on the Islands:

  • Islanders - pro-Imperial faction (Neutral). Island natives who see the Imperial trading presence and small colony as a positive influence and source of wealth. Open to trade and relatively friendly to Imperial PCs. Want the Empire to stay.
  • Islanders - anti-Imperial faction (Neutral; some Chaotic). Islands natives who fear that the Empire will end up conquering the islands and destroy their way of life. Generally worship the native Neutral animal totems, but some are now swayed to worship Dagon - the Chaotic god of fish - as a source of power to use against the Empire (and bountiful fishing). Want to kick the Empire out.
  • Imperials (Lawful or Neutral, for the most part). Imperial trading-post and small colony. (the Empire is a typical Lawful or Neutral fantasy empire ala the Auran or Elysian Empires). One standard 6-mile-hex domain ruled by a Legate ("baron"-equivalent). Most are here to trade, some to explore, some to settle.
  • Pirates (shiver my timbers! Neutral to Chaotic). A large pirate gang from the Imperial mainland who settled on the Islands to prey on the increased shipping in the archipelago and nearby sea routes. Set up a sizeable colony of buccaneers, smugglers, and slave-traders. One standard 3x 6-mil-hex domain ruled by a Dread Pirate ("marquis"-equivalent). Their settlement is not necessarily  a directly hostile place for players but rather a dangerous hive of scum & villainy infested by cutthroats and vice. Pirates want to plunder ships (and villages!) and expand their domain; some belong to the Dagon and Moloch/Cthuga cults and sacrifice captives to their Chthonic gods.
  • Cult of Dagon (Chaotic). Native cult of the Chaotic sea god, Dagon. Some Imperial sailors, and many pirates, worship Him as well. Want to recruit more members into their cult, create hybrids - and bolster the Deep One community in the Hell Reef next to the main island.
  • Cult of Moloch/Cthuga (Chaotic). Pirate cult - the Natives know better not to stir the Fire God! The cult seeks to awaken an ancient Fire God, which fell from the Stars, and which is now slumbering inside the islan'd dormant main volcano. This requires a huge amount of human sacrifices so it takes time. The more people get sacrificed to Cthuga, the more bad omens appear - tremors, smoke rising from the mountain, freak storms, even a lunar eclypse... If the cult succeeds and Cthuga gets "charged" with Divine Energy produced by these sacrifices, it will blast off to space - causing a massive erruption which will devastate the island. This is the main threat to the island.
  • Lizard tribes - the Monitor Village (which Imperials call "Lizard Village"), Gecko Village, and Chameleon Village (Neutral). The Monitor Village trades with human natives and now with the Imperials; Gecko and Chameleon villages are far more secretive and hidden within the jungle. Worship Neutral lizard totems. Mostly want to stick to their old ways.
  • Serpent Temple (Chaotic). Large pyramid and village deep within the jungle inhabited by serpentmen who worship a Chaotic storm-god and make human sacrifices upon the stepped pyramid. Want captives for sacrifice and as a treat to be eaten.

Omer - hit me up on Discord or email, I'd be interested in commissioning this as an Official Auran Empire book.

Thanks! Sending an e-mail