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Origin of the Isle of Dread

by Colin Davidson

This was requested at Dragonsfoot, so I've typed out a brief outline of the history of the Isle of Dread in my campaign. A little more added here.

Briefly, not long after Landfall, a set of isolationist Alphatian mages set out for a distant set of Islands so that they wouldn't have any meddling authorities getting in their way.

Their leader, a man named Thaneg, led a small group to settle on one of the larger islands in a little known archipelago. They constructed for themselves a palace on an island in an inland lake, and from there they successfully enslaved the whole human population (who, in their Alphatian way, the settlers saw as brutal savages). In reality, the original inhabitants of the Isle of Dread were ingenious and productive craftsmen, skilled in construction and in ways of the Forest and the Jungle.

Thanegia and his followers were the first Alphatians to meet up with the former Flaems, now in Glantri, and they had largely peaceful relations with the Flaems (Thaneg was not a follower of air, he had no quarrel with the Flaems, nor they with him). Amongst the things traded between 'Thanegia', as the colony was known, and the area later to become Glantri were gemstones, slaves and worked goods. Included amongst these slaves were Glantrian Rakasta, the first Rakasta in the archipelago. It was only with components bought from the Glaems that Thanegs goal could really be achieved; as part of his quest for immortality, he and his apprentices studied the remains of long extinct creatures found in the rocks, and set about magically recreating them. Their exploits soon came to the attention of various immortals, who were split in their opinion on how to react. But it was not an immortal event that saw the downfall of Thaneg and his followers, it was an uprising against them led by Kopru denizens of the island, who led the slaves in a revolt that saw Thaneg and most of his apprentices killed.

The Kopru, of course, wanted the wealth of this new Alphatian colony for themselves, but the humans turned out to be too difficult to control. The villages on the Southern peninsular of the island managed to overthrow the Kopru, but after this there were few natives remaining. No one knows when the Wall was built, but it is supposed that vestiges of their earlier culture still survived at this time. With the constant raids from dinosaurs and other monsters on the island, it is a testament to their courage that they survived at all.

The Rakasta made the most of their new environment, and flourished in the forest. The islanders retreated into superstition and isolationism, under the constant threat from Kopru and dinosaurs. Even now, the few who know of the central plateau and the island in the lake refer to it as 'Taboo'.

Thaneg himself is little remembered today, but his legacy remains. The nation known to outsiders as Thanegia, and the island chain the Thanegioth Archipelago, bear testament to his former importance, and the Isle of Dread remains a 'lost world' to this day. There are unconfirmed rumours the beneath the Island, beneath the realm of the Kopru, the caverns in which Thanegia and his followers still remain, untouched.