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Savage Tide on Mystara Part IV: "Here There Be Monsters"

by Christopher Richard Davies

The fourth adventure in the Savage Tide Adventure Path requires no changes to make it fit into Mystara. It is a straightforward run down the east coast of the Isle of Dread, with almost no "Greyhawk-isms" that need to be fixed. That said, this is not the Isle as depicted in Moldvay's classic module, and so here's a saga of the Isle of Dread that incorporates and accounts for its Olman presence.

The history of the Isle of Dread begins, somewhat paradoxically, in a time before history, when the creatures that are its most famous denizens were the dominant species of Mystara. It was to this island, specifically to its central plateau, that an awakened allosaurus came to petition the Immortal now known as Terra; and here as well that he returned after following the Path of the Polymath, having lived as predator, prey, scavenger and vegetation, and received the gift of Immortality, becoming one of the first Immortals native to this world.

In the millennia that followed, Ka the Preserver (as he came to be known) used this remote location as a preserve for species that he feared to be in danger of extinction, such as the dinosaurs. He continued to do even after participating in the construction of the Hollow World, for it never hurts to have a backup plan (or two). Still, his attention shifted away to other matters, particularly as humans began to come to the archipelago.

The first humans to arrive, around 3400 BC or so, were of Oltec origin, related to the Makai. (Indeed, they may have been Makai, though records are understandably hard to come by.) They called themselves Olman. Over the centuries of their inhabitation, they would tame many of the dinosaur species, using them as beasts of burden, while herding the more dangerous species into hunting preserves. Their clerics, many of whom worshipped Kalaktatla, had been informed that it would be a Very Bad Idea were they to simply exterminate any of them.

Millennia later, around 1200 BC, a second wave of human immigrants reached the Archipelago, as part of the wave of migration from Tanagoro that would also settle in Yavdlom and the Pearl Islands. These people, dubbed Tanaroans for their oldest community on the island, were welcomed if not truly embraced by the Olman princes. As such, they mostly stayed on the peninsula and the smaller islands around the Isle. That said, they shared their knowledge of shipbuilding with the Olman princes (who had apparently lost their own version of this craft) which facilitated the establishment of at least one colony on the northern shore of Davania -- the Lost City of Tamoachan.

Sadly, only three hundred years after this colony was built, the first savage tide was unleashed on the city of Thanaclan by the kopru, vile beings who dwelled beneath the Isle. The dinosaurs were no less affected by the effects of the savage tide, and it seems likely that their rage, as much as that of the savagely-transformed Olman, was responsible for the downfall of their civilisation. The Tanaroans, sheltered from the worst effects of the tide and isolated on their peninsula, were able to avoid much of this destruction, and with the assistance of Olman survivors, built the Great Wall to keep these creatures out. Still, they lost much of their culture as well. To the south, Tamoachan thrived for a brief while, then collapsed when it became clear that it was unsupported by its motherland.

And so matters have stood for nearly two millennia ...