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Adapting the Savage Tide Adventure Path for Mystaraby Christopher Richard Davies and David Keyser from Threshold Magazine issue 4
Adapting the Savage Tide Adventure Path for Mystara
C. Richard Davies
From 2006 to 2007, Paizo, the publishers of Dragon and Dungeon Magazine at the time, released the Savage Tide adventure path. Having had success with two previous adventure paths(a linked set of adventures forming a campaign) Paizo decided one of the cornerstones for this new adventure path would be to revisit the Isle of Dread.
This raised particular interest for Mystara fans, as the original adventure module X1 The Isle of Dread, had first introduced the lands of the D&D Known World beyond Karameikos, providing the basis for what would later be known as the Mystara setting. There was some subsequent disappointment when it was announced that Paizo would not be using Mystara itself, instead placing the Isle of Dread in the Greyhawk campaign setting.
However, Paizo did make an effort to utilize some classic monsters of Mystara lore, as well as stay true to the presentation of the Isle of Dread as presented in the original adventure. In the end, we Mystara fans got what may have been the best possible outcome. A set of twelve adventures that have compatibility with the Mystara setting, without being actually set there and thereby creating yet another variant version of the Mystara setting(such as the BECMI and 2E AD&D versions).
The Savage Tide AP is contained in twelve adventures and two campaign background articles within issues #139-#150 of Dungeon Magazine, plus an article series called Savage Tidings which appeared in issues #348-#359 of Dragon Magazine, as well as a Savage Tide Players Guide to introduce players to their starting city as well as provide some customization options for starting PCs. A few additional articles related to Savage Tide appeared in Dragon Magazine in addition to Savage Tidings.
This article has made an effort to supplement and improve the first eight adventures in the Savage Tide campaign, with an eye toward incorporating Mystara developments as much as possible, both TSR as well as fan-based materials. The first two adventures are set in and around the base city of Sasserine, while the third adventure incorporates the travel from Sasserine to the Isle of Dread. The subsequent four adventures are set on the Isle of Dread.
Statistics are all provided for 3.5 D&D, with the intent to come as close as possible to BECMI D&D “feel” as possible. In the 3.5 stat blocks, skill numbers incorporate the allocation of skill points as well as ability score bonuses, racial score bonuses, synergy bonuses and template bonuses. Situational bonuses are not incorporated into the stat block.
Dungeon Magazine #139:
The first article in Dungeon provides a backdrop containing DM information for the starting city of the Savage Tide campaign, the city of Sasserine. As it is an independent city-state dropping the city onto Mystara works well for the continent of Davania. The timeline included below is designed with that continent in mind.
Should you wish to set it in Brun, you could simply adjust the first two adventures to fit into any coastal city on that continent, the countries of Ierendi, Minrothad and even Thyatis would be good candidates. Should you set it in an already established city of Mystara, I would recommend abandoning the Sasserine background for the most part, just using those elements that are key to the first two adventures.
Suggested Davania Locations
Sasserine is located in jungle and swamp terrain with a main walled city and surrounding developed lands covered with plantations that support the city. One candidate for the placement of Sasserine is the swamp hex on the coastline north of the Kingdom of Emerond, leaving Sasserine between Ravenscarp and Garganin. This places it only 700 miles south of the Thanegioth Archipelago which makes sense for establishment of a colony, although the third adventure will need an explanation for taking a longer roundabout route should you wish to play the adventure as is.
The second candidate is to place it in the swamp hex on the coastline just west of Yasuko Tribal Lands and seven hexes east of the town Manacapuru. This places it south of the Pearl Islands and farther east of Ravenscarp. This provides a longer route that fits better to reach the Thanegioth Archipelago in the third adventure but isolates Sasserine more from the other city-states and empire powers on Brun.
While the timeline works for both locations, it is a better fit for the more western swamp hex. Should you choose the more eastern location, you might wish to substitute Thyatis or Alphatia for Hule as the first major power that attempted to conquer Sasserine by sea, or disregard that part of the history altogether. There would also be less trade with city-states like Kastelios and Garganin.
[Map: Suggested Locations for Sasserine]
The Sasserine timeline used below is designed for kicking off the Savage Tide campaign shortly after 1021 AC on the continent of Davania. This places the start of the campaign after the last date of the published fan-made Mystaran almanacs. The Cerulean Guard in this timeline is referred to as the Crimson Guard in the Mystaran almanacs. This is to avoid confusion with the Crimson Fleet, a powerful pirate navy that serves as one of the main adversaries in the Savage Tide campaign. The Crimson Fleet was created for the Savage Tide Adventure Path and this conversion does not adapt or map the Crimson Fleet to any already established Mystaran pirates from other sources. Instead it imports the characters and strongholds of the Crimson Fleet “as is” into Mystara.
292 AC Sasserine Founded by Isle of Dawn colonists with some families from the Northern Reaches as well as a few small clans of gnomes.
656 AC Huleans launch first of many attacks, destroying Teraknian's Arch
719 AC Minrothad water elf ship wrecks near Sasserine
720-740 AC Minrothad opens up a trade route with Sasserine, Minrothad immigrants begin to trickle in to the city
843 AC Last attack by Hulean forces repelled
850 AC Hule loses contact with Garganin
970 AC Emperor Thincol is crowned, Thyatis launches expeditions to explore southern continent of Davania
971 AC Thyatis first discovers the city of Sasserine
975 AC Thyatis invades Sasserine and conquers it
985 AC Emperor Thincol begins a major expansion of the Ochalean town Wumingdou, transporting a significant population of workers, specialists and soldiers to begin a colonization campaign on Davania. A few skilled and enterprising citizens from Sasserine relocate to Wumingdou for the opportunities.
988 AC Thincol's campaign to conquer the Hinterlander tribes to the east of Sasserine begins with the establishment of the fortress Fire-Height. The city that grows from this initial base eventually acquires the name Ravenscarp.
1006-1010 AC Sasserine citizens begin rebelling more and more, leading to Thyatian curfews, crackdowns and oppression
1007 AC Ochalea and the Pearl Islands declare independence from Thyatis
1010 AC Heldannic Knights first discover Sasserine from one of their flying warships
1011 AC Four Heldannic flying warships provide support and assistance as Sasserine rebels against Thyatian occupying force, Thyatis troops expelled completely in a fortnight and Sasserine declares independence once again. Heldannic Knights establish an embassy within Sasserine.
1011 AC The Barony of Fiorenza is established by Baron Justinian Silvestro of Thyatis, approximately 120 miles west along the coastline to Ravenscarp(closer to Sasserine).
1012 AC First celebration of Independence Day (what will be the holiday celebrated in the second Savage Tide adventure)
1015 AC Thyatian representatives approach the Dawn Council seeking a trade alliance/agreement. Sasserine spies learn the Thyatian empire is at war with some sort of naval power, and the Crimson Fleet is taking advantage and pirating the trade routes between Davania and Brun. The Dawn Council rebuffs Thyatis, preferring exclusive trading with Minrothad and the Heldannic Knights, as well as the city states to the west.
1015-1016 AC Lavinia Vanderboren arrives in the town of Wumingdou as a young teenager to study at a prestigious academy there for the next five years.
1016 AC The city-state of Kastelios establishes a trade treaty with Thyatis and begins opening its trade routes with Thyatis.
1017 AC Thyatian Hinterlands are politically re-organized. Cittanova, further west of Fiorenza and at the cape marking the northern tip of Davania, is also acknowledged as a barony. Ravenscarp is the capital of a Thyatian exarchate equal to the large dominions in their homeland, while the colonial regions outside the exarchate(called Davania Superior) are broken into several territories, including Thratia(the south region) and Torionensis(the northwest region closest to Sasserine).
1017 AC The Hinterlander tribes not subjugated by Thyatis in Thratia begin a powerful offensive to threaten Davania Superior. Sasserine and Emerond are approached by the tribes for an alliance, but are turned down. A few mercenary companies from Sasserine are hired out however to fight the Thyatians.
1017 AC Colonists from the city of Kastelios found a colony on the western most island of the Thanegioth Archipelago, Mykonos.
1018 AC The Thyatian expedition led by Julius Ambrosius discovers the ruins of an ancient city as they sail up the Black River, but are driven off by Manacapuru tribesmen.
1018 AC Seeing the wealth Kastelios is making, Sasserine opens a limited trade agreement with Thyatis.
1018 AC The Vanderborens depart Sasserine on two ships to found a colony on the Isle of Dread.
1019 AC The Thratians, led by an elite adventuring company called the Nightstalkers, score some significant victories. A non-standard Thyatian force, not associated with Thyatian's military legions or navy, called the Cerulean Guard is summoned to Davania to counter the Nightstalkers. The momentum shifts several times as the Cerulean Guard uses even more potent magic than the Nightstalkers, although the Nightstalkers counter once again through feints, traps, ambushes and teleportation. The final battle sees the Nightstalkers captured when two dragons and anti-teleportation magic are used. The Thratians retreat from Davania Superior.
1019 AC Kastelios sends representatives to all city-states and powers in the region, warning of a new threat to the west where lizard man tribes have been uniting and expanding. Thyatis offers to join any mutual defense alliance but both Sasserine and Emerond opt for a wait and see position. Once again some mercenary companies from Sasserine depart for where coin can be earned, this time to the west.
1019 AC The Vanderborens conclude peaceful negotiations with the natives living on the peninsula and islands on the southeast corner of the Isle of Dread, and found the colony of Farshore on the small unoccupied island of Temute. They leave the colony to return to Sasserine to resupply, but lose one of their ships on the return journey. Further misfortunes increase the delay of their return.
1020 AC Rumors begin spreading of ancient ruins and hidden treasures in Ravenscarp and Sasserine. Several adventuring and mercenary companies launch expeditions to explore and loot whatever can be found close to the coastline in Manacapuru tribal lands, many do not return. Some Ochalean ogre mages make the trip and begin infiltrating Manacapuru society to make their looting ancient lore easier.
1020-1021 AC Lavinia Vanderboren returns to Sasserine.
1021-1022 AC Beginning of the Savage Tide campaign...Vanderborens are murdered and their daughter Lavinia discovers the hidden colony and makes plans to return to reinforce the colony.
1022 AC A small earthquake allows access to the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, the PCs arrive not too long after with a map pointing them to this specific shrine.
Greyhawk Gods to Mystara Immortals Substitution Table
Most of the major religions/gods in Sasserine come from the 3.5 Players Handbook. Here is a quick suggested substitution list.
[Table 1: Greyhawk Gods to Mystara Immortals]
Korotiku (or Loki)
Hel (or Nyx)
Masauwu (or Loki)
The Azure Cathedral in Sasserine is primarily dedicated to Protius, but includes shrines to other Immortals important to the sea, such as the triton Immortal Polonius the Designer. St Cuthbert can be renamed to another saint who was a prominent cleric who believed in the philosophy of Law but did not become an Immortal. The clerics of that church may be 0-level clerics or may gain their spells from the domain of Law as envisioned in Mentzer’s early BECMI D&D.
The Church of the Whirling Fury is dedicated to Gwynharwyf1. Incorporating Gwyharwyf as is can be done by making her a little known Immortal of the Sphere of Energy. As an alternative, should you include the water elves of Minrothad into Sasserine you could substitute Carlitha Starbrow instead and have her be a rival to Demogorgon and his shadow pearls, seeing them as a blasphemy of her own Pearl of Power artifacts. Should you do this her church can still be only recently established in Sasserine, and open not just to elven followers but specifically to all those who have the foresight to perceive the danger of demonic influences as well as the power to stymie them.
Of all these deities, only Gwynharwyf plays a direct role in the Savage Tide AP as it is written. The rest have minor roles or background roles.
The Scarlet Brotherhood, a villainous organization from Greyhawk, has an embassy in Sasserine due to its role in liberating Sasserine from occupation. The organization plays a supporting role in the Savage Tide AP, as either a related affiliation or ally for the PCs or as a secondary villain. To replace the SB I recommend using the Heldannic Knights, who have an embassy in Sasserine and already have significant influence on the continent of Davania.
The head of the noble Arabani family claims to have a Drow parent, for this we can substitute a shadow elf parent, as the shadowelves became widely known when they seized control of Alfheim.
This article doesn’t have an official adjustment for the City Stat block, but you can use the information in the character creation section to comprise your own as needed.
With the Sasserine timeline established here you now have most of the character races in the 3.5 D&D Players Handbook available to the city.
For the first few centuries citizens of Sasserine would be those humans and gnomes that first colonized the land, along with some Hinterlanders(western location) or Yasuko(eastern location) that may have made the migration and settled in the city. The next wave of immigration would be Minrothad immigrants, with Minrothad humans, water elves, halflings and dwarves now settling in the city for the first time. The years under Thyatis rule would leave some Thyatians behind, and lastly some Heldanners with the Heldannic Knights establishing an embassy in the city.
One change I recommend for gnomish characters is to use the Wavecrest gnome build from the Stormwrack 3.5 book rather than the default gnome build from the PHB. If you have that supplement available it will make gnomish characters of a more nautical bent and more suitable for both Sasserine and the Savage Tide AP. Instead of their racial bonus applying to locathah and sahuagin(or goblins and kobolds in the PHB for regular gnomes) have it apply to kopru and a second aquatic race of your choice. Devilfish would be one possibility, shark-kin another. These gnomes are originally from the Falun Caverns who migrated to the Isle of Dawn and are distantly related to the sea-gnomes of Deepreach2, though both groups are unaware of the each other.
For half-orcs, they come from the city-state of Garganin with its sizable humanoid population. So while uncommon in Sasserine, trade between the cities does mean half-orcs are known along the Davania coast and some reside in each city-state. Should you choose the location near Yasuko Tribal Lands, instead of Garganin there may be a few half-Bogdashkan orcs living in Sasserine.
As for half-elves, they do exist on the Savage Coast but not in Alfheim or Minrothad, so as a default I would recommend they do not exist in Sasserine. However, there is no reason not to use the 3.5 PHB Half-Elf build should a player want to use it. A player could play an elf and simply use the half-elf racial traits instead of the elf racial traits, perhaps explaining it by being a Minrothad wood elf or Alfheim elf. Or you could give a human the half-elf build, possibly dropping the spell immunity and save bonus and low-light vision and picking up the extra feat for humans in exchange.
Lastly, for water elves in Sasserine, you can optionally drop the immunity to sleep that they enjoy in 3.5 D&D and instead give them the navigation direction sense3. Just make sure they get to use it during the campaign.
Although not addressed any further in this article, there would be the possibility of a small number of Emerondians (western location only), lupins, or diaboli4 living in the city. With the nation of Emerond to the south, Sasserine would likely engage in some trade with the kingdom overland, and so some Emerondians(greenish-cast humans with a druidic affinity for plants and insects) could live in the city. A clan of lupins could also have migrated to the city at any time during its history and settled there. And if you run the Savage Tide campaign after 1010AC, then you have the precedent of diaboli reaching Mystara and requesting permission to settle on Brun. So another group could arrive in Davania and make the same request of Sasserine.
Dungeon Magazine #139:
Adventure #1: There is no Honor
The first adventure is set completely within Sasserine, so once the city is dropped into Mystara, the first adventure doesn’t need any changes. It even features a Mystara classic, the rhagodessa. Should you pick an already established city, it won’t be hard to adjust the encounter locations to fit that city’s environment. As part of a treasure cache some perfume is listed as being from Mur which is in Greyhawk, this can be changed to Minrothad.
Expanding the Dawn Council Banquet
One common complaint about Paizo adventures is that a lot of background material is not accessible to the players as they go through the adventure. NPCs get colorful histories that the DM reads and enjoys, but in play they get cut down in three rounds of combat against PCs with barely enough time to throw out a brief insult or rejoinder.
At the end of this adventure, the PCs are invited to a banquet by the ruling oligarchy in Sasserine, the Dawn Council. This is a good time to get some of this villain background information into their hands. Having prevented a thieves’ guild from taking over port authority in Sasserine, an official decides the PCs could help bring to justice some other criminals that have so far eluded Sasserine’s city guard. They get presented with a collection of dossiers with the suggestion that there are still bounties to be paid should any of the individuals within be found.
Here are some brief write-ups of a few NPCs that appear in subsequent Savage Tide adventures which would be known in Sasserine, plus a couple of extra characters. These can be given directly to your players.
No real name known, and a ten year old vague description provided. This Thyatian was the commander of the occupation for the last 12 years of Thyatian rule in Sasserine, and is wanted for crimes and atrocities committed primarily during the last 5 years of his rule. He escaped when Sasserine was liberated, and has managed to avoid the notice of Sasserine's spies since then. He is likely hiding in Ravenscarp or has returned to the Thyatian homeland far to the north.
This character is an extra who is not part of the Savage Tide AP but was added purely for flavor to emphasize recent Sasserine history. It makes sense that a few Thyatians would be wanted criminals in Sasserine after the city drove the Thyatians out.
This half-orc native from the city-state of Garganin has been seen in Sasserine. Apparently he killed three people in a brawl at a portside gambling hall in Garganin and was jailed. He escaped and is still on the run. He is not yet wanted for any crimes in Sasserine, but they have posted Garganin's bounty for him.
This character actually appeared in the Savage Tidings for Dragon Magazine Issue #350. There he is an example of a replacement character for a player, but his story was good enough to add him in as an NPC in the campaign. He could become an ally, cohort or hireling, or could just be captured and turned over to the authorities for the bounty.
No sketch or description for this man. His name has come up in a few contraband cases as well as bribes to certain guards at Sasserine's sea fort. It is believed he is a local contact for the Crimson Fleet pirates. It is likely he serves the Crimson Fleet as a local spy and smuggler.
This poor bastard doesn't even live long enough to meet the PC's, they only get to find his remains in the Bullywug Gambit in Dungeon Magazine #140. At least now they can know a little more about him.
[When the dossiers are presented, a second official begins to question why this man is included, the first official argues that while the case is old, there is some evidence Larcos may have returned.] Apparently Larcos, or someone who looks like him, has been recently spotted in Sasserine. Looking at his file you see that his crimes were indeed long ago, he is wanted for murder and illegal duels that occurred 70 years ago. He is a human, not an elf or dwarf, which means he is quite old and it isn't clear if the new sighting is actually him. It might also be a son or simply a passing resemblance. You note that Larcos was a respected paladin in his day before his fall from grace. He apparently got involved with some unsavory people as well as a retributive gang war which broke out in the streets of Sasserine.
This character appears in the only adventure Sasserine that was NOT part of the Savage Tide AP. This adventure and Larcos are found in Dungeon Magazine #149.
This guy's story reads like a pirate novel. He was a pirate who raided Sasserine and other coastal ports until he was captured years ago and brought to the city square in Sasserine to be hanged. As he stood on the block with the noose around his neck he defiantly spat at and cursed the assembled crowd. When he dropped through the floor an incredibly well-placed arrow shot severed the hanging rope. In the ensuing confusion Peet escaped with only one other crimson masked individual seen helping him.
Slipknot Peet has been seen only once since then, serving with the Crimson Pirates and referred to by his current moniker. A Sasserine citizen who was captured and later returned for ransom reported that Peet still wears the tattered hangman's noose around his neck, and further adorns his body with coils of knotted rope wrapped around his arms and torso in a tangled display.
This pirate will clash with the PCs in the adventure Tides of Dread in Dungeon Magazine #143 when they reach the colony Farshore.
Dungeon Magazine #140:
Adventure #2: The Bullywug Gambit
This adventure is broken up into two main parts, a pirate cove which has been overrun with the remaining savage creatures that survived a localized outbreak of the magical chaos-mutating Savage Tide, and a siege of the PC patron's manor which has been captured by a tribe of bullywugs led by one of the pirates that survived the aforementioned tide.
As the PCs arrive at this Crimson Fleet hideout , they find the place in chaos, due to an accidental magical release caused by a pair of NPCs which the PCs followed here. These NPCs had brought their own mercenary company to the cove to launch a surprise attack, but none from the mercenary company are found among the savage mutated survivors.
You can sprinkle in a few mercs turned savage amongst the savage pirates. Basically take a level 1 warrior or fighter with baseline equipment from the DMG, and then apply the savage template from the adventure. Good places to put them are on the beach area of K1, which is otherwise deserted, and in the small maze deep in the caverns, which is area K12. As one example, I had a couple of savage mercs on the beach and replaced one of the three savage pirates in K12 with a savage merc.
Another option should a PC fall into the water is to have them menaced by a savage aquatic animal. You could take a baseline medium sized shark and then apply the savage template.
Of course be careful with any additions as the battles at the cove are quite draining for level 3 characters, adding more savage opponents is more suitable if they start the cove at level 4.
Two mutated krenshar appear in one encounter, a monster first appearing with 3rd edition. Krenshar are native to Davania but unknown in Brun. Rather than krenshar, Davanians refer to them as “skulldogs”.
One encounter for this adventure was cut from the publication due to lack of space. At location K7, the slave pens, the encounter was a savage mutated blackscale lizardman which had escaped its pen and is devouring another slave. Here we replace the blackscale lizardman with a Sis’thik from the Aryptian Desert. This fellow was captured by slavers and sold to the Crimson Fleet, who transported him here in anticipation of reselling him later. The stat block includes the baseline Sis’thik statistics with a level of barbarian added and then the Savage Tide template from this adventure applied. Note that AC, hitpoints and ability stats do not account for barbarian rage, which Jarjirlok will do immediately upon noticing the PCs.
CE Medium Humanoid(Reptillian)(chaotic) CR 4
Savage Sis’thik5 barbarian 1
Initiative +1, Listen +5, Spot +5
AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 18
hp 38 (3d8+1d12 +16)
Fort +7(+9 raging), Ref +2, Will +3(+5 raging)
Spd 50 ft
Attack: Bite +6 (d8+3 plus disease[DC 15])
Attack raging: Bite +8 (d8+5 plus disease[DC 17])
Full Attack: Bite +6 (d8+3 plus disease[DC 15]) and 2 claws +4 (d6+2)
Full Attack raging: Bite +8 (d8+5 plus disease[DC 17]) and 2 claws +6 (d6+4)
BAB +3, Grp +4
Str 17, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 10
Special Actions: Death Throes(see adventure), Disease(see adventure), Rage 1/day
Combat Gear: None
SQ: Resist acid 10, Resist fire 5, DR 5/magic, Darkvision 60ft, Ferocity(see adventure), Savage Immunties(see adventure)
Feats: Multiattack, Power Attack
Skills: Escape Artist +5, Hide +0, Jump +3(+5 raging), Intimidate +7, Listen +5, Move Silently +0, Spot +5, Survival +3
After returning from Kraken’s Cove, the PCs find Sasserine in the midst of celebrating the Wormfall Festival, which is a tie-in to the previous adventure path Age of Worms.
For our adaptation we recommend changing the holiday to Independence Day, to celebrate Sasserine liberating itself from the only foreign power to ever conquer them, Thyatis. The historical timeline of Sasserine has the details.
During the all day celebration PCs will be nearby when a wagon made up as a parade float of a huge humanoid figure shrouded in wriggling worms starts careening downhill out of control. This is the Worm's Revenge encounter, although it is just an accident, not a malevolent attack. You can change the parade float wagon to be a replica of a Heldannic Flying Warbird. The people of Sasserine honor these warships as several of them provided aid to the citizens of Sasserine when they rebelled and threw the Thyatians out of the city.
One last note for anyone using the affiliation rules in the PHBII and the affiliations outlined in the Savage Tidings article in Dragon Magazine #348. The Dawn Council, which is the collected guilds and noble families that form the government of Sasserine, is one of the affiliations which has the power to throw a holiday. According to the PHBII rules, during any declared holiday by a government, all affiliation members of that government as well as citizens gain a +1 morale bonus to attacks, skill checks and saves. For the entire second half of the adventure, you can let all PCs who are Sasserine citizens benefit from this as soon as they return to the city. It lets them see a benefit from an affiliation early on which otherwise takes some time to achieve as the benefits don't begin to kick in until the PCs reach the higher mid-levels.
For the final part of the adventure, the PCs battle bullywugs who have taken over their patron’s manor. For Mystara, change the bullywugs into Mystaran frogfolk. Keep the bullywug stats as a baseline, but rename them frogfolk and apply the following modifiers.6
Atk Options: Hop (+4 attack bonus when they jump to attack)
SQ: Alien Smile (-8 penalty when making Sense Motive checks against a frogfolk), Hop(can jump higher than its height)
Skill Modifiers: +20 bonus to Jump checks, +4 bonus to Escape Artist checks, +8 bonus to Swim checks
It is unknown if these particular frogfolk which live near Sasserine have ties all the way back to the frog cult in Blackmoor, but that is a question that doesn't really need an answer. They may be able to trace back their lineage that far, or to someone much later who rediscovered the technique, possibly even an Immortal.
Dungeon Magazine #141:
Adventure #3: The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
The Sea Wyvern's Wake is the third adventure in the Savage Tide series, and covers the sea journey where the PCs travel by sailing ship from Sasserine to the Isle of Dread where a secret colony was founded by the parents of the PCs wealthy patron.
Crew and Passengers on the Sea Wyvern
There are a few detailed NPCs which accompany the PCs on the journey, as well as a number of unnamed and undetailed NPCs who are either crew for the ship or colonists for the Sasserine colony on the Isle of Dread. First the detailed NPCs need a few adjustments to fit them into Mystara.
Captain Amella Vankalie
Rather than prejudiced against gnomes, she hates halflings, as she is originally from Brun and her husband perished at the hands of a hin pirate crew.
He is posing as a cleric of Vanya.
He’s originally from Landfall, and has no idea his old boss may well be dead as a result of the Heldannic Civil War.
Change his character race from gnome to halfling, to keep the conflict between him and Amella. He is a former Master of the Five Shires who either became a renegade or was exiled from his homeland before making his way south. He has lost most of his magical powers as a result, but he may still have a small amount of blackflame that he keeps in a wooden crate.
She is from Karameikos, the daughter of a court lord, on her Shearing.
And here are a few more NPCs you can borrow to fill out the roster of crew and passengers.
Sailors and Artillerists Dorent and Morlond Migter
These two dwarves (level 1 Experts) are both skilled carpenters and competent deckhands and artillerists. The brothers can be hired on to maintain man either ballistae or catapults in ship combat. Each of them wears leather armor and carries a knife and hand axe.
Meridan, Wynona, and Wil Vicentius
This family were Thyatian immigrants to Sasserine in the earlier years of Thyatian occupation. Meridan (level 2 Commoner) is a farmer on one of the plantations maintained outside the city itself, who seeks to build a new farm of his own at the colony of Farshore. Wynona (level 1 Commoner) is his wife, both are age 50. Will (level 1 Commoner) is their 25 year old son and has come along to help start a new farm. They leave behind their older daughter and youngest son to maintain the portion of the plantation they already own.
Remapping the Voyage to the Geography of Davania
The adventure as written assumes a journey of approximately 3000 miles. If you place Sasserine on the eastern coastline near Yasuko Tribal Lands, the journey along the coast to Ravenscarp and then due north until turning west to the Thanegiorth Archipelago is about the same distance. However, the western location for Sasserine means the journey is less than 700 miles if you just head due north, and still much shorter if you first travel to Ravenscarp and then turn north. So should you choose the western location and still want to play the adventure with all the suggested encounters, you need some reasons to take an indirect route. The adventure provides one, and I manufactured another.
The first reason is that Urol/Master Forol lends his expertise for the voyage and to the colony in exchange for the patron agreeing to take him to explore some ruins on the coast of Davania. This ruin is actually from C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and the first ten rooms are lifted from the original module and used in this adventure.
The second reason is citizens of Sasserine still don't trust the Thyatians, and knowing Thyatian spies are still in the city Lavinia (the PC patron) decides to travel greatly out of their way just to prevent the Thyatians from being tipped off about the colony. This is to avoid any danger of having the Thyatians try to claim the colony for themselves. This makes the journey from the western site about 3500 miles, which is probably a little excessive, but good enough. Once the colony can be made secure, the PCs can stop worrying about the Thyatians and take the direct route.
[Sidebar: Optional Encounter]
Optional Encounter: Thyatian spyship
Should you wish to take the idea of Thyatian spies further, this encounter can be included. A Thyatian caravel, The Parche, begins following the Sea Wyvern soon after it passes Cittanova. It is recommended to only use this encounter if one of the PCs is the ship captain, as The Parche has no intention of seeking battle. The Thyatians are suspicious of the Blue Nixie and Sea Wyvern, and intends to shadow their journey.
The Parche sea captain has equivalent stats to Captain Amella Vankalie. The PCs must first spot The Parche, and once they do so, make an effort to evade and escape.7 Should they split off from the Blue Nixie, there is a 50/50 chance they will still be pursued. A captain PC who successfully loses The Parche gains XP for defeating a CR4 encounter. The Parche may make another appearance at Ravenscarp and attempt to shadow the Sea Wyvern once again.
For the sea journey, refer to the enclosed maps, the red route offers the indirect route assuming the western Sasserine location, and the blue route offers the longer but direct route assuming the eastern Sasserine location. The letter annotations correspond to the major encounter locations as detailed in the adventure, with further conversion notes and comments provided here as well.
[Map: Red Route]
[Map: Blue Route]
A: Fort Blackwell
This gets replaced by Ravenscarp, for both the red and blue route across Davania. The Hieroneous temple which Conrad Horst visits becomes the city’s temple to Vanya. There are some suggested optional encounters here, but they are not statted or detailed.
One of the events at Fort Blackwell is when the fake priest Conrad gets injected with a slaad egg when he stays overnight in the Vanya temple. This is done by the Wizards of the Hopping Prophet, a sinister cult which has taken over the temple without anyone knowing. The Dungeon magazine adventure only details what happens a week later when Conrad gets sick, which is presumably at sea and long after the PCs have departed Fort Blackwell/Ravenscarp. Thus only the potential battle with the blue slaad and ways to deal with the egg are detailed. However, it is a sidequest for the Witchwarden affiliation to acquire the box and contents that Conrad delivered to the cult.
Should your PCs stay in Ravenscarp for a few days, or decide to turn around to deal with the cult, the following encounter for a battle with the cultists is designed for 6th level PCs.
First, the Hopping Prophet is a reference to the lawful evil demigod Wastri in Greyhawk. That background gets completely ditched. Instead these wizards worship whatever Frog entity that is worshiped by the Temple of the Frog during the era of Blackmoor. I am not sure if this was ever defined for Mystara. As part of this they honor and work with slaad, seeking to spread the slaad presence into the world. The slaad who is currently helping them in Ravenscarp is named Nurn, a death slaad that works as a mercenary for Demogorgon8.
Nurn has already departed Ravenscarp by the time the PCs return but they are able to catch the wizards and their frogfolk minions who have not yet fled.
The frogfolk minions are surgically enhanced by the wizards themselves, using crude techniques that leave significant scars and make them fanatically loyal to the wizards. For the baseline creature, I used the stats for a Pathfinder boggard, including their special abilities such as Sticky Tongue and Terrifying Croak, with a few additional changes noted below.
6 Enhanced Frogfolk
Use Pathfinder Boggard 9as baseline with the following modifiers
Dexterity increases to 13.
AC, Touch AC, Initiative and Reflex saves increase by 2.
Atk Options: Hop (+4 attack bonus when they jump to attack)
SQ: Alien Smile (-8 penalty when making Sense Motive checks against a frogfolk), Hop(can jump higher than its height)
Skill Modifiers: +20 bonus to Jump checks, +4 bonus to Escape Artist checks, +8 bonus to Swim checks
The sticky tongue ability is a variation among the species of frogfolk that these particular individuals have, but the terrifying croak power is explained by surgery scars on their throats.
Six frogfolk minions guard the temple, two of which are hiding in a pool in the entrance chamber of the Vanya temple. The rest are with the two wizards deeper inside the temple, a brother-sister pair of fraternal twins named Ciermaeth Jahn and Valia Jahn. They may or may not share a telepathic link. Note that these are 30 point buy characters so adjust accordingly should you use them.
Ciermaeth and Valia Jahn CR 6
CE Elite Human wizard 6
Initiative: +6, Listen +0, Spot +0
AC 12(16 with shield), Touch AC 12, Flat-Footed AC 10(14 with shield)
hp 30 (6d4 +12)
Fort +4/+4, Ref +4/+6, Will +7/+5
Attack: Mwk Dagger +4(d4/19-20)
BAB +3, Grp +3
Str 11/10, Dex 14/15, Con 15/14, Int 17/17, Wisdom 10/10, Charisma 9/10
Combat Gear: Mwk dagger, Frog Mask of Minor Spell Storing10(contains False Life spell at CL5)
Ciermaeth's Feats: Augment Summoning, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Silent Spell, Spell Focus(Conjuration)
Valia's Feats: Improved Counterspell, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Silent Spell, Spell Mastery
Skills: Bluff +5, Concentration +9, Decipher Script +5, Diplomacy +2, Disguise +7, Intimidate +2, Knowledge(arcana) +7, Knowledge(the planes) +10, Profession(surgeon) +10, Spellcraft +7,
Level 0: Resistance, Acid Splash x 2, Disrupt Undead
Spells in Memory
Level 0: Resistance, Acid Splash x 2, Disrupt Undead
Level 1: Shield, Grease, Obscuring Mist, Enlarge Person(Valia only), Magic Missile(Ciermaeth only)
Level 2: Acid Arrow, Hideous Laughter(DC 15), Mirror Image, Summon Monster II
Level 3: Dispel Magic(Valia only), Heroism, Stinking Cloud(DC 16), Summon Monster III(Ciermaeth only)
Tactics: As soon as the twins hear something out of the ordinary, they begin casting defensive magic starting with Shield and Mirror Image. Each keeps a frogfolk near them in order to cast some augmenting spells like Enlarge Person or Heroism. When enemies get close enough they will summon more defenders and engage with offensive spells. Should things go awry they will try to cast Obscuring Mist and escape. One twin can intuit if the other is dying and may be willing to surrender in exchange for saving the life of the other. Should one be captured and the other is not the captured twin will remain silent trusting their sibling will rescue them from prison.
There is a spellbook or two to be found in the temple of course, containing the spells already detailed for the encounter. I will note that the Savage Tide AP is actually short on spellbooks to be found, so having this encounter provide one will be of benefit to wizard PCs.
B: Hungry Flotsam
Red Route - Takes place off the cape of Davania between Sasserine and Ravenscarp, fairly close to Cittanova.
Blue Route – Takes place at the mouth of the river that leads up to the town of Manacapuru.
Location is the same for both red and blue routes.
This is the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.
The magazine adventure updates the original 1st edition AD&D module for about ten of the rooms, with some changes. It has the pyramid partially collapsed leaving some chambers exposed at ground level. There is a basilisk at location 1 which is the area near the open entrances into the pyramid. At location 2 is a gibbering mouther(which is also present in the 1E version).
Some Paizo fans decided to continue the conversion the magazine started and update the rest of the original adventure to D&D 3.5. It was distributed as a word document.11
This Mystara conversion will make use of the fan adaptation and take its idea for the encounters used at locations 1 and 2, with further changes to bring it into line with the Mystara Almanacs which document an encounter in Davania along the Black River at an old ruin in Manacapuru territory where Manacapuru natives attack Thyatian explorers.
The fan adaptation replaces the encounters at the first two locations with the ogre mage Xipe(again from the original 1E version), leading a total of ten dominated lizardmen, six in location 1, and 4 with Xipe in location 2. The pyramid lies in a lizardfolk tribal area, but the lizardman chieftain fears the ogre mage and keeps his people away from it, as the ogre mage has magically dominated many of his best warriors. When the PCs enter the area, they will have to defeat Xipe, and the lizardfolk chieftain will have scouts keeping an eye on the battle, hoping to move in and finish off the survivors of the battle. The fan adaptation suggests having the Jade Ravens(the other NPC party employed by the PCs patron) do the fighting to keep the lizardfolk tribe at bay until the PCs finish their exploration of the pyramid.
So with all this in mind, this article has adopted the fan adaptation approach, but replaces the lizardfolk with Manacapuru tribesman.
The Manacapuru fight more or less as described in the Mystara almanac, preferring greater blowgun weapons, spears and javelins. Also included are Xipe’s stats as well, which don't use the conventional Monster Manual stats but borrow some ideas from a Mike Mearls Dragon Magazine article revamping the ogre mage. Making ogre magi greatly differing in ability is in keeping with the original idea of the Rules Cyclopedia ogre spellcaster that was very rare but capable of up to a twelfth level of wizard casting ability.
Manacapuru tribesman CR 2
N Elite Human fighter 2
Initiative: +4, Listen +5, Spot +5
AC 18, Touch AC 14, Flat-Footed AC 14
hp 18 (2d10 +4)
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +3
Attack: ranged Greater Blowgun(10 ft range increment) +6(+7 in 30ft range) (d3+poison), or
thrown Javelin +6(+7 in 30ft range) (d6+1) or melee Shortspear +3 (d6+1)
BAB +2, Grp +3
Str 13, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 10
Combat Gear: Hide Armor, Light Wooden Shield, Greater Blowgun w/poison darts, 3 javelins
Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fighting, Point Blank Shot, Exotic Weapon Proficiency(Greater Blowgun)
Skills: Intimidate +4, Jump +6, Move Silently +5, Survival +4, Tumble +7 (Note apply a -4 armor check penalty when appropriate.)
The blowgun poison requires the target to take a DC 12 Fortitude save should they take any damage from the dart. Initial damage is d6 Con points, and Secondary damage is d6 Con points once again.
Tactics: The first six Manacapuru guard the entrances at location 1. As soon as they detect the party they yell a warning and fan out to take cover behind the nearby trees and snipe at the party until forced into melee. Xipe and the remaining four warriors will arrive in two rounds after the alarm has been sounded.
CE Large Giant CR 5
Initiative +6, Listen +9, Spot +9
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed AC 18
hp 39 (6 HD)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +4
Space 10ft, Reach 10ft
Speed 40ft, Fly 40ft(good maneuverability)
Attack: Composite Longbow +5(2d6+5/x3) or Greatsword +9 (3d6+7/19-20)
BAB +4, Grp +13
Str 21, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 17
Special Actions: Sneak attack +2d6
Combat Gear: Chain mail shirt
SQ: Fast Healing 5(regeneration), Spell Resistance 19
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (greatsword)
Skills: Concentration +10, Disguise +10, Intimidate +10
Spell-like abilities(Caster Level 6th)
2/day - Invisibility
1/day - Charm Person(DC 14), Lightning Bolt(DC 16), Gaseous Form, Swift Invisibility(See Spell Compendium)
Deceptive Veil(Su): As per the spell disguise self, save that the ogre mage can appear to be up to one size smaller.
Flight(Su): An ogre mage can cease or resume flight as a free action. While using gaseous form it can fly at its normal speed and has perfect maneuveraility.
Tactics: Xipe will start off disguised as a Manacapuru tribesman. He will attempt to line up as many enemy targets as possible for his lightning bolt. He will then use Invisibility to repeatedly fly up and drop back down into a position in the combat to make his reach, combat reflexes and sneak attack ability effective. Once he can no longer turn invisible, he fights until brought below 10hp, at which point he takes gaseous form and attempts to escape to his second floor lair (not shown on the adventure map). Should he be pursued to that chamber, he fights to the death.
Use the collected treasure already specified in Dungeon Magazine #141 from locations 1 and 2 of the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan as the ogre mage’s treasure.
D: Brotherhood Blockade
These pirates can be anyone, whether Hattians formerly associated with the Storm Soldiers or Heldanners who have been cast out of the Heldannic Knights. They will fly either a Thyatian or Heldannic flag and claim to have a letter of marque from the Heldannic Knights to confront vessels sailing into Pearl Island waters. Whether that letter is authentic or not the players should get a bonus to their Sense Motive check to know something is wrong. Lavinia isn't expecting any blockade so there is no prior warning as mentioned in the encounter and two pirate vessels attack.
Red Route – Takes place just outside Dwair coastal waters.
Blue Route – Takes place just after they depart Tamoachan.
As written the blockade encounter is very easy for 5th level PCs, and it was designed that way with the idea that not every encounter should be a life and death struggle. If the PCs capture the ship you can discourage them from selling it by having potential buyers give only low-ball offers considering its poor condition. If the PCs put efforts into repairing it then it can pay dividends for them later at Farshore, but if they don't bother it can sink during one of the two storm encounters.
E: Ruins of Fort Greenrock
This encounter can be skipped. Should you wish to give them another opportunity to earn a full or partial Dawn Council affiliation point that this encounter provided, you can have the Dawn Council offer the PCs a diplomatic or spy mission in Ravenscarp.
F: River Menace
This is the encounter with the aquatic hydra, location is the same for both red and blue routes. This river is named the Black River in the 1018 Mystaran almanac by Thyatians who explore it. As described in the almanac there is no waterfall and the river is navigable for some distance inland. Lavinia will recommend sailing both ships upriver a distance in order to collect fresh water, you can have the hydra attack at any time. The Jade Ravens can assist if this encounter is too tough as the adventure assumes the PCs will be 6th level by this time. Should the PCs find the shipwrecks underwater, the elven corpse mentioned will be a water elf from either Sasserine or Minrothad.
Red Route - This small hunter/gatherer village on an island becomes any one of a number of villages or settlements on the south coast of Dwair. The local Nuari are friendly and all the suggested events for Renkrue in the adventure will work well here. The Blue Nixie can disembark its people in a nearby village if you haven't developed many of the NPCs there so there isn't as much interaction with that crew.
Blue Route – A diversion to the Pearl Islands isn’t far out of the way, so the Sea Wyvern could still stop off on Dwair. But if not, Renkrue could be on a tiny island off the north-east coast of the Leopard Land region of the Hinterlands jungle. The missionaries were cleric followers of St. Cuthbert.
In addition to the suggested Renkrue encounters, here are some other possible encounters that can happen on the Pearl Islands.
Should a PC member of the affiliation Zelkarune's Horns decide to capture something on the island with the intention of shipping it back to Sasserine for the gladiator arena, a giant draco lizard is a good candidate and may be the only large common predator of the Pearl Islands. A good diplomacy roll can convince one or more of the locals to assist.
Should PCs decide to do some pearl diving, either on the Pearl Islands or while in the Thanegioth Archipelago, you can use these ad hoc rules to determine their success. The identify spell in 1st through 3rd edition always had a 100gp pearl as one of the spell components. 3/3.5E in particular turned up the whole magic item trade mini-game in order to keep PCs properly equipped for their level, a lot of players enjoy it including mine(much to my occasional irritation). So the identify spell gets heavily used and some players may wish to try finding their own supply.
The PCs will presumably trade any pearls not of sufficient quality to the locals in exchange for 100gp pearls. Using the trading rules found in the Darokin/Minrothad Gazetteers, you can allow a single roll on that table for trading the locals some of their pearls. For pearls, on the Pearl Islands the base modifier is -3(meaning tends to be cheaper than list price). This would be further modified by how successful pearl diving expedition went.
Each PC that participates in pearl diving would make one Swim check followed by one Search or Survival check to see how much they found, if anything. The Swim check provides bonuses to the Search/Survival check. A DC 10 result on the Swim check provides a +2 bonus to the subsequent Search/Survival check, with an additional +2 bonus for each higher DC reached by increments of 5. So a +4 bonus to the check at DC 15, a +6 bonus at DC 20, and so on.
The Search/Survival check(player's choice) has the following modifiers in addition to the bonus provided by the Swim check...
+2 racial bonus for water elves(this stacks with an elf's +2 bonus to Search checks)
+4 circumstance bonus for an Augury spell cast(does not stack with Divination)
+6 circumstance bonus for use of Water Breathing spells
+10 circumstance bonus for a Divination spell cast(does not stack with Augury)
A DC 20 result or higher means the PC finds enough pearls to influence the trade modifier by an additional -1. They find some low value pearls which they trade in. A DC 40 result means in addition to that they find a single 100gp pearl themselves. An additional 100gp pearl is found for every additional +20 on the DC result of the Search/Survival check.
A village like Renkrue will, of course, only have available a fixed number of pearls for trade. Divide the maximum gp limit as specified in the 3.5E DMG, around 200gp, by the final discounted price for a 100gp pearl to get the number of 100gp pearls the PCs can trade in.
H: The Pearl Current
This is the point where both routes join up for the final part of the journey, this and the rest of the geographical entries are the same location for red and blue.
This encounter can be skipped, but there have been suggestions by Mystara fans that the reason the Thanegioth Archipelago is infrequently visited is due to difficult currents to navigate as one proceeds west away from Ochalea.
This is the eastern-most island of the Thanegioth Archipelago.
J: The First Storm
This sends the PC's ship off north into the Sea of Dread, while the Blue Nixie manages to hold to its east-south-east course. Any other ships part of the voyage also scatter, but will make their way safely to the colony unless they were already in poor shape. Here is a good spot for water elves to use their navigational sense.
K: Journey’s End
Blown far off course, the heroes encounter this Sargasso as they sail back towards the Isle of Dread. The first caravel the PCs find, the Rage, is a small Thyatian warship which was part of the Thyatian armada during the Twaelar war. The last entries before the Rage was ensnared in the Sargasso indicate it was separated from the rest of the armada in 1016 AC.
Vine Horror stat block errata: Initiative +0, AC 18(+8 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 18, DR 5/bludgeoning
L: The Second Storm
This blows up soon after they get out of Journey's End. They get blown toward the coral reef to the northeast of the Isle of Dread. The PCs may spot Emraag the Dragon Turtle out enjoying the storm, an encounter with him here results in the Sea Wyvern being pushed into the coral reef. Emraag devours a sailor or two that falls into the water and departs just after bellowing above the storm in Aquan, “No tribute, no passage!”13
M: Shipwrecked on the Isle of Dread
They get their ship off the reef and limp toward shore…and the next adventure.
This Ochalean town is an optional location to visit, the last ship harbor available to repair and restock and possibly sell any captured pirate ships. This was also Lavinia Vanderboren’s home after she was sent away from Sasserine to study, so a longer stop for the sake of a side adventure can easily be added.
Most of the minor encounters don’t fit well for the suggested routes along the Davania coast. I wouldn’t expect independent coastal forts, only small forts found close to the different city-states. Ruins can be found along the Davania coast further east of Ravenscarp.
For the three minor encounters The Great Web, The Sacred Forest, and The Vast Burning, the best places to use those would be the Jungle of the Tiger Men along the south coast of Ochalea(Red Route), or Davania coastline close to the Yasuko Tribal Lands(Blue Route). Both have been largely unexplored by past writers, so who knows what lurks in those areas.
Dungeon Magazine #114
Backdrop: The Isle of Dread
More than two years before the Savage Tide AP was started, Paizo published an adventure set on the Isle of Dread, along with a campaign backdrop article to support the adventure. The backdrop article served as a gazetteer for the Isle of Dread, although it was designed for Greyhawk rather than Mystara. The backdrop article itself does not contain much information that won’t be found in the Savage Tide series, but there are a few additional tidbits of information including more detail on the village of Tanaroa. Here is a good location to address some general details on the Isle of Dread which are not directly addressed in the Savage Tide Adventure Path.
There was a mistake made in X1, between the size of the Isle of Dread on the Known World map, versus the size of the Isle of Dread on the main island map which has the numbered encounter locations. The main island map used a 6 mile per hex scale which makes the Isle of Dread approximately 240 miles long and 110 miles wide. While the larger scale Known World map assumed the Isle of Dread would use a 4 mile per hex scale14, meaning the Isle of Dread would be approximately 160 miles long and 75 miles wide.
The maps used in the Savage Tide AP assume the 6 mile per hex scale. You can adjust that back to the standard Known World assumption by treating all island distances as ⅓ shorter than the AP maps and the island still is quite big even at the smaller scale. Or keep it at the 6 mile per hex scale and remember the Isle of Dread is significantly larger when you use larger maps such as maps of the full Thanegioth Archipelago. In the latter case the Isle of Dread is now noticeably larger and longer in the north and south direction and you can also stretch out the whole island chain a bit further east and west so that the islands keep the same distance from each other
This timeline is designed to use a minimum of early history for the Thanegioth Archipelago and the Isle of Dread. This is to maximize utility and avoid conflicting with other fan materials. It does use material from the Mystaran Almanacs to document details leading up to the suggested start date of the Savage Tide campaign. The new events in the timeline follow the suggested history of the Isle of Dread in the Savage Tide campaign, namely that a human empire was established over 1300 years ago, defeated a city of aboleth soon after, and then was destroyed 1000 years ago by the unleashing of the first Savage Tide.
These time periods are very flexible, the 1000 years could easily be 900, 800 or 500 as needed, so feel free to adjust them.
Prehistory: Eastern Thanegioth is a single huge island at this time
~7800-7200 BC Y'hog Carnifex colonize the lands which will become Thanegioth. Troglodyte servitors work planations there.
~7200-7100 BC Carnifex abandon the troglodytes and plantations, some troglodytes depart for other lands, some remain.
2800 BC The Otieno begin establishing themselves in the northern Sea of Dread..
2750-2500 BC Eokai migrate from the Davanian coast northward, some settle on Eastern Thanegioth.
2500-2200 BC Tangoro people migrate from Minaea to the Serpent Peninsula.
2450 BC Kopru migrate to Eastern Thanegioth and begin to re-establish their empire, which they call Adhuza. They begin enslaving some of the current inhabitants, including the Mawa and aranea.
2450-1950 BC The Mawa people slowly migrate away from Eastern Thanegioth.
2300 BC Adhuza, the kopru empire, is on the ascendant and near the peak of its power.
1720-1700 BC Kopru Empire is in steep decline, Thanegioth is now an archipelago.
1200 BC Tanogoro migrate east from the Serpent Peninsula, some arrive at the Eastern Thanegioth Archipelago.
1000 BC Nithians discover Ierendi islands and the Makai people, some Nithians may also discover Thanegioth Archipelago.
614-603 BC The great Thyatian, Kerendan and Hattian tribes flee Milenian aggression by embarking on ships heading north for Brun. Some end up marooned in the Thanegioth Archipelago.
597 BC The kopru invite the aboleth to build a city under the Isle of Dread, in exchange for aboleth assistance in helping the kopru rebuild Adhuza
500 BC The Nithian Empire vanishes.
378 BC A thriving human civilization comes into prominence in the Eastern Thanegioth Archipelago, developing architecture, magic and theology. It encompases many of the tribes on the archipelago including those on the Isle of Dread, with its people able to partially subdue the thunder lizards on the island. Their capital is eventually built on the central plateau of the Isle of Dread.
350 BC The aboleth seize control of kopru territory, enslaving and partially dominating the kopru
304 BC The kopru begin launching brazen open attacks on the human civilization above them, in the hopes of provoking a retaliation that will overthrow the aboleth’s power.
303 BC War erupts between the aboleth and the human civilization, the aboleth are defeated with the deployment of Tlaloc’s Tear.
300 BC During the exploration of the Sea of Dread, the sea-gnomes of Deepreach discover the Twaelar civilization in the southern area near Thanegioth.
100 BC Alphatian conquest of the Pearl Islands triggers Nuari migrations into other areas of the Sea of Dread.
33 BC Under instruction from Demogorgon, the kopru begin cultivating the first shadow pearl.
8 AC The shadow pearl is complete and placed where the humans will find it.
12 AC The first savage tide is unleashed by the shadow pearl, the devastation wipes out the capital, and the human civilization collapses back to Stone Age technology. Most of the survivors are on the peninsula of the Isle of Dread behind the Great Wall. Other subjects on other islands become independent and go their own way. Demogorgon’s influence over the Isle of Dread is established, and only continues to increase.
700-800 AC A reliable sea-route from Brun to Davania is eventually charted as part of a period of exploration by Brun nations, some mariners call it the Strait of Dread.
832 AC Bugbears from Hule shipwreck on the island, they soon ally with the aranea.
850 AC One expedition from Brun drifts off west from the Strait of Dread, but makes its way back, reporting a chain of islands rich in ivory, gold and gems.
900 AC Twaelar Merrow Empire established as they finish subjugating aquatic tribes in the seas surrounding the Thanegioth Archipelago.
965 AC Rory Barbarosa makes peaceful contact with the natives on the Isle of Dread, and maps the coastline.
970 AC Rory Barbarosa murdered before he can return to the archipelago, his maps and ship log are disregarded.
~1000 AC Barbarosa's map and ship log are rediscovered and interest in exploring the eastern Thanegioth Archipelago is kindled.
1012 AC The kopru receive an emissary from Demogorgon, and begin work to produce quantities of shadow pearls.
1016 AC The city-state of Kastelios establishes a trade treaty with Thyatis and begins opening its trade routes with Thyatis.
1016 AC A group of three small Thyatian war galleys establish a waystation on the easternmost island in the Thanegioth Archipelago.
1016 AC After a major naval battle with the Twealar, the Thyatis armada lands at village of Mora on the Isle of Dread for recovery and resupply. Thyatis establish a military base near Mora.
1017 AC Twaelar attack Ravenscarp and Mora, the Mora base is badly damaged. The Twaelar soon realize the costs of the war are too great so first an armistice is established and then a peace treaty is signed. The Twaelar recognize the Thyatian claim to the Thanegioth Archipelago. A Twaelar consulate is established at Ravenscarp and the Mora base.
1017 AC Colonists from the city of Kastelios found a colony on the westernmost island of the Thanegioth Archipelago, Mykonos.
1017 AC Thyatis begins colonizing islands on the Thanegioth Archipelago.
1017 AC A disturbing number of Thyatian officers go missing at the Mora base.
1018 AC A massive storm hits the Isle of Dread peninsula, and a great demon appears near Mora, unleashing its full fury on the Thyatian base. The demon does not manifest long, but causes great damage and loss of life. The Thyatian governor and highest ranking military officer agree to abandon the Mora base and relocate all Thyatian personnel to other islands further east on the chain. The Twaelar also relocate their consulate to a safer island under Thyatian control. 1018 AC The Vanderborens depart Sasserine on two ships to found a colony on the Isle of Dread.
1019 AC An Ochalean trade combine sets up a colony on a previously uncharted island between the Thanegioth Archipelago and Ochalea proper.
1019 AC The Vanderborens conclude peaceful negotiations with the natives living on the peninsula and islands on the southeast corner of the Isle of Dread, and found the colony of Farshore on the small unoccupied island of Temute. They leave the colony to return to Sasserine to resupply, but lose one of their ships on the return journey. Further misfortunes increase the delay of their return.
1020 AC Under the subtle influence of Thanatos, the Heldannic Knights establish a small colony on the jungle island due west of the Usi village.
1021-1022 AC Beginning of the Savage Tide campaign...Vanderborens are murdered and their daughter Lavinia discovers the hidden colony and makes plans to return to reinforce the colony.
Who are the Natives of the Isle of Dread?
This has never been officially defined, and so this conversion will only make suggestions. The Tanogoro and Makai are likely early inhabitants but the Oltec may have been even earlier human inhabitants. Ochalea is fairly close to the island chain. Traladarans and Thyatians have both crossed the Sea of Dread on their way from one continent to another, so some are invariably going to end up in the Thanegioth Archipelago. This is true for anyone crossing, and is likely the reason there are a number of small diverse groups on the island, they get shipwrecked there.
You can also use the historical timeline in the previous issue of Threshold15, which provides some details on the people who have inhabited the Eastern Thanegioth Archipelago. In such a case, in addition to the mix of Makai, Tanagoro and Oltec, there would also be the Eokai, Mawa and Oteino people.
So the natives of the Thanegioth Archipelago are likely a mix of a few different human groups, with possibly different ethnic mixes for each island or cluster of islands in the chain. On one island the Tanagoro and Oltec may have warred with each other to extinction, leaving the Makai to settle the island and preserve their identity so it mirrors that of the Makai on Ierendi. On another island the dangers may have forced Makai, Oltec, Tanagoro and others to ally and intermarry so as to survive. A few Nithians may have intermarried on the island chain and their diluted bloodline escaped Immortal notice, and some of their descendants may have been the ones to start the meteoric rise of the civilization that defeated the aboleth.
Because Paizo used the term Olman to describe the natives on Greyhawk, for simplicity this conversion uses the term Oltec. While this may not be true for all of the Thanegioth Archipelago, on the Isle of Dread on Mystara, the human civilization which rose to a great height before being brought down by the kopru has many of its cultural and technological aspects in common with the Oltecs. The natives that still live on the Isle of Dread have preserved those cultural aspects as well.
Dungeon Magazine #114
Optional Adventure: Torrents of Dread
More than two years before the Savage Tide AP was started, Paizo published an adventure set on the Isle of Dread, along with a campaign backdrop article to support the adventure. This adventure takes place on the peninsula, near the town of Mora. It features a corrupted Oltec Zombie Master in league with kopru who are unleashing a devastating magical storm on the island as they complete a ritual to summon a powerful servant of Demogorgon.
The adventure as it stands needs nothing to convert it to Mystara in terms of encounters. But should you decide to incorporate this adventure into the Savage Tide AP, here are some suggestions.
Bullywugs appear in this adventure as dominated servants of the kopru. Once again you can use the frogfolk modifiers provided in Adventure #2. Perhaps the Temple of the Frog once had a presence on the Isle of Dread, or perhaps some of its frogfolk found a home on the island long ago.
Thyatians Abandon Base Near Mora
In the Mystara almanacs, Thyatis establishes a base on Mora in 1017 AC as part of their war with the Twaelar Empire. After they win, they start establishing plans to colonize the Thanegioth Archipelago. By the time of the Savage Tide AP, the Thyatians have relocated to another island in the Archipelago. The reason why is due to the kopru, but this adventure can be used to flesh out the specifics.
The kopru grow concerned about the Thyatians, and dispatch some of their number to the peninsula. The kopru begin by dominating some Thyatian officers, but eventually use the plot of this adventure to succeed in badly damaging the Thyatian base. The demon servant summoned only manifests for a short time, but it is enough to convince the Thyatians that they must relocate before they try again.
Now with the colony of Farshore seeing increased activity, a few kopru decide to try the ritual once again.
Using this Adventure with the Savage Tide PCs
Should you wish to integrate this adventure into the Savage Tide AP, the ideal time is during the Tides of Dread adventure, when the PCs must explore the island and build up the colony of Farshore to protect it against the upcoming attack of the Crimson Fleet. Completing Torrents of Dread can be a way to secure Oltec help and further Oltec allies in the coming battle. However, this adventure is designed for 6th level PCs, while the PCs are expected to be 9th or 10th level while completing Tides of Dread.
Should the PCs have somehow managed to avoid being shipwrecked when they first came to the island, they will have avoided most of the fourth adventure. In such a case this adventure can help fill in and provide the necessary experience to put Tides of Dread back on track.
Using this Adventure with the Jade Ravens
As an alternative to having the PCs complete this adventure, the players could instead dispatch the Jade Ravens, and possibly Lavinia, to complete this adventure. Should the players like the idea they can each take over an NPC to complete this adventure while their PCs are completing other tasks on the Isle of Dread. In that case you can use the Jade Ravens and Lavinia’s stats from the Farshore backdrop article where they are 7th level characters.
Using this Adventure to Document Thyatian Defeat
As a darker way to introduce the Isle of Dread, instead of playing this adventure during the time period of the Savage Tide campaign, you instead run this adventure before the campaign, or as a flashback during the campaign. You can give the players Thyatian characters to play as they try to put a stop to the kopru plan. This works best if the players themselves already have some knowledge of the Isle of Dread and know about kopru, otherwise it may not be worth spoiling them on who the kopru are. In this scenario the PCs are likely to fail and perhaps even die, feel free to stack the opposition against them. Once the adventure is over the players will have some dread and grudges against the Lords of Dread to carry over to the Savage Tide campaign.
Substituting Thyatians for Encounters
Feel free to substitute some or all of the frogfolk warriors with Thyatian soldiers that the kopru were able to isolate and enslave. Some of those the kopru captured were elite frogmen from the Marine Amphibious Division16.
Thyatian Frogman CR 3
LN Human fighter 3
Init +6, Listen -1, Spot -1
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18
hp 25 (3d10+3)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +0
Attack: mwk trident +7 (1d8+2) or mwk shortsword +6 (1d6+2) or ranged harpoon gun +7 (1d8)
BAB +3, Grp +5
Str 15, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12
Combat Gear: Potion of cure light wounds, flask of alchemist fire, frogsuit
SQ: Resist fire 10, Resist cold 10, Poison Gas immunity
Feats: Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload, Weapon Focus(harpoon gun), Weapon Focus(trident)
Skills: Climb +4, Intimidate +5, Jump +7, Swim +7, Tumble +5
Possessions: Combat Gear, Masterwork Trident, Masterwork Shortsword, Harpoon Gun, Frogsuit
The Thyatian frogmen wear a frogsuit which provides full plate protection along with fire and cold resistance as well as poisonous gases. It does not restrict movement and allows full movement underwater with no armor check penalty. The harpoon gun functions as a light crossbow and may be used without penalty underwater or in heavy rain.
A Thyatian marine has the stats above with the following modifications.
Thyatian Marine CR 3
Human fighter 3
Initiative +6, Listen -1, Spot -1
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16
hp 25 (3d10+3)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +0
Attack: mwk shortsword +7 (1d6+2) or heavy crossbow +7 (1d10)
BAB +3, Grp +5
Str 15, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12
Combat Gear: Potion of cure light wounds, flask of alchemist fire
Feats: Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload, Weapon Focus(heavy crossbow), Weapon Focus(shortsword)
Skills: Climb +7, Intimidate +4, Jump +7, Swim +4, Tumble +5 (Note apply a -6 armor check penalty when appropriate.)
Possessions: Combat Gear, Masterwork Shortsword, Heavy Crossbow, Banded mail
Dungeon Magazine #142
Adventure #4: Here There Be Monsters
The fourth adventure in the Savage Tide AP is the first adventure set on the Isle of Dread. Going back to review the original adventure, you can see just how much effort Paizo writers and editors made to keep their 3.5 adaptation true to the original module. The original X1 featured a sandbox campaign on an island with a Lost World theme. You have both dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals and birds featured in either fixed encounters or wandering monster tables(or both). You also get a hodgepodge of new races that live in small enclaves on this island who are introduced for the first time to D&D including the aranea, kopru, phanatons, and rakasta. Odd to think of all these races as making their first appearance at the very same time as D&D Known World countries like Thyatis, Glantri, Ylaruam, Rockhome.
The original X1 could be played in any number of ways, I suspect the default for many of us was first a visit to the peaceful natives on the southeastern peninsula followed by a typical mapping hex-crawl to explore the island in order to find all the major encounters and then a treasure hunt in the lost city on the central plateau of the island. One page has some alternative suggestions, but the cover artwork of X1 suggested another possible starting point..both the blue and orange covers depict a party arriving on the island from the sea only to encounter a Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Or is that an Allosaur on the blue cover?)
So this adventure in the Savage Tide AP takes that latter theme and runs with it. Shipwrecked off the coast and without support, the PCs and surviving NPCs have to hike it down the east coast of the island. First encounter on the Isle of Dread is a hungry TRex.
In preparation for this article, we went through all the fixed monster encounters and the wandering monster tables in the original X1 in order to compare the original to the monsters used in this AP. Full details of that analysis appear in the conversion notes for the next adventure where Paizo put in their own random encounter tables, but conversion notes for the planned encounters in this adventure are based on that analysis.
Making the Journey Instead of Waiting for Rescue
You need to be prepared in case your PCs decide to sit tight on the beach and wait for rescue. It is possible through sending spells or other magic that the party is in touch with Lavinia, whose ship the Blue Nixie should be arriving or have already arrived at Farshore.
There apparently was something written up about this by the author of the adventure, but it got cut for lack of space. You can have Lavinia giving them a report of a badly damaged Blue Nixie limping into Farshore at the time they contact her, and have her ask them to try and make their way south to get closer while repairs are made. If Lavinia already knows about Emraag the Dragon Turtle, that is even more of a reason to start moving. If you use the suggestion of Emraag’s appearance at the end of the last adventure, the PCs will have a reason to get out of the area to avoid the Blue Nixie suffering a similar fate as the Sea Wyvern.
The beach and jungle the PCs must enter on the way to the mountains are the hunting grounds of a monster from the 3.0 Fiend Folio called Terror Birds. Sure enough, they made an appearance in the original X1 as Phorohacos or "Sword Beak" in the wandering monster tables and in the monster appendix at the back. The PCs will likely know the name terror bird from the Isle of Dread ecology notes that they helped Lavinia recover from the Vanderboren vault in the first adventure of this AP, but for fun you have the NPC Urol Forol insist that the proper term is Sword Beak. Or maybe Axe Beak, at some point it got changed in one of the Creature Catalogs.
Most of the remaining encounters in this adventure include appropriate monsters which showed up in X1 somewhere, whether it be from fixed locations(the gargoyles from the aerie on the vulture-head east peninsula), or wandering monster tables(you can roll up to 3 mummies appearing on Wandering Monster Table 1 from the orange X1). Of those few that aren't in the original material we have a mix of classic D&D monsters(like the black pudding) and others which appear in Mystara fan material(like the spirit naga).
So there really isn't a need to change much in this adventure, and as it stands it captures both the X1 feel and a feel of being part of Mystara. This is also true for the next three adventures all set on the Isle of Dread. Still, there is room for some changes to add in more Mystara details in a few of the encounters.
The Lone Aranea
It was an interesting choice to make the only set encounter with aranea in the Savage Tide AP be a role-play opportunity instead of a standard fight. I am happy with the encounter itself, although I am unhappy with how aranea got converted to 3rd Edition D&D, something that wasn't Paizo's fault.
It was an innocent mistake, someone simply found the 2E AD&D stats for aranea in the Savage Coast Monster Appendix and updated the monster for 3E in the Monster Manual. Unfortunately what they didn't know is that the original aranea was never a shapechanger...that was specific to aranea from Herath who are native to the Savage Coast.
That idea came from Bruce Heard during his Princess Ark series, but aranea elsewhere in Mystara lacked such magic. That would include aranea living in subterranean regions bordering Shadowelf lands, the Isle of Dawn, and, of course the Isle of Dread. The non-shapeshifting aranea 2E version is in the Monstrous Compendium Mystara Appendix, but apparently that was overlooked. So this encounter has the PCs meet an aranea in human form, surrounded by spiders, who is interested in talking. They most likely won't realize she herself is a spider until she leaves.
For those who prefer any encounter with aranea on the Isle of Dread to be done in spider form only, even though that increases the likelihood your PCs will start fighting first and asking questions later, here is a version of Lithira who is a spider-only aranea. Rather than using the 3.5 Monster Manual's baseline, this uses the Pathfinder version of an aranea17, which essentially advances an aranea two extra hit dice and caster levels as a magical beast first.
I then added two more levels of sorcerer to her in order to give her access to 3rd level magic including the tongues spell. She will cast that first in order to properly communicate with PCs, to make it a little easier to have this be a non-combat encounter as intended.
Since she is described as old, the middle and old age stat modifiers have been applied. Thus her Str, Dex and Con are at -3 and Int, Wis, and Cha are at +2. This gives her an extra +5 skill points for her 5HD and +8 skill points for the two sorcerer levels.
Lithira CR 7
N Aranea sorcerer 4
Initiative +6, Listen +7, Spot +7
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, +2 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 38, (5d10) + (2d4)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +8
Spd 40 ft, climb 20ft
Attack: Bite +8(d6-1 plus poison) or web (+8 ranged, DC 14, hp 5)
BAB +7, Grp +6
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 18
BAB +7, Grp +6
Feats: Eschew Materials, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Weapon Finesse(bite), Improved Counterspell
Skills: Climb +13, Concentration +10, Escape Artist +7, Jump +12, Knowledge(arcana) +8, Listen +7, Spot +7
Sorcerer Spells (CL 7th)
3rd (5/day) - Hold Person(DC 17), Tongues
2nd (7/day) - Blur, Invisibility, Mirror Image
1st (7/day) - Charm Person (DC 15), Color Spray(DC 15), Mage Armor (1 already cast), Silent Image (DC 15), Sleep (DC 15)
0th (6/day) - Daze (DC 14), Detect Magic, Flare(DC 14), Ghost Sound (DC 14), Light, Mage Hand, Resistance
The following box text can be used as they approach the clearing in the center of the ruins where the aranea and spiders are to be found. Aside: I am not sure if aranea were ever officially given a power to control or at least direct spiders and giant spiders, but that seems to always be a universal assumption by game writers that use them18.
As you approach the center, you see a throne made of webs and bone. A spider the size of a small pony clings to the throne, its greenish-brown body extending over the back rest even as its front legs crouch in the seat. A massive odd-shaped lump is notable on its back, something you have not ever seen on a spider before. It moves its front limbs, and you realize they end in flexible digits...almost like fingers!
A spellcraft check with a -2 penalty will tell a PC with the skill that a tongues spell is being cast.
Assuming conversation is opened, the PCs hear the aranea with the voice of an old woman. It is likely she is aware of Thyatian incursions to the island, so instead of saying "I have not seen your like in an age.", she might say, "I have not seen your like in a generation." or "40/80 seasons", instead of “generation”.
Should combat begin Lithira will favor Hold Person and should she paralyze all the PCs she will start (a one-sided) conversation again, while allowing her spiders to climb all over them in order to make them sweat.
In addition to Lithira's spider companions, she also has a bugbear bodyguard. The original X1 had bugbears and aranea as friendly, with bugbears patrolling the ground below the aranea web lairs. Nowhere else on Mystara can bugbears be found having cordial relationships with aranea, so next is a little historical background on how bugbears came to the Isle of Dread and why they have partnered with aranea.
Bugbears on the Isle of Dread
In the year 827 AC, a high-ranking Hulean military official returned from Davania with a calculated plan. The city of Sasserine had always been able to withstand assaults by Hulean/Garganin naval and land forces, in large part due to its defensive fortifications. But this official had observed that its plantations and farms outside the city were much more vulnerable, albeit difficult to reach due to the surrounding swamp and jungle.
For the next five years, Hule embarked on an unprecedented and extensive military training program, recruiting the most aggressive and warlike bugbears that lived in the nation. Despite this being the period of the "Long Conquest" enough gold and resources were provided such that several large companies of bugbears, nearly a thousand in total, were able to complete the program. Taking advantage of a bugbear's natural stealth, they were now trained to survive in jungle and swamp terrain, as well as guerrilla warfare tactics.
A small fleet of ships was assembled to transport these bugbears first to Garganin, and from there to the jungles near Sasserine. There the bugbears would begin launching small scale attacks on vulnerable Sasserine targets as well as build alliances with local frogfolk. They would work to bleed Sasserine by a thousand small cuts until the next major Hulean assault on the city could be conducted.
But the meticulous plan came to nothing when the small fleet was nearly annihilated by a fierce storm as it crossed the Sea of Dread. Only three shattered ships survived, the rest lost with all hands. The remaining ships were lashed together and the survivors floated in the sea for two weeks. Eventually the human sailors were eaten, along with some of the weakest bugbears.
The ships washed ashore on the Isle of Dread. The numerous dangers of the island took a further toll on the survivors, but their training, size and abilities allowed them to persevere. Eventually the bugbears came into contact with the aranea, and soon an accord was reached. The aranea are the dominant partners in this alliance, occasionally even using the bugbears as a food source, but overall this alliance has allowed both races to prosper and survive.
The bugbears have lost most of their Hulean cultural heritage, they even allow the aranea to name their young.
Thuraniran CR 5
N Bugbear rogue 2/ranger 1
Initiative +1, Listen +4, Spot +4
AC 16, touch 11, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +3 natural, +2 leather armor)
hp 39, (3d8 + 3d6 + 12)
Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +3
Attack Morningstar +6 melee (d8+2) or Composite Longbow +7 (d6+2Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +3
BAB +4, Grp +6
Str 15, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 9
Special Actons: Sneak attack +1d6, trap finding, evasion, wild empathy
Combat Gear: Potion of cure light wounds
Feats: Alertness, Weapon Focus(Longbow), Track, Iron Will
Skills: Climb +5, Disable Device +6, Hide +11, Knowledge(nature) +2, Move Silently +11, Survival +4, Listen +4, Spot +4
Favored enemy: Animals
Thuraniran was assigned to Lithira when he was a young whelp. He started as a hunter and eventually became her most trusted bodyguard. When Lithira was exiled he chose to follow her rather than abandon her, and continues to serve as her protector and companion.
Thuraniran is well-hidden thirty feet away inside the remains of a building and currently has his bow trained on the party. He will not fire unless Lithira is attacked directly. Should this happen his first shot will target a PC who is flat footed, preferably a spellcaster. He will then switch targets to any animal companions among the party before continuing to target spellcasters.
Should the party detect him while conversing with Lithira he will reluctantly emerge from his hiding spot to stand near Lithira while remaining silent.
The final major location in this adventure is a shrine dedicated to Demogorgon. A couple of encounters in that shrine will get some further treatment.
Fiendish Rock Baboons
The final section of this adventure is a shrine dedicated to Demogorgon. In the shrine there is a clan of fiendish baboons which attack as a mob, and while the Savage Tide AP mentions rock baboons elsewhere on the Isle of Dread, Paizo didn't distinguish them at all from normal baboons in the Monster Manual. So in the shrine they applied the fiendish template to the standard baboon from the Monster Manual, then made them a mob, rules for which are found in the 3.5 DMG II.
Rock baboons did feature in the original Isle of Dread, this conversion upgrades the mob of baboons to rock baboons.
Upgrading the fiendish baboons to fiendish rock baboons doesn't significantly increase the power of the mob, as mob rules make a number of stats fixed, including number of creatures(48), hit dice(30). base attack bonus(+22) and Wisdom(10). So using the 3.5 baseline stats for a rock baboon the statblock changes in the following ways…
Strength increases by 1 to 16.
Constitution increases by 2 to 14.
Fort save increases by 1 to +19.
Grapple increases by 1 to +37.
Climb increases by 1 to +11.
Listen increases by 1 to +5.
Trample now does 2d6+4 points of damage.
Everything else stays the same. You could up the 165 hit points of the mob to take into account rock baboons have an extra hit dice compared to ordinary baboons, make it say 195 or 225 hp. But be careful especially if the players have never fought a mob or swarm before as this encounter has resulted in at least one TPK for a group playing the campaign.
According to the DMG II mob rules, once the mob is taken down to 0hp the mob is broken with 60% casualties, half of those 60% dead and the other half at 0hp. That leaves about 19 fiendish rock baboons with some hit points left that could continue the fight as individuals if you are so inclined. Slap the fiendish template onto a rock baboon’s 3.5 stats and you are good to go.
For anyone using BECMI/RC D&D, there is a precedent for something similar to these mob rules. A rough conversion to BECMI/RC D&D could be done as follows-19
Take this mob and break it into four squads of 11-12 rock baboons each. Each squad attacks as a HD monster of the total hit dice of all the rock baboons remaining in the squad. 11 rock baboons would attack as a 22-HD monster, for example. Assign a penalty to the to-hit roll to take into account the baboons are feral and uncoordinated. A -4 or -6 to hit would be good. A -4 to hit means that each attack by the squad has a THACO of 8, thus an attack hits AC0 on an 8 or higher.
Importantly each baboon squad has to roll a dice for their effective number of attacks each round. That die has to be the same size or smaller than the number of baboons in the squad minus the leader. So an 11 baboon squad will roll d10 for their number of attacks each round. When one baboon is killed, that squad now rolls a d8, and so on until there are no more than 4-5 baboons left in which case they fight as individuals, or split up and buttress the remaining squads.
At full strength with four squads, the baboons will be able to make roughly 22 club attacks and 22 bite attacks each round doing d6 and d3 hp of damage respectively for each hit. Assuming they hit 60% of the time, that translates to about 65hp of damage per round in total. This will naturally be divided up as squads split up to attack different characters. Use those numbers as a baseline and adjust according to your party's strength.
Ilzytik the Spirit Naga
Another encounter in the shrine is Ilzytik the spirit naga. I wouldn't consider a spirit naga native to the Isle of Dread, but spirit nagas are native to Ochalea20, so let's give her a name change and some background as to how she came to the island.
Shek Xingjuan served a powerful evil spirit in Ochalea who moves among human society undetected. Serving him as his foremost assassin, Shek's skills were instrumental in building and maintaining his power. Devoted and loyal to him, she regarded her relationship as something more than just servant and master.
His last assignment for her was to put to death a sea merchant and his closest companions when they were far away from Ochalea. She stowed away on their ship and completed the murders soon after the ship arrived at the Thanegioth Archipelago. She had been told a one charge teleportation helm would then transport her back home safely, but to her shock the device did not function. She barely escaped the ship with her life, feeling rage and despair over being abandoned to fate.
She began to wander the islands, eventually making her way to the Isle of Dread, in hopes of finding new allies who could eventually help her achieve revenge. Only able to make contact with the exile Olangru so far, she bides her time hoping to achieve greater power through Demogorgon and his minions.
As part of her tactics, the text of the adventure says, "Once alerted, she casts disguise self, changing her appearance to that of a zombie naga so as to trick opponents into underestimating her."
I never heard of a "zombie naga". I do know of a bone naga which is an undead type of naga. I think the author meant applying the zombie template to a naga, which technically is a "naga zombie". Considering that most PCs will not have encountered a naga before I am not sure how they are supposed to underestimate the naga zombie. But I do see this tactic being useful if she can get the PC cleric to waste a round turning undead and possibly another PC throwing something only effective against undead at her. If you are willing to stretch the spell definition a bit, she could disguise herself as a giant snake instead.
Non-Immortal, Non-Exalted “Least” Demons/Fiends
Although there is the small possibility of encountering dretches in the second adventure, the masters of the shrine in this adventure are the first significant demons in the Savage Tide campaign. The demons here are bar-lguras and designed to be a powerful challenge for 8th level characters. This fits with earlier editions of AD&D and how Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms portrayed demons.
But the perspective on demons/fiends for Mystara was quite different due to the rule set, where there needed to be challenges for 30+ level characters and Immortal-level PCs. In the Master level modules there were a couple of demon Immortals that could be killed by a very high level party wielding at least one artifact. In the Immortals box set the demons got a power boost being Immortals themselves, a major "tribe" in the Sphere of Entropy, able to go toe to toe with Immortal PCs. This put them out of reach of mortals except in the most unusual circumstances, such as the use of truenames(see the box set itself for details).
Much later, the Wrath of the Immortals box set pushed these demons down a bit to "Lesser Fiends" who are Exalted creatures, a level between Immortals and mortals. These exalted demons still have access to enough power points to gain 36th level spell-casting, however. It was possible for mortal PCs to take down an exalted lesser fiend if they won initiative and put enough damage on it before it could cast something...since their hit points weren't too high. But otherwise an Exalted demon played intelligently is likely to lead to a TPK for most mortal parties. Banning certain spells, such as timestop shenanigans, would of course dramatically change probability outcomes.
Regardless, if you look through all the products for Mystara you can find hints at the assumption that there really are hordes of lesser/least demons in the Abyss that don't even reach the level of Exalted. Mostly I would chalk that up to the built in assumptions of writers that were drawing on general D&D lore. In GAZ321, for example, there is a beautiful wizardess who offers to marry the man who can kill the demon that scarred her face. Such a goal was presented as possible to be achieved. There are also imp familiars, who are not always referred to as Immortals.
In any case, should you adhere to the original Immortals box set cosmology or Wrath of the Immortals cosmology, or a mixture between the two, you need to figure out what you are going to do. IMO, there certainly is room for "standard" demons that make up most of the hordes in the Abyss. This conversion goes forward with that assumption, along with the idea that some of the demons have achieved exalted status making for exceptionally powerful vrocks or succubi, just to provide two examples.
Other extra-planar races like slaad(Dungeon Magazine #141 and #146) as well as a yugoloth(Dungeon Magazine #146) also make appearances, so keep that in mind for your campaign’s cosmology.
Dungeon Magazine #143:
Adventure #5: Tides of Dread
This adventure begins on Farshore, the colony founded by Sasserine in the "safe" area of the Isle of Dread, that being the southeastern section where the more peaceable natives live. This adventure is the most non-linear of four set on the Isle of Dread, and closely follows the spirit of the original X1. The main goal in this adventure is to gather resources and make alliances in order to defend Farshore from attacks by the Crimson Fleet, with the major assault providing a satisfying conclusion to the adventure. To accomplish this, the PCs begin exploring the island and meeting the various inhabitants, along with plenty of wandering monsters. It is time for some serious hex-crawling, and the first few parts of this conversion will analyze the wandering monster tables in both the original X1 and this adventure.
So first let's break out X1. This being the first adventure for the Expert box set you find plenty of references on the three wandering monster charts to creatures in the basic and expert set monster chapters, including, but not limited to, cave bears, centaurs, giant crocodiles, cyclops, dire wolves, black, green and red dragons, dryads, prehistoric elephants, ghouls, hill and stone giants, hydras, living statues, giant lizards, lizardmen, lycanthropes, mummies, neanderthals, rhagodessas, robber flies, rocs, rock baboons, giant scorpions, skeletons and zombies, giant snakes and spiders, giant toads, treants, trolls, wights and wraiths, and wyverns. That is in addition to all the dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals like the great saber-toothed cat and the megatherium(a twenty foot tall giant ground sloth).
There are a few fixed encounters featuring monsters which don't appear as wandering monsters for whatever reason...they include sea snakes, water termites, pirates, hippogriffs, gargoyles, bugbears, ogres, troglodytes, and giant crabs and oysters.
One interesting fact is that the south eastern peninsula behind the wall is covered by Table 1 which has just conventional D&D monsters. You only start to see the prehistoric creatures once you leave that area, with prehistoric mammals(Table 2) predominant in the southern areas of the island but north of the great wall, and dinosaurs(Table 3) predominant in areas north of the central river which cuts in a northeast/southwest direction across the island and central plateau. There isn't much in the way of explanation for how they tend to stay segregated like that. Triceratops do appear in both tables, and even on the central plateau(!) although the central plateau encounter tables for this AP do not appear until Dungeon #145.
The Savage Tide AP shifts the encounter tables around a bit to go for a more consistent theme. This issue also begins to detail more of the history of the Isle of Dread in the Savage Tide campaign. It explains that the Isle of Dread originally did not have dinosaurs, but instead they came later, along with demons when Demogorgon's influence began to sway heavily over the island. Many of the local fauna were wiped out by this invasion, but a few species persisted, including wild boars, rock baboons and terror birds.
It then provides three wandering monster tables of its own. The first table is for the area behind the great wall, called Islands and Peninsula encounters. This covers the same area as Table 1 in X1, the "safe" part of the Isle of Dread. The second table is Aquatic encounters, which covers the seas surrounding the Isle of Dread. X1 only used fixed encounters for the sea. And third is the Mainland encounters, covering the rest of the Isle of Dread. The Mainland encounter table has separate entries for each of the major terrain types, including jungle, swamp, savannah, mountain and the interior lakes.
For the Savage Tide Isle of Dread, most of the prehistoric mammals can only be found behind the great wall (Islands and Peninsula), often as the dire form of the animal from the 3.5 Monster Manual. Only terror birds and dire bats made it onto the Mainland encounter table. Dinosaurs appear on the Mainland encounter table and in the surrounding seas Aquatic table.
With regard to the origin of dinosaurs on the island, I prefer staying true to X1 with the idea that dinosaurs have always been there and did not go extinct there as they did elsewhere in the world. One could explain this by way of the Carnifex who preserved them or that the Immortal Ka did so.
Island and Peninsula Encounters Table
The idea that prehistoric mammals can be found in this area and the central plateau, out of reach of the carnivorous dinosaurs, makes sense. There is one substitution suggestion and a few window dressing changes to tweak this list for Mystara.
For all the dire animals, use the Monster Manual stats for the creature but re-skin it to make it more fitting as a giant version of the creature or a prehistoric creature or even just bring back a BECMI classic.
Dire Tiger becomes a Saber-tooth Tiger(The dire tiger is CR 8, while the Frostburn book has a CR 5 Sabre-tooth Tiger.)
Dire Boars become Giant Boars22.
Dire Apes become advanced White Apes.
Dire Rats become Giant Rats.
The only creature to consider tossing out entirely is the third entry in the table, the ahuizotl. It is essentially an aquatic leucrotta. Instead you could try putting normal boars on the table, and swapping entries with the dire boars so it is more likely to encounter the normal sized boars than the giant ones.
03-08 1d8 boars
09-10 1d4 dire boars
That way the natives can have hunting be a little safer.
Another nice touch Paizo did was to give specific names to the snakes and giant spiders by using real world species rather than just use "huge spider" or "large viper". This lets you look up the real world species for more description. The real life shrieking spider is disturbing enough, the giant one may cause some fear.
Should you want to mix in some more D&D basic giant spiders and giant lizards into this table in the spirit of the original X1, statistics are easily found on Pandius or a trusty Rules Cyclopedia.
Aquatic Encounters Table
This one has a good mix of dangerous giant creatures as well as dinosaurs. This is consistent with the Mystaran almanacs which state aquatic dinosaurs exist around the Thanegioth Archipelago.
One suggestion is to replace the first entry in the list, which is an Octopus Tree from the Fiend Folio. Any intelligent race would want these things wiped out in any area they happen to find them. Instead you can try this encounter with members of the Twaelar Empire, the underwater empire that controls much of the area around the Thanegioth Archipelago. This encounter is based on description of Twealar forces in conjunction with the 3.5 Monster manual, and consists of a base patrol that has gotten close to the Isle of Dread. Note that merfolk are called merrow in Mystara, and the 3.5 D&D merrow are actually called aquatic ogres in Mystara.
The merrow patrol appears on a percentile roll of 01-02 on the Aquatic Encounters table.
Merrow Patrol Leader CR 6
LN Elite (Merfolk) Humanoid (aquatic) bard 6
Initiative +2, Listen +5, Spot +2
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12
hp 36 (6 HD)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +6
Spd Land 5ft, Swim 50ft
Attack: mwk trident +6(d8+1) or mwk heavy crossbow +7(+8 in 30 ft range) (d10/19-20)
BAB +4, Grp +5
Str 13, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16
Special Actions: Bardic Music, Countersong, Fascinate, Inspire Courage +1, Inspire competence, Suggestion
Combat Gear: Wand of Bless, Wand of Mage Armor
SQ: amphibious, Bardic Knowledge +6, low-light vision
Feats: Dodge, Great Fortitude, Point Blank Shot
Skills: Balance +6, Bluff +7, Concentration +7, Hide +6, Jump +2, Listen +5, Perform(sing) +13, Sense Motive +4, Spellcraft +5(decipher scrolls +7), Spot +2, Swim +9, Tumble +7, Use Magical Device +9(for scrolls +11)
Bardic Spells (CL 6th)
2nd (3/day) - Animal Messenger, Heroism, Hypnotic Pattern
1st (4/day) - Cause Fear(DC 14), Charm Person (DC 14), Cure Light Wounds, Summon Monster I
0th (4/day) - Flare, Know Direction, Mage Hand, Message, Resistance, Summon Instrument
Extra Languages: Thyatian, Olman(Thanegioth Archipelago)
Possessions: Leather Armor, Masterwork Trident, Masterwork Heavy Crossbow
Shock Trooper Aquatic Ogre CR 5
N (Merrow) barbarian 2
Initiative +1, Listen +4, Spot +2
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 17
hp 70, (4d8 + 2d12 + 27)
Fort +11, Ref +2, Will +1(+3 raging)
Spd Swim 50ft
Attack: mwk longspear +12 (d8+9)
BAB +5, Grp +16
Str 24, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 6
Special Actions: Rage 1/day
Combat Gear: Partial Carapace Armor
SQ: Darkvision 60 ft, low-light vision, uncanny dodge
Feats: Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus(longspear)
Skills: Intimidate +2, Listen +4, Swim +13*, Spot +2
*The Climb +5 ogres get is changed to Swim +5 for aquatic ogres in the Twaelar Empire, they also get the same racial bonuses for Swim as merfolk(+8 racial bonus to Swim checks and they can take 10 for a check when swimming).
10 Merrow Warriors
(Merfolk) hp 8, Monster Manual page 185
The Twaelar Empire does not normally send its patrols too close to the Isle of Dread, but this patrol has taken an interest in the PCs and their ship, having determined that they are not with Thyatis, which is the only nation's shipping the Twaelar have agreed not to harm after the recent 1015-1017 AC war. They are cautious as the patrol leader is a veteran from that war.
The merrow swim alongside the ship (or approach the ship if it is stationary) staying just inside range with their heavy crossbows, with the ogre and half the merrow hidden deeper underwater. The patrol leader calls out to the captain and PCs, demanding to know their business. He then demands that they depart the area immediately, wanting their ship to either turn around and head back, or, if they are currently repairing the Sea Wyvern, to abandon the wrecked ship.
The PCs may use diplomacy, the merrow patrol leader is unfriendly. If he can be made at least friendly he will leave them in peace. If only made indifferent the patrol will not attack but will resort to other measures (see aftermath of a fight breaking out).
Should diplomacy fail to move the patrol leader at all, the entire patrol will engage except for the ogre, who will remain hidden near the patrol leader, protecting him should anyone attempt to engage the leader in melee. The entire patrol remains in the water to benefit from the improved cover(-8 to AC, +4 to Reflex saves). The merrow warriors will snipe at crew and support NPCs first rather than target the main combatants(PCs). The merrow patrol leader will have already pre-cast bless on his men and mage armor on himself, he will use his singing and magic to support his fellows.
Any merrow that gets wounded will go underwater and flee. Should any be incapacitated a fellow merrow will disengage and swim the victim to safety. Once half the patrol has fled the rest will withdraw and flee, regrouping later.
In the aftermath of hostilities, the patrol leader sends a message for reinforcements, and begins to use his patrol to shadow the PCs and attempt to drive local aquatic monsters into their path. This effectively raises the percentage chance of an aquatic encounter from now on (from 4% to 10%). This will continue indefinitely, although there will be no encounters during any time period when the ship is at Farshore or in Gallivant Cove (Emraag’s domain). This ongoing harassment only stops when one of the following conditions occurs...
1) The patrol observes or finds strong evidence* the PCs have killed any kopru.
2) The patrol observes or finds strong evidence* the PCs have killed any devilfish.
3) Emraag the Dragon Turtle is slain by the PCs. (The PCs encounter him in Issue #144.)
4) The PCs figure out what is going on and manage to approach the patrol and either wipe it out or re-engage with diplomacy successfully.
5) A Twaelar military company arrives to destroy the PCs ship. Note this company will not arrive if conditions 1-3 are satisfied, or if the merrow patrol is successfully made friendly at some point with diplomacy.
* Strong evidence - The patrol comes across the location where kopru or devilfish were slain within three days of the PCs having been there.
For situations 1) or 2) the Twaelar decide that the PCs are enemies of their enemies and leave them alone to see how much they can weaken each other. The Twaelar may return at a later date, but likely not until after the Savage Tide AP is over.
For situation 3) the Twaelar will figure out who slew Emraag and then avoid tangling with the PCs as Emraag was greatly feared and a powerful enemy.
For situation 4) should the patrol be wiped out the chance of future aquatic encounters will decrease back to 4%, but the Twaelar military company will still arrive at some point to destroy the PCs ship. They have an accurate description and will be able to find it.
For 5) this has the danger of turning the campaign from a focus on the kopru to fighting the Twaelar. The PCs should be able to avoid this result, so it is up to you decide how long before this military company arrives. The company should be four times the size of the patrol, with 4-6 aquatic ogres and some domesticated giant saltwater termites who are trained to adhere to a ship hull below the waterline and try to sink it.
Mainland Encounters Table
There is no distinction between the north and south regions of the island separated by the main river, but there are separate tables for different terrain features. Dinosaurs dominate the mainland, along with a few wandering demons, but you can still find a number of classics from the original X1 as well. They even added a few monstrous plants, and while one might quibble with the presence of the red sundew and the tendriculous, it isn't a bad idea to have a few rare plants around that can worry even a tyrannosaur. The greenvise is reminiscent of the Cestian gobbler and might be a distant relative.
Other than throwing in some boars or giant boars onto the table somewhere, here are some cosmetic suggestions.
Dire bats become giant bats.
Aranea have a wizard build rather than a sorcerer build23.
Bullywugs become frogfolk.
Baboons become rock baboons24.
As a complete modification, the Brotherhood scouts on the encounter table become a band of Heldannic Knight scouting the island. The stat block below modifies them from monk/clerics to fighter/clerics built in the classic style as they were presented by Bruce Heard back in Dragon Magazine. These guys are ready to hack off some dino legs or carve up some PCs with their greatswords.
Heldannic Knight Scout CR 5
LE Elite Human fighter 2/cleric 3
Initiative +6, Listen +5, Spot +3
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18
hp 40 (5 HD)
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +6
Melee mwk greatsword +10 (2d6+4)
BAB +4, Grp +8
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 9
Atk Options: Combat Reflexes, Death Touch, Smite 1/day(+4 attack, +3 damage)
Special Actions: rebuke undead 2/day(+1, 2d6+2)
Combat Gear: Mwk Greatsword, Full Plate Armor, See adventure
Spells Prepared: (CL 3rd, +8 touch, +6 ranged touch)
2nd - bull's strength, death knell, sound burst(DC 15)
1st - bane, endure elements(precast), inflict light wounds, shield of faith
0 - cure minor wounds(2), guidance, resistance
SQ: spontaneous casting(inflict spells)
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus(greatsword)
Skills: Concentration +8, Heal +4, Intimidate +3, Knowledge(religion) +6, Listen +5, Survival +5
The map of the Isle of Dread in this issue marks the Heldannic Knight (SB) encampment on a small island not too far from Farshore. Most the knights in this encampment are followers of Thanatos. By 1020 AC Thanatos has managed to make some headway into Vanya's Heldannic Knights after earlier successfully infiltrating the Hattians.
As mentioned in the adventure these HK scouts are a vanguard searching for hidden magic and relics, and will likely only try to murder the PCs. However, a PC with the Heldannic Knight affiliation should still have a chance for a peaceful settlement.
These Heldannic Knights have been influenced by Thanatos to come to the island so he can keep a closer eye on what Demogorgon is doing. The Savage Tide isn't subtle, but Thanatos can't complain about the unleashed chaos and is aware of the distribution of shadow pearls. Still, Thanatos does suspect that Demogorgon may also be planning to use the unleashed power to score a coup and/or unseat the Entropic hierarchy. As a result, Thanatos is preparing his own contingency plans.
Introducing the Totemic Demonslayer Earlier
Paizo created a custom prestige class for the Savage Tide AP, the Totemic Demonslayer, published in Dragon Magazine #354. Unfortunately, there was a communications error between the Dungeon adventure writers and the Dragon writer who created the prestige class. The Dungeon authors were expecting a 5 level prestige class, but the Dragon author made totemic demonslayer 10 levels.
This in and of itself isn't a problem...unless a player wants to pick up all ten levels of this class by the end of the campaign. The problem is that the players are first introduced to the totemic demonslayer in Dungeon Magazine #145, by an NPC they rescue in Issue #144. Issue #145 expects the PCs to be 13th level at the start. So if you want no more than 6 or 7 levels in the class, you can leave that introduction as is.
But if a player wants to start this off at level 10 and go through all ten levels, then you should have the NPC, Jakara the totemic demonslayer meet the PCs during this adventure, as they complete quests needed to prepare the colony for the final Crimson Fleet attack. You can review the information he provides in Issue #145, and have most of his conversation occur in this adventure instead. He will not yet have the scroll tube or the stone disk to give to the PCs at this point. Also, the missionary Noltus will not have undertaken his journey to the central plateau, you can have Jakara tell him that Noltus is still seeking allies elsewhere on the island mainland, or perhaps he is searching for any sign of rakasta.
Jakara can volunteer to find Noltus in order to carry their plea for him to return to aid Farshore should they think of that, but Noltus will not be able to return in time and Jakara will have to be rescued in the next adventure.
Before Jakara departs to find Noltus once again, he teaches any PCs interested as well as the local native shamans, and the Church of the Whirling Fury, the magic of the tattoos and the prestige class.
Undeveloped Encounter Locations
In addition to the wandering encounters, there are a number of encounter areas which get a brief sentence or two of description but nothing else, leaving DMs to develop the material as they see fit. A number of these correspond to original encounter locations in X1.
The presence of frogfolk may suggest that the Temple of the Frog once established a presence on the Thanegioth Archipelago in the ancient past.
For references to dire apes on the island you can use stronger, larger version of white apes, which are extinct elsewhere.
While the Crimson Fleet sent one of their men to take over this pirate den, most of the pirates who live here are a mix of deserters from the Thyatian navy and criminals from Mykonos(the Kastelios colony) as well as a few refugees and criminals from various nations whose ships have visited the Thanegioth Archipelago.
This is the location of the neanderthal caves from X1. The full text states...
"several dozen caverns connected by narrow fissures, Rivenskull Cave is inhabited by five warring tribes of savage humans, throwbacks devolved from Olmans due to exposure to the mysterious primal fogs that sometimes visit the island's reaches."
Considering the Savage Tide Isle of Dread posits an Olman empire that encompassed the entire island in the past, before dinosaurs arrived, this is a pretty good explanation for how there are neanderthals now on the island.
For Mystara though, neanderthals were presented as more benevolent with their Lawful alignment, and treated more like the demi-human races rather than as a humanoid race. They even got their own D&D class write-up back in Dragon Magazine #118.
If you wish to preserve some of that original Neanderthal feel, you can keep the warring tribes of neanderthals, but split them into two camps. A few tribes have been corrupted by the Abyssal fogs on the island, but at least two tribes have managed to avoid any demonic taint so far, and preserve the old ways.
The neanderthals, like the dinosaurs, have lived on the Isle of Dread since pre-history, managing to carve out their own small niche in their sacred caves. As the Oltec civilization came to dominate the island, they established peaceful trade with the neanderthals, but largely left them alone and segregated, only incorporating a small community of neanderthal workers in their capital city on the central plateau.
When the capital city was destroyed and the Oltec civilization fell, the neanderthals were once again cut off from any modern humans except for the occasional Oltec that would make the perilous trip beyond the great wall. But when the Abyssal fogs corrupted some neanderthals, even this limited contact ceased.
The 3.5 D&D Frostburn supplement provides the stats for Neanderthals as 1st level warriors. For any Neanderthal encounters, here is a stat block to bring them in line with the 2HD Neanderthal from the Rules Cyclopedia.
Isle of Dread Baseline Neanderthal
N Medium Humanoid
Neanderthal Warrior 2
Initiative +0, Listen +2, Spot +2
AC 13, touch 10, flat-footed 13
hp 18, HD 2d8+7
Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +0
Melee Greatclub +5 melee(d10+3) or spear +2 ranged(d8+3/x3)
BAB +2, Grp +4
Str 15, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10(savage neanderthals have Cha 8)
SQ: +1 attack bonus with primitive weapons, Climate tolerant
Skills: Climb +4, Jump +4, Survival +4
Possessions: Hide Armor, Greatclub, 3 Spears
For every nine neanderthals encountered, one Neanderthal will be a leader type, who is much larger.25 Note that this is an exception to the 3.5 rules by keeping the neanderthal leader as a humanoid type(as opposed to giant) despite being size Large.
Isle of Dread Leader Neanderthal
N Large Humanoid
Neanderthal Barbarian 6
Initiative +0, Listen +1, Spot +1
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 13
hp 68, HD 6d12+21
Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +5(+7 raging)
Space 10ft, Reach 10ft
Attack: Mwk Large Greatclub +11 melee(2d8+4) or Large spear +7 ranged(2d6+4/x3)
Full Attack: Mwk Large Greatclub +11/+6 melee(2d8+4)
BAB +6, Grp +14
Str 19, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13
Special Actions: Rage 2/day
SQ: +1 attack bonus with primitive weapons, Climate tolerant, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense +2
Feats: Toughness, Iron Will, Power Attack
Skills: Climb +10(+12 raging), Craft(primitive tools and weapons) +4, Handle Animal +5, Intimidate +11, Jump +10, Survival +7
Possessions: Mwk Hide Armor, Mwk Greatclub, 5 Mwk Spears
Neanderthals are likely to have pets, in the Frostburn accessory they keep sabre-tooth tigers as pets, in Dragon Magazine they keep white ape as pets. Should the PCs interact with more than one Neanderthal tribe the type of pets they have is one easy way to give each tribe a different personality.
Zotzilaha is the Monster Ruler of firebats, an exalted but not Immortal creature of the sphere of Energy. His alignment is chaotic neutral, not chaotic evil. He was known to a few older cultures as Camazotz. The aspect should be considered a mortal identity deliberately not at full strength so as to test anyone entering his lair.
Should a PC openly display any spider totems or other spider symbolism while visiting with the phanaton village, the phanaton chieftain will be outraged. It will take a DC 20 Diplomacy check to smooth things over. The only alternative is for the offending PC to kill and eat one of the large spiders the phanatons keep as livestock. Either will mollify the chieftain and he will volunteer his warriors as explained in the adventure.
Temple of the Jaguar
The origin story of the rakasta presented in this section is an Oltec myth. The rakasta did not originate from mutating werejaguars on the Isle of Dread, instead they are rakasta26 like elsewhere on Mystara who arrived on the Isle via shipwreck. That said, the part about the origin of the skinwalkers may very well be true, what they are now may have first originated with lycanthropy.
Reclaiming the Sea Wyvern
Like other kopru, you should consider giving Skephilipika the additional abilities of fire resistance and faster movement speeds. See the conversion notes for Dungeon #144 for more details.
Final Battle for Farshore
The adventure assumes that the PCs battle the Crimson Fleet at Farshore two months after they first arrive at the colony. This is easily adjusted based on your campaign, but keep in mind the small fleet is traveling from the pirate headquarters at Scuttlecove. You will need to be sure the fleet has enough time to prepare, travel and stop at the north end of the Isle of Dread before making the attack on Farshore.
One of the ships has a small contingent of yuan-ti supporting the pirates. These creatures have some precedent on Mystara in fan works, such as the Serpentine Empire and in the Mystaran almanacs it is revealed there are some yuan-ti amidst the Manacapuru in Davania. If you prefer something else, then manscorpions27, devil(were)swine28 or diaboli29 would all make good substitutions. The yuan-ti will also appear in the eighth adventure, so you will want to make the same changes there.
Any pirates captured will eventually be willing to give up information about Scuttlecove and the Crimson Fleet when they finally realize there will be no more attempts to capture Farshore and there is no hope of rescue. This process will take weeks or months. This would be a good way to provide historical background to the players on any NPC villains the PCs are likely to face in Dungeon Magazine #146, such as the leader of the Crimson Fleet, Cold Captain Wyther. They can also start to hear rumors about the fleshforges of Lemoriax, which transformed Vanthus.
Additional Crimson Fleet Captains
Only one pirate captain, Vanthus Vanderboren, commander of the fleet, is given unique statistics in the final battle. The adventure does not mention the other captains, assuming they are no different from the pirate crew stat blocks. Should you wish to distinguish these other captains, you can utilize the stat blocks for Scuttlecove thugs found in Dungeon Magazine #146.
Included below is an optional additional captain, Vanthus’ second-in-command, a baldandar who joined with the Crimson Fleet and underwent the process to become a lemourian. A lemourian is a type of half-fiend detailed in the adventure. The baldandar commands the caravel The Kraken.
NE Medium Outsider CR 11
Lemorian Baldandar 30illusionist 3
Init +9, Listen +10, Spot +10
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 15 (+5 Dex, +5 Natural Armor)
hp 56 (6d8+6+3d4+3)
Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +7
Attack: 1 claw +10 (1d8+2)
Full attack: 2 claws +10 (1d8+2) and Bite +8 (1d6+2 + poison) and Tail Sting +8 (1d6+2 + poison)
BAB +5, Grp +7
Str 15, Dex 21, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 20
Atk Options: Smite Good 1/day(+9 damage)
Combat Gear: Wand of Lightning(CL 6th) (9 charges), Wand of Magic Missile(CL 3rd) (12 charges), 2 potions of cure serious wounds
SQ: Immune to poison, Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10, Spell Resistance 19, DR 5/magic
Spells Prepared: (CL 3rd, +6 touch, +9 ranged touch)
2nd - mirror image, scorching ray
1st - charm person(DC 15), color spray(DC 15), shocking grasp
0 - dancing lights, daze(DC 14), ghost sound, message, resistance
Spell-Like Abilities: (CL 15th)
At will - fly, invisibility
1/day - confusion(DC 19), magic jar(DC 20), polymorph
Spell-Like Abilities: (CL 9th)
3/day - charm monster(DC 19), command(DC 16)
1/day - dominate person(DC 20), fear(DC 19), suggestion(DC 18)
Feats: Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Scribe Scroll, Weapon Finesse
Skills: Bluff +11, Concentration +17, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +23, Escape Artist +10, Hide +15, Intimidate +12, Knowledge(arcana) +13, Listen +10, Profession(sailor) +14, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +18(+20 for illusions), Spot +10, Survival +7, Use Rope +5(+7 for bindings)
Illusion(Ex): At will and as a standard action, a baldandar can duplicate the effects of the Veil, Mirage Arcana, and Persistent Image spells. The illusions last as long as the baldandar concentrates, and for ten minutes after it stops concentrating. In all other respects, these effects are treated as if cast by a 15th level sorcerer
Poison(Ex): Any creature bitten by a baldandar must make a fortitude save vs DC 14 (Con based) or fall unconscious for 10-40 minutes. If hit by its poisonous stinger a target must make a DC 15 Fort save or suffer the Wisdom damage explained in the adventure under the Lemorian entry.
Tactics: The baldandar’s main role in the attack on Farshore is to demoralize and confuse the inhabitants of Farshore by using Persistent Image to first create three additional caravels that enter the bay. The first, third and fifth ship approaching Farshore will be an illusion. As the pirate crews embark for shore in smaller boats the baldandar will create additional illusions of small boats full of pirates in an attempt to protect the crews from incoming fire and magic at the time when they are most vulnerable. The baldandar has a rat familiar currently watching safely from a nearby shoreline.
Under no circumstances will the baldandar join any attack on shore, preferring to stay on his ship wrapped in a disguise as an ordinary crewman. Should his ship be attacked he will attempt to defend it to the best of his ability, but upon losing half his hit points he will use invisibility and fly to retreat to the nearest friendly ship and either blast away at range or resume a disguise. Should Vanthus fall, the baldandar will order a retreat of the remaining ships, abandoning anyone who cannot flee. Should it become impossible to flee on ship the baldandar will use flight and invisibility once again, or even use polymorph to turn into a fish or shark and retreat by sea. If all else fails, a 200 gp gemstone in the ship’s hold will serve as a focus for magic jar. Slaying the baldandar does not affect VP results unless the PCs somehow manage to do so before the pirates first storm the beach. Should that happen award the PCs +50 VP.
Should he escape the baldandar may make an appearance at the Crimson Fleet headquarters in Dungeon #146.
Dungeon Magazine #143:
In addition to the fifth adventure in the AP, this issue provides a detailed Gazetteer of the colony Farshore which the PCs must help develop and defend. The colony rests on the small island of Telmute, which was avoided by the local natives, although it is surrounded by the seven villages of the Oltec.
Thief in the Warehouses
Rather than an ethereal filcher stealing from the warehouses, the creature is a small shargugh31. This shargugh is able to use trees and other living plants to teleport, and some of those plants are stored in the warehouses. Or perhaps freshly cut lumber is something the shargugh can use for a short time.
In either case, once PCs discover the thief, they will need to use diplomacy to come to some kind of peaceful resolution. Killing the shargugh will bring down a curse on the Farshore colony to such an extent as to make Telmute completely barren for farmland and game.
By default the shargugh’s attitude to the PCs is unfriendly. Should he be even slightly wounded or gravely insulted (DM’s judgement call) by any resident of Farshore, his attitude will be hostile.
All the publicly honored Immortals of Sasserine have some space for a shrine dedicated to them in Farshore Chapel. Vesserin is a full-blooded water elf rather than a half-elf, and dedicated to the patron Immortal of the Church of the Whirling Fury. His four human acolytes honor respectively - Hel, Thor, Asterius and Protius.
The Eighth Oltec Village
Under the Farshore Hall of Records entry is the description of a sidequest for investigating the mysterious disappearance of the Oltec village which once inhabited the island of Telmute. A village war party once went beyond the Great Wall and discovered an idol of a great ape which they brought back to their home. Their village vanished before dawn the next day, and all that was found was the idol, which was buried for fear of its curse. If the PCs locate the site, they find some treasure and a holy symbol dedicated to Zagyg.
All of this is a clear reference to the Greyhawk adventure module WG6 Isle of the Ape, which is set in a demiplane created by Zagyg. The implication is that the Oltec villagers were transported to the Isle of the Ape and are most likely the barbarian tribe encountered early in that module.
Adapting Isle of the Ape is beyond the scope of this conversion, but should you run this sidequest exactly as written, the holy symbol that is found will be recognized by the PCs as Bozdogan(Loki), the patron Immortal of Garganin.
Liamae Teslikaria is now a multi-class sorcerer and favored soul32. She is a favored soul of the Immortal Tyche. This changes her bonus Weapon Focus feat from shortbow to light mace. She still has a masterwork shortbow, but has a masterwork light mace instead of a masterwork dagger.
Dungeon Magazine #144
Adventure #6: The Lightless Depths
This adventure takes part in the Underdark of the Isle of Dread, which never was treated or explored in the original module. Thus this adventure breaks entirely new ground going where no D&D writer has gone before. As such this conversion will be more accommodating with novelties, since the caverns deep below the Isle of Dread may well contain creatures that exist nowhere else in Mystara.
The Aboleth Presence
The historical background for the Underdark city the PCs explore in this adventure is designed for Greyhawk where aboleth are the underwater masters. On the other hand, for Mystara the aboleth have never been officially established, while the kopru and the fan created Y’hog Carnifex have had powerful empires in the Thanegioth Archipelago in the distant past. In truth the Carnifex are the Mystara equivalent to the aboleth on other D&D worlds, except the Carnifex aren’t aquatic and they are no longer present.
Rather than accept the history as presented in this adventure, where the aboleth came first and the kopru came later, this conversion will keep both but keep the kopru who have had an established empire in the distant past.
The aboleth themselves may be alien visitors who came to Mystara at the invitation of the Carnifex, or they may be creations of the Carnifex, no one knows as there are no records. But there were very small enclaves of aboleth amidst the Carnifex who managed to hide and survive when the Immortals purged the Carnifex from Mystara. Never being great in number, and in frequent war with the kopru, the aboleth have not been as great a threat on Mystara as they are on other worlds.
The kopru on the Isle of Dread, in a calculated decision, offered an alliance with the nearby aboleth in the hopes these creatures could help rebuild the kopru empire. Thus the aboleth were invited into kopru territory, and granted a great cavern within which they built the great aboleth capital city of Golismorga.
In time the aboleth used their position to gain the dominant hand in the balance of power, and the kopru were, for a time, partially bound in servitude. But the kopru, realizing they could not displace the aboleth, turned to indirect means to throw off their chains. The kopru stepped up their attacks on the surface of the Isle of Dread, where the local Oltec empire was ascendant and strong. They deliberately spread terror and made their appearance known, in order to provoke the powerful Oltec priests and their Immortal patrons, counting on the retaliation falling unevenly onto their aboleth masters.
This gamble succeeded. When Tlaloc’s Tear struck, all aboleth in the city and surrounding area were rendered helpless and dormant. In a bloodless victory the kopru regained their status as Lords of Dread and took over Golismorga. They began to try and extract the secrets of city which the aboleth had hid from them.
This background actually changes the likely consequences of the adventure conclusion to a brighter outcome. Should the Tear be destroyed, rather than assuring the return of aboleth dominance, it restarts a war between the aboleth and kopru that will leave both groups in a weakened state as the aboleth won’t have the numbers to ensure victory.
Underdark Encounters Table
This encounter table has no corresponding table in the original X1 module to compare with, so the monsters which are new to Mystara have to be judged on a case by case basis. Most of the encounters are creatures known in Mystara or demons whose presence is explained by Demogorgon’s influence on the island.
This new creature introduced in 3rd Edition is one of those aberrations that seem almost too bizarre to include. But its appearance and abilities almost suggest that the aboleth or kopru created these things from magical experimentation and surgery on local dinosaurs just so they could have some anti-magical guardians in place to stop potential invaders from above. So I recommend these stay with exactly that background, they won’t attack the kopru.
These not only appear in the encounter table but they also have a presence in Golismorga. These dark nagas may be descendants of allies or pets of the Y’hog Carnifex, and in more recent millennia have survived as autonomous allies of the kopru. There is mention of nagas in the Serpentine Empire, but should you wish to make a substitution I would suggest using nagpas33.
The only link to Mystara which phase spiders have is that in the monster entry for planar spiders34 it suggests that planar spiders may be related to phase spiders. The presence of phase spiders here in the Underdark suggests they don’t live here but come to this location to hunt.
Cloakers and Gibbering Mouthers
Both of these creatures are associated with the Dimension of Nightmares rather than being native to Mystara. Considering the presence of the Nel’thaggu in Golismorga it is clear the experiments of the aboleth and the trauma of the Tear have resulted in a weakening of the barriers between the Dimension of Nightmares and Mystara. Should you not wish to use either of these monsters, a malfera35, mujina 36or a nuckalavee 37would make a reasonable substitution.
Troglodyte Priests and Laogzed
The troglodytes in the adventure worship Laogzed, and just about all the troglodytes that will fight the PCs are clerics. A good substitution would be the Immortal Bachraeus, or perhaps they directly worship an Outer Being as other troglodytes elsewhere in the archipelago have been known to do.
Going forward with the Immortal Bachraeus, you can modify the domains of the troglodyte lepers, replacing their Death and Destruction domains with the Chaos and Entropy38 domains.
They lose their smite attack and death touch, but chaos spells are cast at +1 caster level and they gain a single ranged touch attack once per day at +2 (3d8) half the damage is sonic damage and half unholy damage. Spells can be left as is, although you can opt to swap out the chaos domain spell Shatter for the entropic domain spell Vision of Entropy39 for all troglodyte lepers outside of location A3 (where the shatter spell will be useful).
Irgzid Uzeye, the troglodyte priest who can ally with the PCs, makes the same spell domain changes as well. His once a day ranged touch attack is +6 (4d8) and swap out the Death Knell spell for Vision of Entropy or Shatter.
Hamlet of Barbas
The mongrelfolk in this location have such a good explanation for why they are here and how they came to be, that I can’t find a good reason to swap them out for another humanoid race common to Mystara. I suggest leaving them as is. As a bonus, some will resemble rakasta!
Hall of the Dreamers
The skeletal remains of the long-dead kuo-toa explorer changes to the skeletal remains of a kna40, an adventurer of some renown in the Twaelar Empire. His coral signet ring is easily recognized there. Some shattered potion bottles are among the remains(air-breathing).
Holashner is an Elder Evil that burrows through the earth and is highly regarded by the aboleth, who built a ziggurat in its honor in Golismorga. Holashner becomes one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, Burrowers that Thanatos sent to Mystara. It may also have been, or still is, an Outer Being. While Holashner is largely inactive due to Immortal magic, it has been able to spawn several offspring in a long-term plan to free itself, one of these spawn is the bilewretch encountered later in the adventure.
Kopru Fire Resistance and Movement Speeds
While neither the original X1 module nor the v3.0 Monster Manual II entry for the kopru gave them any sort of fire resistance, their background strongly suggests it. The kopru in X1 are found in boiling mud geysers. Kopru were later given the equivalent of a permanent clerical resist fire41in BECMI/RD D&D. So I would recommend granting them the ability Resistance to Fire 10 at the very least, or some higher score as you deem appropriate. The kopru behemoths(advanced kopru) and NPC Ulioth can have an even higher resistance to fire.
I also recommend granting them their original X1 swimming and land movement speeds, which was a 50 ft swimming speed per round(compared to 40 ft in 3rd Edition D&D) as well as a giving them a 10 ft land movement speed per round(compared to 5ft in 3rd Edition D&D).
Should you use the suggested historical timeline for the Isle of Dread, the kopru likely have some captured Thyatian slaves from the short time period when Thyatis established a base on the island. Having a few Thyatian slaves show up in Golismorga as thralls of the kopru, will give the PCs an extra goal should they try and rescue them. A few Oltec slaves are another possibility.
Extra Golismorga Encounter
This city is completely alien and only parts of it are under kopru control. It is quite clear some of the buildings are alive in some fashion, although the adventure does not provide a combat encounter with a building. You can use this encounter anywhere in the city.
The particular building which the PCs are passing by is a Scamille. It is an amoeba like creature similar to a mimic which can only take one form, the aboleth created a few gargantuan and colossal sized scamilles for some of their structures. Unlike a normal scamille, this scamille’s lower half is permanently stuck in its alternate form, and anchored in place, allowing it to attack with only three pseudopods, instead of the normal six. Should it be reduced to 0hp, it will go immobile in building form and play dead. Should it be brought to -10 hp or less, the magic holding it in place will end, leaving it to collapse as a giant dead amoeba.
N or NE Gargantuan Aberration CR 13
Initiative +5, Listen +20, Spot +20
AC 23, touch 5, flat-footed 23
hp 513 (41d8+287)
Fort +14, Ref +14, Will +27
Full Attack: 3 slams at +37 (6d6+11)
Base Atk +30, Grp +53
Str 33, Dex 8, Con 25, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 13
Special Actions: Adhesive punch
SQ: Alternate form, amorphous, darkvision 60ft., light vulnerability, tremorsense 60ft
Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Investigator, Iron Will, Greater Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Improved Natural Armor(x5), Endurance, Diehard
Skills: Diplomacy +16, Disguise +30, Gather Information +12, Knowledge (history) +20, Knowledge (local) +17, Listen +20, Search +9, Sense Motive +16, Spot +20
Adhesive Punch (Ex): Each round, a scamille may designate one of its pseudopods to become adhesive. A target successfully hit by that pseudopod takes normal damage, and the scamille immediately starts a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If the grapple succeeds, the scamille may hold the victim and inflict damage automatically each round. Due to the adhesive on the pseudopod, the scamille receives a +8 bonus to all grappling checks with that pseudopod.
Alternate Form (Su): The scamille is effectively camouflaged as an object of its form, and it gains a +10 bonus on Disguise checks.
Amorphous (Ex): A scamille in its natural form has immunity to poison, sleep, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning effects. It is not subject to critical hits and, having no clear front or back, cannot be flanked.
Light Vulnerability (Ex): Any spell with the Light descriptor cast at a scamille will prevent the scamille from forming its pseudopods and attacking for one round Those effects are in addition to any other damage the spell may inflict. The scamille automatically fails any saving throw against a spell with the Light descriptor.
Tremorsense (Ex): A scamille can automatically sense the location of anything within 60 feet that is in contact with the ground, so long as it is touching the ground itself.
Should the PCs encounter another scamille, the second one will be friendly but can only converse in Aquan or the Aboleth language.
The Ziggurat Shrine
In the chamber where the PCs face off against Ulioth, the kopru leader, they will note that strange maps appear to have been more recently etched on the sections of partial stonework on the floor. A DC 35 Knowledge (geography) check is enough for the PC to recognize these as maps of the Twealar underwater empire and regions of the Sunlit Sea. There are six black circles marked around what would correspond to underwater city locations. The kopru have smuggled shadow pearls into those cities, this is in addition to those pearls delivered to the Crimson Fleet which the PCs will learn about in the next two adventures.
Dungeon Magazine #145
Adventure #7: City of Broken Idols
This adventure focuses on the evil at the top of the central plateau and gives the PCs a chance to shatter Demogorgon’s hold on the Isle of Dread for good. This adventure is spot on in its portrayal of the central plateau, and the only changes to be suggested are just minor details and a few pieces from the original X1.
The Missing Missionary
As was mentioned in Tides of Dread, this section may change if you already introduced had Jakara introduce his totem magic to the PCs. But here he comes back to thank them for their rescue, and to tell them where he last saw Noltus Innersol, the missing missionary.
Instead of Pelor, Noltus is a priest of Ixion. This adventure mentions he was from Sasserine which is fine, but based on his name having his origin be from Thyatis works just as well.
The disc which Noltus found and Jakara gives them is referring to a minor artifact, a magic bow, which appears later in the adventure. The bow’s usefulness to the AP actually stirred up some dissatisfaction among groups playing it, so there are some suggestions on how to change it later. If you change it to another weapon, the disk depiction will need to change as well.
The disk also portrays the three gods Tezcatlipoca (god of the moon), Tonatiuh (god of the sun) and Quetzalocoatl (god of the air depicted as human and a serpent). This trinity of Immortals in Mystara becomes Kalaktatla(better known as Ka), Otzitiotl(better known as Ixion), and Orontiuh (better known as Odin). Orontiuh is the ancient Oltec name for Odin, but he is known among the natives of the Isle of Dread by the name Oloron, Lord of the Skies. This is consistent with X1, where Umlat, tribal cleric of Mantru on the central plateau, worships Oloron.
The Central Plateau
The Central Plateau Encounters table is just about perfect as is. Comparing it to the Central Plateau Wandering Monsters table in X1 I see everything important is already there and nothing that obviously needs to be taken out. You could pull out the chuuls which are an aquatic encounter if you don’t like this monster introduced in 3rd Edition.
Certainly if you need more variety, you can add back in some cave bears, pterodactyls (smaller version of the pteranodons), normal boars, prehistoric elephants, dire wolves or even just a generic animal herd. But it hardly seems necessary. One element from the original X1 table that I think should be added in is the Tremor entry, achieved only on a roll of double 6 there. For this conversion II would suggest picking a good time or using it should you roll a duplicate of an earlier encounter.
Tremor: Minor quakes that vary in severity on the central plateau and last 10-30 seconds. Roll a d6.
1-4: Minor Shock- No effect
5: Major Shock- Characters knocked off their feet, 30% chance of falling if climbing cliffs
6: Sever Shock- Trees tilt, rocks fall, small cracks appear in ground, characters knocked off their feet, 5% chance per character of taking 3d6 damage from falling trees if in forest, 60% chance of falling if climbing cliffs
The leader of the lizardmen, Rissashtak, also a cleric of Pelor in the adventure, becomes a cleric of Ixion having studied under Noltus. Ixion and Pelor are so close in purpose that there is no need to change Rissashtak’s clerical domains, they match perfectly with Ixion.
The temple itself gets a few cosmetic changes.
At the Temple Entrance (Location 2), the collapsed statue of a serpent portrays Kalaktatla; the bas reliefs are of Otzitiotl (depicted with a sun) and Orontiuh (cloud).
At the Vault of the Sun and the Moon (Location 13), the three figures represent Kalaktatla (feathers), Otzitiotl (sun) and Ortontiuh (cloud). The moons, stars, and suns are unchanged. (The Oltecs were into astronomy.) It should be noted that the images that appear are being generated by magic embedded in the room itself, magic created to hold the artifact weapon in safekeeping, rather than being actual messages from the Immortals. As such, the first bit of the message should probably be modified as follows.
"The time when this place was holy is long gone, and there are no longer any among our children's children who recall what has been lost. So be it. Still, we can help you, strangers, in this fight that is both revenge for the past and hope for the future. Heed our words."
Should any of the PCs be native to the Isle of Dread, the address above will change slightly to acknowledge they are not strangers, but the last of their children’s children.
The Nimbus Bow
As presented, the Nimbus Bow is both an artifact and a powerful shocking burst longbow which has even greater powers against dragons, reptilians and creatures with the Earth subtype. Why is that a problem? Because there are few such creatures awaiting the players in the remaining adventures of the Savage Tide campaign, and the one set of opponents which the players can expect to see at horde levels are demons…which are immune to electricity in 3.5. As one player put it, “No thanks, I will keep the evil outsider bane longbow I found earlier.”
The adventure writers stated they didn’t want the Nimbus Bow to become the central focus of the campaign, but I think they went a little too far. So what can be done? Well, if you do have an archer, and you want to keep the bow, you could change the damage type to sonic, so the bow is blasting with thunder instead of lightning, to keep with the storm theme.
Or, if you have another character who will benefit, you can change the bow to a completely different weapon altogether. Something suited for a particular PC. If any PC is native to the Isle of Dread, they should be favored before others. The new weapon keeps the control winds, summon nature’s ally and warp woods spells but its other powers can be changed to fit your campaign.
The Oltec natives on the central plateau that have fallen to kopru corruption have all been turned into skinwalkers as the PCs start this adventure. To create a skinwalker, an Oltec is flayed with a demonic lash, and then burned alive on a pyre. Just before death, the skin of a jarilith(a demonic lion) is thrown into the fire. The skinwalker is the merging of the two into one.
Instead of a jarilith, the skinwalkers may have a rakasta skin, making their creation that much darker. Should the PCs have taken an interest in the rakasta, but been unable to find any living rakasta earlier in their searches of the island, this can be revealed to them at an appropriately horrific moment.
Taboo Temple Kopru
As these kopru have gained the fiendish template, this should boost their fire resistance up even higher than that listed in their stats. You can even go all the way and just give them fire immunity. See the kopru entry in the previous adventure for justification.
According to the ledger the PCs find, at least thirty-five shadow pearls have been delivered to the Crimson Fleet for distribution in the outer world. Discounting the one that was destined for Sasserine, you have thirty-four major cities in Mystara that are in great danger…make the most of it. Any major city the players happen to be attached to, especially from previous campaigns, should be threatened. An opportunity to get a complete or partial list of deliveries may be possible at the Crimson Fleet headquarters.
The ledger should also make note that the kopru kept an additional six pearls for themselves. As mentioned in the previous adventure, these six the kopru have delivered to underwater cities of their enemies.
Khala the Two-Headed
The master villain on the Isle of Dread is an aspect of Demogorgon, a uniquely powerful demon that appears to be a cross between Demogorgon and a kopru. The closest thing that Immortals have to an aspect would be an avatar, but even avatars are restricted from materializing on the Prime Material Plane. So here are some suggestions for alternative origins for Khala.
One choice is to make Khala a mortal identity of Demogorgon. This is a bit of a cheat, since technically an Immortal’s mortal identity has to be mortal, but BECMI D&D never had any demon less than exalted so there was no possibility of a demon mortal identity. This does work if you assume lesser demons than exalted exist as discussed earlier in this article, although as a mortal identity Khala is a bit underpowered and a battle against Khala essentially has the PCs fighting the final villain of the campaign much earlier. That may or may not be to your taste.
Another possibility is Khala is a lesser fiend who is on the path to true Entropic Immortality under Demogorgon’s patronage. He may even be one of Demogorgon’s own spawn. There is a canonical precedent for exceptional mortals who have an Immortal for a parent.43 So having Khala being the offspring of Demogorgon and a kopru and being the key to Demogorgon’s hold of the Isle of Dread is accounted for in the Isle of Dread timeline.
Dungeon Magazine #146
Adventure #8: Serpents of Scuttlecove
The first sentence of this adventure sums it up best…”The vile city of Scuttlecove is the home of murderers, thieves, demon worshipers, peddlers of vice and monsters.”
Placement of Scuttlecove
The most important thing is to locate a place for Scuttlecove. In Greyhawk it is 1200 miles away from the Isle of Dread, but you can place it even farther away and still have time for the Crimson Fleet to make a two month journey to Farshore from Tides of Dread. You can even give more leeway if you assumed that the Crimson Fleet had already been planning an attack on Farshore even before the PCs arrived at the Isle of Dread. Your main concern is to have the place be isolated enough or at least be tolerated by the local powers that be.
Some suggestions would be the island of Lesser Ne’er-Do-Well, an island off the coast of Jaibul, Minaea, the anarchic countryside of Surshield, or the far side of Oceania away from the night dragons. Lastly, if you set Sasserine on Davania in one of the two swamp hexes suggested earlier in this conversion, you could go ahead and set Scuttlecove in the other.
Background if using Ne’er-Do-Well
In AY 2002, as the young Pharaoh Ramenhotep XXIV took the throne of Thothia, ending the long domination of the cult of Arachne Prime on his people, a number of other cults -- tolerated by the mystic followers of the Spider's Web, mostly because they were too small and weak to be a threat -- realised that the kingdom was about to become unsafe for them as well. Two of these cults were small circle of "ur-priests" known as the Holy Triad and the cannibalistic monks called the Order of Dire Hunger, allies both by necessity and inclination. They fled Thothia at the same time, eventually coming to the Alatian island of Ne'er-Do-Well.
After performing certain services for King Koryn the Harpist, the Holy Triad received permission to make a home for themselves on the lightly populated island of Lesser Ne'er-Do-Well. The Big Dipper may have assumed that the Holy Triad would simply focus on their own, esoteric pursuits and pose no real problems for him. He was unpleasantly surprised when the community that grew up around their palace became a serious rival to his own Crossroads, a place where people could indulge in pursuits that made the "normal" depravity of Ne'er-Do-Well seem tame. Koryn has long sought to bring Scuttlecove back under his control, but has to tread lightly to avoid arousing its populace -- many of whom possess dangerous powers -- against him.
Around AC 1015, the Holy Triad withdrew to their mansion, no longer interacting with the public except through their agents, the monks of Dire Hunger. A year later, the brothel called Porphyry House opened its doors. Within only a few months, it underwent a change of ownership, as the "black nymph" named Tyralandi allied with a group of adventurers to defeat the cult of Demogorgon that operated behind Porphyry House's doors. (She then turned on and betrayed the adventurers, and they all died screaming. Who says there's no such thing as a happy ending?)
Soon after, the monks of Dire Hunger discovered (and inadvertently revealed to the rest of Scuttlecove's factions) that the Holy Triad had vanished without a trace. There was no "tremendous storm that left hundreds dead"; they had simply disappeared without explanation. Since then, the city has been in a state of civil war. Koryn the Harpist has been subtly aiding the faction called the Protectorate, because they seem like the least dangerous of the various groups, but he must be sparing in his aid, since the factions would unite against an outside influence like him, and Koryn is not at all sure that he'd be able to survive such a conflict. (And much like a certain distant, deceased cousin of his, he's No-Man's-Fool.)
Background if using a remote location such as Davania or Oceania
A particularly depraved small circle of Alphatian wizard "ur-priests" known as the Holy Triad managed to escape the destruction of Alphatia, bringing along with them their bodyguard and servants, a group of cannibalistic monks called the Order of Dire Hunger. This circle already had an alternate home carved out some years before, the city of Scuttlecove, which the Holy Triad had started to found a new society, abducting a variety of citizens from other nations until they had a sustainable population. They quickly took full-time control from the other factions, including the Crimson Fleet. But this would only last a few years(see prior entry for the rest of the details starting in 1015 AC).
Crimson Fleet Base War Room
Here the PCs will find among the logs and ledgers no less than 35 different cities to which a shadow pearl has been delivered. Be sure to include on this list any cities that the players may be attached to from previous campaigns set on Mystara, to make it more personal. For a sample list of cities you can refer to Table 2. A note may be found that the pearl destined for Sasserine was lost with the destruction of the hidden base at Kraken’s Cove. Another note may be found that the ship approaching the city Tanakumba in the Divinarchy of Yavdlom was ambushed as if their arrival was expected when they reached the coastline, with the ship and pearl barely escaping capture.
Should you wish to wrap up the adventure path on Mystara instead of following the storyline of the last four adventures, the PCs can arrive here before many savage pearls have been distributed. A small handful of savage pearls may still need to be recovered from a few cities, and the guardians of the pearls will test the limits of even high-level adventurers.
Regardless of where the campaign goes from here, prominent NPCs from threatened nations will be keenly interested in this information. Powerful rulers and/or adventurers from Thyatis and elsewhere will learn of the general threat from the pearls and seek out the PCs to barter for more information and advice.
[Table 2: Cities with Shadow Pearls]
Kingdom of Surshield
City-State of Slagovich
Emirates of Ylaruam
Empire of Thyatis
Empire of Thyatis
Empire of Thyatis
Empire of Thyatis
Empire of Thyatis
Thyatis City (2 pearls)
Empire of Thyatis
Kingdom of Ierendi
Kingdom of Karameikos
Kingdom of Karameikos
Kingdom of Karameikos
Kingdom of Jaibul
Republic of Darokin
Republic of Darokin
Republic of Darokin
City-State of Garganin
City-State of Kastelios
Empire of Thyatis
Empire of Thyatis
Isle of Dawn
Exarchate of Heldun
Isle of Dawn
Exarchate of Westrourke
Isle of Dawn
Kingdom of Trikelios
Isle of Dawn
Kingdom of Aquas
Kingdom of Ar
Tyralandi is a servant of the Entropic Immortal Masauwu.
Lars Landicaster is a human forester rather than a ranger. His sympathies lie with the Church of the Whirling Fury which makes even more sense if you make Carlitha Starbrow the Immortal behind the church. Lars does not feel he has abandoned Illsundal or Thyatis, but does what he can to pursue their ends here in Scuttlecove. That he has not lost his spellcasting ability seems to indicate he is correct.
Substituting Mystara Immortals for Greyhawk Gods
The House of the Black Rider is dedicated to Demogorgon in his aspect as the patron of diseases. This particular cult of Demogorgon is actually not allied with the Crimson Fleet and the Seventh Coil, which has kept it relatively small and powerless. Many in the city worship an Immortal they believe is Incabulos, patron of disease, but they are actually honoring Demogorgon.
Cults of Vecna are mentioned as working in the city, they can be replaced by small cabals worshipping either Alphaks, Atzanteotl, Loki, or Masauwu(or all four).
Dungeon Magazine Issues #147-#150
The remaining adventures leave Mystara behind as the PCs proceed to take the fight to Demogorgon on the Outer Planes. Should Threshold magazine make a visit to the Outer Planes in the future you can expect a Part 2 to this article. In the meantime you can find C Richard Davies ideas on the remaining adventures at Pandius44 and expect conversion notes by David Keyser to continue in the future at the Piazza forums.
Dragon Magazine Issues #348-#355
Savage Tidings articles
Dragon Magazine provided support for the Savage Tide AP in the format of at least one article(and sometimes two) per month as each Dungeon issue was released.
This issue detailed the affiliations in Sasserine including their affiliation tables. Some adjustments can be made.
For Church of the Whirling Fury, should you substitute Carlitha Starbrow for Gwynharwyf, the following adjustments can be made to the table.
Add an entry for Is a Waterelf with a score modifier of +1. Makes a pilgrimage to the Court of Stars should be changed to Makes a pilgrimage to Carlitha Starbrow’s home plane. Remove the entry Member of champion of Gwynharwyf prestige class.
Replacing the Scarlet Brotherhood with the Heldannic Knights, make the following adjustments to the affiliation table and the benefits table.
Purebred Suel is changed to Purebred Hattian. Remove the evasion and improved evasion entries and replace with Cleric of Vanya with a score modifier of +1. Replace Recovers a lost artifact of the Suel Imperium with Recover lore or artifacts of Vanya. Remove the Is good entry.
In the benefits table, the gang of four cousins is modified to be four veteran soldiers that are warrior 4. The honor guard entry is modified to be four Heldannic Knights that are fighter 2/cleric 6.
The Seekers are an organization known on the continent of Davania, and have spread into nearby regions of the Sea of Dread. They have not yet opened a lodge on Brun.
This issue details the surrounding environs of Sasserine, which would need to be modified based on where you decide to locate the city. The Dungeon of Rust and Fire and the lair of the red dragon Hookface could be located near the border of Emerond where some hill/jungle terrain is located.
The Misroi Plantation is a reference to the Ravenloft Domain Lord Anton Misroi, who rules the Isle of Terror Souragne and first appeared in the Ravenloft adventure RQ1 Night of the Walking Dead.
This issue focuses on the sea voyage. References to the Jeklea Bay, Azure Sea, Pearl Sea and Vohoun Ocean should be changed to the Sea of Dread. The regional feat Vohoun Eye is renamed Dread Eye. The Emerald Crest Guild affiliation is introduced, this guild has a presence in every city-state along the coast of Davania as well as Ochalea and the Pearl Islands. For inspiration and further development you can use the real-world Hanseatic League for ideas.
Larissa Vanderboren’s journal uses Greyhawk calendar dates. The year changes from 593 CY to 1019 AC using the Sasserine timeline. Table 3 provides suggested date conversions for Mystara using the Thyatian calendar.
[Table 3: Greyhawk to Mystaran Date Conversions]
Suggested Thyatian Date
6th of Wealsun
1st of Klarmont
24th of Wealsun
18th of Klarmont
7th of Richfest
1st of Felmont
10th of Reaping
10th of Felmont
22nd of Reaping
22nd of Felmont
5th of Goodmonth
5th of Fyrmont
19th of Goodmonth
19th of Fyrmont
15th of Harvester
15th of Ambyrmont
1st of Sunsebb
1st of Kaldmont
This issue provides more information on the Oltec. Some information on the Usi tribe was inadvertently dropped, and the Dream Seer feat mentioned in the Oltec affiliation table was not described.
The Usi tribe is a very warlike tribe and these Oltec have always been standoffish and distant from the other tribes. This has become even more so recently, and they have withdrawn almost all contact. [DM Note: This is due to the presence of the nearby Heldannic Knights, who have been visiting the tribe once per week to preach, convert and awe the Usi with their divine magic.] The Usi are known to respect both tattoo magic and divine magic.
Dream Seer Feat : +2 bonus to resist mind affecting effects, except the nightmare spell where you have a +4 bonus to save. May use the Sippery Mind rogue class feature once per day. You may also cast the Dream spell once per week as a spell-like ability. Pre-requisites: Oltec Human, or the feat Friend to an Oltec Tribe.
If one of your PCs has the Church of the Whirling Fury affiliation, they can raise their score by searching for Noltus for at least two weeks. But this affiliation suggestion has no details or payoff for this effort. Should a player take this action, and you plan on introducing the NPC Jakara earlier (see Introducing the Totemic Demonslayer Earlier entry), you can slightly modify how the PCs meet Jakara. Instead of Jakara seeking them out, you can have the PC search for Noltus but find Jakara who gives them his information as a reward for their effort. Jakara will also journey with the PC back to Farshore in order to teach and spread the word on his tattoo magic.
This issue provides a substantial number of upgrade options for the PC ship the Sea Wyvern. A number of these upgrades include extremely rare materials(such as adamantine) or potent magical enchantments. The latter will prove crucial in order to navigate the Sea Wyvern in the outer planes in the final adventures of the Savage Tide AP.
To explain how these upgrades become available, have a few merchant ships visit Farshore including some merchant-princes from Minrothad. In addition or as a possible alternative, the local Thyatian ruler in the Thanegioth Archipelago may also visit at this time. Vivianna Romanones and her Cerulean Guard45are aware of the PCs and their struggles against both the Crimson Fleet and the kopru. She offers some magic to the PCs while explaining the wisdom of accepting protection from the Empire of Thyatis. She would like to have Farshore willingly join Thyatis but won’t make a direct offer for alliance unless she believes the PCs are amenable.
Assuming they are not, she will provide access to some Thyatian naval magic in exchange for gold, but with no other obligations at this time. She continues to observe to see if the PCs can overcome the kopru, but will visit them once again in person to learn more from the PCs as soon as they realize the worldwide threat of the shadow pearls.
1 A god detailed in the v3.5 Book of Exalted Deeds.
3 A water elf special ability detailed in GAZ9 The Minrothad Guilds, p17
4 v3.5 D&D rules for lupins and diaboli are found in the Dragon Compendium, p6-10,18-21
5See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p72-73 and Jamie Baty’s 3rd Edition update...http://pandius.com/sisthik.html
6 Based on froglin from the v3.5 D&D Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor, p 195
8 As detailed in the v3.0 D&D adventure, Bastion of Broken Souls.
10 See v3.5 D&D Dave Arneson’s Temple of the Frog, p72
11 Return to the Shrine of Tamoachan, word document written by Luke of the Paizo Message Boards.
12 Xipe’s stat block conversion and tactics were originally written by Luke of the Paizo Message Boards, as part of the fan-made word document Return to the Shrine of Tamoachan.
13 Credit for the idea of this early appearance of Emraag and quote goes to Turin the Mad of the Paizo Message Boards.
14 As shown here http://pandius.com/isle-of-dread-4.png
15 Simone Neri, The History of Ierendi and Minrothad, Threshold The Mystara Magazine #3
18 The first time aranea were given the ability to control other spiders was in GAZ13 The Shadow Elves.
19 This conversion is based on the squad based combat rules introduced in M5 Talons of Night.
20 See p25 of the fan-made Gazeteer of Ochalea, written by Giampaolo Agosta
21 GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri
22 Giant Boars appear in both B10 Night’s Dark Terror and GAZ12 The Golden Khan of Ethengar
23 For a v3.5 D&D conversion, see http://pandius.com/aranea2.html
24 For a v3.5 D&D conversion, see http://pandius.com/rckbabn.html
25 For details on neanderthal leaders, see the D&D Rules Cyclopedia and Dragon Magazine #118, p62-63.
26 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p91
27 See Rules Cyclopedia, p191
28 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p76
29 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p26
31 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p98.
32 The Favored Soul base class is detailed in v3.5 D&D Complete Divine.
33 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p82
34 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p103-104
35 See Rules Cyclopedia, p191
36 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p81
37 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p85
38 See Fiendish Codex I, Hordes of the Abyss, p89
39 See Fiendish Codex I, Hordes of the Abyss, p96
40 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, p68
41 See PC3 Creature Crucible The Sea People, p22-23
42 See Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix p95 and Jamie Baty’s 3rd Edition update...http://pandius.com/scamille.html
43 The NPC Vix from the adventure HWQ1 The Milenian Sceptre is a daughter of an Immortal, with exceptional powers.
45 The NPC Vivianna and Crimson Guard are fan creations by James Ruhland.