Please Don’t Feed The Tenrecs

…they eat too much as it is

 

The Doclopedia #1,059

Islands of Adventure: Maze Island

On a few of the Fantasy Earths, you’ll find Maze Island just about 20 miles off the coast of whatever city-state is the crowning jewel of human civilization. It’s a very interesting place.

Maze Island is just that, a huge maze 20 miles on a side. The walls rise up 30 feet tall and the distance between them can be as wide as a mile or as narrow as 5 feet. All of the maze walls are 5 feet thick and made of some form of ceramic that is impervious to harm and unclimbable. Inside the maze, no spell or gadget can get you over a wall or out of the maze. There is one door in and one door out. The exact placement of these two doors changes daily.

Both the island and the maze were built for one reason: to train adventurers. Since, on the worlds that have a Maze Island, there are many unexplored places and much riches to be found, kings and queens and other wealthy people employ adventuring parties to go out and explore new lands and bring back big loot. To ensure that they get the best adventurers they can, the Adventurers League commissioned the construction of Maze Island just over a century ago.

Maze Island is not just a big maze, no sir. It is inhabited by all manner of creatures and some of them have set up villages, farms, etc. By far the most common sentients are Orcs. They have at least 9 villages and a full sized town. After Orcs, you’ll find goblins and lizard men to be the most populous.

Parts of the maze are underground and another part seems to be underwater. While most the maze is fields and forests, there are ruins, graveyards, a lake and a good sized swamp. It should also be noted that every month, these places can move to new areas.

Most groups entering the maze can expect about a 35% death rate and an average time to completion of 3 weeks, 5 days. Any group that emerges intact can command top dollar for their services.

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I Sleed to Neep

…or something like that

 

The Doclopedia #1,058

Islands of Adventure: The Island In The Mist

On Earth 28, in the middle (or thereabouts) of Lake Superior, there is an island that only appears once or twice every year. Because it only seems to show up when the fog is dense, it has earned the name “The Island In The Mist”.

Actual facts about the island are pretty sparse, since it not only moves around, but changes size and shape. First sighted by French explorers in the early 1700’s, it has been encountered and even explored many dozens of times. The latest exploration took place two years ago (1917) and was jointly funded by Canada and United States. A team of 25 people explored an island that was three miles long, one mile wide and covered in a forest of towering ferns that haven’t existed elsewhere on Earth in 90 million years. The animal life all seemed more or less modern, but samples were taken anyway. As with all of the appearances of the island, it faded away by noon, having been here only 18 hours.

At other times, the island has been much different. Some examples include…

Being 9 miles by 4 miles and Almost devoid of all life except large cannabalistic crustaceans.

Having a population of 4 ft. tall albino Asians who spoke no known language.

Being only a mile across and containing a beautiful estate that was home to no living humans, but many ghosts. Half of the ten man expedition never came back.

It has been a volcano at least 17 times.

At one point in 1730, two brothers who were part of an expedition got lost and were on the island when it vanished. 18 years later, the same island reappeared and the brothers left it on a makeshift raft. They had been 20 and 22 in 1730. In 1748, they were 14 and 16 and could remember nothing of their time on the island.

In 1820, the island was home to small dinosaurs.

In 1869, it was 10 miles across and inhabited by women 15 feet tall.

As stated above, the island is always near the exact center of the lake, but can be up to 10 miles in any direction from the actual center.

Squinky Goes Back To School

…in about three weeks

 

The Doclopedia #1,057

Islands of Adventure: Skunk Island

There are no skunks on Skunk Island and there never have been. This volcanic island gets it’s name from the sulfurous odors that come from geothermal activity, which is present everywhere. Geysers, mud pots, steam vents and hot pools are plentiful on this 6 mile wide island.

Animal life on Skunk Island is sparse and plant life is almost nonexistent. Only on a thin line near the beaches does much of anything grow. Few migratory birds ever stop here.

Despite the barren and often dangerous nature of the place, humans visit the island on a regular basis. Despite being claimed by Spain, you can often find British, Dutch, French and Portuguese ships anchored offshore. The reason? Rare minerals and waters with strange properties. Everyone from the Alchemical Guild to scientists to shadowy government agencies want them and enterprising merchants are willing to risk entire ships and crews to satisfy the demand. So why, you might ask, does Spain not have a constant patrol guarding this valuable spot? The answer is: “The Sea Beast”.

Most likely created by the strange mineral waters, the Sea Beast is a huge creature (200 feet long!) that lives in the deeper waters near the island. Any ship approaching risks being destroyed and her crew eaten. Loud noises attract the Sea Beast, as do lights at night and any pollution placed in the water. The British merchant ship “Pride of England” was totally destroyed when a crewman emptied a chamber pot over the side. Ships that dare to stop at the island coast in with sails reefed, quietly send in collection parties, stay no more than 4-5 hours, then set sail and haul ass for home. About 7 in 10 get away unharmed.

The Sea Beast resembles an armor plated lizard of some sort, or perhaps one of those “alligators” found in the New World. It is known to sometimes haul out of the water on the southern end of the island. It is nearly impervious to harm and very fast. It tends to swallow men whole.

How Come It’s TorTEEYA, but not GodZEEYA?

…sometimes, my brain hurts

 

The Doclopedia #1,056

Islands of Adventure: The Island Of The Doomed

On Fantasy Earth 5, in the middle of the Ocean of Storms, there is an island with mostly rocky shores and a rough & hilly interior. It measures 5 miles long by about 2 miles wide. Fresh water, a rare find this far out in the ocean, is plentiful. Game animals and edible plants abound, but it is the very rare craft that stops here to replenish stores.

This is the Island of the Doomed, and only the most desperate seamen would go anywhere near it.

The island is inhabited by sentient beings from all over the world who died because somebody else Doomed them. Most of these Dooms came as the dying words of enemies or murder victims, but some were Doomed by the curses of those they betrayed. Whatever the case, the Doomed died under very specific circumstances and then found their spirits bound to the island. The oldest spirits have been here a thousand years. All of them want release and are convinced that the living can aid them in finding it. They will clamor around any living sentient and plead with them until the person either leaves or is driven to madness.

Ships that must stop here, usually for water, often use trained apes to go ashore and get it. It takes longer, but there is no risk of madness.

Flambazoodalee

…couldn’t think of a subject line. Made up a word instead.

 

The Doclopedia #1,055

Islands of Adventure: Robot Island

On several Earths, from 1900 to 1930, everybody with a workshop seemed to be building robots. The sizes and shapes were dizzying in their wild variations and they were built to do all sorts of jobs. Robots were everywhere, especially in North America, Europe and Asia.

Unfortunately, World War 2 (1927-1930) saw robots built for battle doing terrible things to humans. This brought about the Treaty of Lisbon, which banned the further construction of robots by any country or individual. All of the warbots were destroyed, but all of the benign robots were taken to a large island in the Pacific Ocean. Originally called Stoddard Island, it was known after September 20th, 1931 as Robot Island.

The island, which measured 234 miles long by 178 miles wide, got an instant population of 251,783 robots. Most of them had nothing to do at first, having been built for specific tasks in industry or agriculture, but they soon found new purpose when Sammy Steel came to the island.

Sammy had been built by scientists to be a true thinking machine and he had exceeded their dreams. Now, armed with five arms, a huge amount of knowledge and a can do attitude, Sammy set to work improving the citizens of Robot Island.

In just a few months, Sammy had constructed versions of himself, but with new identities. These robots fixed and improved tens of thousands more. Soon, Robot Island was a beehive of activity.

Now, in the local year of 1950, Robot Island has two big cities and many small towns, all inhabited by robots. Using junk brought to the island by other countries, the robots build appliances and other devices that humans want. The humans are happy and the robots are happy. It’s a win/win situation.

Doc Tempest VS Doc Tempest

…from the January 1958 issue

 

The Doclopedia #1,054

Islands of Adventure: Lake Island

On Earth 23, there is an island in the South Atlantic named Lake Island. The very mountainous place get the name from the dozen good sized lakes found in valleys high up in the mountains. Although these Alpine valleys are beautiful and peaceful places, the coastline teems with pirates and the forests are home to mountain bears, blackwolves, pine snakes and a host of other creatures not at all afraid of humans.

Very few outsiders make it up to the valleys, but when they do, they find lovely subtropical areas thanks to the geothermal activity inside the mountains. Here dwell the delicate Yiti people and the amphibian Wokar. Animals include azure apes, dragon cats, silver eagles and ethrunts. In the lakes are pygmy walrus, lemonfish, lake serpents, red salmon, jet turtles and puffer minnows.

These valleys are the only known homes to many species of trees like the twisted pine and the black aspen. Along the many streams, you can find glass grass and sparkleberries.

Less than 2,000 humans live in the dozen valleys and they like it that way. Any interloper who doesn’t fit in will soon be disposed of.

Lake Island is 168 miles long and from 23 to 51 miles wide. The mountains rise over a mile and are very steep.

Girls Gone Wilde

…I’m not sure if Oscar would be amused or confused

The Doclopedia #5

Today, the newest island on Earth.

Islands of Adventure: New Atlantis

In the waning years of the 20th Century, humankind got several wake up calls telling them that global warming was coming and coming fast. A few mega hurricanes, a few years of killing summer heat, an ice sheet breakaway half the size of California…unlike our Earth, the people of this Earth got a clue and started to work on the problem.

In fact, a sort of Climate Change “Space Race” got underway, with various countries and groups of countries vying for the title of Savior of the Climate. Over the next The United States pioneered many new renewable energy technologies…China found ways to reverse desertification and planted several billion trees worldwide…Russia put a couple of multi mile long reflectors in space that lowered the temperature first at the poles, then over selected spots in the oceans…The European Union began massive efforts to create more energy efficient buildings and factories…and almost every country changed their agricultural practices. Incredibly, by the year 2030, global warming had been stopped and was, in fact, being reversed somewhat.

The benefits of all of this scientific research and application were enormous. Huge leaps were made in everything from aquaculture to genetics to nanotechnology. Robotics alone advanced so much that by 2050, robots were preparing the Moon and Mars for human settlement. And then somebody got the idea to create a new continent…out of garbage…and manure…and industrial waste. Thanks to nanotechnology, robotics, genetics and about a thousand other technologies, they pulled it off by 2090.

New Atlantis is really large. Perfectly round, the island is 200 miles across. The highest point is Mount Neptune, which is located dead center on the island and stands 5,500 feet high. The island has four major ranges of hills that radiate out from Mount Neptune towards the coast at the compass points. There are valleys and rivers and forests and wetlands and everything you would expect to find on a large island, but almost no signs of human habitation.

That’s because all of the 4.5 million people who live on New Atlantis actually live inside it. The mountains and hills are all man made under their top layer of soil. In fact, New Atlantis extends down into the sea nearly 1,000 feet in some areas. In the 12 districts of the megacity are homes, businesses, industries, research laboratories, entertainment complexes…everything you would find in any other city, but these often have windows that look out into the sea.

Now, the inhabitants of New Atlantis are not a bunch of pasty white troglodytes, despite living in an artificial environment. They regularly go to the surface, especially since a fair number of them are farmers of one sort or another. The municipal transit system has hundreds of surface level stops and even the folks who work in Deep Bottom can get up topside for some fun & sun within about an hour. And the same goes for the 24 million tourists that visit the island every year.

The surface of New Atlantis is home to thousands of species of animals and plants, most of them formerly threatened, endangered or even extinct. This is, so far, the only spot on the planet where you can see dodos or Tasmanian tigers.

New Atlantis does not stay in one place. The island moves in a slow and meandering route across the ocean between South America and Africa, always staying fairly near the equator. It is, by decree of the United Nations, a sovereign country.

New Atlantis has proven so successful that a similar, but larger project has been started in the Pacific. No name has been given to it yet, but rumor has it that the science geeks behind it are lobbying for Middle Earth.