Four Dangerous Ducks

…and a very scary grebe

.

The Doclopedia #1,507

More Islands of Adventure: Red Pine Island

On Earth 451-D, where superheroes exist, Red Pine Island is the home of the Canadian superteam known as “The Force”. Located in a hard to reach lake in northern Manitoba, Red Pine Island only measures half a mile long by a quarter of a mile wide. It is thickly forested by red pines and the only non-supers who ever go there are a few fishermen that sometimes camp on the very small beach overnight. The most abundant animals on the island are mosquitoes. Squirrels come in second.

The entrance to Force HQ is located in the thickest, most inaccessible center of the forest. The trees there are all holograms for a space about 20 feet across. The large entryway is for individuals and equipment. A much larger entryway, located 500 feet off the island and underwater, is for vehicles.

The underground building is made up of four levels. The top level is a garage, the second level is a living/meeting space, the third level is laboratories and communications, and the lowest level is a cryoprison for certain evildoers. All four levels are quite spacious.

The entire facility is staffed by robots, androids and a few ordinary humans.

The Doclopedia #1,508

More Islands of Adventure: Island X

Just about the only thing that the various governments of Earth 12-K do not argue about is the existence of Island X. Every single one of them will tell you it is an urban myth.

Now, to be honest, only about five countries have more than 1 or 2 people who actually know about Island X, and none of them are elected officials. Even Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA only have a couple of elected officials that know, and they get mindwiped once they leave office. No big business or military people know about it.

The reason for this incredible secrecy is because Island X is where the international Special X Unit stores all of the cryptids, aliens, mutants and other strange lifeforms it captures or kills. There are lake monsters, werewolves, living dead, vampires, dinosaurs, mutant humans, aliens and many other strange things here. Some of the non-intelligent creatures are kept in a sort of zoo preserve. Most of the intelligent ones are kept under insanely tight security. Vampires are all frozen in big blocks of ice, with only a very small tube feeding them just enough blood to sustain them.

A special place needs a special staff and this one is staffed by by two very different, but very powerful types of beings.

The first are the Fae. There are only about 500 of them left on the planet and they are all gifted with magical abilities. Physically, they look an awful lot like the elves from the Lord of the Rings movies. They tend to most of the non-intelligent creatures and maintain the illusion that hides the island.

The second race are the Urstrillians, an alien race that lost their homeworld to an impact with a wandering planet. Their technology is a couple of centuries beyond that of Earth, so they maintain the security of Island X, as well as studying the various lifeforms there. Physically, they resemble pink skinned humans with four tentacular arms that have six fully opposable fingers per arm. They tend to stand under 6 feet tall.

Island X is located somewhere in the far South Pacific, well outside any shipping lanes and undetectable by any current technology or the naked eye. The island is 10 miles long by 6 miles wide and has a maximum elevation of 100 feet above sea level. Most of the storage, living and study areas are below ground.

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Not In This Issue: Hogs, Body Modification, Cheese or Trainspotting

…we do have an article on brainspotting

The Doclopedia #1,505

More Islands of Adventure: Goat Island


At 20 miles long and 8 miles wide, Goat Island is not one of the bigger islands in the Shallow Sea. It offers ships little protection from storms, since it does not have more than a couple of places where a ship larger than a small fishing boat can drop anchor. What it does offer is food, and lots of it.

Nobody knows exactly when the island was set up to provide food to passing ships, but the Winta people who live on the island say they were brought here at least 300 years ago. Their legends say that a Captain Mesada stocked the island with goats, pigs and many types of poultry. Shortly thereafter, he brought the Winta to the island, along with many bags of seeds and small fruit trees. He told them to plant them and then sailed off. A year later, he returned with more seeds, more trees and many types of vines.

This went on for a few more years, then Captain Mesada returned and he and half his men went into the island’s interior with many cartloads of building materials. The rest of his men sailed off, but returned with even more merchandise and a number of women. The ship made three more trips before dropping off the remaining crew and sailing off with a new crew.

Captain Mesada and his crew of 150 men, plus their wives, settled in a small valley, built a village and pretty much kept to themselves. The Winta were told to trade food for gold or other items with passing ships and give half the proceeds to the Captain. In all other matters, the island was theirs to govern and live on as they chose.

300 years later, there are 10 Winta villages on the island, three of which trade with ships. The rest devote their time to preparing foods for the ships, from goat cheese to jerky to fresh or dried fruit and more. In a good year, there will be trade with 20 or 30 ships.

Mesada Village is still populated by descendents of the original sailors, plus other people who came to live their. Visitors from the outside world are not allowed.

The Doclopedia #1,506

More Islands of Adventure: Hrolf’s Island

Hrolf Horgunsson is not an easy man to deal with, in any sense of the word. His ex wives will tell you he is an arrogant and demanding son of a bitch. His former apprentices say he’s dangerous when angered. His children…well, they have nothing to do with him. As for people trying to do business, whether commercial or government based, well, they barely tolerate him.

Hrolf is one of the most powerful mages in the world and many have sought to buy things from him. His potions and enchanted weapons are highly sought after. Other, more powerful spells and items, can command extraordinarily high prices. Governments sometimes seek out Hrolf’s aid, which can come at steep prices beyond that of mere gold.

All of these business dealing come at the unavoidable cost of journeying to Hrolf’s Island, which the insufferable old bastard has created in the exact center of the Great Inland Sea, a freshwater lake 200 miles across and, near the island, home to great and dangerous beasts.

The island is perfectly round and measures 2 miles across. It slopes up evenly and gently to a small hill about 150 feet tall, on top of which is Hrolf’s small castle. Only one trail leads there and it passes through a dense forest filled with many creatures that are the result of Hrolf’s experiments. On the bright side, regardless of what is happening in the outside world, the weather on the island is always very pleasant.

Anyone going to Hrolf’s Island with bad intent will sorely regret it.

Of course, so do most of the people who come with good intent.

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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.

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.