Not In This Issue: Richard Nixon, Steam Powered Bicycles or Zebra Finches

…we agonized over cutting the zebra finch article


The Doclopedia #940

Islands Of The Circle Sea: Black Dragon Island

Despite being located a mere 200 miles off the coast of the Corcoro Empire, this island is not claimed by the Corcorites or any other government. Nor will any ship not crewed by madmen get within 20 miles of it. As the old sailors say, “if ye can see Black Dragon Island, yer too damned close”.

The black dragon that rules the island is Tuwalunga and she is just the latest in her line, which stretches back well over 900 years. Like all black dragons, she is huge (300 feet from nose to tail tip), dangerous (she can breath both fire and a deadly poison gas) and not interested in meeting any creature unless it is to eat them. Any ship that comes too close to the island will be destroyed and the crew eaten. The only other dragons that get close to the place are the few males that come there during a rare breeding season. Most of them never get out alive.

The island itself is about twelve miles ling and five miles wide. It is mostly made up of high craggy volcanoes and narrow strips of beach. Many animals and birds live there, but none are larger than a housecat. Anything larger gets eaten.




The Doclopedia #941

Islands Of The Circle Sea: The Alandooro Archipelago

If there were ever a group of islands tailor made for pirates, it would be the 1,687 islands that make up the Alandooro Archipelago. Ranging in size from less that 100 yards across to 140 miles long by 78 miles wide, the islands also cover a range of climate zones from temperate to tropical due to the archipelago stretching over 1,800 miles from end to end. Many of these islands are quite close and the larger ones have easily navigable rivers. Such features give pirates many places to hide, which they do in large numbers at all times of the year.

The pirates are also aided in their hiding by the three kingdoms that make up the island group. To the north is Parland, home to fishermen, farmers and brewers extraordinaire. Parlanders are big friendly folks who don’t think much of the large empires and kingdoms. They do like pirates, whom they trade with and often marry their sons & daughters to. Most of the 400 islands that make up Parland are of the larger sort and they are typified by gentle rolling hills and a few forested mountains. This is at the temperate end of the archipelago.

The 682 islands that make up the middle of the archipelago form the nation of Shang. These islands are seldom larger than 50 miles and many are much smaller. About a third of them are mountainous while the rest are hilly or flat. Wildlife abounds on these islands and in the waters around them.

The Shangasi people are small, seldom standing more than 5 feet tall. Their skin is a light green and their eyes are large and almost always yellow. Both sexes wear their hail long and dress in togas of various shades of green, blue and brown.

The Shangasi are a race of mystics, scholars and storytellers who live very lightly on the land. They enjoy hearing pirate stories and telling pirates stories they have heard. Pirates who visit Shang are very respectful of the Shangasi rules and beliefs.

The final country in the Alandooro Archipelago is Lakama and it is by far the favorite among pirates looking to relax and revel. This is made very easy by the Lakaman people, who lead a laid back life punctuated by festivals, food, strong drink and sex.

The Lakamans are a tall and slender folk, brown skinned and almost universally good looking. Their mostly tropical islands are small, but very close together due to the narrowness of the southern end of the archipelago. Indeed, many islands are actually linking together thanks to very shallow seas and fast growing mangroves, boolee vines and irongrass..

Throughout these mostly flat to moderately hilly islands, the Lakamans make a living by fishing, farming and trading, all of which they do in a very relaxed manner. Festivals and parties break out at a moments notice and the islands all run on “island time”, which means things get done when they need doing, then you take a break.

Lakamans love pirates for their hard living ways and the interesting goods they bring. There are hundreds of places to hide ships and the Lakamans have made an art of doing so. Many old pirates retire to these islands.

The Rare And Beautiful Six Legged Running Turkey Of Potawango Island

…tasty, but creepy looking and fast


The Doclopedia #939

Islands Of The Circle Sea: Skyrise Isle

Despite it being a totally ordinary looking island, Skyrise Isle is the most unique bit of real estate on the entire planet of Eltera. Every morning at dawn, this three mile wide island rises 1,000 feet into the air and stays there all day until the sun goes down. The various streams on the island rain down as waterfalls and the shadow cast by the island is greatly feared by all mariners. Nobody knows what magicks caused the island to float in the air, but it is known that it started around 275 years ago.

Aside from becoming airborne during the day, the island is a fine place to relax, gather up food and take on fresh water. Still, few ships aside from pirate vessels will do this due to fear of the tsunami the island is believed (falsely) to create as it rises & sets.

Possums In The Flower Pots

…kind of cute, in an ugly way


The Doclopedia #937

Islands Of The Circle Sea: The Poadan Islands

Located in the Great Southern Bay, the eight Poadan Islands are a delightful rest stop for any mariner. From the smallest (Tornofu, 1.5 miles across) to the largest (Aralonfu, 26 miles long, 5 miles wide) you’ll find friendly people, lovely weather, great food & drink and peaceful relaxation. This last is strictly enforced by the Yarotodan Giants, a group of 10 foot tall humanoids who act as a police force and will not be gentle when arresting violators, who will spend three days in jail before being allowed to pay stiff fines.

The Poadan Islands are also noted as one of the very few places where one can legally buy Haakaanese Ship Charms. Outlawed by most of the Greater Civilizations, these charms allow ships to employ several useful magicks, depending upon the type of charm. Popular charms allow swift travel, a cloaking fog, iron hard hulls and the ability to sail against the wind without deploying sails. Most charms have 6-10 usages before falling apart.




The Doclopedia #938

Islands Of The Circle Sea: The Island of Etradio

In the cold reaches of the Coldwaste Fjord lies a great rock of an island that is nearly devoid of life. On this island lies the stronghold of Etradio the Lost, perhaps the greatest scholar of the past few centuries. If there is an obscure fact about anything, Etradio almost certainly knows it. If he doesn’t know it, he can look it up quickly in his library of many hundreds of thousands of books and scrolls, some of which date back to the Great War. For a price…usually a very high one…Etradio will answer any question.

While getting to the island, and then to Etradio himself, is extremely difficult, it is even more dangerous to find yourself caught on the island after dark. You see, in exchange for his vast knowledge and a very long life, Etradio made a bargain with the Mad God. This bargain causes him to transform into a huge creature of terrible power and hunger every night. This is why very few living things call the island home and why visitors need to be out to sea by nightfall. Until the dawn, Etradio prowls the island seeking flesh, blood & bone to sate his terrible appetite.

Etradio is not called “the Lost” because he lives in such a remote location.

The Mindbogglingly Convoluted, But Somehow Really Informative, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Charity Treasure Hunt.

…co-starring her favorite teacher, Miss Lena Spozinski


The Doclopedia #922

The Alphabet: L Is For…

Leaving, Nebraska: The small town of Leaving (population 3,209) is located in the west central portion of the state and would appear to any observer to be a typical small farming community. Being quite a way off the beaten path, tourists almost never go there and it has actually been left off state maps a few times. Nothing exciting ever happens there…unless you are a criminal on the run.

Strangely, a fair number of criminals do indeed find their way to Leaving, usually by getting lost at night. None of them ever leave, because the good folks of the town capture them, put them on trial and then drop them down a concealed pit that goes straight to Hell. It’s a speedy and efficient system that has worked well for over 100 years.




The Doclopedia #923

The Alphabet: M Is For…

Myribdis Island: Myribdis is a small volcanic island located in the northern Pacific Ocean, on about the same latitude as Seattle. It lies far out at sea, well away from any ordinary shipping lanes or fishing spots. The island is surrounded by rocky reefs. It has a only a few small beaches and plenty of steep mountains covered in conifers and ferns. The main peak of the island is at the northeast end and is the dormant volcano, Myribdis.

No humans live on the island, but there are deer, wolves, bears, mountain goats and many small mammals & birds. There are no reptiles, but there are several species of amphibians. Seals and sea lions migrate to the island to breed.

While no humans live on the island now, it was once home to a small colony of misfits who left China in 1145. They were lead by a mad genius/cult leader who told them he would take them to a new land where they would rule as gods. The truth was somewhat less dramatic. The colony lasted just over 100 years before a long and very cold winter killed the last of them.

During the time the colony was there, the leader and his most devoted students created several marvelous inventions, some of which would amaze even modern scientists. These are stored in a cave on the lower southern slope of the volcano.




The Doclopedia #924

The Alphabet: N Is For…

Night Of The Ghosts: On January 15, 1971, from 6:14 am until 3:26 am on the 16th, the city of Macon, Georgia was beset by ghosts. Thousands upon thousands of the spirits of the dead appeared all over town and interacted with the living. Most were gentle and non-threatening, but some were pranksters and a few were horrible and mean. There were riots and then churches filled to capacity. No amount of praying stopped the ghosts, and in fact, many of them entered the churches and knelt down to pray.

People saw loved ones, old friends, ancestors, hated enemies and folks they didn’t know from Adam. Hundreds of thousands of photographs were taken, along with hours of videotape, film and sound recording. Over the course of the first few hours, the National Guard had to close all the roads to keep sightseers out. Paranormal experts rushed to get there.

When the ghosts disappeared that night, many people had to be treated for anxiety and related disorders. 195 people committed suicide after meeting dead family & friends. Many had been suspects in those family & friends deaths.

To this day, nobody can explain why this event happened or why it has never happened anywhere else. Macon now holds an annual “Ghost Night”, during which it is estimated the city gets 400,000 visitors and makes upwards of 25 million dollars.