Because this is an island, this adventure locale could be encountered along a coast, such as along the Shining Sea or the Sea of Fallen Stars. Player characters can also sight it from a ship sailing any of the great seas of Faerûn. By placing it in the middle of a sea you might have more flexibility. The encounter text assumes that the heroes sight it from the shore. This locale is suitable for four characters of 12th level.
The road leads along the coast, and as twilight shades the sky, a suitable campsite comes into view. The sea looks clear, but as the heroes prepare camp, the water begins to churn and form whitecaps. The sky darkens with clouds, but no rain or violent storm comes. As darkness settles in, something large can be seen out in the sea in the distance. It is impossible to tell from here what the shape might be without using magic, but it is large even at this distance. Whatever it is, it appears blanketed by clouds or fog. During the night, the island floats toward shore, stopping about 200 feet away. It then moves along the coast and starts out to sea again in the morning. It moves about 1/4 mile per hour.
Note: If the Floating Island is encountered from a ship, the sea does not become choppy around it. The choppiness is due to the interaction of the island with the mainland. However, the sky does become cloudy. The clouds are an effect of the curse contained on the island.
The large object is a floating island -- a rock about two miles across that has come loose from the sea floor and now poses a hazard to navigation and to life on Faerûn. Once, not long ago, a cleric of Istishia exiled himself here. This cleric incurred Umberlee's anger by using his divine powers to save a ship that Umberlee planned to sink. She smote him with a terrible curse: a wasting disease that eats away at the sanity as well as the body. Since it was highly contagious to humanoids, the cleric fled civilization to live out his life on this lonely island. The few dinosaurs that lived there posed no threat to him, and they actually helped keep others away. In the end, the disease killed him, and just as he died, he uttered a final prayer to Istishia and cast himself into a small lake in the center of the island.
Because the curse did not die with the cleric, Istishia then used his power to cut the island loose from the sea floor and set it adrift. The god then placed a black dragon servant on the island to keep the curse safely away from anyone who would suffer from its effects. Umberlee, who vastly enjoyed the floating island of doom, struck down the black dragon. Before it died, however, it mated with several of the dinosaurs on the island so that they could defend the island. Now the island is nothing more than a floating death trap, which is something that Umberlee really appreciates.
The terrain is mostly plains, with a large lake on the east end and the smaller lake in the center. A mountain rises on the west side, and it was in a cave here that the black dragon lived. The island has a population of six half-dragon deinonychuses, two elasmosauruses in the large lake, a small herd of hylaeosauruses (herbivorous dinosaurs about 12-15 feet long), and the half-dragon tyrannosaurus that protects the lake of the curse. In addition, some smaller mammals, turtles, and fish live on the island or its lakes.
Perpetually covered in a low fog, the island is surrounded above by clouds. The fog pours out of the lake in the center of the island due to an element of the curse. In fact, the fog carries the curse, and any humanoid that stays on the island for more than an hour risks contracting the wasting disease. Many a ship's crew has fallen to this illness after stopping over for water. Anyone on the island must make a Fortitude save every hour to resist the infection.
Umberlee's Touch: Infection by inhalation; DC 25 Fort save; incubation 1 day; drain 1d4 Con and 1d2 Int. This disease causes rotting of the flesh and insanity. It is very contagious; any humanoid coming within 10 feet of an infected humanoid risks catching the disease (DC 25 Fort save). A remove disease spell cast by an 18th or higher level caster is required to cure this disease; it cannot be cured without magic. This disease affects only humanoids.
If the PCs spend the night on the mainland within sight of the island, they receive a visit. A couple hours after midnight, when the island is closest to the camp, four half-dragon deinonychuses swim from the island looking for food. They hunt as a pack and try to capture something they can bring back to the island.
The black dragon did accumulate some treasure, which is stored in the cave in the mountains where it lived. The treasure is valued at 84,000 gp and consists of a major cloak of elvenkind, a hand of glory, a strand of prayer beads, and an emerald worth 200 gp. Feel free to modify this to fit your campaign and player characters.
Dinosaurs of the Island
Hylaeosaurus: Use bison stats (Monster Manual, page 269) with an additional +6 bonus to natural armor because of heavy armor plating; also this is a CR 3 creature.
A hylaeosaurus is a four-legged armored dinosaur with a long tail. It has spikes along the sides of its body. A hylaeosaurus is about 12 to 15 feet long. The hylaeosauruses roam the island, but stay away from the center where the half-dragon tyrannosaurus lives.
Elasmosaurus: hp 111; see Monster Manual, page 60.
Advanced Deinonychus: CR 4; Large animal; HD 7d8+28; hp 59; Init +6; Spd 60 ft.; AC 16, touch 11, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +5; Grp +14; Atk +9 melee (2d6+5, talons); Full Atk +9 melee (2d6+5, talons) and +4 melee (1d3+2, 2 foreclaws) and +4 melee (2d4+2, bite); Space/Reach 10 ft./15 ft.; SA pounce; SQ low-light vision, scent; AL N; SV Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +3; Str 20, Dex 15, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Hide +8, Jump +27, Listen +11, Spot +11, Survival +11; Improved Initiative, Run, Track.
Pounce (Ex): If an advanced deinonychus pounces, it can make a full attack, even though it has moved.
Skills: An advanced deinonychus has a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Jump, Listen, Spot, and Survival checks.
Half-Black Dragon/Half-Advanced Deinonychus: CR 6; Large dragon; HD 7d10+35; hp 73; Init +6; Spd 60 ft., swim 60 ft.; AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +5; Grp +18; Atk +13 melee (1d6+9, claw); Full Atk +13 melee (1d6+9, 2 claws) and +8 melee (2d6+4, 2 claws) and +8 melee (2d4+4, bite); Space/Reach 10 ft./15 ft.; SA breath weapon (60-ft. line of acid), pounce; SQ darkvision 60 ft., immunities (acid, paralysis, sleep), low-light vision, scent; AL CE; SV Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +3; Str 28, Dex 15, Con 21, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Hide +12, Jump +35, Listen +15, Spot +15, Survival +15, Swim +17; Improved Initiative, Run, Track.
Breath Weapon (Su): Once per day, a half-black dragon/half-advanced deinonychus can breathe a line of acid 60 feet long that deals 6d8 points of acid damage (Reflex save DC 18 for half damage).
Pounce (Ex): If an advanced deinonychus pounces, it can make a full attack, even though it has moved.
Skills: A half-black dragon/half-advanced deinonychus has a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Jump, Listen, Spot, and Survival checks.
Half-dragon deinonychuses resemble normal deinonychuses (Monster Manual, page 60), but they have a black scaly pattern to their skin and smaller versions of the horns that adorn black dragon heads. They also have a vestigial bony ridge along their necks, reminiscent of those of black dragons. They are pack hunters and work together. They maintain their own population at this size because they are smarter than average dinosaurs and know that the island cannot support more of them. They roam the island in groups of at least two, so PCs can encounter them anywhere. These particular half-dragons have a swim speed instead of a fly speed.
Half-Black Dragon/Half-Tyrannosaurus: CR 10; Huge dragon; HD 18d10+117; hp 216; Init +1; Spd 40 ft., swim 60 ft.; AC 18, touch 9, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +13; Grp +34; Atk +24 melee (1d8+13, claw); Full Atk +24 melee (1d8+13, 2 claws) and +19 melee (3d6+6, bite); Space/Reach 15 ft./10 ft.; SA breath weapon (60-ft. line of acid), improved grab, swallow whole; SQ darkvision 60 ft., immunities (acid, paralysis, sleep), low-light vision, scent; AL CE; SV Fort +17, Ref +12, Will +8; Str 36, Dex 12, Con 23, Int 4, Wis 15, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Hide +4, Listen +17, Move Silently +6, Spot +17, Survival +7, Swim +18; Alertness, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Run, Toughness (x3), Track.
Breath Weapon (Su): Once per day, a half-black dragon/half-tyrannosaurus can breathe a line of acid 60 feet long that deals 6d8 points of damage (Reflex save DC 25 for half damage).
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a half-black dragon/half-tyrannosaurus must hit an opponent up to one size smaller than itself with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe the following round.
Swallow Whole (Ex): A half-black dragon/half-tyrannosaurus can try to swallow a grabbed opponent up to two sizes smaller than itself by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 2d8+10 points of bludgeoning damage and 8 points of acid damage per round from the half-dragon tyrannosaurus's gizzard. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 12). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out. The gizzard of a Huge half-black dragon/half-tyrannosaurus can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Diminutive or smaller opponents.
Skills: A half-black draon/half-tyrannosaurus has a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks.
Istador: Male half-black dragon/half-tyrannosaurus favored soul 6: CR 10; Huge dragon; HD 18d10+117 plus 6d8+36; hp 279; Init +1; Spd 40 ft., swim 60 ft.; AC 18, touch 9, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +17; Grp +38; Atk +30 melee (1d8+13, claw); Full Atk +30 melee (1d8+13, 2 claws) and +28 melee (3d6+6, bite); Space/Reach 15 ft./10 ft.; SA breath weapon (60-ft. line of acid), improved grab, swallow whole; SQ darkvision 60 ft., immunities (acid, paralysis, sleep), low-light vision, resistance (fire 10), scent; AL CE; SV Fort +24, Ref +19, Will +15; Str 36, Dex 12, Con 23, Int 5, Wis 15, Cha 13.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +12, Hide +4, Listen +17, Move Silently +6, Spot +17, Survival +7, Swim +18; Alertness, Flyby Attack, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Multiattack, Run, Toughness (x3), Track, Weapon Focus (warhammer)[B].
Breath Weapon (Su): Once per day, Istador can breathe a line of acid 60 feet long that deals 6d8 points of damage (Reflex save DC 25 for half damage).
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, Istador must hit an opponent up to one size smaller than itself with his bite attack. He can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If he wins the grapple check, he establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe the following round.
Swallow Whole (Ex): Istador can try to swallow a grabbed opponent up to two sizes smaller than himself by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 2d8+10 points of bludgeoning damage and 8 points of acid damage per round from Istador's gizzard. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 12). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out. Istador's gizzard can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Diminutive or smaller opponents.
Favored Soul Spells Known (6/7/5/3 per day; caster level 6th): 0 -- create water, cure minor wounds, detect magic, detect poison, guidance, resistance, virtue; 1st -- cure light wounds, divine favor, entropic shield, shield of faith, lesser vigor*; 2nd -- bull's strength, cure moderate wounds, lesser restoration, resist energy; 3rd -- bestow curse (DC 15), contagion (DC 15), cure serious wounds.
*Spells can be found in Complete Divine.
Istador is a black tyrannosaurus with a horned head, scales, and big black wings. Favored of Istishia because of his mission, he has acquired levels in the favored soul class (from Complete Divine). His father, the dragon, died before he was born, so he learned everything he knows about fighting like a dragon from racial memory and practice. His mother died soon after he was born, and now he is the only animal of his kind on the island. He is quite smart for a dinosaur, and he fights with cunning. He knows that he can heal himself, and he casts lesservigor before any battle if he has the opportunity.
Spells from Complete Divine
Vigor, lesser: Gain fast healing 1 for 10 + 1 round per caster level (max 15 rounds).
Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, Complete Divine.
About the Author
Robert Wiese is a veteran of the RPGA offices, where he worked for seven years and has been a member since early 1991. In that time he has written over 60 adventure scenarios for the club, a couple of articles for Polyhedron, and the Living Force Campaign Guide (the last one with Morrie Mullins). He also got the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns off the ground and into the hands of wonderful members to develop. Now he works at the University of Nevada at Reno in the Biochemistry department, proving that you never can tell where you'll end up.