Map-a-Week06/28/2001


June 2001



This month, Wizards cartographer Todd Gamble offers a desolate uncharted mining island worked by slaves until their minds and bodies break. Formed of ancient limestone upheaval mixed with basalt rock, these diamond and lead mines were operated at one time by hermit prospectors on a much smaller scale. Now, however, a ruthless cartel runs them, using the profits to back puppet governments that exploit the land and peoples of these areas. Shipping contracts are granted only to captains who can keep the island's location a secret. Those who do not may find themselves working in these mines.

"Each day the slave laborers walk single file down into the dark depths to their destined locations," Todd describes. "Groups of 10 workers are leashed together by a half-inch cable threaded through their rib cages to prevent individual escapes. The first strand of workers descend into the dark earthen pit by following a small lantern, attached to tracks on the wall, which is moved along by a cable reel far above on ground level. There are usually 10 groups of 10 workers descending at a time. The lantern light is dim, and by the third strand of workers, there is no light to follow -- only the moans of those before them. The pit echoes with painful cries from the infectious openings where the cables are threaded. Those too ill to work are sent to the Atoll of Failure; among them are also the insane."

Along the rocky shore, a deadly breed of evolved electric eels with front legs feed on the dense moss -- and those who try to flee. "Escape from the island is hopeless," Todd says.

6/28 Pumphouse: A windmill generates electricity and pumps out flooded mineshafts.

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6/21 Minehead: Where slaves labor to uncover raw diamonds and lead ingots.

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6/14 Cavern Port: The ancient limestone cavern where ships unload supplies onto railcars that transport them into the mine's depths.

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6/07 Grand Gate and Towers: The island's only entrance from the sea.

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5/31 Overland Map: From the Atoll of Entry to the Arch of Failure, the despair of those forced to mine this island hangs like a cloud over the rocky terrain.

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