The Isles of Wonder

This post looks at some extracts from the D&D 5e mini-campaign the Lagoon, including the second part - and sandbox - held on the Isles of Wonder.

As covered in an earlier post linked here, the Lagoon is a luxurious floating resort comprised of a flotilla of large, interconnected gold-plated barges. The resort offers restaurants, arenas and gambling dens catering for the rich.

The Lagoon  runs a competition called Hostages on another group of artificial islands, the Isles of Wonder, which the party of adventurers may be able to join after meeting the Lagoon’s undead owner. Teams compete against savage opponents and each other for a grand prize of 1,000,000 gold pieces.


The Isles of Wonder

The following extracts start with an NPC from the Lagoon itself, but go on to reveal a few of the encounters PCs encounter on the Isles of Wonder during the competition. Clearly there's a SPOILER ALERT - if you're a player stop now! If you're a DM there are thirteen islands with seven encounter areas on each one - so this is a tiny sample.

It would be slightly impractical to run through everything that's going on within the extracts, but there's a lengthy preview on DMsGuild, which can explain most of what's mentioned.

Players - here's some pics from the adventure instead.



NPC - Akros - Chaotic Evil - The Lagoon

The leader of the Cult of the Oceans is all smiles and handshakes until it gets to sacrifice time. Beneath the outwardly civil veneer lies the unstable mind of a warlock of the fiend who has long since traded any conscience or compassion to form a demonic cult, which is dressed up in part as a celebration of abundance.

Akros is tall, raven-haired and gaunt in appearance. He wears his cult robes at almost all times and, while answering on one level to Adrammalech, he has already struck his own twisted bargain with the ‘demon fish’ Xox to sponsor her plans to reach the deepest depths of demonic depravity. His primary role is to bring Xox more worshippers under the guise of the Cult of the Oceans and to lead them into corrupting themselves and pledging their worship to her.

Akros is not someone you want to be left alone with, as he will corner victims and use banishment, plane shift and finger of death to transport his target to a demiplane, to follow the target to that plane and to try to turn the target into one of the undead. The demiplane contains a huge torch lit cathedral of death where hundreds of Akros’ victims of all shapes and sizes sit silently in row upon row of pews. While seated the victims all appear as if both dressed and caught in the same often terrified expression as when Akros murdered them.

A massive bone idol of Akros stands before the undead audience. A bone throne sits conjoined beneath the giant bone effigy and a simulacrum of Akros sits on the throne. The looming 20’ tall idol and the slightly scatter-brained simulacrum appear as idealised versions of Akros - carefully posed and angled to appear foreshortened and as if showing distain towards those in front of them.

Steps down from the throne lead to a teleportation circle carved into the floor in front of the pews. As soon as someone living arrives the undead rise to their feet and begin to chant some sort of bizarre demonic curse in a whispered monotone. A successful DC 25 Intelligence (Arcana) check will indicate the language is some sort of bizarre jumble of demonic and ixitxachitl. The chanting results in the audience regaining their now genuine appearance as undead creatures.

Over several decades Akros has used finger of death and create undead alongside demonic pacts to accumulate a legion of 1,000 zombies, 100 ghouls and 10 mummies. All of the undead are hungry for flesh - and in the event anyone starts slashing them open gold coins will begin flying about. Akros has made each victim swallow ten gold pieces into digestive systems that no longer digest in a normal way. Tear through the entire audience and there are 11,111 gold pieces for the taking providing you can also fillet out the eleven coins resting inside the simulacrum.

The DM may rule that a PC who visits the Palace of Nightmares and sees the Cult of the Ocean’s pentagram logo in a nightmare will be particularly wary of Akros and quite possibly quick to pass such concerns on to other PCs without need for a check.


Golem Wars - The LAgoon

The circular layout of this barge and the arena area are similar to the other arena islands. A steady flow of humanoid traffic filters round booths and stalls containing craft workshops busy fashioning items for visitors or to supply the Lagoon’s boutiques. Cloth and clothing is traded in some quantity here and seamstresses, lacemakers and tailors are always in demand. Several carts sell jugs of a fairly disgusting ale under various names for one Octo a gallon. The ale looks as bad as it tastes, but is safe to drink for those without access to drinking water.

The prizes available for winning a fight in this arena are significant, but the opponents are tough. A team of up to six can split the purse.

10,000 Octos if you defeat a granite golem.

20,000 Octos if you defeat a gold golem.

50,000 Octos if you defeat both a granite golem and a gold golem at the same time.

A granite golem is a stone golem with enough lift and high quality stone to carry a fortified howdah on its back. Archers, spellcasters or swivel mounted ballista can operate from the howdah. The hard rock makes for a very stable firing platform and gives granite golems +2 on their AC.

A gold golem is an equivalent to an iron golem, but with a balor caged inside the golem to add chaotic energy to power prismatic ray attacks from the golem’s eyes. The demon is not going to be in there voluntarily and if the golem takes half its damage the magical bonds holding the demon will snap. At that point the golem slows to half speed and cannot use its prismatic rays. The balor is likely to show little regard for anyone - including the audience.

Two howdahs in total can carried by a gold golem - fitted on the back, shoulder or forearm. Archers, spellcasters or swivel-mounted ballista can operate from the turrets.

A gold golem’s eye rays function as a legendary action. This legendary action can only be used at the end of another creature's turn. The golem regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.


Ruins - The Isles of Wonder

A jumble of large standing and toppled walls are coated in frost and frozen undergrowth. Anyone searching the centre of what amounts to a fallen structure will need to clear snow and frost from the ground to find a large, faded and black-tiled mosaic set in the floor. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check is needed to notice the mosaic.

If the PCs find and choose to uncover most of the image’s 13’ diameter circular design it appears to depict a black ram’s skull on a white background. If the design is simply cleared of snow and frost through physical effort there is no effect. However, if the snow and frost is heated using fire, lightning or similar effects - amounting to 20 hit points of damage - the black tiles will start to turn orange and then red over two rounds. During these two rounds piling snow on to the design, applying magical cold effects such as a cone of cold or adding a large volume of water that starts to freeze in the air, will return the mosaic to its original condition immediately. Otherwise the colour remains a constant red for a further two rounds before cooling back to orange and then black.

However, if the mosaic is heated again while red - amounting to 20 hit points of damage - using a campfire or a magical effect, every tile in the mosaic turns completely black and the floor beneath the whole mosaic rises from the ground to form an altar of black stone. Applying further heat at this stage - amounting to 20 hit points of damage - will result in the mosaic on the top of the altar appearing as if made anew.

During the next six rounds the altar remains ‘warmed’ despite the falling snow and adding any further heat or fire at all to the top of the altar triggers the appearance of a 13’ tall three dimensional projection of a ram’s skull floating above the altar.

In no uncertain terms the projection declares in common tongue, “bow before the lord of the darkest depths, prince of eternal night and victor over life, bow and receive your reward.” Anyone within 90’ of the projection can bow before the altar and receive a boon of a +1 to an ability score of choice. Anyone within the same range who does not bow is struck by a power word stun.

Providing someone has bowed before the projection in the next round the projection continues in the same assertive tone, “kneel before the lord of the darkest depths, prince of eternal night and victor over life, kneel and receive your reward.”

Those remaining within 90’ who have already bowed can kneel and receive a boon, while others within the area are struck by a power word kill. Those receiving a boon will find that every natural 13 they roll for the next 12 hours becomes a natural 20.

The projection continues, “bring me blood to feed my thirst, bring me blood to receive the reward you deserve.” If no blood is put on the mosaic within six rounds the projection spits two banshees from its mouth and vanishes, the altar sinks back into the ground and the ruins return to the way they were. If blood is splashed on the surface of the mosaic the altar bursts open releasing three balors. Each of these creatures is equipped with chain mail +2.


Lake - the Isle of Wonder

A small lake has an island in the centre with a single yew tree set upon it. There are nine hostages stranded on the island who wave and call out to be rescued. The water looks clear and deep but sequester has been used to place two invisible ancient green dragons beneath the surface of the water, which are awakened from their slumber and rise to the surface if the lake becomes frozen over.

A drow archmage waits under greater invisibility with her raven familiar at a short distance and watches to see if the PCs enter or attempt to cross the water. Whether or not the party go near the water, when an attempt to save the hostages takes place the wizard’s three berserker minions use slings to fire three previously prepared freezing spheres at the surface of the lake, which causes it to freeze over. This is problematic for anyone in the water at the time and matters get more complicated when the archmage orders two mounted blackguards on to the lake and the dragons emerge through the ice d4 rounds after the water is frozen over. The blackguards carry glaives +2, have branding smite ready to cast as a bonus action; and ride warhorses equipped with horseshoes of the zephyr.

The drow archmage Mystral then uses teleport to depart the scene.


WotC have recently announced two additional settings for use with 5e and DMsGuild - if a setting has a coastal city the Lagoon can turn-up anytime.

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