Friday, December 21, 2012

What's on Devil Island?

This is a follow up to yesterday's post about the Isla del Diablo, where rumors of a wrecked galleon promise a fortune on the sea floor.  What else do we know about it?  The island is a rugged place, with jungle covered slopes and a deep valley cut by freshwater stream; a church was built along the northwest hill sometime in the 16th century, in the lee of the central hills.  There are catacombs beneath the church where a buried secret lies, and there are remains of camps or a village in the jungle.

Does anyone live on the island?  Here are a handful of ideas for stocking it:

  1. Homicidal Tribesmen:  Descendants of the insane lunatics marooned on the island in the past have formed a dystopian society like something out of Lord of the Flies; they follow a madman named "the Colonel".
  2. Cannibal Cultists:  Corrupt mainland natives invaded the island some time ago when they were driven off by the Spanish; now they practice their inhuman ceremonies and cruel rites on Isla del Diablo.  Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
  3. Unclean Spirits:  There's an unavoidable experience of being watched, followed, and stalked any time an explorer steps into the cool shade of the jungle.  Disembodied planar entities hunger for new vessels to posses and finally escape the island.  Is that dog head speaking to me, telling me to kill them… kill them all?
  4. Alien Ghosts:  Those mentally deranged castaways were under the influence of alien intelligences stranded on Earth; the entities have used the years on the island to begin the construction of a space craft or beacon to return to the stars, but they've been stymied as their original hosts die from age or disease.  They'll feign friendship to lure visitors to their village, bringing new hosts into proximity of their brethren awaiting fresh bodies.
  5. Ritual Murderers:  A few survivors of the Spanish shipwreck made it to the island, but the baleful influence of the dark Loas that inhabit the place has turned them into serial killers, each staking out a different territory.  One of them stays near the lowland swamps, and uses poisoned arrows and deadly snakes; another lays deadfall traps in the central hills; the jungle stalker slits throats in the night.  The signs and trappings of evil voodoo hang all around the island.
  6. Abandoned:  Roll again, but the island is uninhabited now, and all that's left are the eerie remains of the previous group.
  7. Buccaneer's Camp:  Rowdy French buccaneers are behind all the (false) rumors of Isla del Diablo, to divert attention from the secluded inlet on the western shore they use to careen their ship and launch attacks on the mainland.
  8. Cimaroons:  Escaped Africans form their own societies all over the Caribbean when they slip the slaver's yoke, and Isla del Diablo is home to a free colony of escaped slaves.  They will fight to retain their hard earned liberty and slaughter any Europeans that learn of their presence.

Of course, I might just end up using all of these ideas, spread across different islands.


  1. I think the "colonel" might be an anachronism, perhaps "the Don"?

    9. Peaceful villagers greet them when they land, too bad the villager's mad priest has them convinced that anyone from off the island is a demon who must be destroyed before the next dawn.

  2. (to round your choices out to a d10's worth:

    10. An invisible hunter from another world uses the island as his game preserve, stalking humans who set foot there as prey, and taking their skulls and spinal columns as trophies.

  3. Nice ideas fellas!

    "The Colonel" was an oblique reference to Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now - I considered calling him Kurtz, too, but 'The Don' is very much something I can work with.

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  5. And to screw up that even d10...

    11. The madmen placed on the island by the Holy Church were offerings to a terrible antediluvian evil; it was awakened by an early missionary's slaughter of the indigenous people whose rituals were keeping the creature imprisoned. A clerical error in the Vatican has meant no offerings have been sent for the last 77 years...

    1. That's exactly the tone I'm shooting for - there are plenty of dark secrets the Spanish have been keeping under wraps for 150 years of Empire building. Consider it yoinked!

  6. Well...ala Lost, if you introduce a little bit of time and dimension travel the party could encounter all of these things in different eras but in the same locations!