Thursday, February 10, 2011

Floating Islands

You gotta have one.  But what makes them special.  A rumination:

A floating Island could prove problematic if it drifts away from your ship.  But is there ever a time that everyone is off a ship at the same time?

A floating island could be cool if you are marooned and then the island you're on takes you to weird seas.

A floating island with a legendary location seems most interesting.  Some rare thing that might break the campaign if too easy to find.  "Yes, we found the fountain of youth, but when we return to civilization we won't be able to lead anyone back to it." Some ideas:
  • magic fountains
  • shrines to forgotten saints
  • trees with magical fruit
  • rare beasts
A floating island that's a creature is cool in its own right.  More interesting if it might eat stuff like ships.  Or if it's sentient and might know important things.

A floating island is the ultimate place to build a wizard tower especially if I can figure out some means of propulsion.  Then I can travel to the icy north, visit various lands offering my services and gathering ancient texts.  Of course by that level maybe I can just teleport around.

What would interest you about a floating island?


  1. What sort of fell beasts nest on its underside. Plus, if it has any rivers or the like, what are their source? And why do they always seem to only fly over the sea and never over land?

    I once had a tribe of evil elves based on the Melniboneans who flew about the world on such an island. Dragons and wyverns nested on its underside, and they would swoop down on unsuspecting cities and towns for plunder and pillage.

  2. That's actually more interesting than what I had in mind which was the archetypal "wandering island" that drifts.

    Hell yeah, islands in the sky. Though maybe harder to get to.

    Which could be a whole 'nother post, how might players get up to an island floating in the sky?

  3. Well... That depends. Are you not terribly concerned about killing several hundred animals at once? If so they could use Exploding Cats as rocket fuel.

  4. Flying islands are too awesome not to have their own post. Or blog, maybe. They and Peter Wyngarde's performance as Klytus are equally responsible for my Flash Gordon obsession.

    Hy-brazil and Avalon, isle of mists both have the sometimes-there, sometimes-not quality of fairyland and Ukiyo-e painting, but I prefer the temporary tidal Atlantis quality of the mythic land (Lyonesse?) in Susan Cooper's Silver on the Tree. Giant fish/turtle island stories always end up being about what happens when it sinks, foreclosing other possibilities (imagine if the makers of Pokemon took this on - they'd say "what happens when it flies... Into a giant cave... And then into the Reverse Polarity World!!!)

    I think it gets really interesting when you can drive the island around, though

  5. (sorry - bad input device requires two comments) it around. What if the island were really big? What if the Sorceror of Doom found the control room and drove one end of Mordor right into the harbour-mouth of Shining City? And could then have his entire army of a hundred thousand giraffepygmies pour across the gap? Only it took 6 weeks for it to rumble from the horizon to the harbour, so you could see inevitable doom approaching and try to do something about it? What if you could align giant geomagnets to pull the coasts of Braxil and West Africa back together to join forces against the conquistadors, but you need the help of Prester John to get the old machinery up and running again?

    My sorceror's island would be dedicated to harvesting something from the sea floor, using long feelers. It would collect tribute from other island kingdoms and contain the world's most exotic botanical garden. It would enclose a great bay like Santorini, so that ships could seek shelter in it and be whisked away during the night unawares.

  6. The 4e campaign i'm about to start is based entirely in a world that is all floating Islands in the Sky.

  7. What would interest you about a floating island?

    One that continues straight ahead even when the earth starts to curve - and drifts into space! The floating island would of course be able to sustain some means of breathable atmosphere. Food? Go hunt! It's just around the corner - just don't get too close to the edge...

  8. LOL! Yeah, my bad, for some reason I assumed it floated in the air. ;p

    Did have a marid ruling a tiny fiefdom on the back of a zaratan once. That was before I realized it was supposed to be a unique critter. >.<

  9. Thanks all.

    @C'nor: lets use a mgic rope and spare the cats.

    @richardthinks: if you get that up and running let me know, I'll be first mate. I too like the idea of an exotic garden and a drifting atoll with protected harbor is something I hadn't thought of.

    @Sully: looks like fun and like you will be doing some similar thinking-- about island layouts, random charts etc.

    @Jensan: I think you just convinced me to make my campaign world flat.

    @trollsmyth, no worries. "Drifting" is a more precise description of what I was thinking of. The zaratan sounds cool, why would it being unique be a problem? Were there multiple fief encountering each other?

  10. If you're going with flat then I'd suggest square, too, as in Chinese cosmology. Then heaven (and all perfect things) is round, and demons run in straight lines.

  11. The zaratan sounds cool, why would it being unique be a problem? Were there multiple fief encountering each other?

    Nah, but if I stuck to that (I didn't) it would mean I could only have on in each campaign, so I'd want to use it wisely.

    In the end, however, I decided there were entire schools (flocks? pods?) of these things living on the Elemental Plane of Water that traveled to the Primes to lay their single egg from each mating. So each Prime generally only had one at any one time.