High Plateau [H1 - H6]

The High Plateau forms the northern half of island and is dominated by the twin peaks of Towu'way and Towu'e. The plateau is approximately 2000' above the lower plateau and on its southern side the two plateaus are separated by a sheer rock face. At the eastern end of the island, the divide between the two levels is a lot less severe and the Giant's Steps [H3] provide a steep but walkable route between them. On western end of the plateau a footpath [H1] runs from the terraces [L11] around the northern side of the island and zig-zags its way up to the high plateau.

Nestled on the high plateau, between the two peaks, is a small Quorakon Village [H2]. Unlike the Forest Walkers of the lower plateau they are not overtly hostile but can be deadly enemies to the characters if handled badly.

H1. The High Path

Starting as a paved footpath in the terraces [L11] this path quickly degenerates into a little more than an animal track which winds its way up the perilously steep northern edge of the plateau. It is perfectly safe if travelled in single file and in good conditions but a death-trap if tried in the dark or during high winds. Anyone slipping will slide, bounce and fall all the way to the rocky coastline hundreds of feet below.

H2. Quorakon Village

The plateau is home to a quorakon village of just half a dozen huts. Around it are carefully tended fields taking up about a quarter of the plateau. The village is a more than just a home to the quorakon. It is the training ground for the mystics from all the tribes of quorakon. Being sent to train here is a very high honour and each female who arrives here will spend one to two years learning the secrets of the shamanic arts. Generally in their late teens or early twenties, the females are accompanied by their bodyguards, the best warriors in their tribe. Often this leads to marriages and this bond between the mystics and the warriors of the tribe is vital to quorakon society.

There are about thirty quorakon in the village at any time. Currently it is occupied by ten trainee mystics who share two huts, the same number of male bodyguards who also have two separate huts. Six older mystics share the remaining two huts and act as teachers.

Fur-Like-Gold

The village is currently under the leadership of Fur-Like-Gold. She is recognised as the greatest mystic of her generation and no one questions her judgement. To any non-quorakon the 7' tall four-armed ape will be hard to assess but the grey amongst the fading blonde fur gives some clue as to her age. Her eyes also seem to have a deep sadness to them and a large but old scar runs down the back of her head.

Unlike most of the quorakon present she speaks the common tongue and will be able to talk to the party. Through her experiences she has learnt to respect the lives of non-quorakon, unlike many others of her species who often attack strangers who enter their territory. As long as the adventurers do not threaten the village and behave honourably she will assist them in their escape from the island. Under her leadership the rest of the village will be friendly though the males will be deeply suspicious and potentially hostile.

Honour and Assistance

Personal honour is a core part of the quorakon culture. They will not offer any real assistance to anyone they do not trust, but neither are they unfriendly. If the characters respond in a friendly manner Fur-Like-Gold will invite them to climb the Crow's Nest [H6] and collect a feather to prove their worth.

There are two aspects to the test: whether the characters return with feathers, and whether they lie about it. If the characters return empty handed, Fur-Like-Gold will see them as weak but honourable and tell them about the High Beacon [H4] and how the Forest Walkers use it to summon ships. She will also offer food and shelter to the characters. Characters who return with feathers gained honourably (by themselves, plucked from a living bird without harm to the bird) will be told the secret of the Tower [L13]. All the beacon requires is a simple enchantment which anyone can learn, plus some suitable flammable material. The quorakon will not warn the characters will happen once the beacon is lit, merely tell them a ship will come and take them safely to their destination.

Anyone attempting to lie to Fur-Like-Gold must beat a resistance of 6d6+6 or their deception will be spotted. If the lie is about how they gathered the feather or other questions of honour the character will instantly be told to leave and to never return to the High Plateau. The male quorakon will use violence to force the character away if necessary and will attack the character on sight if they are seen on this part of the island again.

Personal Service

If the majority of the characters prove themselves honourable Fur-Like-Gold will ask them to carry out a dangerous mission on her behalf. It is a mission she is honour-bound to see completed before she dies but she is too weak to complete it herself and she cannot endanger any of her students by asking them to do it on her behalf. Unfortunately Fur-Like-Gold cannot offer any reward for this dangerous mission other than her thanks.

Around fifty years ago Fur-Like-Gold travelled to this island as a trainee mystic with her bodyguard and lover Warrior-Born. While she has here, a human sailor named Llewellyn Jones was shipwrecked on the island. He discovered caves below the island while trying to avoid the Forest Walkers, and later he was given shelter in the quorakon village. Jones, Fur-Like-Gold and Warrior-Born become friends and went to explore the caves.

They discovered an immense cavern [U15] and a tower [U7] similar to the one on the promontory, and there they found a strange, magical gem. Warrior-Born picked up the gem and there was a bright flash. When Fur-Like-Gold's eyes cleared she could see the gem was melded into Warrior-Born's chest and his skin had taken on a strange, stone-like quality. Warrior-Born was acting wildly and both Fur-Like-Gold and Jones desperately tried to calm him. Then Warrior-Born struck Jones and caved in his skull with a single punch. Fur-Like-Gold started to flee but she too was struck, a glancing blow which knocked her down the stairs. Her head struck the steps hard, leaving the scar she carries to this day. Though dazed and confused she was able to cast a warding spell, trapping Warrior-Born in the tower.

Fur-Like-Gold made repeated efforts over the next few days to reverse whatever magic afflicted Warrior-Born, but all failed. Eventually she had to return in shame to the village and then later her tribe to explain what had happened. Over the years, as her powers grew, she made repeated trips to the tower in an attempt to study and counter the curse but nothing helped. Now she is old but Warrior-Born appears not to have aged. Out of honour, she cannot leave Warrior-Born in this terrible condition for all eternity. He must be killed and his soul allowed to find peace.

If the characters accept the mission to find and kill Warrior-Born, Fur-Like-Gold will tell them what she knows. A tunnel run from the Landing Cove [L1] to deep inside the island where there is a ladder [U4] which leads up into the base of the tower. Stairs then lead up into the tower proper and that is where Fur-Like-Gold has carved warding magics onto the stairs which Warrior-Born cannot cross [U6]. Fur-Like-Gold will also confide that she believes there are other caves under the island which lead into the Great Cavern but does not know where they are.

Characters who accept the mission and return having completed it will be given a banquet. Fur-Like-Gold will announce that the characters are true friends of the quorakon and worthy of respect. Each character permanently gains a 4 CP / 1d6+0 Quorakon Honour advantage.

H3. Giant's Steps

At the north-eastern end of the island the numerous lava flows that form the High Plateau have eroded away leaving a series of terraces and small plateaus. Though they are rough and difficult terrain, they present a much easier route up to the High Plateau and beyond than the High Path [H1]. A clear track runs from the Forest Walkers' village [L7] round to the base of the steps and up the 2000' of their northern side. Near the top of the Giant's Steps the path wraps around the eastern edge of the High Plateau and starts up the southern slopes of Mount Towu'e towards the High Beacon [H4]. Leaving the path at this point and heading towards the Quorakon Village [H2] is easy but not something the Forest Walkers ever do.

H4. High Beacon

The Forest Walkers' path up the Giant's Steps [H3] continues another 1000' up the southern slopes of Mount Towu'e. As it climbs the path gets narrower and steeper, often following 1' wide ledges on cliff faces. Under normal conditions they can be safely traversed but in the dark or in a storm, it can be very dangerous. The path comes to an abrupt end at a shallow cave, about 200' below the Graveyard [H5]. On a fine day, someone looking out from here may see ships plying the trade routes across the Bay of Yacsib almost 100 miles away.

Automatic
The cave is little more than an indentation in the rock, only going back 5' at its centre. What is remarkable are the thousands of polished oyster shells covering every inch of the walls. A large fire pit has been carved out of the rock floor. A fire lit here at night would be reflected out of the cave and be visible for many, many miles.
Easy
The oyster shells are attached with some form of glue.
Easy
There is no wood up here other than a few bits of charcoal left over from the last time it was used.
Moderate
The fire pit has not been used for at least a week.

Each time they use the beacon, the Forest Walkers have to laboriously carry driftwood from the village up to the cave. The characters will have to similarly carry wood up. An average person can carry enough wood to burn for an hour and the fire needs to burn for at least three hours (see Departure for more details). How difficult it is to collect enough wood and carry it up here will depend on the what has happened between the characters, the quorakon and the Forest Walkers.

H5. The Graveyard

On the eastern side of Towu'e, about midway between the summit and the Upper Plateau, there is a flat strip of land. This is the quorakon's chosen burial ground and a sacred place. Some quorakon mystics who trained here as young girls return in old age to teach the next generation just so they can be buried in this spot.

Automatic
This small grass-covered plateau is clearly a burial ground with over 100 piles of stones marking graves.
Easy
The graves are well maintained and kept free of grass.
Moderate
Among the stones marking the graves are semi-precious gemstones and white feathers carefully placed to protect them from the elements.

Anyone trespassing on the burial ground or worse, defiling the graves, will be hunted down and killed by the quorakon warriors. The worst fighting between the Forest Walkers and quorakon occurred when the humans strayed into this sacred area. The presence of the High Beacon [L4] some 200' below the graveyard concerns the quorakon, and occasionally they will drive the humans away from the beacon. Most of the time, as long as the humans never enter the graveyard, the quorakon are happy.

A narrow path leads down to the Quorakon Village [L2]. There is no path to the High Beacon but it is easy to scramble down to it.

H6. The Crow's Nest

Mounts Towu'way and Towu'e are home to large numbers of White Ravens, birds sacred to the quorakon. As a challenge of both ability and honour, the male quorakons visiting the village will climb the mountains by themselves and take a feather from a living White Raven without harming it. Failing to return without a feather represents a minor loss of face or status among the males. Much worse is to pick up one the many thousands of feathers which litter the nesting sites and claim success. In a culture with strict ideas about honour such a blatant lie about a test of courage and trust would result in banishment or even death.

The four-armed quorakon can climb all over the mountains and they strive to collect feathers from the most dangerous and inaccessible ridges. However, traditionally, a male first arriving on the island must collect one from a spot on the western flank of Mount Towu'way. A thin rock tower juts out of the mountain, widening at the top and reminiscent of a mast with a crow's nest.

There are two parts to the challenge. Climbing the 50' rock tower requires a suitable action which beats a resistance of 10. To grab a feather from one of the numerous ravens which make their home on the rock the character must beat a resistance of 3d6+3. Each time they fail, the crows will be startled and fly off, not returning for at least a scene. Game Leaders should allow characters to approach the problems of the climb and grabbing the feather in their own way and award situation bonuses as required. However, as an individual test of ability and honour co-operation any between characters would be seen by the quorakon as cheating.

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open/oneshots/savage_island/highplateau.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/17 15:55 by darth_tigger
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