As I mentioned in my post of weekend runs, Erdrique (Level 15 Monk) recently completed (well almost, just missing a single rare) the Restless Isles Slayer area. I thought it would be a good time to continue my series to examines the various factions that occur in the various wilderness areas and to hypothesize how they might be interacting with each other in this unique adventure zone. So far I have written about Cerulean Hills, Waterworks, Tangleroot Gorge, Three Barrel Cove (Heroic), Searing Heights, Sorrowdusk Isle and the Red Fens.
The Restless Isles stands out from the other wilderness zones in that it is composed of a series of islands that are interconnected by either suspension bridges or by underwater tunnels. This results in a large number of “zoning” areas as you move from the island surface to the subterranean tunnels. The various types of enemies you come across in the Restless Isles includes:
1). Kaedek the outcast and other Wildmen and their dogs
2). Runetusk Ogres and Ogre Mages and their worgs and captive Trolls
3). Native fauna (black puddings, scorpions, glass spiders) including Snikkit the name scorpion
4). Burns-the-Soul (a specter), Than Hap (named charred sacrifice), charred sacrifice skeletons
5). Scorrow-drow scorpions
The diversity of the enemies in the Restless Isles is actually quite limited. The majority of the enemies our characters encounter in this unique zone are the Runetusk Ogres and the native wildmen they have suppressed. The first thing you can tell when you start to make your way through this area is the resentment and obvious rebellious feelings the wildmen have toward their enslavers, the Runetusk Ogres. Our characters learn that the wildmen are the descendants of slaves of the ancient Quori and because of this heritage they can freely enter the ancient quori fortress, better known as the Twilight Forge. For some time the wildmen were the primary inhabitants of these islands until the Runetusk Ogres stumbled upon them and enslaved them (with the help of some powerful mindflayers). I would like to think the wildmen that we encounter in other areas of our travels (such as Ataraxia’s Haven, Mistral Island, the Skyfall Coast, etc) originated from this group.
The Runetusk ogres on the other had are primary enforcers on the island. They have completely enslaved the wildmen of the Restless Isles, except for a few isolated pockets, and have forced them to mine for ancient relics. The Runetusk ogres augment their forces with their worg pets and they have a large number of ogre mages in their ranks. Their is one pocket of Runetusk ogres that actually have a small band of captive trolls as well. These poor trolls will do anything to be relieved of their enslavement, including fighting to the death.
The natural fauna of the Restless Isles is pretty much relegated to the subterranean tunnels. Snikkit and his other scorpions, the glass spiders, and the black puddings take advantage of the lesser populated tunnels. The scorpions seem to stay clear of the rest of the monsters, probably because they like to swarm and attack in large numbers. The glass spiders and black puddings are encountered much less frequently.
Perhaps the most unique of the faction you will encounter are the charred sacrifices, Than Hap, and Burn-the-Soul. In fact, as you approach the tunnel where they are located you are surprised to see a party of ogres running out of the mind and thanking the gods that they are killed on the island surface by our characters and not by the creatures in the tunnel. When we enter the tunnel we see a nice number of blackened skeletons, led by Than Hap, who are better known as the charred sacrifices. As we travel through the tunnel and up to the next island we encounter more of them and the specter Burn-the-Soul. It is evident that these sacrifices, including Than Hap, were done in his honor. I’m guessing that Than Hap might have been some type of higher priest or follower at one point. The real question here is who was Burn-the-Soul and what exactly is his story. I’m thinking that he is/was some type of fanatical worshipper/leader of some sort. Definitely a mystery here that can have a variety of possible situations.
The last group of enemies are a small band of scorrow. A band of drow scorpions have overtaken one of the islands and have been successful in keeping the Runetusk Ogres away. I have three theories on this. One, they pay the ogres to leave them be. This would make some sense as this is a small band of scorrow the Runetusk just have a huge presence on the island. I can’t these this small band of scorrow holding them back. The second thought, this small band of scorrow is an attempt at a large raiding force. It could be that the scorrow of learned about the Twilight Forge and would like to learn more about these artifacts that the Runetusk are making the wildmen dig up. The third is that they are truly are outcasts and have nowhere else to go and settled here, as the DM text mentions. I can see all three as being logical.
So there is a quick rundown of the enemies in the Restless Isles. It is a unique area and a little more straight forward in terms of monster interactions. One thing to point here. This particular area was actually produced before wilderness areas were created and it was later “modified” to fit that mold. There are plenty of instances where you can see this being a case “after the fact” but it is still a unique area. I recommend checking it out if you get the chance. Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting out there.