While sailing an island group to the far south, a large trading vessel named the Mist Dragon encounters an island inhabited by strange floating crystalline creatures that feed on magical energy. To save themselves from the crystalline terrors, the crew throws all magic overboard (what little they have) into the shallow water... including one crewmate, the ship's mage. The ship then turns tail and runs.
The wizard, named Jikan, abandoned on the island, finds himself running across the beach, from a horde of the floating crystals. He throws spell after spell at the creatures, but they sucked up the energy. Eventually, Jikan runs out of energy and is at the mercy of the creatures. However, after he flings his last offensive spell, they soon lose interest in him.
Over the following weeks, he studies the creatures. They are krysalites - mineral based creatures which feed on magical energy. He discovers that they will not attack him as long as he has no magic within him. For the first few weeks, Jikan is careful to expend all his spell energy early in the day so as to not provoke the krysalites. Over the next several months, he studies the creatures and learns a great deal about them - they are intelligent creatures with a social structure, habits, quirks, fears, etc. He learns that they communicate with each other through some sort of short range electrical exchange. As long as he is completely "drained" of all magic, they krysalites allow him to walk among them unharmed. Finally, after two years, he learns to communicate with them through the use of a spell - a very weak spell - which mimics their method of electrical communication. This communication is somewhat limited due to the strange thought patterns of krysalites, but basic ideas are gotten across.
In his time on the island, he comes to know something else. It is not mere chance that there is such a large concentration of krysalites on a random island in the south seas - they are there for a reason. During his first few months on the island, Jikan learns that the island is extremely mana-rich and that at its center is a great power sourcea large rocky hill that oozes magically energy from every stone. It is this abundant energy source that the krysalites feed on and it is this that keeps them here.
Once communication is established with the krysalites, things progress more quickly. The krysalites teach Jikan how to absorb the energy from the mountain to power his spells. In so doing, he magical powers begin to increase. Jikan hopes that with this added power, he will eventually be able to find a way off the island and back to the mainland. Jikan and the krysalites establish a rapport. Jikan discovers a way to quickly and easily destroy the krysalites and he no longer fears them. After his third year on the island he learns to control and dominate the krysalites. However, in feeding of of the island's energy, Jikan finds that he has become dependent on it. He makes several attempts to leave the island, but each time, becomes very sick and is forced to return.
Jikan goes mad with fury. In his anger, he destroys several dozen of the krysalites and burns a forest to the ground. His hopes of returning to the mainland are dashed. He decides that if he cannot leave, then he will kill those responsible for placing him here in the first place.
Jikan finds his powers increasing exponentially from the island's limitless energy supply. He uses his magic to build a large castle as a home. He is able to summon food from the air and no longer must forage. Harps of mist and smoke play ethereal. However, the island, the source of his power, is also his prison. He decides that since he leave to seek revenge, he will fashion a golem to do his work for him.
The construction of this golem consumes two years of Jikan's life and it is constantly improved and upgraded as Jikan's powers grow. Eventually, after two years of work, the project is complete. The thing Jikan has created is no less than an unstoppable killing machine. The golem is loaded for combat and has many special abilities. It also feeds from the island's power using that energy to repair itself. Having been the ship mage (and healer) for the Mist Dragon crew, Jikan is intimately familiar with the "aura" of each crew mate and "programs" this information into the golem. The golem will track down each victim by identifying their very life essence. Jikan names it the Juggernaut.
What does the juggernaut look like? Well, that's up to you. Perhaps it's an automaton - a construct full of gears, wheels, pulleys and armor plating. Or is it a more traditional golem - made of stone, clay, flesh, metal or rock? Regardless of what you make it look like, it's big, aggressive and fast. This thing is built for one thing only - combat.
The juggernaut is sent (walking across the bottom of the ocean floor, walking around trenches, etc.) back to the mainland. It should pull itself out of the water and walk onto shore somewhere between Asylum and Garrison. Most of its intended victims are either in port on the south coast (Asylum and the Drakkellian Alliance area) or are out to sea. The juggernaut will concern itself first with the officers of the Mist Dragon, which is currently in dry dock in Drakkel for repairs. It's journey will be a meandering walk toward Drakkel.
The juggernaut has a total of 20 victims which it will hunt down. Most of these people are in the Drakkellian Alliance. The first kill will be made in a village east of Asylum. The second in another village east of Asylum. The third and fourth in Asylum.
Word will quickly spread that a "monster" is rampaging through Asylum killing random people. Many more individuals (friends of victims, etc.) will do battle with the beast. All will die in the attempt. Before too long, one of the future victims figures out the pattern - that all the victims were members of the Mist Dragon crew five years ago.
It should eventually become very obvious - the juggernaut is targeting very specific people and ignoring all others (unless attacked). The juggernaut victims have very little in common. That is the clue. Something links these people. They do have something in common. If the players do a little bit of digging into the victims past, they will stumble upon this all of the victims where crew on a ship six years ago. A specific ship and a specific voyage. The characters should be able to look up a crew list of that voyage and figure out who all of the victims are going to be. They could then interrogate a passenger/future victim and learn the truth about what really happened on that voyage. Of course, learning the truth doesnt help them. They can either battle the juggernaut and try to stop it or backtrack to the island and see what they find. If they ask around, they may hear that the thing did walk right out of the ocean (a farm boy witnessed it). So, thats a hint that it came from the south, an island.
1. The characters happen to be in Asylum and hear the juggernaut tearing a building apart trying to get at a victim. They run out to investigate and see the thing attack and kill someone. Two other bystanders leap in to join battle even as several others flee. The characters may get drawn in through curiosity.
2. One of the characters was a crew mate on the Mist Dragon five years ago when Jikan was thrown overboard.
3. A wealthy, retired naval officer living in Drakkell, who was first mate on the Mist Dragon during the Jikan episode, figures out who the juggernaut is going after and fears for his life. He hires anyone and everyone to protect him. He'll also want a team of warriors to go out and stop this thing long before it gets to Drakkel.
Going up against the juggernaut toe-to-toe should be near-suicide. This things is a KILLER. The players should be allowed to throw themselves against it for a few combat rounds, get the shit kicked out of them and then be allowed to retreat. They do have one advantage, the juggernaut isn't interested in killing them. It will only kill the people on its list and anyone standing in the way of it and a victim. If they characters attack and then break off, the juggernaut will not pursue. The juggernaut is not indestructible, but it should be the toughest battle the characters have ever faced. Make it a memorable experience. They should throw everything they've got at this beast and not drop it until they've exhausted everything.
This page last updated Wednesday, December 24, 2008. Copyright 1990-2009 David M. Roomes.