The ruins of the palatial city on the eastern side of the island in particular is filled with cinder-corpses, calcified zombies, and burning skeletons, whose bones glow like embers beneath a layer of carbonized flesh and soot. They wander through the ruins that are partially submerged beneath the now-cooled lava. The long piers run reach out from the docks, with the burnt husks of ships still moored there. The stage of the amphitheater still stands, though without an audience. Relics, both wondrous and terrible, wait to be discovered there.
There’s a mangrove growing on the western side of the island. There, the animals have mutated into more malevolent forms. The dark water among the roots of the trees is full of creatures that could be driven to a feeding frenzy. Lost in those roots there a strange intruder, a fairly new ship, no more than a couple of decades old, with one of the lamps that led Tecal’s ships home safely lying on the floor. Her name is still legible on her bow — “The Lofty Pig”.
The McGuffin mentioned above is the lamp that allows ships to travel to and from Tecal.
At one point or another, Tecal must have been filled with villas, some of them may have been working farms, others would’ve been pleasure farms and vineyards. All of that has been overrun by a particularly ferocious tropical growth. Trees that may have taken centuries to grow mature in less than a decade. All of them, however, are twisted in some in some way. The fauna is no different.
The Villa of the Alchemist
In that wilderness, there’s a villa that has managed to survive the unrelenting march of vegetation. That small yet luxurious home belonged to a powerful alchemist and sorcerer, Enricht Kouhn. Believing himself a trickster, his home is protected by magic that is equal parts brutal and playful.
Lost in the jungle, and after centuries of isolation, a cluster of small villages populated by the survivors of the night that Tecal fell. Paranoid and reclusive, the villagers are just as likely to attack strangers as to shun them. Now, though, the larger village that sits at the joining of two rivers is burning. The column of smoke visible from miles away, for anyone who manages to climb over the jungle’s natural canopy at least.
Spidering all over the island, the old roads still stand. The unnatural flagstones were shaped by artisans using spells that reshaped the rock. This is particularly heinous to dwarves. They could see, due to stonecunning, that the rock was never carved or worked with tools. It is akin to see a living animal with its bones reshaped and fused by artificial means; horrific in its own way.
The road is marked by milestones as well which, much like the flagstones, are unnatural. They guide travelers along with runes on them that glow when activated. There are places where the jungle has managed to defeat the road, but it still mostly stands.
There is one spot where the road and the jungle have both yielded to another force. The road has been ruined by an explosion. The trees around the scorchmark were knocked down or ripped to rough stumps low to the ground. The burnt remains of a carriage are in the middle of the apparent blast. This is the site of a dangerous haunt.
There is a ridge separating the volcano from the rest of the island. It’s a line of demarcation that life cannot cross. The jungle is just not able to climb its slope. The few trees that may have stood around the crater before are now calcified corpses of themselves.
Past that ridge, the heart of Tecal’s nightmare lies deep in the caldera. Since the last eruption, centuries ago, the volcano has been completely denuded of all life. Most of its lava spilled eastward, across the city. On its western side, the funnel is still mostly intact. There are tunnels there that Tecal’s sorcerers used in the past as secret entrances to access the runewell.
The tunnels lare clad in lava, with corpses and other detritus fused into the walls. Clearing the way down to the dormant runewell was the first task the mercenaries had for their newly acquired slaves, before they became sacrifices. At this depth, an underground temple comprised of several interconnected halls offers the only viable access to the runewell in its pool of molten lava.
The surviving mercenaries, desperate and expecting to be saved by Tolome, the wizard awakening the runewell, have barricaded themselves in the westernmost chamber of the underground chambers next to the runewell itself. They’ve fought off several assaults by frenzied undead, and are low in resources and patience. Captain Aninelle leads them in that last stand.
The spirits of those sorcerers haunt the tunnels. Those who realized what they had done took their own lives. Some became Allips and haunt the Grand Hall where the lava first broke through.
On the eastern side of the complex, the spirit of one of the priests haunts the chamber leading to the tunnels that emerge on the city’s side. He’s a CR 5 haunt casting Suffocation (DC 17). Fresh corpses of mercenaries are strewn about the floor.
Tolome himself, protected by a Large Magma Elemental (CR5) he has bound, is casting the final stage of the rituals necessary to awaken the runewell. He has the hostage children from the village with him. He is a standard Bloodfire Sorcerer (CR6) who has to spend at least 1 standard action every 3 rounds maintaining the ritual he began. Breaking his concentration during that action will destabilize the volcano. Breaking his concentration or otherwise impeding his spellcasting at that time (successfully) will lead to the volcano flooding the caldera with a tidal wave of lava. It takes 4 rounds for the exposed caldera to flood, and 3 more for the grand hall it connects to, and 3 more to fill the remaining chambers.
There is a fourth chamber on the southern side containing a dormant portal. With a dragonblood shard lantern, the portal can be opened for 1 round as a 1-way passage to an unknown location.