As the players arrive to the island their lifeboat is destroyed, smashed to pieces by an obsidian spike that thrusts up underneath them. Other shipwrecks still hang impaled like grizzly trophies around the island. The island radiates a constant aura of evil.
Another set of visitors, carrying one of Tecal’s lamps that allows ships to reach the harbor unharmed, has recently arrived as well: a mercenary company “Morel’s Rebels”, led by Captain Anniela Spichett, and Tolome Heightknown, a powerful wizard and the preeminent authority on the history of Tecal.
These strangers have come to reactivate the runewell, a task that requires human sacrifice. Having lost their supply of fresh bodies after their plan to tie together another ship to their own (full of shanghai’d or unwitting volunteers) they’re scouring the island for anyone else they could use as kindling. Descendants of the survivor’s of Tecal’s demise offer them precisely what they need.
The party in this case arrived to Tecal from the South and found the villa of the Alchemist, along with the cup. The next morning, earthquakes begin to rumble periodically. The party can intuit that an eruption may be brewing.
Depending on how the party navigates the island, different encounters could happen:
- Following the river Northward will lead them to the village of the descendants of the survivors of Tecal.
- Heading West will take them to the mangrove and the resting place of the pirate ship “The Lofty Pig”.
- Heading East will take them to the ruins of the city of Tecal, and all the dangers that implies.
Upon arriving at the survivor’s village, they will confront a small detachment of the mercenary company holding the villagers hostage. A confrontation naturally occurs. During that confrontation, Aratoah, the chieftain of the village, comes out of the jungle to assist the party. After combat, if the party presents itself as not immediately hostile towards her, Aratoah explains the situation. When the mercenaries arrived, they raided the village, took the children hostage, and demanded that the able-bodied assist them in pillaging the ruins of the city. The villagers had no choice but to agree.
The villagers didn’t realize that they were going to be sacrificed to reignite the runewell in the volcano instead. Aratoah asks the party, who are obviously able to confront the mercenaries, to help her rescue her village’s children.
If the party decides to help Aratoah rescue the children of her village, she will accompany them (Shaman template NPC). She will tell them that the Tolome must be performing the ritual in the caldera of the volcano, where the dormant runewell lies. In order to reach the caldera, however, they will need one of the tecalese lamps. She gives them the choice: West to where the last known outsiders (pirates) came to Tecal and died, or East to where the mercenaries have their ships, along with the lamp that allowed them to get there in the first place.
After retrieving the lamp from either place, Aratoah leads the party through the jungle, up the steep mountainside to one of the secret entrances to the caldera through tunnels carved from the Western side, allowing them to avoid most of the dangers in the city.
The journey towards the volcano coincides with its increased activity. Earthquakes begin to rip the island in two, spewing globs of lava like boulders into the air. The ghosts of Tecal are sent into a frenzy, especially in the city, where they are reminded of the trauma that led to their demise. They kill the living there, and attack the mercenaries’ ships.
Regardless of which path they used to get there, the party must confront Captain Aniella and the remains of her company, and then Tolome as he’s performing the ritual to sacrifice the children. The tunnels leading to the runewell are still standing, despite the increasingly violent quakes, but they won’t last long.