Monday, May 1, 2023

Science fantasy campaign with floating islands, quick notes

Floating islands are cool. I want a science fantasy campaign, a big hexmap, with, like, five islands floating above it, each with its own quirks and behavior. Of course, there is Skyrealms of Jorune, I'm intrigued by it, but I cannot use settings so dense (and I envy Samwise who can grok it and runs a BRP Jorune campaign!).

Anyway, in this campaign I envision, the Referee would have to track the movements of the floating islands, which could be a hassle, but perhaps could be done in weekly turns. 

The islands would be like wildcards, most of them moving around randomly. Due to the randomness, they could crash into each other, into the ground, or tall mountains. And some islands would have environmental effects. Obv. all of them would be adventure locales with ruins and dungeons and treasure and conflict and peril.

Something along these lines:

Floating island



1, Inhabited by monsters


Weird weather magnet.

2, Inhabited by sentient beings, split into two warring factions

Controlled by dominant faction, 1 hex/day or 30 degree turn/day

Mostly functioning tech and ecosystem.

3, Inhabited by monsters

Erratic, roll 1/week

Corruption field. If the island stays on the same hex for more than 1 week, the hex becomes Corrupted.

4, Inhabited by a single sentient being and a bunch of monsters

Continuous, roll 1/week

Transporter beam. Every midnight, a 30’ diameter column of red light projects from the lower tip of the island, stays for 1 minute, then teleports everything in its reach to the island (incl. a hemisphere of ground below).

5, Inhabited by sentient beings

Continuous, roll 1/week

Crumbling. There is a chance of either a rain of small debris or a large chunk falling down from it.

Movement types:





Turn clockwise


Descend 1000’


Move 1 hex

Move 1 hex




Ascend 1000’


Turn counter-clockwise

Bonus Lin Carter quote:

It was a friendly guard named Aarghax who explained to Ganelon what it was all about. The renegade Horxites who had taken refuge on Sky Island had converted and soon dominated the Quasihumans, in residence there. The aerial island commonly floated to and fro over Karjixia and Quay, sometimes driven as far as Ixland during the Windy Season. As soon as the Elphod had got the upper hand, he began exacting tribute from the Quaylies and the Ixlanders through the simple expedient of threatening to drop Sky Islandish garbage upon their cities. As for Karjixia, he found an even more appropriate mode of exacting tribute: In the jungles of the Tigermen there existed the so-called Death Zone. This was an immense bubble of pure vacuum, trapped beneath the heavy, humid atmosphere of Karjixia and unable to escape.*

This bubble of space vacuum was believed to have been sucked down to the earth’s surface a generation ago when the head of a comet collided with the mountains of central Karjixia. The Elphod, who had benefited from an excellent technological education at Vandalex in his youth, found a method by which the vacuum bubble could be extended to swallow nearby parcels of real estate. He then caused the Death Zone to absorb two villages of the Tigermen, asphyxiating the inhabitants on the spot; following this demonstration of his powers, he demanded tribute from other nearby villages, upon threat of moving the vacuum bubble to their localities.

The Tigermen fiercely resented this form of blackmail, and soon found means of rejecting the demands of the so-called Airmasters (as the Sky Islanders had taken to calling themselves). For the comet’s head, a gigantic mass of frozen oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and helium, was buried beneath the roots of the Thazarian Mountains; mines were soon sunk, and the frozen air thus brought to the surface was used to supply breathable atmosphere to those towns and villages which had been domed over against fluctuations in the Death Zone.

Everything that came into the vacuum bubble was destroyed; every living thing, that is. Deprived of air, the jungle vegetation withered and crumbled, and the denizens of the tropic forests died. If the Airmasters maintained the vacuum bubble over one particular area for seven days or more, that region was transformed into a stretch of sterile desert. As yet, only some fifteen or sixteen towns of the Tigermen were immediately threatened; but the Elphod was rumored to be tinkering with devices that would enable him to move the bubble at will over considerable distances—and even to extend its size.’

*‘Scientifically impossible, according to the present state of knowledge, of course. But remember: in seven hundred million years the Laws of Nature have undergone change and alteration.


  1. Have you seen the supplement "Skycrawl" by Aaron Reed? Might be a different vibe than you want, but is definitely interesting, and pretty elegant to me.

    1. I've heard about it, yeah! I also had the feeling that it might have a different vibe, but I'm interested in the mechanics + you can mine anything for inspiration or tables...