1994 September 10

The Search for the Moonstone

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Unfortunate adventurer! When your ship was wrecked on the coral reefs of an uncharted isle, you knew that the curse of the legendary Moonstone had claimed another victim.

Of course, that fabulous jewel had you in its grasp long before your vessel ran aground. What else could have made you sell off your small holdings to book passage aboard a sloop sailing through unknown waters? And you were not alone. Every hand on the ship dreamed of the Moonstone—of its reputed power to grant your heart’s desire and of the myriad searchers who never came back to port.

And now that dream has led you here: Islandia, a small pinnacle of volcanic rock jutting out of the endless azure sea. To be fair, it is a pleasant enough place. Grassy vales and rolling hills, lush forests and tumultuous rivers—even a thriving city.

For the island is inhabited. Like yourself, many of the Islandians were captured by the capricious coral reefs. Others are natives, the descendants of shipwrecked sailors of years past. They have made a good life here and have all but forgotten the outside world.

This is probably for the best; leaving Islandia seems hopeless. No ships can get through the encircling reefs, and smaller craft are driven back by the furious winds and waves that originally brought you to the island. After a few futile attempts, you too pushed aside your hopes of returning home and tried to form a new life here on Islandia.

Now even that existence is imperiled. Earthquakes have shaken the island for weeks; tidal waves buffet the beaches mercilessly. The brave (or the foolish) claim that Islandia has seen worse and survived; others shout that the end is near. Not knowing whom to believe, you have set your feet once more upon the open road. Someone somewhere must have the secret that can save your life: a way to escape Islandia.

Armed only with a crude map of the more important Islandian features (though you do not know what most of them are) and five obols (the local unit of currency), you stand on one the many roads that cross the island. A tremor shatters the early Sunday morning stillness. Who knows how much time you have? Your only hope is to talk to as many people in as many places as quickly as possible. Backtracking will be costly, possibly fatal—so you must choose your route carefully…

Other pages of interest

Map of Islandia