Low Country Point Crawl Prep: Barrier Island Generator

Driftwood or treant corpse?

So, I’ve gone off the deep end and I’ve decided to start an attempt to create a pointcrawl, having no personal experience running a hexcrawl, a pointcrawl, or even creating my own dungeon from scratch! So I’ve decided to create something based upon my home area in the Low Country region of the South Carolina and Georgia coast. A nice home for my Root Doctor and a great place to set some of Skerples’ GROG Pirate hack.

One of my primary goals, of course, is to make the Point Crawl itself, which I have sketched out over several handfuls of crumpled steno-pad sheets. I’ve got locations, an approximation of distances and travel times, etc. etc. I just so happen to be shit at using various mapping and art programs, so until I get a little more practice posting something up digitally is on hold. However! I do have a fun little resource here that I plan to use.

The Sea Islands, also called Barrier Islands, there are many dozens of coast-hugging, small, constantly changing islands of various sorts. From little sandbars that come and go with erosion, to larger islands with established vegetation, to islands that only a few fisherman know of and treat like their own little sanctuary. Erosion, habitation, rice plantations, and the fishing industry have all contributed to this ever changing landscape and thus I felt it would be a great chance for a random table.

When your island hopping adventurers decide to go off the beaten path, bring their boat down river, or get horribly lost in the marsh, roll a few times on the table below. There is a 2-in-6 chance of the island already being inhabited by “civilized” or “native” folk of one type or another, otherwise it is uninhabited, exploitable wilderness.

Roll
Adjective
Noun
Size
Environment
1
Savage
John’s
Small
Sandbar
2
Red
Jenny’s
3
Black
Crane
4
Timid
Bull
5
Old
Snake
Marshland
6
Dark
Alligator
7
Long
Buzzard
8
Short
Toad
9
Saint
Wren
Rocky
10
Sweet
Helena’s
11
Green
Harold’s
Medium
12
Lost
Folly’s
Forested
13
Last
Point
14
Dead
Turtle
15
Hermit
Palm
Structures
16
Big
End
17
Little
Crab
18
Crazy
Head
Other
19
Surly
Man’s
Large
20
Young
Lady’s

Sizes

Small– Between a few acres and up to a quarter square mile, a Small Island could be a small sandbar that vanishes in the high tide or it can be large enough for a small hamlet and a dew docks. Islands like these are perfect places for buried pirate treasure, lonely hermits, a lagoon of hungry alligators, village of inbred marsh-dwelling rednecks, island get away of rich elite, an isolated lighthouse etc.
Medium– More then a quarter square mile and less than twenty square miles, with around ten being the standard. These islands are big enough for a reasonably sized town or a large hunting reserve or a plantation. Could also be the locations of sea-forts, pirate lairs, sea turtle nesting sites, native burial grounds, hidden lizardman marsh-villages.

Large– More than twenty square miles less than forty. The largest of the Sea Islands are between 60-70 square miles are are primary setting pieces for the Point Crawl, so any randomly generated Large Island should be less in size than those. Large Islands of this nature tend to have a reason they are not on the main map, infested with wild creatures, inhabited by dangerous natives, the site of a horrible magical accident, a secret government facility etc. But it could also very well be simply be place that the still recent colonizers have yet to explore.

Enviroments

Sandbar: Truly the most common sort of Barrier Island, these islands are more or less just a pile of sand and slit that have formed due to current and wave patterns. More often than not these form at the mouths of various rivers and creeks that meet the ocean and tend to vanish and reappear with the changing of the tides. What might seem like a safe sandy shore to rest upon might be ten feet underwater a few hours later. A large sandbar would be something like a desert island, possibly with a few stubborn bits of vegetation holding on and likely crawling with filter feeding crabs trying to beat the tides. 
Marshlands: With Barrier Islands, you generally encounter two types of marshland, Salt Marsh and Freshwater Tidal Marshes with Salt Marshes being predominate. Salt Marshes have two zones, a Low Marsh and a High Marsh. The Low Marsh is a biome that is affected by the daily tides and is dominated by a rich muddy of “pluff mud” and a thick growth of halophyte (salt resistant) plants such as cord grass. The thick almost sludge-like mud made of decayed plant detritus and silt makes it difficult for large animals to traverse, but encourages a large echo system of creatures and algae who feed upon the decaying nutrient rich mud and are in turned preyed upon up the chain. Oysters, snails, shrimp and crabs make up most of the bottom of the food chain with predatory birds, otters, large fish and turtles make up the upper tier, although occasionally alligators come down river for a snack. In the rivers around marshlands it is not uncommon for sharks, porpoises, manatees, and dolphins to also be present.

High Marsh, on the other hand, is only affected by the bi-monthly Spring Tides that are much higher than daily tides. These areas tend to have high salinity soil and much of its vegetation is stunted or specialized such as sweetgrass or needlerush. Creatures living in this area tend to be scavengers who obtain most of their food from the low marsh then retreat to the high marsh at high tide. Raccoons, opossums, nutria, snakes, coyotes and such would be common here.

A large enough Marshland Island might have enough height to have swampy areas or even small groves of pine and oak where the tides do not affect their growth.  

Rocky: Actually very uncommon in areas that form Barrier Islands due to the manner that currents interact with the shoreline, a rocky island in this case would be made of a sort of erosion resistant rock that hasn’t been beaten into sand by the ocean. More often than not these would simply be jagged outcroppings, more a threat to shipping lanes than adventurers. But perhaps there is sunken treasure nearby or sahuagins laying traps or big dye producing snails worth a few gold a piece. Very large rocky islands are aberrant for this region and might be artificial or volcanic in origin. 
Forested: Often found on larger islands or islands that have a higher than average height, forested Barrier Islands tend to have a ring of marshland around them while the interior tends to be either swampy in composition or have trees able withstand some level of salinity and sandy soil. Expansive Live Oaks, Tidewater Cypruss, Sweetgum, Yellow Pine, Mangroves, Palms of various sorts, and all kinds of robust ferns are the most common large plants here with almost all of them festooned with spanish moss. The make up of these islands are often impacted by the needs of nearby civilized peoples as Live Oak is highly valued as a ship building resource and Yellow Pine are prime home construction material. Forested islands might be inhabited by black bears, bob cats, white tailed deer, wild boar, turkey, fox and so forth. In the fresh water lagoons common near these forested islands, alligators often amass in sizable congregations. 
Structures: This island has been cleared of most of its natural environment to make space for human or humanoid habitation. It might be a military base or a plantation or a pirate lair or a whole small urban center. These are not always necessarily inhabited as the threat of disease from mosquitoes, regular flooding, hurricanes, and other natural phenomena is ever present. Expect there to be several docks and possibly small bridges to other nearby islands.
Other: This is the space for the weird oddball islands that fantasy might throw at you occasionally. If you roll Other, roll again on the list below or make something gonzo up.


Roll
Other Island
1
Roll on Environment again, nominally that result, actually a giant turtle. 1-in-6 chance of being a massive stinking corpse.
2
Repeating Island: Island is caught in a time loop and repeats the same day over and over again. Must break the loop to escape, no time apparently passed outside.
3
Haunted Island, can’t spit without hitting a headstone and waking up a ghoul
4
Tip of an underwater mountain, sea-dwaves have hollowed out the underside.
5
Illusional Island: can only step foot on it if you are also an illusion.
6
100-Year Island: Avalon or some shit, only appears for one night every hundred years.
7
Doll Island: Weird hermit has covered this island in hundreds of dolls.
8
Animal Island: Left overs from weird government experiments, this island is dominated by a single out of place species. Roll once on the Biological Mutation Chart, all of the dominate animal species possesses that mutation
9
Prison Island: This entire island is a prison complex for dangerous criminals or lepers who don’t know how to swim.
10
Statue Island: It..it’s all statues. All the way down.
11
Floating Island: This island is literally floating, an enterprising madman might have put a big ass mast and rudder on it one of these days. 
12
Flying Island: Laputa or some shit. If its inhabited, folks are probably just here for a visit, if it isn’t old security drones might be still wandering around.
13
Eyland: IT’S NOT AN ISLAND, IT’S A GIANT EYE, REVERSE REVERSE!
14
Castle Island: A single tower peaking up from the water, the rest is below.
15
Woven Island: Made out of reeds, trapped air, and maybe a bit of faith, this artificial floating island is half raft half hamlet. Prone to fire. 
16
Anti-Island: The reserve of an island, this is actually an extremely deep hole, may or may not occasionally produce a maelstrom. 
17
Sargasso Gyre: Due to weird current patterns, this artificial island is made up of sargasso, ship wrecks, and detritus. 
18
Mimic Island: Looks like beach resort paradise with friendly inhabitants, beautiful sights, and comfortable beds. Oddly no animals, even insects. Inhabitants are always touching the ground in some way. Everything is actually a single massive mimic, mouths can appear anywhere.
19
Cannibal Island: Everything living on this island can only survive by eating creatures of the same time. Rations don’t work unless they are made of whatever you are made of. The Island itself eats other islands every few score years.
20
Artificial Island: A perfect metal cube of terribly large proportions with no sign of rust. What’s inside? Where’s the door?

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