The Companions Islandia Campaign
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Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:43 am 
 

Shane wrote:Does anyone know where in Mystara's oceans that Islandia was going to be placed before BX1 was canceled? If not, does anyone have William John Wheeler's email address? I hope to ask him some questions and post his answers on the Mystara Message Board.

Shane


There was an Acaeum member awhile back who actually played in the original Islandia campaign, I talked to him about it a few years ago....I don't remember who it was.  Maybe he will speak up...? He might know.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:25 am 
 

Shane wrote:Does anyone know where in Mystara's oceans that Islandia was going to be placed before BX1 was canceled? If not, does anyone have William John Wheeler's email address? I hope to ask him some questions and post his answers on the Mystara Message Board.

Shane


Hi Shane,

I am trying to get in touch with John for Ian on some questions Ian has. I have to work through someone who is still in contact with John (but is reluctant to share John's email address).

I am going to contact that person this week to see if he has heard back from John.

I will let you know what I find out (if anything).

Its been a long time since I talked to John about the Islandia campaign and where it was going to be set up. Sorry, I do not remember.

But for some reason I dimly remember it was going to be up by the Northeast part of the map (at least thats how I remember it).

I did play (in one of his multiple Islandia campaign groups) in John's world. It was in the late 80's/early 90's (in answer to Mike's question), but I was not the person Mike was referring to.

If you have other questions about John's Islandia campaign, I will do my best to answer them (from what I can remember).

Lance

  


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:49 pm 
 

Lance, thanks for your response. I'm thinking up some questions, and plan to get back to you soon. :-)

  


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:02 pm 
 

Lance, being that you were one of the players in the original Islandia campaign, I'm curious:

What PC or PCs did you play?

Did your adventuring party have a name?

How large a gaming group was there for the Islandia campaign?

Were any of your characters incorporated into the official Companions Islandia products?

Did you officially contribute to any of the Companions products?

Have you done any work in the RPG industry?

Were there any adventures that took place in the wider world or planes beyond Islandia?

In the home campaign, was Islandia placed on one of the established RPG  settings such as Oerth, or was it pretty much entirely home-brew?

Did you or the group ever roleplay in the Known World of Mystara setting?

Was Islandia really a fantasy analogue of the Appalachian Mountains, but surrounded by water?

Are there any especially fond events you remember from the campaign?

Shane

P.S. I sent a private message containing some additional questions that I'd like John to respond to if possible. If you'd like to chime in on any of those questions, that'd be great too.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:58 pm 
 

They guy I talked to from the Forum about Islandia stuff is Dean2918....you could send him a PM, I believe he is the one who played in some of the early Islandia campaigns run by Wheeler.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:36 am 
 

Badmike wrote:They guy I talked to from the Forum about Islandia stuff is Dean2918....you could send him a PM, I believe he is the one who played in some of the early Islandia campaigns run by Wheeler.

Mike B.


Hi Mike,

I would be interested in who that was. I might be able to place which group he was in (there were several).

Lance

  


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:38 am 
 

Shane wrote:Lance, being that you were one of the players in the original Islandia campaign, I'm curious:

What PC or PCs did you play?

Did your adventuring party have a name?

How large a gaming group was there for the Islandia campaign?

Were any of your characters incorporated into the official Companions Islandia products?

Did you officially contribute to any of the Companions products?

Have you done any work in the RPG industry?

Were there any adventures that took place in the wider world or planes beyond Islandia?

In the home campaign, was Islandia placed on one of the established RPG  settings such as Oerth, or was it pretty much entirely home-brew?

Did you or the group ever roleplay in the Known World of Mystara setting?

Was Islandia really a fantasy analogue of the Appalachian Mountains, but surrounded by water?

Are there any especially fond events you remember from the campaign?

Shane

P.S. I sent a private message containing some additional questions that I'd like John to respond to if possible. If you'd like to chime in on any of those questions, that'd be great too.


Hi Shane,

I did not realize you posted this message in addition to the message you pm'ed to me. I will try and answer as best as I can remember (in a subsequent posting).

Lance

  


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:35 am 
 

Shane wrote:Lance, being that you were one of the players in the original Islandia campaign, I'm curious:

What PC or PCs did you play?

Did your adventuring party have a name?

How large a gaming group was there for the Islandia campaign?

Were any of your characters incorporated into the official Companions Islandia products?

Did you officially contribute to any of the Companions products?

Have you done any work in the RPG industry?

Were there any adventures that took place in the wider world or planes beyond Islandia?

In the home campaign, was Islandia placed on one of the established RPG  settings such as Oerth, or was it pretty much entirely home-brew?

Did you or the group ever roleplay in the Known World of Mystara setting?

Was Islandia really a fantasy analogue of the Appalachian Mountains, but surrounded by water?

Are there any especially fond events you remember from the campaign?

Shane

P.S. I sent a private message containing some additional questions that I'd like John to respond to if possible. If you'd like to chime in on any of those questions, that'd be great too.


Lance, being that you were one of the players in the original Islandia campaign, I'm curious:

What PC or PCs did you play?

         I played a fighter type called Arpin

Did your adventuring party have a name?

         Yes, a most impressive name, we called ourselves THE PARTY!!!

How large a gaming group was there for the Islandia campaign?

         The group I was in had between six and eight. Sometimes John had multiple     
         parties adventuring at the same time (and sometimes they would meet up, but
         only one would know about the presence of the other - a story in itself). All in
         all I am not sure how many adventured in John's world. (several dozen?)


Were any of your characters incorporated into the official Companions Islandia products?

         Personally, no. Others, not sure (I would have to go and re-read them).          

Did you officially contribute to any of the Companions products?

         Personally, no. Others, yes (some of the people who are listed in 'Places of
       Mystery' were from an earlier group).
       

Have you done any work in the RPG industry?

         Officially, no.

Were there any adventures that took place in the wider world or planes beyond Islandia?

         Not that I am aware of.

In the home campaign, was Islandia placed on one of the established RPG settings such as Oerth, or was it pretty much entirely home-brew?

         It was pretty much home brew.

Did you or the group ever roleplay in the Known World of Mystara setting?

         No.

Was Islandia really a fantasy analogue of the Appalachian Mountains, but surrounded by water?

         I am stretching my memory here. I believe the Land of Islandia was based on
         a topographical map of part of Maine (maybe part of the Appalachian
         mountains since they run through Maine) raised or lowered by 50 feet (or 100
         feet, you get the picture). John had someone who was trained in mapmaking
         create the maps.


Are there any especially fond events you remember from the campaign?

         The time THE PARTY was walking down a dirt road in the wilderness and we
         ran into an Orc coming the other way. We all hemmed and hawed about
         going to attack the Orc (one never knows how powerful John's npcs
         were). The Orc did its best to look menacing. After the Orc had gone we later
         found out that the Orc was a WIMP and we could of taken it on.

         Another one was our parties quest to destroy an evil artifact that we had
          found. It was a ring (yes, yes, I know what you are thinking). When John said
         he was going to have the Islandia Campaign published by TSR it was
          changed into a medallion and bracers. I believe the ring is mentioned in
          The Brotherhood of the Bolt module. Yes, we had to deal with them and
          EBFs (Evil Black Floaties). Evil Black Floaties were what an earlier group had
         named the wraith-like form of undead in John's game (see Brotherhood of the
          Bolt). John liked the name so thats what he called them..

          Really nasty bunch. Could be very deadly.

         Hope that helps. Anything else just let me know.

         Lance

  


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:27 pm 
 

Neat! Thanks Lance for your response. Do you mind if I post this interview over on the Mystara Message Board's "BX1: Islandia" thread, and see if anyone there has any additional questions they'd like to ask you?

Shane

  


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:07 pm 
 

Shane wrote:Neat! Thanks Lance for your response. Do you mind if I post this interview over on the Mystara Message Board's "BX1: Islandia" thread, and see if anyone there has any additional questions they'd like to ask you?

Shane


No, I do not mind and if anyone else has any questions I will do my best to answer them (from what I can remember  :lol: ).

Lance

  


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:44 pm 
 

Lance, here's the BX1 thread where I posted your responses: The Wizards Community

I thought of another question:

What years were you an active player in the Islandia campaign?

Shane

  


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:47 am 
 

Shane wrote:Lance, here's the BX1 thread where I posted your responses: The Wizards Community

I thought of another question:

What years were you an active player in the Islandia campaign?

Shane


Hi Shane,

Thats stretching the envelope of my memory.  :lol:

Mid to late 80's to early 90's (as best I can remember). Maybe five to seven years in length.

John and Peter Rice (the other creative part of The Companions) had seminars at GenCon when it was in Milwaukee.

I remember going up with John and other players in the campaign and sitting in on his and Peter's seminars.

I just remembered this piece of The Islandia campaign...he had two levels of players, the adventuring party players (like me) and then the strategic players (some of his friends from accross the country...or the world (not sure about that)).

The strategic players were playing the higher level characters (the King, Barons, higher muckity-mucks (as I remember someone calling them)). They rarely interacted with the players but if the players made enough 'noise' that the higher ups noticed, the players could be in BIG trouble.

I think (if I remember correctly) it was either the party I was in or another one that diposed the Baron of Wentworth in one of the adventures/plots.

It created a dilemma for John in that according to how the fuedal system works (from what I remember) if the Baron had a problem he could go to his higher up noble for help. If need be that noble could go to his 'boss' if he needed help and on and on up the 'food chain' until, if need be, it would get to the King who would send aid down the 'chain of command'.

For some reason John did not want to deal with that level of detail but I cannot remember how, if it was ever, resolved.

Lance

  


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:20 am 
 

Thanks Lance, I added that piece to the Islandia Q&A. Any other anecdotes that come to mind are welcome. I plan to include all this on an Islandia page at the official Mystara Vaults website.

Shane

  


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:16 pm 
 

Lance, the following question was posted by Geoff from the MMB:

Interested as I always am about new critters, does Lance have any recollection of what the "Evil Black Floaties" were like, stats-wise?

  


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Post Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:13 pm 
 

Shane wrote:Lance, the following question was posted by Geoff from the MMB:



Hi Shane,

I have been thinking about this one for the past day (and even went to find my Companions modules).

They were covered in the Brotherhood of the Bolt series (Curse on Hareth, Plague of Terror, and Brotherhood of the Bolt), specifically in the Brotherhood of the Bolt.

First some background to put my answer in perspective.

Some of the character stats in John's game were of his own creation (with similarities to other RPGs (stat range 3 - 18 - referenced from the Brotherhood of the Bolt module)):

Malignancy (MAL) - a measure of how powerful one is, based on experience, expertise, combat skill level, or the like. MAL is an aggressiveness rating similar to the Monstermark (see 'The Monstermark System," by Don Turnbull, White Dwarf, issues 1 to 3). Non-adventurers have a MAL of 1 - 2, beginning adventurers have a MAL of 5 to 8 (depending on armor and weapon), experienced adventurers have a MAL of 10 to 50, dragons and other exceptionally powerful creatures have a MAL of 50+.

Intellect (INT) - The ability to think clearly and logically.

Personal Magnetism (PM) - the strength of one's personality. a measure of the psychic force at one's disposal allowing one to control magic or influence others.

Now to the EBFs (summarized from Brotherhood of the Bolt):

Evil Black Floaties (EBF): a generic non-corporeal monster

Murk and mist have coalesced into a cloak of a creature without substance.

....some RPGs call these examples of the more powerful walking dead wraiths, ghosts, spectres, wights, and so on...

....Most of the floaties of this type are not inimical to the player character, but may give them warnings or send them on a quest to right ancient wrongs....

....The truly vile monsters of this type are the non-corporeal types, created by the addition of a great deal of power to living bodies....

It then goes on to list the stats for this type of creature:

INT = 14 - 18

PM  = 12 - 18

MAL = 25 - 70

Thus, there exists among the EBFs a kind of Hierarchy, with their abilities covering a wide range. Common to some is the ability to drain away life force...others sap the strength or the will, and still others may kill by a touch. Some do none of these, merely being able to instill primal terror in those who view them, or spread confusion, distrust, or unrest. Most have the power of limited telekinesis....

I know my answer did not directly answer Geoff's question but this is just to give you an idea of what they really were (in the game and to the parties involved), something not to be trifled with and we never REALLY knew how powerful they really were. It was up to John.

It could of been as lowly in power as a wraith, or as powerful as a super-spectre.

Some were man-sized, others well......we once ran into one that was 100 FEET LONG...yes, I am not kidding here.

How did the party defeat it??? We did not, at least, not directly. The party enlisted the aid of a River Spirit (see Companions module, Places of Mystery IV - Highroad: Volcrax's Toll).

What the party essentially did was instead of giving the Water Spirit just  coin, we tossed in some of our magic items to persuade it to fight for us (although, I think this was one of John's ways to drain off some of our excess magic items).

Well, it worked; the Water Spirit rose up and defeated the quite large EBF.

Lance

  


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:58 pm 
 

Hi Lance, we were able to get your interview posted at the official World of Mystara website, here

Thanks for your help in detailing this lost piece of Mystaran history.

Shane

  


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Post Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:06 pm 
 

islandia was the appalachian mountains with the water table raised 500 feet. iirc the advantage to the gm`s ( & module writers) was nobody would specifically recognize the land mass for what it was but yet the gm`s were intimately familiar with the maine terrain (so they were able to descibe things in great detail). i never gamed with them, but i talked with peter rice at gencon and at his game store in bath maine (the toy soldier i believe). again iirc they were able to take their maps straight from the usga maps. they had a gorgeous full color map ( it was about 6 feet square) with them at their booth that i tried to get them to sell to me, but no dice. he did put me in touch with the guy who did the maps for them and i had him make me a 6 miles to the inch map of islandia ( it`s about 20 feet long ! ) but he never colored in the topography (other than the rivers).

  

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Post Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:50 am 
 

20 feet long!  No wonder he never colored it in.   8O


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:29 pm 
 

I know this thread is a little old now, but I thought I would provide a little useful feedback.

I am good personal friends with dean2918 and played in an Islandia campaign with him back in the mid 80's.  I would love to say that we played with William John Wheeler, but that is not the case.  Instead, the DM for the campaign was a person who had play tested Islandia modules while living in Maine.  He later moved to Iowa, where dean2918 and I were high school students, and started a group in the Islandia modules.  Lots of fun.  I sure miss it.....   :(

fletch

  

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 6:05 pm 
 

Allan,
If you can track down WJW, I'd love to see the set of five republished through DW. If you publish as a retrospective you don't need to comply with WoTC's d20 lisence, and if it's put into some historical context (biographical) then Hasbro cannot enforce their copyright over the D&D name. I can ofcourse supply the OCR.


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