Thursday, August 12, 2010

Creature Comforts - Islands

While islands exist in many different climates and have varying terrain, the image that comes to mind when most folks think of “island” is one of coconut palms, sandy beaches, and beautiful blue ocean lagoons. While such images certainly invoke peaceful pleasantries, tropical islands can also hold deadly volcanoes, uncooperative indigenous peoples, and dangerous predators. Fortunately, the many creature comforts that can be had on a tropical island give respite to these dangers. Presented here, are some of those comforts.

Coconut Oil

The ubiquitous coconut has countless applications. You can drink the milk, eat the flesh, use the shell as a container, or even weave the fibers of the outer shell into a rough fabric. While these applications are valuable, indigenous island peoples learned long ago that pressing the meat or shell of the coconut could yield a valuable oil. Like the coconut itself, coconut oil can also be used several ways. Cooking with the oil is probably one of the most common applications, but coconut oil can also be used as a lubricant and medicine. As medicine, coconut oil repairs and replenishes the skin. The oil has a pleasant odor as well, which is a rare thing when it comes to medicine. As a lubricant, coconut oil can aid in the sharpening of blades, quiet hinges in armor, or simply just make things more slippery. With its myriad uses, it is difficult to argue that coconut oil should not be included on anyone’s list of creature comforts.

Game Rule: A hero that stops to slather his wounds with coconut oil during a short rest, gains a free healing surge. This wound treatment is only available once per day. A hero that uses coconut oil to lubricate his metallic armor or other metal object, gains a + 1 to Stealth checks when using that object. The object must be lubricated daily for the bonus to remain effective. A hero can use coconut oil to make himself slippery and hard to grasp. Using coconut oil in this fashion requires two applications of the oil for a medium creature. Once coated, the hero gains a +2 to all checks involving Escape rolls until his next extended rest. A single application of coconut oil costs 5 GP.


It is difficult to imagine a more comfortable sleeping arrangement than the leisurely swaying of a soft hammock. While not necessarily exclusive to tropical islands, hammocks can be found anywhere the ground is dangerous or uncomfortable to sleep upon. Whether fashioned from netting, woven cloth, or even stout vines, a hammock can ensure a peaceful rest even when the ground is less than friendly. Generally tied to supports well above the ground, sleeping in a hammock can protect from crawling insects, scorpions, and snakes. In addition, certain cultures have learned to tightly weave specific fibers to form a mosquito netting. Such netting can cover the hammock and protect the sleeper from these disease carrying pests. With its enveloping form, a hammock puts no pressure points on the body, allowing for a more comfortable sleep. With its compact design, portability, and utility, the hammock most certainly qualifies as a creature comfort.

Game Rule: A hero that spends an extended rest sleeping in a hammock, gains a +1 to Endurance checks until his next extended rest. While the hero is sleeping in a hammock, he gains a +2 to his defenses against disease causing vermin. An ordinary hammock costs 2 GP. If the hammock is equipped with mosquito netting, the hammock costs 5 GP.


Virtually all tropical islands have one noticeable feature – great surf. Whether it’s the gently lapping waves from a quiet lagoon, or the roaring crash of waves on an island cliff-side, the sound of the surf is one of the more compelling reasons folks like to visit and live on tropical islands. The surf provides a soothing and persistent lullaby to those sleeping nearby, and can increase the awareness and insight of those that listen to it. Beyond its soothing sounds, however, the surf can provide useful entertainment in the form of surfing. While virtually unheard of in land-locked locales, surfing has been known to island peoples for centuries. Utilizing a stout wooden board, surfers paddle out to where the waves form, in the hopes of capturing “the big one” and ride it all the way to the shore. Surfers develop great strength and balance as a result of this leisure activity and this translates into greater athletic prowess. It takes skill to become a good surfer, however, so frequent practice is a must. Regardless of how you view the surf, there’s no denying that it’s one of the great creature comforts of the islands.

Game Rule: A hero that spends an extended rest within earshot of the surf, gains a +1 to both Insight and Perception checks until his next extended rest. If the hero takes more than 1 week of extended rests within earshot of the surf, the benefit is lost. A hero that trains at least once a week for 6 months learning to surf, gains a +1 to Acrobatic and Athletics checks. This benefit is lost, if the hero fails to surf at least once every 6 months thereafter.

A tropical island can be a dangerous, lonely place, but it can also be considered a tropical paradise of creature comforts. So reach for the coconut oil, grab a board, and surf the day away. DMs, encourage your players to participate in an island campaign by sprinkling some of these creature comforts about.

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

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