Two days sail due west from Umiyid, a stiff wind blew. If you sailed on, the air became hot and dry, then flecked with ash and embers, then a burning conflagration of lightning, blowing black sand, and intense, multicolored fire. But then, suddenly, the Great Fire suddenly ceased. Last year, the wind patterns changed. A mere three days sail from Umiyid City, a massive island was discovered, and on it, untouched Cyclopean ruins.
To prevent war, the three major powers established a Joint Exploration Treaty (JET). Under the terms of the JET, only authorized representatives of the governments are allowed on the island. Any adventurers who are sponsored by the great powers must share a base of operations on the island. Each group is obliged to return any wealth and artifacts they find to their sponsoring government, although in practice each government allows the adventurers to keep a cut for themselves to encourage explorers and mercenaries to hazard an expedition.
Currently, Umiyid will provide prospective treasure seekers transit to and from the island, a tent in the Joint Expeditionary Camp, and a letter of license to explore and loot the island for 50 dirhams (2 Cash), paid up front.
Geography and Regions
The island is roughly the shape of a reversed (mirror-image) letter “c”, except the arms are fat. The northern arm is larger, and is framed by tall sea cliffs. The lower arm has lower elevation, and has sandy beaches on both the northern and southern sides. Inside the “c” is the original Torgisch Capital City, now reduced to partially-submerged ruins. On the outer side of the southern arm is the Joint Expeditionary Camp. The center of the island is an enormous Volcano. High on its slopes are the main entrance to the Ruined Citadel. The south of the island contains most of the island's area, and it is covered in lush tropical jungle. This Jungle is home to various bands and small villages of Reptoids. The eastern part of the island is a blasted Badlands of jagged obsidian and basalt flats. The area is riddled with lava tubes, several of which are accessible through collapses or cave openings. (These lava tubes also open in the Jungle, and many explorers speculate that they might connect to central layers of the Fortress.) On the eastern coast of the badlands are tall sea cliffs riddled with sea caves.
The Joint Expeditionary Camp
This is a seasonal camp based on a sandy beach near springs and a small river. The camp has a ramshackle feel, with a few dozen crude buildings scattered along the beach, interspersed with piles of crates and other gear. There is a low-grade bustle about the camp, with hunting parties coming and going, cooks preparing meals, laborers loading and unloading rowboats, guards loitering, and a few off-duty adventurers preparing to return to Umiyid. Offshore, a row of government ships are anchored.
Within the camp, bureaucrats (from the Diwan of Exploration) provide the party a tent to live in and basic meals. They also sell a few adventuring supplies, mostly at black market rates that are higher than official government-approved prices.
Other Adventuring Parties
At any given time, there are 3d4 other adventuring parties in the camp, with an equal chance of preparing for another expedition or preparing to return to the main island. Inevitably, adventurers consider each other friendly rivals, and often compete to see who can recover the best artifacts or the most bullion. Each session at the megadungeon, the Referee may ask a random player who they know on a rival team and what their relationship is with that person: friendly, hostile, jealous, dismissive, or admiring.