Wavesmash Reef Tombs History
The Eternal Storm
About 1,500 years ago (-270), a vast storm covered the whole region, and lasted for a month. When it receded, a knot of stormy weather remained over the reef. Only the most desperate or foolhardy would sail near the Eternal Storm. It stretches about fifty miles long and forty miles wide, fluctuating in shape with winds and other weather patterns.
The Reef Tombs were discovered about 800 years ago (430) by a shipwrecked crew of pirates from the Wavesmash ship, captained by Davias Thorn. Most of his crew were killed in their first couple of explorations, but the survivors managed to return to land and get another ship with the proceeds. The second ship was named the Cryptic.
They formed the nucleus for what became the Wavesmash Guild, which was a semi-legal salvage enterprise that got wealthy from raiding and fencing the priceless goods, carcasses, and lore.
Finds of this quality attracted broader attention, and after about ten years the Wavesmash Guild was forcibly removed from the site by a combined effort of a number of other guilds (440). The find was named the Wavesmash Reef Tombs, descriptively at first, but then properly.
Wavesmash Keep was built to defend the site, and a settlement grew around it with the alacrity of a boom town. The giant waves and constant storming conditions did put something of a damper on the logistics of setting up a small town on the end of the haunted, monster-infested island, but those bold enough to have an interest in the island were difficult to deter.
The Security Guild, the Traveler’s Guild, and the Tower Guild expressed initial interest, bringing elements of the Trader’s Guild and a bevy of scholarly concerns along to help convert treasure and knowledge to wealth. For a century, they repeatedly sacked the island, penetrating ever deeper into tombs and pushing back the unknowns. (450-550)
As the more violent types cleared out defenses and guardians, the scholars moved in with glee. However, they quickly discovered that the tombs remained unsafe.
Reef Crawler Invasion
Below the surface of the reef, a settlement of fish-men claimed the reef as their own, and drove off the intruders 685 years ago (545). A bloody war resulted, and after five years of intense fighting, the reef crawlers were driven, sullen, back into the deeps. The island was claimed by the Guilds. (550)
Kruk’s Jawline Contributes Danger
Several islands upwind of the Tomb Reef, the Kruk’s Jawline islands, also added to the ongoing danger. Currents and wind carry often confused creatures from more dangerous islands about eighty miles upwind to the reef. Upon arriving, the hungry monsters look for lairs and food, often surprising groups that were not prepared, or who allowed their security to lapse.
The guilds decided on a use for the Wavesmash Reef Tombs. They sent apprentices out to the Tombs to be tested by blood and danger. Could they find something previous groups missed? Could they wipe out threats that crawled back into the dark places? Could they perhaps profit from the remains of others who fell in trying to plumb the darkness below the reef?
Those who achieved a measure of success in their time stationed on the Reef Tombs would then get better assignments, or increased status in the guild. So this posting, known for its potential for wealth, magic, and prestige, became more popular among the hopefuls who wanted access to Guild resources and authority.
The Deathnitre Conspiracy
About 400 years ago (830), a cabal of necromancers led by Motarias managed to make landfall on the island’s north side, far from the Keep. They had a cargo of deathnitre, and they seeded it as widely as they could in the tombs. Their plan was to increase the undeath on the island, then claim it for their own and use it as an unassailable fortress.
After two full holds of deathnitre had been planted, around the year 835, the first guilders got wind of something going on. An intrepid band of adventurers sought proof of this activity, as no one in the Keep wanted to believe them. When they actually captured a necromancer named Yulian and returned her to the keep, the temples were forced to act.
Protectorate of Saint Midrian
After a difficult period of tension and struggle, the Temple of Alorn succeeded with the mainland authorities in naming the island a protectorate of St. Midrian. Holy warriors of St. Midrian sailed to the island, led by Dormian Felmat. They blazed through the tombs, collecting all the deathnitre they found, and smashing the undead.
The Battle of Wultch Spire
St. Midrian’s forces had a climactic battle with Motarias’s necromantic forces in the Spire of Wultch. Ambushed by reef crawlers and beset by captured monsters turned undead, Felmat’s forces were almost wiped out before they slew Motarias and the reef crawler king Blutch. St. Midrian’s forces could not be broken, and the morale utterly failed among the death-dealers and reef crawlers. The slaughter was pretty complete, save the reef crawlers that escaped to the sea; no necromancers are known to have survived the purge.
Four survivors made it all the way back to the Keep, wounded and exhausted. They ordered a shrine built to commemorate the fallen, and they took command of the logistics of the Keep. The battle was won in 839, the temple built in 845. The necromancers have not returned.