Throughout the early decades of the 24th century (Imperial Calendar), Don Diego Estragon, Estalian merchant and explorer, worked to acquire a vast amount of wealth. He owned a fleet of ships that sailed the globe and regularly traded with Arabyan and Cathayan merchants and occasionally even the people and other races of Lustria. His mansion in Magritta rivaled that of the local Prince, and it is said that the man attracted as many enemies as he did sycophants and lovers. He survived many assassination attempts and many slanderous attacks on his character, including some that stated that he was secretly a mage who practiced the Dark Arts. Estragon seemed to weather all of these attacks – be they with words or swords – with grace and good humor. Though many envied his wealth, prestige, and success, few could deny that he was an affable, charismatic man whose boldness and bravado were admirable.
In 2348, Estragon set off with a great fleet of ships, each loaded to the gunwales with trade goods from all over the Old World. Estragon planned to circunnavigate the world and trade with merchants, craftsmen, and artisans of all kinds. If the trip had proved successful, Estragon would have returned with more than a king's ransom in exotic goods and could well have become the richest man in the Old World. Neither Estragon nor any of his ships or crews, however, returned from the voyage.
Little is known about Estragon's disappearance. Some say his armada went down in a massive gale that struck the Great Ocean some weeks after Estragon's departure. Others say that Estragon took a Cathayan wife and settled as lord of a large province in an eastern kingdom. Others claim that Estragon became corrupted by the power of Chaos and that he and his fleet now serve the Dark Gods. Still others claim that Estragon's trading mission failed and that he and his sailors settled on a small island where Estragon ruled as a pirate king. Hack writers in the Old World have seized upon and embellished Estragon's tale, and many an imaginative "penny dreadful" circulates among the literate of the Old World. These works of popular fiction detail the imagined exploits of this romantic Estalian figure.
Sailors of the Old World have since reported sightings of what they call Estragon's Island, a magical, dangerous place that, if it exists, seems to shift its location from time to time. Most believe that the stories of Estragon's Island are little more than sailors' superstitions, but those who claim to have seen it report a lush, exotic, tropical island that hides many treasures, artifacts, and monsters. Whatever the case may be, Estragon is certainly long dead, as he was born over 200 years ago. Until recently, most rational observers would have concluded that his fate was likely to have remained a mystery forever.
Over the past few weeks, however, more reliable accounts of Estragon's Island have come to the fore. Respected merchants and hardened military captains and admirals have reported sighting a heretofore uncharted island in the Great Ocean some 400 miles southwest of the shores of Estalia. Rumors have begun to circulate. Could it be the fabled Estragon's Island of song and story? If so, are ancient treasures and relics to be found there? Both the opportunity and the mystery were too good for lords and masters to pass up. They dispatched considerable armed forces to explore the island and bring back as much wealth and as many items of power as they could manage. They were provided with a map of Estragon's Island, which had been brought forth from a dusty and largely forgotten part of an infrequently used library.
As those forces quickly learnt, the island in question was indeed Estragon's Island. In order to return to their superiors with honor, these armies fought to collect the items of power that were rumored to have found their way to the island. They were the Crown of Estragon, a magical crown rumored to increase the air of authority of he who wears it; the Cursed Chest, a Cathayan box that held treasures so valuable that they could feed a nation for a year if only the curse could be lifted; the Rod of Pharakh, which was said to bestow upon its bearer power over the dead; the Scythe of Change, a weapon rumored to be tainted with the touch of one of the Gods of Chaos; and the Cathayan Robe, an enchanted garment said to increase the power of wizards who wear it.