This was drawn on my Twitch stream last night. It started out as a Beholder’s lair but quickly changed – now it’s a graveyard that has either sunk beneath the ground or was constructed there, now flooded and forgotten. The statue at the bottom shows some twisted, eldritch horror, and in the dark of the flood it glows softly to itself.
- Best of DMs Guild
- Campaign Builder
- City Maps
- Critters DnD Articles
- Dungeon Maps
- Friday Fight Night
- Friday Fight Night
- Friday Fight Night
- Monday Maps
- Publishing An Adventure
- Random Lists
- RPG Blog Carnival
- Stat Boost
- World Building
Yesterday I hit 800 followers on Twitter. It may not be much compared to some people, but it feels like thousands to me. It’s grown really quickly since I started committing to this site, and it’s great to see so many people enjoying my work enough to stick around for more.
To celebrate, I offered to draw a map for the first person who got back to me with a cool idea. That person was @talach_dnd, who requested an underground psionic temple. This is what came out of it.
[Clickenzie to embiggenzie]
I like small maps like this. They’re the kind of thing I draw regularly and file away for the occasion when I need to have a sidequest to hand. I’ll defintely be doing more of them, and I’ll probably be asking Patrons and Twitter followers to suggest ideas for them. It’s also really nice to be able to put up some extra content outside of the schedule once in a while, too.
This map started out as a sketch on my first Twitch stream inspired by an idea of one of my first patrons, Mr Clay “Terminally Nerdy“. I’ve deliberately left it fairly empty, and haven’t built any kind of real story surrounding it (besides the fact that part of the dungeon collapsed into that giant gaping chasm at some point), because he’s going to use it for a one shot. I’m interested to see what he does with it!
[Click to embiggen]
Clay asked specifically that it be sized to be used in Roll20, so this version has a 70×70 pixel grid. You’re free to use it in your games, and if you do I’d love to know about it.
I’m planning to stream every Sunday, schedule permitting. I’ll be starting at about 8pm UK time and going to around midnight (although I usually take a break in the middle because I can’t stare at a screen for that long). If you’ve got nothing better to do at that time, come along and say hello. You never know, you might even get a map out of it.
When I first began playing D&D in the early ’90s, I very quickly became obsessed with it. And as I got into my teens and started to have some money of my own, I of course spent a lot of said money on D&D products. One of my favourite places when I was younger was a used book shop in the local town. It was up a winding, cobbled alleyway (called The Wiend) at the end of a long row of terraced buildings, and at first glance appeared to be tiny; the door opened into a small, dark room absolutely packed to bursting with books – not just on the shelves, but spilling off them, stacked in heaps across the floor and on top of (and behind) the counter.
The shop wasn’t tiny, though. At the back of that first room, behind a bookcase that jutted out into what little space remained, was a doorway. A small passage – also lined with books – led to a staircase up to another similarly cluttered room, which itself had another staircase that led back up above the room downstairs. And once you got up there, it things just got silly. The store filled the top floor of that row of shops, stretching out across all the other stores in a sequence of rooms with low ceilings, creaky floorboards, and barely any space that wasn’t filled with stacks upon stacks of books and magazines.
I spent hours upon hours of my formative years in that shop. One room in particular was almost entirely devoted to scifi and fantasy books – I discovered Terry Pratchett in that room, and Piers Anthony, and Brian Jacques, and too many other authors to list. But my favourite thing in that room was a low shelf tucked into a corner, which held binders absolutely packed to bursting withback issues of Dungeon and Dragon magazines. Every time I went to The Wiend I came home with one of those magazines – sometimes after spending hours sifting through them and picking one I liked, other times grabbing one at random.
To this day, one of my favourite issues of Dungeon is #37 (from Septemberr 1992). As well as containing the incredible The Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb by Mike Shel – a spiritual successor to Tomb of Horrors – it contains an adventure by Chris Perkins called A Wizard’s Fate. I distinctly remember reading that adventure in the car on the way home the day I bought it, and grinning from ear to ear as I learned about the alchemist Elzid Natholin, his redemption from evil ways, and the cruel fate that fell upon him as a result of the actions of his imp familiar, Zotzpox. It’s a really fun adventure with some very memorable locations, and I thought that I’d draw one of those for today’s map.
So, here it is.
[Click to embiggen]
If you want the full details of the dungeon and the adventure as a whole, I’m afraid you’re going to have to track down a copy of Dungeon #37. It’s worth it, though. And if you’re one of my patrons at the $5/month tier or above, you can also download player versons of the map (without secret areas) and a gridless option from Patreon right now.
And hey, while we’re here, let’s talk about the Stream of Annihilation that took place over the weekend. WoTC announced that their new storyline will take place in Chult – which, funnily enough, is one of my favourite parts of the Forgotten Realms. So I spent the weekend creating a map of Chult, which is now available as stock art on DMs Guild.
Now, it’s been nearly two decades since I last played a game in the Forgotten Realms, and my lore isn’t up to scratch. I had no idea that Chult is once again a peninsula, and not an island. This map shows it as the latter, but I’ll be updating it in the next week or so to reflect the current state of things. Either way, it’s only $3.99, and comes with an A1 poster map and a 1920 x 1080px desktop background, too.
A little over a month ago I ran a contest on Twitter, with a promise that the winner would receive a custom map from me. It’s taken a little longer than I would have liked, for various reasons, but I’m pleased to say that the map is finished. Thanks again to the winner, James Lorimer, who has been endlessly patient with me through all the delays.
James gave me the following brief for the map:
I love the idea of repurposed places.. my thought was a monster lair but that’s been built on/in an existing structure/location… so an Aboleth lair in Castle that was flooded by dwarven excavation. You can pick the details, but I’d like the lair to be one of the iconics monsters, intelligent or otherwise, of D&D.
If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while now, you probably already know how much I love gelatinous cubes. And there’s no denying that they’re one of D&D’s iconic monsters. So I went ahead and designed a dungeon that had been repurposed by a cube. I also decided to go with another staple of the game – a bandit hideout built into a cave system.
The north chamber – tucked behind a waterfall that feeds the small pool and stream that flows out of the caves – contains a shaft that descends for thirty or forty feet to a closed chamber. The bandits used this shaft to dispose of food and other waste, not realising that they were feeding an aggressive ooze culture below. Once the slimes formed themselves into a cube that slithered its way up the shaft to the rest of the complex, it was too late.
I’m very grateful to James for giving me the time I needed to get this finished, and I really hope he’s happy with it.
Friday Fight Night – along with the outstanding maps for that series – are still underway. They’re coming soon, I promise.
It’s been a while since I drew a side-view map, and I felt like a change, so here’s… well, a side-view map.
Who’s to say what god was once portrayed on the giant statue at the bottom of the well? Its features have been worn smooth by time, water, and who knows what else?
And who’s to say what’s buried in the sealed crypt? Or what might happen should the door be opened and the water be allowed to flood tha chamber, too?
So once again Friday Fight Night didn’t happen this last week. My mountain of work for my MA is done now, though, so rather than trying to get it up today or tomorrow, I’m going to spend this week working on a bumper-sized Friday Fight Night post for this week that should get us up to date on the campaign as it currently stands. That means a) I’ll have to make sure I get a game in in the next two weeks in order to have something to write about, and b) I’ll have to figure out what to fill the space with if we don’t manage to play. There’s another Let’s Build A Campaign Setting post coming next week, but there’s no way I can make that a weekly series. Let me know if you have any thoughts on what could happen on Fridays.
Oh, and I’ll try and get all of the Friday Fight Night maps that haven’t been uploaded yet out this week, too.
In other news, I was interviewed about Critical Cartography – my Critical Role mapping project – last week. That interview went up over at Geek & Sundry today, and you can read it here.
Having not had much time to work on things this week, I thought I’d revisit my Critical Cartography project and draw a map from the latest episode of Critical Role. I can’t wait for my MA coursework to be done so I can get back to working on things properly again!
My patrons also get access to black and white & greyscale printable versions of this map.
This is the first overland map I’ve drawn in a while, and I’m going to need more practice before I’m fully happy with them. Still, I don’t feel like this is a bad start.
This isn’t anything to do with my Let’s Build A Campaign Setting series – I just fancied drawing an island today.
[Click to embiggen]
The Jaws are functionally two distinct island nations, separated by a long stretch of marshland that is slightly below sea level know as The Fenlands. The volcano to the north is active – its billowing smoke is an ever-present blotch in the sky – but its last eruption was so long ago that nobody can say for sure when it was.
I asked for map prompts on Twitter, and one of the ideas I was given was a bank. I knew that I’d drawn one in the past, but it took me much longer than I would have liked to find it.
The reason for that was that, in my head, I was picturing a map that looks like the ones I draw now. I’d forgotten that not too long ago my maps really weren’t very good. It turns out the map I was looking for is an early Mapvember entry, and it’s awful.
The idea behind it was solid, though, so I decided to redraw it. And, since I was ahead of schedule for once, I decided to go one further and produce a one page adventure to go with it. Well, sort of. it’s mainly the flavour text from when I posted the original map, with some editing and a bit of tweaking. There are no stats or CRs or anything – if you want to run this, you’ll have to figure that stuff out yourself – but hey, at least it looks good.
I think we can all agree that looks much better than the original, can’t we?