Tir Thelandira (Updated)

Also: unlabeled version.

Here’s the updated map of the island. We’ve got a few dots on the map now and I decided to make it a little bigger, so I doubled the scale from 10 miles to 20.

I also made a page to collect all the Tir Thelandira maps as I draw them. There isn’t much there yet, but that was once true of the Black Loch and Brazenthrone as well. Every insane megaproject starts somewhere.

Of course, Tir Thelandira will be smaller, with about 10-12 locations, but there will be other, neighboring islands to follow and this whole thing will get wildly out of control before you or I know it. Are you looking forward to that? I certainly am. I’d love to be able to refer to Brazenthrone as “the kind of thing I worked on in the past, when I did smaller, more reasonable projects.” It’s a completely ludicrous thing to say, but I do intend to make it true.

Anyway, if you’re a patron, the DM notes for Oakenhold are up as well. You can find them here. Okay, that’s it for now!

The Elven Tree Fortress of Oakenhold

After an absolutely enormous amount of work, the new and highly improved Oakenhold is finished. Moreover, I’ve written the history and lore of the island of Tir Thelandira. The TL;DR is this:

The elves of Tir Thelandira were nomadic tribes, but giant bears appeared and a lady killed them, unifying the tribes and becoming the queen. Then, humans showed up to mine gold, which was fine because the elves were pretty cool people. But the humans started logging the forest and the elves killed them all because they’re not actually all that cool. Later, the humans came back. People are probably going to die soon.

That’s the gist of it, anyway. I like settings where there isn’t a clear bad guy and I tried to write it that way. I mean, the Dhasrans did intrude on the elves’ land, but they weren’t there for conquest. They just wanted gold, which the elves didn’t really care about. And yeah, they shouldn’t have logged the elves’ forest, but the when the elves responded by going full-on North Sentinel Island on them, that may have been a slight overreaction.

There are a lot of angles to see things from and different kinds of adventures to run here depending on how you want to present the situation. Or you could just ignore my story and do something else entirely. That’s frequently the best option.

Anyway, I’ll have an updated map of Tir Thelandira for everybody tomorrow, as well as DM notes for Oakenhold for patrons. After that, I’ll be working on the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress. This will be a palace in a Venetian-style canal city, drawn in a gothic/dark fantasy style. Prepare your eyeliner.

So, what do you all think of the new Oakenhold? I certainly think it turned out better than the original version and I hope you agree (I mean, I really do. That’s not a high bar to jump over). Anyway, let me know what you think!

The Elven Citadel of Oakenhold (Work-in-Progress)

Whew, okay. This is all seven floors of Oakenhold. I wasn’t initially planning to make it bigger than the original version, but, well… that happened.

First, let me say a quick word about beds. So, elves in D&D settings meditate rather than sleep and don’t need beds (not for sleeping, anyway). But I want this map to work for other races as well, so I’m drawing the beds in a way that they can be called “meditation mats” for elves or “beds” for other races. Hopefully, that works for most people, but I know it doesn’t for everyone, so I’m going to make a version without the beds as well. Just wanted to let everyone know that up front.

This map is a part of the island of Tir Thelandira and I’ve been thinking about the lore of the place as I’ve been drawing all this. The queen of the wild elves is a ranger and a famous huntress who unified the tribes of the island. Not many elven queens can kill, skin and butcher a deer, but Queen Niamh is a little different. She’s fierce, pragmatic and leads from the front. And when the Dhasrans built their colony on her island and began logging her forest, she fired the first arrow in response.

There’s still plenty more to figure out, but I’ll have the basic lore of the island for you when the map is done.

Okay, I’m gonna start coloring this beast. Wish me luck.

The Green Eye Oasis

The Green Eye is a village and caravanserai built around a small oasis in a sinkhole. The place has everything a traveling merchant needs: camel parking, a room for the night, baths, a tavern and a provisioner. Oh, and water. Merchants need that to live. I mean, everybody does, but merchants do too.

I think this would be a really great place for a battle, especially if the party was inside the village while getting attacked by archers around the edges of the sinkhole. That’d create a really nasty situation, since the place is kind of… what’s the word? The opposite of defensible. It’s an easy place to attack. Making the party fight their way out of here could be an interesting challenge.

Next, I’ll be getting to work on the second map for Tir Thelandira. I’ve got a few different maps planned for the island, but I really want to draw Oakenhold next. Oakenhold is a giant tree fortress which serves as the wild elves’ capital. This will be the first time I’ve ever redrawn a map. If you want to get an idea of what it’ll look like, here’s the original. I’m fairly confident that the new version will be better than that. It certainly won’t be in black and white, anyway. I’ll also write some lore for Tir Thelandira to go along with it and I’ll make some more concrete plans for the rest of the island as well.

All right, hope that sounds good to you! Let me know what you think of the oasis!

Desert Sinkhole Village (Work-in-Progress)

This is a desert village with a small oasis and a caravanserai, built into the sides of a sinkhole. The drawing on the top left shows it from the outside and the other two levels are below.

This place is inspired by the cave houses of Cappadocia in Türkiye (I like the new spelling, by the way), which are an idea I’d like to do more with at some point. For example, this is a castle in Cappadocia. I don’t know about you, but I would describe myself as highly into that. God, I have to stop looking at that picture or I’m going to just drop everything and draw a map of it right now.

Okay, one thing at a time. I’m gonna finish my coffee and start coloring this sinkhole. Let me know what you think so far!

I’ll be back for you, insane Turkish rock castle. This I swear.

Secret Room: Vault

Here’s the last of the secret rooms. Hopefully you’ll find them useful, but I think this is all the one-room maps I can draw before I bore myself to death.

Next up, we’ve got a desert village built inside a sinkhole, with an oasis at the bottom. I haven’t planned it out yet, but I suspect the layout will be a bit like Ollin’s Borehole.

After that, I’m going to get started on the island of Tir Thelandira. The vote on the second civilization has ended and the Dhasran Colony has won! With that decided, I’m ready to start drawing maps of the place. I think I’m going to start with Oakenhold, the big tree fortress at the center of the wild elven kingdom. I expect that to be a pretty enormous map.

Well, this being New Year’s, I’d better leave it at that. If you’re going out, have fun! And if you’re not, don’t feel bad. Neither am I. But have a good night either way!

Secret Room: Cult Shrine

Here’s the cult shrine secret room. You’ve got a big, demonic head, a sinister-looking glyph on the floor and some nice scented candles to freshen the place up a little.

I said this was going to be the last secret room, but people seem to like these, so I’m going to do one more: a vault. That’s a common type of secret room that’s missing from these, so I’m going to draw one. It won’t take long. In and out. Quick, one-day map. I’ll have that for you tomorrow and then I’ll be drawing something much, much bigger.

Sound like a plan?

Secret Room: Prison

So here’s a secret room which I suspect will be pretty useful, since a lot of adventures involve rescuing captives and a lot of maps don’t really have a great place to keep them.

I tried to make the place look as dank as possible. Not “dank” in the positive way, but in the traditional sense. Dark, wet, kind of nasty. So you’ve got some piles of refuse, bloodstains on the floor and a few buckets for… well, I’m sure you can work out what the buckets are for.

Anyway, I’ve got another secret room almost finished– a cult shrine– and I’ll get that posted tomorrow. Hopefully you think these things are useful, but in any case, I’ll be back to making the usual gigantic maps very shortly.

Secret Room: Psycho Murder Basement

This is the first of three secret rooms I’m drawing. It’s meant to be used with another map that you’d like to add a secret room to. For example, maybe you want to run an adventure in the glorious French castle of Chateau de Chenonceau. But your adventure requires a brutal axe-murder dungeon and, inconveniently, the Chateau de Chenonceau doesn’t have one of those. This map is meant to solve that problem, with two different versions so you can have the secret entrance either behind a wall or under a trapdoor in the floor.

Next, I’m going to draw another secret room map: a hidden prison. This is for situations where you need to hide some hostages or sacrifices or something. You know the adventures where the party has to go somewhere and rescue people? It’s for those.

It shouldn’t take long to draw. I actually got this one done in two days, but I decided to hold off on posting it since it’s probably the most grisly map I’ve ever drawn and Christmas felt like a slightly awkward time to put it out there. I mean, what do you even write in the post? “Have a great holidays everybody, here’s some dismembered corpses!” I don’t even know.

Anyway, hopefully you find the idea of the secret rooms useful! I’m not going to be spending a ton of time on them, but I want to draw a few and see what everybody thinks. If you’ve got any thoughts about these or how to make them more useful, by all means let me know!

The Two Palms Tavern

Well, I decided to draw a palm tree on the map and call it the “Two Palms Tavern” after all. I’m not proud of having drawn a dad joke into the map, but it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I won’t make a habit of it, I promise.

The vote for the second civilization of Tir Thelandira is still open and I wanted to give patrons another chance to cast a vote before I end it in a few days, so if you haven’t cast a vote, please do! Once it’s decided, I’ll write some lore for the winner and start getting to work on the maps.

Next, I’m going to draw a few maps based on an idea I’ve been sitting on for a long time. The maps will be secret rooms. Not maps with secret rooms, just secret rooms connected to nothing. They’re meant to be used along with some other map that you wish had a secret room, but doesn’t. I’ll make versions with different entrances so you can have it behind a wall or under a trap door in the floor.

These will be small maps with 1-2 rooms and they should only take 2-3 days each. I’ve got three secret rooms in mind: a hidden prison, a psycho killer murder cellar, and a cultists’ shrine/summoning circle. Those seem like they’d be fairly useful, but if you’ve got any better ideas, let me know. I might draw more later depending on what you all think of these.

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’re celebrating a holiday soon, I hope you have a great one! Relevant holiday greetings to one and all!