Big Ship Update: Everything is drawn and inked. Time to color this monster.

After almost a month of planning, drawing and inking, this thing is ready for color. I’d guess that’ll be around two weeks of work, but we’ll see.

People seem pretty excited about this map and I’ve already had people tell me they’re planning campaigns around it, which is really cool to hear. I’ve also had people say they’re going to use it, but they’re not sure how, so if anyone has any thoughts on what to do with it, by all means, leave a comment.

Also, before I get back to work, I’ve got a question for you: what do I name this ship?

Giant Ship Update: The Last Four Decks are Drawn

These are the pencils for the bottom three decks and the topside. All that’s left to do now is ink these and then get them scanned and colored. That’s actually quite a bit of work, but this absolute beast of a map is now well past the halfway point and I think it’s looking pretty good so far.

Something a lot of you might be wondering is what the rectangles on the topside are. Those are gardens, but I’m going to draw the plants in on my tablet since it’ll make a thinner line than I can with a pen. Also, there’s a fifth boat that’ll be hanging off the stern, but there was no room to draw it in, so I’ll probably draw that on the tablet too.

Anyway, just wanted to keep you all updated. Hope you like how it’s coming!

Third update on the big ship.

The first half of the ship is inked and done. I’ve got three lower decks and the topside left, but those should go quicker.

I’ve also redesigned one of the remaining decks, which will have a promenade around the sides. It makes the layout a little more unique and allows people to use it as a gun deck if they want this map to be a warship.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know how it was coming. I’m gonna get back to work. If you’ve got any thoughts about it so far, let me know!

An update on the giant ship.

These are the pencils for the enclosed parts of the upper four decks of the ship. There are another three decks below this plus the topside left to draw, but I’m going to get all this inked first.

I’m pretty happy with it so far. What do you think?

Here’s the plan.

I’ve got the giant city-ship planned out and I thought I’d share it with you. This thing has six full decks, two partial decks and a few hundred cabins (I think, I’m not counting). There are three taverns, two general stores, a library, a temple, a marketplace, a gambling hall, a broken-down area that’s been sealed off and left to the rats, a wide variety of stores and workshops and a million other things.

The second picture is one deck drawn at full size. I’ve only got half the furnishings drawn in, but it should give you an idea of what this is going to look like. That’s the fancy part of the ship, by the way. The cabins get smaller and the residents poorer as you go down.

Anyway, I’m gonna get back to work on this. Let me know what you think so far! And if you have any questions, let me know. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to read my godawful handwriting.

The Tir Thelandira Codex

Tir Thelandira is now officially finished! I’ve updated the map, added descriptions of all the locations to the History and Lore of Tir Thelandira, and compiled them, along with the DM notes, into a Tir Thelandira Codex.

You can download the free version of the codex here. It has an updated map, an updated History and Lore of Tir Thelandira, and I threw in the DM notes for Oakenhold and Fiachna’s Knoll. The Patrons’ Edition Codex has all the DM notes.

Anyway, I hope you like how the project turned out! There are definitely some things I’d do differently, but I’m pretty happy with it overall. Even if you don’t see yourself using the island in your setting, hopefully you can get some use out of the maps piecemeal.

Coming up, there’s the giant ship megaproject I’ve been talking about, which I’ll probably be working on for most of next month, if not all. After that, I’ll have a couple of Cartographic Congress maps to draw, then I’ll be getting started on the Château de Brézé. The Chateau is a French castle with a complex network of tunnels and caves underneath it. I was there last year and I took photos of EVERYTHING so I could draw a map of it. It’s an incredible place and I think it’ll make an amazing map for RPGs.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks to all my patrons for helping me to draw this and everything else I’ve been working on! I hope you like what’s coming up next!

Valley of the Five Mages

The Valley of the Five Mages is the last map for Tir Thelandira and, while it’s mostly independent from the rest of the lore, I think it’s a nice addition to the island. The basic story is that five mages have come here from far away to study a mysterious hole in the ground that radiates an intense magical energy.

I wrote some thoughts about what might be down there in the DM notes for the map, but the best option is to have the wizards tell the party they believe there’s a powerful, arcane entity living down there. Then, when the players go down to check it out, it turns out to be a 50-foot-tall prairie dog jacked up on potions of growth. They won’t see that coming, I’ll tell you that much.

Next, I’m going to make separate maps of these five towers. Not everyone needs a valley full of towers, but almost everyone does need towers from time to time, so I thought I’d chop this up into single servings. That shouldn’t take more than a day, so they’ll probably be up tomorrow.

After that, I’ve got to finish up a few things for TIr Thelandira, like updating the History and Lore overview and the island map with the new locations, then putting it all together in a Tir Thelandira Codex, similar to what I made for Brazenthrone and the Black Loch. Once Tir Thelandira is officially done, I’ll be starting on the megaproject I’ve been talking about. Here’s the description I posted before:

Imagine a ship, like a galleon or a ship of the line, but much bigger. Bigger than any sailing ship ever built. 400′ (130m) long and 140′ (45m) across the beam. Eight masts, thirty sails. But this isn’t just a ship, it’s a town with hundreds of residents. Across the ship’s 5-6 full decks, there are shops, craftsmen, a marketplace, a tavern, an inn, a temple, gardens, a library, a mill and a lot more. There are cabins for the middle class, luxury apartments for the rich and hammocks for the poor. This is a ship you could get lost in. It could be a community of traders, explorers, pirates or wanderers.

I’ve been looking forward to drawing this for a while now and I think it’s going to be the kind of map you could work into a lot of adventures or even plan an entire campaign around. In any case, I’ve never seen anything like the map I’m imagining and I think it needs to exist, so I’m going to roll up my sleeves and draw it.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m gonna finish wrapping up this megaproject so I can get started on the next one. If you’ve got any thoughts, by all means let me know!

The Ruins of the Torre Scola – Dehumidified Version

As promised, here’s the alternate version of the Torre Scola. It’s occurred to me that I draw quite a lot of islands and that I should probably draw non-island versions of those maps as well for those DMs whose campaigns involve ungulate-based travel.

So, the voting has ended and the final map for Tir Thelandira will be a valley of wizards. This will be a small community of 3-5 wizards, each with their own tower. I’ll probably make a map of the whole valley as well as individual maps of the towers for anyone who wants to use them separately.

After that, I’ll get started on the giant ship megaproject that I talked about in this post. I’ve been champing at the bit to start on that for a while now and I’m really looking forward to it. Anyway, that’s it for now. Let me know what you think of the map!

The Ruins of the Torre Scola

The Torre Scola (“Scola Tower”) is a ruined tower off the coast of La Spezia, Italy. Built in the 1600s, it was heavily damaged during the Napoleonic Wars, then later used for target practice by the Italian Navy in the early 1900s.

Personally, I think the historical value of this place should’ve been enough to keep people from pounding it with naval guns. But even if we ignore that– even if we say, “It’s fine, there’s no shortage of old stuff in Italy and it’s not like this is the Colosseum,” there’s still one more important thing to consider: THIS THING IS ONLY 200 METERS OFF THE COAST. So, you know, try not to miss. No pressure.

Anyway, I’m going to make a non-island version of this map as well, which should be done later tonight. So I’ll be back with that in a bit and we’ll talk about what’s next.

The Monastery of Varlaam in Meteora, Greece

Whew, this thing was a ton of work, but it’s finally done! This is a place I’ve wanted to draw for a long time and I was really glad to see someone propose it to the Cartographic Congress and win.

There’s something I didn’t realize about this place until I started working on it, though. I knew there was a mountaintop monastery in Meteora, Greece, but when I started looking for floor plans of the place, it turned out there are six. And there used to be twenty-four.

Imagine something for a moment. It’s the middle ages and you’re Greek. But the big city lifestyle was never for you, so you and a couple other fellas go out to the middle of nowhere, climb to the top of a giant rock formation and start building a monastery. Here, you can devote your life to God, get away from the rest of the world and live in quiet peace. And then some other people show up and start covering every rock in sight with twenty-three other monasteries. I mean, the first few are probably fine, but once they start hitting double digits, you’re probably ready to throw your hands up and move back to Athens.

So, here’s what I’ve got planned: I’m going to make a small map next. It’ll be something to do while I’m waiting for the last Tir Thelandira map to be decided on. If you’re a patron, the runoff vote is now open. After that, I’m going to finish Tir Thelandira and get started on that giant city-ship map I was talking about in this post. That’ll probably take a month or so to finish. It’s absolutely a megaproject and it’ll be bigger than any ship map I’ve ever seen by an order of magnitude or more.

Anyway. that’s what’s in the works. Hope it sounds good! Let me know what you think!

Wait, one last thing: if you’re a patron and you use Foundry, I just started a new Foundry module. Because Patrons’ Module 2 got so big that Foundry couldn’t export it without crashing. Not a joke. Anyway, you can find the link to install Patrons’ Module 3 on this page.