The Great Library is a fantasy version of the Great Library of Alexandria. The historical Library of Alexandria is famous for being the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Its construction, ordered by the Pharaoh Ptolemy II, was probably the greatest accomplishment anyone who slept with their sister has ever made.
In addition to its large collection of books, scrolls and maps, the Great Library features living facilities for resident scholars, a lecture hall, shrine, scriptorium and more. It truly is a great milestone in mankind’s eternal quest for knowledge. You should send your players to burn it to the ground.
There will be one more level of Brazenthrone‘s Common Quarter, then it’s on to the next chamber. I originally planned for this to be three levels and it looks like I managed not to go crazy and make it into some 800-floor monstrosity. Which leaves me feeling strangely both proud of myself and disappointed. Hmm.
So, in news you don’t care about, I just bought new paper. AMAZING paper. If you’re someone who makes fantasy maps that are so large you need huge-sized graph paper, this is what you’re looking for: Rhodia. This one. I haven’t drawn a map on it yet, but I’ve tested my pens on it and it is GLORIOUS. We’ll see how much of a difference it makes in the end next time. Until then, back to work.
There’s an expanded annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
This is the second of the maps chosen by patrons in the Great Vote. The Tempest of Reckoning is like the Goodyear blimp’s crazy older brother who got mixed up with the wrong crowd and is serving 40 to life for a triple homicide.
If you’re in the market for an airship for your players, the Century Pelican might be more your speed. It has 2 fewer engines, 29 fewer ballistas and, crucially, 1 less bomb bay. Do think carefully before giving your players a bomber. It’s your game, of course, but… I’m just saying.
I didn’t do four different engine variants for this like I did with the Pelican, but here’s an alternate version with the engines removed. If your setting features airships powered by sails, you’re good to go. Or you can draw in your own zombies-on-a-hamster-wheel or whatever. Or you can just tell your players the power plant is there and leave it at that.
Next up is the second level of Brazenthrone’s Common Quarter. After that, the Library of Alexandria, as chosen by the Cartographic Congress. Then it’s the third and final level of the Common Quarter, then the map just chosen by the Cartographic Congress, a Persian-inspired Assassins’ Keep. I need to catch up on that and this seems like a good time to do it.
As usual, there’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
This is the first of three levels of Brazenthrone’s common quarter. This is the central hub of most of the city’s residential areas. The Amethyst Arcade in the lower right is a large arcade market with all kinds of shops and vendors’ stalls, built to keep the Quarter’s merchants in one place (and off the streets). There’s also a theater, a park, two fountains and a variety of bars for all your drinking needs.
There will be two more floors for this map, but it’s pretty big, so I’m going to do them separately. Next up will be the Airship of the Line, chosen by you in the Great Vote. After that, we’ll come back to the Common Quarter with the second (and maybe third) levels. Then it’s last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, the Library of Alexandria.
Here’s a version of this map without annotations. There’s an expanded annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
This map was chosen by the Cartographic Congress, based on the proposal by Senator Parker. Originally, I wasn’t sure how I’d combine a castle and a lighthouse, but I really like how it turned out.
Torchguard is built on a rocky outcropping in the middle of a harbor. This puts it in a good position to defend against attacks by sea, but it also makes it a thing that ships might run into at night. Thus, the lighthouse atop the keep. An array of artillery, as well as docks to host its own fleet, help Torchguard keep unwanted ships from marauding the surrounding city.
Next up is Brazenthrone’s Common Quarter. It’s one of the bigger parts of the city and it’ll take a little while to draw, but I’ll give you some work-in-progress pics along the way.
Also, something I wanted to share: the other day, I went to the dentist and I had to fill out a form, which had a space for “occupation.” Writing “Fantasy Cartographer” on that line was one of the sweetest, most delicious moments of my life. I still can’t believe I do this. My god. Thank you so much.
There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
This is the bottom of Brazenthrone, as far down as the city goes. While dwarves aren’t typically a nautically-inclined people, they’re happy to trade with those who are and deep gnome, drow and orog merchants come here to do business. The thing across the harbor’s entrance is a chain boom, which can be raised or lowered to control access to the outpost.
Next up is the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress, the harbor fortress of Torchguard. Like the Underdark Outpost, it’s looking like it’s going to be bigger than I’d originally planned. It might actually be approaching the size of Neuschwanstein.
I suppose it wouldn’t be the first time I made modest plans and then went way overboard. I originally planned for the Great Hall of Brazenthrone to be four floors before I added another two. And that’s the biggest map I’ve ever made. How do you look at that and think, “It could be bigger?” Well, anyway, I hope you’re cool with that because I’m probably not going to stop.
This is the first of the maps chosen by patrons in the Great Vote. It’s been in my idea book since just after I started the website and I’m glad to see Old Madeleine’s turn finally come around. If you’re looking to make a pit stop for a little booze and violence in your campaign, maybe consider having your players drop by. As Old Madeleine herself always says, “There’s nothing better than sitting by a warm fire, eating a nice, home-cooked meal and watching two people fight to the death.”
So, next up is Brazenthrone’s underdark trading outpost. After that is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, the harbor fortress of Torchguard. Then it’s back to Brazenthrone with… I haven’t decided yet. Probably either the Noble, Common or Anvil Quarter.
There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
This is where Brazenthrone sends the few criminals whose crimes are deemed too severe for a flogging, yet not quite warranting execution (they do love a good flogging).
The prisoners are housed in a series of oubliettes, sleeping in the narrow alcoves around the sides. Those deemed especially naughty are placed in the isolation pits. Gates at the entrance and the guards’ area prevent access by potential escapees. This could be an interesting place to have your players escape from or stage a rescue.
Next up is Old Madeleine’s Inn and Fighting Pit, then we’re finishing off the lower part of Brazenthrone with the Underdark Trading Outpost. If you’re a patron, there’s still time to vote in the runoff between the Airship of the Line and the Aarakocra Village in the medium category (the vote ends later tonight). When it ends, the large-ish category vote will begin.
I’m giving out the DM notes for this map to everyone because I think they’re pretty good and I want to share them. I didn’t think I’d have too much to say about Delvers’ Rest at first, but then it occurred to me that this would probably be the foulest-smelling place in the city. I won’t explain the reason here, it’s in the notes if you’re curious.
The next map is something I thought was an interesting idea. Do you remember the Buried Tower? That’s not a map anyone was looking for before I drew it, but people seemed to like it and found ways to use it. The next map is a bit like that. It’s different, but I think you’ll like it. After that is the Pits of Justice– Brazenthrone’s prison– which is adjacent to Delvers’ Rest.
This is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, based on the idea proposed by Senator Wulfric. It’s also the first map I’ve made with people in it. Dead people, sure, but still. By the way, if you don’t want dead bodies in your iron mine, there’s a corpse-free version here.
This map has a built-in story, but is left open-ended. Some miners were hitting a rock with a thing, the rock broke and they found a cavern with… well, that part is up to you.
Next up is Brazenthrone. Where are we going next? North to the Noble Quarter? South to the Anvil Quarter, Common Quarter or Grand Temple? No. We’re going down. First, the Underdark Waystation, then the Pits of Justice, then the Underdark Trading Outpost.
The first vote of the Great Vote will be in the next few days and will be open to all patrons. If you’d like a voice in what the next few months of maps will be, consider becoming a patron.