The Assassins’ Monastery

If you like this map, but you’d prefer to hide the secret rooms from your players, here’s a version without them. That’s also the version for people who’d prefer this monastery to be occupied by honest, wholesome monks who actually spend their days thinking about god, growing herbs and killing as few people as possible. Also: boring. Just kidding, do your thing.

In case you missed the last post, this place was inspired by Rudkhan Castle in Iran, which was actually controlled by the historical assassins at one point. I think this place could be used for plenty of other things, though. Maybe they’re cultists. Or vampires. Or werewolves, or bandits, or… bandits who are also werewolves. You get the idea. Anyone who wants to hide in plain sight.

I said I was going to do a residential part of Brazenthrone next, but I changed my mind. I’m doing the Grand Temple instead. After that, I’m doing one of the bigger maps chosen in the Great Vote. Then, I’m not sure, but I can tell you this: I want to make a push to get Brazenthrone’s Anvil Quarter and Noble Quarter finished. That gets the core of the city done, along with entrances from the surface and the underdark, and puts the whole thing in a much more usable state. I think I can get those both finished within the next two months or so. All right, I’m going to get to work on that temple.

As always, there is patron stuff for patrons.

The Great Library

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’s the usual patreon stuff for patrons. You know the deal.

The 11th Cartographic Congress Results

This month’s Cartographic Congress has spoken and the winner is the Assassins’ Keep, as proposed by Senator Anders. Senator Anders posted this link to show the kind of thing he was talking about, and… man, if that doesn’t make you want to start an al-Qadim campaign, nothing will.

Also, the Airship of the Line is close to finished and should be up in a day or two.

The Lighthouse Fortress of Torchguard

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.

The Discovery at the Thorn Hills Iron Mine

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.

The Border Bridge

My idea here was that this bridge is the border crossing between two (probably not super-friendly) countries, but it could also be used as a toll bridge or a fortress entrance. Of course, tell whatever story with it you like, but, personally, I think you should arrange a scenario where your players get to throw people over the side. Your barbarian will love you for it.

Also, the tower on the right really looks like something from Super Mario Bros. All I can think of when I look at the side view is, “Your princess is in another castle,” haha.

There’s an annotated version and DM notes and all the usual stuff on the patreon.

Whitebarrow Manor

This is the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress, based on the proposal by Senator Ross. It’s designed to be a haunted house with a number of secret chambers, although I can imagine a few other uses for it. The largest of the secret rooms in the cellar were left unfurnished to make the map more flexible, allowing different DMs to imagine different dark secrets inside.

If you’d prefer not to advertise the secret rooms to your players, here’s a version with the secret doors omitted.

Next up is Brazenthrone‘s High King’s Palace, then a guarded bridge. There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons, if you’re interested.

Well, I’m off to go see an actual castle today: the Rock of Cashel. It may not be the largest castle, but it’s definitely a contender for Most Badass Name. It’s mostly unroofed, so let’s hope the weather doesn’t get too Irish. We’ll see.

Millers’ Bluff

This is the map selected by the Cartographic Congress last month: a large millers’ homestead with three watermills, a granary, workers’ cottages and a nearby inn. Feel free to attack it with the greenskins of your choice. Or whatever other purpose strikes you. What would I do with this map? I’m not sure, but I can tell you there would be a fight on that little island with the firepit, no question about that.

I have a slightly different version of the map here. The brightness is toned down just a bit. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better, so I just made both. If you play Ravenloft or you’re just super goth, that might be the one you want. It’s honestly not that different.

You know, it’s funny. When I started making maps, I told myself, “Waterfalls are cool and all, but I’m not going to overdo it. I’ll use waterfalls sparingly. I’m not gonna go crazy with it.” Now, here I am, six months and 48 maps later, drawing my first waterfalls. Well, that’s not entirely true, but they’re the first waterfalls bigger than half a centimeter.

Next up is The Promontories, the final floor of the Great Hall of Brazenthrone. Then, I’m going to draw something historical, based on some floor plans I found. I’m not going to tell you what, but I think it’s the coolest building in the world. Feel free to guess in the comments. I’ll tell you if you’re right.

An annotated version of this map and DM notes are available to supporters on the patreon.

DiFlorio Keep – Intact

I’d meant to get this up yesterday, but I’ve been sick for the last few days. You so very do not want to know the details. Let’s just say if I spend any more time with the toilet, my wife is going to get jealous of it. Anyway, it’s done now and here it is, all tidied up.

When I started Brazenthrone, I promised that I’d alternate between Brazenthrone and non-Brazenthrone maps, since I’d imagine people have different levels of enthusiasm for the Great Dwarven Ultramap. I wanted to get the two DiFlorio Keep maps out back-to-back, but now that they’re done, I’m going to draw two Brazenthrone maps, which will be the second and third floor of the Great Hall.

If the pace seems slow, keep in mind that the other chambers will not be as large or have as many floors. But the Great Hall is the centerpiece of the map and I think it needs to be pretty epic. I did say that it would be about the size of Finbarr’s Marsh by itself and I wasn’t exaggerating.

An annotated version of this map is available to patrons.

DiFlorio Keep – Destroyed

One small castle with a unique entrance and a little Italian flavoring. Then I wrecked it. I hope you like it.

This is the map chosen by last months Cartographic Congress vote, as proposed by Senator Hal. The good senator wanted a small keep that his players could retake from some hobgoblins, then restore and use for themselves.

I thought about it for a while and decided to draw both the destroyed and restored versions, since I think there’s a lot of things a pair of maps like that could be used for and since I haven’t seen anything like that out there. There are a few interesting uses: fix the castle, destroy the castle, or travel through time to see the castle in two different states. So the intact version of this keep will be the next map. After that will be two floors of Brazenthrone’s Great Hall.

An annotated version of this map is available on the patreon.