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 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.
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.
This is the basic layout of the map I will be drawing over the next year. Keep in mind that this is at a 70 foot scale, which means that each tile here will become 196 tiles when drawn at a 5 foot scale. To illustrate how big this will be, the Great Hall, marked as (4) here, is about the size of the ground level of Finbarr’s Marsh (including the surrounding water).
A few things to mention:
All of these will have multiple levels.
The mines are just a sketch. They will look completely different in the 5 foot scale maps.
I will be drawing the residential districts (the unmarked chambers on the map).
All of the chambers here will be assembled as one big map when they’re all finished. And that one map will be so huge it’ll be impractical to use, but it’ll probably be really cool.
Finally, any and all of this is subject to change. A measurement error here and a new idea there will almost certainly lead to changes and/or additions at some point. But this is the general idea.
I will be alternating between drawing maps for this and drawing other maps. My next map will be an airship. After that, Brazenthrone’s Surface Outpost. Then something else. Then back to Brazenthrone. And so on.
Thanks again to everyone who joined my patreon. That was definitely a much bigger response to Finbarr’s Marsh than I was expecting. And if you liked Finbarr’s Marsh, I have good news: you ain’t seen nothing yet. The next megaproject is going to be 6-8 times that size. And it may be kicking off a lot sooner than I expected.
This has been one hell of a long project, but it’s finally done! And as much as I loved making it, I am really looking forward to drawing something else.
So, here’s the final tally: Finbarr’s Marsh has 135 buildings with 703 rooms across 10 different floors (7 above ground and 3 below). It took almost a month to draw (I’d say around 200 hours) on 14 sheets of A3/Tabloid paper (equivalent to 28 normal-sized sheets of paper). Here’s a photo of the whole thing on paper, by the way.
Also, I’ve put up a goal on my Patreon. Here it is:
When I reach 50 patrons, I will start work on another megaproject. This will be a map of an underground dwarven city. It will include a surface settlement, a gateway into the mountain, fortified tunnels, a huge central ward (itself almost the size of Finbarr’s Marsh) and four Quarters– the Common Quarter, the Noble Quarter, the Anvil Quarter and the Old Quarter. These will each be around half the size of Finbarr’s. In addition, there will be maps of the mines, the mushroom farms, the High King’s palace, the prison, the Grand Temple, residential areas, the treasure vaults, the gnomes’ district, an underdark trading outpost, adjacent ruins, and more. It will be usable as either an inhabited city or as a huge abandoned ruin big enough to run entire campaigns in. I want to make something absolutely legendary in size and scope. This is the best idea I have in me. I made Finbarr’s Marsh in part to prove to myself that I can do it. Let’s make it happen.
If and when this goal is reached, I will alternate between drawing maps for this project and other maps. I cannot tell you that it will be the biggest map you have ever seen, but it will be the biggest map I have ever seen.
This is the second to last map of Finbarr’s Marsh. The crypts will be up in a few days.
So let’s talk about the sewers. First, I need to mention elevation. The underground level is above this, which means it’s fully above the water level. Why? The island has steep sides and the ground level is about 15 feet above the water. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the locations.
The kuo-toan temple on the left predates the city and was in ruins by the time the first settlers showed up. The passages into it were eventually blocked off with stone because, well, no one wants an open passage leading right under their castle.
The Drainers are human. They’re poor and live in the sewers, subsisting on mushrooms and selling their excess fertilizer to farmers in the area. They smell. But everything down here smells, so it’s fine. The authorities know about them and have told them they can stay. But no more digging.
The Theives’ Guild’s bread and butter, unusually, isn’t theiving, but dealing in smuggled goods. They have an arrangement with some fishermen to bring goods in from cargo ships, a few crates at a time, evading the customs tariffs and any laws concerning contraband. They buy the goods from the fishermen, then sell them around the city at a tidy profit. They’re secretly working with one of the wealthy trading houses as well (the De Barras). They do also steal stuff. Sometimes.
The sea trolls (scrags) aren’t a huge priority for the city guard, although they can be troublesome. And the entrance to their lair is small and completely underwater, which would make dealing with them an enormous pain.
The Witch of the Pipes is whoever you want her to be.
This map was chosen by last month’s vote of the Cartographic Congress (although there was only one member at the time, so it was more of a Cartographic Tyranny, really).
Anyway, the idea of this map is that a necromancer (probably of an aquatic species) who lives in some caves beneath a lighthouse has managed to gain control of the lighthouse keeper (or become the lighthouse keeper, if you prefer) and is doing a really terrible job of keeping the fire lit. As a result, the necromancer has a ready supply of corpses to… you know, necromance. Build an army of the dead, make Frankensteins, whatever they’re into. The rest of the details are up to you!
This map has an annotated version and DM notes for patrons.
This is my idea of what a drow outpost for raiding the surface might look like. Built into a cliffside, it has only one entrance to the surface, which is a narrow tunnel in the roof of a small cave, accessible only by a rope ladder, which would normally only be deployed when drow are coming or going.
The cottage above the cliff would have been built by the drow as well. Although they have no use for the building itself, they would need a way to vent the smoke from their cooking fire without drawing attention to the presence of their outpost. By running the house’s chimney directly to their vent shaft, they can make it look like the house is producing the smoke. Of course, this will not pass close inspection because the house itself has no fireplace or occupants. That might be useful as a way to allow the PCs in your game to discover the outpost.
Anyway, I hope you like it! I’m giving out the annotated version for free on this one: