You can download the 1-inch grid print version and a complete zip with everything in it from the patreon (they’re big files and patreon’s servers are much faster than mine).
Be sure to check out the DM notes if nothing else. There’s lore about the distillery, which makes the world’s most godawful hooch, the mysterious guy who lives in the manor house, and the island’s only tree. There’s also an idea for an adventure that’s inspired by a Clint Eastwood movie. Anyway, I hope it helps!
In the past, I normally haven’t done two really big maps in a row, but I’m starting to realize that’s coward talk. Next up is the most dwarven area of the dwarven city of Brazenthrone: the Anvil Quarter. Prepare your beard.
EDIT: I think this is my 72nd map. 72 in a year seems like a decent start.
First of all: yes, that is seriously my phone. Now you know. I’m the last person on earth with a phone that folds in half. I’ll give you a minute to finish laughing.
All good? Okay, so these are the pencils for most of the merchants’ trade port island. There are a number of smaller outlying islands, plus upper and lower floors for a few buildings, but my camera is dying and I had to fight with it just to get this picture, so the rest will have to wait.
The island has around 50 buildings, including three taverns, a brothel, a lighthouse, a distillery and a number of traders’ warehouses. I was reading about Port Royal, a town in Jamaica that used to be a pirate hangout. In its heyday, it was flooded with money and prostitutes and had around one bar for every ten residents. This will be that kind of place.
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.
Here’s the final map of Tortuga: the overview. The image above is the gridless version because I think it looks better. I’m not sure why. Here’s the gridded map.
Also, I’m giving away the DM notes on this one because they explain some important things about this map, as well as my thoughts on the ways it can be used in a campaign (especially as a traveling home city for PCs). Here they are:
So, now that the six-story turtle town is out of the way, it’s time to start on something much, much bigger: Brazenthrone. I’ll have a map of the layout of the city up on Monday.
A zaratan is a giant turtle that sleeps for years at a time. They often come to look like islands, with plants and even trees growing from their backs. Sometimes, people– knowingly or unknowingly– inhabit those “islands.” The main problem with living on a zaratan is this: when they get hungry, they wake up and look for food. And when they look for food, they dive. Which is catastrophic for anyone living on the creature’s back. So, in order to prevent this, the zaratan must be fed. Even sleeping, it will eat anything coming into its mouth. The town of Tortuga is well-prepared to handle this, having a small fleet of fishing boats and a large crane to deliver their offerings.
The idea for this map came from a patron, who suggested a city on a zaratan. That’s been done before, of course, but it’s typically a small village with a few huts. I thought it’d be interesting to make the most overpopulated zaratan ever.
My idea was that the town of Tortuga grew so much that they had to keep building higher and higher, which necessitated constructing the wooden deck on their host’s back. After all, it’s hard to build a solid foundation on a curved surface, especially when you can’t dig or drill down into it without pissing off a creature that can bite the head off a storm giant.