So, a few months ago, I was asked to draw part of a map of that a bunch of other artists would be working on. The map was of the innards of a tarrasque and the idea was that each person would draw a different organ.
I was asked to do something different, though: draw a building piercing through the side of the creature. Why? Because *Ralph Wiggum voice* I’m special. I decided to go with a minaret, the pointiest buildings in all of architecture.
Anyway, there’s an adventure to go with it and a whole bunch of other stuff, which you can download here. It’s all free for everybody. All right, I’m gonna get back to work on Mont-Saint-Michel. I’ve got a few more pages to show you, which I’ll post either tonight or tomorrow.
The Carthaginian harbor is one of those things that has to have been imagined by a fantasy artist, except it wasn’t. It was real and this is, from what we know, what it looked like. On the left is the merchants’ harbor, built for trade, with a chain boom at the entrance that can be raised or lowered to block access. On the right, the war harbor, housing the mighty Carthaginian fleet. And in the center of the war harbor is the Admiralty Isle, a man-made island with more docking space, a naval shipyard and an observation room from which the fleet’s command can oversee everything.
The main departure from reality is the scale– the war harbor shown here has space for 34 ships, but the real harbor held around 220. Still, I think this gets the point across without the need for a map the size of a mattress.
Thanks to Anders, who proposed this idea to the Cartographic Congress. Some of my favorite CC maps are the ones where I started out thinking, “How the hell am I supposed to draw this?!” I definitely felt that way with this, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Hopefully you like it too.
Next up is the second (and last) floor of Brazenthrone’s Anvil quarter. Then I’m going to do last month’s Cartographic Congress map, which will be inspired by the Rock of Cashel. Then I’m going to go straight into Brazenthrone’s Noble Quarter. I was thinking about trying to get one of the Great Vote maps done in between, but my thinking on that is this (and correct me if I’m mistaken): the Great Vote maps people are really champing at the bit for are the bigger ones, but I need to get the core of Brazenthrone (the Noble and Anvil Quarters) finished. Once I’ve got those two huge maps taken care of, I’ll be freed up to take on Mont-Saint-Michel, which, I suspect, is the map a lot of you are looking forward to the most. So, that’s the plan at the moment. We’re just gonna run past all the minions and rush down the big guys. Can I get a Leeroy Jenkins?
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.
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.
Normally, when I finish a map, I just open up my ideas notebook and pick another to do next. This time, as soon as I picked it up, I realized that all those ideas were up for a vote and I couldn’t draw them yet. So, I came up with this.
This is something I thought would be an interesting place to run an adventure. I didn’t have any particular sort of story in mind. Mainly I thought it’d make a unique lair for goblins, bandits or whoever else is getting their ass kicked this week. If you’re using it as an uninhabited ruin, here’s a version without the bridges.
After this is the Pits of Justice, then I think I’ll get started on Old Madeleine’s Inn and Fighting Pit. That’s an idea that’s been in the book for a long time and I’m really glad you guys picked it.
There are DM notes for this map available to patrons.
Well, there it is. A little later than I’d hoped, but with my computer degenerating into a mass of dysfunctional electronics that necessitated several full hard drive wipes, I suppose that’s to be expected. You know what’s funny? I wiped my SSD several times over and you know what’s still there? Two things: Europa Universalis 4 and Stellaris. Apparently Paradox Interactive makes some highly resilient software.
Anyway, I need to get caught up, so I’m going to do the bridge map that I promised next, then the Cartographic Congress map, which will be a mine and mining camp. After that, more Brazenthrone. I’m not sure what part yet.
This is the first map I’ve ever made of a real place. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was known as “the Mad King.” He was born in the 1800s and was really into Middle Ages architecture, so he had this built as a sort of idealized fantasy castle. I’ll be honest, I can relate to this guy. Except I’m not the king of Bavaria and I can’t afford to build these things for real.
My understanding is that most of the rooms of this place are empty and I wasn’t able to find information on what a lot of them were actually meant to be, but since most people won’t be using this map as Actual Neuschwanstein Castle, I figured I’d come up things to fill them with.
Also, the cellar is completely made-up. There is a door there, which is visible in photos and the place does have a cellar, but I wasn’t able to find any information or floor plans to indicate what it looks like, so I just made it up. Everything else is drawn from various floor plans I found.
I’ll draw the rest of it next, but I thought I’d drop this off for now.
This map was chosen by the Cartographic Congress last month, based on the proposal of Senator Tim. If you’ve ever wondered where all those potions the PCs keep finding come from, this is the place. How they got into a ghoul’s pocket or a goblin’s treasure stash is another question.
This place doesn’t necessarily have to manufacture potions, though. There are all kinds of scientific pursuits these guys could be engaging in, from inventing gunpowder to cooking 99.6 percent pure crystal meth. It’s all up to you.
An annotated patrons’ edition of this map and DM notes are available on the patreon, if you’re interested.
“How big is Brazenthrone going to get,” you ask? This is just the door.
The next part will be the entrance tunnel and the fortified inner gates (marked as 3 here). They’re the fallback defensive position in case the main gates are taken and they’re basically a meat grinder. You’ll see why.
Before that, we’ve got an Alchemists’ Guildhall and Manufactory, the map chosen by the Cartographic Congress last month.
Finally, here’s the non-annotated version and the black and white. DM notes for this map are available to patrons. Also, starting with this map, I’ll be making VTT versions of all maps, sized for Roll20, for patrons.