BOATS!

So, I don’t know if ship tokens are actually a thing anyone uses or wants, but I hope they are because I made a bunch of them. If they’re not, well, they were only an hour’s work, so no big deal.

Originally, I’d planned to make tokens out of the ships from the Vlyn’darastyl map, but they were too small, so I used boats I drew for other maps instead. The only one I drew specifically for this was the Century Pelican, which I figured might be useful too.

Anyway, I’m about to start my first session on Roll20 later today. Thanks to everyone for the advice about how to get started! I’ve got everything set up: the maps, the tokens, the macros, the discord and all the rest. Let’s hope it goes smoothly. And good luck to any other first-timers out there as well! We will screw this up together.

The tokens are free, as is everything else this month. You can get them from this post on the patreon or from Google Drive.

The Drow City of Vlyn’darastyl – Everyone’s Edition

 

First, the annotated version, the DM notes and this other version.

This was a slightly unusual map for me. When I say I’m drawing a “city map,” it usually means something like Brazenthrone or Finbarr’s Marsh. Drawing an exterior-only city had me a little worried, since the last one I did was this piece of white-hot garbage. God, that’s embarrassing. But I think Vlyn’darastyl is big step up from that.

So, Vlyn’darastyl is a drow city that’s accessible by airship, which isn’t a characteristic shared by many other cities two miles underground. But the Great Breach– a 300′ (100m) hole in the roof of the cavern leading to the surface sea above– makes this possible. There are more details in the DM notes above, but if you’ve got any other questions I didn’t cover, feel free to ask.

Thanks to Senator Matt for proposing this map to the Cartographic Congress! He and I were talking about an idea I had for the future which I’d like to let you in on.

At some point, I want to make a map of a small Underdark sea. That sea is the Black Loch, which the map above shows only a small corner of. I want to make a larger, region-sized map of the whole loch with 10-12 locations marked: maybe a kuo-toa village, a duergar outpost, a few islands with some ruins, a series of caves, maybe something underwater, stuff like that. Then I’d draw maps of each of those locations at a 5′ scale, so you’d have this map of a whole region and, wherever you wanted to take your players in that region, you’ve got a map of it ready to go.

When Matt proposed a city next to an Underdark sea, I thought that seemed like a good addition, especially since the Great Breach makes the area more accessible for DMs whose parties aren’t currently below ground. But– to be clear– this is the only part of it I’ll be making for a while. This is a big project and I’m not going to be starting on it until Brazenthrone is finished, which will be a while still. But I thought I’d share that with you and see if anyone had any thoughts.

As I said when I posted the last map, all patron content is free to everyone this month. You can download it from this post or from Google Drive.

Thanks to everyone for the advice! Here are some more tokens I made for my game.

Here’s the link to download.

First of all, if you’re one of my players, go away. Stop reading.

Okay, so I’ve got most of the next map done, but I’ve been making these tokens for my game on the side and– NIAMH, STOP READING– I thought I’d share. We’ve got two different flavors of goblin, an orc, a hobgoblin which *ahem* may or may not just be a red version of the orc, a bugbear, a wolf, a grick and an owlbear.

It’s an odd selection, I know, but it’s what I need for my first online session, which is Cragmaw Castle in Lost Mine of Phandelver. Yeah, I know. I feel like a Scumbag Steve meme: Draws Brazenthrone — Runs LMOP for his friends. But I don’t have time to draw Brazenthrone and write material from scratch for it, so I’m running the game I’m able to run at the moment. And everyone seems to be having a good time, which is the main thing.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the advice you gave me on getting started with Roll20! So far, I’ve got the map set up for the first session and I’ve got all the necessary tokens in there. I just need to watch some tutorials on running combat, put the stats and HP on the tokens and program in the players’ sheets (unfortunately, everyone left their sheets at my place, ugh). Still, it’s going pretty well so far and we should be ready to go for next weekend!

VTT DMs: I need your advice. I bring you this humble offering of character tokens in return.

 

First: your tokens.

For most people, D&D time is chill time and I don’t want to let The Stressful Topic You Can’t Get Away From intrude on that. So I’ll just leave it at this: my game needs to go online. And that means I need to learn to DM on Roll20. The question I have is: Where do I start?

There’s a lot out there to learn from, which is good, but it also means there’s a lot to sort through and, since we’re not talking about 5-minute videos, I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have on what video series or tutorials helped you learn the basics and got you to the point where you felt comfortable running a game.

While I’m sure there’s a strong case to be made for Fantasy Grounds, I’ve used Roll20 as a player, so I feel like it’d be easier for me to learn. Still, if you have suggestions for learning FG, please do post them. I’m far from the only DM looking to take their game online right now and some people might be more interested in learning Fantasy Grounds.

So, the tokens. They’re not the fanciest tokens out there, but I wanted to keep them simple so they’d look good shrunk down. The top row is my party. Starting from the left, there’s the gnomish druid, the dwarven paladin, the elven wizard, the monk, the ranger and the halfling rogue.

The second row is alternate versions for anyone who might need darker-skinned characters. Or, in the case of the monk, lighter-skinned (our monk is Zakharan). The third and fourth rows are drow/duergar and greenskins, which are the other two common D&D skin tones. These are super easy to recolor, so I thought I’d try to make them as flexible as I can. Anyway, I hope you like them and thanks in advance for any advice.

If you have advice but you don’t want to use the comment system here (because it’s stupid), you can just leave a comment on the patreon or email me.

 

Thorren’s Cross: A Mountain Outpost – Everyone’s Edition

 

So, look, a lot of people are stuck indoors for a while and getting bored out of their minds. There’s not much I can do about that, but what little I can do, I want to. So I’m giving away all the patron content for this map for free and I’m doing the same for every map I make next month as well. I may keep doing it for longer, I don’t know. I just decided to do this five minutes ago and a month seems like as much as I should commit to on the spur of the moment. Anyway, hopefully it helps some people stay occupied for a bit. You can download everything from my patreon page or from my Google Drive.

So, the map: Thorren’s Cross is a small outpost in the mountains guarding a stone bridge. It could be garrisoned by soldiers or it could be a ranger outpost. I sort of had both in mind when I drew it.

The little caves on the bottom left are secret rooms. Instead of indicating them the normal way, I decided to leave them detached from the wall a bit in order to make them a little easier for DMs to hide.

Speaking of which: I made some alternate versions for you. Since not everyone will need the secret rooms, there’s a version without them. There’s also a version with the drawbridge raised. And if you don’t want the secret rooms but you do want the drawbridge raised? Well that’s too bad.

I’m kidding, I made one of those too.

Thanks to Senator Adrian, who proposed this map to the Cartographic Congress. I’ve got two more Cartographic Congress maps to draw before I’m all caught up from the backlog created by Mont-St-Michel. After that, we’re doing a big, fat chunk of Brazenthrone. Next up is a drow city on the edge of an underdark lake with a giant hole in the roof of the cavern that creates a huge waterfall from the surface sea above. Not many drow cities are coastal and accessible by airship. This one’s a little different.

Predjama Castle – A Slovenian castle built into a cave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The non-annotated version is here. EDIT: Bonus alternate annotated version.

EDIT: Apologies, I was recently made aware that Slovenians do not like being referred to as Eastern European. Sorry about that.

This is Predjama Castle, a real place in the Eastern CENTRAL European nation of Slovenia. That’s right: Eastern Europe– the most brutal and merciless of all the Europes. Leading cause of death in the middle ages? Dracula. Number two? Gypsy curses. Number three? The church.

How do you survive all that? You build this place. Predjama is the castle a paranoid person builds. Start by constructing it in the mouth of a cave. Put a drawbridge on the front door. Then, put another drawbridge on the top level, leading to an inner citadel in the caves behind the castle. Then, dig an escape tunnel leading through those caves to a hidden exit in a nearby well. That just might do it.

This place is one of the most Ravenloft things that has ever happened. Like a vampire reading Edgar Allan Poe on a chair made of lost hope. I love it.

One last thing: this map was proposed to the Cartographic Congress by someone who has since had to delete their patreon account, but I’d still like to give them the patron content for this map if I can. If you are that person, please email me and I’ll send it your way. Also, thank you for suggesting this map.

DM notes and VTT versions of this map are available to patrons.

Mont-Saint-Michel – Fourth Level

Here’s the annotated version, the elevation guide and the DM notes. If you need the free VTT stuff, it’s on the patreon.

It’s been quite a journey, but here we are at the end. Time to chuck the ring into the volcano and start on the next adventure.

To all my patrons, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to make this. I try to draw maps that no one else makes and create unique settings for your games. Hopefully Mont-Saint-Michel will serve you well.

The elevation guide is up there. The French version isn’t, but my French language consultant is coming over for D&D in an hour and I should have it up tomorrow morning. Tonight, I’m gonna DM my game and celebrate the end of this project with fermented beverages.

Starting tomorrow, I’m getting to work on the backlog of Cartographic Congress maps. First up is Predjama Castle, a Slovenian castle built in the mouth of a cave.

There are hi-res print versions and a whole lot of VTT versions of this map available to patrons.

Mont-Saint-Michel – Third Level

 

Here’s the annotated version and the finished DM notes. The free VTT stuff is on the patreon.

This is almost everything. The DM notes are done too, although I reserve the right to change my mind about that tomorrow. There are a couple things left to do:

  • Color the roofs. Easy, easy stuff.
  • Make furniture tokens. I promised someone I’d make them so they can mod the Mont. Even easier.
  • Stacked floor maps for VTT. Here’s one that’s finished so I don’t have to try to describe them. A patron told me this is how he used Finbarr’s Marsh: he’d use the roof map when players were outside, then, when they entered a building, he’d change to a map like the one there, with all the levels in one. I liked the idea and I’m making them for this. Let me know what you think.
  • The elevation guide. I’m making that from the roof level, so it should be up at the same time.
  • I’m still planning to make an annotated version en Francais, but I need my French friend to check it first, so it might be a minute.
  • Anything else I’m forgetting, which is hopefully nothing. Slap me if I’m wrong about that.

Mont-Saint-Michel – Second Level

 

First: here’s the updated DM notes and the non-annotated version of the map. And the basic VTT files you’ll need to use this on Roll20 or FG are attached to the bottom of this post.

I’ve talked about the map a lot. I feel like talking about my D&D game today.

So I recently started running a game for my friends again after about a year and it feels good to be behind the screen again. Our group is… a little atypical.

First, it was almost the case that every person in the group was from a different country. I, the DM, am American. The wizard (and my wife) is Irish. The druid is Spanish. The monk is French. And the paladin is Norwegian. But, at the last minute, we went double-Spanish, which ended up being a good thing, since he played a rogue, which is a good thing for any party to have. And since, during the first session, he was the only person who seemed to be able to roll double-digit numbers on a D20, allowing the party to slowly but eventually kill the small number of poorly-armed goblins I’d put before them.

We also later got another Irish player who became the party’s ranger. Which brings me to the second unusual thing: the names. Oh my god.

So, the ranger is, ahem, “Polycarp Manius.” Um. Okay.

The monk is “Morzaninov,” which has something to do with how “more than enough” is pronounced with a French accent.

The wizard has a mile-long super-elvish name that I can’t remember.

The paladin is “Adobos,” which is passably normal.

The druid is “Blyantspisser,” which is the Norwegian word for “pencil sharpener.” Seriously.

And the rogue is “Garrett,” which, in this party, seems so oddly normal it’s almost mundane, like a character named “Bob” or “Gary” would be in most parties.

So that’s the group. They’re making their way through Lost Mine of Phandelver at the moment and they’re getting better at rolling dice. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Mont-Saint-Michel – Ground Level

 

Here’s the annotated version and the DM notes.

This is what the last few months have been leading up to. Hopefully it’s everything you were expecting. There’s still the upper floors to color and a few other little things to do, but we’re almost there.

A few things. First, DM notes for everybody. There are some things we need to talk about with this one and that’s where we’re talking about them. It’s all under “Important Things.” Feel free to stop reading after that if you want.

Second, non-patrons will notice a ZIP file attached to this post on the patreon. If you play on a VTT, you’ll need those. They’re individual sections of the map so you don’t have to try to get Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds to try to choke down the whole island at once. There are more VTT options for patrons, but I want everyone to be able to use this and those files are necessary for that. I care about those of you who aren’t giving me money too, you know.

Third, the DM notes are only half-finished. I wanted to get this posted and I’m not letting a little thing like incomplete DM notes stop me.

Finally, there’s going to be an elevation guide and some other VTT options to come, but those will require multiple floors to be finished, so they’ll come at the end.

Anyway, what do you all think? If you’ve got any questions, just ask. I may not know the answer, but I’ve been living and breathing this place for the last few months, so it’s worth a shot to ask.