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 will be one more level of Brazenthrone‘s Common Quarter, then it’s on to the next chamber. I originally planned for this to be three levels and it looks like I managed not to go crazy and make it into some 800-floor monstrosity. Which leaves me feeling strangely both proud of myself and disappointed. Hmm.
So, in news you don’t care about, I just bought new paper. AMAZING paper. If you’re someone who makes fantasy maps that are so large you need huge-sized graph paper, this is what you’re looking for: Rhodia. This one. I haven’t drawn a map on it yet, but I’ve tested my pens on it and it is GLORIOUS. We’ll see how much of a difference it makes in the end next time. Until then, back to work.
There’s an expanded annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
This is the second of the maps chosen by patrons in the Great Vote. The Tempest of Reckoning is like the Goodyear blimp’s crazy older brother who got mixed up with the wrong crowd and is serving 40 to life for a triple homicide.
If you’re in the market for an airship for your players, the Century Pelican might be more your speed. It has 2 fewer engines, 29 fewer ballistas and, crucially, 1 less bomb bay. Do think carefully before giving your players a bomber. It’s your game, of course, but… I’m just saying.
I didn’t do four different engine variants for this like I did with the Pelican, but here’s an alternate version with the engines removed. If your setting features airships powered by sails, you’re good to go. Or you can draw in your own zombies-on-a-hamster-wheel or whatever. Or you can just tell your players the power plant is there and leave it at that.
Next up is the second level of Brazenthrone’s Common Quarter. After that, the Library of Alexandria, as chosen by the Cartographic Congress. Then it’s the third and final level of the Common Quarter, then the map just chosen by the Cartographic Congress, a Persian-inspired Assassins’ Keep. I need to catch up on that and this seems like a good time to do it.
As usual, there’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
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.
This is the first of three levels of Brazenthrone’s common quarter. This is the central hub of most of the city’s residential areas. The Amethyst Arcade in the lower right is a large arcade market with all kinds of shops and vendors’ stalls, built to keep the Quarter’s merchants in one place (and off the streets). There’s also a theater, a park, two fountains and a variety of bars for all your drinking needs.
There will be two more floors for this map, but it’s pretty big, so I’m going to do them separately. Next up will be the Airship of the Line, chosen by you in the Great Vote. After that, we’ll come back to the Common Quarter with the second (and maybe third) levels. Then it’s last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, the Library of Alexandria.
Here’s a version of this map without annotations. There’s an expanded annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.
Just wanted to show you all how the ground level of the Common Quarter is coming. The big building in the lower left is a huge arcade market. To the right of that is a park. There’s also a theater, a temple and more than a few places to get liquored up, as you might expect in a place full of working-class dwarves (or any dwarves, really).
For comparison, this is about half the size of the Great Hall. It’ll be a few more days to finish the inks and color it. Speaking of which, I’d better get back to it.
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 last of the Great Votes has finally ended and the winners are Mont-Saint-Michel and the Deepspire. Those are both excellent choices and I congratulate all my patrons on your collective good taste.
I’d also like to say thanks for getting me this far. The Great Vote began when my patreon reached the point that I was able to live off your pledges exclusively and that is a really, really big deal to me. I used to say that being a freelance illustrator was my dream job. It was, for a long time. Right now, the only thing that would make me quit this to do freelance illustration is a gun to my head. This is literally the best thing I can imagine doing for a living. Thank you all very, very much. You are amazing.
To recap all the Great Vote winners:
Small Category: Old Madeleine’s Country Inn and Fighting Pit, Floating Market
Medium Category: The Great Garden, Aarakocra Village, Airship of the Line
Large-ish Category: The Fallen Tower, Greenskin Rock
Large Category: Merchants’ Trade Port Island, Fortified Oasis
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.
The winning maps in the large-ish category are The Fallen Tower and, after two grueling runoffs to the death, Greenskin Rock. I’ve wanted to do a map involving sea stacks for a while now and I’m glad to finally get the chance.
The large category vote will be posted on the patreon shortly. The next map, Brazenthrone’s Underdark Trading Outpost, will be a few more days. I’ve got slightly bigger plans for it than I originally anticipated. It’s not going to be huge, exactly (not by Brazenthrone standards, anyway), but we’re looking at around 30 buildings and 100 rooms across 2 floors. Anyway, I think you’ll like it. Also, The Grey Huntress will be there.