I’ve been an artist for my entire life and this is easily the best thing I’ve ever drawn. I wish I could show it to 12-year-old me. He would’ve gone wild. To be honest, he and I aren’t that different, although I’d say I’m at least 10% more mature.
The last two years have been quite a journey and I want to thank my patrons for joining me on it– or maybe I should say taking me on it. They deserve a lot of credit for this. I made Brazenthrone, but they made Brazenthrone happen.
This is a map that could only exist through crowdfunding and that was part of the idea from the start. No publisher will ever commission an artist to make something like this and the amount of work involved– around 2500 hours– is prohibitively high for a hobby project. But they covered my rent and bills and put food in my fridge for two years, giving me the ability to work on this and other maps full time, which is the way this gets done. That’s how you make a Brazenthrone.
But, while my patrons financed the drawing of this map, it isn’t just for them. It’s for the rest of the community as well. It’s for the teenage DMs, the broke college student DMs and the older DMs who are having a rough time at the moment. I don’t want anyone to be unable to use Brazenthrone on account of money and I want to make sure the resources to use it are available.
For that reason, I’m making the Brazenthrone Codex– containing all the DM notes and expanded annotated maps– free for everyone. I’m also giving out a collection of all the maps. They were all free already, but some of the older web versions didn’t work well with VTTs, so I replaced them with 35px VTT versions that will. You can download all that here.
Alternatively, you can just load the map above, enter a grid size of 728×1176 and watch your computer’s exhaust vent spew flames like it’s trying to reach low earth orbit. Let me know how it goes.
The Brazenthrone Codex does need an update and I’m going to add all the maps and DM notes that aren’t included in about two days. I’m also adding a few small illustrations and giving it a cover. I was planning on giving this stuff out as a Christmas present to the community, but then I started typing and… well, you’re getting it early. It’s from my patrons, too. I picked it out, but they paid for it.
So, let’s talk about what’s next. I want to map out an entire campaign setting. In a way, that’s what Brazenthrone is, but this is different. The setting is a small sea in the Underdark called “The Black Loch” and it will be much, much bigger than Brazenthrone.
Unlike Brazenthrone, however, there will not be a map of every square inch of it. Instead, there will be a map of the region with all the notable locations marked. Things like a kuo-toa village, a duergar outpost, a drow city, abandoned structures, some islands with ruins, caves, maybe something underwater. For each location, I’ll draw a 5′-per-tile battlemap, so your players can explore the loch and, wherever they go, you have a map. There will probably be 15-20 locations in all, depending on how many good ideas I come up with. I can’t promise an exact number, but I can promise that, when I run out of interesting places to add, I’ll put the pencil down. I won’t waste time drawing filler.
There’s already one map I’ve decided will be a part of the Black Loch: The Drow City of Vlyn’darastyl. This is probably the only part that will get a city map instead of a battlemap, but I may make a battlemap of a specific building or two there.
Before I get started on that, I’ll be drawing the four remaining maps from the Great Vote, which are listed in this post (1,3, 4 and 5). The last one– The Deepspire– will also probably be a part of the Black Loch.
So, that’s the plan. If you’ve been with me on this journey, I hope you’ll come along for the next one. And if you’re just finding all this for the first time, you didn’t get here late. This may be the end of Brazenthrone, but it’s the beginning of everything else.