The High Temple of Mystra

 

This is the main temple of Mystra, the goddess of magic in the Forgotten Realms. In addition to its religious functions, the temple also houses a massive storehouse of magic in the caverns below. I only included the first level in the map, but there’s a stairway on the left side of the caverns to allow you to expand into another map if you want.

The symbols at the bases of the towers are meant to be glyphs that teleport people between levels. But if you’d prefer boring old stairs, I made another version with those.

My game is starting soon, so I’ve gotta wrap up this post. Next up is more Brazenthrone!

More tokens from my game. The party is in Chult, which means we are go for dinosaur cavalry.

These tokens are huge spoilers for my game, but I’ve banned my players from my site and my patreon so I can give them to you. Download them from my patreon here or from my Google Drive.

The party is deep in the jungles of Chult, having just found their way to the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. If you’re running that, this is nearly all the tokens you need, by the way. The dinosaur cavalry is something I made for an encounter along the way. The party’s paladin is a jungle dwarf who worships Thard Harr and he just got Find Steed, so I decided to give him a deinonychus, which is the smaller of the dinosaurs up there. It’s powerful, sure, but it’s one of those things that’s going to be much less of a big deal in a few levels. Plus, I’m a very stingy DM when it comes to magic items, so there’s room to do stuff like this.

My philosophy with magical stuff is, when I give the party an item, I want it to be meaningful and I want them to feel special for having it. I don’t want a player to check if this magic sword is better than their current magic sword. I want them to go, “Holy crap, I have a magic sword!”

While I don’t give the PCs magic items often, when I do, they are the hotness and I don’t think it underpowers the party much. One side effect is that everyone can get through their turns quicker in combat because they know what their options are. It takes forever when players have to look over a thousand different options every turn because their gloves can cast three different spells, their axe can cast two, their ring can cast four and their other ring lets them do some other crap.  When a player only gets a new item every 6-8 sessions at most, they have time to learn what it does and they can keep track of their options more easily. The barbarian isn’t the only one who can get through their turn in under a minute (“Groknar frenzy. Groknar smash monster with axe forty-seven times. Groknar finished”).

Anyway, that’s how I handle it. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about it if you have any or if you do things differently and it works out for you.

The High Temple of Mystra is coming along. It’s about halfway inked and it should be done by the weekend. It’s a big one. All right, I’m gonna get back on it!

The Great Hall of Brazenthrone in Minecraft

Someone made the Great Hall of Brazenthrone in Minecraft and it is incredible. A reader named Fonta sent me these pictures and I wanted to share them with everyone. The first picture is from the northeast corner of the Promontories, which is the upper right corner of this map. The second picture is from the amphitheater. I believe the hole in the center is a ventilation shaft.

These shots show the city from an angle that the maps don’t, but this is how it looks in my imagination. This is it exactly.

Brazenthrone – The Hall of Iron – Everyone’s Edition

 

The Hall of Iron is a residential district of Brazenthrone. Admittedly, having nothing but residences, it’s not the most exciting part of the city. But a city needs homes and not everyone can live in some kind of dwarven Winchester Mystery House (here, let me save some of you the time).

This is one of a cluster of residential chambers surrounding a fountain plaza, which you can see here (17 and the nearby unlabeled chambers). I’ve decided to do the plaza and the rest of these chambers as one map, which I’ll add this to. That’ll let me consolidate everything into a single annotated version and a single page of DM notes, which is handy because, frankly, there isn’t much notable stuff here. This is Brazenthrone’s version of suburbia.

Next up is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, The High Temple of Mystra, a massive library and storehouse of arcane objects dedicated to the goddess of magic. After that, more Brazenthrone, of course.

You can download all print and VTT versions of this map from this post on my patreon or from Google Drive.

Brazenthrone – The Bloody Hall – Everyone’s Edition

 

Here are the DM notes. There is no annotated version, since all the rooms are residences.

The Bloody Hall is a residential district of Brazenthrone, located just south of the Common Quarter. It’s unique on account of all the residences here being in a single, large building formerly known as “Amber Manor.” There are more details in the DM notes if you’re interested.

Next up is the Hall of Iron, another residential district adjacent to the Common Quarter. After that, I’ll be doing last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, the High Temple of Mystra. Then it’ll be back to the mountain for the rest of the Brazenthrone maps I owe you. There’s not too much of the city left to go!

All the print and VTT content for this map is available on my patreon here or on Google Drive.

 

Brazenthrone – The Old Mines – Everyone’s Edition

Here’s the annotated version and the DM notes. You can download all print and VTT content for this map from my patreon here or from Google Drive.

Last month, I was making all the patron content for my new maps available to everyone (for reasons explained in this post). I’m going to continue doing so until at least May 18th, which is the date for the end of the lockdown in Ireland (where I live). I hope these maps have been helpful to those of you who have had to bring their games online (and everyone else).

Anyway, this map is Brazenthrone‘s old mines, the city’s disused and sealed-off iron mines. What went wrong? They dug too deep and too greedily? Disturbed a sleeping dragon? No, they tunneled into an underground stream and flooded the place. Eventually, various critters tunneled their way in from outside and made it their home, leading to the dwarves sealing the whole thing off.

But maybe somebody left their lunchbox inside and your party has to go in and get it. Or maybe there’s an aboleth in there doing some kind of psychic nonsense and someone needs to put some lemon juice on that sucker and toss it on the grill. There’s some ideas in the DM notes.

Next up is more Brazenthrone. I’m going to do a residential district because there’s quite a few of them left to draw and I don’t want to end up with everything else finished and 8 residential chambers to draw in a row. Well, I’d better get started!

Brazenthrone – The Gnomestown District – Everyone’s Edition

 

Here’s the annotated Patrons’ Edition and the DM notes. I’m still giving away all my new patron content for free while everyone is stuck inside. You can get it from my patreon here or from Google Drive.

Brazenthrone returns! This is the first of a number of Brazenthrone maps I’ll be drawing in a row. Gnomestown is pretty much what it says on the label: a small corner of the city where a lot of the gnomish residents live. Most of these would be deep gnomes, with whom the dwarves of Brazenthrone have a tight relationship.

The “Tavern in the Sky” at (5) is a good place to hang out if you’re three feet tall and everyone else in the city has a liver like a bank vault and casually drinks an amount of alcohol that would kill your entire family. If the name seems confusing, here’s the explanation from the DM notes:

The name of this tavern makes plenty of sense to deep gnomes, but almost none to anyone else. The gnomes‘ perspective is this: most deep gnome communities are miles below ground. While Brazenthrone is under a mountain, the city and it’s entrance are fairly high up in the mountains and the city is, in fact, at a higher elevation than most surface cities. Thus, it is– according to the deep gnomes– “in the sky.” To be clear, the sky is in no way visible from this location.

Next up is the Old Mines, east of the Noble Quarter. They’re long abandoned and blocked off from the city, which makes them sort of a “wilderness.” But, you know, maybe somebody forgot something in there and maybe your party needs to crawl on in and go get it. It’ll be fine. It can’t be that bad, can it? I mean, of course it can, but… look, just get in the hole.

Before that, I’ll post another batch of tokens I made for my Roll20 game. Those should be up tomorrow. Until then!

The Library of Gravenhollow – Everyone’s Edition

 

Here’s the annotated version, an alternate version and the DM notes.

Gravenhollow is an unmapped location in the 5E D&D module Out of the Abyss. It’s a place where space and time work differently and a person can travel from one place to another just by thinking about where they want to be.

Since there are quite a few peculiarities of Gravenhollow that make this map a lot less useful than it could be to DMs wanting to use it for something else, I made an alternate version as well with a few changes. It’s not exactly standard fare either, but, should you need a map of a strange, mystical place full of crystals, obelisks and other weird crap, it might get the job done. Worth a thought if your party might be headed to Limbo anytime soon.

Thanks to Fraz-Urb’luu who proposed this map to the Cartographic Congress! Next up is Brazenthrone. A whole lot of it. Let’s kick it off with Gnomestown and see where the mood takes us from there, shall we?

As I’ve been doing all month, I’m giving away all the patron content for this map for free. You can download it from the patreon here or from Google Drive.

My first VTT session went great! Also, here’s the tokens I made for my next session.

 

First, here are the tokens.

All in all, it felt a lot like DMing offline. Previously, my impression was that Roll20 was much more automated than it is. But it mostly just rolls dice and adds modifiers. You’ve got to determine if the rolls succeed or fail, add or subtract hp and do pretty much everything else yourself, which I like. Thanks again for everyone’s advice! I’m sure it wouldn’t have gone nearly as smoothly without your tips.

So, I made these tokens for my next session. They’re kind of a weird selection, I know, but they’re what I need. The goblin is a character you might remember if you’ve ever run LMoP: Droop. My players made friends with him and now he’s, like, their mascot or something. I made some goblin tokens before, but I needed an unarmed goblin. Droop is a lover, not a fighter.

The bear is actually for the druid. She took the shapeshifting path and she’s able to turn into a brown bear early, which means… well, she gets some work done. After she slaughtered her way through Cragmaw Castle, I described her as looking like the back seat of the car in Pulp Fiction. So the bloody one is her: nature’s brutal killing machine.

Originally, I just drew one stirge, but they’re tiny and I decided that only letting one fight in a 5-foot area seemed crazy, so I made a flock. I’m putting three of those things on one tile and if the D&D police want to lock me up for it, they can come and get me.

I’m working on the next map, which is based on the library of Gravenhollow from Out of the Abyss. It’s supposedly so complex and changing that it’d be impossible to make a map of it. Challenge accepted. After that, Brazenthrone.