IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY PLAYERS, GO AWAY. DM TALK IS HAPPENING.
IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY PLAYERS, GO AWAY. DM TALK IS HAPPENING.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.