The result of a hard day’s work in the token mines.

You can download these tokens here.

With the exception of one random elf, all 17 of these tokens fall into one of two categories:

  1. The forces of evil
  2. Camels

Let’s talk about one of the camels. A year or so ago, I mentioned something I’d discovered called a “zamburak.” This is a camel with a swivel-mounted cannon on its back and it is an actual, 100% real thing. And now you have a token for it in case you’d like to light your players up with some camel-based artillery! However it goes down, I’d say it’ll be their first time having that particular experience.

But the best part won’t be the battle. It’ll be when Dave Smartguy tells you how completely unrealistic a cannon mounted on a camel is. Google it, Dave. Go on, do it. We’ll wait.

As I said, I’ll be drawing another Black Loch map next. This one isn’t marked on the map, but it’s just as important: a ship. Chances are, if you decide to run a game in the loch, your players will need one and all the maps of galleons, cogs, caravels and other sailing ships are going to look a little out of place in a sea without wind. So I’ll be drawing a modest-sized galley with no masts that’s better suited to the environment. I expect it won’t take long.

Anyway, I hope you like the tokens! If you’re new here, I’ve got about 300 more tokens for you here. And 11 more here. Oh, and here’s another 43. Feel free to share these with anyone who might need them.

The Smoldering Abyss

Here’s an alternate version if you’d prefer the place dried out.

The Smoldering Abyss is a part of the Black Loch almost no one even knows exists. It’s a deep, underwater trench at the bottom of a larger underwater trench at the bottom of the loch. And, in a place where no one even wants to think about what might be under the surface of the sea, places like this tend to go unnoticed.

There are three things of note here. The first is an ancient, kuo-toan royal catacomb. Built thousands of years ago, before the kuo-toa became… let’s say “psychologically non-conformist,” it was a place where they buried their kings.

The second thing is a monster called “the Whisperer.” It’s a huge, black beast with rubbery tentacles and a wide, fanged mouth like an anglerfish. While not as big as a kraken, it’s more than big enough to scare the hell out of the sailors of the Black Loch. Fortunately for the sailors, the Whisperer hasn’t been seen in almost 250 years and many believe it to be dead. Unfortunately, they’re wrong and it’s not. It’s hibernating here and it’s about to wake up.

Finally, there are the smoking rocks. Those are a type of hydrothermal vent known as a black smoker. They’re like tiny, underwater volcanoes that pump boiling hot water filled with minerals into the sea and are usually found around 3km below the surface. If you’re planning to use the map, keep in mind that those vents would actually make the water fairly warm here. And they’d burn anyone who got too close pretty badly.

With another Black Loch map down, I’m going to spend the rest of the day drawing some tokens, which I should have for you sometime tomorrow. After that, I want to check another Black Loch map off the list. I’m not sure which one, but I’ll let you know in the next post. Then, I’ll be drawing last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, a mountainous island settlement.

Anyway, that’s the plan for now. Let me know what you think of the abyss!

There are DM notes for this map available to patrons.

Altar of the Black Lamb

This map was the demonologist’s tower chosen by the Cartographic Congress. One of the stipulations was that it would have a portal to hell and I decided to go a little… non-traditional with that. “Traditional,” in this case, would be your standard-issue Door of Fire. And the problem I have with that is that it’s boring. It’s been done and it’s not scary. It doesn’t give players the sense of fear they should feel when they’re about to travel to a place where literally everybody wants to torture you to death.

So I came up with something else: a black void in the chest cavity of a rotting, dismembered storm giant. It’s the most awful thing I could think of and, to me, it’s the kind of welcome mat Hell needs. And, since “Create a Permanent Gate to Hell” isn’t a spell in the Player’s Handbook, who’s to say it doesn’t require a dead giant as a component?

I think it works pretty well in the other direction, too. If the plan is for something to come out of the portal to attack the party, it’s going to be a lot scarier after pulling itself up out of that thing. Imagine a pit fiend coming out of there. Imagine narrating that. Holy crap.

Next up, I’ll be drawing a map from the Black Loch. I want to get some serious work done on the Loch over the next few months and I’m going to start with the Abyssal Caverns, a series of caves and tunnels in the sides of a deep, underwater crevasse. I don’t have too much of a plan yet, but there will probably be a kraken’s lair.

Also, I wanted to say one last thing to the old school DMs out there. If you played D&D in the 80s or 90s, imagine using this map and your parents walked in and saw it. They’d be like, “I knew it! I knew you were worshipping satan!” Haha, oh man. I’m glad that’s not a thing anymore.

There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.

Fort Bourtange – Roof Level and Dutch Version

Here’s the roof level, which is the last part of Fort Bourtange. I also made something else: an annotated version in Dutch, which I’m giving out to everyone.

I’m aware that everyone in the Netherlands under the age of 105 speaks perfect English along with 50 other languages, so I know you probably don’t need this, but I still thought it’d be nice to do. Plus, the English version comes from a Dutch tour map I translated, so I figured I could just not translate it and make a Dutch version that way. There are a couple things I had to use Google for, so I can’t promise it’s perfect, but let me know if anything is wrong or just super weird and I’ll fix it.

Anyway, the next map will be a demonologist’s lair, Remember A Dark Place? I’m gonna try to make someplace freakier than that. It’s not Hell, but it’s the home of… well, a big fan of Hell. A Hell stan, if you will. Hopefully I can come up with something uniquely terrible.

I’ve also got the next historical map picked out, which I’ll be doing sometime in the next few 2-3 months. This time, I’ll be drawing a place in Britain– or, more specifically, Scotland. There are some incredible places in Scotland, like Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, and about half the buildings in Edinburgh. Instead of drawing any of that stuff, I’m going to draw Coxton Tower. It’s a towerhouse in Moray and I think it’d make a great map. It’s not huge, complicated or flashy, but it’s interesting. It’s got some unique character, both inside and outside, and it’s the kind of place everyone can find a use for.

I don’t know exactly when I’ll start on it, but I definitely want to put some work in on the Black Loch first. That’s Scottish, too. Well, a little. I mean, it’s not the Black Lake. Anyway, I’m gonna go sketch out some freaky demon stuff. If you’ve got any thoughts on any of this, let me know!

Fort Bourtange

In the 1500s, the Netherlands were ruled by the Habsburgs. The Habsburgs were an astoundingly inbred German noble family with faces that were about 85% chin. For some reason, they were the rulers of the Spanish Empire.

The people of the the Low Countries didn’t want to be ruled by German people, Spanish people or inbred people, let alone a combination of the three. They wanted self-determination, a republic and the right to worship the protestant version of God. So, in the mid-1500s, the Dutch Revolt began.

The Spanish Empire ruled Spain, part of Italy, Austria, and– you know the countries that speak Spanish today? All of those. It was a daunting enemy, but the Low Countries had one thing going for them: stupefying amounts of money. And they planned to leverage that to win.

One of the things the Dutch spent that money on was Fort Bourtange. Since the Spanish were allied with the Holy Roman Empire, they’d need a way to protect the Dutch land from the Deutschland. One of the main roads to Germany passed through a marsh, so the leader of the revolt, Willem van Oranje, ordered the construction of a fort across it.

Building a star fort with forty buildings, a crownwork, four ravelins and two moats is an expensive operation. But not only did they build it, they built it on a sandbar in the middle of a marsh.

Fort Bourtange was such an obvious deathtrap that not many people were inclined to order their armies to assault it. But, about 100 years after its construction, Bernhard von Galen, the Prince-Bishop of M√ľnster, came along to give it the old college try. During a parley before the attack, he told the fort’s commander, Captain Protts, he had 200,000 guilders for him if he’d surrender Bourtange. Protts famously responded by telling von Galen he had 200,000 bullets for him and his men. Von Galen decided to send his soldiers to go receive them, which resulted in a crushing defeat for his army. He then went on to besiege the nearby city of Groningen, which he also failed at.

In later years, the fort began to transition into a village, where the soldiers of the garrison lived with their families. Then, in the 1800s, the fort was turned into a village for local farmers.

Well, this map was a ton of work, but I hope you like it! I’m going to make a roof-level version of the fort next, which should only take a couple days, then I’ll be moving on to the next map. I plan to make a big push on getting some Black Loch maps done over the next few months as well.

Anyway, let me know what you think of Fort Bourtange!

There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.

Finbarr’s Marsh in Minecraft

A Youtuber named Andyisyoda is building all of Finbarr’s Marsh in Minecraft at the moment and it’s incredibly impressive. If you’re interested in seeing it come together, here’s a playlist of his build videos so far.

Also, I’ve got good news and bad news about Fort Bourtange. The good news is– and I say this in the most humble way possible– it looks really good. The bad news is I’m going to need another week to finish coloring it. The full size version is pretty massive and I underestimated the amount of time it’d take to color and shade everything. Anyway, I’m gonna get back to work on it and I’ll be back to you when it’s finished!