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.