The Mother’s Eye

The Mother’s Eye is a kuo-toan temple partially submerged in the waters of the Black Loch. The part of the temple above water is meant, perhaps surprisingly, to accommodate land-dwelling races.

Do land-dwelling races worship naked lobster lady? No, but they make great sacrifices. And kuo-toa do human sacrifices like Brazilians play soccer.  They love it, they’re great at it, it’s kind of their thing. It’s not their only thing, of course. But, you know, it’s a big one and they work hard at it. You’ve gotta respect that.

The kuo-toa of the Black Loch have big plans and I’ll talk more about what those are when I draw the kuo-toa stronghold, which I’m probably going to do within the month.

But first, there are two things to do. The first is to make an alternate version of this map with the temple on land. I figure that, if I’m going to draw an Aztec/Mayan style pyramid and put it underwater, I should probably make a version that isn’t underwater while I’m at it. It should only take a day to get done.

After that, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress: a tower fortress, similar to a smaller version of Barad-Dûr (from Lord of the Rings).

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’re a patron and you’ve got an idea for a new location for the Black Loch that you’d like to add to the upcoming vote, you’ve got another week to let me know. Speaking of which, the ideas people have submitted so far are really good. Like, REALLY good. I can’t wait to see which one you go for.

Submerged Temple (Work-in-Progress)

Here’s the top level of the submerged kuo-toan temple in the Black Loch. There are three floors below this and I should have them all done in a day or two.

By the way, I mentioned earlier that I was taking proposals for a new location in the loch and that all patrons were welcome to submit proposals. I originally estimated that there might be 40+ proposals in all, but I may have overestimated, because I currently have 11. So, if you’re a patron who was thinking about submitting an idea for the vote, your chances may be better than previously expected. Anyway, you’ve still got another week to shoot me a message if you want to propose a location.

Okay, back to work!

The Black Loch Conclave (AKA “The Unholyrood”)

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to hold a vote to give more people a voice in the creation of the Black Loch. Here are the details on that:

First, I’m going to send out a message to all patrons asking for proposals for new locations for the loch. If you have an idea for a place you think would make an interesting addition, please reply to the message with a brief description of your idea (or a long one, if necessary). In any case, I’ll get more details from you if your proposal is chosen.

The call for proposals will be sent through patreon’s messaging system, so if you don’t check that very often, please do. I’ll be sending it out tonight.

I’ll start the voting in a week or two, depending on the number of proposals. The first round of voting will consist of multiple votes, with around 10 proposals each.

After that, the two proposals with the most votes from each ballot will be pitted against each other in a second round of voting. Runoff votes will be held until one location wins. That location will be added to the loch and, of .

There are a few rules:

  1. One proposal per person.
  2. No megaprojects. If you think your proposal might be a megaproject, send it to me anyway and I’ll let you know. Keep in mind that the Flying Rook and Five Arches are not megaprojects, so you can still think pretty big.
  3. With the above exception, you can propose any kind of location you like. It can be tied in with the existing lore of the Black Loch or it can be entirely new.
  4. If you have a proposal, there’s no time limit to tell me, as long as you let me know before the final first-round vote is posted. This could be as long as a month from now, but I’ll make sure you have at least two weeks.
  5. All patrons can participate in all votes. All votes count equally.

And that’s it. If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me a message!

Black Loch Naval Battlemaps and Tokens

You can download the ship tokens and maps here.

I spent yesterday and today making a bunch of stuff to help you run naval battles in the Black Loch. Most of it is in the picture above. There are nine ship tokens, plus two tokens of the loch’s resident sea creature, the Whisperer. One of the tokens shows the Whisperer clearly and the other is just a dark shadow under the water to freak your players out with.

There are also four maps that are mostly water. Since I want to get started on the next Black Loch map, I decided to keep this fairly simple, so all the water maps are basically just the map above, cropped in different ways. They’re nothing fancy, but they’ll let you run naval battles in the loch without having to use a sea map that looks like a sunny day in the Caribbean.

Anyway, with that done, I’m going to get started on the Submerged Temple, a kuo-toa holy place in the Black Loch. I’m thinking it’ll be partly above water, but mostly below. Maybe like a pyramid with the tip above water? I’m not sure, I’ll figure it out after a few sketches.

There’s one other thing: I’m unable to continue updating the EncounterPlus module with new maps. I’m sorry to those of you who use EncounterPlus, but the program I use to export the module hasn’t been working properly, possibly due to a conflict with a recent release of Foundry. If things change and I can start updating the module again, I promise that I will. Until then, I’m really sorry.

Also, I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m planning to hold a vote of all patrons for a new Black Loch location. I’ll post about that in a day or two and send out a call for proposals for locations to add to the loch.

Okay, I’m gonna start sketching that temple. I hope you like the naval battlemaps! Are they the most boring maps I’ve ever made? I think they might be, haha.

Man-O’-War-Class Spelljammer

Here’s a version of the map with extra crew quarters. And here are some tokens of the ship and the weapons.

There’s a time in every Spelljammer campaign when the party has finally committed enough crimes and looted enough corpses to afford a new ship. Maybe not the Doomlord-Class Planetary Sterilizer they’ve always wanted, but something better. They’ve been cruising around in a stylish, but poorly-armed bugboat for about eight levels now. They used to love it, but now… well, the decks are stained with blood, they’ve got three NPCs sleeping on the floor, and there isn’t a square inch of the ship that the wizard’s familiar hasn’t peed on. So they head down to the shipyard to buy themselves a big boy spelljammer.

The Man-O’-War is an elven-designed light warship with lots of cargo space, seven officers’ cabins, and enough firepower to hold its own against most of what the old ship had to run away from. The four ballistas are fairly standard, but the catapult is a little more interesting. Instead of using rope and wood to launch a projectile, this catapult uses a high-pressure boiler that builds up steam, which can be released to fire the weapon.

But the best thing about the Man-O’-War is, arguably, the rear cargo doors. They can be used to load or unload cargo or passengers, either on land, or *ahem* mid-flight. An excellent way to prevent overcrowding in the brig.

Earlier, I said I was planning to draw another spelljammer later this year, but I think I’m going to make it at least two, with the next one coming in three months or so. It’ll be a bigger ship than the Man-O’-War, something beefy to use as a late-game vessel. I’ll probably hold a vote on which ship to draw when I’m ready to get started on it. I know there aren’t a lot of maps out there for Spelljammer and I want to draw a few more for those of you running games in the setting. With the Dragonfly, the Man-O’-War and the next one, that’ll give you an early-game, mid-game and a late-game ship, which at least covers the fundamentals. After that, I’ll see where you want me to go from there.

Next, I’ll be making some things for the Black Loch. Since a campaign in the loch would probably be a naval campaign, a water map and some ship tokens would be helpful for a lot of people. Someone pointed this out to me recently and I’m going to go ahead and make them now. It’ll take a day or two at most and, afterwards, I’ll probably get started on another Black Loch map.

Okay, that’s it. Let me know what you think!

Man-O-War-Class Spelljammer (Work-in-Progress)

The Man-O-War comes equipped with side-impact airbags, power windows, authentic white rhino leather seats (from a planet where there are millions of them) and a standard 4-year manufacturer’s warranty. Low APR financing available, see your Nissan dealer for details.

Couple more days and this should be done.

The Cull’Thaine Estate

The Cull’Thaine Estate is home to the drow matriarch of House Cull’Thaine, the ruling family of the city of Vlyn’darastyl in the Black Loch.

Something about this map got me thinking. There are two parts of the Black Loch— the setting I’ve been making maps and lore of– that came from the Cartographic Congress: the Cull’Thaine Estate and Vlyn’darastyl, where the estate is located.

Over a year ago, a patron named Matt proposed an idea to the Cartographic Congress that won the vote and became Vlyn’darastyl. One of the locations marked on that map is the estate of House Cull’Thaine. A month ago, a patron named AN7 proposed a map of that house’s estate. That proposal won and now we have this map, which three people have had a hand in creating.

Without Matt, Vlyn’darastyl wouldn’t exist. Without AN7, the Cull’Thaine Estate would be a dot on the map. And the Black Loch was my idea, but none of it would exist without the rest of my patrons. So, this has become something of a collaborative effort over time. And I’d like it to become more so.

I want to give EVERY patron a voice in how the Black Loch comes together. So, here’s the plan: later this month, I’m going to take proposals from ALL patrons for a new location in the Black Loch. Then, I’ll have a vote on those proposals, which all patrons will be able to participate in. We’ll have a series of runoff votes until one proposal remains and that will become a new location in the Black Loch.

After I’m done with the next map, I’ll send out a message to all patrons calling for proposals. Then, once I’ve given a week or two for everyone to submit their ideas, I’ll start the voting. I don’t know how many proposals to expect, but the Cartographic Congress usually gets 5-10 proposals every month, so I think 40+ is possible here. Realistically, if I put 40 options on a single ballot, no one is going to read them all, so I’ll hold multiple votes, once a week, with 10 options on each ballot. The top two proposals from each will go on to a final ballot, which we’ll whittle down to one winner.

Anyway, that’s the plan. I’ll send out a message with more details when I’m done with the next map, so you can just reply to that if you have a proposal. Also, to be clear, a separate Cartographic Congress vote will be held as usual.

The next map will be a Man-o-War-class spelljammer, but first I need to make a quick edit to the map of Vlyn’darastyl. The Cull’Thaine Estate looks different from the way I drew it on the city map, so I want to make a revised version that matches. I’ll have that done in a few hours.

EDIT: The revised map of Vlyndarastyl is finished: annotated version, non-annotated version.

Okay, that’s it! If you’ve got any thoughts on the map, the vote or anything else, let me know!

Coxton Tower: A Towerhouse in Moray, Scotland

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve made a map with only six rooms and I’d forgotten how fast I could draw something this small, haha.

Anyway, Coxton Tower was built in Moray, Scotland in the 1500s and this map is fairly accurate, with a couple of exceptions. First, it shows the tower on a clear, sunny day, which is a grossly inaccurate depiction of Scottish weather. And second, the size is off, which is intentional. An accurate map of Coxton Tower would have an interior about 3 1/2 tiles across. That’s a little tight for RPG purposes, so I doubled it.

Also, if you look at a photo of Coxton Tower, it’ll be a bit different from the map above. That’s because a staircase was built up to the second-floor entrance in the mid-1800s. I wasn’t sure whether to draw it with the staircase or the ladder, so I just drew it both ways. Here’s the version with the stairs.

There’s an interesting feature of Coxton Tower that I wanted to point out. It’s called a “yett” and, if you’ve never heard of one before, it may be because they’re mostly unique to Scotland. A yett is a metal gate, similar to a portcullis, but mounted on hinges so that it swings open like a regular door. It’s just behind the main entrance on the second level. You can see a photo of Coxton’s yett here.

Well, I hope you like the map! And yes, that is a deep-fried Mars bar on the kitchen table. I choose to believe that’s historically accurate.

Next, I’ll be drawing another map from the Black Loch. This will be the drow noble estate of House Cull’thaine, the ruling house of the city of Vlyn’darastyl.

After that, I’ll be drawing a new spelljammer map. I know a lot of DMs put their players in my Dragonfly spelljammer last year and are getting ready to upgrade the party to a big boy ship, so I’ll be drawing you an elven Man-o-War to fill that role. It’ll be a bigger, better-armed ship for a mid-level party. And, for those of you who are planning to keep the campaign going into the higher levels, I’ll draw you the late-game war machine your players dream about later this year.

Okay, back to work!