The Streets of Vlyn’darastyl – Roof Level

I never know what to say when I post the roof level of a map. “Hey, here’s a useful, but slightly less interesting version of the last map I made!” Whatever, let’s talk about the Black Loch instead.

The loch is about 2/3 of the way done so far and, lately, a lot more people have been messaging me about it. The same thing happened when I was 2/3 of the way through Brazenthrone. The reason is that a lot of people are starting to use it. What I’ll be drawing next doesn’t matter as much when your future campaign is going to be there. But when your current campaign is there, it becomes a lot more relevant.

So, I wanted to list the unfinished locations here, along with whatever I’ve got planned for those places. Also, this is roughly the order I’ll be drawing them in:

  1. Travelers’ Ruin – A ruined structure on the coast of Cairnhollow Isle. The Tideborne orogs from the Deep Spire dock here to hang out and drink from time to time.
  2. Drow Settlement – A small drow community.
  3. Ancient Crypt – No specific plans yet, except that there will be at least one box with a dead person inside it.
  4. Grimlocks – A grimlock settlement.
  5. The Blind Colossus – A huge, eyeless statue standing in the middle of the loch. It will have an interior.
  6. Aboleth Lair – The lair of an aboleth named Psor’il and its minions.
  7. Submerged Ruins – No plans yet.
  8. Duergar Outpost – A small outpost built by the duergar to conduct trade and keep an eye on the loch.
  9. Fortress Ruins – The burnt-out ruins of a fortress near the Isle of Ash.

In addition to the above, there will be one more map that has yet to be decided on by the Black Loch Conclave. I’ll draw it whenever the final vote has ended, which means it’ll probably be first or second.

Anyway, that’s about it. If you’re running a game in the loch right now, I hope things are going well and I’d love to hear what your party has been up to!

The Streets of Vlyn’darastyl

This is a battlemap for the Drow City of Vlyn’darastyl. It’s mostly meant to be a backdrop for encounters your party might have in the city, but I figured I’d throw a tavern, a shop and a small market in there to give it a little extra utility. By the way, these buildings don’t actually correspond to anyplace on the city map, so don’t go crazy trying to find them. Hopefully no one did that before reading this far.

I’m going to draw a roof-level version of this map as well, which should only take a day or two. After that, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress, the Infected Citadel. This is a small, dwarven hold that’s been tainted by the Far Realm. Things will look fairly normal at the top, but, as you descend, it starts to get stranger and stranger, until reality just completely breaks down at the bottom. Like, the floor becomes a thick mass of worms writhing around giant horse eyeballs. And there’s an eight-eyed fish head sticking out of the wall. Or something like that, I don’t know.

Honestly, I have no idea how I’m going to draw this place, but I’m very much looking forward to figuring it out. I promise you that it will be full-on crazy time.

Anyway, I’m gonna go post the last five proposals for the Black Loch Conclave. Let me know what you think of the map!

Eel’s Maw Stronghold

The kuo-toa get no respect. I don’t mean from lorebooks, I mean from DMs. When you’re writing an underdark campaign and you need a powerful empire, who do you think of? The drow, sure. The illithids, of course. Maybe the duergar. But the kuo-toa? No, those are trash enemies for random encounters. I mean, sure, sometimes they play a significant role in a story, but they hardly ever take center stage.

Well, the kuo-toa of the Black Loch aspire to a little more than jumping out of the water and getting decapitated by your half-orc barbarian. They’ve got plans to take over the loch and subjugate the other races. Including your precious drow.

The plan is crabs. Siege crabs. Crabs the size of your house with carapaces a foot thick. Walls don’t save you from that. Soldiers don’t save you from that. Running for your life? That might do it.

The kuo-toa have been breeding siege crabs in the caverns below the Eel’s Maw Stronghold for decades and, as soon as the next brood reaches maturity, they’ll be ready to kick things off. The kuo-toa intend to move up in the world, or at least wreak enough havoc to take everyone else down a peg or two.

Next up, I’ll be drawing another map from the Black Loch. This will be a battlemap for the drow city of Vlyn’darastyl. It’ll be a few streets with some houses and shops. Nothing too fancy, just something that’ll make a good backdrop for encounters in the city. I don’t expect it to take too long.

By the way, I thought I’d give away the DM notes for this map, so you can download those here. Also, here are some siege crab tokens and a trebuchet token I made.

Well, that’s it for now. Let me know what you think!

Two Things

First, if you’re a patron, I need you to break a tie in the Cartographic Congress. The vote has been 10-10 for several days now, so I’m opening it up to all patrons. It’s time to finish this.

Second, there are a few streamers who have been using my maps lately and I wanted to mention them in case anyone was interested. I get a huge thrill out of seeing videos of people using my stuff. I don’t know, it’s like my map is on TV.

Anyway, DM Filly is running a Spelljammer campaign on Twitch called “Dragonfly” and he’s using my Dragonfly map. I was actually watching his campaign before he started using it and, the first time he did, I swear to god, I did exactly what Leo is doing in the picture above. Here’s links:

Also, Andyisyoda is a Minecraft streamer who’s been building some of my maps on his stream. He recently built Five Arches and, before that, Finbarr’s Marsh.

If anyone else out there is streaming their game and wants to use my maps, you are welcome to do so pretty much unconditionally. If you already are, feel free to post a link to your stream/youtube/podcast/etc in the comments.

The Citadel of Ash

A lot of people will look at this map and see a place inhabited by one of two things:

  1. Bad guys
  2. Dwarves

Why? It’s the lava, of course. Lava in FRPGs is practically code for dwarves and scumbags. It’s almost like decent, respectable humans can’t recognize the defensive utility of molten rock.

Hopefully, this isn’t how it works in real life, because I recognize the defensive utility of molten rock. And I’m a little too tall to be a dwarf.

Anyway, the first vote of the Black Loch Conclave started yesterday and, if you’re a patron, you should go cast a vote. There are some amazing ideas people have proposed for this and I really want to see what everyone decides on. Honestly, there are a few proposals that have inspired me so much that I’m thinking of incorporating some of their ideas into other maps if they don’t win. I am so glad I did this.

Next up, I’ll be drawing the Kuo-Toa Stronghold from the Black Loch. Like the Mother’s Eye, it’s going to be partially underwater. I don’t think I’ve seen a map of a semi-submerged castle before, so this should be fairly unique, or at least not something there are a million of out there. And, once it’s done, I should have time to knock out another one or two Black Loch maps this month.

Anyway, I’m gonna get to work. Let me know what you think of the Citadel!

El Ojo de la Madre – Aztec Version

Okay, here’s the alternate version of the underwater temple I promised. Could be useful if your party ever ends up in Chult, Maztica or any other place that’s basically Mexico with lizardmen.

I’ll be drawing a tower fortress next, in the style of Barad-Dûr from Lord of the Rings. I have to admit, that was a nice-looking evil tower. But if you engineer a fortress in such a way that it falls apart when someone destroys a piece of jewelry, that seems like a serious design flaw to me. Something to consider.

Anyway, I’m gonna finish this coffee and start sketching. Let me know what you think!