Duergar Outpost (Work-in-Progress)

Here’s the art for the duergar outpost. It’s built in front of a magma vent, the heat from which is used to melt and cast steel to make duergar screamers. A screamer is a metal construct with a dwarf trapped inside. The dwarf is in constant agony and it channels that pain into screams that can shatter stone.

Anyway, just thought I’d give you a look before I get to work on coloring it.

Clogwyn Prison

Clogwyn Prison was once a dwarven prison in the Black Loch. It used to be above the water, but a giant hole opened in the roof of the loch and the surface sea above started pouring water in. This hole was called the Great Breach and the rise in sea level it caused put quite a few places underwater.

This was inconvenient for some, but less so for others. For the coven of sea hags that moved into Clogwyn Prison afterwards, it was pretty fantastic. And you have to imagine that the kuo-toa were, at worst, fine with it.

I think Clogwyn would be a pretty interesting place to pass by on a ship. It’s the kind of thing you might not need to hook a party into exploring, since they’re probably going to be pretty curious about why the roof of a building is sticking up out of the water. Just make sure they found a few potions of water breathing on their last adventure if they’re going to need them.

There are only two locations left to draw in the Black Loch: the duergar outpost and the fortress ruins. I’m going to draw the duergar outpost next, but before I draw the last map, I want to get everything else done first. Because there are a few other things to do to finish the Black Loch and, when I draw the last map, I want that to be the last thing left.

So I’m going to take care of the other stuff first. This includes:

  1. Updating the History and Lore of the Black Loch with all the new locations and characters.
  2. Drawing tokens of all the characters and creatures of the loch that weren’t in the first batch.
  3. Updating the regional map of the Black Loch with the proper names of the locations (now that they all have proper names).
  4. Drawing some simple maps of caves and tunnels. These aren’t specific locations, just maps to use as backdrops for encounters around the loch.
  5. Making a Black Loch Codex with all the DM notes and annotated maps in one collection for patrons.

All of these are small tasks. A day or two each, at most. I think I can get all of it done, along with the last two maps, before the end of next month. Then I’ve got a new spelljammer to draw, as well as an Indian temple. And, of course, with the Black Loch done, we’ll need to talk about the next big project. I’ll fill you in on the plan and you can let me know if you think it’s worth spending the next few years drawing.

Well, I think that’s it. If you’ve got any thoughts on any of that, let me know!

The Sewer’s Terminus

So there are two unusual things about these sewers. First, they run through the ruins of an ancient dwarven settlement, which makes them a little more interesting to explore and gives a little space for things to happen.

And second, the sewers don’t flow out into a lake or a river. They flow down. Maybe into more dwarven ruins. Maybe into the underdark. Or maybe the sewage flows into the groundwater that the people in the city above drink from. That’s the circle of life. For dysentery.

Anyway, I think this would be a good map for an urban adventure or an entrance/exit to the underdark. Just remember: if anyone falls down in the water, make them save to avoid a disease. Roll a three? That’s the worst case of Valderian Bat Herpes the apothecary has ever seen.

Next up, I’ll be drawing one of the last 3 locations in the Black Loch: the Submerged Ruins. I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet, but I think it’ll be something that used to be above the water, but was drowned when the Great Breach opened. Anyway, I’ll figure it out.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope you like the map!

Sewer Running Through Dwarven Ruins (Work-in-Progress)

Here are the drawings for the next map. I wanted to design the sewers in a fairly realistic way, so I did some research. It turns out that, for most people, your toilet does not lead to a place that would make a good fantasy map.

There are some exceptions, though. Are you in London? Your waste actually does goes to fantasy map sewers. Vienna, too. And in Cologne, Germany, there are two chandeliers in the sewers. I mean, you expect a place to be classy when it’s literally called Cologne, but that is really above and beyond.

The Sanctum of Psor’il

Here’s an alternate version without the worm.

For a number of reasons, I don’t draw monsters in maps. It might look like that’s what I did here, but… it is and isn’t a monster. Allow me to explain. Psor’il, the aboleth who resides here, is trying to bring a creature from a bizarre, hostile dimension into the Black Loch.

To allow it to cross over, the aboleth’s minions are making a substance called “schismic flux,” which weakens the barrier between dimensions. They’ve weakened it quite a bit, but not enough for the creature to pass through. So, at the moment, the creature is stuck in between planes. And it’s visible in this world, but it’s not tangible yet. In other words, the monster is scenery. Weird, scary scenery, but not a monster. Yet.

I’m very curious what your opinions on it are. I was trying to make this place as strange as possible and that was one of the things I came up with. I also made a version without the worm in case anyone objects.

Next, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress: a sewer system with tunnels that cut through ancient, dwarven ruins, leading deep into the earth. After that, I’ll be back to the Black Loch to draw one of the last 3 locations.

Anyway, I’d love to know what you think about the map. And I know it’s kind of a strange one, so if you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask!

Aboleth Lair (Work-in-Progress)

Here’s the aboleth lair I’ve been working on. Man, where do I even start with this? Let’s go with the horrific worm thing on the left. That’s a creature the aboleth has been trying to pull into the world from the Far Realm (aka “Weird Hell”). I’ll make a version without it, of course, as well as a token of the worm.

The big dome is an ancient temple to Bylir, the ancient evil I mentioned in this post. The aboleth lives inside it now. There’s also a layer of underwater tunnels below all this.

If some of the things here seem really strange and hard to understand the purpose of, that’s intentional. Aboleths are strange, unknowable creatures and I wanted to make this place as absolutely bizarre as possible. I’m going for maximum R’lyeh here.

Anyway, let me know what you think so far! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask.