Great Bombard: Spelljammer goes brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt

The Great Bombard isn’t a ship, it’s a gun. A really big gun. This gun does has a ship attached to it, though. This accessory, mounted under the barrel, allows a crew to move the gun through space and blow things up in a variety of interesting and exotic locations.

If you allow your party to acquire a Great Bombard, I don’t think that’s unreasonable. But you do need to keep it in mind when planning adventures from that point on. Ask yourself, “Can my players solve this problem using nothing but their big gun?” If so, you may want to make a few adjustments so the party has to put a little more work in. That said, you’ve got to let them blow something up every once in a while. That’s half the fun of having a ship like this, after all.

Since the new Spelljammer was recently released, I’ll probably draw another spelljammer map sometime in the next two months. I’ll hold a vote to let patrons decide which one you’d like to see.

But first, I’ll be drawing India’s Akshardham Temple. Then, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress: the Indian island fortress of Murud-Janjira. I’ll be drawing it about how it is in this photo: overgrown and in ruins. Personally, I think that’s much more interesting (and it also gets around the problem that the only labeled floor plans I’ve been able to find are in Hindi).

Well, I hope you like the Great Bombard. I’m gonna get started on this Indian double-feature. Let me know what you think!

The Generalife: A Palace of the Alhambra

I visited the Alhambra a few years ago and, before I went, I was considering drawing a map of the place. When I got there, I realized how completely insane a task that would be. Here’s the entire Alhambra complex. This map– the Generalife– is the little thing in the top right. I’ve drawn a four-level map of Mont-St-Michel and I’m pretty sure the Alhambra would take longer than that did.

To give you an idea of how big this place is, there are six other palaces in the Alhambra. And if that sounds crazy, there used to be two more. If you plan to be in Spain, I highly recommend going to see it. There are a lot of castles in the world, but only a few of them will make your head literally, physically explode and this is one of them.

Next up, I’ll be drawing the Great Bombard spelljammer I promised a few months back. It’s basically an enormous cannon with a ship wrapped around it. You could call it the A-10 Warthog of spelljammers. I’ll make a seafaring version as well for those running monoplanetary campaigns.

After that, I’ll be drawing Akshardham Temple, a Hindu temple in New Delhi. When someone builds something that looks this good from the top down, I basically have to make a map of it.

Okay, that’s it for now. I hope you like the map! Let me know what you think.

The Generalife Palace in the Alhambra (Work-in-Progress)

So, the Alhambra is a fortress in Andalusia, Spain with a number of palaces inside its walls. The largest of those palaces is the Generalife, which is what I’ve been drawing a map of. I’ve been to this place and it is absolutely epic.

There’s a staircase called the water stair, which has water flowing down channels in the railings. There are also three fountains in the middle of the staircase, which might seem unusual until you realize that there are fountains everywhere. Like, there are just fountains right next to other fountains. These people were very serious about proper hydration.

There’s also the Sultana’s Garden, the Canal Garden, and the terraced High Gardens. It’s a big map with a lot of detail and it’s going to be a lot of work, but I think it’ll be worth the effort.

After this, I owe you a spelljammer. And then, I’ll be drawing two places in India. First, Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, then the island fortress of Murud-Janjira, which won last month’s Cartographic Congress. Sound good? I hope so. All right, back to work.

The Next Big Project

So, let’s talk about the next big project that will follow in the footsteps of Brazenthrone and the Black Loch. I want to do something bigger this time. A lot bigger. I want to make a world.

It’s not going to start as a world, though. That’d be a lot of blank space to fill at once, so we’ll start with an island or two. And, like the Black Loch, I’ll start adding locations to the islands and drawing maps of them, developing the lore along the way.

When the islands are fairly well developed, we’ll expand the map. Add in a few more islands and start building those up. Give them their own inhabitants, their own identities, their own histories. Maybe a volcanic island with a viking culture, a tropical island with a wealthy trading hub like Zanzibar, an island of imperial ruins overrun by the undead. Maybe we’ll add the tip of a continent at some point, or maybe it’ll just be islands forever.

What I’m proposing is a project that wouldn’t necessarily have an end. There is no “finished” with this. It would just get bigger. I’m proposing a project that could, in theory, continue for the rest of my life.

To be clear, this wouldn’t really be a ‘world’ for a long time. It’d be an archipelago for at least a few years. Like the Black Loch, it would be something to insert into another, wider world. Maybe that’s the best way to think about it for now. Some islands. Before I commit to any more than that, I’d like to see how it goes. I also want your input on it, which is a large part of why I’m posting this.

Speaking of which, I’d like to have this project be shaped by patrons’ input much more than before. Ideas people submitted in the Black Loch Conclave had such a positive influence on how it turned out that I decided I wanted to make that a regular thing with the next project. So maybe every 3-4 months, I’ll ask patrons for ideas for new locations, hold a vote and draw maps of the top 3. I’ll probably also ask for your ideas on the themes of new islands as we expand.

I want to add that I will continue drawing maps that aren’t a part of this project as well. There will still be maps of spelljammers and the feywild and all that. Also, I won’t be getting started on this for a few months.

So, those are my thoughts. If you like what I’m proposing, if you hate it, or if you have a better way to do it, let me know. I really want to get an idea of where people stand on this.

Okay, I’m gonna get back to work. I’m currently drawing a map of the Generalife, a palace in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I’ve been there, it’s awesome. It’ll make a great map, I promise.

The Black Loch is Finished.

I’m giving away the Patrons’ Edition stuff for this map to everyone. You can download it all here. When I drew those cave and tunnel maps earlier, I was thinking about giving those away, but I decided I should give you a good map instead. So here it is.

With Charwall finished, the Black Loch is finally done after a year and a half. It’s been a huge amount of work drawing around 30 maps and 100 tokens and writing lore for it all, but I feel pretty good about it and I hope you like how it all turned out.

I want to say that I’m truly grateful to all the patrons who have supported this along the way. It felt like an incredible honor to be given the ability to spend two years drawing Brazenthrone and it’s no less an honor to have been able to put another year and a half into making the Black Loch as well.

Moreover, I’m grateful to be able to have your support for this despite the fact that I’ve given away usable versions of all the maps for free. I’m fairly sure that costs me money. I have no idea how much, but my rent gets paid and I’m not going to stop doing it. I feel very fortunate not to have to.

Well, it’s 9am and I’ve been up all night, but let me mention a few things before I go. I’ve updated the Black Loch Codex and the History and Lore Overview with Charwall. Remember when I made a post titled “The Black Loch: History and Lore Overview – FINAL UPDATE FOR REAL THIS TIME“? Okay, that was a lie, but this is the final update for real. Like, really real. Actually, legitimately very real. Anyway, it’s in the codex and you can download the new version here.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s been quite a journey and I hope you like where it all went. I’ve got another one in mind and I’ll tell you all about it in a day or two. Until then!