Cave of the Sun

The Cave of the Sun is another map for Tir Thelandira. It’s an oracle and holy site where the elves gather to seek guidance from their goddess. The cave takes its name from a hole in the roof of the cavern, through which light beams down onto the pool within.

I’ll draw more of Tir Thelandira next month, but right now there’s something I have to draw. It’s Italian– Venetian, to be specific– and it’s glorious. It’s not a real place, but it could have been a real place. Unfortunately, somebody screwed up. Let me explain.

In Venice, there’s a famous landmark called the Rialto Bridge. Before it was built, proposals by several architects were considered and the one they went with was this. And, I mean, it’s fine. I don’t hate it. The problem is that a guy named Andrea Palladio proposed this. And they passed on that.

Was it because the guy who made the winning proposal was named Antonio Da Ponte and his last name is literally the Italian word for bridge? Was there a bribe involved? I don’t know. Maybe no one knows. But I do know this: I am going to make a map of Andrea Palladio’s objectively superior bridge. And I’m going to do it right now.

I want to thank Masque for telling me about Andrea Palladio’s design for the Rialto. I might never have found out about it otherwise. Just to let everyone know, I’m always open to suggestions and I’ve drawn a few of them. So don’t hold back on me. There’s no such thing as too many ideas.

Palazzo di Nettuno – Not-Quite-As-Serene Version

So, Palazzo di Nettuno means “Palace of Neptune” (or at least Google Translate says it does), although that name is a bit more fitting for the other version of the map. Whatever, it’s fine. This one can be a reference to the planet.

Next, I’ll be drawing another map from the island of Tir Thelandira. This will be a sacred cave of the elven druids. I picture it like this: a cavern with an opening in the roof, through which light pours in.  In the center lies a mossy pool surrounded by intricate knotwork engravings. This pool is used as an oracle by the druids, who gather here to seek advice from their goddess.

There may be a bit more to it, but that’s what I’ve got for now. If anyone has any ideas that might make it a bit more interesting, by all means let me know!

Palazzo di Nettuno

I think Venice is the kind of place a fantasy writer would come up with. “It’s this city in a harbor, you know? Trade port, super rich. Really beautiful. And get this: the streets? They’re made of water.” It’d be a really cool concept if it weren’t for the fact that it actually exists.

Of course, not everyone has a fantasy version of Venice in their game world, but I think this could be used as a palace with a moat as well. And I’m going to make a dry land version, which I should have up by tomorrow. Someone suggested turning the boathouse into a stables, which sounds good to me. I’ll draw in a few bushes, a happy little tree, it’ll be great.

By the way, I’m not sure if this map is supposed to be in daytime or a brightly moonlit night. I just started coloring without really thinking about it and this is what happened. Anyway, if you figure it out, let me know.

Okay, I’m gonna go draw some grass on this thing. Be back with that soon!

Dark Fantasy Venetian Palace (Work-in-Progress)

Since this is supposed to be a Venetian palace, it’s going to be on a canal, but I’m going to make a version that’s on land, too. The thing is, there’s a boathouse on the left side and I’m not sure what to do with that. I mean, I’ll get rid of the boats, obviously, but then it’s an Italian palace with a monster truck garage. Il Palazzo di Truckasaurus Rex. Well, I can probably just call it a carriage house.

All right, time to color this thing.

Tir Thelandira (Updated)

Also: unlabeled version.

Here’s the updated map of the island. We’ve got a few dots on the map now and I decided to make it a little bigger, so I doubled the scale from 10 miles to 20.

I also made a page to collect all the Tir Thelandira maps as I draw them. There isn’t much there yet, but that was once true of the Black Loch and Brazenthrone as well. Every insane megaproject starts somewhere.

Of course, Tir Thelandira will be smaller, with about 10-12 locations, but there will be other, neighboring islands to follow and this whole thing will get wildly out of control before you or I know it. Are you looking forward to that? I certainly am. I’d love to be able to refer to Brazenthrone as “the kind of thing I worked on in the past, when I did smaller, more reasonable projects.” It’s a completely ludicrous thing to say, but I do intend to make it true.

Anyway, if you’re a patron, the DM notes for Oakenhold are up as well. You can find them here. Okay, that’s it for now!

The Elven Tree Fortress of Oakenhold

After an absolutely enormous amount of work, the new and highly improved Oakenhold is finished. Moreover, I’ve written the history and lore of the island of Tir Thelandira. The TL;DR is this:

The elves of Tir Thelandira were nomadic tribes, but giant bears appeared and a lady killed them, unifying the tribes and becoming the queen. Then, humans showed up to mine gold, which was fine because the elves were pretty cool people. But the humans started logging the forest and the elves killed them all because they’re not actually all that cool. Later, the humans came back. People are probably going to die soon.

That’s the gist of it, anyway. I like settings where there isn’t a clear bad guy and I tried to write it that way. I mean, the Dhasrans did intrude on the elves’ land, but they weren’t there for conquest. They just wanted gold, which the elves didn’t really care about. And yeah, they shouldn’t have logged the elves’ forest, but the when the elves responded by going full-on North Sentinel Island on them, that may have been a slight overreaction.

There are a lot of angles to see things from and different kinds of adventures to run here depending on how you want to present the situation. Or you could just ignore my story and do something else entirely. That’s frequently the best option.

Anyway, I’ll have an updated map of Tir Thelandira for everybody tomorrow, as well as DM notes for Oakenhold for patrons. After that, I’ll be working on the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress. This will be a palace in a Venetian-style canal city, drawn in a gothic/dark fantasy style. Prepare your eyeliner.

So, what do you all think of the new Oakenhold? I certainly think it turned out better than the original version and I hope you agree (I mean, I really do. That’s not a high bar to jump over). Anyway, let me know what you think!