The Next Megaproject?

Photo Credit: Stijndon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

So, I have an idea for a new map project and I want to get your opinions on it.

The photos above are from the Initiation Well in Portugal. That isn’t what I want to draw, but I think it illustrates my idea fairly well.

Imagine a large, cylindrical pit in the middle of a small village. The villagers don’t know who made it or how deep it is. But it’s deep. If you drop a rock, you won’t hear it hit the bottom.

Looking down into the pit, one can see walkways and chambers dug into the sides. The villagers didn’t dig them, but they use them as homes and shops. The village tavern is down there, too. Below the village are the mines, where most of the villagers work, digging for copper ore.

The tunnels circling the pit go deeper, but the villagers rarely wander beyond the mines. They know there are giant bats living down there, which come up at night. And there are goblins, or at least there used to be. They haven’t seen one in years.

Here’s a rough outline of what each level of the pit might look like:

  • 1-3: The village
  • 4,5: Villagers’ mines
  • 6: A maze of tunnels and collapsed chambers overrun by mold
  • 7: Caverns inhabited by giant bats
  • 8: Ancient crypt
  • 9: A goblin settlement. Possibly friendly. They eat the bats.
  • 10: Caves inhabited by giant spiders. Huge webs strung across the pit (which caught the rock they threw in earlier).
  • 11: Rough, partially-collapsed tunnels and chambers inhabited by monsters
  • 12: Night Hag’s lair in ruins of an ancient temple
  • 13, 14, 15: Ruins of an ancient settlement
  • 16: Ancient prison covered in mushrooms
  • 17: Myconid colony around a crumbling fountain
  • 18: Ancient catacombs
  • 19: Ancient oracle and library with a long-abandoned scholars’ camp containing notes about the pit’s history
  • 20: Mushroom caves. Below this, the pit is filled with water
  • 21, 22: Underwater ruins with undead
  • 23: The bottom (Sealed vault? Trash and debris? I have no idea what goes here yet)

That’s what I’ve got right now, but it’s all subject to change, especially once I figure out the story of how the pit came to be and what’s at the bottom. If you’ve got a better story in mind, the whole thing would basically be modular, so you could rearrange the levels or remove the ones you don’t need.

Anyway, is this something you’d be interested in? I’d love to know what you think or whether you have any ideas to add. Right now, nothing is set in stone, including whether I draw it at all, so by all means, if you’re into the idea, please let me know!

Castel Sant’Angelo (Work-in-Progress)

These are four of the five floors of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo. I’ve got the rest drawn too, but, as you can see, I ran out of desk, so someone had to get cut from the class photo.

As big as this is already, there’s actually one more thing to draw: the outer walls. I’ll draw those in on my tablet. This place is extremely unique as castles go, so hopefully you like it so far. It’s been a ton of work, but I think it’s looking pretty good.

I also had an idea for a new megaproject and I’d love to get your thoughts on it, but let me put that in a separate post. Until then, let me know what you think of the map so far!

The Chateau de Breze in Saumur, France

The Chateau de Breze is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been. If there has ever been a place that looks like a real-life D&D map, this is it.

You cross a drawbridge into a castle, then down some stairs into a long, underground tunnel. Then, after going through an ancient, underground settlement, you get to the bottom of the moat, where there are even more tunnels and two more ancient, underground settlements, all connected by a complex network of passages and chambers carved into the rock. I mean, a lot of castles have a cellar, a crypt, maybe a cistern underneath, but these guys have their own personal underdark down there.

Now that I think of it, this place would make a pretty good underdark entrance. Or, wait… what if the lord of the castle was secretly in league with the drow, who were helping him seize power in the region so they can have free reign to raid the surface? Hmm… that might be the start of something interesting.

Next, I’ll be starting on the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. This is the last of the three historical castles I’ve been drawing lately and I don’t think it’ll disappoint. Dating back to 134 AD, it was built as the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian, later becoming a fortress and eventually being occupied by the pope. I’ve had a look at the floor plans and I can tell you right now: this will not be a small map.

Anyway, if you have any questions about the Chateau de Breze, by all means ask. I don’t know everything about it, but I’ll answer if I can.

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

Chateau de Breze – The Underground Tunnels (Work-in-Progress)

These are the tunnels underneath the Chateau de Breze. I’ve got to tell you, there is no way I’d have been able to draw this place if I hadn’t visited it and taken photos of everything myself. Like, my only reference for the upper levels of the castle is a photo I took of the fire escape plan (it’s a solid floor plan, though). And I’d have no idea how these tunnels underneath the place connect to each other if I hadn’t seen them firsthand.

Anyway, I’m coloring this now, but I thought I’d give you a look. Back to work!