The Fortified Oasis – Work-In-Progress

Here’s the first floor of the oasis, almost finished. The other two floors are also nearly done, so I should have this finished in a couple days.

This floor doesn’t have many of the rugs I mentioned earlier, which are mostly on the level above. There’s one room with seven rugs. It’s like Discount Carpet Warehouse in there. And the hookah room has five. Yeah, there’s a hookah room. And I sincerely apologize in advance for whatever happens when the stoner in your group gets there.

Okay, just wanted to show you how it was coming. Back to work.

Several Small Things

I’ve got the next map– the Fortified Oasis– fully penciled and ready to ink. But before I get started on that, I wanted to mention a few other things I got done:

Anyway, that’s all. I’m gonna get back to work on the oasis. I was up drawing until pretty late last night because, as it turns out, if you draw a million rugs on a map, you then have to come up with designs for a million rugs. It does look pretty cool, though. I think you’re gonna like it.

The Brazenthrone Codex, Third Edition

I know some of you may have an instinctually negative response to hearing about a switch from second to third edition, but I promise you, this third edition is not a downgrade from the second that will slowly grow worse and take twenty years to rectify.

This is the complete Codex with all the expanded annotated maps and DM notes from Brazenthrone, along with a few drawings I included for the sake of fanciness.

While making this, I was slightly surprised to learn that I still remember how to draw a person! There was a time when I drew a lot of those, but it’s been a while. I think I did respectably well, anyway.

Anyway, this wraps up Brazenthrone. The response has been overwhelming, which I’m really happy about. Hopefully it opens up doors for people to do things they couldn’t otherwise, or inspires them to write epic adventures in the city.

Next, we have four maps remaining from the Great Vote: the fortified oasis, the floating market, the aarakocra village and the Deepspire. Those will be the next four maps, aside from one or two Cartographic Congress maps. I’m going to draw the fortified oasis first. It’s been a while since we’ve been to the middle east and I’ve been looking forward to drawing this for a long time.

I’m also going to get the Foundry module and the Roll20 VTT stuff sorted out and updated with the Old Palace. Let me know what you think of the new codex!

The Dwarven City of Brazenthrone is finished.

I’ve been an artist for my entire life and this is easily the best thing I’ve ever drawn. I wish I could show it to 12-year-old me. He would’ve gone wild. To be honest, he and I aren’t that different, although I’d say I’m at least 10% more mature.

The last two years have been quite a journey and I want to thank my patrons for joining me on it– or maybe I should say taking me on it. They deserve a lot of credit for this. I made Brazenthrone, but they made Brazenthrone happen.

This is a map that could only exist through crowdfunding and that was part of the idea from the start. No publisher will ever commission an artist to make something like this and the amount of work involved– around 2500 hours– is prohibitively high for a hobby project. But they covered my rent and bills and put food in my fridge for two years, giving me the ability to work on this and other maps full time, which is the way this gets done. That’s how you make a Brazenthrone.

But, while my patrons financed the drawing of this map, it isn’t just for them. It’s for the rest of the community as well. It’s for the teenage DMs, the broke college student DMs and the older DMs who are having a rough time at the moment. I don’t want anyone to be unable to use Brazenthrone on account of money and I want to make sure the resources to use it are available.

For that reason, I’m making the Brazenthrone Codex– containing all the DM notes and expanded annotated maps– free for everyone. I’m also giving out a collection of all the maps. They were all free already, but some of the older web versions didn’t work well with VTTs, so I replaced them with 35px VTT versions that will. You can download all that here.

Alternatively, you can just load the map above, enter a grid size of 728×1176 and watch your computer’s exhaust vent spew flames like it’s trying to reach low earth orbit. Let me know how it goes.

The Brazenthrone Codex does need an update and I’m going to add all the maps and DM notes that aren’t included in about two days. I’m also adding a few small illustrations and giving it a cover. I was planning on giving this stuff out as a Christmas present to the community, but then I started typing and… well, you’re getting it early. It’s from my patrons, too. I picked it out, but they paid for it.

So, let’s talk about what’s next. I want to map out an entire campaign setting. In a way, that’s what Brazenthrone is, but this is different. The setting is a small sea in the Underdark called “The Black Loch” and it will be much, much bigger than Brazenthrone.

Unlike Brazenthrone, however, there will not be a map of every square inch of it. Instead, there will be a map of the region with all the notable locations marked. Things like a kuo-toa village, a duergar outpost, a drow city, abandoned structures, some islands with ruins, caves, maybe something underwater. For each location, I’ll draw a 5′-per-tile battlemap, so your players can explore the loch and, wherever they go, you have a map. There will probably be 15-20 locations in all, depending on how many good ideas I come up with. I can’t promise an exact number, but I can promise that, when I run out of interesting places to add, I’ll put the pencil down. I won’t waste time drawing filler.

There’s already one map I’ve decided will be a part of the Black Loch: The Drow City of Vlyn’darastyl. This is probably the only part that will get a city map instead of a battlemap, but I may make a battlemap of a specific building or two there.

Before I get started on that, I’ll be drawing the four remaining maps from the Great Vote, which are listed in this post (1,3, 4 and 5). The last one– The Deepspire– will also probably be a part of the Black Loch.

So, that’s the plan. If you’ve been with me on this journey, I hope you’ll come along for the next one. And if you’re just finding all this for the first time, you didn’t get here late. This may be the end of Brazenthrone, but it’s the beginning of everything else.

Brazenthrone – The Old Palace

Here are the annotated version and the DM notes. All the patron content for this map is free to everyone and you can download it here.

This is the last chamber of Brazenthrone, but the map isn’t finished yet. It’ll be finished when it’s all put together in a single image, so we can sit back, look at the entire city and wonder why anyone would ever do such a thing. I’ll give a whole big speech and everything, it’ll be great.

It shouldn’t take longer than a day or two, depending on how many times it crashes Photoshop. Making this thing crashed it at least a dozen times, but I think I know a better way of doing it. Hopefully it works, because there’s a LOT to add to that.

I do have some bad news, though: Roll20 seems to have gotten an update and the Walls API script I was using to give you maps with the dynamic lighting set up doesn’t seem to work anymore. And, since I was making the Foundry version by exporting the Roll20 version, I can’t do that either. I’ve found another script to replace it (written by the same person) and I’ll get you some walls for this once I’ve got a minute to sit down and work out how to use it. EDIT: Nevermind, the script just needed to be restarted. I’ll make the VTT stuff in a few days.

I haven’t forgotten about EncounterPlus either. But first, I REALLY want to finish up Brazenthrone. Here’s what I’ve got left to do:

  • Put it all together
  • Update the Brazenthrone Codex with the rest of the maps and DM notes
  • Make some art for the Codex. Not maps, drawings. Whatever I can sketch in a day or two to make it look nice, maybe give it a cover.

After that, I’ll get on that VTT stuff and we’ll talk about what’s coming next. Well, I’m gonna start putting this stuff together so we can see what two years of drawing a map gets you.

Here’s the first floor of the Old Palace.

There are two more levels of Brazenthrone‘s Old Palace, both of which are nearly done. I’ll have it all up in a day or two, but I thought I’d give you a look at the first floor since it’s finished.

The large room at the upper center is the throne room. The Brazen Throne was removed and currently occupies the new throne room in the High King’s Palace. The symbol on the floor is the Brazen Hand and represents the royal Brasshand Clan. It’s an older and slightly different version of the symbol that can be seen in the new palace.

The other symbol represents the Kingdom of the Twelve Mountains, the nation that Brazenthrone is the capital of. The runes around the edges spell out the motto of the Twelve Mountains: “Many Clans in Peace, One Clan in Strife.”

Anyway, that’s all. I’m gonna finish up the rest.

 

The Thronebrazing Kit – Also, the Foundry Module is now online.

Do you use Foundry? Are you dissatisfied with how small Brazenthrone is and wish you could make more of it? If you answered no to both, there’s nothing here for you, feel free to go about your day.

Foundry first. Here’s the manifest URL so you can install it the grown up way: https://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/MMCmodule/module.json

That’s all.

On to Brazenthrone. I was asked about making assets to allow people to create new chambers of the city. I said, sure, I can put a few things together for you. Then I just went completely overboard and, next thing I know, I’m clipping stuff out of a dozen different maps, saying, “Better get that duplex hammer, you never know if someone’s gonna need one of those.”

So, here’s 80 or so assets. These include the ones I made previously and some new ones. There are empty chambers, floors and walls that tile seamlessly and an assortment of various other stuff. It should be enough to let you smash something together in Photoshop, anyway. The person asking for these said he was interested in making a Dungeondraft asset pack out of them, so there are 256ppi versions for that as well. By the way, let me know if there’s anything else you need for that.

Okay, that’s all for now. I’m going to bed.

Kasan-Tir Mining Outpost – “I like it but I’m not into the tunnel thing” Edition

Here are the tunnels to go with this.

There were two experimental things I did with this map and one of them seems to have gone over well, while the other didn’t. A few patrons let me know, which I appreciate, since it helps me make decisions about stuff like this in the future.

Anyway, I made an alternate version without the tunnels for the patrons’ edition maps in case anyone really didn’t like the original one and I figured I should give it out to non-patrons as well. My patrons seem to prefer this one and, in general, I assume that my patrons and non-patrons are likely to have similar opinions about my work. I’m not big on gating off content and I want everyone to have a version of this map they can use.

The other thing included here is the tunnels. These are a VTT token, but they’re printable too. The idea was that they could be placed in a hidden layer– either under the path or off to the side– then revealed when the players get in and make their way down into them.  Or, if you’re printing the map, you could cut them out as an overlay or keep them as a separate page.

Anyway, I hope this is more useful to you! I’m gonna try to get all those things I talked about in the last post done today, so I’d better get to it.

Kasan-Tir Mining Outpost

This took a while to draw because I spent two days laying it out, then I decided it was crap and started over from scratch. Sorry for the wait, but it really was irredeemable garbage.

There’s some unusual stuff going on here and I’m wondering how you’re going to feel about it. First, you’ve got multiple levels overlaid on top of each other. There’s the winding path with arrow slits above, then the tunnels on the other side of those arrow slits below.

Mainly, this keeps the map a bit more compact. I try not to bloat the size of my maps too much because it’s always more of a hassle for people using them. If you’re printing it, there’s more to print and if you’re using VTT, the file size is bigger. And I don’t think this is giving anything away. The PCs can see the arrow slits and, I mean, what else would be on the other side?

The second unusual thing is the perspective shift. To me, this feels like the part that might be controversial. You’ve got a slightly angled view of things right up to the door. Then, once you enter the mountainside, it’s a fully overhead view.

This does a few things for this map. It makes the path seem more upward, it shows the arrow slits and it gives a nice view of the chasm. But, once we’re inside, it’s not doing anything for us anymore, so it changes to top-down. I’m curious what you all think about it. Let me know if you like it and definitely let me know if you hate it. We don’t have to do this again.

By the way, this is handled a few different ways in the patrons’ edition versions. In the 1-inch grid print version, the tunnels are a separate overlay, which seemed more practical for print. And in the VTT version, there’s something similar (the tunnels are a token/tile, basically). There’s also a VTT version like the image above. This map was a gamble, so I thought I’d hedge my bets.

There are a few more things. LIST MODE, ON MY MARK. ENGAGE.

  • There’s an explanation of the equipment on the upper floor in the DM notes. Non-patrons can refer to the DM notes for the Oreworks, which describes all the equipment here: a casting pit, converter crucible, puddling furnace and stamp mill.
  • The VTT versions of this map include a Foundry VTT module for the first time, which is kind of perfect, because there is literally a foundry in this map.
  • I’m going to try to get the patrons’ edition Foundry module hosted online so you don’t have to manually install it. Hopefully today.
  • I promised to get the dynamic lighting maps working for more platforms. EncounterPlus is next. I found a converter and I’m going to try it out.
  • I’m making some Brazenthrone assets. Nothing fancy, but they should make it easier to modify or create new chambers, because I’m only drawing one more.
  • Speaking of which, the next map will be Brazenthrone’s Old Palace (1 on this map). This is the final chamber of the city and I’ll do something cool with it.
  • Is that everything? I think so. Let me know what you think of the outpost!

Map Module for Foundry (and a note about Roll20)

Here’s the Foundry VTT pack I promised. Actually, it’s not the pack I promised, it’s a lot more than that. Here’s the story: I was getting a few maps ready to export from Roll20 to Foundry, using a campaign on my friend Luke’s Roll20 account. I export everything, expecting three maps to come out the other side. Instead, I get sixty maps. Huh?

Oh, these must be the archived maps. I look through them and they’re ALL set up for dynamic lighting. Manually, by Luke. There’s Skywatch. There’s Tortuga. There’s FINBARR’S MARSH.

So I send Luke an email that begins with “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD” and I ask if I can share these all with you. He says, “Of course.” Also, he apparently has more. He then proceeds to copy over a few more from his other campaigns. So there are around 70 maps in this module, including almost everything other than Brazenthrone and Mont-St-Michel. He even threw in the tokens, some DM notes and some pre-generated characters. This was not a small amount of work on his part.

All the maps in there are the free web versions. I give Luke access to my patron content, but he doesn’t use the VTT versions, so all the maps are free already. If you want to use the VTT versions, you should be able to just replace the map image with the 70px VTT map and the lighting should work the same.

So, after getting all this together, there’s one thing that’s been driving me nuts. I want to give this stuff to Roll20 users too, but… I can’t. This stuff was MADE on Roll20. Luke set up the walls, doors and lighting on Roll20. And I can export it from Roll20 to Foundry, but I can’t export it from Roll20 to Roll20?! Are you kidding me?

I’d love to be wrong about this and, if you know how I can share these, please let me know. I can’t export the wall lines like I did with the other maps recently because they have to be made in a specific way to do that. So, I apologize to Roll20 users who feel left out here. I really do want to give you this stuff and, should that become possible, I will do it in a heartbeat. But the tools to do it don’t currently exist.

Should you feel that having these pre-lit maps is very important to you, there is a nuclear option: The Converter. I used it to convert these maps from Roll20 to Foundry, but it does a lot more than that. I am not telling you that you should do this, but I feel like I should point out the existence of this piece of software for those who may be considering it already.

Anyway, I hope this is useful to you! If there’s anything I screwed up while making this compendium (and there’s no way there isn’t, haha) please let me know!

EDIT: I couldn’t get the Great Hall in there, but this should do it. Make a scene with a 70px grid, place the image, then right-click the scene and select import data. Import the text file. You may have to place the image as a tile, not as the background image for it to work. I’m not sure why, I’m still new to this.

EDIT 2: The Route Finder module may cause problems with this for reasons unknown. If you’ve got it installed and Foundry is bugging out, try deactivating it.