I’m an idiot. Here’s the actual alternate version of Whiskey Point.

The previous “alternate version” of Whiskey Point was identical to the regular version. I guess I saved the wrong file without noticing. Sorry about that. I especially apologize to anyone who was staring at the two files, trying to figure out what the difference was.

Anyway, I just noticed this, so I’m posting the actual alternate version. The difference is at the top floor of the lighthouse. If it still doesn’t look different, reload the page. You may have the old file cached.

Whiskey Point

Here’s an alternate version (explained below) and a ballista token I made for no specific reason.

Whiskey Point is a ruined fort and lighthouse which has been reclaimed by pirates, who patched it up and now run a black market from inside its walls. Other pirates come here to fence their loot and have a few drinks before getting back to work.

The alternate version only has one difference: at the top of the lighthouse, instead of a pyre, there’s a crystal. In this version, the idea is that the lighthouse is actually an arcane weapon that fires powerful beams of light. Should you use this version of the map? Look, I’m not trying to tell anyone how to run their game, but I just want to say two words to you, okay? Just two. Laser pirates.

Next up is Brazenthrone‘s Mushroom Farms. It won’t just be a cave full of mushrooms. It’s also where most of the city’s breweries are. And it’s where all the city’s funerals are held, since it’s the farthest downriver and the dwarves of Brazenthrone do Viking-style funerals. That’s where the deceased is placed on a boat, then the boat is lit on fire and sent down the river. Dwarves aren’t known for their love of boats, but they do live under a mountain and they can’t have dead people stinking up the place.

The Red Towers

Greenskin Rock got a new name and this is it. I like sea stacks and I like the idea of something living in one.

You’ve got all the things a semi-primitive demihuman race needs in here. There’s an eating area with a fighting pit, a shrine to whatever unpleasant-smelling god these heathens worship, along with cells so the sacrifices don’t wander off. There’s a kennel for wargs or wolves or… Yorkshire Terriers? Whatever kind of pets the inhabitants are into. Plus a brewery, a rookery, a well and a few other things.

By the way, I did something new with this map. Those planks on the ground level are sort of like primitive drawbridges, which can be pulled in to keep people out. I made an alternate version of the map with the planks removed and I made the planks into VTT tokens, so DMs can place or remove them, should the need come up in your game. These can also be printed for those of you whose tabletops are non-virtual. Anyway, here’s all that stuff:

There’s going to be another alternate version of this map as well, which I should have for you in a day or two. This map seems like it could just as easily be a rock formation in the desert and, since it’s easy enough to change, I’m going to do it. Anyway, hope you like it! I’ll be back with the low-humidity version soon!

Ironbird Aerie – Gunpowder-Free Version

Here’s the alternate version of Ironbird Aerie without the cannons and fancy engines. Some DMs make their players kill a dragon the old fashioned way. Others let them blow a hole through its chest with an 18-pound smoothbore siege gun, spraying chunks of Sky Godzilla into the next county. Both are perfectly valid options and now this place can accommodate either.

Next up is an area of Brazenthrone currently under excavation. This unfinished and unnamed hall is at 19 on this map. After that, we’re doing the next Great Vote map, Greenskin Rock. This map will feature one or more sea stacks with a goblin or kobold community living in tunnels inside. I’ve wanted to put a sea stack in a map for a while now and my day has arrived! Also, the flying creature tokens I mentioned will be along sometime in the next week or so.

Anyway, I don’t think the Brazenthrone map will take long, so I’ll be back with that soon!

Ironbird Aerie – Gunpowder Version

Ironbird Aerie might look like a truck stop for airships and flying mounts, but that’s only because it kind of is. This is the first of two versions of this map, the second of which will be a little lower-tech, with no gunpowder weapons or mechanical engines. It won’t take long to modify and I should have it for you tomorrow.

I’m also going to make some tokens for flying creatures to go with this. The list I’ve got so far includes: dragon, griffon, hippogriff, pegasus, nightmare and giant eagle. If there’s anything notable I’m forgetting about, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

If you need an airship to roll into this place on, might I suggest the highly reasonable Century Pelican or the highly unreasonable Tempest of Reckoning?

There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.

Eldfjall – A Perfectly Safe Place to Live

The annotated version is here.

Eldfjall is an arctic island in the northern seas, a bountiful hunting ground for whaling and seal-hunting. But it’s so far north that crops can’t grow and even a fire won’t keep away the bitter, year-round cold. Still, one brave group of settlers found a way to make it habitable: they built their homes in the caldera of the island’s volcano, using the heat it gives off to stay warm and grow small gardens to supplement their diet of fish, seals and whale. This town wasn’t built around a volcano by chance, but by necessity. It’s not a threat to the town, it’s the heart of the town. It’s what gives it life and, without it, the town couldn’t exist.

Eldfjall is the Icelandic word for “volcano.” I don’t know much about the Icelandic language, but that word is so Skyrim it makes my brain tingle. Also, Eldfjall is a pretty Icelandic place. Cold, volcanoes, whaling? That’s everything Iceland is famous for minus Sigur Ros.

Next up is Brazenthrone‘s Burke’s Hall, at 23 on the overview map. Then it’s the Great Garden: a huge, elaborate garden with ponds and a great sacred tree.

DM notes for this map are available to patrons.

Skywatch: A Castle in the Clouds

Skywatch is a little unusual as castles go, for a few reasons. The obvious one is that it’s on a rock in the sky. Historically speaking, the most common place to build a castle is on the ground. I’m told that’s where over 50% of castles are.

The less-obvious quirk is the castle’s defenses. Most castles rely on the idea that the lower parts are easier to get to than the higher parts. So there’s a curtain wall. And there’s a big, strong gate at the bottom. That doesn’t work here, since, presumably, anyone attacking Skywatch can fly. Any door is, more or less, as easy to get to as any other. And a wall? The only thing that does is block the view.

Another special necessity for Skywatch is the observation platform and arrow embrasures at the bottom, which prevent the sky beneath the castle from becoming a blind spot.

So how do you defend a castle in three dimensions? I suppose that depends on the wider setting. Are there airships? Dragons? Griffon riders? Aarakocra? In any case, I’d imagine that the main thing is to handle them at a distance, since the usual plan of setting up a height advantage for the defenders isn’t going to work out very well.

Thanks to Roose, who proposed this map to the Cartographic Congress! Next up is Brazenthrone‘s Opaline Grotto, one of the more interesting residential areas of the city.

There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.

Brazenthrone – The Old Quarter – Third Level

With this done, the shattered wreck that is Brazenthrone‘s Old Quarter is now finished. Next up is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner: a small castle on a floating island in the sky. Following that, we’re going back to Brazenthrone to do the Opaline Grotto (24 on this map). Then it’ll be the most recent Cartographic Congress winner, a city built on an active volcano. So, you know, Hawaii. Not really. Kind of, though.

I’ve got another bunch of tokens I made for my game as well and I’ll have those up in the next few days. There’s some town guards, pirates, mind flayers and a hill giant that one-shotted an NPC in my game the other week. The dude valiantly charges forward and says, “You take the goblins, I’ll handle the big guy!” And then that giant did to his head what Tiger Woods does to golf balls. Good effort, though, buddy. Good, solid try.

There are DM notes and hi-res print and VTT versions of this map available to patrons.

Brazenthrone – The Old Quarter – Ground Level

Here’s the annotated version.

These are the ruins of Brazenthrone‘s Old Quarter. Known in its time as the “Temple Quarter,” it was once the heart of the city, much as the Great Hall is today. The Quarter’s downfall was brought about by a force more powerful than any other: geology. A tremendous earthquake, brought on by the shifting of magma deep underground, shattered one of the chamber’s support columns and brought down huge sections of the chamber’s ceiling.

After being declared irreparably unsafe by the Ministry of Engineering, the entire area, as well as the Old Palace to the north, were reluctantly abandoned and sealed off.

Today, the Old Quarter lies ruined, infested and partially flooded due to a leaking ventilation shaft. Going in there for any reason is a terrible idea, but your players will charge in headfirst because this is the kind of place where there’s cash and prizes to be found. And besides, making prudent decisions is the DM’s job.

I’m thinking this will be three levels in total. The to-do list for Brazenthrone is getting shorter and shorter! I can’t wait to get it all into the one image and see how it looks!

There are VTT and print versions of this map, as well as an expanded annotated version, available to patrons.

The High Temple of Mystra

 

This is the main temple of Mystra, the goddess of magic in the Forgotten Realms. In addition to its religious functions, the temple also houses a massive storehouse of magic in the caverns below. I only included the first level in the map, but there’s a stairway on the left side of the caverns to allow you to expand into another map if you want.

The symbols at the bases of the towers are meant to be glyphs that teleport people between levels. But if you’d prefer boring old stairs, I made another version with those.

My game is starting soon, so I’ve gotta wrap up this post. Next up is more Brazenthrone!