Brazenthrone – The Bloody Hall – Everyone’s Edition

 

Here are the DM notes. There is no annotated version, since all the rooms are residences.

The Bloody Hall is a residential district of Brazenthrone, located just south of the Common Quarter. It’s unique on account of all the residences here being in a single, large building formerly known as “Amber Manor.” There are more details in the DM notes if you’re interested.

Next up is the Hall of Iron, another residential district adjacent to the Common Quarter. After that, I’ll be doing last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, the High Temple of Mystra. Then it’ll be back to the mountain for the rest of the Brazenthrone maps I owe you. There’s not too much of the city left to go!

All the print and VTT content for this map is available on my patreon here or on Google Drive.

 

Predjama Castle – A Slovenian castle built into a cave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The non-annotated version is here. EDIT: Bonus alternate annotated version.

EDIT: Apologies, I was recently made aware that Slovenians do not like being referred to as Eastern European. Sorry about that.

This is Predjama Castle, a real place in the Eastern CENTRAL European nation of Slovenia. That’s right: Eastern Europe– the most brutal and merciless of all the Europes. Leading cause of death in the middle ages? Dracula. Number two? Gypsy curses. Number three? The church.

How do you survive all that? You build this place. Predjama is the castle a paranoid person builds. Start by constructing it in the mouth of a cave. Put a drawbridge on the front door. Then, put another drawbridge on the top level, leading to an inner citadel in the caves behind the castle. Then, dig an escape tunnel leading through those caves to a hidden exit in a nearby well. That just might do it.

This place is one of the most Ravenloft things that has ever happened. Like a vampire reading Edgar Allan Poe on a chair made of lost hope. I love it.

One last thing: this map was proposed to the Cartographic Congress by someone who has since had to delete their patreon account, but I’d still like to give them the patron content for this map if I can. If you are that person, please email me and I’ll send it your way. Also, thank you for suggesting this map.

DM notes and VTT versions of this map are available to patrons.

The Silent Vaults – A Prison for the Magically Adept

 

When a person of great magical power breaks the rules, you can’t just throw them in the pokey with the cattle rustlers and meth dealers. Imprisoning someone with the ability to fly, teleport, and otherwise bend the rules of reality takes a place like the Silent Vaults.

Enclosed in an antimagic ward generated by a powerful device (in the dungeon, left side), the Vaults nullify the abilities of those contained within. The facility also has a guard barracks, warden’s residence and a chapel that is definitely not dedicated to Mystra.

Floating above the prison is a tiny island with a heavily-warded containment vault, designed to hold a person or entity of incredible arcane power. If you need to make a demon or an archlich sit and think about what they’ve done, this is the place to do it.

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

Saint’s Rock – A fortified cathedral inspired by Ireland’s Rock of Cashel


 


This is the Rock of Cashel
, the inspiration for Saint’s Rock. Before it was a cathedral, it was the castle of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Fun fact: Brian Boru is the reason there’s a harp on your Guinness can. He’s also the reason that there are pictures of harps all over everything in Ireland despite the fact that no one plays it or has any interest whatsoever in harps or harp music.

Anyway, Brian Boru’s great-grandson gave the castle to the church, who rebuilt it into a cathedral. While the castle was dismantled, the gates and curtain wall were left in place, which, combined with the Rock’s location on a steep hilltop, made it a very well-protected church.

There are a few differences between Saint’s Rock and the Rock of Cashel, the biggest of which was the removal of a secondary chapel building and the addition of the cloisters. The passages through the walls are actually real. This photo shows what the second floor passages look like from the ground (you can see them at the bottom of the windows).

So, with this done, Brazenthrone‘s Noble Quarter is next. It’s the second-largest chamber of Brazenthrone and it’s going to take a minute. I’ll get you some work-in-progress photos along the way. Sound good? All right.

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

The Assassins’ Monastery

If you like this map, but you’d prefer to hide the secret rooms from your players, here’s a version without them. That’s also the version for people who’d prefer this monastery to be occupied by honest, wholesome monks who actually spend their days thinking about god, growing herbs and killing as few people as possible. Also: boring. Just kidding, do your thing.

In case you missed the last post, this place was inspired by Rudkhan Castle in Iran, which was actually controlled by the historical assassins at one point. I think this place could be used for plenty of other things, though. Maybe they’re cultists. Or vampires. Or werewolves, or bandits, or… bandits who are also werewolves. You get the idea. Anyone who wants to hide in plain sight.

I said I was going to do a residential part of Brazenthrone next, but I changed my mind. I’m doing the Grand Temple instead. After that, I’m doing one of the bigger maps chosen in the Great Vote. Then, I’m not sure, but I can tell you this: I want to make a push to get Brazenthrone’s Anvil Quarter and Noble Quarter finished. That gets the core of the city done, along with entrances from the surface and the underdark, and puts the whole thing in a much more usable state. I think I can get those both finished within the next two months or so. All right, I’m going to get to work on that temple.

As always, there is patron stuff for patrons.

The Great Library

The Great Library is a fantasy version of the Great Library of Alexandria. The historical Library of Alexandria is famous for being the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Its construction, ordered by the Pharaoh Ptolemy II, was probably the greatest accomplishment anyone who slept with their sister has ever made.

In addition to its large collection of books, scrolls and maps, the Great Library features living facilities for resident scholars, a lecture hall, shrine, scriptorium and more. It truly is a great milestone in mankind’s eternal quest for knowledge. You should send your players to burn it to the ground.

There’s the usual patreon stuff for patrons. You know the deal.

The Lighthouse Fortress of Torchguard

This map was chosen by the Cartographic Congress, based on the proposal by Senator Parker. Originally, I wasn’t sure how I’d combine a castle and a lighthouse, but I really like how it turned out.

Torchguard is built on a rocky outcropping in the middle of a harbor. This puts it in a good position to defend against attacks by sea, but it also makes it a thing that ships might run into at night. Thus, the lighthouse atop the keep. An array of artillery, as well as docks to host its own fleet, help Torchguard keep unwanted ships from marauding the surrounding city.

Next up is Brazenthrone’s Common Quarter. It’s one of the bigger parts of the city and it’ll take a little while to draw, but I’ll give you some work-in-progress pics along the way.

Also, something I wanted to share: the other day, I went to the dentist and I had to fill out a form, which had a space for “occupation.” Writing “Fantasy Cartographer” on that line was one of the sweetest, most delicious moments of my life. I still can’t believe I do this. My god. Thank you so much.

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

Old Madeleine’s Country Inn and Fighting Pit

This is the first of the maps chosen by patrons in the Great Vote. It’s been in my idea book since just after I started the website and I’m glad to see Old Madeleine’s turn finally come around. If you’re looking to make a pit stop for a little booze and violence in your campaign, maybe consider having your players drop by. As Old Madeleine herself always says, “There’s nothing better than sitting by a warm fire, eating a nice, home-cooked meal and watching two people fight to the death.”

So, next up is Brazenthrone’s underdark trading outpost. After that is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, the harbor fortress of Torchguard. Then it’s back to Brazenthrone with… I haven’t decided yet. Probably either the Noble, Common or Anvil Quarter.

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

The Shattered Gates – The Last Remnant of an Ancient, Forgotten City

Normally, when I finish a map, I just open up my ideas notebook and pick another to do next. This time, as soon as I picked it up, I realized that all those ideas were up for a vote and I couldn’t draw them yet. So, I came up with this.

This is something I thought would be an interesting place to run an adventure. I didn’t have any particular sort of story in mind. Mainly I thought it’d make a unique lair for goblins, bandits or whoever else is getting their ass kicked this week. If you’re using it as an uninhabited ruin, here’s a version without the bridges.

After this is the Pits of Justice, then I think I’ll get started on Old Madeleine’s Inn and Fighting Pit. That’s an idea that’s been in the book for a long time and I’m really glad you guys picked it.

There are DM notes for this map available to patrons.

The Border Bridge

My idea here was that this bridge is the border crossing between two (probably not super-friendly) countries, but it could also be used as a toll bridge or a fortress entrance. Of course, tell whatever story with it you like, but, personally, I think you should arrange a scenario where your players get to throw people over the side. Your barbarian will love you for it.

Also, the tower on the right really looks like something from Super Mario Bros. All I can think of when I look at the side view is, “Your princess is in another castle,” haha.

There’s an annotated version and DM notes and all the usual stuff on the patreon.