The Tir Thelandira Codex

Tir Thelandira is now officially finished! I’ve updated the map, added descriptions of all the locations to the History and Lore of Tir Thelandira, and compiled them, along with the DM notes, into a Tir Thelandira Codex.

You can download the free version of the codex here. It has an updated map, an updated History and Lore of Tir Thelandira, and I threw in the DM notes for Oakenhold and Fiachna’s Knoll. The Patrons’ Edition Codex has all the DM notes.

Anyway, I hope you like how the project turned out! There are definitely some things I’d do differently, but I’m pretty happy with it overall. Even if you don’t see yourself using the island in your setting, hopefully you can get some use out of the maps piecemeal.

Coming up, there’s the giant ship megaproject I’ve been talking about, which I’ll probably be working on for most of next month, if not all. After that, I’ll have a couple of Cartographic Congress maps to draw, then I’ll be getting started on the Château de Brézé. The Chateau is a French castle with a complex network of tunnels and caves underneath it. I was there last year and I took photos of EVERYTHING so I could draw a map of it. It’s an incredible place and I think it’ll make an amazing map for RPGs.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks to all my patrons for helping me to draw this and everything else I’ve been working on! I hope you like what’s coming up next!

Saltiron Prison – Reduced-Moisture Version

Here’s a drier version of the naughty box for those of you who need to send your party to the hoosegow but aren’t near a coastline. Hopefully everyone enjoys their stay and learns some respect for the authorities. Unlikely, but possible.

The next map is going to be a submarine, but I’m going to make a spelljammer version of it as well. Why a submarine? I’m curious about that too. I’ve been getting asked about doing a fantasy submarine quite a bit over the last few months and I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or if there’s a new module out there that involves one. If you can think of a reason submarines might be in demand lately, I’d love to hear it. But, in any case, I’m going to draw one.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope you like the map!

Saltiron Prison

I really like how this map turned out, so I’m giving away all the patron stuff to everyone. You can download it here.

Prisons have never been a great place to be, but they seem to have been particularly godawful in the days before the concept of “human rights” became a thing. The prison this map is partially based on– the Chateau D’If— held 3500 prisoners at one point. Now, there are differences between that place and this map, but the prison building itself is about the same size. So imagine 3500 people in that space. A guy named Céphas Carrière, who was held there in 1708, wrote about the experience. To summarize, he said it was hell and people were constantly dying, which is about what you’d expect.

Of course, he and everyone else there at the time were horrible criminals who were guilty of… *checks notes* being the wrong religion. I mean, yes, technically they were worshipping the exact same god, but they were doing it wrong and– look, it’s a problem, okay? It had to be done. Maybe. It’s hard to say.

Anyway, next I’m going to make an alternate version of this map that isn’t on an island. I’ll probably have that done later today or tomorrow at the latest. Okay, I’ll be back with that soon!

The Black Loch is Finished.

I’m giving away the Patrons’ Edition stuff for this map to everyone. You can download it all here. When I drew those cave and tunnel maps earlier, I was thinking about giving those away, but I decided I should give you a good map instead. So here it is.

With Charwall finished, the Black Loch is finally done after a year and a half. It’s been a huge amount of work drawing around 30 maps and 100 tokens and writing lore for it all, but I feel pretty good about it and I hope you like how it all turned out.

I want to say that I’m truly grateful to all the patrons who have supported this along the way. It felt like an incredible honor to be given the ability to spend two years drawing Brazenthrone and it’s no less an honor to have been able to put another year and a half into making the Black Loch as well.

Moreover, I’m grateful to be able to have your support for this despite the fact that I’ve given away usable versions of all the maps for free. I’m fairly sure that costs me money. I have no idea how much, but my rent gets paid and I’m not going to stop doing it. I feel very fortunate not to have to.

Well, it’s 9am and I’ve been up all night, but let me mention a few things before I go. I’ve updated the Black Loch Codex and the History and Lore Overview with Charwall. Remember when I made a post titled “The Black Loch: History and Lore Overview – FINAL UPDATE FOR REAL THIS TIME“? Okay, that was a lie, but this is the final update for real. Like, really real. Actually, legitimately very real. Anyway, it’s in the codex and you can download the new version here.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s been quite a journey and I hope you like where it all went. I’ve got another one in mind and I’ll tell you all about it in a day or two. Until then!

The Streets of Vlyn’darastyl – Roof Level

I never know what to say when I post the roof level of a map. “Hey, here’s a useful, but slightly less interesting version of the last map I made!” Whatever, let’s talk about the Black Loch instead.

The loch is about 2/3 of the way done so far and, lately, a lot more people have been messaging me about it. The same thing happened when I was 2/3 of the way through Brazenthrone. The reason is that a lot of people are starting to use it. What I’ll be drawing next doesn’t matter as much when your future campaign is going to be there. But when your current campaign is there, it becomes a lot more relevant.

So, I wanted to list the unfinished locations here, along with whatever I’ve got planned for those places. Also, this is roughly the order I’ll be drawing them in:

  1. Travelers’ Ruin – A ruined structure on the coast of Cairnhollow Isle. The Tideborne orogs from the Deep Spire dock here to hang out and drink from time to time.
  2. Drow Settlement – A small drow community.
  3. Ancient Crypt – No specific plans yet, except that there will be at least one box with a dead person inside it.
  4. Grimlocks – A grimlock settlement.
  5. The Blind Colossus – A huge, eyeless statue standing in the middle of the loch. It will have an interior.
  6. Aboleth Lair – The lair of an aboleth named Psor’il and its minions.
  7. Submerged Ruins – No plans yet.
  8. Duergar Outpost – A small outpost built by the duergar to conduct trade and keep an eye on the loch.
  9. Fortress Ruins – The burnt-out ruins of a fortress near the Isle of Ash.

In addition to the above, there will be one more map that has yet to be decided on by the Black Loch Conclave. I’ll draw it whenever the final vote has ended, which means it’ll probably be first or second.

Anyway, that’s about it. If you’re running a game in the loch right now, I hope things are going well and I’d love to hear what your party has been up to!

The Streets of Vlyn’darastyl

This is a battlemap for the Drow City of Vlyn’darastyl. It’s mostly meant to be a backdrop for encounters your party might have in the city, but I figured I’d throw a tavern, a shop and a small market in there to give it a little extra utility. By the way, these buildings don’t actually correspond to anyplace on the city map, so don’t go crazy trying to find them. Hopefully no one did that before reading this far.

I’m going to draw a roof-level version of this map as well, which should only take a day or two. After that, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress, the Infected Citadel. This is a small, dwarven hold that’s been tainted by the Far Realm. Things will look fairly normal at the top, but, as you descend, it starts to get stranger and stranger, until reality just completely breaks down at the bottom. Like, the floor becomes a thick mass of worms writhing around giant horse eyeballs. And there’s an eight-eyed fish head sticking out of the wall. Or something like that, I don’t know.

Honestly, I have no idea how I’m going to draw this place, but I’m very much looking forward to figuring it out. I promise you that it will be full-on crazy time.

Anyway, I’m gonna go post the last five proposals for the Black Loch Conclave. Let me know what you think of the map!

Eel’s Maw Stronghold

The kuo-toa get no respect. I don’t mean from lorebooks, I mean from DMs. When you’re writing an underdark campaign and you need a powerful empire, who do you think of? The drow, sure. The illithids, of course. Maybe the duergar. But the kuo-toa? No, those are trash enemies for random encounters. I mean, sure, sometimes they play a significant role in a story, but they hardly ever take center stage.

Well, the kuo-toa of the Black Loch aspire to a little more than jumping out of the water and getting decapitated by your half-orc barbarian. They’ve got plans to take over the loch and subjugate the other races. Including your precious drow.

The plan is crabs. Siege crabs. Crabs the size of your house with carapaces a foot thick. Walls don’t save you from that. Soldiers don’t save you from that. Running for your life? That might do it.

The kuo-toa have been breeding siege crabs in the caverns below the Eel’s Maw Stronghold for decades and, as soon as the next brood reaches maturity, they’ll be ready to kick things off. The kuo-toa intend to move up in the world, or at least wreak enough havoc to take everyone else down a peg or two.

Next up, I’ll be drawing another map from the Black Loch. This will be a battlemap for the drow city of Vlyn’darastyl. It’ll be a few streets with some houses and shops. Nothing too fancy, just something that’ll make a good backdrop for encounters in the city. I don’t expect it to take too long.

By the way, I thought I’d give away the DM notes for this map, so you can download those here. Also, here are some siege crab tokens and a trebuchet token I made.

Well, that’s it for now. Let me know what you think!

The Halls of the Awakened – Unfurnished

Here’s the unfurnished version I promised. Instead of talking about it, I’d like to share something completely useless with you. I was looking through the 5th Ed. Monster Manual today and I noticed that there were a TON of entries starting with D. The D’s start on page 46 and end on 122. Anyway, I did what any crazy person would do and I got out a calculator. There are 76 pages of D’s out of a total of 304 pages of monsters, meaning that 25% of the monsters in the Monster Manual start with the letter D. And what’s the game called? That’s right… D&D.

*head explodes*

A few months back, I said I was going to draw some more tokens and I intend to start on that. The reason I hadn’t before is that I was a little behind on things, mostly as a result of the Cobalt Flotilla taking a bit longer than I’d anticipated. Anyway, I’m now caught up and I’ll get started on those today. Hopefully, I’ll be posting them tomorrow, then another batch every month or so.

After that, I’ll be drawing the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress: “a pirate lord’s fortress with a casino and underground lair hewn out of granite.” That proposal won the vote by the biggest margin I’ve seen in a long time, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s a thing a lot of people would like a map of. It’ll be like the Mont Acceaux Casino, except you don’t get kicked out for throwing up all over the floor.

Anyway, I’m gonna get to work. Let me know what you think of the map!

The Halls of the Awakened


The Halls of the Awakened is a cultists’ lair hidden deep in the Black Loch. If you’re interested in my version of the lore, I’ve written a giant wall of text about it in the DM notes here. I’ll have an unfurnished version of the map for you tomorrow.

A bad guy lair with an entrance inside a cavern isn’t anything new, but I intentionally made the caverns here pretty big. As the party makes their way through, it gives them time to get a little paranoid. And to start asking questions, like, “Is this the right place?” And, “What if that person lied to us?” And, “What if this is a trap?” It creates some tension and makes them feel like they’re someplace dangerous, which is the mood I like to create in a dungeon.

If you read the lore I wrote about this place in the last post, it has a lot to do with psionics. I expect most people will probably use this map for something else, but, in case you’re interested in inserting the Architects of the Awakened into your game, I wrote some ideas for psionic powers into the DM notes.

Of course, you can use the rules for the unofficial Mystic class if you want, but that’s not what I’m looking for in a psionic NPC. What am I looking for? Darth Vader. No, seriously. If I’m introducing a powerful force the players are unfamiliar with, I want it to scare the hell out of them. I want them to get telekinetically flung across the room like a rag doll. I want to have stone walls flying at them and ceilings coming down on their heads. I want stuff to happen that isn’t in the Players’ Handbook.

If you throw a fireball at the party, they know what that does. “It’s fine, no big deal, we’ve got the HP to handle it.” But when you tell someone they can no longer breathe? They don’t know what that does. There are rules, of course, but they don’t know what they are because I made them up. The unknown can be pretty scary, especially for experienced players who aren’t used to surprises.

Anyway, I’ll get the unfurnished version of this up tomorrow, along with the updated Black Loch map that has the location marked on it. I’ll also talk about what’s next. Until then!

The Torrents

I’m giving out all the patron content for this map to everyone. You can download it from my Google Drive here. I’ve also put it in the public Foundry module (manifest URL).

The Torrents are one of the ways to reach the Black Loch from the surface, starting as an above-ground river and turning into a series of cascading waterfalls going deeper and deeper underground.

As an entrance to the underdark, I like this for a few reasons. First, it’s fast. There’s no three-day journey down the stairs. Your party can make it into the bowels of the earth in around an hour. Second, it’s super dangerous. There’s no better way to emphasize the perils of the underdark than nearly killing half the party on the way there. Also, it’s one-way, which is nice. No DM wants to write a whole campaign and then have the PCs decide the underdark “isn’t for them.”

There’s also an interesting possibility with the Torrents that I’ve been thinking about: you can have the party enter the underdark accidentally. I wrote a few ideas about how you might go about doing that in the DM notes, if you’re interested. Personally, if I were going to send a party in like that, I’d wait until a big part of the campaign had just concluded. Then, just as they’re heading down the river to meet the king and collect their heaping mountain of gold bars…

“A loud crash wakes you up in your hammocks. The boat appears to be falling.”

I’m not saying you should do that, I’m just… I’m not saying you should not do it. It would be really funny, though.

Next up, I’ll be drawing a map chosen by the Cartographic Congress: a mountain monastery clinging to a cliffside with a waterfall running past. This will be based partly on Paro Taktsang, a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. There’s something I love about places built in really dangerous locations.

After that, I’ll probably do another map from the Black Loch. I’ve been thinking about adding a location to the loch map based on something from my previous campaign. It’s a duergar cult called the Architects of the Awakening and they’re up to some pretty twisted stuff. The campaign never finished, but I think it’d be pretty cool to put the bad guys in the Black Loch and see if anyone else wants to do something with them.

Anyway, that’s about it. Let me know what you think of the Torrents!