Here’s the second edition of Brazenthrone History and Lore. New entries are marked with a red dot. The main things added are about the origin of the city and the unusual system of nobility in the kingdom.
Here’s the list of map ideas that I mentioned in the last post. As I said, all patrons will be able to vote. I’ll probably start the first vote in a week to ten days from now. Read it over. For the next few months, I’ll still be at the helm, but you’re charting the course. Tell me where you want to go.
Anyway, here are the choices. Two maps will be chosen from each group.
EDIT: Some ideas are more fleshed out than others, so I don’t necessarily know the specifics of how they’ll look, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
- Traveling Inn – An inn that floats up and down a river or coast. Sort of like a big houseboat.
- River Island Homestead – A little house with a little farm on a little island in a river.
- Spelljammer – A magic spaceship.
- Floating Market – This is a real thing. I’ll make a map of one.
- War Wagon – A giant carriage pulled (or maybe carried) by elephants.
- Gnomish Wizard’s Home – An odd little home in a tree.
- Old Madeleine’s Inn and Fighting Pit – Just what it sounds like. An inn with a fighting pit. Owned by a surprisingly lovely little old lady.
- The Head – A giant stone head with some rooms inside. Something weird to have your players stumble across in the middle of nowhere.
- Crannog – This is a crannog. Irish and Scottish people used to build them. I’ll draw one.
- Whiteshield Lodge – A waystation for traveling paladins.
- The Elven War Catamaran “Salvation of Dawn,” Flagship of the Elven Fleet – A catamaran is a ship with two hulls. This will be a very large, heavily-armed one. Probably single-masted with two sails. Elves are too elegant for square-riggers.
- Caravanserai – This is basically an inn for caravans located along the route of an imaginary Silk Road, with facilities for food, lodging, water, repairs and re-supply. This will be a middle-eastern design (as caravanserais generally were).
- Giant’s House – This will be a fairly normal, somewhat primitive house, except for the scale. First floor is the floor, second floor is the chair and the stools, third floor is the table, fourth floor is the cabinets…
- Overgrown Abandoned Village – The ruins of a village in the jungle, covered in plants and vines, with trees growing through buildings.
- Aarakocra Village – Aarakocra are avian humanoids. This will be a cliffside or mountain community of them, featuring various things unique to a community of people who can all fly.
- Slavers’ Outpost – Pretty self-explanatory. A place to go kill some bad people and burn to the ground.
- Airship of the Line – This is no Century Pelican. This is a giant, flying murderblimp. Has multiple gondolas connected by rope bridges and is bristling with weapons.
- The Great Garden – A huge, elaborate garden and ponds tended by druids or elves, with a huge, sacred tree. Might be walled.
- The Halls of Glory – An angelic temple fortress. Something that would be at home in Mount Celestia or elsewhere in the Upper Planes. Your paladin’s favorite place.
- Greenskin Rock – One or two sea stacks with a goblin or kobold community living in tunnels inside.
- Airship Waystation – A dock for airships up in the mountains. Someplace to eat, rest, resupply and change the wiper fluid.
- Horde Camp – An encampment of yurts. Could be an orcish horde, could just be Mongolians.
- Dragonriders’ Aerie – A place for dragons and people who ride them into battle. Extremely metal.
- Underwater Kuo-Toa Temple – A kuo-toa temple with features that only work underwater, like hallways that lead upward.
- Bleakhall – This is a strange, unnatural place, like you might find on the Negative Energy Plane or in some sort of hell. It probably won’t be any specific sort of place, just… weird. Dark. Alien. Lovecraftian.
- The Fallen Tower – A large, broken tower. Part of it remains standing, the rest lies on the ground in several large segments.
- Fortified Oasis – The middle of the desert. The only water for days. And someone built a stone fortress around it. This will be a middle-eastern design.
- Legion Camp – A large army camp with a palisade, like the Roman legions would have built.
- Deep Road – A large section of dwarven underground road with tunnels and caverns leading off from it.
- Small but Densely-Populated Merchants’ Trade Port Island – One or two small islands packed with buildings and people and surrounded by docks.
- The Gate – A large fortress walling off a mountain pass.
- Red Rock – An orc settlement built into coastal cliffs. This is something I imagined while visiting the Cliffs of Moher.
- Hidden Valley – A secret community in a valley surrounded by mountains with a hidden entrance.
- The Chasm – A huge cleft in the Underdark with various caves, tombs, structures and tunnels leading off from it.
- Mont-Saint-Michel – This will be as accurate a map as possible of the fortified island monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel. A little something French to class the place up. I’ve already promised to do this at some point, so it will happen eventually, but we can do it now.
- Halfling Town – A halfling community, partly above ground and partly below. Homes and shops built into the sides of a big hill, as well as on top of and beneath it. I’ll resist the urge to call it Brazenstool.
- Driftport – An island made from a large cluster of ships lashed together.
- A Heavily Built-Up Bridge – A large bridge lined with shops and houses on both sides. Something like the Ponte Vecchio, Krämerbrücke or Pulteney Bridge.
- College of Magic – This will probably be more along the lines of Winterhold (from Skyrim) than Hogwarts, but it actually probably won’t be much like either.
- Something Like Petra – This is Petra, an ancient city carved into a rock face. This won’t be an actual map of Petra, but something very heavily inspired by it.
- Raja’s Palace – There’s not a lot of Indian-inspired stuff in fantasy. We can change that. I’m not sure of the details, but there will be elephants.
- The Deepspire – A fortress city in the seas of the Underdark, carved into the sides of a massive column of rock stretching from the sea floor to the roof of the cavern.
First, thanks to all my patrons for your support! I didn’t want to say anything about this before, but this goal was the point where my rent, bills and food are all covered and I’m able to pay all my expenses without drawing from my savings. That is a really big deal and I can’t thank you enough. I now officially make a living drawing D&D maps. I wish I could go back in time and tell 15-year-old me about this. He would freak out.
Now, here’s the big news: A series of votes will be held to decide on the next ten maps I draw*. Patrons of all tiers will be able to participate. There will be five votes held with 8-10 map ideas in each. The five votes will be grouped by size, so Castaway Island doesn’t have to compete with The Epic Doomfortress of Blackreach. The top two maps in each vote will be drawn. If there aren’t two conclusive winners, there will be a second round of voting with the least-popular choices omitted.
I’ll prepare a list soon of the map ideas to be voted on and some information about them, so you can decide how you’ll vote in advance. The maps chosen will probably account for the next few months of content here, so be sure to check that out. Well, I’m going to get started. Thanks again, everybody. You are amazing.
*Brazenthrone and the Cartographic Congress maps will continue as usual.
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.
Well, there it is. A little later than I’d hoped, but with my computer degenerating into a mass of dysfunctional electronics that necessitated several full hard drive wipes, I suppose that’s to be expected. You know what’s funny? I wiped my SSD several times over and you know what’s still there? Two things: Europa Universalis 4 and Stellaris. Apparently Paradox Interactive makes some highly resilient software.
Anyway, I need to get caught up, so I’m going to do the bridge map that I promised next, then the Cartographic Congress map, which will be a mine and mining camp. After that, more Brazenthrone. I’m not sure what part yet.
Also, sometime in the next week, I’ll be posting a second edition of Brazenthrone History and Lore.
There’s an annotated version and DM notes for this map on the patreon.
So, about a week ago, Windows found a problem with my PC. I didn’t notice anything wrong, but Windows decided there was a problem anyway and offered to help. Click here to fix it. Sure, why not. One reboot later and my computer is a toaster with a keyboard. Thanks, Windows. Thanks for helping.
So between then and about an hour ago, I’ve been going insane trying to get this thing back up and running. System restore, failed. System reset, failed. Full wipe and reinstall, failed. I don’t even know how that can fail, but by god it did. A few times. I’m not even sure how I got it back up and running, but I guess I finally mashed enough buttons to get it to work again.
Anyway, that’s why the next map isn’t up yet. It’s also why I haven’t responded to any messages in the last week. But my machine is running again, so give me a minute to reinstall Photoshop and I should have the rest of the High King’s Palace up in a day or two. Again, sorry, everybody.
If you look at the top-center of this map, you’ll notice a large chair. That is the city’s titular Brazen Throne. It’s a large, tarnished hunk of brass that has been the Brasshand clan’s royal seat for several thousand years. In case you’re unaware, a lesser-used meaning of the word ‘brazen’ is “made of brass.” It didn’t get its name for being cheeky.
I’ll release the rest of the palace next, including the High King’s treasure vault, which is a gigantic, Scrooge McDuck-style landfill of money. I’ve been looking forward to drawing it and I hope you’ll dig it.
This is the first of four floors of the High King’s palace. This took a while longer than usual because I laid out all four levels before finishing this one. But with that out of the way, the next three should come pretty quickly. Look for the second floor in around three or four days.
Well, like (I suspect) a lot of you, I recently got off the emotional rollercoaster that was the last episode of Game of Thrones, and… I really need to lie down. Jesus.
This is the map chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress, based on the proposal by Senator Ross. It’s designed to be a haunted house with a number of secret chambers, although I can imagine a few other uses for it. The largest of the secret rooms in the cellar were left unfurnished to make the map more flexible, allowing different DMs to imagine different dark secrets inside.
If you’d prefer not to advertise the secret rooms to your players, here’s a version with the secret doors omitted.
Well, I’m off to go see an actual castle today: the Rock of Cashel. It may not be the largest castle, but it’s definitely a contender for Most Badass Name. It’s mostly unroofed, so let’s hope the weather doesn’t get too Irish. We’ll see.
Here’s the first of Brazenthrone‘s several residential districts. I know these residential districts aren’t really the sexiest parts of the city, but I’m going to try and keep them interesting.
Next up is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner, then back to Brazenthrone for the High King’s Palace, which I intend to run absolutely buckwild with.