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 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.
And here’s the last level of the Oreworks. Is there much here on the third floor? No. Is there a hole through which your players can drop someone into a blast furnace? Yes sir, there is.
Honestly, I think the real potential of the Oreworks is that there’s all kinds of dangerous stuff sitting around that can make a fight here a lot more interesting. Furnaces, molten metal, an assortment of smashing machines… there are a lot of hilariously terrible ways to die here. Something to think about.
Anyway, next up is a mountaintop airship port. A place to gas up the ol’ flying machine, make some repairs, sell off some loot, have a few drinks and get in a fight. It’s not going to be nearly as much like a truck stop as I’m making it sound. After that, it’s back to Brazenthrone. I’m not sure what I’m doing next, but it’s not the Old Palace. I’m saving that for last to make sure it ends on a high note.
Here’s the second floor of Brazenthrone‘s Oreworks. Not too much going on, but now you know what those horses are walking around in circles for. Also, the Miners’ Guildhall isn’t just a bar, even though it is mostly a bar.
I’ve actually got the third level done as well, I just need to make the VTT and print versions and so forth. I’ll have it up later tonight. All right, I’m gonna grab something to eat and get on that.
First, here’s a few things:
This is the first of three levels of Brazenthrone‘s Oreworks. This took a bit of research to draw, since– like most people– I wasn’t all that familiar with the processes and equipment involved in pre-modern ore processing and steelmaking.
It took some reading, but I got the basic idea and there’s an explanation of all the equipment depicted here in the DM notes, which I’m giving out to everyone so you don’t have to spend half the day on Wikipedia just to understand this map. I’m not sure my explanation of this stuff is completely accurate, but it’s accurate enough for D&D purposes. If you’re a welder or a steelworker or someone else who actually knows about this stuff… I mean, I don’t think you’ll facepalm, but I also can’t guarantee you won’t facepalm.
There are a few different methods of steelmaking that I could’ve chosen for the dwarves of Brazenthrone, but I decided that they used a Bessemer Converter. Having been invented in the mid-1800s, this is somewhat advanced technology for a middle-ages setting, but dwarven steelmaking is meant to be advanced and, more importantly, I think it looks cool.
I’ve got the second and third levels of this mostly drawn and I’ll have them up in the next few days. After that, I’ll be drawing last month’s Cartographic Congress winner: a mountaintop airship port.
Well, I’ll be back with the rest of the Oreworks. There’s a lot going on in this map, so if you have any questions about it, just ask!
I think this is the first map I’ve drawn where everything is outdoors. No buildings, no caverns. Weird. That’s not the only unusual thing about it. I tried a few new things with this. I lightened the grid, I made the grass look more… grassy, and I used much brighter colors than I normally do.
I’m really happy with it and I think it’s one of my favorite maps I’ve drawn. Unless people object, I think I’m going to start doing maps this way from now on, with the exception of Brazenthrone, since I want to keep everything looking consistent with the rest. Anyway, let me know what you think!
By the way, I’m giving the patron content for this map to everyone (you can get it here). I put a lot of detail into it and I want everyone to be able to see it, which is easier in the higher-res versions.
There are no DM notes and no annotated version for this map because I don’t really have much to say about it. Usually, there’s some sort of story in my head about a place when I draw it, but I don’t really have one here. Everything is there because I thought it looked interesting. Who’s the mossy lady with one hand? I don’t know. What’s the round stone surrounded by water? No idea. What’s with the face in the ground? Not sure, just felt right. This could be an elven garden, a druidic enclave or someplace in the feywild. I leave that to you to figure out.
Anyway, I hope you like it! Next up is Brazenthrone’s Oreworks (26 on this map). Let me know what you think about the Great Garden, I’m honestly really curious to hear!
Download all the tokens or just the new ones.
These are all the tokens I’ve made since my game went online in April. The second image is the new ones. I don’t know how useful a lot of them are going to be for a lot of people, but if you really, REALLY needed a token of a horse-drawn sleigh, well, you’re welcome.
My game is going to some pretty strange places. I’m running the Illithiad trilogy and I’m currently on the second part, Masters of Eternal Night. Basically, the players need to go to a crater, dig up an old spelljammer and get it running again so they can blow up a mind flayer death star. They’re going to meet some Gith, kill a giant alien spider and get chased around by some mind flayers in a sleigh. Hopefully no one gets their brain eaten by Tentacle Santa, but we’ll see.
The Great Garden is all drawn and inked and I should have it colored and done in a couple days. Until then!
An explanation of who Burke was and why there’s a chamber of Brazenthrone named after him is in the DM notes, which I’m giving away to everyone. As with most of the other residential chambers, all the buildings in Burke’s Hall are houses, so there’s no annotated version.
Next up is the Great Garden, which I described in the last post. I’m still not completely sure what it’s going to be like, but I’ve got some ideas and I should be able to turn them into something cool. After that, we’re doing Brazenthrone’s oreworks (at 26 on the city overview).
The oreworks is the area outside the iron mines, where ore is stamped, smelted and made into steel. This is a map that’s going to take a little research, since I want to get things right and, like most people, I’m not especially well-versed in the details of the medieval steelmaking process.
Also, I’m making some more tokens for my game and I’ll post those once they’re done. I’m not going to lie, they’re some pretty weird stuff. The most normal thing might be an ice troll. The weirdest? A horse-drawn sleigh. Yeah, like Santa. Except the surprises in the back of this one are going to be mind flayers. My game is going to some strange places, haha.
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.
Grotto. While drawing this map, it occurred to me that “grotto” might be… not the ugliest word in the English language, but the ugliest word for a thing that’s usually beautiful. Say it: grotto. Grotto. Ugh.
Yeah, so anyway, the Opaline *ahem* Grotto is a natural cavern with unmined opal deposits in the walls. There’s also a small cave system behind one of the houses leading to the Bitterwash River in case your party happens to need a shortcut.
Since I’d originally drawn this as a rectangular chamber on the Brazenthrone overview map, I updated it with the new shape. The print and VTT versions of it are here (they’re free). I know I updated this the other week and I apologize to anyone who just printed it and is staring at the screen like, “This f#@%* guy…” But this is probably the last time I update it. Unless it’s not.
Next up is last month’s Cartographic Congress winner: a city built around a volcano. After that, we’re going back to Brazenthrone for Burke’s Hall (23 on the overview). And then I’ll be knocking out a map from the Great Vote. I’m thinking the Great Garden sounds good, but I reserve the right to change my mind to Greenskin Rock. Screw it, I’ll put up a vote on the patreon. Decisions are hard.
There are DM notes for this map available to patrons.