Merchants’ Trade Port Island – Work in Progress

First of all: yes, that is seriously my phone. Now you know. I’m the last person on earth with a phone that folds in half. I’ll give you a minute to finish laughing.

All good? Okay, so these are the pencils for most of the merchants’ trade port island. There are a number of smaller outlying islands, plus upper and lower floors for a few buildings, but my camera is dying and I had to fight with it just to get this picture, so the rest will have to wait.

The island has around 50 buildings, including three taverns, a brothel, a lighthouse, a distillery and a number of traders’ warehouses. I was reading about Port Royal, a town in Jamaica that used to be a pirate hangout. In its heyday, it was flooded with money and prostitutes and had around one bar for every ten residents. This will be that kind of place.

Brazenthrone – The Grand Temple

Brazenthrone‘s Grand Temple is a religious complex dedicated to all the gods of the dwarven pantheon. I use Forgotten Realms deities for Brazenthrone, so the big golden gentleman in the middle would be Moradin the All-Father, surrounded by the other 13 gods of the Morndinsamman. The four larger statues are Berronar Truesilver, goddess of hearth and home (and wife of Moradin); Clangeddin Silverbeard, god of battle; Sharindlar, goddess of love and healing; and Dumathoin, god of mining and gems.

I said I’d be doing one of the larger maps chosen in the Great Vote next and I’ve decided on the small, but densely-populated merchants’ trade port island. In the vote, it was in the large category, but I’d say it’ll end up being what I’d normally class as a “huge” map (actually, I’d say it’ll be pretty massive). Also, as I said before, I’m looking to tackle Brazenthrone’s Anvil Quarter and Noble Quarter soon and one of those will probably come after that.

Here’s a version of this map without all the numbers and words on it. There’s DM notes, higher-res versions with even less words on them and VTT versions available to patrons, should you be interested.

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 Assassins’ Monastery – Work in Progress

So, this is the next map, the Assassins’ Monastery. Originally, it was meant to be a keep, but Anders, who proposed it to the Cartographic Congress, suggested giving it some form of cover, so it ostensibly became a monastery.

Also, this map has some roots in reality: the design was inspired by Rudkhan Castle, which was once controlled by the historical assassins (the Nizari Ismailis).

Anyway, I should have this up in a couple days. And in case you’re curious, that’s not a tiny table– the map is around four feet long. Okay, back to work!

Brazenthrone – The Common Quarter – Third Level

Here’s the non-annotated version.

This is the final floor of Brazenthrone’s common quarter, capping off the local shopping center arcade market and the presumably-expensive apartments to the north. Speaking of which, I don’t add a compass to my maps, but if you ever want to know which direction a map is facing, there are always two possible answers. Choose the one that satisfies you the most:

  1. Whichever way is most convenient for you to use it in your setting.
  2. The top of the map is north.

Another thing I want to mention, which also applies to all my maps (aside from region maps): the scale is always 5 feet. I don’t always include a scale, but it’s the same for all of them. I’ve had people tell me they use certain maps at a 10′ scale (particularly Brazenthrone and Finbarr’s Marsh) because they like a little more room, which I can understand, especially if you have a big party and you need to fit 8 or 10 players into one place for a fight. But, since 5′ is pretty much the “standard” and because so many people have a strong preference for it, I won’t be drawing maps at any other scale.

Alright, next up is the Assassins’ Keep, chosen by last month’s Cartographic Congress. Then I’m thinking I’ll knock out one of the residential districts of Brazenthrone, which will give me time to take on one of the bigger maps chosen in the Great Vote.

There’s DM notes for this map, VTT versions and all the usual stuff available to patrons. The annotated version is the same.

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.

Brazenthrone – The Common Quarter – Second Level

Here’s the non-annotated version. Also, let me save you a google search: a luthier is a person who makes stringed musical instruments. Like lutes.

There will be one more level of Brazenthrone‘s Common Quarter, then it’s on to the next chamber. I originally planned for this to be three levels and it looks like I managed not to go crazy and make it into some 800-floor monstrosity. Which leaves me feeling strangely both proud of myself and disappointed. Hmm.

So, in news you don’t care about, I just bought new paper. AMAZING paper. If you’re someone who makes fantasy maps that are so large you need huge-sized graph paper, this is what you’re looking for: Rhodia. This one. I haven’t drawn a map on it yet, but I’ve tested my pens on it and it is GLORIOUS. We’ll see how much of a difference it makes in the end next time. Until then, back to work.

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

The Tempest of Reckoning – An Airship of the Line

This is the second of the maps chosen by patrons in the Great Vote. The Tempest of Reckoning is like the Goodyear blimp’s crazy older brother who got mixed up with the wrong crowd and is serving 40 to life for a triple homicide.

If you’re in the market for an airship for your players, the Century Pelican might be more your speed. It has 2 fewer engines, 29 fewer ballistas and, crucially, 1 less bomb bay. Do think carefully before giving your players a bomber. It’s your game, of course, but… I’m just saying.

I didn’t do four different engine variants for this like I did with the Pelican, but here’s an alternate version with the engines removed. If your setting features airships powered by sails, you’re good to go. Or you can draw in your own zombies-on-a-hamster-wheel or whatever. Or you can just tell your players the power plant is there and leave it at that.

Next up is the second level of Brazenthrone’s Common Quarter. After that, the Library of Alexandria, as chosen by the Cartographic Congress. Then it’s the third and final level of the Common Quarter, then the map just chosen by the Cartographic Congress, a Persian-inspired Assassins’ Keep. I need to catch up on that and this seems like a good time to do it.

As usual, there’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.

The 11th Cartographic Congress Results

This month’s Cartographic Congress has spoken and the winner is the Assassins’ Keep, as proposed by Senator Anders. Senator Anders posted this link to show the kind of thing he was talking about, and… man, if that doesn’t make you want to start an al-Qadim campaign, nothing will.

Also, the Airship of the Line is close to finished and should be up in a day or two.