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A Moment’s Respite – Grave of the Unknown Paladin

The dungeon is dark and full of dangers – as it should be. That said, it’s a good idea to sometimes offer your players a place for their characters to rest. Give them just a glimpse of safety and comfort in contrast of the horrors they face in the underworld.

The grave of the unknown paladin is such a site. It is the final resting place of a noble paladin who sacrificed herself for her companions. Her party were unable to carry her body to the surface, so they laid her to rest deep in the bowels of the dungeon, and before leaving her the fighter thrust her magic sword into the headstone (carved by the dwarf) and lit a single candle (made permanent by the wizard).

No monsters come here. The air is soft and warm and smells like a summer meadow. Wounds heal at double the speed of normal. Food and water doesn’t spoil, and camping adventurers often leave rations and drinks for whoever might need it in the future (considered to bring luck to the expedition).

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This illsutration is free to download for personal use (but not for publishing without my consent). Feel free to use it as you please in your dungeon adventures.

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The Vault of the Shattered Sword – isometric map for “Swordtember”

Apparently there’s this thing called #swordtember, where artists dedicate the month of September to drawing sword. Well, count me in – I love swords! I’m also a mapmaker though, so I just couldn’t resist drawing a fitting dungeon for this entry.

Standing guard over the ancient, shattered sword is a demonic statue. The room also hosts six plain stone plinths, each with a heavy stone bowl containing rusted iron residue. In the southern part of this dungeon section there’s a round room with a large half-sphere made of the darkest black obsidian, and covered in mystic symbols. What secrets can this strange vault hold?

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Magic items for D&D: The Vulture Scimitar and the Shield of the Sun and the Moon

The Bazaar of the Sun and the Moon is usually a deserted place where commerce is just a whispered memory. However once per month, under the full moon, the ghosts of the merchants rise and peddle strange and peculiar goods. Here are a couple of magic items that can be found at the bazaar.

The Vulture Scimitar is a magic +2 scimitar which provides it’s wielder with the ability to detect (through scent) corpses and cadavres over large distances. Whoever carries the Vulture Scimitar can accurately point out the direction to any corpse or cadaver (dead or undead) within 1000 feet. There must be some flesh still left on the corpse, i.e. skeletons cannot be detected through this ability.

The Shield of the Sun and the Moon is a magic +2 shield. It is sturdy, but weighs next to nothing.

  • If used as cover from sunlight the shield keeps it’s wielder comfortably cool (not subject to envornmental effects).
  • If used in a simliar fashion under moonlight the shield is inhibited with the Conjuring light effect as per the Light spell. It needs to be “charged” by moonlight for one hour, and will provide light for eight hours after fully charged.

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The Bazaar of the Sun and the Moon – isometric map

The Bazaar of the Sun and the Moon was once a bustling marketplace, filled with exotic trade goods from far and wide. A deadly sickness befell the merchants and other residents of the bazaar and it is nowadays a deserted place, void of life. Every full moon, however, the spirits of the dead tradesmen rise and for just one night haggling whispers fill the air as ethereal (and most peculiar) goods are exchanged for prices just as peculiar.

It is a dangerous place, this bazaar of the dead, but for those who require items not of this world visiting this market might be the only chance to acquire them. Living customers must be careful though, as the ghosts might sometimes demand more than one would be willing to pay.

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This map is free to download for personal use (but not for publishing without my consent). Feel free to use it at your gaming table should you need a map of a desert marketplace.

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More desert fantasy maps

This map is part of my series of “desert fantasy” maps. If this is your jam, make sure you check out the others as well! (links open in new tabs)

The Chantry of Desecration – isometric map for D&D

Here’s a simple isometric map for you to use should you need a spooky, desecrated church in any horror-themed Dungeons & Dragons adventure. I intentionally skipped drawing details in the rooms on the floor plans. Treat it as a blank canvas to fill with whatever creepy things you can come up with!

In my own campaign I plan to use the Chantry of Desecration as a non-combat encounter. A place where atrocious deeds have been committed in the past, but where remnant energies still linger.

Here’s a link to download the map!

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Shields are splintered!

In “The Return of the King”, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:

“Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
Spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

It is a mighty rallying call, but did you know it is (probably) inspired by the old norse Vǫluspá (Prophecy of the Seeress)? In verse 45, the Vǫluspá states:

“Brothers shall fight | and fell each other,
And sisters’ sons | shall kinship stain;
Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom;
Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered,
Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls;
Nor ever shall men | each other spare.”

The verse describes how the world plunges into chaos before the great end of everything – the apocalyptic Ragnarök.

I’ve always loved norse mythology, as well as the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and I wanted to pay tribute by illustrating this part of the poetic Edda. The text reads Skeggǫld, skálmǫld, skildir ro klofnir, which translates roughly to the iconic: “An axe-day, a sword day, shields are splintered”.

The Deepwood Lodge logger’s camp

I made this map for a short horror adventure I ran with my players. Deepwood Lodge is a logger’s camp and lumber mill located along the river in the the outskirts of Deepwood. The adventure was inspired by horro movies such as The Thing and Dawn of the Dead. It all started when a fungus infected, zombie-like lumberjack came floating down the river all tangled up in a timber raft, crashing into Fourtower Bridge.

The adventurers were tasked by Majken the cleric to investigate a remote logger’s camp called the Deepwood Lodge, about a day’s march upstream. At the scene they discovered the lumberjacks had been infected by some type of necrotic fungi, killing them and reviving them as undead.

I might write out the full adventure at some point, but as for now I don’t have an active InDesign subscription so that will have to wait. Until then, please feel free to use the maps with your own gaming group.

Maps of the logging camp:

I have prepared two maps for you. The first map has a legend to fit into the Fourtower Bridge campaign environment. The other map is without legend (and I have removed the dead body laying on the ground), so you can modify it to fit your own campaign. Both are free for personal use. Click the links below to download the maps as .png image files.

Overland map of Fourtower Bridge and its surroundings
An overland map of the Fourtower Bridge campaign environment

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The infernal monolith – isometric dungeon room

”Deep in the bowels of this forsaken labyrinth stands a strange monolith adorned with blasphemous runes. The stone whispers ancient curses in maddened voices. Its language is that of the Abyss – infernal and sacrilegious.”

Just a little bit of “dungeon dressing”. I’m imagining the monolith to be somewhat sentinent, so a player character with the right knowledge can communicate with it. Initially it would be very helpful and provide sound advice, but sooner or later it would require something in return. How far will the players go to please the monolith? What would they be willing to pay?

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Rubik’s Dungeon – a cube shaped, isometric dungeon map

Created in ancient times by the great (and sadistic) dungeon master Rubik, the cube is an artifact that can alter the layout of his underground lair. To attract victims, Rubik would intentionally spread rumours about great tresure hidden in the depths of the labyrinth. As adventurers delved into the dungeon he would use the cube to constantly switch rooms and corridors around until the spelunkers lost their way. As Rubik would place food, water and other supplies in the dunegon, some adventuring parties roamed these maddening hallways for years until finally perishing.

I drew this map mostly as an experiment to see if I could pull it off. While probably not very useful for using as an in-game map, it was a lot of fun to make.

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The Lost Library Dungeon Map

The Lost Library is a dungeon map I created for my Dunkelmoor campaign environment, however it is “generic” enough to fit well into most fantasy campaigns. Feel free to download the map and print it for personal use at your gaming table.

Rumours of an ancient, subterranean library filled with long forgotten knowledge and secrets should be something that piques the curiosity of most adventuring parties.

The idea of such a place fits well into many D&D campaigns, and it provides a great opportunity for the Dungeon Master to throw out hooks for new adventures. Spending some time with the dusty tomes could let players find clues to other hidden places in the world, such as the Ghoulshaft of the Ossuan Desert.

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