The city of Amun-Shar, “The jewel of the East” was once the pinnacle of human splendor. It was the cultural capital of the eastern continents and envied by kings and queens and emperors and tsars of all other realms. The great spires of Amun-Shar carried libraries of vast knowledge – science and magicks alike. Its nobles were rich beyond comprehension, and the bustling bazaars were filled with everything any man could ever desire.
But the nobles grew arrogant, as they so often do.
A caste-system started to evolve as the nobles, encouraged by the (just as rich) priesthood, began to regard their wealth not as a reward from the gods but as evidence of their own divinity. And so they rose, and built a city on top of the city to never come in contact with the rabble of ordinary people. They built “The Nephrite Walkway” – a sprawling system of jade-adorned bridges connecting the many noble towers and spires of the city. Now they could walk around the city without having to share streets with the lowly commoners. They were truly the god-masters of Amun-Shar.
And the commoners grew angry, as they so often do.
In time, the ordinary citizens of Amun-Shar grew more and more resentful of their masters. At the boiling point they rose up to slay the aristocracy and cast them from their towers. The spire-dwellers fought back with all the magic power they had stored in their minarets, and on a cataclysmic night the city crashed to the ground, drenched in sulfur and burning in hellfire. The carnage was absolute. The angel of death swung his scythe over nobles and commoners with no discrimination.
Today Amun-Shar is a ruin city, a whisper of its former glory. Vengeful and angry spirits dwell in its streets and structures, jealously guarding the treasure and knowledge that lies buried in this enormous desert tomb. In a ironic turn of events the Nephrite Walkway and its abutment towers are haunted by the ghosts of commoners and nobles alike.
To download a larger map for personal use, click here.
Some dreams are real and dangerous, as mankind’s imagination can breathe life into beings and places most sinister. This is what happened when Miranda van Sonner dreamt about the Rickety Man in the Sandstone quarter. Miranda is no more, but her unfortunate creations are very much still in existence, and poses terrible danger.
When and where the veil between our world and the dreamscape is thin, due to arcane manipulation or vivid imaginaton, we can slip into these dimensional pockets. What awaits us on the other side is sometimes strange and wonderful, and sometimes wicked and dreadful. A creature like the Rickety Man can latch onto a dreamer, and follow her back to the waking world, or keep her trapped in his eternal domain. Other, more benign entities can offer help and knowledge. Some dreamscapes can even hide powerful artifacts and wondrous treasure.
The Sandstone Quarter is a silent and arid place. It floats in a vast, cosmic void. There is a constant, gentle wind that whisps up dust and sand. A withered plant rustles softly in this wind and dried sloeberries grow from it.
The buildings are larger on the inside than their appearances suggest. There are winding stairwells and many strange, empty rooms inside.
A strange portal in the Sandstone Quarter activates when the veil is thin, and allows travel from the waking world – but does not allow the dreamer to go back unless the Rickety Man grants it.
The Rickety Man is an insidious being. He is thin, dried out, and has a piercing gaze. He is not always here, but fades in and out of existence.
This map was drewn with artists like Errol Otus and M. C. Escher in mind, as they inspire me greatly.
Click here to download a larger version of the map, for personal use.
In the spirit of Halloween, I drew this map picturing the horrible crypt of the depraved Scarbrough family. Should provide a spooky adventure location for dungeon masters wanting to add a little horror to their campaign.
The crypt is the final (un)resting place of the noble Scarbrough family. These awful people terrorized the countryside in life, and continues to do so in death.
In their mansion in the moorlands, the Scarbroughs practised foul necromancy and other perversities. Lord Edgar Scarbrough and his cousin and wife Elsbeth had five children, each newborn more sinister and depraved than the previous – culminating in little Pamela who’s cruelty became the stuff of moorlands legend.
The family sealed their fate in a grand ceremony, the “Scarbrough Bloodbath”, where they murdered the villagers of Worthon and reanimated them as ghouls, and then committed ritual suicide in the family crypt. The newly risen ghouls buried the Scarbroughs according to their instructions, and then sealed the crypt.
The ghouls of Scarbrough estate roam the vicinity of the mansion and attacks (and eats) any intruders, keeping the crypt safe from inquisitors and grave robbers alike. The ghosts of the family haunt the countryside, and most feared of them all is little Pamela – commonly referred to as “the tooth fairy”.
Click here for a larger version of the map
Click here for a version without the legend
A medieval fantasy castle map I drew using the same techniques described in these tutorials:
I added a side view to this map, mainly because I think top-down maps of large structures can be a bit hard to interpret. The side view is also a useful tool for the dungeon master to show the players when describing the scene.
I decided to merge two of my previous dungeon maps – the Arcane Chambers and Svart Grift tomb. I also took the opportunity to add some illustrations to set the scene for whatever adventures awaits in this dark place.
These maps work well together, as they are both leaning quite heavily towards dark fantasy, somewhat bordering horror. This asset should work well for OSR-games like Lamentations of the Flame Princess or D&D campaigns set in a grim world.
I hope you enjoy the result!
Click here for a larger image!
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A place where cosmic insanity becomes reality, where the stars whisper, and horrible secrets are just itching to be revealed.
Magic, sorcery and witchcraft is at best frowned upon, but will more likely earn you a death sentence. None but the most power hungry or insane (or both) will tap into what lures beyond the veil of reality, and those who do keep it a secret in hidden chambers and deep dungeons. This is an example of such a place, where a mad sorcerer studies the cosmos and beyond.
Click here for a larger version of the map
Explore more fantastic locations:
I wasn’t going to write anything about this drawing, but I had to, as the word “flänsklubba” (the old Swedish word for this type of mace) doesn’t return any decent results on Google. There are two Swedish words for this type of weapon, actually, and they’re both really cool:
- Flänsklubba translates into “flanged club”
- “Hjälmkrossare” translates into “helmet crusher”
In any case, I don’t draw a lot of characters, but it’s something I would like to get better at, so I just recently started practising it. This fellow is supposed to be some type of grizzled mercenary veteran. You could use him as a hireling or NPC in your games. I hope you enjoy the drawing!
“Svart Grift” is Swedish, and means “Black Grave”. This map pictures an ancient burial tomb filled with secrets, traps and probably a few restless dead. I hope you will enjoy it – I’m sure your player’s wont! 🙂
Click here for a larger version of the map.
Like this map? Ceck out some more of my posts!
Of all the tropes of fantasy, the Underdark of Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting Forgotten Realms is probably one of my favorites. It is a concept I often borrow for my own world building.
My own, loosly defined, fantasy world has an extensive underdark filled with both wonder and horror – a world beneath the world, usually referred to as “The Underside”. While large parts of the Underside is a pitch black, mostly lifeless labyrinthine wasteland, there exists also beacons of life and (to some degree) civilization. It is a vast, dark cosmos in which subterranean societies thrive beneath the feet of an unsuspecting world.
To the people of the above, this place is alien and terrifying and very dangerous.
The underside of the world has it’s own sprawling network of connections, much like the roads of the “surface”. Tunnels stretch for thousands of miles, and are used for trade and travel between the different creatures and settlements of the inky blackness.
One such “road” is the endless tunnels of the Stygian Trail, and to use it means paying tribute to whoever currently occupies the ancient toll houses. It is contested territory – bitter wars and countless skirmishes has been fought over the Stygian Trail and its fortified tollhouses. This map shows one of those toll houses, with enough room to house a small band of humanoid guards and plenty of storage for tribute.
Getting past the small fortress will not be cheap, and the toll master might not settle with gold coins – there are more valuable resources in the dark.
Click here for a full sized-version of the image.
Oh, and if I’ve inspired you to run underdark adventures of your own, make sure you pick up a copy of Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart – it’s by far the best module I’ve ever read on the subject!
More like this? These are my latest posts:
A small map I made with dungeon masters in mind. It should be quite easy to fit into any typical fantasy/horror dungeon! Feel free to download it for personal use, to spice up your next adventure.
The MURDER HOUSE consists of a Prison Wing, where the Sacrificer keeps his unfortunate prisoners, and a Murder Wing where they are offered as sacrifice to the dark lord.