Science fiction moonscape map for “Lycaon”

This map was made as a commission for the novel Lycaon by author Wes Parker. Here’s the blurb:

Harvey Howlett, Astronaut and Robotics Technician is nearing the end of his six-month rotation on the surface of the moon. What started as a dream mission quickly turned into a nightmare when Harvey finds a woman from a neighboring base covered in blood and wandering the lunar surface.

The woman's appearance raises a few questions that are quickly answered when Harvey and his team come face to face with a horrible monstrosity...

WEREWOLVES...IN SPACE...

I love drawing science fiction themed maps, and especially retro-futuristic, pulp or horror sci-fi. Illustrating this map was a lot of fun, and I’m really quite pleased with the outcome.

The hardest thing with moonscape maps it that the “palette” is kind of limited to rocks and craters. This goes for any barren landscape map, really. Such maps can easily get a bit monotonous and uninspiring. However, for this map I got the opportunity to play around a bit with the different space stations as points of interest. By not doing them to scale, but rather as map symbols/illustrations, I could add some simple architectural features. I also chose to add curvature and a starry sky to the top of the map. This brings contrast and frames the map quite nicely. These are just a couple of tips and tricks on how to make a barren map more interesting and aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Lycaon is published on 20th of October 2021, just in time for Halloween. You can pre-order it for Amazon Kindle now.

More science fiction maps

I’ve done quite a lot of sci-fi maps, expecially for my Termination Shock setting. Here are a few samples:

Convenstead of the Greenbottle Crones

This adventure location was inspired by the third act of the classic (and exceptional) action RPG Diablo II (I’ve been playing the remake a lot lately). It just so happened that my own setting has a large and creepy swamp called the Wraithbog, and I thought it was about time I started to give it some more attention. I also consider placing the covenstead in the Greenbottle Morass close to Fourtower Bridge. I haven’t really decided yet!

In any case: a coven of nasty old hags have made these ruins their domain, and whoever stumbles upon it is in grave danger. The sadistic ladies have a taste for human flesh, and are quite cunning in the dark arts. The dungeon below the swamp is a wet, hellish labyrinth of filth, disease and decay.

Feel free to download the map and print it for your own campaign should you ever have need for some grimy old swamp ruins. As always the work I publish on this website is free for personal use, but please do not publish it anywhere else without my written consent.

Free download (300 dpi .png file)

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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!

In browsing mood? Check out some more blog posts!

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

Support my work – buy me a beer

If you like my stuff and want to give me a tip to cheer me on, please click the button below. Please note that tipping is appreciated, but not expected. Don’t donate if you’re short on cash, I’m sharing content because I like to, not to make money.

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?

Hang on, theres more to see here!

There’s loads of content on the blog, so stick around for a bit and browse. Here are the latest posts:

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The Spudfield Good Girl – free D&D adventure

The Spudfield Good Girl is a free two-page adventure for use with Dungeons & Dragons. It was made with the B/X edition of the rules from 1981, but can easily be adapted to any edition of the game.

The adventure is meant for a party of low level (1-3) adventurers but can be adjusted for higher level play by introducing tougher enemies. If you choose to make the adventure harder you should consider increasing rewards/treasure as appropriate.

The Spudfield Good Girl is a fantasy adventure with light horror elements, but nothing too gruesome.

Download the adventure

The Spudfield Good Girl - click iamge to download free pdf
Click image to download the adventure in pdf-format

Adventure background

Conrad and Eliza Spudfield and their five well-mannered children are in need of adventurers. Two days ago, when Eliza was about to bring up some potatoes from the root cellar under their kitchen she spotted a monster! An undead abomination peered at her from the shadows. She quickly escaped up into the kitchen and slammed the hatch shut. Eliza heard growling from below, and then everything went silent.

Conrad bolted the hatch securely and just to be safe they moved their large cupboard onto it. They need adventurers to go down the hatch and dispose of the monster so that they can gain access to their food supply or there will be no spuds for the children trickin’ and treatin’ on Olde Hallow’s Eve.

Free to download for personal use

The adventure is completely free to download and print for personal use with your gaming group. Please do not re-publish the adventure without my written consent. You may never sell copies of this adventure.

Would you like to translate this adventure?

Some of my previous adventures have been translated by other gamers to their native languages (for example Italian and Portuguese). Please reach out to me if you’d like to translate The Spudfield Good Girl into your own native language and I can provide you with the source material. E-mail me at niklas@wistedt.net.

In loving memory of Doris

This adventure is dedicated to the best friend I’ve ever had, who I miss so dearly. You were such a good girl.

In loving memory of Doris 2010-2020

More from my world

The Spudfield Good Girl is set in my own little campaign world, next to the small settlement of Fourtower Bridge. Fourtower Bridge is a town module that is also free to download, and can be used together with the adventure to provide more context for the player characters. Click here to read more about Fourtower Bridge and to download the module.

Support my work – buy me a Ko-fi (if you want)

Let me be very clear: the content on this website is free for personal use, and it will stay that way. That said, I sometimes get questions if there’s any way to support my work. If you insist on giving me a tip my Ko-Fi account is https://ko-fi.com/pathspeculiar. This will make me very happy, but is not expected!

The Ghoulshaft – ancient desert crypts

Barzoum – or the “Ghoulshaft” is an infamous dungeon located off the Opal trail, deep in the Blacksand region of the Ossuan desert.

The tombs of depraved aristocracy

A place of great evil, the ancient burial place of Barzoum is constructed vertically and descends almost a mile into the black earth. Here rests sleepless the souls and corpses of the depraved and murderous noblemen, priests and necromancers of the old Koparan empire. The minds and acts of the Koparan aristocracy was wicked beyond comprehension during the years of the empire, and their ill deeds finally led to the destruction of the great city Amun-Shar – the jewel of the east and the capital of the empire.

The Ghoulshaft today

Over the centuries, the surface structures of Barzoum have withered and crumbled in the strong desert winds. Left are only gaping mouths, and winding stairs descend into the inky blackness of below. Alcove-tombs pepper the walls, some contain monetary as well as occult treasure. Others contain curses and undead abominations. While some of the alcoves are shallow and houses only a single grave, others stretch further into the desert bedrock forming vast catacomb labyrinths. An example of such a catacomb is the SVART GRIFT, or “Black Grave” of the dread necromancer Khamul.

Explore more peculiar places:

Please go to sleep, Arthur Cobblesworth – one-page dungeon adventure

“The eccentric, but rather successful, merchant Arthur Cobblesworth died a few months ago and was buried in his mausoleum. Since then there have been reports of Arthur “howling like a bloody banshee” during dark nights. The townsfolk are afraid that Mr. Cobblesworth will wake the other dead in the cemetery, and want the player characters to go and put him to sleep again.”

Please go to sleep, Arthur Cobblesworth is a free one-page dungeon adventure by Niklas Wistedt. It can be used with any early version (or modern clone) of the classic fantasy roleplaying game.

Download the adventure pdf

Please go to sleep, Arthur Cobblesworth is free to download and print for personal use, but please do not publish it online or in print without written consent by the author.

2-page variant

Version 1.1 of the adventure includes a second page with an unkeyed map and illustration of the mausoleum.

Support my work – buy me a Ko-fi (if you want)

Let me be very clear: the content on this website is free for personal use, and it will stay that way. That said, I sometimes get questions if there’s any way to support my work. If you insist on giving me a tip my Ko-Fi account is https://ko-fi.com/pathspeculiar. This will make me very happy, but is not expected!

The Haunted Cloister – Free dungeon module for fantasy roleplaying games

The Haunted Cloister is a short (3 pages) module containing a three level dungeon map, a short background and a random table of curse effects. It is not a fully detailed adventure, and there is lots of opportunity for the referee to add her own ideas to the dungeon.

What happened in the monastery?

The monastery is located in a secluded mountain area. It was the monastic home of the monks of the chalice. A century ago a disguised hag snuck a curse into the well of prayers, bringing doom to the cloister.

Today, the darkened halls echo with ghastly whispers. The monks haunt the monastery as vengeful apparitions.

No one goes here – treasure may still be found.

Download the Haunted Cloister pdf

The Haunted Cloister is free to download and print for personal use, but please do not publish it online or in print without written consent by the author.

Support my work – buy me a Ko-fi (if you want)

Let me be very clear: the content on this website is free for personal use, and it will stay that way. That said, I sometimes get questions if there’s any way to support my work. If you insist on giving me a tip my Ko-Fi account is https://ko-fi.com/pathspeculiar. This will make me very happy, but is not expected!

Vertical Underground Necropolis Map

I’m working on some kind of conceptual framework/campaign environment for my fantasy-horror themed dungeon maps. I wanted an environment where maps like Arcane Chambers and SVART GRIFT could be placed without feeling out of context.

The idea is an ancient civilization obsessed with death, digging deep into the earth to reach their dark god, and then committing mass suicide in order to be “blessed” with the breath of undeath. A huge necropolis filled with absolute horrors and blasphemy.

Background

In ancient times, this civilization was flourishing, and its realm was vast, centered on what today is a putrid swamp. Its scholars and magi and warriors were unmatched, and the people were living in prosperity. But the civilization drew to it the attention of the arch-demon ABZU ABYZOU, a necrotic duke of Hell.

Slowly, ABZU ABYZOU mainpulated people of all castes. Initially small cults started to form among the poor, but within decades the demon’s whispers reached the nobles and even the mighty Czar. Worship of the demon came with great rewards for those who submitted themselves, and ABZU ABYZOU demanded little tribute of its followers. At first.

It took several generations before the arch demon decided to take the next step of its plan. Natural disasters struck the lands: storms and drought and great fires. Insect swarms ravaged the fields and villages and even the capital. And the demon whispered salvation into the ears of his followers, and convinced them that they needed to take shelter within the earth itself. So they dug.

The great excavation

An entire civilization relocated from a now barren surface into the sheltering depths of the earth. It was an incredible achievement by its architects and labourers, even considering they got infernal assistance. During the great excavation, the teachings of ABZU ABYZOU became more grim. While the darkness of below might provide shelter, it is not a place for human life. You should bury the dead, not the living. And so slowly the absurdity of undeath became less absurd. After years in the darkness, the people did not only consider unlife, they yearned for it. Anything to relieve the pain and melancholy of a life devoid of the light of the sun, the wind in the branches and the memory of a gentle spring rain. They had become obsessed with the thought of death and dying. It manifested in everything – art, architecture, magic and worship.

They were ready to die, and to rise again immortal.

The night of relief

So came the night of the great turning. A ritual mass suicide orchestrated by the priests of the Ashen Basilika, the Czar Necromancer and the members of the Grand Council. When a bleak sun rose over the Wraithbog, ten thousand ghouls and ghasts rose in the necropolis below it.

This is still just early thoughts, notes and sketches, but thought I should share it so you can follow my trail of ideas from the start.

I will probably not develop this with any specific game system in mind, but needless to say it would fit most OSR-games, or the grim darkness of artpunky MÖRK BORG.

This is not so much a map as a mindmap, and absolutely not to scale!