Prisons Below

Prisons Below

A good Dungeon Master should always have a spare prison they can can pull out for when the PC’s get into trouble (which never happens, right?)

  • The north section of this map includes ten 10’x10′ cells along with multiple areas for guards to hang out and keep watch.
  • The southern section is a large room for what else? Torture and interrogation of course!
  • Connecting both arms is a defensible choke point with a large circular staircase to freedom.

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Map: Tower of the Black Sun

Tower of the Black Sun

First version of a map for an adventure I’m working on. I don’t want to give away too much, so just a simple map this time. Key points include multiple small rooms behind secret doors, stairs to upper and lower levels, and an astronomically aligned summoning circle.

 

 

Map & Plot Idea: Pools of Sacrifice

Map Pools of Sacrifice

How’s this for a first isometric map? I found a nice way to print isometric paper on iOS devices, will have to put up a how-to later.

So, for some ideas for this map:

The top level has an arcane circle. Maybe PC’s find a portal here? Or maybe they are unwittingly sent here by an evil cult in order for the PCs to unknowingly set off a blood summoning?

On the second levels are sacrificial blood pools. Populate these two levels with some big baddies. I mean big, as in at least large in size. The bigger the bloodier!

Then, the idea is that their blood channels down through the tunnel all the way to the bottom where it fills a sacrificial cult alter. And then what happens??? Nothing good, I’m sure…

Have fun!

Map & Plot Idea: Fortress Under the Sun

Under the SunSuper busy night at work, but I found some downtime to unwind and draw another map. Listening to some music and a weird thing a patient told me gave me an idea..

In the immortal words of Ozzy Osbourne:

Well I don’t want no preacher
Telling me about the god in the sky
No I don’t want no one to tell me
Where I’m gonna go when I die

Sitting at the bar of yet another overpriced roadside inn. At least this one has a gorgeous innkeeper’s daughter serving large mugs of spiced ale along with a nice smile. A gruff old dwarf pulls a chair from the table next to the adventurers, and without asking for permission, he sits it right next to the party and begins to to tell them:

“I’m goin’ ta die tomorrow, so I may as well tell someone, and it may as fucking well be you all.”

He pulls out a large map and unrolls it onto the table, pushing your mugs to the side to make room.

He points to a long range of mountains and says, “Right there. You get up this ravine here, and head north, you’ll practically walk right in to the entrance of the Dwarven fortress, Solitude.”

“Our king betrayed us. Cursed all of us. All for the love of a girl. You probably can’no’longer save our king, but kill the witch. Kill ‘er dead. Then sack the place if you wish, but free his lustful soul and avenge us.”

  1. The Dwarven king is Boot Flagonslayer who broke faith with his God (insert name a of Dwarven God from your setting here) in order to gain favor with a girl whom he fell in love with. Then the new queen banished the entire dwarven clan.
  2. The girl, is actually a succubus. Ya, you probably saw that one coming….
  3. The name of the succubus is Amai’ha
  4. When the clan was banished, a curse was placed on each member. The curse kills each dwarf on their next birthday. The gates to the dwarven fortress are permanently sealed until the curse is fulfilled upon every dwarf affected. The dwarf who has approached the group is celebrating his birthday a day early, drinking his sorrows away at the inn. Of course, he is also the last dwarf alive from his clan.
  5. The map above, is for the second floor of this underground fortress.

  1. Feasthall. 1a is a royal sitting area; essentially the feast hall doubles as a dwarven court as well. Secret doors allow escape in a pinch.
  2. Treasure rooms
  3. Armories
  4. War rooms and administrative office areas
  5. Stone bridge across a large crevasse
  6. Wide staircases allow easier transportation of armaments from the workshops below to the armory here. Likewise, large staircases allow transportation to the upper levels where the market district is located.

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Map & Plot Idea: Tomb of the Sun

Tomb of the Sun

The following is a small plot idea I created to go with this map. I’ve been doing a bit of research on Archaeoastronomy (specifically, I’m a huge Ancient Aliens buff!) and have been jotting down some ideas for maps, encounters and even entire adventures based around areas, puzzles, and beings centered around cycles of celestial bodies.

Here you go… My first hand drawn map! (and… my first handcrafted scenario now I think about it… even if only a part of one)

Set within a hill 10 miles outside of town, whoever (or whatever) created the Tomb of the Sun, that knowledge is now lost to history. Nevertheless, a local circle of druids gather at this site every year on the Summer Solstice. However, the druids were never seen returning from last year’s ceremony.

And the Summer Solstice is tomorrow.

Inspiration for this simple tomb was taken from the real world site, Newgrange. The entrance is on the southeast corner of an artificial hill.

Newgrange

On the day of the Summer Solstice, light from the sun enters and streams all the way to the back of this cross shaped structure. This does not happen any other day of the year. Also, the shape of this tomb matches a constellation in the sky (Cygnus), as it would be positioned on the ground.

Some ideas for this encounter:

  • The adventurers come across a disheveled old sage with opaque, cloudy eyes. Although he is clearly blind, he seems to have no problems interacting with the world. He tells the adventurers of a  legend concerning the return of an ancient demon “when the stars and sun align with the tomb”.
  • The druid circle is actually more of an evil cult. One obsessed with a belief that the world was created by the sun and that the circle of life must be completed by the earth returning to the sun.
  • Currently, an evil druid is completing a year long ritual that began with the sacrifice of the other 12 druids within his circle this time last year. He believes that when he completes the final step, a ritual suicide at noon on the Summer Solstice, that he summons the elder God, Sol’gadon.
  • The belief of these druids is that when Sol’gadon is called, that he will resurrect them all as immortal beings on earth with the power to “return the earth to the sun”. Of course they’re wrong in this belief; if summoned, Sol’gadon ‘resurrects’ them, but as slaves under his control.
  • Sol’gadon‘s domain is one of the stars (of the same name) in the constellation for which the Tomb of the Sun matches
  • There is an altar at the rear of the tomb crafted entirely out of one enormous block of stone that shines as bright as a small star when light from the sun hits it. Various glyphs decorate this alter in the shape of the sun (which, of course is, itself a star)

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Lazy Eye Marble Set for Curse of Strahd

I was going through my folders and saw that I saved a screenshot of this. There was a call for ideas to be used in Dragon+ Magazine. This was after release of Curse of Strahd. They wanted suggestions for creepy toys that may be at home in Blinsky‘s collection. I thought of something on the spot. Wrote it up and sent it in. I kinda freaked when I opened up that issue and saw my suggestion! A few suggestions got an art piece. Richard Whitters hit it out of the park. Thanks dude, you made my day 🙂

Lazy Eye Marble Set

LAZY EYE MARBLE SET

A bag of glass-eye marbles fashioned in various shades of green, blue, brown, and hazel. When you roll a marble on the ground, it always appears to be looking at you.

Kevin Swartz

Dragon+ Magazine issue #7

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