I draw the occasional D&D map


First Post
I saw this post on twitter earlier today. It looks like a pretty fun map, and the cube is very much some weird old school D&D.

You know, I love your regional maps and always look over them pretty heavily. What's funny is that I'd never use one in my games - and I've used a lot of your maps in my table games. But despite that, I actually find your regional maps more valuable. They give me ideas for my own regional maps, and regional maps are things that get used over and over again through the years.

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The votes for February’s “Release the Kraken” have brought us to a piece that I think would be a perfect fit into any Waterdeep: Dragon Heist campaign – Paradise Control.

When I was asked for an underground casino map for a D&D game, I immediately had a flashback to the classic Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle adventure that came bundled with the 1980 & 1981 editions of TSR’s Top Secret RPG by Merle Rasmussen. One of the organizations hidden beneath the streets of the city is Pair-a-Dice, a full-fledged secret casino floor set underground.

Now, realistically an underground casino in a faux-medieval environment would most likely resemble a prohibition-era gambling den more than what we think of as a casino – a couple of rooms where people can play their games of chance and maybe store some drinks and a couple of security goons. But this is full on fantasy, so I went with something a little more full-on James Bond, Dragonslayer.

Paradise Control is a small casino when compared to modern mega-casinos, but is quite the underground establishment. It was built out of the basements of multiple structures in town, although disconnected from the actual buildings above during the construction phase. A few disconnected basements remain around the casino, but the only way to the surface is the stairs at the main entrance and a secret sewer escape system.

There are two staircases down to the lobby of Paradise Control from a pair of local businesses. The lobby channels clients towards the main floor with three gambling “pits”, two bars, a linked restaurant and a few halls that can be rented, used for parties, or set up as additional gambling space as needed.

The lower left portion of the map is the service hallways for general staff, including storage space and sewer access (for trash disposal). The upper right passages link the kitchen to the dinning area, and also provide access for security to the various rooms of the establishment (the security room is in the upper right corner and comes with a set of three cells for taking care of problems).

Finally on the lower right we have a pair of offices off the main room, one of which has secret doors to the the southern banquet hall as well as to a secret stairwell down to the sewer area.



Part of a much larger estate that has fallen to advanced decrepitude, Lorean’s Manor sits on a hillside rank with overgrown weeds and brush. Somewhere in the untended brush are a number of collapsed and half-collapsed outbuildings including the kitchens and staff buildings, coach house, and so on.

Standing before these overgrown gardens and ruins is the Lorean’s Manor. The lowest parts of the structure are hidden by errant trees and heavy ground cover, but the high arched roofs and tower make it impossible to miss for now. It is to this decrepit estate that Rosalinde Lorean returned from her studies among the mages of the Hill Islands. With the death of her great aunt, she is now head of the estate and tries to keep things in order while entertaining her great uncle’s delusions that the estate and family are still as important as they were in his youth.

As the estate has almost no money, Rosalinde has replaced the staff with faerie folk that she rescued from a collapsing faerie circle during her time on the Hill Islands. These fae provide the family with food as well as cobbler and seamstress work (although they certainly don’t do any yard work). They flit in and about the old structures where fanciful mushrooms now sprout.

Of course, once the players have met Rosalinde and her fae companions (probably to get some minor MacGuffin), it is time to change things up at the manor. The new circles the fae have been building are invaded by the same dark goblins that overran their previous circle on the Hill Islands, and they establish an unseelie beachhead in our world at the old Lorean estate. Rosalinde and her uncle are locked away in the tower as the goblin king takes up residence in the manor house and his minions spread around the estate and begin to check out the nearby town…



A small fortification near the Hewbank in the Eagle Hills, Brenovale Castle was abandoned a few years ago when plague struck. By the time help arrived, those left behind were dead and bloated, surrounded by foul insects that appeared to carry the infection.

Constructed rapidly through wizardry, the castle remains effectively untouched today – the only sign that anything has changed is the lead plague seals on the front doors have been broken, and no sign of the infected dead can be found within.

But there are weird sloshing sounds coming from behind a collection of barrels in the basement. When moved they expose an old door, sealed not with the lead plague-seals, but with old red wax run through with long strands of human hair. And the sounds from behind the door seem to be receding to some place even deeper…



Oh, hey! Are you the person who did the maps for Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica? I made a separate thread about this, but I might as well get it straight from the source: are those maps available anywhere for purchase as individual image files? In particular, I'm looking for the Notorious Nightclub maps.


These lands were once the territories of the god-king Zueshel who was struck down by the Culling Blade wielded by each of the Seven Heretics in turn. Through the blade it is said that they each gained a portion of his power. Modern heretics say that this runs against the very beliefs of the Seven Heretics, who struck down Zueshel while announcing that he was no god to begin with.

Regardless, with the end of Zueshel’s reign, the people turned their worship to the Seven Heretics and a number of temples were built around the land. The greatest of these is said to house their bodies in a secret crypt, where they remain as they were when the heretics died – never decomposing.


Oh, hey! Are you the person who did the maps for Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica? I made a separate thread about this, but I might as well get it straight from the source: are those maps available anywhere for purchase as individual image files? In particular, I'm looking for the Notorious Nightclub maps.

I /believe/ they are all available as high res images as part of the book on D&D Beyond.


I /believe/ they are all available as high res images as part of the book on D&D Beyond.

Okay. I was hoping to find just individual maps without having to get the whole book in multiple formats (I already own it in print), but I guess that's the model nowadays. Thanks!


Most of the temples of Zueshel were destroyed after the Seven Heretics struck down the God-King – however a few rebuilt into pyramid-temples dedicated to the heretics themselves. Most of these contain (or at least claim to contain) a holy relic of either the death of Zueshel or from the later deaths of the Seven Heretics.

This particular temple claims to have the son of one of the seven heretics entombed in the reliquary below it. It serves both as an administrative centre of the rural province it is in as well as a place of quiet contemplation. Pilgrims carry water to the temple and pour it into the pool in the northeast corner as they silently ask for the intervention of the heretics or the child below into their daily affairs.



It should come as no surprise for anyone who has had to deal with the Obsidian Clan bugbears that Nagmer the Terrible meets anyone who requests to parlay with him in the most ridiculously ostentatious cavern setup he could arrange.

Nagmer’s throne cavern is a multi-tiered affair with a natural stone bridge over an underground river. The whole cavern is lit by a massive colony of well-fed fire beetles that crawl along the floor, walls and stalactites. Any discussion with Nagmer is usually conducted by yelling from the stone bridge as his guards block the way onto the north side of the cavern.

The vast majority of these negotiations end without any success, and a fair number end with Nagmer enjoying the envoy for dinner.



First Post
I like it!

(The "I'd buy that for a dollar" quote is reserved for [MENTION=6733]Turgenev[/MENTION]'s thread since he, y'know, sells them for a dollar)


The Octopus Sorcerer has been researching and experimenting with some remains of the lost Aemril “technologies” in a cave on Farmrath Summit for the last seven years.

This wouldn’t really matter to anyone except that they are in possession of another Aemril artifact – the White Hadariel Staff. The staff is likely the only remaining key into Aemril sites and your employer has a lead on an unplundered vault in the Dhuurawa Wilds and wants either the Octopus Sorcerer to come along, or even better, that you just bring the White Hadariel Staff without the annoying “this belongs in a museum” octopus.

To meet with (or ambush) the Octopus Sorcerer, you will need to find the cave on Farmrath Summit and wrangle your way past the sorcerer’s guards, workers, and a few clerical staff to interrupt their studies and “acquire” the staff.



The Bitter Minotaur is a roadside inn along a major road within the relatively safe lands of the Satrapy. The roads here aren’t threatened by monstrous incursions and other foul beasts, but as they run through heavy forests they are still prone to a bit of banditry here and there. Thus the Inn serves as a resting point along the route instead of a defensive shelter.

The three-story Inn has a courtyard with wagon gates east and west to allow coaches to roll in, unload passengers and cargo, and then roll out to park the coaches outside the wall for the night. The inn features 21 rooms (a mix of singles and doubles) over two floors above the tavern, as well as a dormitory on the ground floor. The tavern serves food and light drink (ale and wine, but nothing stronger).

Because it is along a major road and almost exactly 1 day’s travel from the capital of the Satrapy, the Bitter Minotaur sees a significant amount of traffic with 2d10+1 rooms booked on the average night, and hires staff from many of the local farms in addition to the small staff that lives on site.

This map is heavily based on the map of the riverside Three Feathers coaching inn from the classic Warhammer Fantasy RPG adventure “Rough Night at the Three Feathers” (seriously, this adventure is incredibly fun - if you haven't played it yet, get a copy and run it now). It started out as a cleaned up version of that map for my online WHFRP campaign, but then sprouted a lot of extra details and a third story as well as a full wall making it a roadside coaching inn instead of a riverside inn.



An exercise in pointless stonecraft, this castle sits abandoned and oft overrun by foul creatures. A dwarven folly – a structure built purely for the sake of building a structure – the castle cuts into and juts over a small canyon in the foothills of Tismar Summit.

When the dwarves left after building the folly, they locked the doors and forgot about it. To this day the front doors remain locked and require Voldrugg’s Key (or magic) to be opened – the current residents got in instead by climbing down on to the bridges over the small river canyon and eventually discovering the mechanisms that open the door on the upper level of the castle.

No one would care about the current residents of the folly if they hadn’t recently gathered a few competing tribes and raided a caravanserai where they looted and burned… and kidnapped the fourth son of Grand Duke Dietmar Stengel. The Grand Duke would really like his son back before they eat him.



Catacombs of the Flayed Minotaurs

Beneath the buckled stone floors of the jungle ruins in the Tempest Gardens is a massive set of catacombs guarded by the eternal vigilance of fifteen deathless minotaurs.

Each minotaur has endured the ages imprisoned within these catacombs in their own way, but none are untouched by time or violence. And they are not alone – while they can barely stand each other’s company, many have surrounded themselves with a few creatures that provide them with entertainment, food, or just the comfort of sharing a living space with others – even if (as in one case) they are little more than psionic protoplasmic slime.

This map was drawn at ledger size (11″ x 17″) at a scale of 6 squares per inch. Part way through drawing it I decided it would be fun to stick in an “easter egg” like the classic Quasqueton map showing up in Undermountain – so I added bits of maps from B2, X1 and T1 as I went. Because the map is so big, it ends up being a very large file. The blog has the map available at 600dpi and 1200dpi, whereas the version posted here is 300dpi.



Lowcountry Low Roller
Thanks for sharing all these Dyson, I've picked up a few for an adventure I'm planning that will fit perfectly. I'm also going to try my hand at redrawing some maps in your excellent style for an old adventure that I've foolishly promised to share (I just looked at them and thought, Dyson would not be impressed! :D )

Has your hand recovered from the inevitable cramps from crosshatching that beast?

After a decade of cartography, I don't get hand cramps from drawing. A light touch on the pen and the willingness to stop and watch Blake's 7 for a bit between sections does wonders.

Thanks for sharing all these Dyson, I've picked up a few for an adventure I'm planning that will fit perfectly. I'm also going to try my hand at redrawing some maps in your excellent style for an old adventure that I've foolishly promised to share (I just looked at them and thought, Dyson would not be impressed! :D )

I love knowing that my maps and ideas are being used for people's games.

And I'll be honest, I love all hand drawn maps.


In a fun twist, this month’s Release the Kraken voting has brought back a classic “joke” map from 2016 – the Tower-Faced Demon!

There are a number of dead gods, demons and other creatures long forgotten who’s planes of existence have ceased to exist and who now float around the astral, petrified with old age and lack of followers.

While most are just ignored, or used as the occasional stopping place or landmark in the infinite phlogiston, the Githyanki are famous for using them as bases of operations, cities, fortresses and so on.

At some point this structure was the head of something large and unpleasant. And at some later time, that head was broken off from the rest of the body and then slowly retrofitted into a small fortress.

Or, if you really want to go weird, get rid of the whole astral plane stuff, and this head fortress floats timelessly 333 feet above the surface of the world, travelling where it is commanded from the spires level of the uppermost tower. It transports a team of violent warlocks and their gnomish strike force, raiding the countryside and seeking untold sources of arcane power that they have become aware of through their dark patrons.

Either way, there are numerous entry points into the head. The mouth is a huge open-air gallery (although the teeth make it difficult to land most flying creatures and craft here), and there are entrances in the right nostril and right cheek, as well as at the tops of the two towers. Thus the inhabitants are always somewhat on edge, expecting attack to come from any side at any time.

They’ve been known to “accidentally” kill each other when surprised.

Tower McDemonFace here was started as a joke really… I posted my demon-faced tower and someone said that they wanted a tower faced demon instead. And one of my patrons asked for “A ‘dungeon’ that’s inside the body of a dead creature, god, etc.”

And here’s where all that wound up… Tower McDemonFace. Who has already become a demon lord worshiped in the Yellow City in a friend’s campaign.


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