I draw the occasional D&D map


The only major river inlet on the whole of the island is the Y’ruvex Swamps, a marshy lowland pincered between mountain ranges. We believed that if we could get past the swamps themselves and to the open rivers beyond, they would likely lead us to the heart of this island and the rumoured central plateau.

But nothing healthy grows in those swamps and the mountains around them show the spoor of the mightiest of territorial predators – dragons. The Jale folk call the river valley “the Central River” in their strange tongue and the the swamp name probably translates to something like “place where the people drown and die” – a proper translation wasn’t forthcoming as our Jale guide was killed when the hippogriffs attacked us on the larger of the hilly islands. We had pulled ashore to examine the massive standing stones just visible from the shore only to discover that the tallest hill on the island is home to a large nest of the beasts.

This map is actually a stylized closeup (at roughly 3 miles per hex) of one section of the classic Isle of Dread adventure from my campaign where I mash it up with elements of the Carcosa setting. Of the classic Isle of Dread map, this shows encounter location 8 (the Hippogriff nest on the island), location 5 (the caves of the rock baboons on the lower right of the map between the volcanoes) and it doesn’t quite extend north enough for the Roc nest at 16. It also includes a lot of smaller details that were added as I imported Carcosan weirdness – megalithic standing stones on the island, a few mountain caves and shore details to attract explorers’ attention, and such.


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The Ruins of Charnesse

There was never much to Charnesse – a stone bridge, a few houses, and a small common house that served ale and light food to passing travellers and the local farmers when they had a few coins to spend.

But there’s a lot less now. Smoke was seen rising from the area since yesterday, and the reports are grim. All the homes have been ruined and even the fishing pier has been damaged. A huge fire was lit in the centre of the small thorpe seemingly with the furnishings off all the buildings – and close inspection also finds bones in the mix.

Only the common house remains mostly unmolested. Most of the furniture is missing, but no other damage is to be found. And one old human is still sitting there, slowly working his way through a bucket of ale. He has nothing to say, and has no memories of anything unusual from yesterday…



The Vault of Tranquility is the audience chamber and sanctuary of the Dwarven mummy Gheres-Nekheb Stormstone – one of the last remnants of the Lich Shogunate. Within these enchanted halls only the dwarven mummy’s voice can be heard above the level of a hoarse whisper… and old Stormstone rarely speaks louder than that himself.

From these secret halls, Gheres-Nekheb sends out spies and assassins to the lands of the living, keeping tabs on the ever changing politics and alliances where the Shogunate once ruled.

Hidden in the stony outcrops of the Yalon Badlands and further concealed by illusions, the front door of the vault has been sealed and presumed unopened for over 700 years – however on rare occasion those contacted by agents of the mummy lord are invited to an audience and are escorted through the main entrance. It is said that the assassin Khoutef bears one of only three keys that open this portal.



The Wooden Duck is a walled coaching inn nearly a day’s ride from Granitespire, about an hour outside of Prince’s Harbour. It has a small tavern but is mostly dedicated to 8 private and semi-private rooms and a large common room for travelers to stay overnight.

The Wooden Duck is owned by a widower who moved here from Granitespire – he is eternally on edge because back in the city he killed a silver merchant and expects the monkeys of Granitespire to swarm down upon the Duck at any moment, even decades later.

The main bartender, Hemrus, is a particularly ugly halfling with spiky bright blond hair who wears tall platform shoes to look over the bar. He is energetic and quick, and yet quiet and surly in disposition. He earns tips for his prompt service, never for his pleasant demeanor.

In addition to the bartender, the Inn maintains a staff of 4-6 additional cooks and servants who take care of horses, clean the rooms, and cook when the main cook isn’t on hand.



The crypts under the Grand Cathedral in Javelin Hill are where the faithful and powerful are interred to rest in silence. But something went wrong. Probably linked to the burial of the Lord of Sunsets, minuscule stone “eggs” managed to work their way into the stonework and packed earth of the crypts…

Unfortunately, few travel down to the lowest level of the crypts and the “great mausoleum” at its centre – otherwise they might have noted the weird stone and earth “tumours” that were growing here, consuming the dead and reconfiguring the whole structure.

But now most of the weird tumors have opened up and revealed their contents – strange insectoid creatures of elemental stone incorporating the bones and grave-goods of those buried here. Some perhaps even show some understanding of who’s bones and clothes they wear.



Psychedelic Cellar of the Stone Giants

Up in the hills there’s a small river cave where a pair of stone giants have set up their own private grow-op to supply themselves (and a few shamans and priests back “home”) with giant-scale psychedelic fungus.

The “psychedelic cellar” itself is well protected in giant terms. Stone bars block access along the river to all but the smallest of would-be thieves (halflings could be an issue), and the door to the cave is kept under lock and key. The easiest access to a would-be thief is to work their way up the icy cold stream that feeds the mushroom cave. At the tightest point, this requires about five feet of travel underwater where the cave ceiling is only an inch above the stream’s surface at best.

Of course, enterprising thieves could slip in and out of the cave this way to steal human-use quantities of psychedelics (using waterproof bags) as long as they timed their runs for when the giants aren’t in the cellar.

The two giants who live here are… predictably sketchy. Either tripping hardcore or coming down, they are at least a little paranoid about other stone giants coming to snatch their stash – or worse, telling the hill giants about their source and having a full on hill giant home invasion on their hands.



If we set the wayback machine to nearly a decade ago, there’s essentially a full year where I posted nothing but geomorphs to the blog. Behind the scenes I spent a couple of months working on geomorph concepts to figure out what format worked well enough that it was not too apparent when you moved from one geomorph to the next.

I was originally going to work with Erol Otus’ “Geomorphic Mini Dungeon Modules” format of 11 x 11 with entrances in the sixth square on each side, but it was way too obvious when you moved from one to the next – it felt like you were exploring geomorphs instead of a cohesive map.

After about a dozen designs, I settled on these 10 x 10 geomorphs with entrances on squares 3 & 8. The design caught on and there are thousands of geomorphs available on the net that use this structure now.


TL;DR: Four new geomorphs in a flashback to a decade ago, and the DungeonMorph Dice Kickstarter is going strong and moving in on $10k of the $15k target!


It is always kind of exciting being involved in a Kickstarter as it goes live. And this one is a great reminder of when I first started working on maps for the blog. It is refreshing to go back to my classic geomorph concepts and start drawing new ones again.

Doubly so knowing that they will be translated onto dice as we move forward! Joe over at Inkwell Ideas is Kickstarting 3 new sets of DungeonMorph Dice and I’m developing designs so we’ll have a Dyson map on every die in the set.

This set of 4 are (clockwise from upper left):

Barracks Dungeon Geomorph – The main feature here is a barracks room with two attached latrines and a commander’s office and quarters adjacent to it.

Tombs and Crypts Geomorph – Reminiscent of my Spiral Crypt design that was used in the Shadows of Forgotten Kings adventure, but much more compact.

Water Feature Cavern Geomorph – linking dungeons to caverns, we have a small oddly shaped lake that is used as a well and water storage in the dungeon section, and perhaps a shrine in the area to the southeast.

Large Cavern Geomorph – A larger cave to explore, with a few raised and lowered sections to it.



A small dungeon or sublevel of another dungeon, the Black Armoury is where the Mad King sealed away the Weapon after using it once in the Battle of Zayhr Mountain. The guardians of the weapon are trapped here in eternal vigilance – their own life force replaced with the energies of the Weapon itself.

The structure itself is a multi-tiered affair with stairs up and down to various sections, and a high ceilinged chamber with rough natural cliffs and ledges has an overlook that leads back to the upper hall of the armoury.

Linking the various levels and sections together is a small secret chamber – home to the Mad King’s advisor and assassin who is the elder among the Weapon’s guardians.



Back due to popular demand, we have another partially walled tavern. This tavern (even with the walls) is more suited to being in a town or city as it has no “guest rooms” per se and is strictly a tavern and not an inn.

The upstairs rooms are for the owner’s family, while the ground floor has the bar and tavern and storage. Food is cooked in a pot in the fireplace.

In the courtyard we have some space to unload goods, as well as a pair of privies by the lilac tree (to try to contain the smell).

High resolution versions with and without grid are, of course, on the blog along with the commercial use license:



While a number of the old shaft tombs of the Etturan Dynasty have been found and explored, there is one that remains a well-kept secret amongst sages, masters of dark arts, and the few adventurers who have been there. Possibly the original shaft tomb of the dynasty, or perhaps a strange discovery that became the inspiration for the ones to come – the Bottomless Tombs seem to have earned their name.

Seventy feet beneath the cluster of tombs at the entrance to this seemingly bottomless shaft are a second series of tombs. These are notable in that both sets of doors into the shaft are on the same level and same orientation (an open archway in the centre of both the east and west walls of the shaft), and that the lower set of portals are linked by a stone bridge that spans the shaft.

The central part of the so called bottomless tombs is a 15 foot x 15 foot shaft that seems to go down forever. Determining the actual depth has proven to be beyond the abilities of scrying and simple engineering, and areas of both permanent magical darkness as well as areas of anti-magic (as well as a host of hostile inhabitants) make exploring the depths of the shaft an unwelcoming idea.

High resolution version of the map, commercial use license, and the map to the upper levels of the tomb are on the blog at https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/05/09/tombs2/


The Bubble City of Oublos

The great city of Oublos-Dorren was destroyed decades ago by a massive pyroclastic flow followed up by a slower engulfing surge of lava from the Searing Mountains eruption. All of the city except for a small “bubble” almost exactly 180 feet across centred on a small temple of Lazotl – a local deity of misfortune and revenge.

The priests of Lazotl got the warnings of the impending eruption through a series of poison-induced visions and managed to erect a protective spell over their temple and a few buildings in the area through the Reliquary of Kesh, an artifact that had “fallen” into their possession.

Travel in and out of the “Bubble City” is now only achieved through magical teleportation by those who know the way, and through a glowing green magical portal on the peak of the temple of Lazotl. The portal opens up to two different places in the world above – stepping through the north side of the portal leads to a small basement shrine of Lazotl in the nearby fishing village of Ashford (which was reduced to a few homes during the Searing Mountains eruption). Stepping through the south side of the portal leads much further away, to the frozen plains at the edge of the world.

The bubble city is illuminated by this portal in a flickering green light, as well as the mix of Lazotl worshipers, thieves, and a few mercenary adventurers that use the bubble city as a “safehouse”.

PCs would most likely find the bubble city in search for the Reliquary of Kesh, or hunting for one or more of the dastardly residents of this small bubble city.

High resolution version of the map (with and without grid) is available along with the free commercial use license here: https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/05/13/oublos/


Ever since I started drawing Geomorphs, I’ve had the intention of making a dungeon that took advantage of them to have sections of the dungeon that change from visit to visit – visually based in part on the map of Lankhmar in the old Lankhmar D&D sourcebook.

Thus, every time you enter the dungeon, some sections remain the same, and some sections change. Further, due to the vagaries of geomorph design, some sections may become completely locked out in some visits, and some hard-to reach areas may suddenly be available.

My goal is to make a set of 4 or more dungeon levels that each contain 2+ geomorphs. Further expansion is easily possible by just “plugging in” a geomorph to any of the edge rooms or corridors and adding new structures that way.

And there are a LOT of geomorphs to choose from these days. There are well over a thousand of them on Dave’s Mapper these days, not counting the huge new collection being put together by myself and a number of other cartographers for the latest DungeonMorph Dice Kickstarter.

A high resolution version of the dungeon map can be downloaded from the blog at https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/05/20/geohall1/

Just got Ghosts of Saltmash and I must say, I really like the little change to artstyle from Dragonhiest to there. It's hard to put into words, but I just think the maps are really improved.


We are in the last 9 hours of the DungeonMorph Dice kickstarter – so perfect timing to release level two of the Geomorphic Halls!

This one takes a cluster of 4 geomorphs as the heart of the level. Since so many geomorphs interconnected can result in a lot of unreachable areas, there are two different staircases down from this level to level 3 (so one should be accessible), and if all else fails, there’s still that one staircase down from level 1 that bypasses level 2 completely.

I love the various configurations and neat rooms that are available for the structure thanks to the thousand+ geomorphs out there now that use this 10 x 10 design – but I also made sure to include some sections in the level that will be memorable on their own (particularly the great hall on the north side and the thin diagonal halls to the tiered chamber on the upper left).

But yeah – last 8 hours! DungeonMorph Dice. GET SOME.

Kickstarter: http://bit.ly/2XHYo0d
Geomorphic Halls Level 2: https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/05/23/geohall2/


The second map chosen by our patrons this month to be re-released under the free commercial use license is Control – a map based on a joke that I drew as part of Mapvember in 2016. This re-release brings the original map up to 1200 dpi and pure black and white.

This tomb on the edge of the desert of the gods is the resting place of four Huecuvas of unusual intelligence for their ilk, as well as a few guardian mites that served them in life and still serve them now.

In life the four Huecuvas were warlocks dedicated to four spirit nagas, all children of the same night hag who rode their father (a paladin of great will) relentlessly through the years. While treated as typical huecuvas in most respects, they retain a typical human intelligence in death and still can cast two level 1 and one level 2 spell per day.

The huecuvas are entombed in their private tombs in the leftmost chamber. They generally remain somnolent unless something disturbs the complex or their tombs, although they occasionally wander the complex when awakened by foul dreams and premonitions.

The chamber on the far right of the complex contains four pools each radiating a different colour of energy with swirling currents within the waters tracing out the shapes outlined on the map to those who inspect them closely. The circular rooms have lowered central areas filled with dirt and excrement from the mites (as well as the buried corpses of those mites that have died from the many diseases carried by the huecuvas). These night soil pits are watered occasionally from the magical pools and grow a number of edible mushrooms as well as a few less savoury fungal creatures.

Unlike most mites, the twenty or so living in the complex do not have their usual tiny complexes of secret tunnels and trap doors and thus operate pretty much in the open as caretakers and defenders of the complex – watching for invaders from the small arrow slits looking down onto the approaching path.



The black stone cliffs of Robrus loom over Rat Crater Lake – the dark stone looking perpetually wet and somehow tainted by the often rainbow-sheened waters in the crater.

The cliffs are pierced here and there by small caves – places where inclusions of softer stone have been washed away by the waters of Rat Crater when the water level here was 20 or so feet deeper. Most are narrow little crevasses and defiles, but one is significantly larger and has become home to an ogre mage and a crippled warlock who seems to be as much studying the ogre mage as working with him.

Stashed around the cave are the remains of several expeditions that disappeared in and around Rat Crater. Probably including whatever MacGuffin brought the party here to begin with.

This maps is a departure in some ways from my standard style as I was playing a lot with line weights as I worked on it. I think I’ll try again with another cave in this style, but with the heavy black outline of the cave reduced to half the thickness before it breaks up into my usual hatching.



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We are in the last 9 hours of the DungeonMorph Dice kickstarter – so perfect timing to release level two of the Geomorphic Halls!

This one takes a cluster of 4 geomorphs as the heart of the level. Since so many geomorphs interconnected can result in a lot of unreachable areas, there are two different staircases down from this level to level 3 (so one should be accessible), and if all else fails, there’s still that one staircase down from level 1 that bypasses level 2 completely.

I love the various configurations and neat rooms that are available for the structure thanks to the thousand+ geomorphs out there now that use this 10 x 10 design – but I also made sure to include some sections in the level that will be memorable on their own (particularly the great hall on the north side and the thin diagonal halls to the tiered chamber on the upper left).

But yeah – last 8 hours! DungeonMorph Dice. GET SOME.

Kickstarter: http://bit.ly/2XHYo0d
Geomorphic Halls Level 2: https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/05/23/geohall2/

I really like how these give an interesting border, a clear boundary to the set of geomorphs so they don't just spread out endlessly.

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