I draw the occasional D&D map

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A “basement tavern”, the Fire Beetle is built underneath “Trinkets & Secrets”, a fortune-teller’s storefront and the closest thing to a “magic shop” as you’ll find in Letath.

The Fire Beetle Ale House is a classic fantasy tavern – dark, windowless, smokey, serving ale and whatever hot stew is on that day. Entry is by a set of stairs down practically underneath the entrance to Trinkets & Secrets. As expected, it has an anachronistic bar with a grizzled but friendly bartender behind it, some booths for quiet discussions, and a pair of private rooms for meeting mysterious strangers in or handing over ill-gotten gains.

Behind the bar is the owner’s office, a storage room, and access to the owner’s upstairs apartment. Sharing the upstairs with the owner’s apartment (but with no common access) is Trinkets & Secrets – home to a fortune-teller and their spouse, with a room for private seances (and for examining trinkets being pawned off here) as well as a small store where charms, medallions, and lucky trinkets can be bought (and a moderate selection of spell foci and components).

High resolution versions of the map with and without grid (along with the commercial use license) can be found at the blog: https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/06/06/firebeetle/

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Potent wizards locked away in their towers working on mighty magics… This is the way it has been in tales, and thus this is the way many wizards operate to this day. Ahsryn Spire is such a wizard’s tower, erected to provide a safe space for wizardly work far enough from civilization that no one should take too much interest, and defensible enough that if they do take interest there’s very little they can do.

Fingers of otherworldly minerals reach up from the roof of the tower, drawing energies down from the ether into this world – charging strange magics and empowering spells beyond their normal boundaries.

“The wizard of Ashryn Spire” seems to be a child – maybe in their early teens. Some say the wizard does not age, but those who remember the construction of the tower suggest that the wizard seems to be aging very slowly… and in reverse of the common methodology of growing older.

Only other wizards and their ilk have ever been seen visiting the tower – usually arriving via magic or unusual conveyances such as lightning-strike chariots, standing on the backs of a flock of miniature pegasi, and so on. The general assumption is that the wizard of the spire’s primary guests are from other worlds – places known by nicknames such as the Yellow Hells, the Land of Ink, and the Infinite Violet Sea.


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Oubliette of the Forgotten Magus


An abandoned throne room, flanked by cobweb-covered statues, this dungeon was designed and dug out to be something far grander than it is now.

Originally dug out for access to the underground river here, these dungeons are damp and quiet, home to massive cave spiders that hunt blind fish in the river. And of course, the Forgotten Magus. Paranoid and arachnophobic, the long-dead magus hides in one of the two small “closet” spaces in the dungeon, occasionally running from one to the other when his paranoia overtakes him and he can sit in one place no longer.

A desiccated husk of his former self, he still wears his finest robes and wizard hat. He knows the ins and outs of the dungeon and caves and can travel them at remarkable speed (even better if adventurers have killed the cave spiders already, clearing his route).

Of course, he knows why adventurers are here… they seek the magic jewel that he taps for his arcane powers! Thus when on the run, he scatters the occasional gem behind him to distract, and isn’t against including the occasional bead from his necklace of fireballs in the mix.


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The Tomb of Za'az


Designed after multiple iterations and revisions over weeks of painstaking design by the magus Braincain007 in the land of Reddit, the Tomb of Za’az was then recreated by the drug-addled crafthall halflings of clan Logos.

A classic “dungeon for the sake of a dungeon”, the Tomb of Za’az has never been home to the mythical Za’az, and only achieves the title of Tomb because of the two adventurers who died here in a previous delve. It is a manifestation of the archetypal “place where the MacGuffin is hidden” and contains prisons, pits, chambers of pillars for no good reason, curtains, a swimming pool, a shrine, and all the other amenities expected of a dungeon that manages to stick to a straight grid design throughout.


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Geomorphic Halls - Level 3


This is the third level of the Geomorphic Halls, a dungeon designed around my dungeon geomorph design to produce levels that have specific waypoints and landmarks, but also areas that shift and change between visits.

As we continue down into the Geomorphic Halls I get to experiment with different types of configurations. This level uses 4 geomorphs loosely scattered around the level – but in a tight mess of corridors, rooms and other connections. This particular map does something I generally avoid and fills up almost every available nook and cranny of a letter-sized page.

As with the other levels of this dungeon, you can use any of the geomorphs from my own Geomorph Mapping Challenge, or the thousands of other compatible designs from sites and blogs all around the net.


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Red Talon's Lair


Cut from the stones of the Weirding Mountains by the drowned priests to craft a gateway for their mad god, this small complex has been “abandoned” for a few hundred years since the collapse of their order.

All the masonry of the complex was made of red stone brought up piece by piece by the Firestand scavengers from those undersea ruins. In the intervening years, much of the masonry has fallen or been removed, leaving the complex a mix of grey stone of the mountains interspersed with blood-red halls and walls in the various chambers.

In modern days, the old space has been taken over by the Talon clan of wererats as they stick their whiskers into crime and espionage throughout the realm. They generally ignore the unholy detritus of the Drowned Priests, as most previous inhabitants have… But one old wererat, Red Talon himself, started quietly collecting small stone idols and masonry with odd writing on it a few years ago, and is now quite mad – possessed by the urges of the mad god.

It is only a matter of time before he starts to look for a way to open the way between the worlds. Presumably it would be here, within the ancient complex of the drowned priests… but wererats are sneaky and perhaps in an attempt to hide this from his kin, he might instead attempt to part the way and invite the mad god under the streets of one of the cities that the Talon clan operates within…


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Isle of Kheyus


There are many small independent island cities in the Copper Seas that I have visited in my attempts to navigate out of those quiet and confusing waters. Today we look at the Isle of Kheyus, where the remnants of ancient civilizations have the locals cowed and eking out a living in fear of the past coming back to haunt them.

Kheyus was once home to a massive city of some ancient civilization that covers much of the northern end of the island. The city has been reduced to ruins down to the stone of the island itself, but throughout the islands people have found bits and pieces of ancient artifacts and the occasional defensive construct defending tombs and treasures…

The city of Kheyus sits at the outlet of the main river of the island and ekes out a living from the Copper Seas and subsistence farming in the river valley. The people of Kheyus are openly hostile to “explorers” and “adventurers” seeking treasure and ancient history in the ruins to the north – more than once have the defensive constructs of that city (awakened by nosy explorers) threatened the city and farmlands here, and one on occasion an ancient plague was released that killed nearly a third of the populace.

But adventurers still come, and the strange crystalline structures on some of the islands have been farmed for crafting magic wands and orbs and attract magi and craftsmen. And the people of Kyni Bay (the walled town in the bay south of the great ruins) are also aware of the ruins of a lost city in the mountains that they keep secret from travellers and adventurers – for unlike the ruins, the lost city is still mostly intact, and they worry that far more powerful constructs are hidden away there defending ancient vaults.

1200 dpi versions of the map are available from the blog in colour, greyscale and B&W - https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/06/24/kheyus/

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Letath, City of the Academy


Every month we go through our back catalog of maps and the many patrons over on Patreons vote on which two should be re-released under the free commercial use license. For older maps I also work on upgrading the quality of the scan where possible.

Letath is a city that appeared in my “From Winterspire to Yoon-Suin” campaign a few years ago. It is a trading city on the eastern shore of the Persimmon Sea and is home to a major “military academy” where mercenaries are trained in exchange for 4 years of service in one of Letath’s two mercenary companies.

The presence of the best known military academy in the Alliance or the Satrapy has attracted a lot of people seeking training. A number of nobles in the city have started their own smaller training operations, and just about every noble in town is either retired military or the head of a small mercenary company of their own.

Youngsters from around the realms are shipped here for training in the various households around town – those with connections getting private instruction from the noble houses, others signing up at the academy.


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The Court of Summer Wines


The Court of Summer Wines is a well-to-do establishment that offers a wide selection of wines imported from near and far as well as a fruits, breads and sweets to be paired with such.

The food menu varies daily based on what is available in town, but Haspar (the owner) works hard to maintain a constant supply for his wine and drinks menu. The venue stopped serving harder liquors and brandies after one too many occasions where people would move on from wine to hard drink late in the night causing any number of brawls, damages and general unruliness.

During the summer, much of the drinking and eating takes place in the courtyard of the structure with the fountain in the centre bubbling away quietly. During the hottest months, canvas coverings are pulled over much of the courtyard to provide shade from the hot summer sun (because drinking in the sun often results in headaches and stomach aches, the management tries their best to increase sales with nice cool spaces).

Finally, the Court also has a few rooms for rent at most times. Only Haspar Ruggles and his best cook live on site, with the rest of the staff coming in to work every day – leaving a pair of rooms for rent on the east side of the structure. Currently the smaller of the two rooms is rented out to Krivotos, a centaur who was recently reincarnated into the form of a human and who is now trying desperately to fit in with “regular” civilization. He is a great source of information about the eastern forests and the druids therein.

1200 dpi versions (with and without grid) are at the blog -

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The Half-Cask Tavern


Up near the docks, between the Clinkers district and the docks themselves is the Half-Cask. In an area known for its inns and taverns, the Half-Cask presents a very traditional “drinking hall” environment, making it popular with locals and travellers alike.

The Half-Cask is a friendly single-story tavern / drinking hall of fairly traditional design. Stone foundations and lower walls are topped with raw timber walls and a heather-thatched roof. Operating without a “bar” per se, clients order drinks (and sometimes food) from the staff who work the room.

The owner, Amina Donisi, tells many tall tales of adventures, distant lands, strange islands, and improbable monsters. These aren’t actually her own experiences, as she has never been more than a few hours outside of the city – but are amalgamations of stories told by other visitors & clients of the establishment.

The main entrances to the Half-Cask are on the north side of the structure, as far as possible from the fireplace. In the winter, the south door is usually blocked to prevent people from coming in there so the main room remains nice and warm in front of the roaring fireplace.

1200dpi versions (with and without grid) along with the free commercial use license are at https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/03/halfcask/

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the Vanshiro Reliquary


A quiet structure for the contemplation and learning about the life and trials of the paladin Eneshra and their eventual transformation into the dragon Vanshiro who flew into the west and who’s occasional returns to these lands are a mix of myth, hearth-tales, and the one time it landed on this very hill to speak to the Grand Eclesiast and deliver the three emerald scales.

Four generations later there is no longer a Grand Eclesiast at all. One of the scales was used and destroyed in the Battle of Long River, another went missing with the last Grand Eclesiast who travelled south to find the Eye of Kin. The final scale is supposedly still here, kept under guard by the small number of faithful priests and paladins who maintain the reliquary.

A 1200dpi version of the map along with the free commercial use license are at https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/08/vanshiro/

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The Ruins of Greymail Clanhold


Greymail Clanhold has fallen. Word of the tragedy has only recently made it down from the mountains, but the stories paint a bleak picture of the hold being invaded and the dwarves destroying much of the structure to keep it out of the invaders’ hands.

But that is only part of the tale. There are still dwarves once of the clan in the ruins. They survived the siege through cannibalism and they were the ones responsible for collapsing the extensive hold to deny it to their foes – killing most of the non-combatants of the clan in the process.

These guilt-wracked survivors hate themselves more than anything and only survive out of a twisted need to defend what is left of the clanhold – and yet they are still the only ones destroying it. In the time since the siege and fall, they have smashed the statue of the clan founder by the entrance and dragged the larger parts out of the clanhold to throw them down into the ravine below.

The survivors are in great pain, and seek their own deaths defending the clanhold one last time.

1200 dpi version of the map and commercial use license are at the blog post - https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/11/greymail/

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This is the fourth level of the Geomorphic Halls, a dungeon designed around my dungeon geomorph design to produce levels that have specific waypoints and landmarks, but also areas that shift and change between visits.

This is the final level of the Geomorphic Halls – except for that one small tunnel that has been dug out to the west, leading perhaps to other complexes or the fabled “underdark”.

The east side of this level of the complex is a span of natural caves and a quiet lake which in turn is home to a small island at the base of spiral stairs that descend from the low ceiling (and from the level above).

As with the other levels of this dungeon, you can use any of the geomorphs from my own Geomorph Mapping Challenge, or the thousands of other compatible designs from sites and blogs all around the net.

1200dpi version of the map, along with links to the other three levels and many many geomorphs to fill it are available here - https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/15/geomorphic-4/

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Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide Perspective Map


When I got a copy of the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide some 33 years ago, it was a flood of information, rules I would consistently ignore, scraps about the underdark for the first time since the D series of adventures…

And a collection of pages at the back on drawing perspective-based maps. Not the isometric (axonometric) projections of Castle Ravenloft, but grids set at various perspectives and rotations along with instructions on photocopying and cutting them up, or tracing them in order to draw multi-tiered maps of some of the larger spaces in the underdark.

33 years later, I finally did it.

I ended up choosing a grid that looks a lot like an isometric projection instead of a perspective piece, and following the directions for tracing the grid for a section, then moving the grid and tracing the next section produces very… vertical separations between elevations.

The end result is a multi-tiered open space to explore – a large uneven “cave” (that has definitely been modified by the residents over the ages) with ramps and stairs between sections.

I’m definitely going to take another shot at this using a grid that has a stronger perspective and probably a smaller space to try to make something more like a traditional cavern. But I’m spectacularly happy with this piece, and glad that I finally drew it after 33 years of “planning to draw it”.

The 1200 dpi final map can be downloaded at the blog post - https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/18/dungeoneers-survival-guide-perspective-map/

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Nearly a decade ago I spent most of a year drawing and posting geomorphs to this blog. This year’s Kickstarter for a new series of DungeonMorph dice from Inkwell Ideas brought me back to drawing them again… with the slight stylistic improvement of a decade of experience.

Clockwise from top left we’ve got:
Shrine / Temple complex with secret reliquary.
Forge / Workshops
Magic Pool
Crypts / Tombs

And of course, while these geomorphs work great with each other (and the thousand or so compatible morphs collected by Dave @ www.davesmapper.com ) but also with the four dungeon levels of the Geomorphic Halls.

1200 dpi versions of the geomorphs are of course on the blog - https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/25/geomorphs4/

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The Crypt of the Smith


Drawn back at the end of 2015, I've upped the resolution on this map and am re-releasing it today.

The Smith’s Reliquary was crafted from heavy blocks of stone banded together with huge bands of steel that wrap around the structure like the hoops on a barrel. These bindings have rusted through the two hundred years this reliquary has stood, discolouring the stone of the building as well as the walkway and the cobbled street that passes along it.

The central chamber within is the reliquary itself, with a massive anvil in the centre of the space, flanked by tools and half-complete weapons and iron hardware of immense size. The back of the chamber is a huge furnace, long cold but for a few coals that are kept burning by the priests, replaced every few hours as they burn out.

Behind the central chamber is the resting place of the Smith. Either a mighty titan of the craft, or possibly an actual godling struck down somehow. But the sarcophagus is a lie, and within it is but the corpse of a stone giant embalmed and secured against grave robbers.

The true tomb of the Smith is hidden deep beneath this structure. In the priests’ chambers on the left side of the map is a small secret door behind which is a secure area containing a key as well as a variety of minor artifacts of the church (the first nail crafted by the Smith, a hammer head that has been shattered from heavy use, leather tongs that held his works, and so on). The key in turn unlocks the secret door hidden beneath the anvil in the main reliquary. But first one has to pull the four massive iron bolts that hold it in place and then slide this hundred-ton piece of steel aside.

Beneath the trap door is a set of stairs leading down to a natural cave with heavy and poisonous sulfuric fumes bubbling up through mud pits. The whole cave is wet and hot and oppressive. At the far side across a small bridge over the mud pits is the actual tomb of the Smith with a shaft of blackest obsidian through his chest – still breathing, but never waking.

1200 dpi versions of this map, with and without grid, can be downloaded at https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/28/smith-kraken/

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The Frogs' Reliquary


Even bullywugs have saints, holy frogs, and sanctified leaders and allies. They aren’t common, and they are revered. This bullywug reliquary dates back to the rule of the Verdant Administrant and The Empire of Gold.

The reliquary itself is collapsing into a much deeper dungeon. It can be entered from the jungle entrance in an old bullywug temple, or by climbing up out of the deeper levels below. But getting into the reliquary proper to acquire the holy relics within requires collecting the Agate, Jade, and Lapis keys that are sealed into tombs around the space.

High resolution copies with and without the notation are on the blog - https://dysonlogos.blog/2019/07/29/frogs/

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The Phoenix Diadem


Portals between worlds are crafted from potent materials in places where the energies of the world intersect with that of other places. Sometimes these ‘ley lines’ are conveniently found where the sky meets the earth and the portals can be built on the surface of the world itself.

But more often they meet in places deep or high. And thus we build “dungeons”.

The Phoenix Diadem is such a place – built beneath the world and linking it to other places. But it is not just a portal; it serves as a prison to those whom it calls forth. There is insufficient space here for the great birds who fly in the liminal worlds between the planes of water and air (referred to as the para-elemental planes by some sages learned in the ways of the many worlds). Within the diadem they find themselves trapped, forced to subservience in order to be able to return to the cold skies of their world.

Even without the spells and rituals to summon forth the great para-elemental birds, the placement and design of the Phoenix Diadem allows things to “leak through” between worlds. Smaller elemental phenomenon occasionally breach into the diadem, and some unfortunates have also been lost here, having “successfully” pushed through from the Prime to the homes of these creatures.


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The Old Turnip Inn


We don’t know why we call it the Old Turnip… it’s just always been the Old Turnip. Well, I guess about 30 years ago it was the Old Turnip Eatery and Inn, but that didn’t last.

You can tell it is old just walking past. The windows are out of square now as the building has settled over the years, and it still has a small outbuilding for horses from when this was the East Gate district, before the new curtain walls were built under Geoffrey the Bold’s rule.

With only two fireplaces, the upstairs gets a little cold in the winter, but the rooms are cheap and the blankets are warm. The current owner, Haknoi, is an unusually thin dwarf who is rumoured to buy liquor and ale stolen from other inns in the city.

The woodwork is old and stained from ages of use and abuse, but a close look will note old sigils against the undead, dark magics, and the evil eye inscribed into many surfaces, including the undersides of all the tables.


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