I draw the occasional D&D map


This hex sits to the lower-right of Baraloba and is mostly a forested hex cut through by the road that leads from Baraloba to the distant Citadel on Sabre Lake.

Along the road we run into a few classic items for a D&D game – there’s a large farm near Baraloba itself , a trail leading off to an abandoned logging camp to the north, and finally Strickson’s Auberge, a traveller’s inn roughly 9 miles outside of Baraloba (about three hours travel time). North of Strickson’s Auberge is another of the ancient giant’s towers overlooking the inn and valley, now slowly collapsing.

Southwest of Strickson’s Auberge is a clearing in the woods with a single massive tree at it’s centre. A trail leads deeper into the woods from the tree, probably to another town, or perhaps the base of a small group of humanoids who host their religious activities at the tree.

To see the rest of the hexes in the Baraloba and Environs hexmaps, head over here: https://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/maps/multi-page-dungeons/baraloba-and-environs/

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After cutting through the Badlands of Slate, the Hewbank meanders through the slate hills to the east of Baraloba. This stony environment has the Hewbank meander significantly and form into small lakes where small valleys present themselves between the hills.

Another of the old giant watchtowers sits overlooking farmer’s fields on the east side of this area, and another smaller druidic farming community is nestled between forest and lake in the middle of the hex, only a few hundred yards from a massive set of standing stones that acts as the “anchor” to their community. The druids and the farmers both make use of the trading opportunities in Baraloba and generally don’t see much in the way of visitors to their own properties.

At the south edge of the map is Small Cheese Lake which was once good for fishing in, but in the last thirty years the fishing has died out here – forcing the two trolls who live in the secret cave nearby to head southeast to find more food (as they avoid both the Druids and Baraloba because they know they don’t have the trollpower to take on either settlement).

I've also included a map showing all five of the existing Baraloba hexmaps linked together.



Quebec City, 1666, with magic of course.

This is the setting for the Sugar Shack Slaughter, one of the two adventures in “The Scenario from Ontario“. Written by the remarkably Kiel Chenier, the adventure takes place in the area around Quebec City presented here.

Each hex in the map is 1/4 mile across – so if sticking to good terrain an adventuring party could travel 24 hexes in a day. Which just goes to show how big modern cities are – the location marked “Maple Ooze” on the map is actually within modern Quebec City (pretty much at the intersection of Boulevard Valcartier and Rue de la Riviere Nelson – there’s a convenience store there and I bet they have those gooey maple sugar cones that are ubiquitous candy throughout the region).

As a fantasy cartographer, it is always kind of intimidating to tackle a real world location in a map. You KNOW you aren’t going to get it perfect, and with real world locations people might actually notice what’s wrong as opposed to thinking that you did it that way on purpose. Mark Richardson (who draws the maps for the 7th Sea RPG as well as for the Government of Canada) aimed me at a database of topographical maps of Canada that really helped with this piece.

Over on the blog I’ve included a second version of the map with the sugar bush and maple ooze banners removed, although the ooze and its path are still visible (since I drew them on the map in ink as I was making it unlike the banners which were added in photoshop afterwards). Printed at letter or ledger size, the map looks great and will help in running the adventure in question, or can easily be repurposed for any other settlement along a major river.


Temples and churches are a fairly common sight in a city, but few maintain a standing military force without having a massive structure or complex to house them in. In the case of Keegan’s Temple, the finances were not available to build a massive church / temple / armoury complex. Instead a smaller temple was built in a walled compound donated to the church.

The compound has a main gate and a smaller postern gate for servants and deliveries. Wooden structures along the walls serve as stables, kitchens and barracks. The temple itself is often busy and also fairly exclusive to the order of lawful warrior-priests who reside and base there, so a smaller shrine has been built into the south wall for those who wish to give thanks to or petition the god of this temple without entering into the compound proper.

Beneath the temple itself is a small reliquary and crypt where fallen soldiers and aged priests have been interred and commemorated.


As Canadian as Maple Syrup!

This is the setting for the Sugar Shack Slaughter, one of the two adventures in “The Scenario from Ontario“. Written by the remarkably Kiel Chenier, “dungeon” of the adventure is a massive hollow maple tree and tunnels among its roots.

Hollow trees are a favourite “dungeon” environment of mine, so I not only enjoyed working on these, but have a number of alternate uses planned for them for my own campaigns. The main level can work as an elven temple of some kind, with the central pool working as a scrying device or where the priests stand in order to be closer to avalon or the equivalent during their ceremonies. Or in a D&D5e campaign it can be the secret gathering places of the blights who are much more communal creatures than people think them to be…

These maps of the Blood Maple Hollow are redraws based on Kiel’s original maps. I made an effort to make it look as “tree-like” as I could manage for the level on the left, with the lower level on the right still having roots and tendrils to define the grid but being a bit more traditionally cave-like in textures as is my style.

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The fortress/dungeon of Quasqueton was not completed before the residents marched off to war against the northern barbarians. While the main floors of the structure are almost finished, the in-progress nature of the structure becomes apparent when descending into the lower level which is still mostly natural caves that remain unworked for the most part.

Access to this level is either via the stairs into the finished structures roughly in the middle of the map, or via the hole that runs down from the smithy on the upper level, through a room on the main level, and down to the small cave with the pool of water roughly 100 feet south of the finished rooms.

I’ve also included this numbered version of the map that links up with the upper level maps. The removal of the pit trap from the main level of the original map meant that I moved the icy-cold pool of water (room 50) from underneath it to being underneath the shaft leading down from the smithy area – they probably used it to get cold water for the smithing process using a now long-missing bucket and rope.

The original cavern level included several caverns that were completely unkeyed – I’ve included roughly as many, but added optional lettered keys to these caverns to make stocking it easier. I’ve also purposefully skipped the letter I to avoid confusion with the number 1 – so the lettering goes from A to H on the upper two levels and from J to L on the lower level.


When I put the maps up for voting in May for the “Release the Kraken” project, I included an old favourite of mine, the Circle of Doom. But as I was getting it ready to post today, I gave it a good hard look and just didn’t feel comfortable releasing it. I drew the Circle of Doom in 2010 (maybe even late 2009) for a Labyrinth Lord campaign I was running at the time. I drew it in pencil.

Pencil doesn’t scan well. It comes out very light or very jaggy if I enhance the contrast enough to make it dark. Also, I’ve gotten a bit better at the craft since 2009.

So I redrew it.

I’ve USED it three times now in my games, but always stocking it “on the fly” using random stocking from the various rules we were playing with at the time. The dungeon “level” itself is centred around a massive shaft some 70 feet across spanned by four bridges on four different levels. I’ve run it as a rapid delve through four dungeon levels using level-appropriate encounters at each level (appropriate to the dungeon level, not the character level). In other words, it quickly goes from a team of halflings at the beginning to 8 hungry trolls guarding the exit.

So enjoy, and please – give your players the shaft!


The sign hanging from the tavern shows a matronly woman carrying a large mug of ale while holding a finger to her lips in the near-universal symbol for being quiet. But the tavern itself is rarely quiet – it is one of the few places in town with a dedicated stage for musicians and entertainers and thus attracts a boisterous if friendly audience.

The Quiet Margose is primarily made of wood, supported by 16 heavy stone pillars. The main structure is flanked by a covered biergarten on one side, and a space dedicated to the owner’s quarters and a covered wagon entry where firewood is stored on the other. The stone pillars predate the Margose and were part of a prior structure here and still bear wards against evil from the older building. The walls are whitewashed wood, and the very high roof is made of heavy beams supporting pitch-black tiles.

The Quiet Margose is purely a tavern and offers no accommodations (although it isn’t uncommon to find or or two people “napping” at the long tables by the banked fire in the early hours of the morning). The owner, Tirril Lor, is the great-nephew of the titular Margose and books the entertainment himself – leaving the acquisition and preparation of food to the Qai twins who work the kitchen and live nearby.


Tarnos Venn had a team of dwarves cut defensive structures into the Dosetlar Cliffs during the great war. The guard tower cut into the jutting edge of the cliff still looks nearly new, but the main entrance shows the damage of war and years - there are no longer any signs of where the great door once stood, instead there is just a rough and shattered-looking entryway into the stone face itself.

Tarnos of course had the dwarves build a secret exit to get out in case the front door was held or the complex was invaded and fell, but that exit has been lost. The exit leads to a few secret chambers (once home to Tarnos' fiancee and most trusted assassin), and then to the caves behind the fortress. Those caves are most often used by those in the fortress to store items that are of low value and high "stinkiness" - particularly pickled fish and such.

Semi-ironically, the most resent residents of the fortress has been considering building their own secret exit between the fortress and the caves, either right near the cave entrance or deeper into the back gallery, where it comes within 30-35 feet of the fortress structures.


In grand underdark caverns the dark elves build their cities. The oldest families establish themselves in the more defensible positions and as close to the centre of the cavern for defensive advantage against invaders.

Today’s map is a fairly small stalagmite spire fortress. The spire is surrounded on three sides by a small fortress with a spiral ramp leading up from the fortress into and around the stalagmite. The arrows on the ramp lead upwards with a fairly aggressive angle.

One chamber dominates the interior of the spire – Accessed by visitors from the lower portions of the spire ramp, the family head receives guests and talks to them from the balcony on the next level, a good 40 feet above the floor of the chamber. Further up again are a set of galleries for other family members or assassins to listen in on conversations…


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Up in the Fox Hills is a small monastic order. They make mead and honey, study liturgical texts, and commune with their god of the harvest. The monastery grounds include a number of stout stone structures of which the Oratory of the Eleventh Blessing is usually the first seen (and typically the only structure visited by outsiders).

The oratory’s main purpose is to provide a worship and study space for the residents as well as a greeting and meeting area for guests. Tucked between these are a small number of cells for scribes to work in (and the heavy stone structure makes these cells plum work spaces in the summer, and harsh punishment in the winter).


Some cities just stink. Built over drained swampland and mostly relying on surface sewers, Uogralas is unfortunately one of the smellier urban centres of the land.

Uogralas is known as the City of the Frogs because of its swampy origins and the city's patron god, Ugrale, a great toad-like deity dedicated to brickwork, construction, and the hearth. The city is ostensibly run by Duke Sooryakan, who in turn basically runs everything past Prefect Sahint of the church of Ugrale because no edict of the Duke's will have any effect without the support and enforcement of the religious police.

Just north of the city is the walled Monastery of Raised Delights, home to a splinter group of the church of Ugrale who are exiled from the city, but otherwise accepted as long as they have no involvement in the city's politics.

Uogralas primarily exports marsh grains, a crisp watery tuber, lizard leathers, bricks, and spices collected from exotic flowers. They import lumber for boats and construction and for use as fuel, as well as meats, cheeses, and metals.


Burial mounds are a staple of fantasy games and stories. Today’s offering is a collection of nine different burial mounds for those occasions when you really need to loot a a small tomb right now.

The four lower tombs have Greek “Dromos” entrances – an “avenue” cut into the barrow hill leading to the door to the tomb itself. These avenues would be built up in stone to hold back the earth of the mound and to provide a clear route to the door. Often the end of the dromos furthest from the door would be decorated with columns or other decorations, often long gone by the time would-be tomb robbers arrive on site.


To the south of Baraloba are the Eagle Hills and the imaginatively named Eagle Hills River that runs through it from south to north before joining the Hewbank. The Eagle Hills have a mix of chalk and coal deposits that were attractive to miners. Most of the deposits have now been worked, leaving a collection of open mines and shaft mines in the area. The central point of interest in this hex is the old open chalk mine that takes up 11 of the subhexes right in the middle of the map. The hills here are bright white and are a mix of natural hills and tailings from the mining operations.

On the opposite side of the river and small lake from the mines is a boggy marshland slowly being reclaimed by the forest. If one were to dig beneath the immediate mud and water, it would be noted that the reason this area is low and doesn’t drain properly is that it too was an open mine at some point.

Further south along the river is a small drift mine that has become home to a modest group of humanoids. They keep a low profile and farm the area around the minehead, using grain stolen from caravan a decade ago as their original seed stock. There are less than a score of them living here and they take significant pains to not be noticed by the residents of Baraloba only seven miles away.


Southwest of Baraloba, the Eagle Hills continue into heavy forests. The closest thing here to Baraloba itself is yet another of the old giant’s watchtowers – although this one is not as decrepit as most of the other ruined towers in the region. A druid and their apprentice maintain the tower and keep a small herd of goats that keep the grass in the hills and vales of the area nicely clipped. A trail leads from the tower into the woods and to a massive tree in the middle of a clearing where the druids perform their rites and occasionally just engage in silent contemplation.

A little further to the west another trail leads through the woods to a very large farm / small farming community. A couple of large multigenerational families run these farms and generally try to be self-sufficient, only walking to Baraloba when they require supplies they cannot find or make on their own or with the help of the druids in the tower. The rest of the hex is unpopulated wilderness – rolling hills and a few jutting chunks of stone, expanses of dark and heavy forest teeming with wildlife, small bubbling brooks, and a lazy river looping gently through the hills.


I've also included the full set of seven hexes to show how they fit together. On a normal 6-mile-hex map these would be a village hex in the middle with (clockwise from the top) badlands & ruins hex, hills hex, forest hex, hills hex with mine, forest hex, forest hex.

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