I draw the occasional D&D map

View attachment Leebs-Fortress-Patreon.png

Before we start posting maps for August, we still have the last of the maps voted on last month by the amazing supporters of the site through our Patreon campaign for re-release under our free commercial license. So welcome back to Leeb’s Fortress, originally released on the blog back in 2014.

The Leeb family has long maintained their hereditary holdings on a small spire east of town. Although not a rich family, the fact that the holdings include a small fortress that overlooks the fields down in the valley has ensured that the family name is remembered and that they are treated far better than their economics would normally allow.

But this spring the drake arrived, killing Henry Leeb and his three sons, and trapping the remaining family (and their servant in the fortress. The townfolk wouldn’t really have cared all that much, except that once it had eaten the Leeb boys, the drake began plundering the flocks of sheep from the area. Now it’s a problem. And of course, where there’s a dragon, there has to be treasure!


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The Iron Obelisk weeps in near silence – the pools of ichor growing around it, fed by its melancholy nature. The ichors seep down and flow where underground waters should, tainting the darkness with the ennui and melancholy of the pillar of iron. Slow grinding noises are heard nearby, as if the world is changing itself – pulling away as far is it can from the source of this ichor. The wound where the Iron Obelisk sits has grown forming a cave nearly 200 feet across where the world tries to isolate the rusted spike within it.

The Iron Obelisk has many powerful uses. Flakes of rust taken from the area around it and ground to dust make sleep spells incredibly more potent, whereas rust taken from the Obelisk itself can be used to counter most forms of mind control and charms. Bits of iron taken along with this rust can be worked into somber weapons and armour that spread their melancholic nature to their bearers, but also to their foes.

But those who touch the iron obelisk itself or the black ichor are cursed with the yearning sadness of the device. They will seek out places underground where the ichor can be found, and while the ichor does nothing to sate or alleviate the sadness, it calls to the cursed and bathing in it will indeed remove any other curses or diseases the target is afflicted with.

In fact, when adventuring underground, those cursed by the obelisk or the ichor will often find themselves in proximity with the ichor – even if it shouldn’t be there. There is a 25% chance that any adventure leading them underground will lead them to the black ichor in some way. It will replace water in dungeons and adventures, and will seem ominously ever-present until the curse is broken.


I know the perfect spot for that in my megadungeon.

Thank you.


And if someone gets the curse of the Black Ichor, suddenly they stop finding water in the megadungeon, as even water they had found before is now replaced with the Ichor until they break the curse...

Speaking of which!


Those cursed by the black ichor find themselves unable to avoid it – as if drawn to it. For those seeking to break this curse there are esoteric sages who will recommend remedies of drops of the sun’s ocean consumed on the warmest day of winter, or of travelling to the Empire of Locusts and consuming the head of their king and so on – but there are several who will finally point them to the mountain home of Onninhil Reconciler, an ancient hag who guards a passage to the underworld where the black river flows.

Somwhere behind her home, surrounded and guarded by the melancholic black ichor, is a small font of pure water that resists contamination and that when drunk from can finally break the curse of the Iron Obelisk.

Beyond Onninhil herself, there are a number of guardians within the caves. A cairn contains the remains of the warlord Arvuk Vuldag who died here rather than drink from the font and cure himself of the taint of the Obelisk and who will rise to slay any who dare to follow through where he failed. Small humanoids live in a secret cave near the entrance, hiding from their own shadows that have left them and now guard the caverns. One of the caves also holds the throne of Furykeeper Javzatu with her mighty axe “Reclaimer” – a queen of the old tribes, her skeleton is nearly twice as tall as a modern human and her axe is of the same scale.

Finally there is the font – a small trickle of fresh water down fungus-covered rocks to a fountain pool that is fouled with scum, bubbles, and slimy growths. Drinking from this font is extremely unhealthy, but is indeed one of the few ways to break the curse of the Iron Obelisk.

(With apologies to Zzarchov Kowolski, who ran a great Neoclassical Geek Revival game recently from which several elements of this map were drawn.)



First Post

And if someone gets the curse of the Black Ichor, suddenly they stop finding water in the megadungeon, as even water they had found before is now replaced with the Ichor until they break the curse...

Speaking of which!

More awesome. I can slot that into the megadungeon easily, too. I don't know where yet, but the hag might work best if I place her home some place in the early levels to function as either an enemy or an NPC questgiver.


The Isle of Clover

Near the centre of Whispering Turtles Lake are a number of small rocky islands capped with trees. The second largest of these has been home to the small settlement of Clover since the lakeside community of Burhuie was sacked during the great war and most of the survivors escaped into the lake in a mix of rowboats and fishing craft.

Until then, the fisher folk of Burhuie avoided the Isle of Clover because of the accursed elven ruins there. Today those ruins have been repaired and massive runes of defense and strength carved into the fortifications by the dwarves who helped settle here (although there are no longer any dwarves on the island, as they were just a single family at the time). No one lives within the fortifications proper, but they are maintained for emergencies and used for storage.

The people of Clover are fishers and farmers, mostly human with a bit of elven blood in the mix. The town has no actual “government”, but a significant voice is given to Acdad Yim, a resident who left the island in his youth and returned with a not insignificant sum of gold, some interesting treasures, and a potent grasp of sorcery.



Old Herlihy Farm has been abandoned for a few years. It was a few weeks since anyone had seen France Herlihy at the marketplace before anyone went out to the secluded farmhouse to find she had expired in her sleep. With no Herlihys left in town, the livestock was split up between a few local farmers, and no one paid the site any more attention as it slowly collapsed.

But now the Gutbound goblin gang has moved in. They are on the run from the most fierce of all things, a goblin paladin trained as a hunter of his own kind. Who knows what crimes a goblin has to commit to be hunted down by his kin in this manner, but the Gutbound goblin gang did them.

Now they are hiding in the secret basement of a burned down outbuilding on the Herlihy Farm. Trying to keep their heads down and out of trouble until the paladin Gomox moves on to hunt for them elsewhere. But the Gutbound aren’t the most clever of creatures, and it isn’t hard to find the trail beaten into the grass where they travel from their secret refuge to the old rain barrels in the collapsed barn to collect water.



Word came back from some fishermen that there was a cog beached at Banana Bay – one of the few decent approaches to Esborough Island. So we loaded up a small expedition to check it out – it is usually pretty hard to get any of the locals to head to Esborough because of all the “haunted” ruins about the place, but their willingness to loot / rescue the ship was enough to motivate them and thus finally gave us the chance to explore the place a bit also.

But the boat was in even worse shape when we arrived – the port side burned through roughly midship, with the ruined interior of the ship laid bare to the elements. As the locals started digging through the wreckage, we climbed up the low cliff face and up to the ruined tower that looks down on the bay. Within we found the burned bodies of a half dozen sailors, and the first of the cinder wraiths. They look like smoke with embers floating within them, vaguely humanoid in form. They travel on the wind, they strike with fierce anger and a fiery hatred for the living.

We left several of our people behind as we abandoned the island again to the burning dead. They can keep the cog, and whatever was in that locked chest in the tower...



Up on a steep face, by the northern fire mountain, we found what we had been looking for – a cleft into the mountain that lead not to a natural cave, but to a construction of the ones we call the morlocks.

The narrow cleft lead to a trapped chamber that struck us with an invisible force from all sides, snuffing our torches and forcing us to rely on the light granted by Zuul, opener of the ways, to progress. The main passage within was round in cross section, but with a flat floor. Metal doors blocked further access within. (Who has such steel that they might use it for doors? surely these are the tombs of the steel makers who already know the riddle of steel – our kin have only just learned the art of iron working!)

The steel makers are probably the ancestors of the degenerate morlocks. Within these tombs we found a number of funerary urns of finest steel and absconded with them to bring back to the people. There were other marvels too – strange gems strung together on copper wires, vast vats of strongest wine, and glass pillars reaching from floor to ceiling. We believe that perhaps the smallest room is a magical access to areas above or below this one – but tomb robbers who explore too much instead of running when they have found the riches they can carry quickly become the entombed, so we left before exploring more.

(Being the description of finding a small and seemingly abandoned high tech structure in the mountains – we are tribesfolk on the cusp of the iron age in Zzarchov Kowolski’s Neoclassical Geek Revival RPG, and find all this exciting and yet mystifying.)



More Barrow Mounds of the Lich & Famous

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

This set of tomb maps go from simple single-chambered mounds to multi-chambered mounds and finally to a pair of mounds that incorporate multiple crypts and passages such as “Shadow Dragon’s Tomb” on the lower right.



A few miles from the nearest outposts of civilization, just over those hills to the west of here, are the old estates of the Trent family. Sitting almost smugly on a hill in the midst of overgrown hedge mazes and fallow fields is the manor of “Mad” Fenrick Trent. Sure the first parts of the structure were initially built by his grandfather, and the last Trents to live in it were his great-grandchildren, but Mad Fenrick is the Trent who put the most work into the half-fortified squat monstrosity.

Of course, a massive cobbled together and defensively structured manor like Mad Fenrick’s Manor doesn’t stop with just the main level and a few towers. In the main courtyard of the manor is a set of stairs that originally lead to the Trent family crypt, but that now connects to a small dungeon (as well as Mad Fenrick’s Root Cellar, Mad Fenrick’s Family Crypt, Mad Fenrick’s U-Store-It, and Mad Fenrick’s Large Rodent Repository, of course).

With the manor grounds now abandoned, who knows the sorts of things that crawl about beneath the old manor house. Whatever they are, they are probably very lonely and would love to play with any visitors.

Originally drawn in 2014, Mad Fenrick's Manor has been cleaned up and re-released under a free commercial use license thanks to the amazing people supporting my work through Patreon.

High resolution versions (both with and without grid) and the free commercial use license can be found on the Dodecahedron at https://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/release-the-kraken-on-mad-fenricks-manor/


It was the way of the Etturan Dynasty to show the might and connection to the earth of the rulers to dig out underground complexes to serve as tombs. Some tombs were fairly simple affairs, dug down as far as they could manage before the ruler’s death. Others were more massive undertakings – complexes of tombs, crypts, temples and shrines dug into the native stone of the land.

Prince Delan’s Tomb is one of the Etturan Dynasty’s “lost tombs” – roughly 40 tombs who’s locations were lost with the burning of the Tarek Archives. The tomb itself is a style that was made popular by a much earlier Etturan King, with various structures built off a central shaft. During construction wooden scaffolding was assembled in the shaft in order to climb from one level to another. Once Prince Delan was entombed the wooden structure was burned away leaving the central shaft with no easy means of accessing the other portions of the complex.

Much to the chagrin of anyone exploring the site now, sections of the tombs have collapsed, and foul beasts have moved into the bottom of the shaft and live in the walls down there making anything that dangles down to the bottom a danger.

Grab the 1200 dpi version of this map from the blog post at https://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/2018/09/03/prince-delans-shaft-tomb/


Few (sane) adventurers are aware of the frightening alien intelligences that live on the other planets. Even those that doe are generally unaware that some of these creatures have access to planar travel as well as interplanetary travel. The maddening brain-stealing fungi from Yuggoth are the perfect example of something no adventurer expects to run into on the Astral.

So, what better place to experiment on captive brains?

This free-floating structure is controlled by a massive collection of brains that the Mi-Go have assembled into some sort of brain cluster. A few Mi-Go may be present at any time, as well as a few orderlies (typically strong creatures like ogres who have had Mi-Go brains grafted into their heads). The rest of the population are a mix of kidnapped people lucky enough to still have their own brains; kidnapped bodies used as a chassis for other kidnapped brains; and a few classic “brains in a jar” to round out the mix – all subject to horrifying and bizarre experiments testing the limits of the standard human / elven / halfling / dwarven brains.


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.

The central part of these 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.

But this map concentrates on the tombs around the upper portion of the shaft. A total of seven tomb structures have been cut into the shaft at this area, including the Vault of Kezamdomnus which is accessed via the basement of the long-ruined Temple of Shol-Gath. These tombs and crypts are in turn protected by the inherent danger of the central shaft, as well as their own traps, magical guardians, and sometimes even the undead remnants of their inhabitants.



The Bronze Vault is a small, multi-level complex cut into the Jappa Slopes and connected to one of the small cavers that dot the hillsides. Once connected to a small watchtower that was built too close to the edge, getting into the complex typically means climbing to the ruins as the door between the cave and the complex is locked, barred, and now rusted shut.

In-game, the complex fills the role of any classic “dungeon in the wilderness” setting – a place where civilization once held sway but is now home to monsters hiding in the roots of our achievements. In the grand tradition of the Moldvay Basic D&D set, this is where hobgoblins would hide their prisoners captured from the nearby town; perhaps home to a small cult that cannot worship publicly in civilized areas; or the destination for a treasure map that the party found in a previous adventure.

Personally, I like the treasure map angle – making the secret chamber in section B right by the entrance the treasure room, but with the map showing how to get there from the cave entrance instead of the upper entrance.



From the Tombs of the Ancient kings in Narnia (from the Horse and His Boy) and the Barrow-Downs in the Fellowship of the Ring, the trope of exploring ancient tombs and barrows (accidentally or on purpose) is one deeply rooted in our fantasy sources.

Usually the tombs contain something useful (sometimes merely shelter from pursuit or the elements, other times grave goods of ancient lords) and even more frequently the residents of these barrows are less than happy to share their homes and their treasures with living interlopers.

Today I've posted an additional nine crypts, barrows, and tombs ranging from single rooms to small complexes. Combined with the two previous offerings in the series, this brings us to 24 barrow mounds for all occasions - and the perfect excuse to break out a d24 to see which one the adventurers have stumbled across.



“Caves in the hills? Ach, there may be a place – we call em the travellers caves. Twisty, up and down, easy to get confused in. An’ they go deep, way deeper then any sensible person would go. So yeah, if you really think there’s beasties in caves ’round here, that’s where I reckon they’d be hiding.”

The Travellers Caves are a small complex of winding multi-tiered caves and chambers which bear the evidence of several previous tenants over the years – from animal scat and hair to old broken boxes and cold, quiet campsites.

One narrow passage leads down from the complex into deeper caverns...

This map was drawn on fairly dark paper in a lovely little travel notebook using black gel pens. The dark colour of the paper made scanning a little rough and a bit uneven in places.


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