Awhile back I posted a map, The Hidden Tomb of Slaggoth the Necromancer, Nick Whelan at Paper and Pencils contacted me and asked if he could write up a module for it. Like everything I post here, it’s free to be used by anyone so long as I get the credit for it. We emailed back and forth, but this is totally his work, all I did was draw the map that inspired him. Nick and his cohorts did a great job putting it all together. It was a lot fun getting the rough drafts as he worked on it, seeing the artwork added to it as it progressed. It is absolutely fascinating for me to see what someone else does with one of my maps. I love the cover art, and there is a picture of the rope bridge on page 7 that was a perfect match to what I saw in my mind when I drew it on the map. Nick wanted me to post his module here as well, so click this link to download it. It’s free, and I’d love to hear what anyone thinks of it. Great Job Nick, I look forward to seeing more of your work.
I was looking at some blog stats the other day and noticed some hits coming in from Wizardawn-Tabltop Games . So I went to check it out and I found this cool little Settlement Maps generator! The part I liked the most was that it was using my Village Geomorphs ! It makes some nice little villages, sometimes you get some funky mirrored image sections, but for the most part it generates some nice looking maps (of course I’m a little biased)! If you go to the Fantasy Settlements section, you can completely key and populate the map using OSRIC or Tunnels & Trolls rules. It generates a TON of details when everything is turned on.
Anyway, I am thrilled to see some of my simple drawing turned into something so awesome!! I’m sure most everyone else already knew about this, but it was something new to me. Now I am going to have to draw up some more village geomorphs and hope they get added to the generator. Below is a a village map I generated using the Settlement Maps generator, just a simple 2×2 config with no numbers. It took me about 20 to 25 tries before I got both the tower and the large Inn type building on the same map, but I like the way they break it up a little.
I want to congratulate Dyson for just going over One Million Hits!!! It sort of amazes him and he doesn’t quite understand why so many people keep checking out his stuff. In his post about this cool milestone he says, and I quote:
“WTF people? Don’t you have anything better to do than look at someone’s characters for RPGs and a bunch of single-draft hand-drawn maps with no cool high tech work involved in them?
Hell, my maps don’t even include a grid!
Now you’ve gone and brought me over the one million hit mark. It’s almost like I should keep posting to this blog or something.”
Here is my humble opinion as to why so many people keep checking in on what Dyson is doing. Simply put, his work is honest! There is an honest quality in Dyson’s work and maps, when I first came upon his blog a few years back, it was that honest quality that drew me in. His hand drawn maps, with that distinctive cross hatching style and no grid inspired me at the time. He had developed his own style and for me, after seeing it for the first time, it inspired me. It drew me in so much, that I felt a creative need to emulate it. It wasn’t that I ever wanted to copy his style, but seeing his stuff made me want to play with that type of map drawing. My geomorphs were all done in his style, but over time my style has evolved just a tiny bit.
His maps are not simplistic, but there is a simple elegance to his style of mapping that makes his maps stand out. I won’t call it “art”, as I would never dream of calling my maps “art”. Looking at Dyson’s maps though, you can see he has a keen eye for design and aesthetic, there is always a flow, along with good use of positive and negative space. Besides all that he pumps out new stuff, quality stuff like a machine. It’s not just his maps either, some of his writing and ideas are very creative as well, very much outside the “Box” so to speak.
In closing I want to say “Congratulations Dyson” for your 1 million hits thus far, but instead of saying WTF? (as in how can this be?) it should be more like WTF? (what took so long) …LOL. Keep up the amazing work Dyson!!!!!
I have always been a big fan of Matt Jackson’s work, I finally got around to ordering and downloading his Moleskin Map series (I got all three volumes for just over 10 bucks!) One of the things Matt does best is keep it simple, so his maps are very easy to use from a gaming standpoint. Since they are only available as PDF’s you can easily print them out and write notes all over them for your games.
Moleskin Maps Volume 1: There are 11 maps here each full page along with a “One Page Dungeon” style notes sheet with a smaller image of the map in the upper right hand corner. It would be easy to stock several these ahead of time and have them ready for unplanned encounters or scenarios should the need arise. Matt also has several outdoor encounter style maps of campsites, a farm type layout, a village etc. along with standard cavern and dungeon maps. The outdoor areas are something you don’t see a lot of from other mappers (Myself included) so they can come in quite handy.
Moleskin Maps Volume 2: Again there are 11 maps here, each with it’s encounter sheet as well. Most of these maps are caverns and lair maps. I love the waterfall included in the map on pages 5-6. The ruined tower linked with secret tunnels to underground caves (which themselves are linked only through secret tunnels) is another map I like.
Moleskin Maps Volume 3: Is my personal favorite of the set. There are only 10 maps in this set, but they are the best in the series. Here Matt switches to a more detailed style, there are a few simpler, smaller maps but most are larger, more complex dungeon sprawls. A lot more dungeon style maps with a mix of caverns. Lots more detail and unique angles and lines make this set of maps an absolute joy to look at.
If you struggle drawing maps, or need some maps to help create some random locations or encounters, these will help a lot. Volume 1 is $3.50, Volume 2 is $2.99 and Volume 3 is $2.99 which is reasonable to me. In my humble opinion of the entire set, Volume Three could easily be the best value. Then again Volume one has the campsites\outdoor encounter areas, hell just buy all three and be done with it…!!! Keep up the great work Matt!!!
I created this map, keyed it and stocked it over a year ago. I read in a few different blogs about the little chart for stocking a dungeon in the Moldvay Basic Dungeons and Dragons red book on page B52. So I dug out my old copy of the book and looked it up. Back in the day, we played mostly a mish-mash of rules from the Holmes blue book and AD&D, I acquired the Moldvay books later on and probably mashed in a few rules from them as well.
My intention was to create a random dungeon stocked randomly using only the red book basic rules, I was going to randomly generate the dungeon using the tables in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, but quickly scraped that way of making a dungeon. Just too complex for my simple mind. I just started drawing out some random rooms, then began to stock them using nothing but charts in Moldvay’s Basic D&D book. I generated the contents of the rooms using just the “Stock the Dungeon” chart, since it was basically a first level dungeon, I used only the “Wandering Monsters Level 1″ chart on page B53, rolling a 20-sided dice to determine the monsters. If there were monsters, I used the “Treasure Types” chart on pages B45 and B46 to determine the treasures. Using treasure charts was something I almost never did in the old days. For specials, room traps and treasure traps, I just rolled on the appropriate lists on page B52.
I stayed faithful to the charts in the book, just rolling the dice and letting the results fall where they may. It was an enjoyable experience, taking those random rolls and coming up with descriptions for each room. It seemed like each time I rolled, my imagination went into overdrive to picture the scene. For example in room 5, I rolled up 7 Traders, looking at the L-shaped room I originally drew, I pictured it to be a blacksmith workshop, the traders were hiding in there, recovering from a previous encounter that did not go so well. I saw them as being lost in the dungeon and in their current condition, could be friend or foe to a party entering the room. A perfect little back story for some completely random rolls. I did deviate once from the charts, when I rolled up the wolves in room 8, I pictured the iron cage that they had somehow escaped from only to be trapped in the room itself. Since they had been trapped in this room for so long, I decided that the wolves needed something to eat to have survived that long in the room. So I added some giant rats and the rat tunnels for those poor trapped wolves.
I left some open passages so I can come back and expand on this thing in a part 2, level 2 (or more). This was a fun experiment for me, I am glad to finally getting around to posting it. I hope you all enjoy it as well. Click on the map image for a complete 4 page PDF, which includes the map and all the room descriptions. Below the map image are the room descriptions as well. Peace Out!
Room 1: “As you get to the bottom of the long winding stairs, the room opens up; the walls go up at least 30’ to the ceiling. The air is stale and quite still. A thick layer of dust covers everything. Something moves in the opposite corner of the room…”
Damage: Bite 1-4 / Squeeze 2-8 / round
Move: 90’ (30’)
In the room there is a heavy round wooden table with three creaky wooden chairs around it. In the corner are some wooden crates and barrels.
Crate 1: Rotten apples.
Crate 2: Moldy, crusty loaves of bread.
Crate 3: Empty.
Barrel 1: Old red wine, tastes like vinegar.
Barrel 2: Stagnant, putrid water.
Barrel 3: Oil soaked rags at the bottom.
(Useful for torches)
Room 2: “This smaller room has a low two foot high pool in the very center of the room. The pool is filled with a very clear sky blue liquid that sparkles from the light of your torches. At one end of the room is a rounded stone bench along the length of the wall, it is covered with ratty, dusty animal skins.”
The liquid grants levitation to any who drink it. It can be stored and carried from the room, in small amounts. Upon returning to the room there is only a 20% chance the liquid will be in the pool.
Room 3: “This room has a large chest covered in dust and cobwebs against the wall opposite of the door. There are also two human/humanoid skeletons along with their rusty weapons and armor lying on the dust-covered floor.”
A pressure plate in the center 10’ floor section sets off a spring dart trap from the north wall, firing one dart for 1-4 points of damage. The chest contains 59 CP.
Treasure: 59 CP
Room 4: “Inside this dark and musty rooms a wooden table with two wood benches, one of which is overturned. There are also two barrels filled with brackish, stagnant water.”
Barrel 1: Nothing
Barrel 2: 7 SP, 23 CP, under the sludge at the bottom of the barrel.
Treasure: None (Other than what’s in Barrel 2)
Room 5: “The smell of smoke, coal and metal permeates this room. The light of your torches reveal work benches, stools and various tools scattered about. The room branches off to the left where you see an overturned table. A stern voice yells out, “Stop where ye stand, lest these arrows stick ye like a pig!”
A large party of fur and pelt traders is holed up here, some badly wounded from a previous encounter. They entered the dungeon and can’t find their way back out. They are not looking for a fight, but will defend themselves if attacked or provoked. HP in parentheses are current HP. There are six human traders and one halfling trader.
Move: Human 120’ (40’) Halfling 90’ (30’)
Maximus: AC: 6, HP: 7, Short Sword 1d6
Flavius: AC: 7, HP: 6 (4), Short Sword 1d6
Claudius: AC: 7, HP: 5 (3), Battle Axe 1d8
Marcus: AC: 7. HP: 4 (2), Spear 1d6
Octavius: AC: 7, HP: 4, Spear 1d6
Quintus: AC: 7, HP: 3, Mace 1d6
Bob (Halfling): AC: 7, HP: 1, Dagger 1d4
Treasure: 1 potion (Levitation), 1 potion (Growth), 1 gold bracer set with sapphires and garnets (800 GP), 1 mithril neckchain set with a large emerald and two smaller amethysts (700 GP), 95 SP, 19 CP.
Room 6: “The ceiling in this room rises 30’ high, supported by 4 large stone columns. It is dusty and very cold in here.”
This room is empty.
Room 7: “The only thing in this room is a waist-high, circular stone pedestal. An object rests on top of the pedestal sparkling in the torchlight.”
On top of the pedestal is a fist sized clear gem (diamond). If it is picked up, a brilliant flash of light erupts from it blinding everyone in the room (Save vs. Spells) for 1d8 turns. The gem is actually an illusion cast on a fist sized rock. On top of the pedestal where the rock was is a small disc of metal set into the stone. If the metal disk is depressed, a secret compartment on the front side of the pedestal opens up, spilling out 400 SP. Roll immediately for wandering monsters.
Treasure: 400 SP
Trap 7a: “Torchlight down this corridor, reveals a dead-end.”
A large stone block falls from the ceiling if anyone steps into the last 10’ section of the corridor. Any character in that section of corridor must (Save vs, Turned to Stone) or take 1d10 points of damage.
Room 8: “Strong smells of musk, fur, urine & feces assault the senses when the door to this room is opened. To one side there is an opened iron-barred cage, with a humanoid skeleton in the corner. On the other side are puddles of water and small 2’ to 3’ skeletons of some kind. In the darkness ahead, low growling begins to start…”
HP: 14, 11, 11, 8
Damage: Bite 1d6
Move: 180’ (60’)
The wolves will fight only long enough to escape the room at the first opportunity. The skeleton in the iron-barred cage is human, his battle axe rusting by his side. The smaller skeletons are giant rats that the wolves caught and ate from the rat tunnel that opens into the room. The water puddles are from water trickling down the stone walls.
Rat Tunnels 9: “A small 2’ to 3’ tunnel leads into darkness…”
These tunnels are quite small, only 2’ to 3’ wide, opening occasionally into wider tunnels. A human trying to crawl through these tunnels will have a 10% chance of getting stuck per turn cumulative. IE: Turn 1: 10% chance, Turn 2: 20% chance. These tunnels are the lair of three giant rats.
3 Giant Rats:
HP: 3, 3, 2
Damage: 1d3 + Disease
Move: 120’ (40’)
Treasure: In the cave marked x, buried in a hole.
A necklace set with emeralds (1200 GP), Fire opal encrusted dagger with a silver blade (400 GP).
Room 10: “Once the secret door is discovered and opened, a swarm of angry, buzzing flying creatures try to attack, from the small 10’ x 10’ room.”
HP: 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5
Damage: 1d3 After a successful attack, attaches and sucks blood for 1-3 points of damage per round. Flying stirges gain +2 on first “to hit” roll due to speed.
Move: 30’ (10’) Flying 180’ (60’)
Room 11: “In this small 10’ x 10’ room a grotesque demon face is carved into the stone wall. It is about two feet high, and is about-face hight from the floor on the wall opposite of the door. The mouth of the demon face is a dark opening, behind it’s wicked fangs.”
If the demon face carving is touched, a stream of noxious purple gas billows forth from the mouth. Anyone in the room must (Save vs. Poison) or die.
I have been meaning to write-up a post on this, ever since I received my copy in the mail. I ordered the hard cover version, to support Dyson and I like a good hard cover book. What can I say, it was Dyson’s blog that inspired me to blog and map myself, so I really won’t review the book, as I would be too biased. I will say, as a fan of Dyson’s considerable body of work, that I am very pleased to have been able to purchase all these maps in one quality volume. (Click on the cover image above to go to Lulu if your interested in buying the book.)
A quick run-down of the book:
Pages 1-3: Introduction and table of contents. My favorite part, “-thus you don’t have to write in the volume itself if you don’t want to deface it. That said, I truly recommend defacing the volume yourself as you go as it makes for a truly unique book that has been customized to your campaign,…”
Pages 4-59: Completely keyed and stocked dungeons that have been previously seen on Dyson’s blog. Dyson’s Delves levels 1-11, The Charmed Grotto, Ruins of the Gorgon, The Worm’s Gullet and Erdea Manor. I feel Erdea Manor is one of the most ambitious creations Dyson has churned out.
Pages 60-149: A great collection of some of Dyson’s best maps, each with a lined blank page next to it for stoking it as you see fit. Like dyson said in the intro, “…I truly recommend defacing the volume yourself…” I think that is just what I will do with some of those maps and this book! It will be Dyson’s book personalized by me.
Pages 150-155: The Twisted Halls of Mornard’s Revenge, this is an exclusive adventure found only in the hard cover version of the book. I have not read it yet, so I won’t comment on it. It does have a sweet map though.
Pages 156-157: The Open Gaming License.
Like I said, this is not a review, I am and always will be a big fan of Dyson’s work. I do not know if there are any of the hard copies left, it was limited to 100 copies I think. If you haven’t bought a copy yet check it out, I think it sells as a soft cover version and a PDF version. Now I’m going to go and scribble all over Dyson’s hard work…:)!!!
The long lost Tomb of the evil necromancer Slaggoth, is buried deep with in a cavern complex. The caves have become the home of a trio of ogres and their band of goblin henchmen. The goblins guard the entrance by watching through a small crack in the rock above the entrance, alerting the other goblins when anyone approaches the entrance. The goblins will then unleash a small pack of wolves that they have chained in the front caves against the intruders. If the wolves are not enough to repel the intruders, the goblins will send a runner across the wooden rope bridge to the ogre lair to warn their masters and will use ambush and retreat tactics to slow down the intruders. In the ogre cave is a massive steel door that leads to the hidden tome of the evil Necromancer Slaggoth. They have never been able to breach the door, so the tomb has remained untouched. Rumors of a key to the steel door is hidden somewhere in the caves, but has yet to be found. What horrers lie within Slaggoth’s tomb? Who is brave enough or foolhardy enough to find out?
This is another new map I drew over the last two days. Click on the imge for a full page PDF, as always enjoy.