Category Archives: Dungeons & Dragons

Local Campaign Area Map

Well it has been awhile. I’ve been busy with all sorts of stuff but I wanted to share this.

I started it today and think it really turned out well. I had found this tutorial: [Award Winner] Hand-Drawn Mapping (for the Artistically Challenged) at the Cartographer’s Guild years ago, and I have used it periodically throughout. Recently a co-worker started getting involved with D&D and needed help with making maps. Lots of it. So I thought of this and showed it to him. With a portable copy of GIMP and his hand drawn mess, we ended up with something he was happy with.

That brings me back to today. It looks like we are going to start a Zoom game, and I’ve been putzing around with making a quick campaign using Dungeoncraft from Dragon Magazine and the AD&D 2e World Builder’s Guide. But I needed a quick map. I have been making quick hand-drawn hex maps, but wanted to play around with this tutorial. So in between three hours of yard work and reinstalling two lazy-susans, I started on this.

Local Campaign Area

Local Campaign Area

I think it looks wonderful and am happy to share it (for non-commercial purposes) with anyone who should happen on by. Cheers.

Lymdonshire Story Hour

Over at theRPGsite I started a thread for a Story Hour I had written over two years ago as a quick exercise. Shit the game itself was an experiment, but fun times none-the-less. It is not super polished (hell, there is still verb tense disagreement buried in there).

What I really like about it is that it is different from most Story Hours I’ve read. This one is almost more about the players at my table than the characters in the game.

I’ve written almost 14,000 words and intend to post them all in due course, but it will really come down to if anyone (aside from me) is interested in the nonsense and general goings-on at my table.

You can find the thread at this link: Lymdonshire Story Hour

UPDATE: So here it is, July 2016 and I haven’t made another post to that thread. Shame on me. I actually haven’t been to the site much since it was redesigned. I do not like it. Now it looks like every other forum site. For some reason it seems to have lost its character.

A Sample Dungeon

So this minor little winter storm hit this morning and I found myself alone in the house with the kids having gone to school and my wife having gone to work. I didn’t really feel like writing today, and I’ve been stuck on drawing spiral staircases for three or four maps in the queue. So what was I to do? I threw on some Netflix and watched a few horror movies. The Veil with Jessica Alba and Thomas Jane, Mercy, a movie based off a Steven King short story, and Homebound were all fine if not predictable. Unfortunately, I could not just sit around watching movies so I picked a quick project I could complete without thinking. That leads us to today’s offering.

About a year ago I posted a small number of maps published by others that I had redrawn in my style. This is a continuation of that experiment. I have a version that I had started last year, but I had miscounted the size of the grid I would need. I would have run off the page had I tried to complete it. I had fully drawn in all sorts of rock fill and my standard cross-hatch fill and with a sigh of resignation, filled it away. Today, I started from scratch.

More talky-talk after the map.

A Sample Dungeon

A Sample Dungeon

This one was fun and annoying at the same time. To start, I d/l WOTC’s redraw of this map that they had posted on their site years ago. It is a nice looking computer generated map that in a few cases ended up being confusing. I didn’t realize it until I looked at a picture of the black-and-white version in the 1e DMG. That is why some of my corridor widths are off.

The big one though is that if you look real close, you might notice that I had to computer edit the room that on the original maps are labelled #5. The WOTC version has the room open to the corridor whereas the 1e version looks like it is only accessible for the secret passageway from room #4. I made it match the original. I never noticed it before but it seems kinda stupid to have that secret passage run under the stairs connecting the room if one could just stroll down the fucking corridor. Anyway, I fixed it on my map.

(Tangent-I didn’t want to fix it on my hand-drawn map and go through the whole process to make the version I posted for you today. It took about a dozen tries since I got my newish scanner, and I’m still learning how to get all my crosshatching to show up fine.)

I debated whether to label the rooms on this map to match those in other published versions but thought better of it. It takes me forever to label a map, and I just don’t think you’d gain any real benefit from my time investment.

Anyway, I hope I didn’t waste your time with this post. Cheers.

If you are looking for additional thoughts on this map from around the net, these are a few links I chased today:

The Monastery of the Order of the Crimson Monks hosted on


A series of posts at Cave of the Dice Chucker
Sample Dungeon Part 1
Sample Dungeon Part 2
Sample Dungeon Part 3
Sample Dungeon Part 4

UPDATE: Dyson posted some of his thoughts on the original map found in the odd-edition DMGs.

Random Dungeon 21

So I have been holed-up in central Virginia since Friday morning, and counting my blessings that we no longer live in the DC area. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the recent blizzard.

I’ve actually been able to get some work done and have a few maps for you. Today’s map is an experiment. I wanted to try something completely different with the walls. Awhile back I posted two maps from old DND/rogue-like games. These maps didn’t have thick walls so I followed the technique Dyson used on this map The Ruined Palace. My efforts looked like doo-doo (I was still using shitty pens), but I thought I could do better. Over the past couple of weeks I think I have.

Wall and Line-weight test

Wall and Line-weight test

I first started off looking at some of the different styles and line weights that I’ve used for my maps. Most of my recent maps have been in the top middle style. Fine for thick walls, but not for thin walls. Dyson used the middle style for the map I linked to above. Well, I have to have that crosshatching in my maps, so I added it to two different line weights. I loved it. So to test that style out, I whipped up a quick map. The result is below.

Today’s map was drawn with Micron 05 and 01 pens. Post-production yielded a fantastic contrast between the walls, rock, and open space. If I could ever figure out how to put in a grid, I’d be happy. Truth be told, working this way is much more time consuming but much more rewarding.

Random Dungeon 21

Random Dungeon 21

Random Dungeon 19

So here is the first map of two that are in a similar style to Random Dungeon 17. You can see that I was unable to remove some of the crappy grid lines. I think I was able to fix it enough so it shouldn’t be too much of a distraction.

This one (and its cousin who will be posted after I finish the post-production) was one where I was drawing the cliff faces in an isometric view and it just looked like poop. Taking a cue from Dyson in this recent map Kemp’s Divide, I figured I would just try using just those little fucking lines. They don’t convey the height of the cliff faces, but quite frankly, any DM using this map can choose how high he wants them to be.

Anyway, more talky-talky after the map.

Random Dungeon 19

Random Dungeon 19

Interestingly enough (to me anyway), I drew the rough steps to match the approximate height as my regular stairwells–so forty feet horizontal feet traveled for 20 vertical feet traveled. [I don’t need to illustrate this do I?] I’m making believe that the northern cavern steps rise the same as the rest even though I only fit in six.

One of the things I really like about this map is the southern section. It looks like it could be a well defensible lair for a group of kobolds or goblins or gnomes. It has one access point in the dungeon and the rough steps that lead to the water.

During the first draft of this map, I placed the river as you see it. I had/have no f—ing clue what is on the other side. BTW, the river is at least twenty feet across and is filled with f—ing piranha. Or something.

Random Dungeon 18

Man, life has been hectic these past few months. I finished this map back in August, and it was originally slotted as Random Dungeon 20. The two maps that I wanted to post prior to this one are in a style much closer to Random Map 17, but technical difficulties with the pen work and type of paper have made them almost unpresentable. Since I don’t want the blog to linger for too long without posting, I edited this one to move it up in the queue.

Random Dungeon 18

Random Dungeon 18

I like how this one turned out. I used only a Sharpie fine-point pen for all line work. I doubled the wall lines and think it makes a nice contrast to the cross-hatching. I also like that it looks more hand-drawn–I kinda like it sloppy and not over-produced. When I scanned it, I was able to adjust the midtone to retain the underlying grid (almost as if I was scanning with a threshold). A quick sweep with the eraser in GIMP cleaned it up a bit.

The grid is actually one of the problems I have with the previous two maps I have nearly completed. Nothing I could do would clean it up. The original Map 18 was drawn on yellow paper with a brown grid. Both of these maps are similar to #17, almost to the point of being able to line them up as one REALLY big mega dungeon level, but with one subtle difference. Because I had such a problem drawing the bridge in the map I have posted, I figured I would just have the rivers accessible via cliff faces. But drawing those in has proved problematic. I connected the levels across the rivers with wooden plank bridges which I think turned out ok, but these f—ing cliffs are a bugger. I really don’t like how the dungeons are drawn in a top down manner, while the cliffs are more isometric. They just don’t look right.

Anyway, enjoy this map for your personal game.

Random Dungeon 17

Random Dungeon Map 17

Random Dungeon Map 17

This is the dungeon I had mentioned in a previous post that I had been stuck on drawing in the bridge. I just said the hell with it and drew a few lines. I love this map anyway.

Update: Cousin Piranha River/Random Dungeon 19 has been posted. This is the first of two more that are in a similar style to this one.

Update #2: Cousin Eating fish at the Y/Random Dungeon 20 has also been posted. This is the second of two in a similar style to this one.

I just deleted two paragraphs of words loosely connect by the word F-ck and its myriad of variations. Suffice to say I am displeased with WordPress’s desire to stupify the quick editing of posts and its useless-to-me stat view page. I will never understand website administrators that constantly screw up their websites with retarded changes.

Boing Boing (unless you use the hack) and Blastr (nothing saving this retarded design) are the most recently guilty of this that I’ve noticed. Using design guides from the 20th-century? When your website looks like the front page of The New York Times from the era of the sinking of the Fu–ing Titanic, you’ve failed. I’d love to know what stupid c-nt wrote the design manual these f-cks are using. Don’t get me started on Not only is the site a pain to scroll through, but the f-ing thing reloads before I get to the bottom and doesn’t remember where I was. So I have to scroll through it again and pray I get back to where I was with enough time to continue reading the blurbs without it, oh you know, reloading again. Are you serious?

Back @Wordpress. Seriously, where is the button to add a link in a post after I click on Edit. Do I really have to go all the way through wp-admin and my post list to edit a post with the same ability I had when I made the post originally? Is this really the New Improved Posting Experience? Idiots.

Shit, I better stop before I go off the rails again.

Another Advanced Fighting Fantasy Drop Random Dungeon

So here is another dice drop dungeon using the idea from the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG. I adjusted the guidelines a bit by designating different dice for different features. The two cavern rooms were where two d8s fell, the entrance room was a d4 with the number equaling the connections, and rest were d6s that were drawn roughly square and aligned with the sides of those d6s. Since my most recent dungeons have had streams and water, I just drew one in for giggles. I still regret not putting a small cavern connected just to the stream in about the middle of the page.

While looking at this, I noticed that it was incredibly linear (which I don’t find terrible), and it could almost use Johnn Four’s 5-room dungeon scheme twice to stock. I don’t know how it would really work.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Drop Dungeon

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Drop Dungeon Parchment

For those of you who would like just a straight black-and white, here you go.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Drop Dungeon

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Drop Dungeon

Random Dungeon 16

So it’s been about a month since I last posted, and a much needed break it was. I’ll give you all a little up-to-date. I’ve continued to create maps over the this time although nothing new is finished. To be more specific and in no particular order:

* I’ve put the two finished maps in the queue on hold for awhile. I want to type up a-bit-longer-than-normal posts for them but just can’t quite get out of drafting stage.
* I have one map that is finished except for a fucking stone bridge. I just can’t find a way to draw it that I like. Everything I have tried makes it stand out like a sore thumb.
* I have another ten that just need to be inked. Seriously. Five of them are simple mazes inspired by a map I found online. Three others line up with today’s post and just need to be inked. Two are just random maps that, you guessed it, I have yet to finish inking.
* The big one that took up a lot of time is one that I drew up AND STOCKED. I had hoped to submit it to the One-Page-Dungeon contest. I was inspired by a one-page template that someone in the UK had been selling as pads. I created a little Excel sheet and worked off of that. I also created a small eight-page digest-sized booklet that’s not quite complete. Oh, and I didn’t quite finish inking the map.
* I’ve also been lurking over at the Cartographer’s Guild recently and worked on making some wilderness maps for Lymdonshire. I need a drawing tablet to draw in rivers and other stuff. It sucks tracing with a mouse, and quite frankly I gave up. Maybe I’ll post those unfinished maps at some point, although with a $100 Staples gift card burning a hole in my wallet, I’ve been holding out hope that I would splurge and get a decent drawing tablet.

With playing with the kids and my writing picking back up, I really haven’t devoted much time to these maps. I don’t see that changing much over the next month, but I hope to do a little here and there. The point is, if you follow me via hard link or bookmark, keep checking back. If you follow me through a feed on your blog, Thank You. I appreciate everyone that has put my blog on their public rolls. I suspect that when time frees up a little bit, I’ll get on a roll. If everything map was finished now, I’d have at least three months worth of weekly posting. And I do miss my weekly postings. Anyway, if you are reading this, Thanks.

So here is today’s map. It is partially inspired by last posting’s Moldvay’s Haunted Keep. You’ll notice that for the first time in forever (three-year-old daughter discovered Frozen) I’ve drawn a map that continues on additional sheets. I chose to use my handy-dandy 5.5″ x 8.5″ quad tablets for these because they are much easier for me to complete. It seems as if they just finish faster than standard quad paper or my dreaded five-per-inch paper. [/digression]

I’ve drawn the maps that connect to the north, east, and northeast. The western stairwell that leads from the southern circular staircase leads down to a set of crypts, and I originally drew them in as dotted lines, but that ended up looking like crap so I figured I would just do a standard lower level instead. But I wanted to wait until I had more of this level complete to see how I could put in more to fill the level out.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy this and all my other maps. Cheers.