Cave City – Draft

Work in progress

Sketch – Cave City

Been working on this idea for a city hidden inside of a cave, currently called “Cave City”. Apparently the people who live there aren’t very creative sorts. Maybe they spent so much time trying to squeeze in their architectural dwellings that they didn’t have time for clever words?

Some of the angles got a little wonky, especially the top swath of road. Some day I may see if I can improve on this digitally.

This was inspired by the quick sketch made for the Skirmish on a switchback trail.

Gallery

Map: Pillar House Tavern & Inn

Floor plan for a tavern and inn
The Pillar 3-Story Tavern and Inn with color coded levels. Scroll down to see the other iterations of this map.

Pillar House History

The Pillar House straddles a canyon where a tributary of the Irewrathe River rushes past 50 feet below. This is the narrowest spot to cross the wild Irewrathe River for many miles. This tributary was always popular with those wanting to avoid the main routes guarded by local constabulary.

The owner, Galspar the Delightful, built the original house as revenge for a mostly forgotten squabble. All right. You caught me. That is a lie. The story is a bit of a legend in these parts.

The squabble goes something like this … Four bandits demanded a toll to cross a rope bridge at this crossing and the wizard Galspar and his party of adventurers were not inclined to pay and killed those 4 bandits. The Bandit Master was not terribly happy about Galspar’s response and a mini war ensued. By the time the dust settled, only the Bandit Master and Galspar were still standing. An agreement was reached between the two, but little of the details are known.

At the spot where the original rope bridge stood, Galspar the Delightful crafted great pillars of stone jutting out of the raging waters. (There are rumors that a bargain was struct with a clan of earth elementals who guard and reinforce the pillars. But surely that is just a rumor?) The pillars created a deadly maze for anyone trying to navigate the river by boat. Atop these pillars, Galspar built his house and settled into retirement. Did he allow others to cross the canyon there? No. He did not. He and his house sat there like an angry, bloated toad. Travelers went around the long way. Somehow though, those affiliated with the Bandit Master (know thieves cant?) were able to safely get through maze of pillars in the river below.

After a few short years, Galspar the (Less than) Delightful, grew bored with retirement and sold the house to Dovilynn Warmdelver, an entrepreneurial dwarf who had grown tired of the smugglers life and had a great idea for Galspar’s place.

Dovi converted the house into a tavern & inn and named it the Pillar House Tavern & Inn. Past associates appreciated a place to quench their thirst and rest up. Though the law would occasionally raid the place, they were never able find any evidence that the clever dwarf giving shelter to wanted criminals or storing illegal goods. Of course, both were absolutely true.

There are several hidden rooms in the River Pillar House. One of the secret rooms has 4 beds for those the law is after. Another is for storage. And the third is the owner’s bathroom, because being a tavern owner means not sharing your damn bathroom with a bunch of drunkards. Two trap doors can be accessed from below if you know where and how to climb the right pillars.

Beneath the house, earth elementals (2-6) and water elementals (1-4) make their home. If a boat tries to navigate the pillars without the right Thieves Cant signals, they will attack. They get first choice on any of the items from the slain. The rest they leave in a cave for the tavern. If you DO have the correct Thieves Cant signals, the water elemental smoothly carries you through the pillar maze to the other side.

Eight beds for rent

The River Pillar House Inn & Tavern has 8 beds for rent to the public. All but one in shared rooms.

On the main level is a room with four regular beds in one, as well as one room that has an extra-large bed for larger bodies or who just like to sleep in groups. For the smaller folk such as halflings and gnomes, an optional bunting board can divide one of the regular beds into two smaller beds.

On the mezzanine is a room with three regular beds next to the shared bathrooms. The bathroom has three holes and a semi-private bathtub.

Hidden on the mezzanine level is a room with 4 regular-sized beds that the Thieves Guild rent when someone needs to stay out of the public eye. There is a second secret door from this room that allows the sneaky visitors quick access to the bathrooms, but they will still need to use their stealth to ensure that others in the inn do not spot them. Otherwise they can use the bed pans.

Map Iterations

Includes the maps showing all 3 floors labeled with and without color-coded levels, individual level maps with their secret rooms, and one with no text or furniture.

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Map: Hillsworth Crooked House

A fantasy hand-sketched building map for role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons (Dnd). I would use it in a D&D 5th Edition game, myself, ’cause that’s my jab. I’ve been drawing more floor plans of late and have a couple of more that will be coming along.

About Hillsworth

Calling this large, brick edifice a “house” may be a bit of a stretch. It has the look of a building that started out with the best intention and then had rooms randomly added on without much concern for square corners or aesthetics.

A large deck on the west side faces the Hespharla Stream. On the east side, low rolling grassy hills protect the house from the winds coming over the meadows.

Colored version of a building floor plan

Raw Sketch

Original pencil-sketch of the Hillsworth Manor. When I brought the file into Photoshop, I had the walls all cleaned up and straight, but decided that this house really wanted to keep it’s crooked personality.

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Map: The Town of Manifort’s Freedom

Fantasy hand-sketched city map for Dungeons & Dragons (Dnd) or other role playing game.

About Manifort’s Freedom

Manifort’s Freedom is a small, river town. On the east side, a sandy beach separates the town’s buildings from the raging waters of the Ogleri River. Rough mountains protect the north flank.

The original founder meticulously planned out the roads and neighborhood blocks, many of which have become crowded and dirty over time. To the West and South, orchards and farmland surround the tightly packed buildings.

A huge tower dominating the center of Manifort’s Freedom is an outpost for the Royal Troops and serves as a defense against potential attacks from the North or the East.

Manifort’s Freedom Modified in Photoshop

city of Manifort's Freedom hand-drawn map

Original sketch of Manifort’s Freedom

Sketch of Manifort's Freedom hand-sketched town

My ramblings

Between having a 4-day weekend and quarantine going on, this seemed like a good time to dust off my sketchbook and pencils and have some cartography fun. While this map sketch is a totally fictional town, it is based on an actual small town near where I went to college.

I tend to think of these maps as something I’d maybe use in a Dungeons & Dragons game someday. What else might this map be used for?

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Bestosa in Color

Bestosa continent color sketch

Revisited this pencil-sketched fantasy map I sketched out a year ago and gave it some color.

Fantasy map of Bestosa in color
Bestosa (colored 2/17/2019; original pencil sketch 2/28/2018

I kinda like leaving it unlabeled and without towns. It feels like it has more possibilities this way. And it has nothing to do with me being lazy and not wanting to deal with labels and whatnot. Or being too cheap to buy Photoshop.

I’ll confess that the first version has the “dramatic warm” filter on it. The real color is a bit more chipper.

Fantasy map of Bestosa (original color)
Bestosa’s true colors