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.
The town of Obsidian lies along the northern stretch of Briarstone’s Free Road, between Berlstrum and Goremont.
The population is primarily gnome. The ground floor is “human” size and scale, where the rather random levels off the ground are more comfortable for the shorter races.
Beneath the city is a well guarded secret, or at least not widely advertised to enemy forces. A large diamond mine runs many levels and tunnels underneath. The town has a dark gritty layer of coal dust that covers much of the town. Processing plants are a large source of employment here.
Places of Interest
The Frenzied Ferrett Dance Hall & Eatery
Nightly contests based on performance scores (dancing, instruments, bands, solos, comedians, etc.)
Salty Swan Retreat
Bath house and optional adult entertainment/companionship
The Tipsy Unicorn Tavern & Inn
Cheap drinks & small rooms
Dizzy Dragon Den
Rooms 1gold per night
Stables 6 silver per mount
Specialties: Dragon Pepper Poppers, Dragon’s Breath Ale
Yahkle Arodite (Dwarf); talkative cheerie fellow; closely shorn red hair; no beard nor eyebrows; happy to spin a yarn about how his beard burn off and how lovely life as a dwarf is without a beard.
Mayor Kayrem O’Riley. Male gnome with greenish hair, vibrant blue eyes, plaid red/black suit with black button up shirt and matching pocket square.
Glenarra, Mayor’s Assistant. Female halfling, flaxen haired, tired rings under her dark brown eyes, horribly hung over from partying at the Frenzied Ferrett last night.
Military Baracks for Sovereign’s Troops
Colonel Bodo Mutah. Male gnome, gray & grizzled
Places of Worship
The Congregation of the Somewhat Virtuous
Collection of various Choatic Good kiosks
Calista. Seerer. Human androgenous. Royal blue; follower of Daghdha
Cleric Zorbit (Cleric of Aphrodite). Halfling female, short bobbed orange hair; grey eyes.
Temple of Eternal Song
Keepers of Balance
Paragons of Pelor
Buric VonBellor. 1/2-Elf male. Head honcho of mines – technically, the diamond mines belong to the country of Briarstone and the sovereign
The Pounding Hammer Smithy
Basic metals smith; armors
Armor/shields; some basic +1 items available
The Majestic Gray Blade
Berttle’s Bloody Blades
Blades and other shady magic items
The Raven’s Maze
Basic magic items, potions, scrolls
The Daper Dandy
Leather and Cloth goods and armor
The Royal Yeti
Possible Side Quests in Obsidian:
The owner of Sparks Refinery, Buric VonBellor, is losing minors in a new vein of the mine to a territorial Bullette that finds gnomes and halflings tasty. Buric is offering 500g per claw (12 claws per bullette) as proof of success. Buric volunteers Svensen, a portly gnome with anxious brown eyes, to take the party to the end of the new vein. Svensens not excited to be bullette bait.
Each adventurer is provided with a basic hooded lantern, if needed.
They will be escorted blindfolded by guards and Svensen through the building, down the mine shaft elevator, and into the tunnel entrance to this vein. The guards will stay at the tunnel entrance.
Berttle’s Bloody Blade
Located in the poorer part of town, behind a greasy food stand Berttle’s Bloody Blade sells questionable magic items, mostly bladed. Berttle is a angry, greasy gnome who bellows at his apprentice, Goffenmauker. Though Berttle is excessively polite to potential buyers.
Berttle has intel that there is a large boulder that contains the rare terrunium ore hidden way below the diamond mines of Obsidian. (For a description of terrunium, look under the Nation of Glort here: Dreadstorms Lost Campaign – Overview) The diamond mine operators want nothing to do with some stupid rock with terrunium. He sent his apprentice to find someone to sneak through the minds and retrieve the stone, but the hapless Goffenmauker has had no luck. No one familiar with the diamond operations wants to risk getting on their bad side.
Our adventurers enter the premise as Berttle is scolding Goffenmauker for his failure to procure some “dumb-ass idiotic adventure types” to get the stone. If the party is interested in taking the job, Berttle will offer to make a single bladed with terrunium with two minor enchantments in exchange for sneaking the boulder out of the mines.
To aid in the task, Berrtle will provide the party with:
Rod of Tensers Floating Disc. Has 3 uses of the Tensers Floating Disc spell. Activates by pushing the button on the end of the rod. The button must be held down to maintain the spell. The button is stiff and takes effort to keep active. Trying to secure the button with glue or “tape” will cause the rod to fall apart.
Two scrolls of Pass Without a Trace.
One scroll of Mass, Disguise Self – As the spell “Disguise Self”, but can be applied to up to a total of 6 willing creatures. All those under the effects of the Mass, Disguise Self spell must stay within 30 feet of the caster or the effect ends.
A poorly drawn directions to the terrunium rock hidden beneath Obsidian
I am still working on drawing fantasy cartography maps (is cartography and maps redundant?), but not as diligently as earlier this year. I’ve been distracted with traveling and running D&D games and all the other stuff that takes up one’s day. And there’s this game on my phone … man, is it a time sink!
But to prove that I’ve been doing something, even if I have been ignoring my blog, I’m including a couple of in-progress sketches in the early stages of creation.
The nameless ones
These map doodles are currently without names. Ideas are welcome.
Taking a short (indeterminent) break from the Dreadstorm Campaign and indulging in hand-drawn map making fun. I’ve really been enjoying learning how to draw the classic style of land maps with tutoring from Mr. Blando’s book, How to Draw Fantasy Art & RPG Maps. This is the same book I mentioned in my prior post, Castle with “Moat Dragon”.
When I started the map I felt pretty silly and thought it would look pretty dumb, but was pleasantly surprised by the final outcome.
Map Sketch Process
Map Sketch Pic #1 – Establishing the continent shape and islands
Map Sketch Pic #2 – Penciling in some mountains.
Map Sketch Pic #3 – Mountain details
Map Sketch Pic #4 – Let there be hills to hug those mountains
Map Sketch Pic #5 – Adding in some rivers and coastline
Map Sketch Pic #6 – Forests
Map Sketch Pic #7 – Final-ish version
I wasn’t brave enough to try adding cities and lettering to this one. I felt this was a good place to stop. For a first effort, I thought it turned out kinda cool.
Things I learned
Mountains are hard
Leave room for more than just mountains
I drag my hand all of the page, making a smeary mess
I need to do a better job of erasing lines
Maybe trees in a forest don’t need to be quite so compressed together
I should probably try to plan the whole map out ahead of time. But who am I kidding. I’m not a planner. I like to do things organically and see where they end up!
I downloaded GIMP, a free & open source image editor, so I can work on coloring maps, and probably the lettering. I’m still figuring out how to deprogram my brain from thinking in Photoshop terms and learn how things work there. My muscle memory is surprisingly strong from all my many past years of using Photoshop. I find my self doing keyboard and mouse shortcuts that don’t really work with GIMP. I can’t tell you how many times I hit CTRL+D to unselect and got a duplicate file instead.
I like the idea of being able to use layers. With pencil sketching, drawing something on top of something else, like trees over a river, that erased bit is gone for good. Not just masked out. Huh. I think working digitally has gotten me a bit lazy and spoiled.
The above images were in no way modified in GIMP or Photoshop.