Friday, July 16, 2010

Interesting Places: Dismal Catacombs

I know I've been M.I.A. for a while now. During my time away from the blog I've been busy doing maps for James Raggi's new Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Game and its attendant adventures. Now that I've had a couple of days to relax, I felt like it was time to get back in the swing of things. I blew off some steam and cranked this sucker out this evening.


What is this place? I don't know—you tell me. Perhaps it is the lair of an extended family of Fomorian giants. The place could be magically windy, with all manner of strange flying creatures inhabiting its odd passages. Alternately, you could make each square represent 100 feet, transforming the place into an ancient draconian burial system.

This could be a hunting grounds, periodically swept by organized predators from both above and below. Along similar lines, perhaps these are halls of blood and carnage, where rival humanoid factions come together to fight in an ages old conflict. It could also be a long-forgotten magical forge gone awry, haunted by scores of autonomous dancing blades.

If none of the aforementioned ideas are to your liking then you could get even more extreme. Consider flooding the entire level, requiring intrepid adventurers to be in possession of magical air breathing equipment should they want to explore it. Personally, however, I like to imagine that this place is nothing more than one of the deeper levels of The Tombs.

Some notes:
  • There are no less than ten passages leading off-map. Moreover, there is at least one set of stairs and multiple shafts and sinkholes—all leading who knows where. Thus, this map makes an excellent candidate for a junction. You can never really have enough junctions in your megadungeon.
  • There are quite a few long corridors throughout. These might be covered with hideous glyphs, or they might be choked with mold and other filth.
  • See that huge round chamber? What if it is not a chamber, but rather an enormous shaft descending for a half mile? See that small, inaccessible cave in the southwest? Perhaps it, too, is a shaft. Better yet, it is a cyst or geode.
I was doubly inspired while drawing this map. First, it was definitely influenced by the Parisian Catacombs. I watched a segment on that very subject in a documentary on urban exploration earlier in the week. In addition, while drawing I kept thinking of a particularly classic D&D picture. Perhaps you know the one I am talking about: that fantastic DAT illustration of the magic mouth at the top of the stairway descending into infinite darkness. Inspirational stuff!

Enjoy! There will be more in the same vein in the future.

The Fine Print: I am sharing this map under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. If you follow that link you will be able to read about the conditions that apply to this work. In a nutshell: (a) you can't use it commercially, (b) you must attribute it to me, and (c) you must share any derivative works that you create.

4 comments:

Creative Coquette said...

I started to think of what I would imagine this place to be and the first thing that popped into my mind was the birthing place of evil pink pixies. They eventually fly out through that huge round chamber.

This may be where someone might find that magical pink glitter [wink].

Dave said...

I haven't said, but it is so good to see you back here! Your work somehow always wonderfully refreshes my mind...

Matthew Slepin said...

Usually, I have problems with dungeons that don't "make sense". I know that's not very old-school, but what are ya gonna do? And yet, I really like this ones you do. Maybe because they seem as if they do make sense, just not any kind of human sense? I don't know.

But I like.

Yesmar said...

Thanks, guys. Your comments mean a lot to me. When I draw these dungeons I usually am not thinking about what goes where. I just sort of unload them from my imagination. I believe that there is an underlying internal logic at work--I'm just not sure that I know what it is while I am immersed in the act of drawing. In any case, I'm glad you like the maps. There are more in the works. (One of the side effects of this style is that I need to "recharge" after drawing them.)