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Draft Map: Duchy of Amblehock

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This is a draft map of the Duchy of Amblehock. It is the area for the various Fibb stories, such as “Goblin Hollow Cave”. The Duchy is also the neighbouring region of Veldon, which lies to the south of the Duchy, from the “Bounty for the Taking” series.

 

Duchy of Amblehock

Pen (Letraset 0.7 fine line, Pilot V5 Hi-techpoint, Sakura Micron #02) on Ikea kids roll-paper. Digital camera photo. Sepia filter. Contrast alteration. Otherwise completely hand-drawn.

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Younger Days: my first maps of Khara Thel

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Here’s some pics of my earliest maps of the surface of Khara Thel. I think these maps are 25 years old this year and they show it.

 

first map of Ferromaine 2

 Overview

first map of Ferromaine 2 detail

Detail

 

It’s funny how real landforms show up in maps. Makes me think they get stuck in one’s mind and come back out through a pencil. This is a place in my home-state called Lakes Entrance. Looks quite a bit like Lake Windemere and its nearby bays.

the real landforms

Lakes Entrance (VIC, Australia)

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Rum Town: slums of Ferris

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This ramshackle section of Freeport is effectively walled off from the rest of the city. No less than fourteen watchtowers and gatehouses monitor egress and entry to Rum Town. Within its narrow dark streets the seediest parts of Ferris operate. A small section of waterfront takes in various goods and people from sea travel. Rum Town was once a royal distillery that grew its rare crops within the protection of its walled fortifications. A fire was set by Krakmoor saboteurs, when the delta was being fought over, and it was ruined. After the battle for Ferris was won by the Iron Claw forces the area was sold off with subsidies for building tenements with more than a dozen living quarters. The poor and criminal moved in and were thus contained by the existing walls – as was planned all along. That was centuries ago and Rum Town has festered away to the point where the watch rarely enter its walls.

Trivia: “A Tale of Rum Town” is set almost entirely within the walls of this ward.

Rum Town is notorious around the Bay of Carnarvon as the seediest place in the Kingdom of Iron Claw but within its own confines are the infamous Warrens. An arcing mile on the west of Rum Town where the oldest and most run-down tenements lean over the narrow streets. Buildings here look threatening to fall and some are clearly propped against others or even the wall itself where the stone is within reach. The Warrens is a mix of abandoned buildings, squatters, and ruins that is an urban wilderness for the most dangerous. A gang that strikes fear into the hearts of even the toughest Rum Towner, called The Shrikes, masses like a swarm against intruders after dark. Some say that there are even goblins in the Warrens but few believe the homeless that tell such tales.

 

Rum Town update

Designer notes: I put this map together as an experimental “grunge” style. It ain’t too bad.

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Quarry Town: ward of Ferris

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Almost a satellite of Ferris this town is like Picton but on a larger and more independent scale. Bordering Quarry Town are some of the finest wineries in all of Iron Claw. It is a peaceful place with a disproportionately large amount of watchmen and guards. Forestry reserves stretch for miles amidst the fertile farms. Hunting lodges and Inns are common here to cater for minor aristocrats passing through or getting away from their duties in the city.

The old quarries to the west of Quarry Town are the subject of strange rumours. Local hunters whisper over their ales that aristocrats bring in strange beasts, and even giants, for sport – using the old quarries to prevent their prey’s escape. Most people not in their cups simply laugh. As if no-one else would notice giants being brought into the area.

 

Quarry Town_Ferris

 

The Lateriders Inns are a collection of small inns and stables that cater for those who don’t make it to Ferris before the gates are locked for the night. Some are owned by the coaching lines in case of those times where a wheel breaks or the road is obstructed and their coaches are delayed. Guests usually stay for free, in such situations, if there is room but meals are pricey for what they are.

 

Old Gatehouse was once the northern portal into Ferris. It is almost a fortress in its own right and has now become a barracks and stable for the guard. They are often out riding about the city’s northern walls drilling their cavalry and footmen to keep them in excellent fighting condition. The hill fort nearby is on one of the many spires of old volcanic rock that penetrate the area. It is nearly 200 feet above the river and provides an excellent view for miles in all directions.

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Ice Drake Lair: map

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Here’s a quick map of an ice drake’s lair. Ice drakes are more commonly called white dragons. If you like it, download it and use it in your game.

 

ice_cave_SIDE

 

ice_cave_TOP VIEW

Enjoy.

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Port Stricknish: whaling city

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A whaling city whose people are mixed blood northman and tundra people. Large hearty men with strong backs toil on ships and in dangerous long boats. They hunt sperm whales for meat but most of all the precious head oil & ambergris. Death and injury are common and many fall back to carving whalebone and trading their wares: needles, chests, combs, jewellery boxes, etc. The whales come to feed on the seemingly endless swarms of herring that mass in the bay a few leagues from the mouth of the Stricknish River. These herring also feed the populace, salted, smoked, rolled, spiced, and pickled. Some travellers call it Port Stinkfish, and visitors quickly find out why.

 

Port Stricknish and surrounds

 

Port Stricknish location

 

main_areas_0

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Nihles Reach

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Nihles Reach

A large narrow bay, from two to thirty miles wide, reaches into the eastwards into the continent. From the Bay of Carnarvon it stretches for over two hundred miles to the sand bank that is the mouth of Lake Nihles. Here freshwater meets salt and many fish feed on the great wealth of plankton and nutrients. Lake Nihles is nearly always fresh, fed by the Nihles River that drains a catchment of mountain ranges to the east and south. This area has a much milder climate than the rest of the Kingdom of Iron Claw. Warmer summers and winters with little snow support long cropping seasons. Combined with the vast resources of fish in the murky water of the Reach it is a naturally rich area that brings a wealth of food for the cities of Nihles and Van Olaf, and exports to many others.

 

 Nihles Reach

 

Nihles Reach_location

 

main_areas_0

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Where it all began. (aka. My oldest RPG material)

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The first adventures in Khara Thel took place in the Kingdom of Ferromaine. They were off to the east of the island around a small town called Barton. Adventurers would buy supplies after their long journey to the edge of the tundra. Then they would head into the Orancarx Deathtrap. A relic from the Age of Magi where they’d construct elaborate tombs as challenges to the inevitable tomb-robbers. At least those who stole from them would be worthy of the loot.

 

Ferromaine_first adventures

The trip to Barton was mostly from the capital, Excelsior: itself a large city full of intrigue with ancient noble houses plotting against each other for control of the various merchant houses. Underneath it all the various guilds, and organized crime gangs who masquerade as guilds, vie for the patronage of the rich in their dirty schemes. Its location on a delta of marshy islands, the confluence of the Great River and the Silverweb River, make it full of little canals, bridges, and high-walkways for the noble-classes to walk above the hoi-poloi and their stench.

Travelling to Barton was most often done along the coast. The mountains called the Fangharad Peaks are a harsh barrier and it doesn’t help that the pilgrim’s trail to Lake Chinata passes the chasm. Tales blame the chasm as the source of monsters that hunt the Fangharad Peaks and spread into the old forests.

The coast road is much safer. It passes through many villages and a few large towns. Badonium is a city in decline. It once rivalled the capital, Excelsior, but has fallen into despair. Its people seem unable to improve their lot, or even keep it from getting worse, a malaise is in the spirit of Badonium.

The road turns to a muddy trail that passes through the great swamps between Windemere and Promontory Point. It is as if the lake is growing, slowly claiming more of the land, turning it to swamp, and then submerging it. For this reason traders have been using ships instead of the wagons between Shoreton & Windemere and Promontory Point.

Barton is still a few days away from Promontory Port by land but at least the journey is near the sea and there are a few hamlets of fisherfolk who brave the cold winds of Barren Sound.

Once in Barton, the Orancarx Deathtrap is a full day’s hard ride to the west, on the edge of the Orancarx Range. There is a small trader out the front who has built a store out of his gypsy wagon. They say he has the protection of all his ancestral grandmothers, each of them gypsy witches, and none dare bother him. He trades items from those who delve the depths and what he does with them is a mystery; but he always has currency. Yet he seems lonely, or very friendly, and is always willing to talk and offer recipes for making tasty meals out of mundane trail provisions.

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Immense: a quick walk around the world

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How large is Khara Thel?

Considering one contiguous landmass makes up Khara Thel, with a plethora of archipelago around it, it is IMMENSE. I’m not just telling you to brag but when I see people say their lands are huge, comparing it to Russia, I have to stick a finger up and say, “Ahem. That’s not so big.”

 

You see Khara Thel is more like a ball of string. It’s coiled on itself. The land winds and wends about for many thousands of leagues. Let’s go on a little journey with the archmage and scholar, Meyendir Aravalon.

khara_thel_world_journey

Starting in Iron Claw, North East of the whole world map, we walk a 1,000 miles to Mekong Reldeng. The Boarland Scrubs were a concern – all those mounted Tharkhor on their huge war-boars. Quite the sight, was it not?

From Mekong Relden we walk to Al Hadir, don’t worry about the Ring Channel it’s small enough for us to walk over in this special journey. We are well away from the Gorgax Islands so you’re quite safe, but thank you for the reminder of their dangers. That was another 1,400miles by the way.

From Al Hadir, and its marvellous deserts, we’re going to pass some very rough country. The Blood Ochre Mountains with their ruby mines and slave-labour camps, then over to the rainforests on the other side and the Sea of Mists. It’s lonely out here. No civilization but we follow the rough mountains all the way to the land of the Pilanen – those with the connection to elemental light. Only 5,500 miles. I know you’re tired but we’ve just started this journey. Gird yourself, there’s more, and those Pilanen made boots should last quite a lot longer than your last two pairs.

Now I’m going to let you in on a secret. We travel south-west for a time, past the kingdoms of Nalien Dreenai, and along the coast of the Sea of Draxaam. Here are the hidden kingdoms. You’re very special in having the opportunity to visit these places. The Kingdoms of Eafwhaine have rarely been seen by those of the north. How far? I forgot to mention, yes. I lost count after 1,000 leagues. Oh yes, forgive me, in miles: that’s 3,000. Although I think it was a bit further.

We are a little over half-way and I can see your third pair of boots is wearing thin. I guess the Pilanen boots aren’t as sturdy as they are comfortable. The Vahltic Empire’s southern, and oldest, territories are our next stop. Only another 3,000 miles. Yes it is true. They border Morranzano, home of the Genlei of Shadow. That’s right, not darkness like the Blakh.

North West we head now, into tropical mountains and many huge river valleys. The Inland Sea. Quite a sight, and freshwater, too. This is the northern reach of the Vahltic Empire. A quaint 4,000 miles but weren’t the roads just marvellous. To the east is the free city of Imjin. A strange city-state built on many islands in a river delta. Possibly the largest hive of villainy outside of Krenshae or Port Cutthross. Yes; hard to believe.

Onwards, around the Inland Sea and North East again, through the Khob Odan. A vast dry basin with a few wide but shallow rivers feeding the mighty Mustang River as it passes through. Mostly grass struggling through shale and gravel aid its appearance as arid but that is deceiving. There is quite a lot of life here. Between the three Trade Cities and the various nomad tribes it forms a region many outsiders call the Mustang Territories. How far? Forgive my rambling, a mere 3,500miles.

Storm Bay and its peoples are over there to the north but we’re passing most of them by and heading up to Kiltayre’s coast and the land of the Rett. Just a short leg of another 3,000miles.

So how far have we travelled? I’m sure you don’t really want to know given the state of your poor feet.

Oh? You insist? Very well, it was no less than 24,400 miles.

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Hand Drawn Maps: Available for Commission

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Do you want a hand-drawn map for your project or novel? I draw quality maps in ink and can touch them up for good labelling in digital-art suites. Contact for rates and availability, or just for a chat about your ideas.

 

 

schwedt

Schwedt: haven from the Wild Lands

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