View Full Version : August 2012 Entry: The Devil's Cauldron

Cunning Cartographer
08-27-2012, 09:21 AM
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Little late in the day to get involved in this months comp, but I've had this idea rolling around in my head since I saw challenge subject, just not had the chance to sit down and start working on it. Never drawn an iso map before so I thought I'd give it a shot, happy with it so far but need to work out what elements I'm fading out so that it doesn't look too messy. Hopefully I can get this finished in the next few days before the challenge ends.

This is the Devil's Cauldron, inspired in part by Dark Knight Rises and Interview with a Vampire. Set in a Gothic/Victorian style land the region has been plagued by vampires for centuries who hunted humans for food and sport. In the Capital of Fansalem at the heart of the city stands the prison of Adrastea, more commonly known to the citizens as The Devil's Cauldron. Here those suspected of being Vampires are brought to the center of the city and thrown from the Purification Bridges that cross the huge opening that leads down into the prison. Those who do not survive the fall were innocent and so a prayer is said and their souls purified, but those who survive are clearly marked as the devil's spawn.

The prison itself is but a large pit with a winding staircase around the outer walls that lead up to a path that crosses the cavernous pit, high up from the floor. Dangling away from the crossing are a number of chains that lead back up to the Purification Bridges, though the chains are a a death defying leap from the crossing. Each link of the chain itself is carved with a holy crucifix, so even those that manage to make the jump will feel the searing pain of the holy symbols burning into their hands as they try to climb the rest of the way back to the bridge.

The pit is not meant to be escaped from, but sport in itself for the human spectators as the vampire climb with hope that they may one day escape. Any failed attempts and the subsequent fall while enough to kill a human is but a temporary setback as these immortals wounds repair, hidden in the small alcoves at the bottom of the prison, the only shade they can find as the deadly daylight pours forth into the pit to incinerate any Vampire that would not take refuge in the shelter.

08-27-2012, 10:16 AM
I love this idea! And you've got a nice map of it as well. Thank you for posting this.

Cunning Cartographer
08-27-2012, 04:03 PM
Thanks Pythor :) Hopefully I will be able to get it finished.

Neatened up the main line work, hopefully when the detailed lines and colour is added it wont look as odd as I think right now it's hard to tell what is happening on each wall where lines cross over.

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Cunning Cartographer
08-28-2012, 05:17 PM
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Added details of the brickwork and rough flooring. Also throw in a rough colour to get an idea of how it might look.

Cunning Cartographer
08-29-2012, 11:22 AM
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Wasn't sure how I wanted the final look of this image to be, so decided to take a step back with the colouring and use it as an inked sketch from some ancient tome on Vampires that has an entry on the prison, and so I've done a round one draft of mounting it on a parchment background and used the initial description text. Going to work on adding a few more details to the map such as figures, then add some decoration to the page and re-do the text entry.

08-29-2012, 11:50 AM
Good move and a very nice effect, especially in the look of the thumbnail! It looks like an old advertisement, C.19th newspaper. Ah... and whilst penning the response I realise one specifically that I'm thinking of: Mr Thomas Crapper & Sons! Maybe a Devil's Cauldron of a different sort there though. 47878

Cunning Cartographer
08-29-2012, 12:46 PM

Something a little more like that? :D

Thanks for the comments, definitely trying to get that ancient tome look about it, never really played about with that too much so I'm happy with the outcome so far.

(original artists artwork: http://instagram.com/p/MgwkvmHJ2r/)

08-29-2012, 06:03 PM
Ooh, now this is looking quite nice Yospeck! Great job so far.


Cunning Cartographer
08-29-2012, 07:11 PM
Gracias :D Just finished it tonight.

I wanted the text to fit the piece, so it's in some olde English type prose/spelling with very dramatic calligraphy which has faded in some places, due to that I'll put a translation as well! Really happy with the final outcome and stuck mostly to my initial design and lore ideas for the prison. Found the word Adrastea, which apparently has a Greek meaning of "the inescapable one", which I thought very fitting. I wanted the lore behind this to be as important as the artwork and so I put a lot of thought into the text (though I'm no poet!).

The excerpt is a page from Vampyre of the World, an ancient encyclopedia of different vampires or locations where vampire are known to dwell. This page focuses on some Gothic/Victorian/Puritan type land and it's capital city Felsalem where the people deal with their vampire problem in a very "unusual" way.

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Full text:

In the capital of Felsalem at the very heart of the city lies Adrastea Prison, the Devil’s Cauldron. The people of Felsalem have long known what sleeps in shadow by day and stalks them by night, they are no stranger to Vampyre. We have followed and hunted these nightspawne for centuries across the land, but of all cities nary have dealt with the demone in such unusual ways.

Of those suspected of solicitation of the devil to Purity Bridges art they driven and from walls high into pit below art they cast with prayer. The innocent find salvation in death, but of those whose damned souls can find no salvation upon the cauldron’s hard floor doth their bones shatter. Yet such a demise is naught to Vampyre.

At the prison bottom do Vampyre dwell, neath the alcoves nestled shallow into the walls, the Undercroft it is named. Upon high sun in the daylight hours tis thither whence the cursed can find protection less their skin and bone and gristle become dust by yonder blessed sun.

And yet there is hope for the Vampyre.

Nay lock nor key doth bar the Vampyre assent, and winding staircase that trails the walls of this tomb do bring them up from the depths and closer to the surface and freely may they glance upon yon dark nyte and starry sky. After the ascent the condemned reach a bridge stretching out across the pit casm of heights that would kill a man stone dead.

Hanging to each side of the bridge is a chain 7 yarde from bridge that can only be reach by a jump, to fail is to fall to the pits very bottom. It is this unusual punishment that I hath yet to see anywhere else, to offer hope of escape as well and punishment is both unusual and cruel were it not exacted upon Vampyre.

This climb is no small task and upon each chain link is carved the holy symbol of OUR LORD as to burn at the hands of the sinful and damned should they lose their grip and once more fall back into darkness.

For those that continue their climb with burning hands and wracked with pain the chains lead up to twin bells that hang neath the Purity Bridges. With each hand the Vampyre rises the bell doth toll and alarm is raised, but nay to cries and panic but to merriment and laughter do man, woman and child gather upon the bridges. As Vampyre climbs the people cast holy water upon it to loosen its grasp and make it fall as if sport to them to be the first to sunder the foul beast.

Of the Vampyre there is no escape from Adrastea and some will live forever as others will die to Vampyre or to sun by accident or even to choose their own ending.

"to the depths thou art committed. rise again as creature of damnation, or rise beyonde us all to find your place in heaven. merciful lord we beseech thee.” - Prayer of the Condemned

09-01-2012, 03:25 AM
That is awesome and demented and fantastic-looking. One of the greatest 'back-stories' ever, too.

09-01-2012, 03:45 AM
That looks so pro. I love the step-by-step too.

09-01-2012, 04:41 AM
Stunning! The group of three inset windows on the right play tricks with my eyes a bit (not sure which way the wall is going) but I guess it's meant to suggest that the wall follows one axis on the upper part and then another axis below that? Whatever, great work!

Cunning Cartographer
09-01-2012, 04:49 AM
Cheers guys :) I have to say I am really happy with how it turned out, it could have gone a completely different way if I'd tried to just colour it as a map on its own, I do think the display on the page is what makes it and ties it all together (including the story). Originally I was just going to have the pit be very difficult to escape from, with lots of jumps and climbs (with the idea of it possibly being a DnD/Tabletop dungeon) but as I started on the story it did take on a more macabre tone where it was more about people taking pleasure out of the vampire prisoners suffering with the hands burning on the carved chain links or citizens dousing them with holy water as they climbed; the idea that the bells signifying a vampire is climbing the chain inducing merriment and laughter from it's people, as opposed to terror, I felt was slightly disturbing :D

Cunning Cartographer
09-01-2012, 04:53 AM
Stunning! The group of three inset windows on the right play tricks with my eyes a bit (not sure which way the wall is going) but I guess it's meant to suggest that the wall follows one axis on the upper part and then another axis below that? Whatever, great work!

Yeh the iso cutaway was the hardest part of this map (I wouldn't recommend doing an iso where the main features go in front of other main features! :D ) but essentially the stairs just trail the wall leading ever upwards, changed the direction of the archway and the brickwork to try and convey this, albeit I admit it can look a bit like an M.C. Escher illustration, lol.