View Full Version : The ICE Temple

03-02-2009, 08:57 AM
So I made it into the final minutes of the ICE contest with this entry:


The WIP thread is here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4025

In ancient times a dragon ravaged the lands. Thousands of people were slain and cities burned to the ground. First the people turned to the gods of summer and spring, but they were too fey. They helped when life was good and wouldn't understand disaster. They turned to the god of autumn, but she told them that bad times were inevitable and that they must accept their fate and ride it out. Finally, in desperation, they turned to the cruel god of winter. He understood bad times and hard choices. When people are desperate they will do desperate things. He would handle the dragon, but the people must make a pact. One virgin sacrifice every midwinter's eve. The people wept but they had no choice.

The dragon was lured to a high mountain top in with a cascading river, but today there was nor river, as it was dammed with a wall of ice. As it flew closer the ice cracked and a avalanche of water engulfed the beast. The god of winter spoke, and the water froze, trapping the dragon in an enormous icicle. The people heard of the event and celebrated. The king knew better and sent his best climbers to see for themselves. They saw the dragon in the ice and were joyous, but then they looked closer and saw that above the dragon lay a vaulted pillared hall, and at the end, overlooking the valley of the cities, and whipped by icy winds, stood a cold butcher's block of solid ice - an altar for the price of the deal.

In the following years, steps have been carved to make the perilous climb possible. Every year, in the dead of winter, the priests take the god's prize to his lofty temple and keep their people's pact lest the dragon return.

03-02-2009, 09:13 AM
WOW man. That is bloody brilliant work you've done. Love the frozen dragon and bloody altar.

03-02-2009, 09:48 AM
That is a very cool map man. Good Colors, good layout, good flow. I love the practicality of it with the grid for your campaign encounter. The frozen wyrm is a fantastic addition and really adds a lot.

What really does it for me and brings it all together is your concept drawing of the cliff and overhang included in the bottom corner.

Great work!

03-02-2009, 03:26 PM
Thanks! It was fun to draw (and a real pain at times). Good fun drawing dragons again as well - it's been ages.

Steel General
03-02-2009, 03:29 PM
Very cool T! - glad you were able to make the deadline.

03-02-2009, 04:01 PM
That is a very cool map man. Good Colors, good layout, good flow. I love the practicality of it with the grid for your campaign encounter. The frozen wyrm is a fantastic addition and really adds a lot.

What really does it for me and brings it all together is your concept drawing of the cliff and overhang included in the bottom corner.

Great work!

This post is turning my thoughts on this awesome map into words. I second everything Wag wrote and am amazed at your talent! Well done!

03-03-2009, 08:38 PM
Its hard to be so far out on the edge. Good Job

Very good job.


03-07-2009, 10:34 AM
Very nice.

A friend of mine says that its totally kick-a**.

I also like the story that goes with it. Very interesting.

03-07-2009, 11:15 AM
thats really nice!

03-11-2009, 07:57 AM
super cool map!

ever thought of making a version with a grid, to be used for minis games or DnD?

03-11-2009, 08:49 AM
The final submission was a multi-page pdf with a hex grid and can be found here:

The version I'll be using in my own D&D games is one without a grid but imported into maptool which sorts out the grid itself.

I can easily lay down a square grid on it if you like?

03-13-2009, 12:29 PM
Nice map, I especially liked the dragon and the shades of blue used here. Good work :)

03-14-2009, 06:05 PM
very nice cool map ;)

This is getting me thinking for my campaign.

Repped :)

03-14-2009, 06:07 PM
Superb! That dragon really does look like it's entombed in the ice. I really love the inset drawing too. Brilliant as always, Torstan!

03-14-2009, 06:50 PM
Thanks guys, and thanks for the rep.

I meant to put this up a while ago. Here's the version without a grid - so you can decide yourselves just how big you want that dragon to be....


And for those that want to add their own grid and don't want it to venture off the surface of the temple into thin air, here's the layer mask I used:


05-28-2009, 06:36 PM
I just wanted to post this review of Torstan's work from Drive Thru RPG. The praise is definitely well deserved:

To be honest, I rarely think about the cartographer of the maps I use in my games. Partially because the publishers rarely promote the individual cartographer, instead relying more so on branding their name. However, Jonathan Roberts, is one of those artists that should get billing above the publisher’s name. Roberts is the artist of the Fantastic Maps series, a series of maps that have rejuvenated the 2-d map PDF market. Ever since 0ones stopped publishing realistic battlemaps, the market has been skim on quality detail maps. Roberts Fantastic Maps were introduced in early 2009, and despite the inexpensive price, are some of the most intricately detailed maps to be released in some time. Because of the similar high quality of each of the map products, this review will cover the entire series released so far. The Fantastic Maps series is reminiscent of well made fantasy anime. With thick layers of color displayed in a somewhat whimsical quality. The pixels jump off the page, looking sometimes like hills and layers are actually there. Each PDF contains a color and black and white version of the map, and the map broken down into separate pieces that can be reassembled later on. The full scale of each map is roughly 20’ by 30’. As of this review, there have been six maps released so far, each as diverse as the previous: The Glass Balcony is a map of a shear balcony overlooking a body of water with islands dancing around it. The refreshing blues used to create the water make this an ideal map for an interesting aqua encounter. The Lone Island in the Sky has a massive tree holding up a patch of grassing land. However, it seems to work better as an open tree trunk that descends into a pit of unknown. The smoky texture that surrounds the tree is distracting, however, the crisp lines in the bark add to the character of the map. The Leafless Wood is one of those maps that should be a staple in your map collection. Used for wilderness encounters, it’s a lot darker than the Glass Balcony and has a more serious tone. It is a very versatile map. You can use it for a track through a forest, or use it for river encounters. The Mire of Lost souls is another possible staple for parties that travel through swamp lands a lot. Roberts tends to do water very well, as yet another version of water shows a series of murky greens and thick oil like blues. This map can feel quite dull when compared to the others. Getting away from the generic maps, Black Sky Butte presents a massive alter that raises 100s of feat into the air. The surface of the alter is nicely done with cryptic writing and stars about, though it is uneven in places. The most permissive thing about this map is the impression of height. The latest Map is the Ice temple and my favorite. A dragon frozen in ice over a large chasm embanked by snow. The layers of whites and blues to distinguish snow and ice bring out all the detail in this map. For the Digital DM Each map contains a black and white and a color version, which makes it slightly more difficult than other products when mass extracting the images. The large image included in the PDF is not scale, so you will have to place each individual piece. It would be nice if a high resolution single map was included. For the Standard DM Rich colors don’t come cheap and if you want to catch the detail you’re going to be pouring some extra funds into ink. The Iron Word For less than a buck, you can not beat adding one of these maps to any order you make. I am not going to tell Mr. Roberts that we are in a recession nor that his maps are of equal quality to high end-map products at only a fraction of the cost. Instead, I recommend purchasing these great steals and giving your player an engrossing game play experience.

05-28-2009, 07:18 PM
Woohoo! Now that's a nice review. Thanks for finding that RP - you've just made my day.

05-28-2009, 07:39 PM
Very well deserved, Torstan!!! It was a nice review, but I think you're even better! :)

05-28-2009, 07:42 PM
Way to go man. I'll be your doorman and only take small gratuities in order for people to get in to see you ;)

05-28-2009, 08:00 PM
Rejuvenated the 2-D pdf market

I think I'm going to put that on my wall in the physics department here :)

If I had done that I'd expect to have a few more sales.

Thanks guys, I'm really pleased to have got such good press for these. I still think there's a market in a Cartographer's Guild line of maps. All challenge winning maps to be put up on rpgnow as printable pdfs with profits going to Arcana :) for hosting and prizes for future challenges.

05-28-2009, 08:05 PM
Well done Tortsan the rejuvinator !

05-28-2009, 08:08 PM
I guess that makes him a cleric as well...wonder what his turn undead is.

05-28-2009, 08:12 PM
I guess that makes him a cleric as well...wonder what his turn undead is.Tort-san doesn't merely turn undead - he creates a local black hole and flips them into it.

Steel General
05-28-2009, 08:36 PM

..and well-deserved.

05-28-2009, 09:58 PM
He probably kicks them in Leonidas-style.

05-29-2009, 12:29 AM
Congrats torstan! Well done!