View Full Version : Old School Dungeon - The Necromancer's Garden

Dyson Logos
07-25-2009, 09:17 PM
I'm an old-school dungeoncrafter. I also play and run a lot of other games, but when it comes to mapping, I love putting together classic dungeon environments for D&D.

As indicated in my profile, all my mapping is pen and ink on paper without digital work except contrast enhancement after scanning. These particular maps were drawn in a small graph booklet with a 6 quad graph - so a lot of the scans shown here look a lot larger than the original maps do in the booklet.

This is one map set I haven't posted to my blog yet - it should appear in a few weeks to a month at my current release schedule.

This first piece is the least "clean" of the maps in the set, it was a quick sketch of the dungeon from the side to explain how the various sections link together.

Dyson Logos
07-25-2009, 09:20 PM
The Surface Level

This is the actual "necromancer's garden". It was a small fortress on a hilltop with a set of four crypts built within the fortress walls. The crypts have been vandalized and in the case of two of the crypts, smashed wide open by some potent force years ago.

Two of the crypts have secret stairwells that lead to the underlevels. One is exposed from the damage (although the secret door remains secret - the walls around the stairwell are missing). There is also a stairwell to the dungeons under the fortress.

This was the original map of the set that went on to inspire the side view and sublevel maps.

Dyson Logos
07-25-2009, 09:23 PM
Crypt Level

This area is the ancient family crypt who's stairs are revealed by the damage on the surface level. There is also a secret door on this level that leads to the other secret stairwell and from there deeper into the dungeons.

Dyson Logos
07-25-2009, 09:30 PM
The Dungeons

These are the two levels found directly below the fortress proper. The upper map is the upper level, and the lower map is the lower level.

Entrance to the upper level is the stairwell in the upper left hand side of the map, and the stairs in the lower right hand side lead down to the lower level.

Entrance to the lower level is the stairs on the left side of the level, and access to the lowest catacombes level is through the spiral stairs just to the northeast of the entrance stairs.

Dyson Logos
07-25-2009, 09:32 PM
The Catacombs

Access to this lowest level of the Necromancer's Garden is via one of two spiral staircases. The stairs on the left are the secret stairs down from the crypts above, and the stairs on the right link to the fortress dungeons.

07-25-2009, 09:36 PM
You've got a fan in me :) These are great. How about I bump up that reputation for ya.

07-26-2009, 05:27 AM
Very nice, have some reputation.
I like the side view most... mostly because we don't see many maps like that.

Steel General
07-26-2009, 05:29 AM
Neat stuff... looking forward to seeing more.

Dyson Logos
07-26-2009, 09:00 AM
Very nice, have some reputation.
I like the side view most... mostly because we don't see many maps like that.

I *love* side-views. It's a left-over from the first RPG product I owned - the red box D&D set.

Here's two more maps I've done - one is just a side-view because it's the end result of a game of "How to Host a Dungeon" and the other is a more traditional dungeon map with side-view.

Death of the Liche Lord (http://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/how-to-host-a-dungeon-death-of-the-liche-lord/)
Lair of the Frogs (http://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/thursday-map-lair-of-the-frogs/)

07-26-2009, 10:36 AM
Those two are very cool as well.
Lair of the Frogs :D

07-26-2009, 10:52 AM
I'm really liking the look of your illustrated bare trees; they really set the mood. I mean, without colour or lighting, I can tell that it's a pretty creepy place.

07-26-2009, 03:11 PM
I'm running a campaign with the very rules that you say inspired you! These will make for yet another ruined wizard's abode, which my world can't ever have enough of!

Have you detailed what's inside, roughly? Or are you a map-first kind of person?

Dyson Logos
07-26-2009, 07:21 PM
(barrataria - I'm also running and playing in classic B/X games right now; by far my favourite D&D rule set)

I start with a theme, and then draw the map, and then stock it on the fly most of the time.

For this one, it would depend on how / where it was introduced and the level of the adventuring group. For mid-high level play I would put a weird and evil noble family still eking out a living in the above ground building. The southern family crypts would be inhabited with a few undead and similar beasties as expected. The dungeons would be stocked with some powerful critter that is the new head of the family and said critter's servants. The catacombs would be full of weirdness and some interesting treasures, sealed off and abandoned by the family. Lots of oozes, constructs and traps.

For low-level play I would have the place essentially abandoned. Have a tribe of goblins and a few other humanoids moved into the manor and the dungeons, and low level undead in the crypts (and have the crypt be the first place the players should go, since there won't be organized resistance against them there). Again, have the catacombs sealed off and weird.

07-26-2009, 08:30 PM
Very nice, Dyson!

07-27-2009, 01:07 AM
Yeah, those look great! I'm always intrigued by side view maps, but I don't know how to draw them. For example, the Lich map has some odd shapes. How do you transfer that info to the regular map, or is it for aesthetics? If so, then mission accomplished. :)

Dyson Logos
07-27-2009, 07:53 AM
The liche lord map is the end result of a game of "How to Host a Dungeon" (a solo dungeon design / evolution game by Tony Dowler) so it has a lot of interesting side view shapes put there to identify various sections of the dungeon. I don't know what I would do about them if I were to map the various sections out from above, to be honest.

07-27-2009, 12:49 PM
it has a lot of interesting side view shapes put there to identify various sections of the dungeon.

Actually, that works for me. It helps with visualizing it and makes me include more than the standard 10' high walls. I think I'm getting it now and will try it for my next B/X game. Thanks.

07-27-2009, 07:36 PM
I start with a theme, and then draw the map, and then stock it on the fly most of the time.

I tend to do the opposite, and when I see things like this it makes me wonder if I should design "backwards" (to me) occasionally. I look at your blank map and think immediately of what should be there, or might have been there before, and so on. When I draw dungeon maps I am too utilitarian, drawing a room for each function etc. and then not ending up with enough good old-school empty rooms and nonsequiturs.

I think in some ways it's more realistic... think of the random things about almost anywhere you go- home, school, work... rooms not used for their original purpose, converted to storage, and so forth.

My campaign/overland maps are often the opposite, and I like to sprinkle random things and even just cool-looking symbols with no idea what they might be. Especially on player maps.

Thanks for the insight- I have to remember to do a bit more map-first work on my next abandoned dungeon.

EDIT: I should also say I printed out your other two maps too and will probably use them in my game eventually. Thanks again!

Dyson Logos
07-27-2009, 07:55 PM
The Lair of the Frogs map is a perfect example of a dungeon that has changed purposes through it's existance.

The upper level would only have a guard posted now, whereas it used to be the upper temple - it's now dusted with leaves and detritus blown in through the upper entrance and ignored by the current residents except as a guard post.

The lower level was once the catacombs and cells for lowly clerics and has become the home to the frogmen. The doors that are left here are all swollen shut and the frogmen couldn't be bothered to open them.