Midgard and Call of Cthulhu Maps and Illustrations for Kobold Press
I’d like to share a handful of the maps I’ve done over the past year-and-a-half or so. I’ve been writing, illustrating, and creating maps for three Open Design projects for Kobold Press.
Open Design is a patron-based publishing enterprise producing roleplaying supplements, mostly for Pathfinder. Patrons compete for writing opportunities, submitting proposals on which all patrons on a project vote. I wrote a wild-west adventure and co-wrote with Tim Connors a Spanish Inquisition adventure for a Call of Cthulhu project called, “The Red Eye of Azathoth”. The other two projects are are set in Midgard, Kobold Press' Pathfinder Campaign Setting. For “Journeys into the West”, a project developing the islands of Midgard's Western Ocean, I wrote both an island-hopping adventure called "The Ship that Never Was" and a Mythos-infested island called Meshong-Lir, loosely based on Cthulhu’s R’lyeh, as a major location setting. Most recently, I wrote a Viking adventure for “Midgard Tales”, a massive, hard-cover book of adventures illustrating the varied regions of Midgard.
For each of these projects, I created maps and illustrations to accompany my writing. For “Midgard Tales”, I’m presently painting the book cover.
I'll start with three deck plans I created for "Journeys Into the West" and "Midgard Tales".
The Savage Isles and the Accursed Isle of Meshong-Lir
Here’s my archipelago map for “Journeys into the West”. The Savage Isles are populated by cannibalistic pygmies, cyclopes, and other nasties. Yes, some of the islands fly, which is why a handful cast shadows.
The Accursed Isle of Meshong-Lir spent centuries, perhaps millennia, on the ocean floor, imprisoning a Great Old One I named Noth-Nyarthogu who almost destroyed reality before being bound by the Gods. The island itself is comprised entirely of the twisted ruins of a Titan city, warped into nightmare forms during the gods’ battle and thereafter by the Great Old One’s influence. Now, in its sunken tomb, the Great Old One stirs, and its servitors scattered descendants sense its call. Shoggoths crawl into Meshong-Lir’s submerged remains to claw at sealed doors. Aquatic chaos beasts and gibbering mouthers follow. Noth-Nyarthogu’s agents travel the Western Islands, teaching others sacrificial rites to raise Meshong-Lir and spells that unravel wards, spells and rites the gods’ ancient magic prohibits Noth-Nyarthogu’s minions from performing themselves.
On moonless nights, when silhouettes dance abhorrent rituals, Meshong-Lir rises. Water cascades from its mountainous ruins. While the island usually submerges before dawn, rituals have recently kept it surface-bound for a full day. Within, labyrinthine crawl spaces spiral into mind-bending gulfs of blackness, the cyclopean ruins warping into ever-deepening nightmare. Beyond the harrowing guardians and insane titan ghosts, symbols of blasphemous power pulse like living things across treasures unimagined. And throughout, unspeakable abominations haunt the echoes.
Yet they come, people seeking abandoned wealth and secrets to alter destiny or bind the gods. The eager, the foolish, and the damned. One by one, they open forbidden doors. And somewhere far below, the Great Old One waits.
You get the idea.
One fun aspect of this map is that the Midgard Atlas, a new App for tablets that presents all of the lands of Midgard, includes this archipelago right out in the middle of the Western Ocean. That's my first archipelago to appear in an App!
By the way, if you love Midgard or D&D or Pathfinder and you don't have Midgard Atlas, you must get it! If you just love fantasy maps, you must get it! It totally rocks!
Typical Battle and Encounter Maps
I created six more maps for my adventure, “The Ship that Never Was.” Most are battle maps or encounter maps. All serve their purpose, although all look fairly pedestrian. Here are two examples.