For my latest game of D&D, I wanted to at least try to incorporate some level of authenticity into my map. In this game, the PCs have traveled deep underground via this big pit/waterfall (seen here) and have found themselves in a giant cavern with an ancient Minotaur prison.
Well, after some searching on here as well as Google Images, I found this picture. It was exactly what I was looking for: a believable layout that could be interpreted simply or with lots of detail. It's from the Monolithic Domes website, which will definitely be a future source of inspiration for me.
I also had a few gameplay/story goals for this map. I wanted the party to do some quick exploration and eventually come upon another PC who's been absent for a few games and is now ready to rejoin. This PC would be captured and ensnared by some magic barrier that is draining his life-force. The party would need to split up to free him as well as face some baddies. (I have a party of 6 total; so I've been thinking about splitting them up for a while now.)
With all of this in mind... I start with some sketches: seen here and here. On the first page, I have some notes for what I'd like to have, plus some math to make some proportionally accurate small maps. The second pic has one or two design ideas, some sketches of how to draw the crystals, and then the final map.
The big version of the final map can be seen here. And the obligatory action shot is here. You can see that I successfully split up the party... though not really, since they're really just on opposite sides of the same battle. But it added enough of a new dynamic that it was effective.
You can see more of my pictures on my Flickr account by clicking here.
That's it! I would like to apologize for the quality of my pictures. I've just been using my camera phone, which is obviously not cutting it. I'll try to get some better pictures of my next projects...The next map will be another part of the prison that a young dragon has turned into its lair. So we'll see how that goes... Thanks for reading!