Before we get started on this entry, I dedicate it to Dyson Logos. He hasn’t posted since September 10. His crazy cartography and his great style have been good influences on me, and lead to maps like this. Here is his blog, here are his maps, and now, here are my good wishes for him. I hope all is well.
Now, on to this particular map: the Progressive Underport.
THE PROGRESSIVE UNDERPORT
Prince Edrusberth has embraced the coming of science and technology, discarding the Old Ways. He has introduced many innovations in his lands; windmills, aqueducts, more precise law codes, and so on. To demonstrate his commitment to technology, he blasted out a tunnel under his castle so the underground river could be harnessed and used as a back gate for moving supplies.
However, he is not ready to shun the influential family’s wizard advisor—for a number of reasons. In a land gone mad with enlightenment, he quietly stashed the wizard in his own compound below the castle, a dirty little secret connection to the ancient ways of magic.
How to use this? Well, maybe play it as presented, but the group must slip in to consult/kill/rob/liberate the wizard. Or, use the secret knowledge of the wizard’s area to slip in past the gate’s defenses and open the way for attackers to get through the gate. Or, in escaping the fortress above, they get down the elevator and need only hack their way to the river gate and out.
Alternatively, that history is a thousand years old, and things have moved in; this remains the safest way to get at the flanks of whatever is in the fortress ruin above, now. Or, this is where a bounty is hiding, and that’s worth serious coin to the adventurers. Or, an aquatic race of slavers moved in here and practice their trade. Or, this is the closest place the characters could take the inhabitants of a town that is remotely defensible, and the forces of evil approach.
Enjoy the map! If you use it, please let me know, and I’ll link to your effort.
- Gate. A massive gate stands between the fast-flowing river and the lake. The gate is connected to a wheel crank around the corner to the northeast.
- Rope Bridge. A 3 meter tower on either side of the river connects to a rope bridge to get across in a hurry.
- Crank Bridge. A crank to the southeast of the bridge allows it to rise up on both sides, so boats can pass underneath easily. Otherwise it is about 1.5 meters above the water.
- Wall. A palisade 2 meters tall runs along the west side of the area, helping protect it from those who would gain entry or exit against the defenders’ wishes.
- Tower. A 6 meter tower looms in the cavern, overlooking the bend in the river. It has a door to the north, the interior has a staircase running up 2 revolutions to a trapdoor, and the crenellated roof allows for shooting from relative safety.
- Dock. The dock allows boats to tie up for loading and unloading, or preparation for rapid transfer. This is better than the ruts worn in the south shore by keels pulled up on the sand there; it is far more secure.
- Wall. This wall is intended to make invaders think there is a wide open space on the other side, where in fact there is a road flanked by deep ravines. The wall itself is 3 meters tall, with a solid double gate.
- Post. A 5 meter tall post is firmly fixed to the east of the wall, with a cable along the top stretching into the darkness over the river (to the Archaic Gate.)
- Road. The road is about 3 meters wide, give or take, and has no safety measures at all.
- Ravines. The ravines are about 12 meters deep, with jagged rocks. Hard to climb. Nothing of interest unless players sweet-talk their DMs into sprinkling lootable corpses down there.
- Shelf. Maybe this is the lair of creature that lurks in this area, to keep it clear of non-authorized personnel.
- Elevator. A brilliant system of winches and pulleys to the northwest connects the oxrun to the elevator, which is 4 meters square and can haul a lot of cargo up and down. The pulley system requires someone to stand by it and operate it. It can hold a load in place while oxen are relocated, and can slowly move the elevator manually.
- Oxrun. This 15 meter corridor is for oxen to heave against ropes lifting the elevator, then be led back, then heave again.
- Barriers. A pair of barriers can be dragged out to block the road, so fighters must cope with the barriers, go back, or fall down the ravine. They are 2 and 3 meters wide.
- Oxlair. The oxen are stabled here, and there is a haywheel and water trough outside.
- Archaic Gate
- Post. A 5 meter tall pole is fixed here, with a heavy cable connecting to the Landing. It is generally navigated by people going hand over hand, or throwing a connector over and using another source of locomotion (the wizard can levitate, and pull himself along.)
- Gate. Double door, barred from the inside, heinous lock. Usually opened by magic or by pre-arranged scheduling combined with increasingly desperate knocking.
- Pet. The wizard’s guard pet lives here.
- Wizard’s Lair
- Stairs. The stairs leading up to these rooms have an overlooking shelf, giving an unsurprised wizard a very unpleasant defensive position.
- Bedroom. The sturdy door bars from the inside. This is where the wizard sleeps and keeps non-book non-magic loot.
- Library. The sturdy door bars from the inside. This is where the wizard keeps magic books and magic loot.
- Main Hall and Public Space
- Kitchen/Living Quarters. Here two servants live together comfortably, cook good food, and have a quiet secluded life serving the wizard exclusively.
- Main Tunnel. A distracting statue of the God of Magic is normally enough to keep people from looking for the moderately hard to find secret door to the exit.
- Summoning Chamber. Through the cold iron bars, and the curtain hiding them, to the summoning room with its throne flanked by braziers. For the wizard’s ongoing experiments. But it locks, just in case. Does the wizard keep something here?
- Stair Tunnel
- Exit. The stairs go on and on, forever it seems. At the bottom, a secret door into the wizard’s lair. At the top, a camoflauged door that is barred from the inside, by a small ledge on the impassible rock face. (Remember, the wizard can levitate.)