Fantasy Map Extravaganza

Lord Leedan’s Cursed Keep

A Map of Lord Leedan's Cursed Keep (burning pool version)
A Map of Lord Leedan’s Cursed Keep (burning pool version)
A Map of Lord Leedan's Cursed Keep (restored pool version)
A Map of Lord Leedan’s Cursed Keep (restored pool version)

This week’s map was drawn entirely in Photoshop with my trusty Wacom tablet. My focus was on scale. Specifically, how to scale objects and shadows so that they would not look too big or too small compared to other things. Once I learned how to translate feet and inches (which I use to make the maps) into the metrical system (which I am natively familiar with), it all started clicking from there. Enjoy!

In my story, the dungeon is inhabited by a humanoid called Leenad.

Leenad’s terribly old. He’s older than the forests and older than the mountains. The source of his unnatural longevity is the magical and mysterious emanations from a mystical pool.

Leenad first found the magical pool during an adventurous expedition. Being a wizard of no small power, he realized that he might be able to bind the pool’s magic and greatly enhance his own spells.

He succeeded, sort of. While the pool greatly enhanced his magical powers and granted him quasi-immortality, it also bound him to the dungeon. Indeed, all attempts he’s made at leaving have been met with failure. The farthest he got from the pool the more he felt his lifeforce slipping away and the more his powers diminished. He tried to get out through magic, but his teleporation spells simply failed with a fizzle.

Resigned to spend his days tied to the pool, he used his considerable powers to build and improve the dungeon. He built a bedroom for himself and made various enhancements and improvements. He also hid some of of his most valuable items in the well to the northeast and he cast a protection spell to prevent anyone from getting the items without uttering the magical words that only he knew.

He spent most of his time in his bedroom, studying and researching ways to gain freedom. He event got as far as being able to channel the power of the pool through magical orbs.

Despite his increased powers, Leenad still needed to sleep. It was during his slumber that tragedy struck!

You see, the pool’s magical essence was always spreading out beyond the dungeon into the depths.

It was a whiff of this essence that was detected by a gathering of evil and chaotic shades . The simpleminded creatures – unable to resist the pool’s power – made their way through the dungeon into the pool. One by one they dived in and were swallowed whole. The clash of the shades’ evil essence and the pool’s natural powers created an explosion that set the room aflame with magical fires. Immediately the pool and its surroundings were razed and deadened. Leenad himself felt this happen only in his nightmares, for he never awoke after that.

He’s still alive, but trapped in an unending nightmare, his body trapped in a limbo, perhaps until such a time as some brave adventurers find a way to wake him up and thereby find out the secrets of the dungeon that only Leenad knows…

Note: the map is available in high resolution (and gridless) versions for supporters on Patreon. An optional version is also available for supporters at the Explorer level. The alternate version has a different color scheme of which you can see a preview below.

Preview of Alternate Version of Lord Leenad's Keep
Preview of Alternate Version of Lord Leenad’s Keep

If you have used one of my maps in your games – or if you have some feedback or suggestions – I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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