At The Mines Of Madness Maps

With the school term over I got some more work on At the Mines of Madness, the first adventure in my aberrant-themed Eberron campaign, specifically maps. I fucking hate mapping because I always think I do them wrong. I've tried checking out maps of villages, caverns, castles, etc, including construction techniques and what-not, but in the end I'm usually never happy with the result. Here's the new map for Shardpit, an Eberron dragonshard mining town situated over a mostly-natural occurring quarry.

There are two gates to the town, and the wall is made of wood. I tried to go for a more chaotic, scattered layout of buildings. To access the mines, you gotta go through a secure building and down a long set of stairs. This also serves as a checkpoint where miners can be searched for dragonshards if they tried to steal them. There's another building with an arcane elevator that is used to move heavy objects, including a wagon with a bound elemental.

I'm going to place encounters at various locations, such as in the tavern, stables, and the House Tharashk enclave. I'm also going to put in a skill challenge if the players try to skulk about the place and avoid direct conflict. The more failures they accrue, the more often they attract bad things when they get into fights (ideally I'd like to get the players mostly leveled before they head into the mine).

Here's also a map of the mine that the players will be heading into.

This is the source of all the problems. I eventually managed to find some mine maps in addition to a page talking about mining methods, and settled on the room/pillar style. First, it gives it a kind of labyrinthine layout that I like, making it easy for the party to get lost and add to the tension (I didn't draw in the collapsed sections, but they're totally there). Second, it allows for me to make locating the ruin a skill challenge, having them get ambushed on a failure.

Finally, the actual dungeon map.

Dungeon mapping always pisses me off because I spend a lot of time fretting over the logistics: cost and time required to build it, logical placement of rooms, space, whatever. I hate it. Especially castle-mapping. Ugh. Anywho, its not very big. The idea is that Gatekeeper druids found a shrine to an aberrant critter, destroyed most of it, and sealed away the stuff they were afraid of breaking (which is why the last two rooms still have a pool and statue). The first room had a bunch of coffins with some minor valuables and a hidden door to dissuade treasure hunters, but the miners found the door anyway and cracked it open.

I figure I can get a good four encounters out of this mini-dungeon, which is more than enough to get the players leveled at this stage of the game.


  1. One thing's for sure: you draw better maps than I do, and I say that as someone who took drafting courses.

  2. Thanks, though to be fair I took a CAD class in high school.


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