Creating a Tanaris Regional Map by Jens Fuhrberg – Part 3

Part III: The Warlock’s Castle and the Crater of Ghorm

Before I come to the next two symbols I need to explain a bit about the background story of RdW, especially about why its name is ‘Call of the Warlock’:

In the beginning of the world of Tanaris the eight gods didn’t interfere into the things of the humans, elves etc., but one day the god Thongmor started playing around in the world and the other gods had to react. As they didn’t want to counter Thongmor’s action personally, they created the Warlock. This is a person with godlike abilities, immortal and invulnerable, his task was to fight against Thongmor. Over the years, with changing Warlocks and with the beginning of the war of the gods, the initial task of the Warlock was forgotten and now he is an independent entity.

But as the gods didn’t want to create another god, they gave him one ‘weakness’. They created the Swordmasters, a group of people with outstanding abilities in swordfighting, who always know where the Warlock is, they always hear the ‘call of the Warlock’. If one of them fights the Warlock and defeats him in a duel (this is the only situation where a warlock can die), the winning Swordmaster will become the next Warlock.

The Swordmaster is a Player Class, which means a player can become Warlock. Unfortunately the requirements for playing a Swordmaster are so hard (while creating a character you have to role dice epic…), no one in my group ever played one.

The home of the Warlock is the castle ‘Sign of the times’, which is settled on a mountain range overarching the ‘black lake of buried hopes’ (in the night you can hear the screams of the dead souls of all the Swordmasters who lost their fight against the Warlock). The feature with this castle, mountains and lakes is, that the warlock can teleport this ensemble anywhere he likes. When the map is done, I will see where exactly I will place it:

One of the spells a Warlock can cast provides the means to devastate an entire region. To cast this spell, the Warlock needs to point his finger on a map. The area where his fingerprint appears on the map will get afflicted by a heavy magic storm, extreme rain and hail, destroying nearly every kind of live. This is of course one of the epic spells the RdW rulebook contains and I love the idea to implement this spell on a map, as it is spectacular and fits from its idea perfect to a map, as it indicates, that the Warlock used exactly this map to cast his spell.
I like to put this disaster to the Jesher valley, a fertile valley in the rough plains of the barbarian kingdom of Oxus. Jesher is a center of trade, has a diamond mine and hosts the mausoleum of a prophet of the gods which may contain secrets even a Warlock could be interested in. The first thing to do is the area itself, which is no big deal to map (the valley is an inverted bevel).

The next thing is the fingerprint. Bevor I start this I studied several photos of fingerprints and after that I draw simple polygons in black.

I add an edge fade, inner effect (edge with 5 map units, inner opacity 40% and outer opacity 0%) and I get this.

As the Warlock now has marked the area, it’s time to summon the storm who will destroy most of the life and the buildings there in the next hours. I start with a storm from the CASUAC symbol set, which is ‘marching’ straight onto the fingerprint area. The reason why I did not put him directly there is that I don’t want to overload this spot.

To finish this scenery I just draw some grey polygons arounds the storm with an edge fade, inner effect (edge with 15 map units, inner opacity 80% and outer opacity 0%) to smoothen the outline of the storm and to increase the impression that this storm has two arms, reaching out at its target, as well as lightning coming out of is eyes, destroying a watchtower. The explosion is from a Dungeon trap from DD3.

Now I don’t know if I should add more details (maybe some rain and hail would be great), but this decision I move to the final phase of the map, when all the background coloring is done.

The next symbol will be the last one of this Chapter, but it is my favorite one on the map so far. After I finished it I was laughing out loud, as it is a psychedelic-nightmare mixture of high fantasy and Japanese Godzilla movies. So exactly what I want.

The Crater of Ghorm

This used to be the huge ‘Mountain of Ghorm’, which disappeared overnight, leaving the ‘Crater of Ghorm’. The Crater contains a lava lake, but expeditions found out that the lava is just about 10 cm thick and under this lava layer is normal air and temperature. During the night, strange sounds and screams come out of the crater. The sourcebook speculates that the crater will become a major threat for the whole region and some barbarians believe the god Halphas is behind this. The only way to get the whole picture would be to find some brave heroes…

Reading this description, I did not just want to make a boring Crater on the map. I had a demon in mind, who grew up in the Crater like in an egg and now – that he is strong enough – breaks through the lava layer. So, I start with a common crater and the symbol for the god Halphas.

The next step is to find a demon, which I take from ProFantasy’s Character Artist 3. To give him a more alive impression, I just rotate him a bit, which gives the impression he is climbing out.

Finally, I take a standard Lava fill to draw the lava layer. I left a bit of a gap atop the fist of the demon giving the impression he breaks through a hole in the lava. At the end, just add some smoke (it was a suggestion from the forum, thanks Wyvern) and the demon is ready to break out and bring chaos and destruction onto Tanaris.

With these kinds of pictures, symbols and sceneries on the map I can hardly imagine that it’s impossible to find brave heroes who want to fight these perils and who want to reveal all the secrets.
How about you, are you brave enough for Tanaris and the call of the Warlock?

Jens Fuhrberg started playing RPGs in the 90s and still does it. One of his favorite games is no longer being supported since 20 years ago, so doing his own maps is kind of necessary. Besides this, he found out how relaxing and meditating mapping can be – so some people do Yoga, he creates fantasy maps.

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