Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Isle of Deadwatch

I've been drawing maps lately. My first attempt is the result of following this tutorial (which was well-worth the $1.50), and I'm pleased. I call it the Isle of Deadwatch.

Isle of Deadwatch

Most settlements are human. Alvor-Lam is the home of a friendly dwarf clan. (Other, more reclusive clans are rumored to exist deep under the Goblintooth Mountains, but if the dwarves of Alvor-Lam know of them, they keep their brethren secret.) The Sanderhill is predominantly halfling, though halflings and humans are intermixed throughout the island. Fa-Run (or "Elfbow Island" as it's known in Common) is sacred to the elves. Non-elves are not welcome, and seldom get close enough to touch its shores before being riddled with arrows.

All the larger settlements lay along the coast and rivers. The inland areas are dotted with farming communities but otherwise largely unsettled. Most cities are allied, though the Count of Stouthaven (a port town named for its exquisite dark beers) is thought to be much too lenient toward pirates and others of low moral fiber; and there is constant bickering between the statesmen of twin cities Flax and Snarr (once famously leading to a public duel on the White Bridge that joins them).

The Goblintooth Mountains are (naturally) home to many goblin tribes, rumored to worship myriad unspeakable horrors of the deep. No one knows much about what's inside Treeweir Forest, because few who venture far within make it out with their wits intact. (Fort Bearclaw was built to hold back its ever-encroaching darkness—and to stop the trafficking of hallucinogens harvested from its trees.) The sticky, putrid, maroon water of the Blood Marshes does not easily wash off the skin or the conscience. Those areas are best avoided.

The origin of the name "Deadwatch" has been lost over time. Several legends explain it, but they contradict each other and are often quite contrived, more like moralistic ghost stories than true oral history. In particular, the identity and present status of the dead, and whether they are watching or being watched, vary widely from tale to tale. Bridger the Ham, a famous fool who lives in the palace at Amallia, loves to claim it was named after a beloved pocketwatch that died the moment the island was first sighted. That always gets him a laugh.

Click here for the black-and-white map (more suitable for printing).