Map: Bariousha Peaks

This map was something of an experiment. I originally based the design on Norman Motte and Bailey castles, but I wanted to have a couple of options for the plateaus. I settled on a castle/citadel and a temple/tower structures similar to pagoda’s of East Asia. I also wanted a cave system hidden beneath and there to be a variety of entrances to the cave system. MY biggest experiment however, was adding colour and shading to the maps through GIMP. I don’t know GIMP all that well, and adding colour to drawings has always been a difficult, anxious ridden experience for me!

I’m generally happy with the overall result. I think the cave structure is the most interesting/effective map of the three. Feel free to use them however you wish in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (more information at the bottom). I would love to know what people get up to with them, how the encounters/maps worked, that sort of thing. I’ve tried it out in Owlbear.Rodeo and it works nicely with a grid set at 59×43.


The main idea behind this map was to continue with the hand drawn aesthetic. Below you can see a couple of comparisons between my original hand-drawn pictures and the final editted product.

Left: Original hand-drawn
Right: Scanned and digitised map
Left: Original hand-drawn
Right: Scanned and digitised map

The Citadel Map

Originally, Motte and Bailey castles that were typically used during the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066, were typically situated on natural or artificial hills to provide a useful look out across the region. On the tallest hill there was usually a keep of wood or stone on the highest point seperated from a small walled settlement by a bridge, drawbridge or the like.

My map has adopted a similar design except that the settlement (the smaller of the two hills to the right) is more of a additional fortification, possibly home to barracks, tithe/tax offices etc and is situated on the smaller hill to which the road runs up to. The larger hill (to the left) is seperated by a bridge and consists of a central stone keep and surrounding support buildings such as kitchens, stables, store rooms, kitchens and armouries. There is also a stairway into the hill itself that interconnects with the cave system below. Within the cave system there can be found a dungeon/cell.

I won’t add the encounter ideas for each of these maps to this post. Otherwise it will turn into a bit of a monster I’ll save that for seperate post in the future.

The Temple Map

Whilst backbacking around South East Asia 10 years ago I visited numerous temples, shrines and monastaries. Whilst in Vietnam I was fortunate to visit some amazing pagoda’s and I wanted to replicate that style/structure for this version of the map.

On the whole I think the floor plan conveys something similar to what I was hoping for, and decided to treat the structure like a temple come shrine with surrounding monastic buildings. In the lore of my homebrewed world this temple is dedicated to the Lost God Barious, God of the Winds and Air. On the larger hill sits the main pagoda and service chambers, and access to the cave system. The smaller hill serves as the dormitories and service buildings like kitchen and eating hall for the monks who tend the temple. The small settlement to the south of the map is largely for visitors.

The Cave Map

Depending on the purpose of visiting the Bariousha Peaks, I wanted there to be a seperate means of accessing the main structures via a perilous cave system/water way. There are two primary entrances to the cave, a northern entrance and southern entrance. The south is the outlet for the water system that is fed by a deeper underground spring. The Northern entrance leads to two larger chambers and a passageway that goes uphill towards the basement of the castle and the water source. The yellow splodges in the tunnel represent yellow mold/mushroom growth. The basement structures to the west consist of a cell/secure store; a secret secluded escape route to the west and stairway to the structures above in the water source chamber.


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