Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pyramid of Lux the Mad: Level 5

February 9, 1978 Original Concept

Level 5 consists of tiers, pillars and a few surprises in what is the first of a multi-level layout. This was by far the hardest to map in Sketchup, but I'm pleased with the results. Note that doors were left off the top view for clarity.

Presented below is the 5th level of the Pyramid of Lux the Mad:

Level 5 in isometric view:


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pyramid of Lux the Mad: Levels 3-4

February 9, 1978 Original Concept

The 3rd and 4th levels include some larger areas, with a few surprises.Presented below are the 3rd and 4th levels of the Pyramid of Lux the Mad:

Level 3 in isometric view:
Level 4 in isometric view:


Pyramid of Lux the Mad: Levels 1-2

February 9, 1978 Original Concept

The earliest records of Alux Mahdram indicate that she was once a student of the Mage's Guild at Hawk's Point around 204 BE. She showed great promise early on, but the death of her mother at the hands of a Paladin under suspicious conditions led many to believe Alux's mind fractured. Crestfallen Library records show that she fell out of favor quickly for wanting to perform dark arts that called upon forgotten magic, in the hopes of discovering the truth of her mother's demise.. 

She disappeared for a time, surfacing in Memphis some twenty years later, and quickly assumed leadership of her own cult, the "Seeker's of Light":
Alux quickly grew in power, and for the next thirty years hatched schemes to feed her schism, all in the hopes of solving her mother's murder. Outside of the cult, she worked with the local villages and with the aid of  a clan of dwarves set about building a lasting monument to her cult - the Pyramid of Light.

Then, in 502 BE she discovered a document that led to the summoning of a demon whose very name the world had forgotten. Lux the Mad as she came to be known, simply disappeared and whether the Cult continues to exist is unknown.

Presented below are the first  two levels of the Pyramid of Lux the Mad:

Level 1 in isometric view:

Level 2A in isometric view:
 Level 2B in isometric view:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One: Finished Sketchup

December 10, 1977 Original Concept

This is the last post detailing the layout of TCotBO. Is it perfect?. No, since I didn't do contours and the like, but it appeals to my sense of mixing old and new in 1E. I've included a quick labeling of the main features, and can now focus on recreating the various dungeons that the area has to offer.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One: Sketchup

December 10, 1977 Original Concept

I've had a few PM's in regard to the recent Pyramid of Lux the Mad in perspective. Some time back I created The Castle of the Bloated One in Sketchup, so to appease those asking for a quick and dirty isometric view I'm including a couple snapshots:

Included are the Castle, Church of Khepera, Pyramid of Lux, Prison, and Vargas Motte & Bailey:

A closeup of the Vargas Motte & Bailey: 


Friday, December 21, 2012

TCotBO - Pyramid of Lux the Mad - Level 1

February 9, 1978 Original Concept

The Pyramid of Lux the Mad has a 10 foot central building on it's top that features twin sealed floating doors. This structure is surrounded by water, which falls down the front of the pyramid, passing between twin steps on its descent and disappears into a 10 foot building with a single wide sealed door on the Southern face.

The water flows in an endless stream, and seems to be permanently clean and pure. Mages have pondered the water for years, but it was a child that gave them the first clues of it's mysterious cycle; he dropped a wooden toy boat into the stream and it appeared back at the top, continuing its journey back down to the delighted boy.

The pyramid is made of a black cobalt, while the doors - stucco-yellow in appearance - are surrounded by deep golden frames. Writing adorns the doors, in a language scholars believe is of an ancient dialect.

Thus, presented below are 3D side and top views of the 1st level of the Pyramid of Lux the Mad:

Presented below is a perspective view of the 1st level of the Pyramid of Lux the Mad: 


The Castle of the Bloated One - Pyramid of Lux the Mad

February 9, 1978 Original Concept

B4:The Lost City became one of my favorite modules because of the Egyptian flavor when it was released in 1982, but years before I had envisioned a structure that was partially above ground, which also provided adventurous groups with an enclosed environment. Thus, The Pyramid of Lux the Mad came to be.

The entrance and first level are above ground, on a large mound to the west of the Castle, within the inner walls. Black Basalt stone was the source of inspiration for the construction, and over a 3 day period I finalized the structures lower levels.

Thus, presented below is a side and top view of the Pyramid of Lux the Mad:


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One - Garden Sub-Level 1

December 10, 1977 Original Concept

The Garden Sub-Level was designed as a place where crops are grown and harvested for the Castle's occupants, while the resulting seed is stored/maintained for next season. Fresh water is collected via the natural sandstone filter in the ceiling, which slowly drips down into the deep central collection chamber.

Ventilation, sunlight, and some rain water is filtered down to the 80 foot tall chamber via two vertical Columnar Basalt shafts who's entrance is housed in twin open air buildings on the surface. These shafts have steep vertical stone steps, and while only the steadfast dare to use them on a regular basis, most prefer the twin Guard Tower stairs.

A grove of trees serves as a reminder of the deep connection to the Older Faith, while the outer walls keep the residents safe and secure during wartime. Other secrets remain...

Thus, presented below is the Garden Sub-Level:

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One - Castle Complex: Level 3

December 09, 1977 Original Concept

Level 3 is the main living quarters of the family. This is the only level that is separate from the guards towers, and gives total privacy. In this instance, I'm not including a roof level, given the simplicity of the design and to save space for more important maps.

Of note here is the two outer buildings, of which the 3rd level is shown. Both are open air structures and thus no roof is needed.

Presented below is the third floor of the Castle Complex:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One - Castle Complex: Level 2

December 09, 1977 Original Concept

The second level of the Castle was quick and simple to create, using just the roofs of the courtyard buildings, and focusing on the living quarters for the staff and owners. On my original drawings, I had tree stumps on the first floor, and full leaf foliage on the second to show detail by leaving (ahem) the road off for clarity.

I felt early on that a simple design would work well because I didn't feel a full blown castle with all the trimmings fit TCotBO. My original map has a scrawling script across the top:

"Twin circular towers with square central building"

Presented below is the second floor of the Castle Complex:


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One - Castle Complex

December 09, 1977 Original Concept

The Castle Complex was first laid out on a brown roll of paper, and then transferred to graph paper three months later. Ideally I envisioned the castle as being a network of smaller buildings that dealt with day-to-day operations, and because it would (hopefully) fade out of this existence, it needed to be self sustaining. From blacksmith and fletchers, to food stores and a couple smoke houses, the courtyard quickly filled up.

In design, I originally considered the entire complex, including outer walls to be able to "faze out", but then I thought about a section of the outer walls that would remain behind. Perhaps even one of it's "homes" would be nothing but rubble, due either to the passage of time or some catastrophic event. So the "Ruins of the Bloated One" remained a future project., while this current layout became my primary focus.

Presented below is the main floor of the Castle Complex:


The Castle of the Bloated One - Earthmaster Site Level 4

December 04, 1984 Original Concept

As with level 3, level 4 requires a condition to be met prior it becoming available to explore/use. Once the requirement is met, then the four walls slide silently into the floor, opening up a massive structure. Like the previous rooms, this entire structure is made of Psuedo-stone, and the floors, walls and ceiling are perfectly smooth. 

There are seven main paths within the Vargas Earthmaster site that can be explored. Each leads upwards to a perfectly circular room, that contains a rotating 10 foot sphere. Each sphere is of a specific element, in this case, one of the seven prime of the world. The known elemental stones are:

Amethyst (quartz)
Sapphire (star)

What other secrets this site contains have yet to be discovered...

Included below is the Vargas Earthmaster Site, level 4 in original black, and for those that prefer an easy-on-the-pocket-print-version, simple white:


The Castle of the Bloated One - Earthmaster Site Level 3

December 04, 1984 Original Concept

Level 3 of the Vargas Earthmaster site is a sealed affair, accessible only after seven specific items are placed on the dais into the depressions, and in the proper order. When the requirements are fulfilled, the eastern-most wall in this chamber slides silently upward revealing a 70' X 70' square room that features paintings on each wall. The air in this room is fresh, while the floor is very smooth and dust-free.

Depicts a jungle, with a large step-pyramid structure rising above the trees.

Depicts a desert, with a large smooth pyramid rising above the dunes.

Depicts a lake and waterfall, with a large obelisk rising out of the water.

Depicts an archway, while the rest of the wall is covered in stars.

Included below is the Vargas Earthmaster Site, level 3 in original black, and for those that prefer an easy-on-the-pocket-print-version, simple white:


Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One - Earthmaster Site Level 2

December 04, 1984 Original Concept

The main Vargas Earthmaster site is reached by first traversing a long connecting tunnel, some 290' in length, due East of the main entrance. The tunnel itself has sheer straight walls with an arched ceiling, of which an intermingling of pinkish-grey stone can be seen every 40' or so.

After following the dry, dust-free hallway, the passages drops down two sets of stairs some 40' before finishing at a small perfectly circular 30' round, 50' tall arched chamber. The entire room, from the entry point archway is comprised completely of this pinkish-grey stone, which has no visible seams, cracks or crafting marks.

The only feature of note is the 13' round, 3 foot tall dais centralized and raised from the smooth floor. The dais has 7 half-moon depressions, although their purpose remains a mystery.

Included below is the Vargas Earthmaster Site, level 2 in original black, and for those that prefer an easy-on-the-pocket-print-version, simple white:


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wierd Ponderings...

For as long as I can remember clearly from my youth, the deepest fantasy moments came due to books, movies, the occasional comic and a game called Dungeons & Dragons. I have in the past three years shared some of the background on my earliest gaming experiences on this blog, intermixed within various other topics like Planemorphs, Original DM software reviews, and some of my recent work in recompiling The Castle of The Bloated One - the original castle (and its nefarious current owner) from my 1977 campaign  *deep breath*

Point is, until now I wasn't really sure if anyone would be interested in the ramblings of a slightly crazed (-to-be-49-year-old) man (in 4 days) who (still) has a passion for gaming. This game is still the best after 38 years of doing it. In three years I've seen the interest (in subscribers) grow to 17. Now I realize 17 isn't record setting, nor is it even noteworthy outside of my small circle of friends that play this seriously weird game, but hell, I'm getting comments and PMs at Dragonsfoot forum and the Dragonsfoot Chat. Yes, I do talk there from time to time - when I ain't gaming/designing/doing cartography/working.

So to each and every one of you brave (brilliant) crazy (*flexes muscles*) guys, thanks!! 

But the other day someone said - your campaign is good, but you can "bring it" a bit more. So I'm going to focus the next two years on doing TCotBO from my maps and compiled notes and featuring it on my Blog. In turn the victi..errr players in this edition of my campaign will also be the guinea pigs.

The 1st level of Castle Zagyg awaits, you guys wanted me to bring it?


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Castle of the Bloated One - Earthmaster Site

December 04, 1984 Original Concept

I found Harn in the fall of 1983, and subsequently discovered this fascinating idea of ancient ruins built by a long-forgotten race. The ruins generally are called Earthmaster sites, and almost all have an odd material they are made of. I instantly wanted to incorporate this idea into my Castle, but wasn't sure how it would fit into the overall theme, and more importantly, why it would exist.

It wasn't until I happened across a discussion at Gencon in the Summer of 84 that the final pieces fell into place. This material known as Pseudostone, which is what the Earthmaster sites are made of, could serve as a conduit of a sort, and fuel TCotBO's main structure.

From Columbia Games website page on Godstones, this snippet gives a fair understanding of them: 

Of all the enigmas in the Kethrian family of worlds, none is more puzzling than that of the Earthmasters, who appeared from nowhere some 20,000 years ago then five millennia later disappeared as suddenly. Their power was godlike and their nature unknown. All that remains of them are their deserted sites and a precious few of their amazing artifacts, the greatest of which are the Godstones. 

Godstone is a misleading term. While most people respect and fear Godstones, few actually worship them. Their name is rich in the tradition of times when they were attributed to the gods and, therefore, deemed proper objects of veneration. Among the common folk, "Godstone" remains the most popular name.

The typical Godstone is a monolith, ten feet high, five feet by three at the base and four feet by three at the top. Godstones are made of a grayish, featureless stone-like material called pseudostone, a material commonly used in Earthmaster construction. Pseudostone is impervious to physical harm and seems to have no temperature at all.

So I set about to build a multi-level structure, long forgotten to the ravages of time, and had the Motte & Bailey substructure built onto a connecting passageway. While work took place over Thanksgiving of 1984, I didn't finalize it till a week later.

The Vargas Earthmaster site:



The Castle of the Bloated One - Library Complex

August 26, 1977 Original Concept

The Library Complex was the hardest area for me to design for TCofBO, because I couldn't picture how it should look. I thought about the various real world libraries I had visited, from our local county to the Smithsonian in DC, but, none of those captured the exact image in my head.

I wanted a sprawling library with hundreds of shelves and reams of books. Then it dawned on me that columns to support the structure could play into my hands, so a single large room, some 70 feet wide by 140 feet long was laid out. One large room quickly mutated into three, all connected by small passages.

A secret door led to the Tunnels to the North, and twin Eastern passages fed into the Prison Complex proper. Lastly, a connecting passage led into the heart of the Motte Tower sub-basement to the West.

The Library was open for business.