A couple of weeks ago I introduced you all to Sire Lyre. He makes amazing isometric maps. They are some of the best I’ve seen. Today I get to share his October map (yes…in November…apologies to all). October’s map is The Black Feather vs The Flawless Gem which involves airships! Make sure you check out his Patreon page after you’ve read this article. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Don’t forget that Sire Lyre has provided us all with a link to his previous map, Lair of the Warlock, for free! That’s a freebie you don’t even have to work for. The link to the map and adventure is all right there for the taking.
The Black Feather vs The Flawless Gem
I love this title. It connotes a feeling in me of us and them. The Black Feather reminds me of your typical band of pirates sailing the open…airs(?)…while The Flawless Gem reminds of me of yuppies. At least it does in this context. If we were talking about the name of some shop in a village then I would imagine a dwarven artificer or perhaps a gnomish tinker.
And indeed, when you dig into the details of each ship you learn that The Black Feather is cramped and the terrain is difficult. Therefore, you will make all melee attacks with disadvantage due to the cramped conditions. The Flawless Gem, on the other hand, is a spacious yacht and no such penalty is applied.
What are these maps, exactly?
You should recall from the article on the Lair of of the Warlock that these are not only maps but also minimalist adventures. You won’t find an adventure backstory or hooks to get things moving. Instead you get a richly detailed setting—airships this month—that are flexible enough for any campaign. Unless your campaign is without skies I suppose. At any rate, you’ll provide your own reasons for exploring the ships. You’ll also provide the bigger consequences, if any, of this exploration. The NPCs in this adventure remind me of a short-story by Edgar Allan Poe that I once read. Everyone in the story was identified simply by a prominent feature rather than a name. So, “the man with the black mustache” as opposed to Walter. I wish I could remember that story’s title. It seems like it took place on a ship too. But I digress.
What makes it unique?
Unlike the previous map I shared with you, The Black Feather vs The Flawless Gem comes with a two-dimensional map as well as the isometric one you see above. Each ship has a list of rooms containing rich details of their descriptions and contents. Without a traditional narrative, it amazes me that I can still envision each ship as though I were walking (or battling) through them. Usually whenever I read something that is “just the facts” it feels stale and unwelcoming. Maester Terrabelle and Chronicler Nadrion have written and edited immaculate descriptions that paints a vivid and indelible image yet stays succinct. Including the 2D map, this whole package is only four pages long. I do the adventure little justice in being so verbose about it.
So, with that, I think I’ll wrap it up. Remember to check out the other article I’ve mentioned several times already. Here’s the pic of that one.