The King is Dead: I Do Not Claim to be a Mapmaker

I've never really drawn a lot of maps in my GMing career, but I find myself in need of one for the The King is Dead playtest campaign I'm running these days.

This is Hammershire (almost called Thornshire, again), the new base of operations for the heroes.  It is a wealthy, vital county that is nevertheless basically a backwater because it's way up in the hills and just a bit too rustic for vampire tastes. Any resemblance to the Texas Hill Country is completely deliberate.

The majestic River Hammer begins here in the lofty Gianthalls Mountains before it winds its way into the lowlands and the sea; one could take a boat all the way from Thornburg to the nation's capital of Hammerstadt. The county is otherwise dominated by the broad, low hills of the Dimmsmoor, the pine forest of the Dammerungenwald, oak forests (the Feywald, Buckwald, and briar-infested Thornholt), the deep and cold Grostlake, and the ragged granite Broken Hills. The misnamed Boggan Stream (it's more of a river) marks the border of the shire.

The area was a key holding of the resistance during King Wilhelm's conquest, so an excess of vampire families were awarded lands in Hammershire in order to help put the rebels down. Senior branches of the Borgoff, Durward, and Stenzgard lines hold castles, while junior branches of the Elbourne and Karnstein families have manors. As is typical of the nobles of Malleus, most of the actual vampires spend their time attending the king in Hammerstadt, leaving their dhampyres and thralls to run the estates. When they do visit, the vampires prefer society in the town of Thornburg to the seclusion of their estates. Only Duke Lothar Eligos von Stenzgard remains at his castle year-round, and he became quite the hermit when he entered his sixth century of unlife.

Since this is a really, really informal post, here's a bullet list of bullet-points on the locations:

  • Thornburg: Not quite a city, this large town is the first/last place riverboats can safely navigate the Hammer, and has built its wealth on the river trade. It is home to the local bishopric and has a large castle. Important products are lumber, gold, and wool.
  • Lesser Thornburg: Is technically a newer, different settlement from the town, but it all just kind of blends together.
  • Dimmsdale, Woldham, Duncote, and Aldfield: Small farming and/or shepherding villages.
  • Richstead: A town that serves as a base for gold miners exploring the Gianthalls. It is also becoming a tourist spot as the inhabitants of Malleus begin to embrace the new fashion for mountain climbing.
  • Maldon: The second-largest town. Produces iron and wool (the gold in the mine is largely played out).
  • Mittelham and Rammston: Market towns in the midst of the shire's largest concentration of farms.
  • Bogganford: The ford itself has always been chancy, and the town has never grown to its full potential. Most of the traffic -- even from neighboring Rothenshire just across the Boggan Stream -- usually takes the King's Road through Bendingham instead.
  • Bendingham: The gateway to Hammershire is an unremarkable place.  Its attempts to remake itself as a picturesque spa town have been unsuccessful. 
  • Laketon: Home to a thriving fishing community and a minor logging industry.
  • Oddsglen: More logging camp than town, the community is considered a mite uncanny by the rest of Hammershire.
Crap, I just realized I forgot to put a key on the map.  The weird domed buildings are churches and the crosshatch-looking marks are farmland.


  1. I like the famers' fields. They give a sense of contour to the land.

    1. Thanks! I was worried they were incomprehensible. :)

  2. The map isn't bad at all. Conveys all the topographical and city information needed for map/campaign reference.

    Legends/Keys are not to be underestimated when a map is intended for an audience for clarity on map features. Not necessary for a personal map though since you know what everything represents.

    1. Thanks!

      Embarrassingly, though, I did intend the map for the public consumption of my group. Oops! Well, at least I can either hand-draw keys on their already-printed maps, or just trash the ones I've already printed and redo them.


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