Battle map: waterfall

More maps! Currently running the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign with friends, and I figured I would throw something a bit challenging their way, somewhere in Neverwinter Wood.


The general idea is that the adventurers are following the river from the south, walking upstream. The river progressively becomes a torrent, flowing in a gorge between steep cliffs. After a while, they reach an area where a waterfall has carved a small canyon. The water is treacherous, and reaching the upper cliff requires climbing some rough staircases carved in the stone, and crossing a rickety-looking hanging bridge. And of course, this would be a perfect spot for a patrol of goblins and hobgoblins to set camp…

Annotated version


Map experiments: mountains

I have been getting back into drawing maps lately. I find representing mountains using pure lines, without shading, a bit tricky. After some experimentation with cross-hatching, I tried out something based on topographical maps and contour lines to suggest volume. It still needs some work, to distinguish more clearly mountains from islands, but I like the direction.



Kids in the Dungeon: Character Creation

A few days ago, I DM’d for the first time for a group of kids: my 2 nieces and my nephew, respectively 12, 9, and 6 years old. Honestly, I don’t think I have been that nervous about DMing a game before. The pressure was on: obviously, I wanted to give them a good first role playing experience, but, as the official recommended age is 10 or older, I was a bit concerned.

Spoiler alert: it worked great! We had a lot of fun, and, at their request, we have been playing a few times more since, with the original game potentially turning into a mini campaign.


I suspect I am not the only one out there who has been wanting to play D&D with younger Adventurers, so I figured I would share some of the lessons learnt in the experience. Let’s start with character creation first; in future posts, I will talk about the actual game play.


Origin story

A long time ago, in a country far away, there was a young boy. Things were different then: the Wizards of the Coast had not yet become the powerful organization that we know today, and those seeking initiation in the arts of exploring Dungeons & fighting Dragons visited a place called TSR. And so this is what the boy did, and soon, he knew all there was to learn from the books - The ways of magic, how the goblins fought, and much more. And yet, books do not an Adventure make, and he never got to play.

That boy, of course, was me. I didn’t manage to put together a group, and gave up, making my peace with the idea that playing a game of D&D was simply going to remain just one of these childhood dreams never to be realized.

Decades passed. And then, one day, the iconic discussion around mugs of mead in a smoke-filled tavern took place. One of the protagonists of the discussion was the boy, a grown-up at that point. The other was Palaxton, an elf wizard who would later on gain fame as a fearless champion of Oghma.