Community Atlas: Gruvrå's Mine, Serkbergen, Peredur

This map was another "two-dice-only" design from the Inkwell Ideas "Delver" set, thus similar in size and proportions to the Oracle Temple one previously on Kraken Island in the Forlorn Archipelago. One novel aspect on this occasion was I found a convenient area map in the Serkbergen region of Peredur into which I could place it, which was unusual in this project so far! This was just as well, since Peredur's quite large anyway, and the Serkbergen map covers a substantial chunk of its southwest.

If you peer closely at the orange outline square near the top right on the Serkbergen map image, you'll see where I was aiming towards. A closer view:

That's the area covered by the Ermite Cave map, and as luck had it, there were some interesting unlabelled mountain spire features near the middle of that map I could simply drop my little dungeon map into:

So I did!

I've mentioned before that ideas for what the contents for each of these maps will be come from various places, typically a combination of what the diced map designs look like, any descriptions available from the accompanying Inkwell Ideas books, a range of random tables from various sources, and where the map will be located on Nibirum. Here, it was the influence of the high southerly location (within Nibirum's Antarctic Circle, roughly 71°S latitude), coupled with the name of Vaettir Tower about eight miles south of the Mine. Having picked-up a copy of Free League's "Vaesen" RPG last year, and a copy of the illustrated book by Johan Egerkrans that inspired it, also called "Vaesen", I knew what "Vaettir" meant from Scandinavian folklore, so I thought that source would be a good place to look for further thoughts. A couple of ideas came from the Inkwell book too - including having undead creatures out for revenge in what's marked as "Cells" on the map, and the dangerous state of some of the caves, although the risky look of the caves on the dice designs had already indicated this latter point as of some significance. I flipped through the Egerkrans book, and settled on the Mine Guardian Spirit, or Gruvrå, as the main actor in this place, although unfortunately, this is one of the creatures in that book which didn't make the cut into the Vaesen RPG (or hasn't so far). So I simply elaborated on what was said about her in the folklore tome instead. A couple of random rolls on tables from Monte Cook Games' "The Weird" - creating a gem-studded, tattooed Golem with a horned cat's head - and everything started to fall into place!

What I came up with, detailed in the map notes for the Atlas, as ever, is an old Dwarf Mine that ended up abandoned, and which was then expanded and altered by a group of inventors and alchemists determined to create a "better" Golem, using body parts from captured humanoids, possibly making them a variant kind of magical undead in the process (hence the need for a secret lair). After the Mine was abandoned, the Gruvrå's attention went elsewhere in her realm (which I decided would encompass all those interestingly spire-like mountains arcing away towards the Myconid Realm on the area map), so it was only sometime later she returned to the old Mine. Horrified at what she found there, she destroyed the Laboratory and Workshop, and drove out or killed the perpetrators. It's really easy to anger a Gruvrå if you fail to show one the proper respect. However, she didn't understand the undead creatures, so just left them, and the last Golem as well. Plus of course, she now keeps a closer watch on this old Mine than she used to.

I also felt I needed a CA3 portrait of the Lady in question, now named as Igrid, thus creating a thumbnail that could be added to the map, as the perceptive among you will have realised already! This is the full portrait, which was heavily influenced by the Egerkrans drawing:

The keys and bats came from the old vector CA, since CA3 doesn't include such features. I might have added a lamp too, but neither version of CA has one of those, sadly. The bats I decided are essentially merely small aspects of the Lady, able to flit about quickly, to help keep her better informed of events in her realm. They're not "real" bats beyond that. If she appears in a black dress, that's a sure warning of impending death for someone; grey like this is her normal attire. I decided against providing that change as an option in the Atlas map though. Seemed a bit too grim.

In case anyone's unsure, the Mine map was drawn using the SS4 Mike Schley Dungeons set. I've used this before, though not for a long while, and thought it would work nicely for the somewhat dangerous, partly collapsed layout here, as it has such a fine collection of rubble and rockfall markers, aside from other features. Thanks to the Gruvrå's colouring being very greyscale overall, I did want a more washed-out, aged and worn look to the map as well, so this all just seemed to work ideally for that impression. I also wanted it to be a little off-kilter, so you'll notice the squared areas don't quite fit to the grid lines. That's quite deliberate, and isn't simply a means to annoy those using the map in VTTs - that's just an added bonus 😉!

For the next map in this sort-of Dungeon24 set, I'm being randomly guided back to Alarius, and this time quite close to my "usual" territory there, as it's to go on the adjoining North Central Alarius map...

Royal ScribeJimPLoopysueQuentenRicko HascheRalfCalibreLoreleiGlitch


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