[WIP] Marine Dungeons Lighthouse (more May Annual Stairs & Steps)

I am still working on my ziggurat, but in the meantime I got sidetracked with another Stairs & Steps project.

I was inspired by Ralf's Live tutorial for this month's annual, where he built stairs going up a mountainside. I wanted to do the same. I was also inspired by seeing the stairs of El Peñón de Guatapé featured in this season of The Amazing Race. I wanted to put my cliffs on an island, and there's no better setup for that than the Marine Dungeons. Plus, while I used that annual to create my Greco-Roman temple, I hadn't used it for a proper marine dungeon. And while the Stairs & Steps annual includes the individual steps from Creepy Crypts, I remembered that Marine Dungeons also has their own individual steps. So handy!

So, stairs going up a mountain. Where are they going to? First I thought there might be a temple or monetary or standing stones at the top, but I've been gravitating to those and wanted to do something different. I thought about creating an observatory but wasn't sure how to do the telescope. Maybe a wizard's tower? But really: what's the most common sort of tower on a hill on a small island? A lighthouse!

There are about 285 steps (including six landings) that ascend about 165 feet to the top of the hill. I made a courtyard for the lighthouse to take advantage of the beautiful walls, complete with arrow slit crenellations.

Of course, to really take advantage of the Marine Dungeons style, I had to create ruins in the sea. There you might find a few mermaids chatting with a wise octopus. And if you look closely, there's some sunken treasure as well.

(This has inspired me to do a few maps down the road for the realms of some sea elves.)

Anyway, here's the lighthouse by day:

The lighthouse at night is coming up in a follow-up comment.

LoopysueMonsenC.C. CharronBwenGunCalibreQuentenRicko HascheJuanpiMapjunkieEukalyptusNowand 1 other.


  • And here's the lighthouse at night. Fires are kept burning all night, reflecting off of mirrors (or polished sheets of metal) to cast light away from the mainland, though a window allows for some light to spill into the courtyard.

    By night, a glow from the sunken ruins reveals a magical portal beneath the waves....

    MonsenLoopysueC.C. CharronRicko HascheDon Anderson Jr.QuentenJuanpiGlitch
  • If the ProFantasy Gods are listening: a future annual that I think could really complement the Marine Dungeons would be a "Jungle Adventures" dungeon. It would provide an opportunity to bring in palm trees and coconuts that could also enhance Marine Dungeons. Maybe some swamp building tools, including tree trunks with the ripples used in Marine Dungeons? Lots of colorful jungle foliage. Maybe some giant mosquitos or other bugs? Alligators or crocodiles? Think of the Indiana Jones-inspired adventures! Golden idols! Whips and fedora hats! Aztec-inspired ruins. Maybe a perfectly round boulder for traps. (The opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite action/adventure opening scene of all time.) Just planting an idea....

  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    Those are some interesting ideas. I'll bear them in mind.

    Great maps! :D

    Royal ScribeRicko Hasche
  • And mangroves - needed for overland in Mike Schley style (which sadly neglects tropical regions), as well as dungeon maps.

    Royal ScribeRicko Hasche
  • DaltonSpenceDaltonSpence Mapmaker
    When you said you used the Stairs annual with a lighthouse I thought you were going to put the stairs inside (or at least around) the lighthouse. You might need to convert an arc to a path (LPT2) but it's doable.
  • Oh! Yeah. I was think those stairs would be inside the lighthouse, but yes, I do recall seeing some with stairs outside. I may have to scale it up a bit.

    With this lighthouse, there are two parts of the tower, one using the wall symbols and then another using an octagonal house created in City Designer. I’m wondering which part should have those circular stairs? I will play with it. I like the idea.

  • I decided I didn't want to redo the entire tower, so I did some stairs ascending around it from the courtyard as a proof of concept. I do like the idea of stairs winding around a tower. Wonder if I can make it go around multiple times? I have some thoughts on how to do that, but I will save them for another map.

    In the meantime, here's how it turned out:

    (It's subtle, but beneath the railing there are railing posts, which you can't really see but they cast a subtle shadow.)

    Anyway, I'm rushing out the door, but I will make any tweaks when I return and then re-export the maps that show the tower.

  • BTW, I tried doing it by creating an arc, but I couldn't get the shape the way I wanted. It was easier to draw a circle and then create a break to remove all of the portions I didn't need.

  • Some day I will map the inside of the lighthouse, and then there will be a spiral staircase inside. There are lots of hidden things going on (or that I plan to have going on) in this map.

  • DaltonSpenceDaltonSpence Mapmaker
    Years ago I did some research on the historical dimensions for realistic staircases. I think current safety standards in Canada say an external staircase (like a fire escape) must have one landing for every 12 feet of elevation. Public stairs should have risers of 7.2 inches while private residences may use 8 inch tall steps. (That's a maximum of 19 or 17 steps between landings.) Older buildings or structures might not have these standards. I typically use a one foot tread depth. Just how tall is the cliff your stairs are trying to scale? 
  • In the U.S., the building code is that stairs can rise no more than 7.75 inches per step, and the tread is typically 11 inches. In this instance, I didn't pay too much attention to the tread so long as the steps looked okay. I didn't need the cliff to be any particular height, so I decided to back into the height by the number of stairs. I decided that each step would be 7 inches in height, and since there are 285 steps (including landings), that means they rise 1,995 inches from the beach, or 166.25 feet. So I said it was "about 165 feet," though it's probably a little more, as the hill probably slopes up a little bit from the top of the stairs.

  • It is vital, and totally illegal otherwise, that ALL fantasy D&D buildings must comply with the correct USA stair regulations, otherwise they will be fireballed!

    Royal ScribeMapjunkieLoopysueGlitch
  • Added a few final touches (a friend was confused about the seaweed washed up on the beach, so I added a little more floating in the sea, and a few other minor tweaks here and there. Not really sure what that line cutting off the light in the nighttime version is from.

    Here's the "final" (is anything ever really final?) version of the daytime and nighttime full maps. More details maps in my galleries.

Sign In or Register to comment.