[WIP] Sea Elves Outpost

Happy June! Happy start to the meteorological summer! We're having a little heat wave in Northern California (80 F / 27 C here in San Francisco, but more like 100 F / 38 C just a few miles inland). So it sounds like a perfect time for the beach.

I haven't posted new maps in a few weeks because I was busy working on a few big ones. Right now I'm working on the interiors for the ziggurat I created to play with the new stairs annual. But while I was working on the lighthouse (more more experimentation with stairs), I got the idea of doing a proper fully underwater adventure. Something that the adventurers would need a Water Breathing spell or similar magic or innate ability for.

I have three ideas. One is an underwater lair of a sea witch or sea hag. That's ready to be posted next. Another is a fully underwater fortress or castle. I haven't started that one yet. But for this one, I wanted to do a Sea Elf Outpost that's a combination of caves v. construction, and underwater v. above. This Sea Elf Outpost is probably my favorite map of all of the ones I've created. It uses Marine Dungeons as the base, with fills and foliage symbols from Forest Trails and furniture from DD3.

In my campaign world, sea elves are reclusive and distrustful of the surface world. When they have to go about on land, they disguise themselves as high elves, so most "landlubbers" don't even know they exist. At this outpost, the sea elves can secretly spy on a nearby human city and the movements of the human Lord Admiral's navy.

Here's the island from above as the crow flies -- or in this case, as the seagull flies.

To give you a sense of perspective, this map is 1000 x 800 feet, and the hillside along the beach stretches about 625 feet. On the images with a grid, each square is five feet.

Seems uninhabited. But if we could use x-ray vision to see below the hill, this is what we'd see:

Come on in! Let me give you a proper tour. First, let's start with the main entrance (#1) and the first guard post (#2).

These underwater passageways eventually lead us to the Welcome Chamber (#3), sort of an underwater reception room. To the south is the underwater gardens (#4) where the sea elves grow various sea grasses, seaweeds, and marine mushrooms. To the east is the Great Hall (#5), with a storage room (#6) to the north. To the south, there are two locked rooms: the armory (#7) with spears, tridents, nets, and other weapons suitable for underwater combat, and the treasury (#8).

Next on our tour, we find three VIP bedrooms (#9) as well as group barracks (#10) and a storage room (#11). Of course, ordinary beds would be useless in an underwater bedroom. Who wants soggy sheets? I figured they'd probably use hammocks that they can tie themselves into so they don't drift away in their sleep (like astronauts in zero gravity). The hammocks connect to a wall on one side and a pillar on the other.

Next up, we have a room that has been nicknamed the Transition Room (#12), as it transitions from underwater to surface land. It's one of three rooms with ceilings high enough that the water doesn't touch the ceiling here, so you can pop your head above water even in the marine parts of the room. To the north is a room (#13) where folks can dry off and change their clothing, though the sea elves generally wear lightweight linen clothing that dries quickly on their own. Room #14 is called the Lesser Hall. It's nicknamed the Map Room because it's where the outpost commander and his staff pour over maps and other documents, which couldn't really be done underwater (unless they used clay tablets or waxed paper, maybe). To the north is another storeroom (#15), and then there's a dining hall (#16), kitchen (#17), and pantry (#18).

South of the Transition Room, an underwater passageway takes you to the second of the three rooms where the water doesn't reach the high ceilings: the chapel (#16). This room gave me an excuse to play with the brass inlays that I love so much, as well as the partially-submerged pillars with the ripple effect, and the partially submerged stairs. The orange/pink tiled area is an elevated platform. Maybe I should put chairs or something on it to make it clearer that it's above water. In my campaign world, elves use henge stones as places of worship, usually with seven inner stones representing the seven gods of the elven pantheon. Here, the sea elves have used pillars as a substitute.

From the dry passageways that head north from the chapel or east and then south from the dining hall, we get to the above-water bedrooms. The outpost commander's room is #20, and then there are two double-occupancy VIP rooms (#21) and dry barracks with seven beds (#22). Room #23 is a recreation room where during downtime, the sea elves stationed here can play games or make music (there's a harp on the table).

Next we come to the third room where the water doesn't touch the ceiling, my favorite room of the outpost, called the Dolphin Room (#25). Here, a separate passageway to the outside allows for intelligent marine allies to visit and confer with the sea elves: merfolk, intelligent dolphins, and an intelligent octopus. (Not sure if the turtles are also intelligent or if they just wandered in.) A platform on the west side is elevated above the water, where there's a chest with balls, hoops, and other lightweight, floating toys that the elves and dolphins use in various games they've devised. A dry passageway takes you to the lockup (#26), where unwary landlubbers who've stumbled across the elves may be held.

To the east, the Great Staircase (#27) takes you winding up to the top of the hill, where elves are posted as lookouts. On the way, you'll pass a locked room (#28) with a teleportation portal and an open room (#29) where the sea elves stash their bows and arrows and other land weapons.

A spiral staircase (#30) leads to the outside above the top of the hill overlooking the beach. (You can barely make out the top of the stairs above the #30 label.)

And one last feature on the island: the Alligator Cove (#31). The alligators are enough to deter casual visitors from the island, and the sea elves do enough secret mischief to more determined visitors to convince locals that the island is haunted. (The alligator symbols are actually crocodiles, but I got the names mixed up. They come from Dundjinni Archives.)

And that's the end of our tour of the Sea Elf Outpost! It took me a few weeks, which is why I haven't had a chance to post anything new recently.

LoopysueC.C. CharronWyvernMonsenDon Anderson Jr.Ricko Hascheroflo1EdEQuentenMapjunkieand 5 others.


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