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  • In Steam and Snow – A Mountainside Mining Settlement

A location with detailed characters and dynamics, perfect for a multitude of encounters. Map, location and character descriptions, and tokens all included!

A mining compound climbs the lowest slopes of a mountain. It is home to its resilient workers, irritable foreman, as well as an opportunistic innkeeper who seeks to attract tourists with the area’s hot springs. The eclectic population, currently visited by an affluent noble family and a group of research scholars, makes for a dense and characterful experience for any travelers that find themselves staying there. But with tensions rising after an incident in the nearby mines, these travelers are sorely needed.

This compound and all its characters are Part 1 of 3 in a small, horror-themed adventure for players to engage in. Later parts will cover the ruin found deep in the mines and the creature that seeks to be free of it…

Mining Town - Winter - Day - 16x22

The Eisenstein Mining Compound

The mountain’s foot rises quickly, with the snow giving way to slopes of gray stone. A path winds up between different ledges and plateaus to support the many buildings of the compound, of which three catch your eye. The right side is dominated by larger industrial buildings with smoke rising from their chimneys and chutes connecting the levels. Opposite them is a larger manor with high fences, resting on the level above what appears to be an inn, closest to the compound’s entry. Around you, the freezing air is broken by the smell and warmth of steam that drifts off of hot springs, dotted between the buildings and around the area’s base. The sounds of workers and their machinery can be heard from above.

The Eisenstein Mining Compound began as the small enterprise of the current foreman’s father, who dared to brave the elements that others would not. It was created to extract the iron and silver of the mountain and earn his family a growing fortune. His success in the inhospitable region slowly drew more attention, allowing the compound to expand into an efficient and profitable set of mines and refinery.

The compound’s growth has continued steadily since its establishment, even after the original foreman’s death and the change of leadership to his son, Emil. Its most significant addition is the Steaming Steps inn and its attempt to attract tourism. Most recently, the discovery of a set of ruins deep within the mountain prompted the visit of a team of researchers, which has coincided with the arrival of the Alabor family. While the latter are appraising the compound with the thought of purchasing its land, their negotiations have been interrupted by the researchers coming under attack in the tunnels. This has left the foreman flustered and frustrated. He hopes to find someone to quietly remove any issues that might hinder his deal.

Map and Asset Downloads

You can find the mining town map this location and its characters were designed around, as well as packs of additional hero tokens, below. You can also visit our Token Editor to color your own…

Eisenstein Refinery

A collection of larger buildings covers the compound’s one side. Miners covered in mud and dirt and thick with the sulfurous odor of the tunnels move in and out, transporting carts of ore into the uppermost warehouse. The sounds of work and heavy machinery ring out of the buildings, while smoke billows from their rooftops. Wooden chutes descend the slopes between the two levels to transport their products, with more that run to a collection point at the compound’s entrance.

The Eisenstein Refinery is exactly as its name suggests. It takes the metals from the mines above and processes them, using the chutes for efficient delivery between the two primary buildings and their yards. This work is mostly carried out by the more experienced workers and engineers. The Refinery is led by its Overseer, Marco Vancenta, whose office is across the road from the uppermost buildings.

Overseer Marco Vancenta

(LN male human thug)

A tall man stands with a coat over his work attire, thinning hair, and the neat beginnings of a beard. He fidgets at his clothes, anxiously brushing away dust and checking his appearance.

Marco is a sycophant. While he is a strong and able worker, his primary goal has always been to endear himself to those above him in an effort to improve his own situation. This mostly comes by way of acting as a liaison to and mouthpiece for Emil Eisenstein, earning him infrequent trips into the owner’s manor. His posturing has come with the side effect of most other workers despising him, though they do find him useful in avoiding having to deal with Emil themselves.

Eisenstein Manor

What appears to be a large home rests on the central ledge, above the inn. What little that can be seen is clean, though the majority of the building’s first floor and surrounding yards are hidden behind a wall. Were that not uninviting enough, two guards stand before the closed gate in chain armor and leaning against their spears.

The largest home in the compound belongs to the owner, Emil Eisenstein. Its location is not private, though the high walls, gate, and hired guards make up for its position. These walls encompass its entire area as a way for Emil to separate himself from the others of the compound. He spends most of his time within the manor, managing the compound from a distance whenever he is not relaxing in his private hot spring. It is rare for anyone else to be allowed in. Even Marco Vancenta has only seen several of the home’s rooms in the few times that Emil has felt obligated to invite him.

As the most affluent guests the compound has seen in a long time, the Alabors have been given accommodation within Emil’s manor.

Emil Eisenstein

(LE male dwarf noble)

The dwarf wears leathers that resemble a workers’ from a distance, yet are clearly higher value and are devoid of the scuffs and dirt of use. He moves with a guard at his side, paying only blank, cursory glances to those around him.

Emil Eisenstein has acted as the owner and foreman of the mining compound since his father’s death roughly a decade ago. He does not share the founder’s aptitude or determination, which has led to him likewise lacking his workers’ respect. To make up for this, Emil limply boasts his position of power by forcing the miners to work overtime or punishing them for minor infractions.

Emil’s growing resentment of the compound and company has allowed him to be tempted by the Alabors’ proposal. He believes that he may be able to simply sell the mines and retire with a tidy hoard of gold. The recent incident involving the researchers and the possibility of a dangerous monster in the tunnels has made him extremely anxious and desperate to distract his guests.

Liam Alabor

(LN male human noble)

A carefully-groomed man that stands with a forced, upright posture. He moves with exaggerated pride, yet seems to hesitate and stumble through conversation.

Liam Alabor is the newly-appointed patriarch of the Alabor family, burdened with all the expectations that that entails. He is largely unfit for the role. Fortunately, his wife is more than capable and willing to act as the true power. Their first independent enterprise is the purchase of the Eisenstein Mining Compound as a way of expanding the Alabor family’s fortune. 

Riza Alabor

(NE female half-elf noble)

An expensive, tailored coat covers a half-elf woman whose eyes quickly interrogate each new face. Every aspect of her seems finely kempt to the most minute detail.

Riza is the wife of Liam Alabor. She has aided him as an advisor for the two decades they have been together, using her own genius to supplement his lack. She is a ruthlessly skilled businesswoman with little care for anything else beyond her family and her riches.

Kurtis Alabor

(CN male half-elf commoner)

A half-elf in his late teens, who appears to have been pressured into nobleman’s attire that resembles his parents’. What rebellion he can manage is visible in his shirt’s loose buttons and the repeated pushing of a hand through his once-combed hair.

Kurtis is the son of Liam and Riza Alabor and the expected inheritor of the family after his father. Much to his mother’s dismay, Kurtis is even less suited than his father and shows far less interest. He entertains a rebellious streak that shows no signs of faltering.

The Steaming Steps Inn and Hot Springs

The compound’s lowest ledge holds a building brightly labeled as ‘The Steaming Steps Inn and Hot Springs’. Its walls are covered in multiple posters that advertise different offerings, from rooms to meals to uses of the hot springs and massages. Clouds of steam rise from beyond its surrounding fences, carrying a potent fragrance of flowers.


The Steaming Steps was established several years ago as a way to promote tourism and business in the area. It seemed to be an odd choice, though the potential of the hot springs convinced Emil to give it a chance. The gold that Yorick Brenna carried may have also helped. It has had middling success since then, suffering mostly from a lack of other sights or attractions. The arrival of the Alabors represents an opportunity for Yorick to change this. Emil poaching their patronage away from the Steaming Steps frustrates Yorick but he is willing to put his nerves and annoyance aside if it means a prosperous future.

Several of the Steps’ rooms are currently occupied by the visiting research team. More are available, and Yorick will hurry to create more space if the need arises.

Yorick Brenna

(CG male elf commoner)

A middle-aged man wearing a wide smile and with short, dirty blonde hair. He seems unfazed by the cold as he moves with constant energy.

Yorick is the proprietor of the Steaming Steps. He is an excitable and welcoming host who constantly seeks to advertise the compound and the hot springs and urge others to do so as well. He treats it as his crowning achievement in spite of others’ doubts. Curiously, no one else in the compound is quite sure who Yorick was before his arrival or how he amassed the gold to create the Steps. Emil has long wondered, but the price that Yorick paid for the land was more than enough to dissuade questioning.

Pelion Thelearan

(NG male tiefling priest)

The tiefling man has deep purple skin and horns that curl back before arcing up at their ends. His short, black hair is tousled and his yellow eyes are tired, with minor effort to appear presentable. He and all his scholars wear grey and blue scholar robes with their own choice of winter coat over the top.

Pelion is the leader of the research team sent to study a ruin uncovered within the mines. They are scholars, with Pelion himself having the only combat ability among them. When the team reached where the tunnel had opened into a structure, they were beset upon by an unknown creature and forced to flee. They now rest and recover from minor injuries in the Steps. Were anyone planning to enter the ruins, they would happily share what information they have…

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About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink.

You can support my writing efforts on Patreon.

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  1. I had a question, I’d love to run this module with my friends how do I gain access to the whole module?
    (I haven’t used a module from here before and I was wondering if this is all that gets released and you have to write the story a bit yourself or more gets released?)

    1. All three parts will be out this weekend, at which point you’ll be able to run it from start to finish. 🙂
      All you’ll need to do is find a place in your world where it makes sense for these mines to exist – somewhere cold and out of the way would be perfect!

    1. The encounters in Parts 2 and 3 were balanced with a 3rd-level party of 4 characters in mind. The first combat encounter in the mines is fairly difficult, though the adventure beyond that is investigative and relies less on character ‘power’, so there is certainly room for variation in re-balancing.

  2. Hey! Love this map. We used the setting/characters and tweaked it a bit to combine needing to check in/rescue the town under seige from orcs followed by an Epic Encounters frost giant (giant miniature + ice cave map).

    Made it easy to do a 2.5hr one shot with 2 hours prep (although that much wasn’t even too necessary).

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