A stone quarry has been dug haphazardly into the hillside, and circumstances now threaten to flood it completely!

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Stone Quarry - Large preview

This map began as one of my large-scale ‘remasters’ of old maps – this time the Abandoned Quarry – but soon developed into something much more complex. It was a lot of fun to basically make it up as I went, smacking down wooden walkways anywhere I thought they might be even slightly practical.

It all came together when I added the central pillar, which offered a sort of anchor for a bunch of wooden walkways. I like to imagine it as a temporary platform for the quarry-boss to shout orders from.

Next I pondered what sort of map variants I might make, and I was inspired by my memories of Dwarf Fortress and its aquifers to simply flood it. There’s a dry, partially-flooded, and completely flooded version. 

Perhaps you could design an encounter around draining it, or perhaps you can spring a flood on your players mid-encounter? Maybe triggering a flood is a way for your PCs to solve some greater problem (or just cause chaos)? I’d love to hear your ideas below!

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About the author

Ross McConnell

DM, aspiring artist, and founder of 2-Minute Tabletop! I love drawing, writing, and worldbuilding, and this is the website where all of it comes together.

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  1. (The previous comment was incomplete and had a key mistake. This is the correct version)

    TATIAN'S TOMB

    The quarry was abandoned because an item of the water-daemon Ulpian is buried nearby in the rock, but was introducing minor abyssal energies through fissures that inevitably arise over time. They expressed themselves as misfortunes, madness, and hauntings, and soon the quarry was abandoned as accursed.

    When the curses began to spread, a local priest built his tomb in the walls at the bottom of the quarry, and gave his own life to consecrate and ward the area. The curses stopped.

    ACT 1: The martyr Tatian's tomb is the goal of the evil cult whose machinations begin this adventure. The ceremony aims to shift the martyr's tomb into the Elemental Plane of Earth, removing its protection. This is successful ere the PCs can fight their way through, and they can feel evil trickling in to the area as they finish the fight and collect some earth-related magic items.

    The Crossing is still active, and the plane where its shifted is fairly clearly the earth elemental plane. Do they take it to get to the tomb?

    ACT 2: If they take the Crossing, they end up in a pocket maze within the Plane of Elemental Earth. To shift the tomb back will require the cooperation of a local elemental noble – Dao, or whatever. The tomb messes with local energies, so the noble wants it gone, but won't do it for free. One option is for the PCs to trade the earth-related items they just got for some of the elemental lordling's water-related items stripped from unlucky interlopers in the past; they're of no use here, so the elemental is happy to make that bargain and get rid of the new eyesore. GMs can devise other options, and success means the tomb is shifted back. Along with the PCs.

    If the PCs didn't take the Crossing, the seal has been removed and the quarry will begin to fill with black, freezing-cold water from the Abyssal seas. Along with some forms of abyssal life. Next steps are up to the PCs, but if they wish to continue, the GM needs to give them a way to fight their way down and close the Abyssal leak. Retrieving the tomb of Martyr Tatian is of course one option.

    ACT 3: If they took the Crossing and successfully bargained for the tomb's return, they now discover that without the tomb's blockage, freezing-cold water from the abyssal depths has filtered into the quarry. They return to find themselves underwater. It's a quarry, so they can probably swim to the surface – but with the infiltration came some savage forms of abyssal "life." The PCs will now have to fight on their way out. The items traded from the elemental noble will help them, but and each minute in the water means its cold degrades their capabilities.

    EPILOGUE: The return of the Holy Tomb wrecks Ulpian's long-term plans by blocking the Abyssal "leak" again. Even so, what has entered is not removed. The area will remain cursed for the next few years, and the quarry will now be known as a place where drinking the water brings visions, madness, and worse.

    While most of the visions are of evil origin and bent, the influence of the saint's tomb means that some visions will be of goodly origin, and may offer clues to the area's real problem…

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