Any self respecting bandit needs a lair. This month’s Fantastic Maps release, in partnership with Kobold Quarterly, presents a cavern lair that any Bandit prince would be proud of. The cave system was carved from the rock by the waterfall that still run through the middle, cascading between the two levels.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of making linear dungeon maps. PCs break down the front door and then fight room to room to get to the big evil boss. There can be good reasons for linear design – it’s sensible to create choke points when designing a defensible location and constrain an attacker to a small set of options. But they can quickly become dull, and players feel railroaded when they are given only one door to enter. In designing this dungeon I wanted to explore a range of options that would allow players different avenues of attack.
Adventurers can take the direct approach – coming up the stairs and beating down the front door. However with two archers’ nests they’ll be very exposed as they do so. Another option is to attack through the archers’ nests themselves. They don’t have any bars or gates, but the climb is perilous and a fall will be deadly. Or the adventurers can come in through the ground floor, through the cavern with some ominous bones, and find some way of climbing to the ceiling where the waterfall cascades down. The bandits have a winch and a platform to pull supplies up through the cavern roof, but how will the adventurers get up?
Inside the complex the different areas provide options for the GM – a plush cavern with carpets for the dashing bandit leader, a large cavern with bedding for the merry band of outlaws, and a cavern for treasure. I was inspired initially by the amazing story of a real life bandit prince in possibly the coolest castle ever in Slovenia – Predjama castle. This one’s on a smaller scale, but any self respecting bandit lord could hole up here for a while against attack.
The map was created for Kobold Quarterly #9 as part of the Maps of Fantasy series. The map pack comes with top down maps of both levels sized for use with a virtual tabletop at 100px per grid. The full map pack contains:
- Top down maps of both levels at 100px per grid square
- Printable multi-page pdf map packs in both US letter and A4 formats in greyscale and colour
- Maptool files with vision and light for both 4e and OGL versions of the game
The Bandit’s Lair map pack is on RPGNow and Paizo. It can also be bought as part of the Kobold Quarterly bundle on RPGNow. Now all you need are a band of adventurers foolish enough to take on your dashing bandit prince!