Aquatic work camp encounter map

So I decided to participate in this month’s Mapping Challenge at the Cartographers’ Guild which was to create a map depicting an aquatic civilization. I decided to create a few hovels of stacked rock and a small sea cave on either side of current cut channel – a kind of ‘sea river’, and that is what I called it.

I never figured out who lives here, though obviously some aquatic water breathing humanoid. There are tridents, spears and a net in the hovels to suggest what kind of being my inhabit this environ along the continental shelf in 80 feet of water.

Nets are placed at the end of the current cut channel in an attempt to mine finished goods that have fallen into a river and washed out to sea, too heavy to float, but still caught in this strong current. Note the junk pile behind the two hovels on the north side of the channel. Apparently it’s slim pickings as this area would be filled with accumulated junk in better seasons.

Here’s the map itself. I am considering making a sliced PDF version of this 18 x 24 map to offer as a free download from the forum site.


Sea River Village - undersea site map

Link to full-scalled version: SeaRiver Vilage


What is Kaidan?

Kaidan is an archaic Japanese word that means ‘strange discussions’ usually pertaining to ghost stories or encounters with Japanese goblins and demons. It was part of a story-telling game tradition since at the least the 15th century. Its only right that a commercial RPG setting exists that serves the 3x/Pathfinder community that maintains that ancient tradition.

I’m half Japanese (through my mother) and as acknowledgement to my heritage, my love of ghost stories, and my love of RPG gaming, I decided to create Kaidan: Japanese Ghost Story setting.

I am developing this as a Patronage Project, as an imprint under Rite Publishing. My lead designer and author is Jonathan McAnulty of Open Design Project/Kobold Quarterly. I’ve got cover and interior art by Jan Pospisil, Mark Hyzer, Jason Rainville, Simon Turnbull and some by myself.

As a ‘staff member’ of Rite Publishing (at least for this project), I am the concept creator, the primary game developer, a game designer, art director, the cartographer (my true skill) and layout artist.

Kaidan is a feudal Japan inspired horror setting. There’s a little Oriental Adventures and a little Ravenloft, with even some anime influence, but refined for greater authenticity with its own twisted rules: new monster races, new monsters, new classes, magic items inspired by Weapons of Legacy and much more.

Coming in June and throughout the summer, Cubicle 7 will be releasing a 60 page soft cover print edition of the 3 adventures set on the isles of the Empire of Kaidan as an introduction to the setting, called The Curse of the Golden Spear: Part 1 – The Gift, Part 2 – Dim Spirit, and Part 3 – Dark Path.

Kaidan is an exotic dark fantasy archipelago of islands where the rulers are undead, yurei ghosts, yokai goblins and oni demons hide or blend in with society. When you die, there is no resurrection, reincarnation or raise dead, rather you are cursed to travel a demented cycle of reincarnation, based on the Buddhist Hells, and hard wired into the caste system, so that you multi-class across multiple lifetimes. Though even what is beyond death is a very treacherous thing.

If an authentic Japanese horror setting intrigues you check out our products, one already released: In the Company of Kappa, and Rite Publishing’s upcoming list of Kaidan adventures and supplements.

This is my first venture as a game designer/publisher and I’m making sure I have the best shot at doing so through my industry connections as a pro fantasy cartographer.


Working on Ancestral Relics for Kaidan

Working on 30 Ancestral Relics for Kaidan PDF book as an imprint under Rite Publishing. Remember ‘Weapons of Legacy’ from 3.5, same idea, but these are better. No expenditure in XPs, GPs or weird rituals. Since its for Kaidan, your Honor score is very important especially with these items, however to activate the varying powers, you must perform an Event Trigger, which means some action in combat or out of combat based on what the item upgrade states.

Look for that product some time next month!


Concept cover design for Ancestral Relics PDF for Pathfinder

Sample Mini Tile Set for Pathways Magazine

Rite Publishing created its first issue of Pathways Magazine last month with overwhelming success. It includes content like templates, encounters and gaming ideas for use with Pathfinder RPG, plus reviews of 3pp products and write ups on the top 3pp’s supporting Pathfinder.

In the April issue, I have both a full page ad for Gamer Printshop and Free RPG Maps site, as well as a bonus mini-tile set of 4 each, 8 x 10 inch printable tiles depicting an outdoor ruins site. They feature the same geomorphic edges as all Endless Terrain Battlemaps, just are designed at a smaller dimension for ease of use from the magazine itself.

So if you’re looking for more Free Maps, be sure to download the April issue of Pathways magazine – it’s FREE, though is available as a Lulu POD printed mag as well.


Sample Mini Tile

My One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 Entry:

So not only did I sponsor a prize for the One Page Dungeon Contest 2011, but I also entered as a contestant (for my second time.)

The map entry I created was inspired by my Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting. It’s called the Emperor’s Playground. All monster encounters featured in the map are monsters or monster races that is or will be included in Curse of the Golden Spear: Parts 1 – 3, and a possible Obake Bestiary: monsters of Kaidan book I intend to publish as well.

The Emperor’s Playground is the birthday gift to the boy-emperor of Kaidan, Antoku. Like most of the nobles of Kaidan, Antoku is a yurei ghost. In his case he is a 714 year old Goryo (noble yurei ghost) trapped in the mind and body of a five year old in mostly corporeal form. On his 500th birthday, his grandfather, Taira no Kiyomori, Shogun of Kaidan commissioned the construction of a dungeon complex beneath the Imperial Palace in Fukuhara-kyo to serve as the emperor’s personal playground. It features all the special places and activities the ‘young’ emperor loves.

Guests are invited to an official audience to the Imperial throne. When they arrive, they are told the emperor is currently indisposed on matters of state, and are asked to spend the night in an imperial guest house, outside the palace itself. Once the guests are asleep, they are instantly teleported to an identical guest house located at the start of the dungeon (top right of map). They are now the emperors ‘playmates’. Should the guests survive their treacherous ordeal through the dungeon, the exit takes them to waiting quarters outside the imperial court itself. They are then given their official audience with the emperor who will shower them with gifts. Of course the party has to survive their ordeal in order to receive them. The entire imperial court watches through scrying mirrors, like a perverse sporting event.

For a 3x/Pathfinder game, the dungeon is set for a party of four 9th level adventurers – a fairly high level dungeon. While all monsters will be eventually published for Kaidan, GMs are free to use Oriental Adventures 1e or 3x, as well as any other sources for other game systems as appropriate.

This map only took me a single day for most of the work, though today I finished the map with 7 additional illustration insets in the key of the map.

Good luck to all contestants!

Michael K. Tumey

Emperor's Playground map for OPDC 2011

Link to full sized JPG:

RPG Countdown Top 10 List!

My first product release for my upcoming Pathfinder RPG setting, In the Company of Kappa has made the RPG Countdowan Top 10 List at #3 for March 12, 2011 – as one of the most sold products in recent days.


Here’s the cover design:

In the Company of Kappa PDF cover design

Link: RPG Countdown


Free RPG Maps Online Store is Open!

Because many of our potential customers would prefer to purchase individual map tile and map object sets, rather than subscribe to an ongoing monthly payment, it meant having to build a Shopping Cart Ecommerce site to handle the varying purchase options.

Well we’ve got it set up! Free RPG Map Online Store

Because of the inability to handle varying shipping prices, we’ve been forced to create an extra category – Shipping Outside US/CA to include all single purchase and deliveries to Europe, Asia and Australia. Yes, its inconvenient, but at least overseas customers have an option with appropriate shipping prices.

Visit today!