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Heart of Darkling Series Header

The Darkling River works its way through the underdark beneath the grey hills to depths unknown. This is the sixteenth mapped location (and 19th map total) along the Darkling River and the Darkling Lake beyond.

Heart of Darkling - The Stairs
Heart of Darkling – The Stairs (300 dpi promotional – no commercial license)

Here the Darkling is fairly fast, winding, and narrow – which gives little chance to set to the shore at the Stairs. This set of twists is connected to two caves with 10-foot-wide circular sets of stone stairs winding up into the solid rock above. The area was recently home to a small religious cult of dark elves worshipping the half-divine daughter of their traditional goddess. But in recent months the elves were wiped out – the last sign of them being a few fresh skeletons stripped of all flesh along the banks.

Heart of Darkling - The Stairs
Heart of Darkling – The Stairs (1200 dpi)

Now a long and hideous wyrm with eight legs haunts these halls. It is bone-white and multi-eyed, its wings like a fine mesh of spiderweb. Its breath weapon is a line of foul black ichor (like black dragon acid, but it only damages organic targets). The wyrm has not found the last refuge of the remaining elves in the secret hall on the left of the upper level, and thus stalks the hall and stairs seeking them out.

Heart of Darkling - The Stairs
Heart of Darkling – The Stairs (1200 dpi, no grid)

The elves in turn are hoping to wait the dragon out until it either falls asleep or departs. The main worry is that this odd and unique dragon might be a curse set upon them by their prior goddess for betraying her service, in which case the wait might be mighty long indeed…

The 1200 dpi versions of the map were drawn at a scale of 300 pixels per square and are 14,400 pixels (48 squares) wide. To use this with a VTT you would need to resize the squares to either 70 pixels (for 5′ squares) or 140 pixels (for 10′ squares) – so resizing it to either 3,360 pixels wide or 6,720 pixels wide, respectively.


This map is made available to you under a free license for personal or commercial use thanks to the awesome supporters of my Patreon Campaign. Over 500 amazingly generous people have come together to fund the site and these maps, making them free for your use.

Because of the incredible generosity of my patrons, I’m able to make these maps free for commercial use also. Each month while funding is over the $300 mark, each map that achieves the $300+ funding level will be released under this free commercial license. You can use, reuse, remix and/or modify the maps that are being published under this commercial license on a royalty-free basis as long as they include attribution (“Cartography by Dyson Logos” or “Maps by Dyson Logos”).

Please note that the promotional version of this map (the one with the brown paper background) is not included in this commercial use license.