[Map] The Flying Ruins


This patron supported map was originally published on Patreon in February 2016.


This map was my first practice on an isometric grid and I have actually learned a thing or two from that. One thing is that I should not do the shading on gridded paper, because it fades away when I edit the grids out leaving me with a coarse looking black and white line art.

I didn’t actually get isometric grid paper on purpose. Instead I happened to buy a drawing pad with a mix of various gridded and plain pages. After a few pages the first isometric pages came and I chose to do my first isometric map as flying islands for a couple of reasons:

  • No walls and therefore easier to draw.
  • Exotic location that benefits from the isometric perspective.
  • This is something I can use with one of my published RPGs – Astraterra to be more specific.

About the Flying Ruins

There’s no detailed story or background to go with this map as of now, but there should be various points of interest. Details like the portal pillars and an old crate hidden in the ruins can be easily turned into interesting encounters or challenges. There’s also a severed cable going from an island to another. Reconnecting the cable certainly must have some kind of effect. Or walking past the sitting animaton . There’s also a tree with a beehive and some suspicious giant mushrooms.

The Animaton

Animatons are ancient automatons that loyally follow their programming to serve and protect the ancients and their structures. The building that this animaton was assigned to shattered in the Final War and the animaton went into hibernation mode to wait for new orders. When any living beings come to its vicinity it starts to recover from the hibernation. It takes a minute or two to come fully operational and as soon as it becomes aware of its surroundings it starts to evaluate if the beings that woke it up are allies or enemies of the Ancients that built it.

If the players win the animaton’s trust it can help them to clear one obstacle before its diminished power supply needs to be recharged again. This will take a couple of days.

If the player’s are assessed as threats by the animaton, it will demand the player character’s to leave the restricted area immediately. They have 1 minute to comply. Unfortunately, the animaton thinks that all the islands are part of the restricted area it refers to. The animaton has power for one stasis blast, but it’s fists strike like sledgehammers and its metal shell is as hard as a plate mail.

In other settings the animaton can be an iron golem, a steam jack or an ancient robot of some kind.

The Portal Pillars

In Astraterra RPG the player characters explore the connections between ancient teleportals that have been offline for almost a millenia. The teleportals are spread around the world of Astraterra and it’s forgotten lore where each portal leads. The portals are glowing two dimensional discs of light floating between the two black pillars engraved with strange symbols. The portals are powered by the local power core that are usually offline for a reason or another. To reactivate a portal, the power core needs to be brough back online first.

In other settings the portal pillars can be strange magical or alien artifacts that can teleport or transport people between different locations, dimensions or even in time.


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Creative Commons License
This work by Miska Fredman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.