Building a World for Dungeon Crate

By Wayne Brekke

I love maps.

I've always had a fascination for maps. Whether they be Old-World maps, fantasy maps, or dungeon maps, they have always captured my imagination. I started creating maps when I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons. I've always been an artist and mapping was to me, an inspiring way to create functional art for my game.

Here's an early map I made either in high school or shortly thereafter. This was my first attempt at world building and land map making. I now use it as background for Dungeon Crate images. Somewhere between my moves, I've lost the lower part.

Recently, I've started to follow other cartographers in various Facebook groups. Some creating fascinating imagery by hand, others making detailed digital maps. Below is an example of a map by the intrepid Dyson Logos. He made this one for a Dungeon Crate Digital offering.

This year, Dungeon Crate will start producing our own line of adventures and I thought it would be fun to create a world for them to live in. A world where followers can help add unique elements and rich details.

So I bought a book about drawing world maps, went to Michael's for supplies, taped paper to board, and set up my drawing area. It's kind of a daunting thing, once you realize you are in control of every aspect of this world. I was, and am, faced with filling this world with environmental details, civilizations, and a myriad of cultures.

Thankfully, I have friends that are into world building and will be helping me put together a rich world full of adventure. In the meantime, I have a lot of drawing, inking, and painting to accomplish. I'll be detailing the formation of our world here in this blog, so subscribe and keep up with how we are doing. It will also be sort of a sandbox world, where we can place our adventures as well as ideas and contributions from followers.

The world we are creating is called Halcyon. I've started a rough sketch of the continent and some of the details in the mountains, forests, kingdoms, and capitol cities.

A basic continent form surrounded by seas.

Details of the first kingdom. 

I'll try to post often as I get more of the world filled in. If you have ideas or want to share tips, feel free to leave a comment or email me at Feel free to also share images of the worlds you have created. 

Here's a fantastic map that's one of my friend PFloyd's favorites. He found it on a cartographer's guild page. I like the continent layout, but love the look and design. 

Thanks for reading. Let the adventure begin!