The “Village of Taffarel” was my entry into the Cartographer’s Guild September/October 2012 Lite Challenge. The challenge was to create a village map which depicted a secret of some kind.
This village is situated on a series of small plateaus in a mountainous region of my Al-Qadim campaign. Its sort of a frontier outpost that sits near the mountainous boundary between semi-arid planes of the north and brutal desert to the south (Al-Qadim proper). It is therefore largely autonomous and informally ruled by a large extended family whose elders are the head priests of the local temple. The villagers themselves are primarily former nomads who have settled in this area for protection from other nomadic bands and tend livestock.
This map contains two secrets (although they were not depicted explicitly). Unbeknownst to outsiders or the average villager is that this ruling family is actually a clan of Lycan (Were-Hyenas) who have been terrorizing many of the nomadic tribes and small villages in the surrounding area. Furthermore, the local temple is a shrine to “Inalla” who is commonly known as a goddess of nature, survival and instinct, but lesser known as the patron saint of Lycans. The high priest in this temple is the Progenitor of this Were-Hyena bloodline and the family compound to the east is the home of his clan.
The second secret is that this clan of Lycan have also entered into an alliance with a Drow community. The details of this community and the nature of their relationship to the Lycan still needs to be developed, but it largely revolves around inciting broader unease/rebellion in the Elvish communities of Al-Qadim. The Lycans protect a secret entrance to the Underdark that lies beneath the temple (more specially, beneath the State of Inalla in the main hall of the temple.)
The temple was made with CC3 and utilizes textures modified from CGtextures.com. It also relies upon symbols that can be found in the CSUAC and Dunjinni forums (Special thanks to Bogie for providing the Statue of Inalla.) The rest of the map was created in Photoshop.