[Tuesday Map] Three-Branched Barrow Mound


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Barrow Mounds are a huge part of our fantasy mindset – probably because they feature prominently in a few major works of the genre combined with their connection to things ancient that we still discover to this day.

This barrow is a massive mound, built up over generation after generation as it grew. The original barrow is to the back of the mound (top of the map) and has been joined by two more recent additions that have extended the mound significantly.

Three-Branched Barrow Mound (with grid)

Three-Branched Barrow Mound (with grid)

Because the mound has been expanded, it was also well maintained for generations, producing a massive mound of earth with no less than sixteen tombs within it. The original barrow was just the three tombs at the back of the northernmost chamber (in itself a three-branch barrow mound from the very beginning). The barrow mound was extended south as new tombs were added and eventually petered out when the front of the barrow began to encroach on the pool of the drowned maiden.

The two tomb structures to each side of the pool of the drowned maiden were added later, and the encroaching mounds were held away from the pool by massive slabs of stone that form the entrance to the three barrows. Everything up to the pool is open to the skies, with the three tomb complexes being apparently dug into the hillside and reinforced with heavy slabs of stone.

Three-Branched Barrow (no grid)

Three-Branched Barrow (no grid)

Originally I drew this map for Ron Edwards’ awesome “mud-shit fantasy RPG” Circle of Hands – but it was lost in the aftermath of the great June flood of 2014. I thought it was one of several maps that was destroyed in the flood and thus never made it into the book (where seven other maps did). But it turned out that the map was saved from the flood and misplaced inside the cover of a copy of B2 Keep on the Borderlands where I found it last month and finally scanned it.


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