Sunday, April 3, 2011

ICE MERP Layout Illustrations from the Moria Module

Several people have requested these illustrations so following are drawings I did for the MERP 2nd Edition module for the Mines of Moria back in 1994.  The first drawings are of the first level of the huge city.  I would have liked to have drawn these with a more realistic and detailed dungeon map type of presentation but that was really impossible due to the huge scale of the city.  Rather, the maps should be looked at as schematic "road maps" for the city with detailed layouts shown elsewhere in the module to augment them and show close up views of particular areas.  The street and tunnel layouts with their many halls, caverns and mines are pretty much the same as those found in the original 1st Edition module of Moria except that ICE wanted to give them a new "stone map" rendered look.  The art directors wanted them to appear to be maps chiseled into the walls of the giant city - sort of a "You Are Here" kind of road map if you will.

The maps shown below are both the left and right side of a two page spread of the First Level and Deep of the Dwarven Mines and City of Moria.  The "Say friend and enter" secret door is on one side of this level at the rock face of the mountain above.  I'm not sure which side its on but its probably described in more detail inside of the module.  I scanned this level rather than the other levels because the other ones shared the same border which was drawn once on a separate sheet of vellum and pasted onto the sheet for each subsequent level.  In other words, the same stone border was used for all subsequent levels but added to the map by the ICE staff when they did the final page layout, paste up and type setting.  I would have to do some copy and paste Photoshop work and create new image files to merge the seperate stone border with the other maps (or obtain copies of the original final images) in order to post those layouts here as they appeared in the original book.  The first level and deep was drawn with a unique stone border on the original map layout sheet which was not repeated on the other levels which is why its shown here.  Again, these are pre-press layouts so there is no text - this was added later by the ICE page layout staff.

Dwarven Mines and City of Moria First Level/Deep Left Side

Dwarven Mines and City of Moria First Level/Deep Right Side

The next drawing is of the deep mine known as the Mine of Khulakal.  This drawing shows an upper terrace level connected by bridges with a lower excavated area below the higher plateau.  The lower excavated area shows contours and ridges depicting the topography of the stone floor below.  Below this lower excavated area are the deep chasms shown in black that descend even lower into the depths of the earth.  This whole mine area may have originally been part of a natural cavern but was widened, deepened and expanded by the dwarves in their never ending pursuit of precious metals such as mithril, gold and silver and other valuable mineral deposits.

The Mines of Khulakal in the Mines of Moria

The next two drawings are of the Bell Hall and the Whispering Hall.  The bell hall is a means of sending signals and/or music throughout the complex and the whispering hall is an ingenious method of communicating throughout the massive stone city.

Mines of Moria Bell Hall

Mines of Moria Whispering Hall

Copyright notice:  All original artwork on this page is displayed for self promotion purposes only and is copyrighted by the original artist, Daniel Cruger.  This artwork may be downloaded and used for personal use only and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes in any way without the express written consent of the owner.


  1. I remember myself, as a child, looking at the general level maps (like the one depicted in the first two images that you posted), and daydreaming about Moria, and how one will feel visiting that place.

    My first RPG was MERP (the spanish version, since I'm from Spain), and my favourite RPG book is and always will be Moria. It has a special place in my heart. This love will later be extended to every other MERP supplement I owned.

    So, here you have someone that stared at your drawings (because I liked ALL of the drawing of this book) during hours.

  2. I have long considered Moria to be a highlight in cartography. Thanks for the excellent work.

  3. MERP is one of the few ICE modules that I never purchased (1e or 2e version). Consequently, I really appreciate these maps. If only I had purchased it 15 years ago when it was affordable!

  4. Whoops! I meant to say "Moria is one of the few ICE modules I never purchased." I have many other MERP modules.

  5. Can you show the city zone or its limits in the map ?