|Four main characters, seven henchmen, five followers and five hirelings.|
Basically, a squad. I had the players "run" the NPCs - subject to veto on my part if they had the NPCs do something irrational, splitting them up so that everyone ran five people (and one ran six). Most of these underlings are low level and will drop out as combat begins to heat up, but at the start it was a lot of uncertain micromanaging of where everyone should stand, what they should do, who can do what and so on that did slow down the game's momentum.
The above image depicts them entering the east edge of the keep through the narrow 6 foot wide entrance (there are no wagons in the floating city of Ternketh). The bridge, shown on the right, extends directly over empty space, reaching from the floating keep to the outer town, which I have not mapped. The town is a collection of 'docks,' or floating islands of wood connected to one another by rope bridges about ten feet long. It was emptied and destroyed years ago by the harpies of the keep, so that few live there. The harpies prefer the keep, meaning I only have to map the keep (yay). The keep, the bridge and the town all float 2,500 feet above the surface of the earth.
The six letters A through F are a guideline to indicating movement. The player indicates that a character moves F-F-E-F to show which hexes are being entered during a round of movement. I can move this key around as I need to, so as the party changes their place on the keep, they can use the key as a guideline. They're getting used to the key, as well (first time I've used it), so this has also slowed down the momentum a bit. It will get faster as the party adjusts to it and doesn't need the key on the map any more.
When I put the first image of the character on the map, I was stunned at how BIG the keep is. I've been working on it diligently for two weeks, even redoing part of it, but I hadn't really considered the size of the thing.
Obviously, this shows a very small part of the keep I posted earlier this week. The gate is shown in the above image rather than the ramparts above it. As well, I drew out a total of 21 images of characters, all my own work (though there is some duplication for the NPCs, partly because they don't matter and partly because it helps the party discern them from important characters). Still, everyone looks fairly good. It was a lot of work.
Everything in the above image is my work except for the flags and the blood on the ground. The bones are my own. They look really good, even up close:
The flags and the blood are obtained from a design site called Dundjinni. I found them by searching Dundjinni on google images, typing "dundjinni flag" or "dundjinni blood." These are links that lead to the Dundjinni forum, where links can get you to plenty of user art or other things. They come conveniently 'transparent' so that they can be easily inserted into a publisher document.
These things are listed as "free" by the company itself. According to the company website, I am breaking the contract of being a user of this material (though all I've done is view and copy the website, I am defined - by the company - as a "user"). Just so the reader is aware.
I will make every effort to tell when I'm using dundjinni images and when I am not, so that the reader can identify what's mine and what isn't.
At this point in the adventure, the party has merely entered the castle yard. They see doors on the left and right and are making up their minds what to do. There's nothing moving that they can see.