Maps, Mystery, and A Promise

When you first see the map in a fantasy RPG session, don’t you feel the call of adventure immediately? Precisely drawn on yellowed paper soaked in tea or burned at the edges, a map can bring the charm of the old days… hinting at the heroes who marched boldly into unknown lands, penetrating dangerous underworlds, and cursed ruins for riches, treasures, and glory. I’m talking of course about the maps in the old adventure stories. The map offers both a mystery and a promise. The mystery because you have to read it the right way or in some mysterious way so it reveals what is hidden in the place it symbolizes. The promise because each engraved stone or scroll stashed in a chest, coffin, or hidden compartment. Each piece of the puzzle promises real rewards to the daredevil as well as surprises, dangers, treasures, and further adventures. Let’s be honest though… How many times have we handed these maps to the players? Sewer maps. Ruins maps. Fortress maps. Maps that normally work in this context. And what are they? Routine! We must find some out-of-the-box ideas, but in order to do that we must first consider what a typical adventure [...] [READ MORE]