I've been thinking about maps this week. Not maps for me, but maps for the players. Handouts; treasure maps, maps they don't come across very often, maps of the continent or their planet, maps of other worlds that may or may not be accessible to them, maps of lairs or cities or citadels they may visit.
This was inspired by a post (really, just a wonderful list) over at Beyond the Black Gate (there are many inspiring posts over there to be fair). The table is a 'what's the stall at the market?' list.
I'd already decided that I was going to throw a little weirdness the party's way; the market-traders will include the denizens of 'the Itinerant Bazaar', a WotC 3.5Ed (I think) creation found round about here. I needed some other merchants; so I made 30 rolls on the table. Some would be locals bringing their wares (generally vegetables, booze of varying kinds, or wooden, leather and clay goods) and others would be the traders from the Itinerant Bazaar. So, a bunch of rolls to get the traders, and one of the stall-holders I rolled is a seller of maps.
The Itinerant Bazaar is basically a collection of teleporting merchants who travel around from world to world, plane to plane, trading and telling stories as they go. That's totally what my map-seller has been doing anyway. She has maps of the area round about - as it existed when the bazaar was last here, 50 or 60 years ago, when it was perhaps her grandparents who were running the stall - which may provide clues to possible adventures. She also has maps of star-empires, a desert planet in a galaxy far, far away, islands of pirates where iron is valued and gold scorned, a prosperous country of peaceful Halflings, a red planet where an accidental traveller from another land becomes a warlord by marrying a princess, and a world where a crazed albino prince talks to his black sword, among others. Somewhere, she may even have a map of a world carried by four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle.
If they don't get my party's fingers itching (think of all the loot!) I really don't know what will.