Check out Guardnacho’s alternative take on the geography of 7th Sea‘s Theah, particularly if, as the RPGnet poster put it, you like maps that reflect “basic geography concepts like water flowing downhill.” Thanks to Fiver for the link.
That same thread also suggested that Theah could couple fairly well with Northern Crown, which is an interesting idea.
Aside from that summer I spent in college working in the map room of the University of Vermont’s library, sorting aerial photographs, I don’t know if I’ve spent as much time poring over maps as I did last night since when I was ten years old and seriously hooked on L. Frank Baum and C. S. Lewis‘ chronicles of fantastic lands: the Land of Oz and Narnia, respectively. What map was I so studiously examining? The first two levels of the Castle of the Mad Archmage, of course.
And I’m glad I did, because not only did I find a few things I’m glad I know about in advance, just not to be caught surprised by them the first time I read a room’s description, but it sparked a few ideas of my own, meant to make the dungeon more “fun.” One of the most famous McGuffins in cinematic history now resides in the Archmage’s cellars — no, I won’t tell which — and I now have a short list of elements to shift around just in case the excitement slows down too much.
I have no ideas how far the players will get in this thing, if they’ll steamroll over everything and or yelping back to town three rooms in. I’ve found what I think is the most interesting entrance to the top level of the dungeon, in terms of what’s nearby. We’ll see if they feel similarly.