I think of myself as an old-school guy. I started out drawing my own maps and making up my own worlds for rpgs I was playing. My best moments as a GM have come when I went off-script or off-setting to create something unique for my players. But I am also a junkie for imaginary worlds, and for the kind of unique world-building that has been done by game developers over the last thirty years. This bad boy lives on my bedside table most of the time. I love the grim/dark feel of Warhammer's Old World, enjoyed my time in Eberron and Athas. A good GM can take worlds that other people have written up and make them their own, but in my experience there is always a tension between staying true to the setting and telling your own stories.
I am very impressed by what the guys over at Paizo are doing with Golarion, the setting for their Pathfinder game. At a time when Wizards of the Coast is taking D &D in a decidedly protected, "buy our stuff" mode, Paizo is taking the Open Gaming License idea even further than WOTC, and allowing some of the fluff that comes out as part of their print line to be used by the community. I just signed on to use their "community use" package, which comes with some great stuff and fairly easy to understand rules about how you can use 'em. This is good, because Y'cak keeps bugging me for maps. So, here's one, courtesy of Paizo:
My current game is set in Golarion, mostly in southern Avistan. I use some Paizo print material, but re-purpose and re-write while we play, putting what I need where I need it. Luckily, the world is big enough that there are lots of blank spots to fill, details to tweak, and ways to make the world feel the way I want it to.
Here's the text I am supposed to post for using the map:
This website uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Paizo Publishing, LLC, which are used under Paizo's Community Use Policy. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content. This [website, character sheet, or whatever it is] is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Publishing. For more information about Paizo's Community Use Policy, please visit paizo.com/communityuse. For more information about Paizo Publishing and Paizo products, please visit paizo.com.