It's almost a year since I purchased these magnificent-looking maps from a lady called Lucy (trading on eBay as standon123) but I was finally able to bring them into play during our last gaming session.
Our heroes (Cobblethwaite's Companions) were exploring an abandoned fortified manor, hunting for a missing child, when they came upon a map room. On a shelf under the main map table they found the two folded, tied and sealed parchments pictured above.
I couldn't have been happier seeing the genuine excitement on the players' faces and the reverence with which they handled the documents - as they were genuine antiques!
The fact that Lucy had personalised the maps for my campaign made them all the more special as I was able to indicate on them places that the characters actually knew (either directly or through some nugget of campaign background/history that they may have been privy to).
Meanwhile, Clare and I have been discussing the idea of her character, Marigold, working on a book about the flora of Cidri, our game world..
After our last gaming session, she emailed me a link to the Google doc she is compiling of native flowers (which includes some houserules on harvesting and using them in potions, salves etc).
This is very much a work-in-progress (every time I check back there's a bit more detail), which is impressive in its own right, but what makes it even better is that Clare is tailoring the names of the plant species to the established mythology of Cidri.
She also included a scan of a page from Marigold's notebook:
This is the sort of player buy-in/investment I've been dreaming of for years and proves to me that we're onto a winner with this campaign.
Naturally, Marigold received a bit of an experience point bump for this.
As well as looking forward to what Clare comes up with next for Cidri Botanica, I'm anticipating some unusual adventure hooks that will see her working with Holly (the group's naturalist, Erica's character) in pursuit of rare plants and herbs.