As I've looked through all these suggestions for the new promotional
map/poster/?, I couldn't help but wonder how we as gamers and
Wizards/TSR as a business can get the maximum benefit out of this
project. How can we produce something that will benefit both the game
as a whole and each individual campaign? When I say "as a whole" I'm
referring to the sentiment expressed over the past few months on this
list to ways that can help to make the Birthright campaign survive well
into the future.

Personally, I'd love to see some type of outline for heraldry. This is
because in my game I use miniatures for all types of combat (individual,
group, and armies). I have found that using miniatures makes the game
more realistic and keeps my PCs honest. Giving them the opportunity to
design their own coat of arms creates a stronger bond between the PC and
their realms. It also gives me the opportunity to make use of those
often unused proficiencies of heraldry and etiquette. However, this
could be an absolute waste of time for those DMs who choose not to
emphasize heraldry.

What I'm trying to say is that if this is going to be a tool to help us
as experienced Birthright gamers and also attract more interest for the
campaign, shouldn't we try to keep it as flexible as possible? For me,
if the map shows too many signs of permanency, and in the natural course
of the game those things change, then the map loses some of its
intrinsic value as an aid for the DM and players.

My suggestions are the following:

1. Use the B & W side of the map as a true DM and PC tool by
including only those items that have a high degree of permanency such as
terrain, vegetation, and certain large city sites for the continent of
Cerilia. I'd also include some type of easily viewed symbols that could
be used by the DM to annotate the current civilization and source levels
for each province. I've found that a visual representation of the
action going on in foreign realms (law holdings increased, civ.
Increase) around my PC's domain gives them a much better idea of an
opposing regent's future intentions. Although not quite as permanent,
the names of each province could also be included. Province names, at
least in my game, have a greater resistance to change than an entire
realm. (the first thing my primary regent-PC did was conquer a
neighboring realm and rename his new realm).

2. It would be nice to have at least the B & W side covered with
some type of lamination that would allow usage of either wax or alcohol
pens. Normally I use contact paper on my maps but that doesn't allow
for usage of alcohol pens which are much preferred over water based

3. The color side should be used to convey more general information
that may have a more transitory nature. This could include items such
as roads, trade routes, realm boundaries, types of industry(such as
using symbols for mining, agriculture, forestry, etc.). One of the
biggest problems I initially ran into was the existence or nonexistence
of roads. With a PC guilder and PC fighter/realm-regent, both quickly
saw the importance of roads for making money and moving troops.
Although I was able to create a preliminary "highway system" it was
rather difficult to decide the condition for each one and it's usability
by PCs. I'd also include the names of provinces but this time make them
much easier to view. Another problem with the original map was the
inability to read the province names when they were printed over
forested areas.

4. If heraldry is included, I would place it on the colored side ,
possibly around the border of the map, and I would include just the
major nobility or ruling families.

When I bought the initial Birthright materials, I cut the map along the
folds and then copied and enlarged each of the separate pieces. I then
took the enlarged pieces (enlarged by 200%) and taped them into four
separate sections of Cerilia (Southwest, Southeast, ect). I then took
the section that represented the Southwest and copied it onto velum
paper using an engineering copier at Kinkos. I use the map to track all
troop movements by using ½ inch counters representing the various types
of military units and some velcro. My Pc's have found it to be
invaluable. Instead of just saying how long and how much money it will
take to move troops, I can show them the difficulties (distance,
terrain, etc) they have to overcome.