Taverns and Maps
In every fantasy setting there are an abundance of taverns to spend the night, to hear rumours about local troubles or regional stories, and to get into terribly dramatic bar brawls.
To find these places you need a map to get you there, and no setting is truly complete without a map of the country, the continent or even the world the campaign exists in. Beautifully crafted, detailed maps showing capital cities, harbour towns, great forests, ancient lakes, vast mountains and other marvelous places of interest.
Whether it is in between adventures or during the course of one, no party can travel for weeks or months on end without a visit to the nearby watering hole for drinks, food and bed. Travel between towns and cities can be days apart from each other, sometimes weeks or even months. Even the most stalwart and endurable group need to get rest in a warm inn with hot food and strong ale.
These places can also be sources of great side quests, little errands that give distraction from the main story and allow everyone to have a little break in their regular routine of long journeys and intense action. There are usually local stories passed around the regular customers, notices from the local law enforcement, requests from the storekeep or a traveling merchant - the list of possible side quests is endless. They also work as starting locations for parties at the beginning of their main quest, whether it be given to them by a mage in disguise, defending themselves from unknown assassins, or intervening in the pursuit of a seemingly innocent person.
The taverns of any fantasy setting help to set the tone, the voice and the flavour of the common folk of the land.
When going from one city to the next, it is important to know where the roads are, which routes to take and where opportunity can be found along the way. For that the party are going to need some kind of map to look at and make their travel arrangements.
Most maps are rarely recent or accurate, as there is only so much that can be fit onto a piece of parchment and it can take months or even years to travel and mark the locations of places on there. As such, any map a party gets their hands on will have general facts and locations, with rough markings of terrain changes. There might be a dozen roads leading out of a small town, but if two of them are the only ones that lead to a significant place (like other towns) then those are the ones likely to be on a map.
Maps that have been made for more local use have a few extra details that a larger, country or continent size map would not. It might mark key farms, caverns, lakes or reservoirs. There might be roads and paths that are used by locals across that part of the land and general signs where possible dangers lie beyond.