The Thin Man
The map initially showed the area immediately around Sandpoint, with the town itself being located on one edge as it borders the sea. The detail of the map deteriorated as distance from Sandpoint increases.
Both the map and the pencils have an aura of powerful magic.
Each night the map is removed from its container (such as a scroll case) and reappears amongst the owner's belongings wrapped around a box of coloured pencils of manufactured design. In the morning the pencils disappear and the map is returned to its original position. The appearance of the pencils does not occur whilst the map is observed or for some time immediately after it is put away.
The pencils number 12 in total and come in a range of colours. They are all perfectly sharp, although can be worn down with use in a night, and reappear as if new each day.
Using the pencils to draw on something other than the map has no particular effect.
Using the magical pencils to draw on the map puts the user, hereafter named the Cartographer, into an involuntary, unresponsive state of automatic drawing and writing.
Any person, hereafter named an Assistant, who touches the Cartographer when they are in such a state puts the Assistant into a voluntary, unresponsive state. They feel like they are being drawn down into the map, but have the choice of whether to pull back or not.
Anybody in this state is transferred to the Map-Realm until the morning.
The reverse of the Map shows the constellations in the sky as would be seen from the Map's location.
The Map-Realm consists of 15'x15' 'rooms' linked together by portals and forming a story. The rooms do not necessarily have a unifying theme or consistent setting – they may be indoors, outdoors, underground and so on. There is no passage of time and no sun nor stars which could be used to denote direction. One room may be linked to many others and, barrind a door or similar, it is possible to travel back and forth between them.
People arriving in the map-realm appear fully armed and armoured. Many items are bought into the realm, including those recently acquired (coins, cutlery, weapons) but not others (e.g. lengths of rope). The distinction seems arbitrary and unexplained.
The Cartographer, and each Assistant holding a pencil when touching the Cartographer, appears with a Pencil that is able to add or remove colour (life) from a creature or object. It appears to function on the basis of charges. Adding life expends one charge, removing life replenishes one. Some things require multiple charges to bring to life.
Depending on the story the Pencil(s) may begin with one or more charges, but charges do not persist between stories.
The Map-Realm appears to detail a continous, but simple, story where the protaganists advance through a number of rooms solving puzzles and defeating creatures as they travel.
Features of the Map-Realm
The Map-Realm contains six kinds of being or feature:
Dead: The object or creature is made entirely of an impossibly hard, white material. It is not possible to bend, break or sever any such material even if it would seem natural to be able to do so – e.g. grass, wool or rope. In effect, things made of this material cannot be meaningfully interacted with.
Dead things can be made Semi-Alive by the immediate presence of am Alive thing.
Unconscious: Like the above, except shimmering with the potential for life. Unconscious things act as if Dead and have the same material properties, but have the potential to be Alive. It is possible to change from an Unconscious state to an Alive state or vice versa.
An Unconscious thing cannot be moved in any way and if something is made Unconscious from Alive whilst in the air then it will float there permanently and be able to bear any weight.
Unconscious water is damned terrifying.
Alive: Alive creatures and objects act as a simulacrum of their real counterparts. They are filled with colour and can be interacted with as if they were real. Alive creatures appear extremely limited in their thoughts, actions and reactions.
It is possible to make something Alive, change its form and then render it Unconscious again at which point it will stay in that form.
Semi-Alive: Dead things in the immediate precence of an Alive thing, such as the grass and ground beneath them, become Semi-Alive themselves. A Semi-alive thing that is separated from its surroundings and then taken outside of the influence of an Alive thing becomes Dead again. Unlike Unconscious things however, it is still moveable and may be carried away.
As such it is possible to extract dead material from the Map-Realm.
Natural: Some items, such as a small bag of coins found in the second story, appear to be Alive but cannot be made Unconscious. They may also have properties of materials other than what they appear as. E.g. a bag that cannot have items removed from it, nor can be cut open.
Actors: Referring to the Cartographer and their Assistants. They are presumed to be immune to the effects of the Pencil.
Actors becoming injured in the Map-Realm also become injured in the real world. Such injuries appear to translate directly with cuts and bruises appearing on their bodies with no visible cause to an outside observer.
Drawing on the Map
Upon waking after journey through the Map-Realm, the Cartographer has successfully completed their illustration and it is in the same style as existing elements. The map now contains the sum of all knowledge of an area that the Carographer and their assistants possess.
A single dot marks the location of the map and moves with the map. There was no dot present prior to the party's first use of the map.
We do not know, or have not tested the following:
- What happens if something other than the pencils accompanying the map are used to draw on the map.
- What is the largest area of the map that can be completed in a single night.
- What happens if the map is damaged.
- At what time the pencils appear and disappear.
- Whether awaking after exiting the Map-Realm always coincides with first light and which causes which.
- How much time is spent in the Map-Realm. (What if the cartographer began just before dawn?)
- How much time is required for the Cartographer to complete their addition.
- What the limit of Assistants might be.
- What happens to an Actors clothing if they are wearing something the same/different in the Map-Realm when injured.
- What happens to items left behind in the Map Realm. Can they be recovered?
- What happens if the Cartographer or an assistant is killed whilst in an unresponsive state.
- What the difference is between an object that appears with a person in the Map-Realm and one that doesn't.
- What happens if part of an Alive thing is held when the story is completed.
- What happens if the quest given in the Map-Realm is not completed?
The previous owner could be stuck in the Map-Realm.