And now for something completely different.
This is a quickie map (thus, rough and comparatively underdone) I painted for today's D&D session (and the following 3-4 sessions) which will involve a lot of sandboxiness. The map was painted with watercolours in Painter XII, passed through a bit of Illustrator to do the borders and sizing, colour printed, the places and names added in black ink, scanned, a multiply of the watercolours added to make the colours more vivid, then aged in Photoshop. The point was to get a pretty good looking small-regional map done quickly and thus have something I can doodle on and fiddle with and not feel like I'm ruining my "artwork". Total time for this map was probably in the region of 2-3 hours, which I count as useful prep time for the game, since I've now got the setting and story in my head, so to speak.
Now some background - in the late 5th century of the Golden Age (Named for the Golden Empire, not because it was a real golden age) - the armies of the Centaur Kaans ravaged the lands of Sredogor and dealt a death blow to the Empire, pouring across the High Passes into Murjansk in the east and Turalia and Velikopolsk in the west. Led by Goodlord Verdek, a former army captain, a group of refugees fled the Northern Provinces towards the lightly peopled mountainous lands to their East, to Moretschia and the Tibur. There they fought off a centaur force with the help of a bargain struck with a Vile (a Faerie) and settled in a group of high valleys, among the ruins of an older civilization (after slaughtering the local "lesser" men and "gypsy" dwarfs). This map is approximately 70 years after settlement, mines have been established and some prosperity has come to the valley.
And now I'm going to let my players loose on it (with their reputation, this should be a catastrophe for the valley ...)