Here is the map I've been fiddling around with. Those of you who are acquainted with the works of Clark Ashton Smith will note that I have changed most of the place names. This, of course, is done on purpose. While I am quite inspired by Smith's work (obviously), I have little desire to traipse about the original version of Averoigne. Whether or not I like it, whether or not it is existentially true, I feel restricted by trying to stay true to someone else's creation. As I have noted before, running any RPG requires letting go of creative control. The truly rewarding part of play is the surprise of letting players do their thing.
In order to permit myself the freedom to let go and just allow play to naturally develop as the creativity of various people affect the campaign world, I mentally need to divorce a world from its source material. Changing the name of Ximes to Ximera is a small and easy way to do this. This version of Averoigne stops being Smith's and becomes mine. In doing an homage, rather than a simulation, I have complete creative control and therefore the freedom to completely let go of that control. With a simulation, I never can get over the fact that though I play at having complete control, this world doesn't entirely belong to me.
Intriguingly, James over at Grognardia today tries to make the case that it is possible to play around in another's creation. The example he gives is a Judge's Guild module (The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh) created for EPT. He argues that its relative banality proves that it is possible to run a campaign in Tékumel without getting bogged down in the minutia of Barker's creation.
I don't doubt that this is true. The number of successful Greyhawk campaigns through the years demonstrate its inherent truth. Despite the relative ease we all have with understanding the assumed culture of Greyhawk vs. the complexity of Tékumel they are both someone else's creation.
I, for one, however, prefer the freedom of doing an homage rather than a simulation.