As I had anticipated, my players were able to retain pertinent info regarding their Mission because they had a map available for reference, including location specific leads, prompts and/or triggers. As there are more than a dozen individuals the Kill-Team can meet and interact with in the area of the Black Zone and Four pillars alone, I felt (as the GM) that my skills of managing personalities, who is a font of what info, and event triggers were going to be heavily burdened, and I found it aggravating that there wasn't a map to reference that would make my job easier. After spending an additional 3 hours last night reading through all the text (again) I was able to produce a map on a battle mat for the Players to refer to, and they referenced it numerous times throughout the session, but I'd have rather spent that time reinforcing NPC personalities, the information they are willing to impart (and that which they'd prefer to keep under their cuffs), and event triggers in my memory so as to be better prepared. As it is I had to minimalize the involvement of several NPCs or exclude them altogether (mostly because the input or interaction they provide is superfluous to the investigative nature of the Mission and distracting). And what do you know? All 5 KT members were of a mind to track down the Kroot once they learned of their raids into Four Pillars, and since there was absolutely no text reference of direction or distance of the Kroot den from Four Pillars, I had to "wing it"…which, again, is sad, considering that had I had the map that would have been one detail less to worry about…you know, the den that was specifically mentioned in the text in reference to its place on a map that doesn't exist?…and I could have spent three hours less re-reading. As it was, I forgot to mention the imprints of the cargo containers, and remembered to impart that clue only because the Dark Angel likes to eat his enemies.
Speaking of distracting…what is the purpose of the camps of workers searching for the Silent Pilgrim? Other than several mentions that Ebongrave wants any remains of the vessel located it serves no purpose to the Mission. There is nothing to be gained by including these worker camps in the adventure. It would have been better to say "ship was hijacked, crashed into planet and atomized leaving nothing but the occasional o-ring or wing nut, but it did this Sorrow thing…" and concentrated the worker camps on repairing the collapsed section of the hive rather than digging for something the KT have no need to see, visit, investigate, etc. Completely distracting…and annoying to GMs. A map of the Bronze whatsit would be preferable to a sidebar regarding the tattoo practices of the Reach…something that has no bearing on the actual investigation.
On a positive note, the KT are well into the Mission on Spite and making good progress.
Regarding practical maps…
Cross-section maps are rarely helpful. While hosting The Depths of Treachery who needed a cross-section map of Javar Prime to know there was a deep gulf of nothing below the hive? Who would rather have an encounter map of Platform 18-Delta instead? It's just a lazy way of providing a multi-leveled map without actually having to conceive of and produce individual floor plans. Purge the Unclean had great maps. Overheads, FFG. Overheads, and encounter locations.