So, I've made no secret of the fact that I've given large parts of my 25+ year-old homebrew campaign setting, Baria, over to Golarion. One of the more successful of these imports are the Red Mantis assassins—and by extension, their home city of Ilizmagorti. When it came time to assign authors for Cities of Golarion, I was sorely tempted to claim the chapter on Ilizmagorti as my own—I was nervous that even if another author did a GREAT job with the city that the end result wouldn't match my own personal vision of the city. The same goes for the city's map, to be honest. But my work schedule being what it was (I'd already taken up two chapters of Classic Horrors Revisited, alas, I couldn't responsibly claim the chapter of Ilizmagorti for Cities of Golarion as my own. And so, with some nervous fear and much wringing of hands, I gave it up for someone else to write about.
I'm happy to say that what Rob McCreary wrought with his words is exactly what I'd envisioned for the city of Ilizmagorti—he hit every nail square, and the resulting chapter is hands-down my favorite in the book as a result (which is saying something, since there was some tough competition!). Even more exciting, he came up with some concepts that I'd never thought of for Baria's Ilizmagorti—concepts that inspired me in some really fun ways. It's really weird being inspired to write things about something you made up due to someone else's work on that concept! Weird, but wonderful!
Yet as wonderful as Rob's words were, a city can live or die by its map. For Cities of Golarion, we tackled the creation somewhat differently. We hired writers to write the chapters, but we hired artists and cartographers to create the city maps. Long-time readers of this blog might remember earlier this year when I posted the Map Open Call—the results are some of the best city maps that Paizo's had the pleasure to print. Presented here are the two versions of the map of Ilizmagorti—the first one created by Daniel Thomson, based on my outline of what the city should incorporate. The other map is the final version you'll see in the book and in the Cities Map Folio as a four-panel poster. (We've left the tags off of Rob's map so you can ogle the beauty of his work easier.)