Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Map of Laelith

Today I discovered a map I had never seen before which deserves the title of one of the most spectacular fantasy city maps ever made: Patrick Durand-Peyroles's map of Laelith. Odhanan presents the map, with a good high-quality scan of the entire map, in an Enworld thread Map of Laelith, the Holy City.

What do I love about this map? First of all it's hand-drawn to a very high bar of quality. Hand-drawn isn't everyone's bag, but you've got to respect the attention to detail. For example, note the white calligraphy title, the artistry on the water details, and the hand-hatched contour shading. There are tons of city detail too, calling out for adventure. Notice the torturous winding path down the lower left-hand side of the map leading to a lonely structure, then off the map.

But what I love most of all is the architectural palimpsest effect where the new city is obviously laid over top of an even more ancient (and, one suspects, more spectacular) city. There's the ancient temple on the left, bisected by a steep ravine, hinting at some past disaster. The upper half of the city is divided by what is apparently the remnant of an ancient grand avenue, not transformed into a maze of ad-hoc streets. It reminds me intently of Rome, where the streets and squares still have the shapes of vanished monumental buildings.


Blogger Fil said...

This is the map of an old city created in a once defunct but now resurrected French magazine called Casus Belli (

It was created by the magazine staff in the early 80s. And they wrote a lot of article and modules for it.

Later on, they did 'hors série' (I don't know how to translate that), where they bundled all the articles and some new materials.

It is really a thing of beauty (the map and the city itself).

I've got really found memories of it.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. I'll reply as much as I can.


September 1, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Blogger Peter Fitz said...

That map is truly exquisite. I'm green with envy.

September 1, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Fil! It's a very cool piece of work. I don't suppose that the original material is available for purchase or download anywhere? It might be an opportunity for me to practice my French. :)

September 2, 2010 at 2:22 PM


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