Golarion Geography (a Work in Progress)
Spetember 2nd, 2017
- Updated golarion_city, golarion_poi, innersea_forests, innersea_rivers, and innersea_water_body data layers. Mostly these updates fix name typos and similar errors.
August 24th, 2017
- Fixed a bug in the solar ephemeris calculator that wasn't correctly parsing negative coordinates.
Paizo provides a number of maps for the Golarion campaign setting, most notably the Inner Sea Map and the rough map of Golarion as a whole. In addition, some adventure paths expand on the known world, offering maps outside of the Inner Sea region and Avistan. In the Jade Regent adventure path, for example, maps for the Crown of the World and Tian Xia are provided, with the former linking Avistan to the latter via the arctic plateau. While most of these maps do provide a specific scale, they do not explicity connect to one another, presenting a challenge to those wishing to build complete maps of Golarion. Much of this is intentional on Paizo's part, since it allows some artistic freedom in map design: by keeping the exact placement of the world somewhat loose, design decisions made early on don't accidentally lock other decisions into place and limit what decisions can be made later.
That being said, Golarion's overall topography can be a very useful tool for GMs, since general planet information and the rough latitude of cities and countries can help guide such things as weather patterns, general climate, sun and moon rise and set times, and overall scale of the world. Fortunately, James Jacobs at Paizo has given us some information about Golarion in general that makes it possible to assemble such a rough map.
What we know
The following information is canonical.
- Golarion is modeled after Earth, meaning it is the same size, has one moon with the same orbit, and so on. This decision greatly simplified the world design, since the creative team at Paizo did not have to include a number of scientific experts to figure out how their world worked (e.g., geology, tides, climate, solar and lunar cycles).
- The Prime Meridian runs through Absalom.
- The Tropic of Cancer runs through the Mana Wastes.
- Magnimar is at the same latitude as Seattle, Washington, USA though it can shift south towards Portland, Oregon, USA if needed to make the rest of the map work out.
- There is several hundred miles of unmapped tundra between the Stormspear Mountains at the northern edge of the Linnorm Kingdoms and the Rimethirst Mountains at the Crown of the World.
Not all of these conditions can be resolved perfectly—the cartographers at Paizo are artists and illustrators, not geographic information scientists—but their rough measurements were very good and the resulting maps come very close. The Inner Sea region roughly corresponds to the region occupied by the bulk of Western Europe, the western half of the Mediterranean Sea, northwest Africa, and the northeast Atlantic Ocean on Earth.
How much of Golarion has been mapped out for us? Quite a bit now that Tian Xia has been included, but there is still a lot left!
This Robinson projection shows the world map. Tian Xia is split between the right and left sides in this projection because it straddles 180° longitude. The drawings of the continents are based on feedback from James Jacobs at Paizo, using the original Golarion world map as a starting point. Read the whole discussion thread on the Paizo forums!
According to James:
- Casmaron should be the largest continent, and twice as wide as shown in the rough Golarion world map. It should roughly resemble Asia with an exaggerated India and a large sea at its heart.
- The ocean between Tian Xia and Arcadia should be analagous to the Pacific Ocean on Earth. The ocean between Casmaron and Tian Xia is analagous to the Atlantic Ocean.