Somewhere in the True World, to the north of the lands you know, lies the City of Gold: Michaca. It is a city of legend, of fable, and of wonder. The journey is hard, and the perils are many; you know, however, that the rewards will far outshine any treasure you have ever seen.
This supplement for the Maztica Campaign setting is a new type of product: a combination adventure and accessory. In this booklet you will find information on a new character race, the Azuposi; on new character classes for rogues, including the clown (or koyemshis); on new priest classes, including the "bent priest"; and a new magic unique to Maztica, fetishism.
The adventure itself leads your party from the known areas of the True World into the northlands, through the lands of the desert dwarves, the Poscadar elves, the Dog People, and others. Your characters will deal with desert hardships they have never endured before. They will also confront spirits they've never heard of; the spirits that have caused the downfall of Michaca, the City of Gold.
And do not forget the words of a poet of another place, and another time: "Nor all that tempts your wand'ring eyes / And heedless hearts, is lawful prize; / Nor all, that glisters, gold."
FMQ1: "City of Gold" (1992), by John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet, is the third Maztica adventure. It was published in March 1992.
Origins (I): Ending the Trilogy. After FMA1: "Fires of Zatal" (1991) and FMA2: "Endless Armies" (1991), TSR jumped module codes as was their wont in the early '90s and published their third Maztica adventure as FMQ1: "City of Gold" (1992). That's presumed to stand for "Forgotten Realms Maztica Quest".
Despite the different module codes, these three adventures are together called the "Maztica adventure trilogy". In Italy they were even published under a more coherent set of modules codes as "FM1", "FM2", and "FM3".
With that said, "City of Gold" is obviously different from its predecessors. TSR called it "a new type of product: a combination adventure and accessory." It's also the longest of the three adventures, coming in at 96 pages, which is the same size as the previous two Maztica adventures combined.
Origins (II): Splitting the Authors. John Nephew had the original assignment for "City of Gold", but he wasn't done when he needed to leave for a planned trip to Europe. With the OK of freelance coordinator Bruce Heard, Nephew handed the project off to Jonathan Tweet, who Nephew knew through their work at Lion Rampant on Ars Magica (1987).
This was Tweet's first work on D&D. He'd of course become much more closely linked to the game when he became the lead designer of D&D 3e (2000), ultimately thanks to another former Lion Rampant employee, Lisa Stevens, who invited him to work with Wizards of the Coast.
Origins (III): Finding the City. The Maztica Campaign Set (1991) was explicitly based on the historical story of the conquistadors, so it's only appropriate that this final Maztica supplement also be based on history: the legends of El Dorado, the City of Gold.
The legends of El Dorado were at the height in the 1500s, when several expeditions searched for the city of Manõa, on Lake Parime. Sir Walter Raleigh led the most famous expedition in 1595, then returned in 1617. On his second expedition he fought with Spaniards, leading to his execution in 1618, by his king. Quests for the mythical city of gold continued for hundreds of years.
Adventure Tropes. "City of Gold" is primarily an adventure of exploration, as the characters enter new lands and see amazing things there. Much of the adventure is episodic, describing peoples met on the way, but the entry into the city itself allows for more freeform investigation.
Expanding D&D. A 16-page appendix includes rules on creating Azupozi characters, who are the humans of the Pasocada Basin. This includes character kits, skills, and equipment, as well as notes on a few variants of magic.
Exploring the Realms: The Pasocada Basin. "City of Gold" includes a large-scale (1" = 10 miles) new map of the lands north of Maztica. It's a very notable expansion of the Maztica sub-setting that details the Pasocada Basin and its people (especially the Azuposi). Of course, Michaca, the City of Gold receives considerable attention as well.
Many of the non-Greenwood additions to the Realms were based on real world cultures; this one draws from the Pueblo Indians.
Exploring the Realms: Anchorome. Forgotten Realms fans have come to the conclusion that these lands north of Maztica are called Anchorome, and therein lies a story.
Anchorome was first mentioned by Ed Greenwood in Dragon #63 (July 1982) where he described Anchorome as "a legendary island far over the sea to the west, further from the mainland than most sailors ever dare to go". It was meant to be a sort of legendary lost land, not necessarily any specific place. The name Anchorome itself was actually a corruption of "Anchor-on-me".
Greenwood used Anchorome in his own Realms campaign. As one of his players describes: "De-masted and a-drift, [the PCs] wind up beached on an unknown island... with ruins (a 'dungeon') on it … Then they set sail - - straight into ANOTHER storm that drives them onto another island (lather, rinse, repeat)." Thus, the Anchorome of Greenwood's own campaign quickly became a whole string of islands.
Anchorome shows up again in the printed literature in FR15: "Gold & Glory" (1992). Though that supplement talks about the "fabled islands of Anchorome", a legendary land that people might quest for, it then reveals the actual Anchorome as the coastline north of Maztica. That has long been the last word on Anchorome, so it's the "official" word: the Anchorome of the printed Realms is indeed the north-american-like lands described herein.
Future History. This was effectively the end of the Maztica line, other than a few related mercenary companies in FR15: "Gold & Glory". After that Maztica quickly fell out of favor and was consigned to minor mentions. By the '00s, some players wondered if it had dropped out of canon entirely.
Dragon #315 (January 2004) offered one of the few modern looks at Maztica as part of its walk through several "Campaign Classics" but then Wizards of the Coast nuked Maztica during the D&D 4e era (2008-2012), saying "The greatest portion of the returning world … replaced Maztica, the continent west of Faerûn."
Maztica gets an off-handed mention in the Dungeon Masters Guide for D&D 5e (2014), letting players know it's back. Wizards' DM's Guild has since allowed those players to take advantage of that return: Jon Hild has written a series of "True World" Maztican supplements, adventures, and novels, beginning with TWC1: "The Maztica Campaign Guide" (2016), while other members of the "Maztica Alive!" group has also contributed products to the "TWA", "TWC", and "TWN" series.
About the Creators. Nephew and Tweet knew each other through Lion Rampant, the original producers of Ars Magica (1987). Nephew had gone on to form his own company, Atlas Games, which still exists today, while Tweet would become the core designer for D&D 3e (2000).
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to email@example.com.