Thanks! Baldur's Gate is definitely my main inspiration. I've even got a tool that will allow me to view the backgrounds and animations for study.
I'll also need to figure out a way of doing fog of war that looks good. That's one reason I changed the lighting so the tops of the rooms are dark.
I have no idea how Baldur's Gate did its fog of war. I thought I read somewhere that it was a 3d effect. I know it's based on line of sight, but it seems very advanced. I've done basic fog of war mechanics, but none to that level.
I "should" be okay with z-order sorting in regards to the architecture. I organized the levels into small grids and sections that are easy to manage. I'll be doing the z-order tests tonight or tomorrow. The characters are already sorted, it's just the environments I need to do.