Design Diary No.2 History

For one reason or another I haven’t got as much written this week as I wanted to, but I have finished the History section for now. This took me a bit longer than I thought it was going to but I’m pleased with how it’s turned out.

As I started writing it, I realised I had a cool origin story for the ancient city of Dhak Janjua which became Parsantium, but only a few lines about the next 2,000 years! I didn’t want to write pages and pages of history but I did need to fill in a few important blanks to explain how the city of today is the way it is. These key events, often several hundreds of years apart, include the arrival of the Akhrani, the change of name to Parsantium, the conquest of the city by Corandias the Magnificent and its subsequent fall to the hobgoblin army of Kalgroth Ironheart, and the Great Crusade which allowed it to become a powerful Free City and trading centre again. I’ve fleshed out all of these, explained who Hulieman was at long last, and changed a few things in the process as I attempted to pull together a coherent flow of events. Advice from ulthar01* on how the Batiarans were most likely to have taken the city in war was much appreciated!

While I was writing all this, John Pope wrote an interesting post on Daily Encounter about campaign histories and timelines. His view is that a fluid narrative is better for the reader and more flexible for the DM than a timeline. I’ve done both, but am still deliberating whether or not to include a short timeline in a sidebar. It seems to me this could help the reader get a good overview of the key events at a glance. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.

Next up is the third and final part of the first “overview” chapter. This is on the inhabitants of the city, covering the major human cultural groups (Batiarans, Sahasrans, Akhrani, Tiangaons and Urskovians) and the various non-human races. At some point I’m going to have to replace the names I stole from Guy Gavriel Kay, Margaret Weis and others with my own but the original names will do as placeholders for now. After this, I will be moving on to Life in the City, starting with the government and the army.

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