Design Diary No.3 People of Parsantium

This week, I finished off the first draft of chapter 1 of the book, which is currently coming in at 5,500 words, 1,000 words above my initial target. Having already written the overview and the history sections for this chapter, I’ve been working on the People section which describes the five main human cultural groups (still called Batiarans, Akhrani, Sahasrans, Tiangaons and Urskovians for now) as well as the various non-human races, including dwarves, elves and eladrin, halflings, half-elves and half-orcs.

For the “regular” D&D races, I’ve tried to explain how they fit in to the city so that anyone making a character has a good starting point for their PC. I deliberated about whether to include gnomes as I’ve never been that keen on them, but one of my design goals is to include the core races from D&D and Pathfinder, so they’ve made it in. I’ve divided them into two groups – goodly folk who’ve lived in the city for a while who make toys and clockworks and nasty little recent arrivals from the Feywild, complete with blood-soaked red caps, who like to cause trouble.

If you’ve played in either of my two Parsantium campaigns or follow any of the campaign write-ups, you’ll know that dragonborn, gnolls and genasi all live in the city as well as the more traditional races – if I remember correctly, there have been one gnoll, two dragonborn and four genasi PCs in the two games. Centaurs, minotaurs, tieflings and vanara (the monkey-like humanoids from Indian myth that appeared in the 3e Oriental Adventures book) round out the racial mix. Parsantium is a melting pot after all, so a wide variety of races makes sense.

Next up is the Life in the City chapter which covers Government, the Army, Law and Order, Customs and Superstitions, and Trade. It’s a meaty section, about 5,000 words, and should be a lot of fun to write.

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