Design Diary No.6 Festivals & Entertainment

I didn’t write a design diary last weekend for the simple reason that lots of stuff going on in real life got in the way of me writing much of the book. In the last week, though, I’ve written about 2,500 words, bringing the total word count for the book up to 26,000 of the 40,000 I’ve set myself as a target. This is a bit misleading because a fairly large proportion of those 26,000 words are unedited write-ups of city locations from my campaign notes that I’ve pasted into the manuscript. These will need a lot of work, and some of these entries may not even make the final sourcebook.

The 2,500 words I’ve written this week have been on Festivals and Entertainment – both fun sections to write. I’ve written about eight important festivals in the Parsantine calendar including the Victory Games (which players in my Black Horse campaign will know well since their PCs took part in them) and the Festival of Starlings, inspired by a Chinese legend that features in a novel I keep trying to track down, David Hughart’s Bridge of Birds.  Researching this section led me to an article online about the crazy Turkish sport of camel wrestling which I knew I needed to include as soon as I read it! I have 900 words written on the festivals but I think I could do with adding two or three more so will keep thinking about this subject as I continue onwards.

The Entertainment section includes an overview of the all the stuff Parsantines like to do for fun. There’s a section on chariot racing – the city is obsessed with the races and the rivalry between the factions has triggered fights and rioting in the past – as well as gladiators and the theatre. I’ve also written about inns and taverns, bathhouses (another Parsantine institution), gambling, prostitution and drugs.

Next up, hopefully today, I’ll finish off the Life in the City chapter with the last section on Trade & Currency. I don’t think there’s room in the book to cover the world around Parsantium so I’ll write about the various trade routes – to and from the Sunset Lands, the Caliphate of Akhran, Sahasra and Tiangao – in this section to show how important the city is as a trading centre and write a bit about these distant lands. The whole chapter will be around 9,000 words so it’s an important one and will be great to have the first draft done on this.

Hopefully my wife Kate, a talented professional editor, will be able to start looking at the first two chapters in the next week or two as I start working on chapter 3, Running a Parsantium Campaign. This chapter will include stuff like PC backgrounds to make a regular D&D PC fit better into Parsantium, campaign story arcs and themes, random city events and so on. My plan is to get the backgrounds done for the UK D&D Tweetup 4 on 16th March so I can use them for the PCs in the adventure I’m running. I’m also thinking about including information on facilities and services in this chapter – how much it costs to live in each ward, where to sell loot and NPC spellcasting. Any suggestions on what you’d like to see here as a DM would be appreciated!

Think I’ve rambled on enough for now. I’d better get back to writing the actual book…..

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