Design Diary No.13 Nasty Gnomes, Hidden Quarter Gangs & Kali Cults

This week I’ve been working on the Organizations chapter of the Parsantium sourcebook. This section includes a number of power groups, noble families, city guilds and other organizations that have a big impact on the city. Some are downright evil, some are goodly and well-intentioned, but most sit somewhere in between the two extremes. Many of these will be familiar to those of you who have played in the Parsantium campaign – the Platinum Knights of Bahamut, the Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus, the Golden Scimitars and the Dockside Crew – but some are new like the Brotherhood of Spite, a cabal of gnomes who compete against each other to see who can inflict the deadliest pranks on the big folk, and the Fellowship of Venturers Bold, an adventurer’s guild. In theory, PCs could join any of these groups, although some might be a better idea than others!

The gangs of the Hidden Quarter were fun to write about. I had a lot of material on the Golden Scimitars and Orloch Scragmane’s Mangy Curs already but virtually nothing on Avishandu, the Dock Ward Bosses and the Lamplighters, and I’ve added in a guild of master thieves called the Felonious Larcenists, as well as a Tiangaon tong called the Eight Scorpion who run lotus dens in the Temple Ward. And, of course, the evil Heinsoo is in this section too.

Today I’ve been writing about the Cult of the Black Mother – the secret religious sect that worships the dark Sahasran goddess, Kali. I won’t deny the influences of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom here – you can’t have a Kali cult without thuggee – but things aren’t as straight forward as they first seem. Next, I’ve got the fighting orders like the Platinum Knights and Axe-Bearing Guard to do, plus the guilds and the noble families. And then some rakshasas.

Kali

The book is now over 72,000 words so my revised estimate of 75,000 words might need looking at again – I’ll probably hit this word count before I finish the rest of the organisations and I’ll need 2,000 words at least for the gods. On that subject, I am thinking of taking a leaf out of Saladin Ahmed’s book – he wrote the excellent Throne of the Crescent Moon – and going with one god for the Akhrani, rather than coming up with yet another pantheon. I reckon this could provide an interesting contrast to the many gods of Sahasra and fits well with the Arabian flavour. Let me know what you think.

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