Parsantium Adventures – Two Questions

Now that Icons of Parsantium has been released, I’ve started work in earnest on adventures for Parsantium.

I originally planned to publish three or four adventures in a single “Tales of Parsantium” collection, but have recently come to the conclusion it would be better to publish each one individually. One of the main reasons is that the adventure I’m currently working on is already twice as long as I predicted and I’ve only written two thirds of it. If the other adventures run anywhere that length, the book will end up being the same size as Parsantium: City at the Crossroads and take just as long to do. Publishing the adventures one at a time will get a new Parsantium product on to the virtual shelves of drivethrurpg.com much more quickly. If the adventures do well, I can always publish a collection at a later date.

The adventure I’m currently writing is a revised and expanded version of Flotsam and Jetsam, the scenario Steve Dempsey and I both ran at Dragonmeet 2013, and I also ran at #UKT4 in Leeds. Set in Parsantium’s Dock Ward, it involves criminal gangs, thuggee killers and gnoll slavers, and is intended for low level PCs (3rd-4th level Pathfinder/D&D characters, 2nd level 13th Age PCs). I’m quite a long way down the road with it so I don’t want to stop now, but I know I need to write an introductory adventure for 1st level PCs next and publish that one first.

The 1st level adventure will be centred on a 2000-year old evil stirring beneath the city streets and causing mayhem and death in the Old Quarter. Both adventures are loosely linked and can be used together to kick off a new Parsantium campaign, but will work just as well as standalones.

I want the adventures to be usable by as many gamers as possible, so my plan is to include stats for Pathfinder, D&D 5e and 13th Age. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, but would really like your feedback and have a couple of questions for you:

Which products have handled multi-system adventures well and how did they do it?

How do you like to see encounter stats presented in an adventure?

Please do let me know what you think if you get the chance.

Cheers!

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13 thoughts on “Parsantium Adventures – Two Questions

  1. “Murder In Baldur’s Gate” and “Legacy of the Crystal Shard” are both adventures published for use with multiple editions of D&D. The method Wizards used was kinda awkward, though, in that they didn’t actually include the stats of any of the npcs/adversaries in the actual module; they are available online, however. It’s workable, but I’d rather have had the stats presented alongside the other material. Each of these adventures include a pair of books. The first details the setting and the second contains the actual adventure; I’d have liked a third book with just the npc/adversary stats. These were pseudo-box sets, so I realize this method might not work for you, but an appendix at the end of the adventure could work just as well, though it might add too much bulk to the document… I guess, it depends entirely on the length of the adventure, since you probably wanna keep the word count down.

    As to your second question, I prefer that stat blocks be included at the end of the document, but that’s pretty much the standard. Pathfinder modules throw some stat blocks in with the encounter text, reserving the back of the book for the “boss” types, which works, too, though I think I prefer Wizard’s method. “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” is easy to navigate; I’d prefer stats presented similarly.

    (Also, I’m excited to hear that you are working on the “Floatsam and Jetsam” adventure first. Are you going to include campaign traits [Pathfinder] and/or character bonds [D&D 5E] tailored to the adventure? They would be really handy in motivating players and getting them immersed in the story. I wrote some bonds for a 5th-edition Parsantine adventure set in the Old Quarters, but that my group never ended up playing… Still have ’em on hand, though. Here’s a link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LNA5Yjtx0e2w38MXHQizr3v8nGYFhzUbJGoQ8A-hkiw/edit?usp=sharing)

    • Thanks Mark. I have Murder in Baldur’s Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard and have run the latter. What I found a bit frustrating about the layout was having encounter info sometimes split across four places – the adventure book, the setting book and two different sections in the stats/encounter supplement. I’m hoping to come up with a way of presenting the stats and other edition-specific encounter info (CR, adjusting encounter difficulty by level etc) in an appendix as you suggest, perhaps one file per edition?

      I really like your Parsantine bonds – thanks for sharing. I’m definitely planning on including some adventure hooks in the book(s), and may adopt this format.

  2. Achting! Cthulhu handles the CoC/Savage Worlds system split pretty well.

    For skill checks it just separates them like this: “In the Allied perimeter, the investigators may make Command rolls [Cth]/Persuasion or Intimidation tests [Sav] to commandeer a functioning vehicle.”

    For NPCs/monsters/vehicles/etc it simply puts in 2 stat blocks, marked CTH and SAV (although I wish they’d put borders around them or additional line breaks because sometimes it’s not clear when the Savage Worlds rules have finished and the general adventure has resumed).

    I suspect that Vodacce might be correct that a third system might be too much, unfortunately. If you have the time and lots of good editorial help 😉 then you could try working up a section with all three systems and asking people to proofread/playtest for their thoughts. It depends on how much is monster/NPC detail – if 90% of the variation material is that kind of stat block, then you could put them all in appendices at the back, one each for D&D, Pathfinder & 13th Age?

    You’re welcome to borrow an Achtung! Cthulhu adventure for reference, if you want.

    • Cheers Andy! I’ve been thinking about what to do with skill/ability checks as they are more tricky. The Achtung Cthulhu solution could work as long as it’s clear which stats are which – would be great to have a look at one. Appendices are probably the way to go with the NPC/monster stats I think.

  3. I am glad that you want to support multiple systems with your adventures. In my experience, it is difficult to have multiple systems in an adventure.

    • I’d love to but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere – sorry! How easy is it to convert 5e monsters to OD&D? Have you tried it?

  4. Hi Rich,

    Just to clarify, are you intending to release system-specific adventures in separate books for each system (while not adventures, the example here is Kobold Press’s Deep Magic treatment), or are you looking to lump a variety of systems into one adventure book?

    • I was thinking each adventure would be a single product with stats for all three systems, probably in separate appendices, but the first option is also a possibility.

  5. Pingback: Quick Poll: Monster Stats in Adventures | Parsantium: City at the Crossroads

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