Whispers of the Dark Daeva now on sale!

It’s taken longer than expected but I’m very pleased to announce that my new Parsantium adventure for #dnd 5e, Whispers of the Dark Daeva, is now on sale at drivethrurpg.com 🙂

Whispers of the Dark Daeva [5e]

Thanks to all the playtesters who helped make the adventure better, and to Kate for doing the editing and layout. Hope you all enjoy it!



Hammers and Nails: AetherCon V

Earlier tonight I appeared on a live online panel for the first time, talking about city and village supplements for fantasy RPGs as part of AetherCon V.

The panel was hosted by Craig E Goad of Star City Savages, and also featured John Bennett (Raging Swan Press) and James Gantry (Rogue Blade Games). It was good fun to do and I got to talk a fair bit about some of the stuff that went into Parsantium.

You’ll be able to watch on YouTube once it’s been edited in January.

Latest News

Thought it was about time for an update on Whispers of the Dark Daeva!

Kate has been incredibly busy with her day job as a freelance editor so we haven’t had much time to work on the adventure in the last few weeks. Nonetheless, we have managed to get the introduction, and first three chapters of the 5e version styled up and laid out, including stat blocks, art and maps.

It was a year ago that I first asked you all how you liked to see monster stats presented in adventures and overall the feedback was in favour of including the stats on the page with the encounter description – my preference too as a GM. I want to make the adventure as easy as possible for the GM to run so that’s what we’re doing with Whispers of the Dark Daeva. This can prevent layout challenges but so far I think we’ve managed to achieve this while keeping the layout as clean and uncluttered as we can. Formatting 5e stats in InDesign has been a bit tricky too but we’ve cracked it now (I hope!) and things should be easier for the final two chapters. That’s just as well as these contain lots of monster and NPC stats.

Once the 5e version is laid out, Kate will edit the text and then it will be on to the Pathfinder version. We’re off on holiday in the next few weeks too so it’s likely to be Autumn/Winter before the adventure is finally published unfortunately, but I’d rather take the time we need to get it right rather than rush things.

More news to follow in due course. Any questions, please do let me know 😃

Gladiator 5e Background

Parsantium has always been a “city for all editions”. With the publication of Whispers of the Dark Daeva for 5th Edition, here’s a new 5e Gladiator background, expanding on the character background in Chapter One of Parsantium: City at the Crossroads.


You have fought many times on the sands of the Hippodrome to entertain the crowds, killing and maiming wild beasts and your fellow gladiators for money and glory. You were either raised from an early age to fight in the stadium, were sent there by the courts after committing a murder, or you volunteered and won a place through auditions. You were part of a gladiatorial team with a flashy name such as Mountain Avalanche or Lightning Strike and probably have a stage name of your own. You may have won a medal or two, and although your body bears many scars, you did well to survive this long without losing more than a finger or two. While you still love the roar of the crowd when you step out on to the sands, you started to question the senseless slaughter, your own life expectancy, or both, and this prompted your retirement from gladiatorial life.

Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Performance

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: a trident or net, a plumed helmet or other trophy, a token from an admirer, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp


Your prowess in the arena has meant your fame has spread beyond the Hippodrome, and you receive a warm welcome whenever you visit one of Parsantium’s taverns or inns. You rarely need to pay for your own drinks and food, and everyone is eager to hear your tales of blood and glory, making it easy to make useful contacts in all three quarters of the city.

Gladiator's helmet by William McAusland

Artwork by William McAusland, used with permission


The best gladiators capture the imagination of the crowds at the Hippodrome and often have bold, confident and theatrical personalities, sometimes bordering on the arrogant. Others are the kind of scary and intimidating bruiser you definitely wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

d8 Personality Trait
1 You don’t win a bout by fighting fair.
2 I still feel a shiver of excitement at the start of every battle.
3 Only the weak grant mercy.
4 I like to look my best at all times. I get my hair trimmed by the finest barbers and keep my body well-oiled.
5 I want them to carve “they lived life to the full” on my tombstone.
6 I rise early and greet the new day with a brisk morning run whenever I can.
7 I’m at my best when there’s an audience watching.
8 I’m always ready with a well-honed quip or insult to rile my opponent.


d6 Ideals
1 Honour. If I say I’ll do it, I will (Lawful)
2 Creativity. Any thug can stab someone. I like to do with style and panache. (Chaotic)
3 People. I always put my friends first, before any “noble causes”.(Neutral)
4 Greed. I’m only doing this to get rich as fast as possible (Evil)
5 Respect. All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. (Good)
6 Glory. I live for the roar of the crowd in my ears. (Any)


d6 Bond
1 I’m going to track down the person who framed me for murder and kill them.
2 My weapon is my most treasured possession – it has saved my life dozens of times.
3 I haven’t seen my family since I became a gladiator and need to make things right with them.
4 I would do anything for the gladiators in my team. They are my brothers and sisters.
5 I’m in love with my greatest rival.
6 I owe the Editor of the Games a small fortune and have three months to pay him back.


d6 Flaw
1 I will not run away from a fight.
2 I always strike first, ask questions later.
3 I find it hard to resist the amorous advances of my fans.
4 I like to check my reflection whenever I pass a mirror.
5 I’ve become numb to killing.
6 I’m always broke – I blow any money I earn gambling.



Chariot racing in Parsantium is not so much a sport as an obsession. You belonged to one of the four main teams of charioteers, known as factions – the Blues, the Greens, the Reds and the Whites – with the Blues and the Greens by far and away the more successful and popular. The city is divided along faction lines: residents of the Imperial Quarter tend to support the Blues and the Whites, while those living in the Old Quarter support the Greens and the Reds. Several times in the past few years fights have broken out between supporters of the rival factions before or after a race, and once or twice these scuffles have turned into full-blown rioting.

As a charioteer you took part in numerous races, driving a four-horse chariot around the track at the Hippodrome at high speeds. The most successful charioteers are household names in Parsantium, hero-worshipped by both men and women, who shower them with gifts and pester them for autographs and kisses.

You can adapt the suggested characteristics above to fit this background, and replace one of your language choices with a tool proficiency with land vehicles. Note that any ex-charioteer is unlikely to be welcome in a pub frequented by an opposing faction.


Any comments or feedback welcome.  If you enjoyed this post, why not check out the gnoll, the vanara and trinkets?


20 Parsantine Trinkets

I love the trinkets in the 5e Player’s Handbook and thought it would be fun to do a few with a Parsantine twist.

Floral star

  1. A small painted wooden icon depicting St Carinus administering to the poor; it glows faintly
  2. A pair of bone Hazard dice; the sixes are replaced with an elephant’s head
  3. A felt cap, embroidered with the emblem of the Guild of Carpenters and Joiners in gold thread
  4. A red ornamental bindi spangle, decorated with gold
  5. Three pages of a near-illegible early draft of Iancu Petronas’s latest play, yet to be performed in public
  6. A gnoll fetish made from a meerkat skull and vulture feathers, bound together with strips of leather
  7. A blue and white glass eye-shaped amulet to ward off the Evil Eye
  8. An Urskovian carved wooden figurine of a bear
  9. An ancient silver rupee with the Rajah Vrishabha’s head on one side and the great stone bridges over the Dolphin Strait on the reverse
  10. A cloth bag full of brightly-coloured tesserae (mosaic pieces)
  11. A curse written on a folded lead sheet and studded with nails, with a blank space for the name of the victim
  12. A worn leatherbound history of the Bathuran Empire with a blue lotus flower pressed between its pages
  13. A small silver box that cannot be opened, with a faint inscription in an unknown language
  14. A sketch map showing the hidden vaults underneath a noble house’s mansion in the Imperial Quarter
  15. A clockwork soldier made by the toymaker Skorrif of Wondrous Things; its sword is very sharp and it’s easy to cut yourself when winding up the toy.
  16. A six inch by four inch pattered rug which floats a foot off the ground when unrolled
  17. A four inch tall blue stone statuette of a monkey sitting in the lotus position
  18. A letter of acceptance to the Scholasticia, Parsantium’s university
  19. The autograph of a leading chariot driver for the Greens scribbled on the back of a bill of sale
  20. A little cloth bag holding six pink rowan berries from the Feyshore Forest (as goodberry but these do not lose their potency)

Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below!

And if you want more, these Southlands trinkets from Kobold Press would work well in Parsantium too.

Latest News

We’ve been on holiday this week so I’ve been able to make good progress on Whispers of the Dark Daeva, my forthcoming Parsantium adventure for 1st level PCs.

Whispers of the Dark Daeva [5e]

I went through all the excellent feedback I received from the 5e and Pathfinder playtests in detail and made a number of improvements to the adventure, tightening up the story and the game mechanics. I’ve expanded some of the encounters and redrew the dungeon map with slightly bigger rooms to give the PCs and monsters more room to manoeuvre before tidying it up and labelling it in Photoshop. I had to remember to update both versions of the text too – thank goodness for Word’s track changes functionality. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the final drafts I will be passing over to Kate to edit.

I’ve now copied the 5e draft into InDesign and styled up the headings and most of the text. InDesign is tricky to master but I am learning a few tricks here and there which is cool. We do still need to come up with a style that works for the 5e and Pathfinder stat blocks as this is the first Parsantium release that has included monster and NPC stats.

Next, it’s on to editing and layout. More news to follow soon…