Four years ago, we published Parsantium: City at the Crossroads, a detailed city sourcebook designed for use with all editions of D&D and Pathfinder – including the soon-to-be released 5e rules.
Parsantium is a melting pot, a cosmopolitan place where trade routes meet and where great cultures collide. Inspired by Byzantium with its rich Greco-Roman heritage, it also incorporates characters, monsters and magic from the Tales of the Arabian Nights, ancient India and the Far East, alongside more traditional European fantasy elements. There are evil cults, scheming politicians and nobles, rakshasas and serpent folk, ancient dungeons beneath the city streets, and powerful criminal gangs, not to mention gladiators and chariot racing. The idea was to provide enough adventure hooks, patrons and adversaries in an edition neutral book to keep the PCs busy throughout your campaign, without them ever having to leave the city walls.
Parsantium started life in 2007 as the backdrop to my own 4th Edition D&D campaign, combining my two favourite types of setting – huge fantasy cities, such as Greyhawk, Waterdeep and Ptolus, and exotic campaign settings like Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, and Rokugan. I ended up running two Parsantium campaigns from 2008 to 2015, and still revisit the city from time to time in one shot adventures.
When I wrote the material that went into my campaign (and later ended up in the book), I had only vague thoughts that one day I might turn it into something I could publish. But after doing a fair bit of freelance writing for Kobold Press and Raging Swan Press, I decided to give self-publishing Parsantium a go. I had hopes of selling a couple of hundred books and breaking even.
With the invaluable help of my amazing wife Kate, an experienced editor, Parsantium: City at the Crossroads was published in February 2014 after a year of research, writing, editing, layout, art direction and proofreading. It gone on to sell 1,500 copies, well beyond my initial expectations.
Since then, we’ve also released Icons of Parsantium, a collection of influential NPCs compatible with 13th Age, and Whispers of the Dark Daeva, a 1st level Parsantium adventure for 5e and Pathfinder. I’ve also written a number of free Parsantium articles for 5e which I’ve posted here on the blog.
In the last 18 months, I’ve been busy doing freelance stuff for Kobold Press, including work on the forthcoming Midgard Worldbook and Creature Codex and articles for the very cool Warlock Patreon. Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to return to Parsantium in the future.
I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who has bought Parsantium in the last four years, and to all those gamers who have chatted to me about the setting online or in person! I get a big kick out of hearing how you are using Parsantium in your games, so please do get in touch via Twitter or in the comments below.
And if you don’t already have a copy of Parsantium, you can pick up the PDF at half price at Drivethrurpg this weekend.