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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…

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Latest News

This weekend I finished the 5e playtest draft versions of my forthcoming adventure Whispers of the Dark Daeva, incorporating changes to several key scenes following the Pathfinder playtest I ran for our Monday night gaming group and other very useful playtest feedback.

Since the first part of the adventure involves investigating the violent incidents that have been taking place in the Dock Ward, it’s often hard when you’re writing to judge if you are making the clues too obvious or too obscure. In this case, I think things were a bit too obvious, and a really fun encounter was skipped as the PCs already had all the information they needed early on. I’ve now tweaked things following the feedback, swapping the order in which information is shared, and spreading the clues around a little more.

This has gone off to several groups of Parsantium gamers to playtest and I’m looking forward to hearing their feedback. I’m also running the adventure for our Saturday night gaming group (aka the infamous Juma Gang) this month which should be good fun. This round of playtesting will hopefully let me know if the changes I’ve made have improved the way in which the adventure unfolds, and if the 5e encounters are balanced for a party of 1st level characters.

The art is all in now, so once any changes from the 5e playtest are incorporated into the manuscript, we’ll be getting started on editing, layout and cover design. In the meantime, here’s Matt Morrow’s finished illustration of Calbiades Hot-Blooded, minotaur captain.

Calbiades Hot-Blooded by Matt Morrow

Art by Matt Morrow

Working on the 5e version of the adventure and seeing all the cool stuff coming out from 3rd party publishers and on the DM’s Guild has made me want to write some new 5e player material for Parsantium. I’m not sure yet whether this will be blog content or a new product, but please let me know if there is anything you are interested in seeing. Backgrounds, races and class options all seem like they would be fun to do.

Finally, if you haven’t bought Parsantium: City at the Crossroads, it’s on sale at 25% off at drivethrurpg.com until 30th April as part of their 5th Edition sale 🙂

Latest News

I’ve been busy this Easter working on Whispers of the Dark Daeva, converting the adventure from Pathfinder to 5e. This has involved rebuilding most of the NPC and monster adversaries from scratch and also remembering which skills exist in both editions, which have different names, and which need replacing with an ability check! The first draft is done – the next stage will be incorporating learnings and feedback on the story structure and roleplaying encounters from the Pathfinder playtesting.

Last Monday I ran a Pathfinder playtest session for our Monday night group which was very useful, and gave me plenty to think about in terms of making the adventure more enjoyable. We got through about half the adventure in a single 2.5 hour session, so should finish it next time we meet in April. I also had some very useful feedback from veteran GM Paul Baalham on the scenario, and am eagerly awaiting playtest reports from several other groups.

Once this is all in I’ll incorporate the relevant feedback into both versions of the adventure and get a revised 5e draft ready for playtesting. If you’re interested in running the 5e version in late April/May for your gaming group and giving me playtest feedback, please email me at parsantium@gmail.com

WhispersoftheDarkDaeva colour1
In other news, Joe Shawcross is working on the painting for the cover and Matt Morrow is doing initial sketches for the interior art. Hopefully I’ll be in a position to share these soon.
I’m very excited about how this first Parsantium adventure is shaping up and am looking forward to seeing it out there in the next few months 🙂

First Draft Done

It’s taken me a long time but the first draft of Whispers of the Dark Daeva for Pathfinder is done. Word count is 12,800. I’ll do a revised draft next ready for playtesting, then start work on the 5e D&D version 🙂

I’ve had a few offers to playtest the 5e version, but none for Pathfinder. If you’re interested, please let me know.

 

UPDATE: Since I first posted this, Stephen White, Regional Venture Coordinator -Asia-Pacific for the Pathfinder Society, has very kindly posted messages on a few Australian Facebook groups for Pathfinder players.

If you came here from one of these Facebook groups, welcome! Please feel free to email me at parsantium@gmail.com if you would like to playtest Whispers of the Dark Daeva. It would be useful to know if you have a gaming group already or if you are looking to join another one, and also where you are located. Cheers!

Design Diary: Whispers of the Dark Daeva

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on this blog so I thought it was high time I wrote something! For the last couple of months, I’ve been working on Whispers of the Dark Daeva, a new 1st level adventure set in Parsantium’s Dock Ward, to be published in PDF in 2016. If things go to plan, this will be followed by a second adventure that can be played as a standalone, or the two can be used together in a Tales of Parsantium mini-campaign.

As the boat town of Flotsam gets ready to celebrate the Festival of Flowers, a series of violent murders threatens to spoil the upcoming festivities. When the PCs delve into what’s been going on, they uncover an ancient evil lurking below the city streets in the Hidden Quarter that must be stopped before more innocent people die.

My original plan was to write a short adventure of around 10,000 – 12,000 words, playable with Pathfinder, D&D 5e and 13th Age. Following on from some very helpful feedback, I’ve decided to write and publish separate versions of the adventure for each edition. Since then, I have been hard at work on the Pathfinder version and have been enjoying building some fun, crunchy NPC villains for PCs to battle in the adventure. So far, the introductory section (adventure background, synopsis and hooks) and the first seven scenes/encounters are written, with the manuscript clocking in at nearly 9,000 words. I’ll definitely be honing my prose on the second draft, but I’ve still got around seven to eight scenes to write, so it looks like the adventure will run longer than I initially expected.

The plan now is to get a playtest draft written by early January, before working on the 5e version. If you’re interested in running the adventure and providing playtest feedback, please let me know in the comments.

More news to follow…

Rainy Bank Holiday Update

It’s miserable outside so I’ve been getting some writing done today! Common sense dictates that it’s better to publish a 1st-level adventure before the one that’s for 2nd-3rd level characters so I’ve stopped working on Flotsam & Jetsam, and started on the introductory adventure.

Provisionally entitled Whispers of the Dark Daeva, I’m aiming for around 10-12,000 words and managed to get 1,300 done today. This was the adventure background, summary and hooks plus an introduction to  Parsantium for those new to the city. Still a lot to do but I have an outline to work to and everything is set up in Scrivener.

Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll on monster stats. It’s still open if you haven’t had a chance to vote yet or leave a comment. As I expected, the results are inconclusive, but I got some useful feedback on how you use monster stats in adventures 🙂

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!