Happy Birthday Parsantium!

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.

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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.

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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.

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Whispers of the Dark Daeva for Pathfinder

Very pleased to announce that my 1st-level Parsantium adventure, Whispers of the Dark Daeva, is now available to buy for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. You can buy the PDF at drivethrurpg.com or Paizo for just $4.99

Whispers of the Dark Daeva [Pathfinder]

Praise for the 5th Edition version (also available)
“A stirring adventure which gives the party a chance to make a name for themselves… It’s full of neat tricks to build up atmosphere and add to the realism of the town, as well as to provide a suitably creepy feel that grows along with the body count!” – Megan Robertson

“Each act and area in the adventure reads as well thought out, planned and as [if] the author has a real passion for what they’re writing and the world they’ve created – The Dice Trip

We spent a lot of time on layout for both versions to get the monster stat blocks on the same page as the adventure text. If you’ve run or read the adventure, I’d love to know what you think about this!

 

Yggdrasil and Midgard

Two (maybe even three) years ago I wrote a Parsantium article called “The Other Crossroads City” for a fanzine for Wolfgang Baur’s excellent Midgard setting. As some of you may know, the original Parsantium campaigns included several Midgard adventures, including Wrath of the River King, Courts of the Shadow Fey and Halls of the Mountain King.

Now, as I’m working on the updated Midgard setting for Kobold Press, the fanzine has finally been published!

Called Yggdrasil, it clocks in at nearly 100 pages and is absolutely free. You can download it here from Paizo.

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Also, if you are interested in Midgard, a dark fantasy setting for 5th Edition D&D and Pathfinder, influenced by Central and Eastern European folklore, check out the Kickstarter.

Hammers & Nails – AetherCon V video

Back in November I appeared on a panel at AetherCon V called Hammers & Nails: What Goes into a Good Town? discussing worldbuilding and cities in fantasy RPGs.

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). I enjoyed doing it and got to talk a fair bit about Parsantium.

You can now watch the video on YouTube 🙂

Latest News

Hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and are looking forward to 2017!

Whispers of the Dark Daeva has been out for over a week now and I am very happy with how it’s been received. It’s had three positive reviews already which is fantastic!

Whispers of the Dark Daeva [5e]<

Megan Robertson gave the adventure 5 stars and wrote:
“A stirring adventure which gives the party a chance to make a name for themselves… It’s full of neat tricks to build up atmosphere and add to the realism of the town, as well as to provide a suitably creepy feel that grows along with the body count!”
Read the full review

Tim Baker also gave the module 5 stars. Tim says:
“As a long-time fan of the Parsantium setting and a 13th Age GM, this adventure has a lot going for it.”
Read the full review

Finally, Liam Gulliver reviewed it on his news and reviews site, the Dice Trip:
“Each act and area in the adventure reads as well thought out, planned and as [if] the author has a real passion for what they’re writing and the world they’ve created
Read the full review

I’m also delighted to report that you can now buy all three Parsantium products at Open Gaming Store. Parsantium: City at the Crossroads is included in their 12 Days of Christmas Sale at 30% off.

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Looking forward, we’re hoping to get the Pathfinder version and POD editions of Whispers of the Dark Daeva done early in 2017. I’m doing some freelance work for Kobold Press at the moment which is keeping me busy but I’m also thinking about what’s next for Parsantium. This could be another adventure to follow on from Whispers, a 5e player’s guide with new races, backgrounds and class archetypes, or a guide to the wider world.  Let me know what you would like to see in the comments.

Happy New Year! 🙂

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 😃