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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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! 🙂

New Bundle of Holding: Fantasy Frontiers

Very excited to be part of the latest Bundle of Holding featuring exotic fantasy settings, running until 22nd July.

This new collection of tabletop fantasy roleplaying games and campaigns takes you to exotic cultures and unusual times. Drawing from myths of many lands, eras of high intrigue, and even modern medicine, these games explore the far boundaries of fantasy RPG settings.

For just US$5.95 you get all three titles in the Starter Collection (retail value $30) as DRM-free PDF ebooks:

STARTER COLLECTION (US$5.95 – retail value $30)

Spears of the Dawn (retail $10): Stars Without Number designer Kevin Crawford designed this old-school sandbox game based on African cultures and folklore.

Castles & Chemo (retail $10): A remarkable D&D 4e/Pathfinder adventure inspired by a cancer survivor’s chemotherapy.

Ehdrigohr (retail price $10): This Fate-powered game inspired by Native American myth recently drew strong praise on Boing Boing.

If you pay more than the threshold (average) price, currently $17.64, you also get all the titles in the Bonus Collection:

BONUS TITLES (retail value $86)

Spellbound Kingdoms (retail $10): Dark Renaissance fantasy where fashionable garb can take you further than a sharp rapier.

Yggdrasill – The Lands of the North (retail $25): Scandinavian sagas power this complete RPG from Cubicle 7 Entertainment and the designers of Qin: The Warring States.

Against the Dark Yogi (retail $15): Epic high-action dueling and mass battles in a land out of Indian mythology.

Egyptian Adventures – Hamunaptra (retail $24): Green Ronin’s massive D&D 3.x setting, the fantastic desert kingdom of Khoti.

Parsantium: City at the Crossroads (retail $12): loosely based on Byzantium, Parsantium is a cultural melting pot with elements from the Arabian Nights, ancient India and the Far East.

Total retail value: $116.00

There’s a benefit to buying early. When new bonus titles are added to the offer, you’ll receive the newly added titles automatically, regardless of whether you paid more than the bonus threshold. When you buy a Bundle of Holding, you never worry about missing books added later.

Find out more at Bundle of Holding

Knights of the Dinner Table Reviews Parsantium

I’ve been reading Knights of the Dinner Table since the strips were in Dragon, and buying the monthly magazine since around issue 30, so I was thrilled to see a review for Parsantium: City at the Crossroads in Brian’s Picks in issue #218:

“Gorgeous full-color maps are included in this rich, extremely detailed city with enough history and adventure to keep any role-player interested and busy.

Brian’s Rating: Travel to this exotic locale and check out the book.”

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Parsantium at Gary Con

When I wrote Parsantium: City at the Crossroads, I wanted it to be used with ANY edition of D&D. The book is written and presented in a style similar to classic AD&D setting material and contains very little in the way of stats. 

I’ve been very pleased that Parsantium has been well received by gamers in the OSR community, and excited that the book will be on sale at Gary Con VII this March 26th – 29th on the Black Blade Publishing stand 🙂

Latest News

Now that we’re finally at the end of what always feels like the longest month of the year, I though it was high time for an update on what’s going on with Parsantium.

I’ve started work on Tales of Parsantium, the adventure anthology I’m going to be publishing later this year for use with Pathfinder, 13th Age and D&D 5th Edition. At the moment, the plan is to include four short, low- to mid-level linked adventures set in and around the city. I’m currently revising and rewriting Flotsam and Jetsam, the adventure I ran at #UKT4 and Dragonmeet 2013, to get it into good shape for publication. Since this adventure is for 2nd-3rd level characters, I’ll be writing a 1st level adventure next, so there’s a suitable scenario in the book to kick off a Parsantium campaign.

I’m also going to be writing some extra content for Icons of Parsantium. This short PDF product will be a collection of the fifteen icons I wrote for this blog for 13th Age. Having recently read the excellent 13 True Ways from Pelgrane Press, I have decided to add some ideas on icon relationship rolls in Parsantium for each of the setting’s movers and shakers. Icons of Parsantium should hopefully come out in the next few months and I’m currently in discussion with Joe Shawcross, who drew the amazing cover for Parsantium: City at the Crossroads, about doing the cover art 🙂

The long-running adventures of the Juma Associates, formerly the Juma Gang, which began in early 2009, are reaching their conclusion. I think we have two sessions left to go, but you never know with my players. The action is currently taking place in the City of Brass, but will move to the Pillars of Heaven Mountains for the final episode in which they attempt to stop a rakshasa plot to free the Rajah.

Finally, starting this Monday night, I am going to get the chance to play a character in a 5e D&D game set in the world of Parsantium! My PC is a light-fingered vanara cleric of Hanuman called Kamalesh who needs to get out of the city sharpish having stolen something from the Pavone family. Can’t wait!

That’s all for now. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated here.

Latest News

I’ve been a bit quiet on here recently – my day job has been pretty busy – so it’s definitely time for an update on what’s going on with Parsantium.

Firstly, although it’s not that scary, Parsantium: City at the Crossroads is included in the Halloween sale at drivethrurpg.com so you can purchase the PDF at 33% off through to 31st October!

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I’ve also been doing a fair bit of thinking about how to follow up the book in the last few weeks and have a couple of projects in mind. The first is Icons of Parsantium, a PDF compilation of the fifteen 13th Age icons I wrote for this blog – thanks to everyone who voted in the poll or gave me feedback. This will be a professionally edited and laid out PDF at a low price, probably around $2. I’m hoping this won’t take too long to do but Kate will need to fit this in around her other commitments.

The second project is much bigger and will take some time to write and pull together so we’re looking at publishing some time in 2015. Tentatively entitled Tales of Parsantium, this will be a collection of three or four low to mid-level adventures set in and around the City at the Crossroads. Ideally – and this depends on WotC producing a third party license for D&D – the adventures would include stats for Dungeons & Dragons 5e as well as Pathfinder and 13th Age.

At the moment I am writing (and DMing) the final epic adventure in my long-running 4e Parsantium campaign featuring the infamous Juma Gang and their attempts to prevent the return of the Rajah Vrishabha, and this has been taking up a fair bit of my free time. I’m also going to be running Blood on the Sands, a D&D 5e adventure set at the Hippodrome,  at Dragonmeet 2014 so there’s work to do on this too (made all the more challenging by the absence of a DMG!). Once both of these projects are done I’ll be able to devote more time to working on the new adventures for Tales. I’ll keep you all updated on how it’s going on this blog.

Finally, I’d love to hear about how you are using Parsantium in your games. And please do let me know if you have any questions or comments too 😉