Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog/
I’ve been a bit quiet since #UKT5 but have a few things to update you all on.
Firstly, I’m very excited to report that Parsantium is on sale at my favourite games shop, London’s Orc’s Nest. I’ve been shopping there since it opened way back in 1987 and am very pleased that they are stocking the book! Also, the print edition and print/PDF bundles are now in stock at paizo.com which is great news.
Wade Rockett has posted an excellent article on creating icons for 13th Age for other campaign settings on the Pelgrane Press site. Wade wrote the icons for Kobold Press’ Midgard campaign setting and was kind enough to give me some valuable tips when I asked him how I should approach coming up with icons for Parsantium. I need to do some work on turning the brief icon notes I wrote for Dragonmeet and #UKT5 into proper write-ups but I will definitely be referring to his article when I do so. I’ll also be posting some of the 13th Age NPCs I wrote for #UKT5 on here soon as promised.
Recently, most of my writing time has been taken up with working on the final adventure for my 4e Parsantium campaign – first session this Saturday. This high level adventure is going to take the Juma Gang to the jungles of Sampur (and beyond) to frustrate an evil plot to free the imprisoned rakshasa rajah, Vrishabha. As always, I’ll be posting write-ups of the game here on At the Sign of the Green Man. The plan is to end the campaign with a bang this year and start a new Parsantium game with either 13th Age or D&D Next. I’ll hopefully be able to share some interesting bits about the Kingdoms of Sampur here too.
Talking of blogs, Kobold Press art director and Parsantium artist Marc Radle – he drew the awesome NPC illustrations in the book – has got a new blog at dungeonmastering.com where he will be writing about some of the art he’s done. It looks really interesting and Marc is offering a lucky reader a piece of original art for the coolest comment!
That’s about it for now. I’d love to hear what you think of Parsantium and about any games you are running in the city ;)
Yesterday, I travelled up to Worcester for the fifth annual UKdndtweetup and ran a Parsantium game using the 13th Age rules. We had a lot of fun!
The adventure I ran, Murder at the Hippocampus Baths, was for 4th level characters so I used the pregen characters from the 2 hour demo on Pelgrane’s website as a starting point but changed some of the classes and races around for a better fit with the Parsantium setting, then levelled them up. At the start of the game, I sat down with the six players and got them to come up with uniques, backgrounds and icon relationships for their characters. Because this was a Parsantium game we used the icons I had written for Dragonmeet with Steve Dempsey’s help – of these, the Archmage, the Maharani, the Mummy and the Water Lords were the most popular. (I’ll write all the icons up in more detail soon and post them here on the blog.) The game was new to everyone, I think, but they seemed to grasp the concepts pretty quickly and we ended up with the following diverse bunch of characters:
Farraz Yusufi, a vanara wizard who passed his wizard school exams with the lowest marks ever
Iroas Jainson, dwarf cleric of Amarani the All-Knowing and only living possessor of an amazing secret of the dwarves
Tanveer, human fighter and travelling clock and pocket watch merchant; has business dealings with the Cult of the Black Mother and on the run from the Water Lords
Arthani, halfling rogue from Sampur who doesn’t believe magic exists
Dregor, gnoll ranger who hates the wilderness after a terrifying experience in the Feyshore Forest for which the Elf Queen was responsible
Basil, dragonkin paladin of the Platinum Knights of Themicia, who spends his spare time teaching the local children
Next, we did icon relationship rolls and I allowed those who rolled a 5 or 6 to choose a magic item (again from the two hour demo) as a gift from the relevant icon. After a brief discussion about how the PCs knew each other before the start of the adventure, we jumped straight into the action with the party stopping thugs from the Golden Scimitars smashing up the Golden Bean Tree coffee shop. The players started off using mostly basic attacks but as the combat went on they started experimenting with the different talents and powers on their character sheets. It was hard to tell if I’d made the bad guys’ defences a little too high or if it was just a lot of unlucky dice rolling from the players, but the thugs proved slightly tougher opposition than I intended.
The second encounter involved the PCs getting mixed up in a street brawl between the Most Excellent Order of Stonemasons and the Guild of Potters and Tilemakers with the Golden Scimitars providing additional muscle to their masonic allies. In this battle, we decided Basil’s background as a teacher gave him a bonus to perception checks (teachers need eyes in the back of their heads!) and Farraz used his Lightning Bolt to take out three mooks, confusing Arthani, the non-believer in magic. Tanveer got one of the Scimitars, a halfling named Cyrus, to surrender and used his pocket watches to tie him to some handy railings.
Interrogating the halfling, the PCs learned that something was due to happen at the Hippocampus Baths that evening. With a few hours to kill, the PCs visited the headquarters of two of the Artisans Ward’s guilds in an effort to find out more of what was going on, then went to the White Palm tavern where the landlord begged the party to get rid of the Golden Scimitars spies on his staff. Another clue here seemed to be pointing to the Hippocampus Baths so the party decided to head there next.
At the baths, I ran the third and final encounter, featuring a battle in steamy, slippery surroundings against Golden Scimitars assassins sent to kill the Guildmaster of Weavers and Dyers. I used the cambion katar from the forthcoming 13th Age Bestiary for Tuzniq, the tiefling assassin – a deadly 6th-level wrecker. Tuzniq managed 40 points of damage on Basil with a critical, taking him to -3 hp, and followed this up with two hits for 20 points of damage each on Tanveer who saved himself with his Heavy Warrior talent. Iroas was called upon to do plenty of healing on everyone in the fight, especially Farraz who had ended up on 11 hp with no recoveries remaining. The PCs pursued Tuzniq down into the hypocaust and finally finished him and his fire genasi ally off in the hot, cramped surroundings beneath the baths.
I thoroughly enjoyed running the game thanks to the great group of players taking part and think they all had fun too. Combat was pretty fast and I think everyone enjoyed the variety of powers at their characters’ disposal once they got used to their PCs (always a bit tricky in a one-shot con game). Although the icon relationships and magic item quirks didn’t come up much during the course of the session, they definitely would have done in a longer-running game and they certainly helped bring each PC to life. I created quite a few stat blocks for the NPC enemies in the adventure, so will try and post these here in the next couple of weeks ;)
Finally, thanks to all the players, to Adam Page for organizing the day, and to everyone who bought a book!
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
Here's another PC race for my 13th Age Parsantium game at #UKT5. Can't have a Parsantium adventuring party without gnolls ;)
Feedback and suggestions welcome!
+2 Con OR +2 Dex
POWER OF THE PACK (Racial Power)
Once per battle, when you roll a natural even hit with a melee attack against an opponent engaged with one or more of your allies, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage per level.
Champion Feat: you can use Power of the Pack twice in a battle, once battle per day.
Not all gnolls are demon-worshipping fiends like the feral packs who roam the Great Grass Sea to the east of Parsantium. Many of the desert-dwelling gnolls of Khemit and Aqhran have long made a living from their favourite activity – violence and killing – by working as sellswords. When Aqhrani traders first came to Parsantium, some brought gnoll bodyguards with them, and a minority of Parsantium’s population has been made up of gnolls ever since. More recently, a number of gnoll mercenaries in Kalgroth Ironheart’s army defected to the side of the crusaders led by Corandias the Stubborn, and stayed on in the city as part of the Parsantine army once the fighting was over. In recent years their numbers have been swelled by more barbarians arriving from the steppes.
Like the half-orcs, gnolls are part of the city’s underclass, but while the former strive to become respectable, gnolls stay true to their savage heritage, finding employment as hired enforcers, bodyguards, bouncers and thugs, often getting mixed up in crime. Parsantium’s gnolls are neutral or neutral evil, rather than chaotic evil in alignment, and have almost always abandoned worship of Okkidor in favour of Martek or the Sampuran battle god Indra.
Some gnolls have thrown their lot in with the Boss of All Bosses; others with the Emperor, the Caliph or even the sinister Mummy who plots to bring glory to the long-buried kingdom of Khemit. Those who stay most true to their bloodthirsty roots may serve the Khan of All Gnolls who haunts the Silk Road.
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog/
I've been building pregen PCs for my 13th Age game at #UKT5 and wanted the wizard to be a vanara. Since there isn't a vanara PC race in the 13th Age rules, here's my take. Comments welcome!
+2 Dex OR +2 Wis
NIMBLE FEET (RACIAL POWER)
Once per battle, you can pop free from an enemy as a free action during your turn.
Champion Feat: You can pop free even if you are grabbed or stuck.
Vanara, a race of furred, simian humanoids from the jungles of Sampur, can be found living alongside their human counterparts in parts of Parsantium's Old Quarter. Bold and curious, they are kind-hearted but have a tendency to poke their noses into matters that don’t concern them and to play harmless but irritating pranks on others, which they think are hilarious. Vanara have prehensile tails which they can use to pick up and carry objects, although these tails are not strong enough to wield weapons. Most vanara worship Hanuman the Monkey God.
The Archmage, Tapasranjan, current Grand Master of the Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus, is the most famous vanara living in the city, and the icon with whom most vanara have the strongest connection. Those with an affinity for their jungle homeland likely have a relationship with the Maharani.
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog/
After a few setbacks and wrong turns, we’ve think we’ve got everything set up at Lightning Source so we can supply print copies to Paizo, my FLGS Orc’s Nest (who have kindly agreed to stock the book!) and online retailers such as Amazon. In fact, you can preorder both the print version and the print/PDF bundle now on paizo.com.
Next weekend, I’ll be at #UKT5, running a Parsantium adventure. I’ve been going to the UK D&D tweet ups for several years now and they are excellent fun. If you can make it to Worcester on Saturday 5th April, please do come along. I will be DMing an adventure called Murder at the Hippocampus Baths which features intrigue (and murder, of course) among the guilds and criminal gangs of the Old Quarter. The scenario is based on a longer version of an adventure I’ve run twice under D&D 4e for players in my own Parsantium campaigns which I have converted to Pelgrane Press’ excellent 13th Age rules. I’ve been enjoying creating brand new stat blocks for the NPCs and monsters the PCs will face in the adventure, and am now turning my attention to the 3rd level pregen characters the players will be using. We’ll also be playtesting some 13th Age icons for the Parsantium setting to see how they work at the table. I’m really looking forward to it.
Finally, I’ve been asked a couple of times where to place Parsantium in Wolfgang Baur's Midgard campaign setting. The Dragon Empires region works best but unfortunately, the historical location of Byzantium has already been taken by the Mharoti capital, Harkesh. One possible solution could be to put Parsantium at the end of the Sultan’s Road across the strait from Harkesh or in place of the ruins of Pharos to the east. Other options are on the Ruby Sea, either on the western side at the mouth of the River Argent, replacing Orkasa, or somewhere just outside the borders of the Mharoti Empire on its eastern shores. Alternatively, on the coast at the southeastern end of the Middle Sea, southwest of Prezhan and at the end of the road from Sarkland.
I'd love to hear about how people have used Parsantium in their Midgard campaigns!
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blo
Parsantium: City at the Crossroads went on sale one month ago today and I am thrilled both with sales so far and the positive reviews and comments I’ve read online or heard in person from friends who have played in my games.
When I first talked about writing my own city sourcebook, I was told that sales of 200+ are viewed as a success for small RPG publishers. Well, thanks in part to the GM’s Day Sale at drivethrurpg.com and RPGNow.com, I am very pleased to have achieved this number in the first month the book has been on sale! We’re currently in the process of getting Parsantium set up with Lightning Source with an ISBN from Nielsen which will allow us to sell the print edition through Paizo.com, as well as having printed books available for people to buy from online booksellers and hopefully my FLGS London’s Orc’s Nest too.
As well as sorting out all these publishing practicalities with Kate, I’ve continued to run my Parsantium campaign under D&D 4e. The PCs are now 17th level and (just) survived a run-in with the Cult of the Black Mother (see p.127) deep below the city streets. You can read about the past adventures of the Juma Gang here – there’s one more big adventure to come as the PCs head towards epic level, involving one or two of the setting’s big villains ;)
I’m also planning to run a Parsantium adventure at #UKT5, the fifth annual D&D Tweet Up, on Saturday 5th April in Worcester, using the 13th Age rules and featuring some new icons for Parsantium including the Caliph, the Mummy and the Jade Throne. It would be great to see you there if you can make it – there will be all sorts of cool games running throughout the day.
Over the next few months, I’ll be working on one or two (shorter) supplements to Parsantium: City at the Crossroads. You can vote in the poll here to tell me what you’d like to see next. At the time of writing, there’s been a fair bit of interest in the wider world surrounding the city and that would certainly be fun to write about.
Finally, a few people have wondered about Parsantium’s size which I neglected to include in the book. Parsantium is approximately 3.2 miles east to west and 2.4 miles north to south, so the city covers 7.7 square miles including the Dolphin Strait. We didn’t put a scale on the map but the Hippodrome is approximately 400 yards long so you can use that building to help you measure distances too ;)
I'd love to hear what you think of Parsantium, and if you have any other questions about the city or the book, please let me know in the comments or use the contact form on the site.
The Juma Associates continue to explore the dungeon, looting the living quarters of the kundali, and discovering round secret doors in the walls that lead to small tunnels linking the chambers. Wondering if the oils they have found might benefit dragonborn if burned, Jenma tests one of them and inhales its smoke, but chokes and takes damage. In the egg chamber, the PCs slay three twisted broodguards and then smash all the eggs. Hrothgar eats one but it's not that tasty.
Heading further into the temple complex, the PCs approach a large chamber with a cobra statue of black stone standing in the centre of a pool. The snake statue seems to sway and Hrothgar is hypnotised into attacking Juma. Gil casts ice storm in an attempt to neutralise the trap but only succeeds in partly freezing the pool. Then, Juma is hypnotised and strikes back at the gnoll. Jenma makes her way across the ice and disables the cobra trap, as Ulthar and Hrothgar advance into the room. The warlord peers around the corner and sees a medusa coming with two tainted ones. The medusa turns her gaze on the PCs and Hrothgar can feel his legs start to calcify. As more broodguards and tainted ones arrive on the scene, Ulthar is bloodied by someone not on his own side for a change. Jenma kills the medusa and the other PCs finish off her guards.
Fearing for the fate of the missing girls, there is only time for a short rest and the PCs must press on. After checking doors leading to the transformation chamber and the storeroom, Hrothgar tries to open the double doors to the Temple proper stealthily. Unfortunately the party are noticed by the great chamber's many occupants and don’t get surprise. Hrothgar charges the kundali abomination as the cobra-headed melshanti (high priestess) Vishaka and her hooded assistant slay the first sacrifice, throwing her headless body into the chasm below. Juma teleports across and attacks Vishaka, scoring a critical hit.
Back on the near side of the chasm, Ulthar and Hrothgar find themselves surrounded by kundali warriors; Gil moves in and casts fire shroud, taking out several of them as the Urskovian slays the abomination. Jagadamba turns her evil eye on Juma, sliding him towards the chasm but the genasi manages to catch himself before he topples in. Unluckily, he then falls under Vishaka's domination and obeys her command to throw himself in. To make matters even worse, a hungry purple worm is waiting below! Juma manages to scramble up to a ledge but it's not out of the huge monster's reach and he is swallowed whole. Fortunately, the swordmage is able to haul himself out of the worm's maw and the bloodied and ungrateful (!) Juma is pulled to safety by Jenma. Angry at being covered in goo, he attacks the hooded priestess who has now transformed herself into a giant snake – Juma scores a critical hit and her head flies off, landing in the jar of ravenous worms used for cleaning skulls.
Vishaka is dead but Jagadamba and the other priestess, Saaless, are still at large, and the witch's evil eye sends Hrothgar into the pit (and the purple worm's stomach!) next. Ulthar and Gil finally get rid of the remaining warriors and move towards the chasm to help: the warlord heals the gnoll and Gil hauls him out of the chasm to safety. Juma kills Saaless but Ulthar, too, succumbs to the Witch of Flotsam's evil eye and is the third PC to tumble into the rift to be devoured by the purple worm. As the warlord pulls himself free of its mouth, Hrothgar bull rushes Jagadamba into the chasm where she too is swallowed. Ulthar is pulled to safety and the Juma Associates breathe a sigh of relief when the witch does not reappear from the worm's stomach. The epic battle finally over, the PCs loot the bodies and see to the surviving six girls. Ulthar realises that the hooded priestess beheaded by Juma is Ciceria, the mother of the Despoina, Thecia....
- Current Mood: geeky
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog/
Jonathan Roberts, Parsantium's ENnie award winning cartographer, has posted a low res version of his gorgeous colour map as well as some close-ups on some of the amazing detail he's included on his blog.
Check out the post here and learn how a map like this comes together.
Now that Parsantium has been out of a couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about writing some new material to support the book. Some of this new stuff will be blog posts or articles on Parsantium.com but I am also considering some PDF-only supplements for sale on drivethrurpg.com and Paizo.
So, what would you like to read about? Vote in the poll here and/or let me know in the comments :)
Speaking of feedback, I was thrilled that Parsantium got another 5 star review this week. Thanks Paul!
- Current Mood: chipper
Parsantium: City at the Crossroads has been on sale for a week now and I am thrilled with how well it has sold in the last seven days. The book has remained in the Hottest Small Press top 10 on drivethrurpg.com all week and is halfway to breaking even – not something I was expecting this soon!
I’m also really pleased at the positive reception the book has received – as well as a 5 star review on drivethrurpg.com, there have been favourable comments on social media and forums which I’ve really enjoyed reading. After working on Parsantium so long, it’s great to hear what others think of it.
This weekend we bought ISBNs from Nielsen so we can get the book set up with Lightning Source to make the print edition more widely available through games stores, booksellers and online retailers.
Thanks to everyone who has bought the book! I’d love to hear any comments or questions you have – either below or through the contact form.
- Current Mood: happy
Parsantium: City at the Crossroads has had its first review and it's a great one! Megan Robertson, RPG reviewer extraordinaire, has given it 5 stars on drivethrurpg.com! :) You can read the review here.
I was also really thrilled to see sales of the book get off to a good start on Sunday night and Monday! Thanks to everyone who bought a copy ;)
If anyone has any questions about the book, please ask.
- Current Mood: happy
Late in the evening, the PCs leave Brandil Hollowreed in their apartment and head off to the Poor Ward. Jenma and Hrothgar chat to a couple of friendly half-orcs in the Butcher’s Hook on Sultan Street and find out that a couple of dodgy characters are still watching Brandil’s place from across the street. One of them asks for Juma’s autograph; he signs it “to Shitface” but luckily the half-orc is illiterate and doesn’t realise.
The Juma Associates split up and advance on the alley opposite Brandil’s apartment building, sending Gil ahead as a decoy. The two lurking thuggee leap out and start strangling the eladrin, but the other PCs quickly arrive on the scene and make short work of them – Gil kills the first and Jenma the second. Heading inside, Ulthar sensibly stays downstairs to keep an eye on the entrance while the other go up to the flat. Hrothgar kicks the door in and is attacked by the thuggee lurking behind it who sunders him from sight. Meanwhile a second thuggee appears from a room on the other side of the hall and attacks Gil, also causing him to disappear. Ulthar sprints upstairs to join in; there’s another swift, bloody fight, ending in the death of both thuggee. The PCs retrieve Brandil’s mother’s ashes from the mantelpiece and return to their apartment.
Reunited with his dear old mum, the halfling draws the PCs a crude diagram of the sewers and Hidden Quarter tunnels leading to the secret temple of the cult, warning the PCs that it is filled with snake people. Hrothgar has heard tales of the kundali of Sampur, shapeshifting serpentfolk who live in the jungles and worship dark gods. Perhaps this is what they are about to go up against? After he’s finished the map, Hrothgar throws Brandil out of the apartment, advising him to hurry up and leave the city while it’s still dark.
At midnight, the Juma Associates enter the sewers via a manhole in the Street of Many Gods in the Temple Ward. After a short distance, a secret door leads to a worn stone staircase heading steeply down into the Hidden Quarter; as the PCs pick their way slowly downwards, they notice the unsettling snake motifs carved into the walls.
Then, the stairs enter a large chamber guarded by serpentfolk warriors and snake-blooded “tainted ones”, led by a kundali chanter. The tainted ones open fire on Juma and Hrothgar with arrows that turn into snakes in mid-air. Hrothgar charges in, followed by Juma and Ulthar; Jenma and Gil remain on the stairs and cast spells. Gil uses his fiery transformation, then creates a fiery constrictor to ensnare and burn the chanter and the two archers, while the other PCs fight the two stalkers and the large abomination. Ulthar’s warmaster’s assault gives everyone an attack, leading to the death of the first stalker. When the warriors and tainted ones are killed, the priestess flees down the stairs, pursued by Hrothgar and Jenma. The dragonborn casts acid claw, killing her.
After looting the bodies, the PCs head down the staircase and into a sinuous, twisting tunnel which ends at a pair of doors. Using the key found on the priestess’ body, Hrothgar opens the door. Beyond is a chamber with three doors and a statue of Kali in the centre, guarded by three tainted ones. As the PCs move in to fight, snakes pour out of the holes in the mosaic on the northern wall and swarm to attack. The PCs deal with these new foes quickly, with Jenma’s burning spray finishing off the snakes.
Deciding they need to find out more about what’s going on here, Juma returns to the landing and retrieves the priestess’ body so Gil can cast speak with dead. Unfortunately, the eladrin’s diplomatic skills aren’t up to much and the kundali refuses to answer his two questions, leaving the PCs with no alternative but to pick one of the doors at random and press on.
The door leads to a hallway with five exits. Hrothgar takes the one opposite, opening a door to what appear to be living quarters for the serpentfolk. There is no one here, allowing the PCs to loot the room undisturbed. As well as gold coins and an ornate longbow, they find two vials of strange oil, one pink and one green.
- Current Mood: lazy
We worked on Parsantium all weekend, inputting all our proofreading corrections and making last minute tweaks to the text and layout. Once the back cover blurb had been edited and the cover (front and back) finalized, we went through the whole InDesign file, making sure all the images were at the correct spec for printing. It was hard work, but we got it all done, and I uploaded the printer files to drivethrurpg.com last night and set up the product page.
The next step is for drivethrurpg.com to send the files to Lightning Source for checking. Once this is done, I can order a test copy to sign off. If this is looks good, the print version and pdf will go on sale, hopefully around Valentine’s Day. Phew!
- Current Mood: relieved