The PC spend the day shopping in the markets of the Mercantile Quarter: Gil buys a skeleton key, Hrothgar buys boots of levitation, Jenma buys a helm of languages, Juma buys a mask of the impish grin and Ulthar buys a pair of quickling boots. Juma asks around about how he might learn the recipe of Parsantine Fire to repay his debt to Sheikh Babak al-Hasid but none of the stallholders are much help.
Gil, Jenma and Ulthar head to the Library of All-Knowledge to research the information found in Vishaka’s journal. Meanwhile, Hrothgar and Juma go to their old stomping ground of Flotsam to try and find out where Avishandu is based.
At the library, the PCs pay their 20 gp research fee and are shown to a room on the third floor by one of the grey-robed priests. Their study is interrupted by the return of the priest who had been assisting them, accompanied by another priest and a pair of burly minotaur librarians. They enter the room, closing the door behind them, and attack the party. As Ulthar moves in to confront the minotaurs, the first priest grabs Vishaka’s journal and moves back to the entrance, while the other one attacks the PCs with misleading visions, sliding them away. To make things worse a rakshasa appears to join the assailants! Jenma and Gil launch spells at the rakshasa, minotaurs and priests, but only succeed in dispelling illusionary duplicates of their attackers. The priest over by the doorway responds with visions of terror in the form of a swarm of burning monkeys!
Down at the docks, after a conversation with Glyn Merryfield (the Juma Gang’s old landlord) at the Fat Grouper, Hrothgar and Juma head to the Floating Palace to see if any of the newly reformed Golden Scimitars know Avishandu’s location. En route, they run into three men with Golden Scimitars tattoos but these thugs aren’t what they first seem. One fires a deadly necrotic bolt from his crossbow at Hrothgar as the other two advance to attack the gnoll with their longswords. Juma does his best to defend his friend but Hrothgar is soon down to 10 hp. He starts raging and uses his seed of war to summon a metal soldier to help. As with the attackers in the library, the PCs find themselves striking illusions, rather than warm bodies.
Back in the library, it looks like the priest with the journal has somehow escaped, but the two invisible minotaurs reappear to attack Ulthar. The warlord’s tempest of triumph takes down one minotaur – who turns into a tiger-headed rakshasa on dying. This allows Jenma to make a basic attack which kills the second minotaur and in turn, Gil can launch a magic missile at the remaining priest. With all three attackers dead and revealed to be rakshasas, the PCs search the bodies for Vishaka’s journal without success, before the corpses turn into puddles of foul-smelling goo.
In the Dock Ward, the tide turns: Juma scores a critical hit on one thug, then teleports to hit another, allowing Hrothgar to take down the first one – again, the assailant turns into a rakshasa on dying. Then, the bloodied gnoll and the genasi finish off the other two. Hrothgar is still raging, though, and has to restrain himself from striking Juma with his axe once all three rakshasas are dead.
The PCs in the library are startled by the arrival of a naga with the face of a beautiful dark-skinned woman. She doesn’t attack but is babbling to herself in Primordial which Jenma can understand, thanks to her new magic helm. The naga, Vashnawi, explains that the PCs have appeared to her in troubling dreams involving the Rajah and invites them to her tower in the Scholasticia that evening so she can find out more about them. Soon afterwards, Zenodotus the Custodian arrives, utterly discombobulated by the kerfuffle in his library. Ulthar reassures him no books have been harmed and the PCs agree to speak with the Watch who are on their way. Once they’ve done this, they are able to complete their research, learning much useful information about Samael, Srivatsa’s Bow and the Arrows of Hanuman.
Meanwhile, Hrothgar and Juma visit the Floating Palace and interrogate a couple of Golden Scimitars who don’t appear to know Avishandu’s whereabouts. After hamstringing them, Hrothgar throws them overboard. Juma buys some pesh from a dealer and takes it.
Reunited later that evening, the PCs head back to the university district and climb the steps to the top of Vashnawi’s tower. Here the naga asks them about their adventures, focusing on their role in inadvertently freeing the cursed rakshasas who had been transformed into cows to make sure they are enemies of the Rajah, rather than his allies. When the PCs explain what they have learned from Vishaka’s journal, she starts babbling in tongues again and says that the rakshasas and yakfolk must be plotting to free the Rajah using Srivatsa’s Bow and the Arrows of Hanuman. If the arrows are cursed in a special ritual in the Vale of Descending Stars then fired into the ice trapping Vrishabha, the Rajah will be free. Vashnawi asks the PCs to go after the bow and the arrows so they can be destroyed – the bow can be found in the City of Brass, and the arrows are in the vanaran city of Kishkindha in the jungles of Sampur. The suspicious Hrothgar asks why the party should trust the naga and bring the items back to her. Vashnawi explains that she can open a portal to both locations from the teleportation circle in her tower which the PCs can return to with the ritual scrolls she gives them. Then, they can travel to the Vale of Descending Stars with her to destroy the artefacts. The PCs decide to head for the jungles first and go back to their apartment to rest.
That night, Hrothgar is troubled by a new dream; he is back in a yurt on the Great Grass Sea at a gathering of the gnoll tribes when he sees red and a terrible fight breaks out. He wakes up screaming in a cold sweat.
The PCs return to Vashnawi’s tower and use her teleportation circle to travel to the Sampuran port city of Surivata, gateway to the jungle. Here, they hire a river trader named Pradnesh to take them in his boat to the village of Madhwa. From there, they will be able to hire a guide to take them to Kishkindha. Pradnesh isn’t leaving until the following morning so the PCs rent expensive rooms at the Jasmine Dream inn and head off to explore the floating bazaar, buying jungle gear including insect repellant, mosquito nets, and oil to keep their armour for rusting, as well as a telescope for Gil and caged parrots for Gil and Jenma (one red, one blue). They are tempted by a bargain-priced elephant too but manage to restrain themselves. While floating through the market, Gil notices a small shrine with an idol depicting a crocodile-headed woman. When he asks about it back at the Jasmine Dream, he is rebuffed and told not to speak of such things again.
That night, before going to bed, Hrothgar steals and sacrifices a chicken to his patron god, Mormekar the Grim Wanderer, in the hopes that his troubling dreams will end.
- Current Mood: busy
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
Here's the second icon write-up for Parsantium. Click here for the first one, the Basileus. More to come...
GRAND MASTER OF THE BLUE LOTUS
The Grand Master of the Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus is the head of the world’s foremost arcanists’ guild – an order whose foundation dates back to the conquest of Parsantium by Corandias the Magnificent.
“May I remind you, Sabir, that the purpose of the Order is to advance magical knowledge, and not to use magic for political power over the people of this city.”
In the Marjani Minar, headquarters of the Esoteric Order in Parsantium’s Artisans Ward.
The Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus is ruled by a council of four arcanists, each representing a different magical tradition. This is a lifetime role; on the death of a master, the other three will meet to choose his or her successor. Each master serves as Grand Master for two years in rotation.
The current Grand Master and Master of Southern Magic is the vanara Tapasranjan, a superlative practitioner of magic of the mind. Tapasranjan is just over five feet tall and his monkey-like body is covered in snow white fur; he rarely sits on his Master’s chair, preferring to float in the air in the lotus position instead. The Grand Master is extremely intelligent, honest, and very direct, cutting straight to the heart of any argument. He hates bullying and oppression and has recently spoken out about the prejudice faced by the citizens of the Old Quarter and the worsening division between the two halves of the city.
ADVENTURERS & THE ICON
The Esoteric Order is interested in acquiring spells, tomes and magical items especially those found in the buried remains of Dhak Janjua beneath Parsantium’s streets, or further afield in the desert ruins of Khemit to the south. Occasionally, those affiliated with the Order may be called upon to assist the City Watch in dealing with a dangerous magical threat. High level arcanists may find themselves summoned to the Marjani Minar and entrusted with the recovery of an unusual artefact or with sealing shut a portal leading to a perilous planar location.
The Grand Master meets irregularly with the Dragon to discuss potential magical dangers threatening the city. The Maharani of his homeland appreciates Tapasranjan standing up for the interests of Sampurans living in Parsantium and is in frequent magical contact. From time to time, the Grand Master will travel to the lands of Faerie to meet with the Lady of the Summer Kingdom.
The Mummy loathes the Esoteric Order for plundering magic from the tombs and pyramids of Khemit. Tapasranjan is all too aware of the Rajah’s desire to return and watches carefully for signs of rakshasa activity in the city.
The Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus was founded over 850 years ago by Marcus Servius, vizier to Corandias the Magnificent, who was intrigued by the exotic Sampuran and Aqhrani magics used in battle against the Bathuran army by Parsantine sorcerers and wizards. Servius, a capable wizard, set up the Order so that magic could be studied across cultural boundaries. Since then, the Order has spread throughout the world and there are smaller branches in other major cities. Tapasranjan has served as the Grand Master for one year; he has another year to go before he hands over the title to Sabir al-Falasifa, the temperamental Master of Western Magic.
THE TRUE DANGER
Everything will be alright while Tapasranjan remains as Grand Master.
- Current Mood: aggravated
Like everyone else, I'm really excited about the new D&D books now that we have a release schedule and have seen the very cool cover art. I'm even more excited as we bought our GenCon event tickets on Sunday and are going to be playing in a couple of D&D Next games in August. After over two years of playtesting various iterations, some good and some less so, I'm looking forward to playing the finished game.
Although some folk aren't keen on the staggered release dates, I'm actually rather pleased by this. During the 2e to 3e transition (when the new books were also published a month or so apart) it felt like there was enough time to properly read and digest all the new rules before starting a game, and not having everything until November will give me some much needed time to finish up my long-running 4e Parsantium campaign and make sure it ends with a bang! I'm still undecided whether to run my new Parsantium campaign under D&D or 13th Age either, so having more time will help us make the right choice for our group.
With the new edition of D&D on the horizon, I'm convinced I did the right thing in keeping Parsantium almost stat-free so it can be readily used with any edition or variant of D&D, whether that's 5e, Pathfinder, 13th Age or Adventurer Conqueror King. We don't know yet if there will be any kind of 3rd party licence arrangement or SRD for Next, but I hope there will be something that gives me the option of writing adventures and other Parsantium supplements compatible with the new edition. In the meantime, I'm going to continue writing up 13th Age icons for the setting, then my plan is to write an adventure or two, perhaps following the model WotC used for Murder in Baldur's Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard and providing stats for Pathfinder and 13th Age, plus D&D, licence permitting. I'm not sure yet but the next few months are going to be interesting...
- Current Mood: excited
Here is the first 13th Age icon write-up for Parsantium. More to follow! Thanks to Wade Rockett for his advice.
The Basileus, a Bathuran word meaning “sovereign”, is the absolute ruler of the Free City of Parsantium and its surrounding territories. His is an hereditary title, passed down the male line, and his authority is said to derive from the divine will of the god Helion.
“Parsantium is the greatest city in the known world and will remain so while I sit on its throne”
In the Great Palace in the Palace Ward of the Free City of Parsantium.
The current Basileus is Corandias XVIII the Lion-Blooded; he has been on the throne for ten years and is a direct descendant of Corandias I the Magnificent. Proud of his ancestry, he is fiercely determined to protect Parsantium and its people at all costs: the city must never again be allowed to suffer the indignity of falling to its enemies. Corandias brings great energy to his mission. He is a short, stocky and physically powerful man in his thirties who conducts himself with a confidence that borders on arrogance, though he is both handsome and charismatic enough to get away with it. Usually calm and businesslike, he has a violent temper when pushed too far, most often by his maddeningly contrary and beautiful wife, the Despoina Thecia.
ADVENTURERS & THE ICON
The city’s bloated Imperial bureaucracy sometimes finds it expedient to hire adventurers to undertake missions on its behalf; more often than not this involves a trip into the dangerous Hidden Quarter below the city streets. Capable and experienced adventuring bands may find themselves approached by one of the three Tribunes or the Prefect. High level adventurers in good standing may be granted a royal audience and entrusted with a challenging mission on behalf of the Crown.
As Helion’s chosen ruler on earth, the Basileus enjoys the loyal support of the church and Archbishop. He can rely on military backing from the Platinum Knights who are sworn to defend civilization from the unwashed hordes of evil humanoids who frequently ravage its borders. From time to time, the Basileus meets secretly with the Dragon in one of her many guises to listen to intelligence on plots that might endanger Parsantium.
The criminal gangs of the Hidden Quarter controlled by the Boss of All Bosses are a constant thorn in the Basileus’s side. The Rajah dreams of retaking the throne of Parsantium, formerly Dhak Janjua.
Parsantium has been ruled by a Basileus since its conquest 860 years ago by Corandias the Magnificent and the armies of the Bathuran Empire; a 200 foot tall bronze colossus depicting the first Basileus still stands in the centre of the city. In the centuries that followed, dozens of men (and a handful of women) have held the position, sometimes acceding to the throne as a legitimate heir, sometimes following the assassination or exile of the previous incumbent. Corandias the Lion-Blooded became Basileus after his elder brother, Iosephus II, lost his life in a tragic hunting accident.
THE TRUE DANGER
Everything will be alright while Parsantium remains at the heart of trade in the known world.
Art by Marc Radle
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
Here are some more Golden Scimitars from my 13th Age adventure at #UKT5. These gang members extort protection payments from local coffee houses, shops and taverns in the Artisans Ward, and providing muscle to the Most Excellent Order of Stonemasons against their rivals, the Guild of Potters and Tilemakers, in the ward’s regular inter-guild punch-ups.
Ashraf leads a gang of racketeers for the Golden Scimitars, demanding money with menaces and gleefully smashing up the premises of anyone unwilling to pay. A sneering, bearded Aqhrani with a nasty scar running down one cheek, he dresses in a grey djellaba and dark blue keffiyeh with a longsword swinging at his hip. Despite his apparent bravado, Ashraf is a coward at heart who lives in fear of his boss, Vadim – the man who gave him his scar for failing to meet his monthly targets.
Ashraf, Golden Scimitars Leader
Level 4 leader [humanoid]
AC 20, PD 18, MD 14
Longsword +9 v AC, 14 damage
Strike On My Order: once per battle as a standard action, the leader can command up to 3 nearby allies to make a melee attack as a free action
Protected: The leader gains a +1 bonus to all defences when he has at least two allies nearby.
Ashraf is backed up by a number of unsavoury characters:
Rafat is a dangerous-looking Sampuran woman with dark brown skin and long, black hair; she wears a pair of large gold hoop earrings, a short, midnight blue sari and leggings, and a bandolier of knives. She fights fast and furious, with a wicked grin on her face.
Rafat, Knife Dancer
Level 3 troop [humanoid]
AC 19, PD 17, MD 13
Dance of the Blade +8 vs. AC, 10 damage
Natural even hit or miss: Rafat makes a second knife attack as a quick action and can pop free after she attacks
C: Spray of Daggers, +8 vs AC, 1d3 nearby enemies in a group, 10 damage
Cyrus is a brown-skinned Sampuran halfling who acts as a look out and scout for the group. He wears black leather armour and has his short-cropped hair. Cyrus’ motto is “he who runs away, lives” and he is likely to fade into the shadows or shin up a drainpipe if anyone comes for him in combat.
Cyrus, Halfing Rogue
Level 4 archer [humanoid]
AC 20 (22 vs opportunity attacks), PD 18, MD 15
Short Sword +8 vs. AC, 14 damage
Crossbow +10 vs AC, 14 damage
Natural 16+: The target also takes 1d8 ongoing poison damage
Evasive: Once per battle, Cyrus can force an enemy that hits him to reroll the attack at -2
As well as the named NPCs above, here are some rank and file thugs to round out the gang:
Level 3 troop [humanoid]
AC 19, PD 16, MD 13
Greatsword +7 vs AC, 10 damage
Pack ferocity: If more than one gnoll is engaged with the target, each gnoll melee attack that misses that target deals half damage.
Blood fury: +1d10 melee damage if the gnoll or its target is staggered
R: Hand axe +6 vs AC, 8 damage
Golden Scimitars Thug
Level 3 troop [humanoid]
AC 19, PD 17, MD 13
Heavy Mace +8 vs. AC, 9 damage
Natural even hit: The enemy is dazed (-4 attacks) until the end of the thug’s next turn
Golden Scimitars Lackey
Level 3 mook
AC 19, PD 17, MD 13
Club +8, 6 damage
Safety in Numbers: a lackey gains a +1 bonus to all defenses while at least half the lackeys in the mob remain standing
- Current Mood: busy
Crossposted from http://parsantium.wordpress.com/blog
At #UKT5, I ran an adventure set in Parsantium’s Old Quarter called “Murder at the Hippocampus Baths” using the 13th Age rules. I’d originally run the adventure as part of my 4e campaign, so needed to create new stat blocks for the NPC villains, all members of the Golden Scimitars gang. I’m thought I would post them here for anyone that needs new adventure tier foes for their PCs to fight, in Parsantium or elsewhere. The first two NPCs are below; more to follow.
The Golden Scimitars
The Golden Scimitars are the most powerful of the Hidden Quarter criminal organizations, specializing in extortion, gambling and prostitution. They own many of the inns, taverns, brothels and gambling houses in the Old Quarter’s Poor Ward, and regularly send round their enforcers to demand protection money from local businesses. Thanks to a series of hefty bribes and more than a few threats, the gang have the Poor Ward’s Watch Captain, Attalus, in their pocket, allowing them to go about their activities unchallenged by the forces of law and order. As a Hidden Quarter gang, the Scimitars pay tribute to Avishandu, the “Boss of All Bosses” and one of Parsantium’s icons.
There are more than 150 members of the Golden Scimitars, mostly human and gnoll enforcers, as well as twice that number of independent burglars, muggers and beggars who pay dues to the guild. Upon passing their initiation test, all full members are tattooed with two crossed scimitars on their upper arms. Gang members add a small skull tattoo beneath the scimitars for each man they’ve killed after joining the group; some have arms completely covered in skulls.
With a firm grip established on the Poor Ward, their leader, Zeno Meverel, is seeking to expand their influence into the neighbouring Artisans Ward, currently the territory of the weaker Lamplighters. So far, they have established an alliance with the powerful Most Excellent Order of Stonemasons against their Lamplighter-backed enemies, the Guild of Potters and Tilemakers, and have started demanding protection money from shops, taverns and coffee houses. The gang is eager to infiltrate two more influential trade guilds and has placed men on the waiting staff at the White Palm and other taverns to spy on the guildmasters and important locals who eat and drink there.
You can read more about the Golden Scimitars in the Organizations chapter of Parsantium: City at the Crossroads.
Sufyan and Ikar Urbicus are the two gang members assigned to the White Palm as spies. Both make very poor waiters and the tavern’s landlord would love to get rid of them but his fear of the Golden Scimitars stops him from firing the pair. Sufyan has the fiery temper typical of an ifrit, impatient with patrons who dither over the menu and liable to snap if he doesn’t get a big enough tip. Ikar, a half-orc, is sullen, lazy and clumsy too, spilling drinks and dropping plates. Despite their incompetence as tavern staff, both are good observers and have been able to feed many useful tidbits of information on guild politics back to Zeno.
Sufyan, as befits his efreeti ancestry, has crimson skin mottled with vermillion, pointy ears, and bright orange-red hair that stands on end and flickers with tiny blue flames. He fights with a shining bronze scimitar with fiery patterns engraved on its blade which he keeps hidden under his bed. He has sixteen skull tattoos on his right arm beneath his crossed scimitars.
Sufyan, Ifrit Magus
Level 5 caster [humanoid]
AC 21, PD 15, MD 19
Flameblade +10, 18 fire damage
Natural even hit: 5 ongoing fire damage
R: Fiery Bolt +10 vs. PD, 18 fire damage
Natural odd hit: 5 ongoing fire damage
Fan the Flames: once per battle as a quick action, Sufyan can increase a nearby enemy’s ongoing fire damage to 10 and the target needs 16+ to save
Resist Fire: when a fire attack targets Sufyan, the attacker must roll a natural 16+ or the attack deals half damage
Ikar Urbicus is tall and well-muscled, with dark brown skin, narrow green eyes and pointed ears. His shoulder length black hair is braided into cornrows, and he wears a crocodile tooth around his neck on a leather thong. His fighting style is unsubtle, brutal and effective. Ikar has skull tattoos on both his arms, a dozen on each.
Ikar, Half-orc Rogue
Level 4 troop [humanoid]
AC 19, PD 18, MD 15
Broadsword +10 vs. AC, 12 damage
Natural even hit: Ikar gains a +2 bonus to his next melee attack.
Natural odd hit: The target takes +1d6 damage.
Natural even miss: 4 damage.
Natural odd miss: If Ikar’s next melee attack is a natural even hit, it becomes a critical hit instead.
Lethal Swing: once per battle, Ikar can reroll a melee attack and use the result he prefers.
Crossbow +10 vs AC, 10 damage
*Artwork copyright William McAusland, Outland Arts, used with permission
10th November (contd.)
The PCs search around the temple and try and talk to the drugged girls but they don’t get much sense out of them. Ulthar picks up the two severed heads of the slain girls and puts them in his sack to be returned to their families – he’s see a lot of heads in his time. They set watches and settle down for an extended rest; the drugged girls sleep too.
When the party wake up, the girls are still fast asleep, so they decide not to disturb them while they explore the rest of the dungeon. In Vishaka’s chamber, Juma manages to trigger a poison dart trap on a chest which whistles past his ear and strikes Hrothgar, poisoning him. They take the treasure inside while Gil grabs an interesting looking journal from the melshanti’s desk.
After trying to shove open the enormous stone doors behind the statue of Manasangra, the Juma Associates give up and check out the doors in leading off from the large chamber with the cobra statue in the centre, finding living quarters for Ciceria, Jagadamba, the medusa, the broodguards and the tainted ones. The PCs take Jagadamba’s dress as evidence of the Witch of Flotsam’s involvement in the Cult of the Black Mother but wisely decide not to take Ciceria’s robes just in case they are caught with it.
Next, the party find the cells where one girl is still being held, watched by four broodguards. Jenma’s azure talons spell takes out two of the misshapen serpentfolk, then Hrothgar charges in to make short work of the others. Ulthar unlocks the door to the cell and talks to the girl inside, Pasara. When she explains that she was told she wasn’t considered a suitable sacrifice because she had a boyfriend, the warlord suggests she might like to talk to another female about such matters and gets Jenma to come over. Unfortunately the dragonborn’s plain speaking fails to make Pasara feel better (“We’ve saved all but two of your friends and we’ve got their heads!”).
After Hrothgar has snacked on a few tasty white rats he found in the serpentfolk larder, the PCs take all seven girls to one of the bedrooms and tell them to stay put. Gil casts an eye of alarm on the door as an additional precaution, then the Juma Associates return to the ominous-looking doors carved with skeletal snakes they had left until last.
The doors lead into the crypts, a dusty, undulating corridor with stone tomb doors on both sides. Hrothgar and Juma take point; when they round the last bend, the corridor opens out into a round chamber with a bone naga, coiled and ready to strike. Jenma is first to attack with her spitfire furnace spell, as the naga begins to sway hypnotically as it closes with the party. Then, unsurprisingly, tomb doors open on both sides of the corridor and more undead appear: a mummified abomination attacks Juma, grabbing him in its coils and pulling him into its crypt, and Gil is attacked from the back by a pair of corrupted incanters. Ulthar issues tactical orders to his comrades, telling them to attack the mummy, and uses his inspiring word to heal Gil. The wizard dominates the two incanters, getting them to attack each other. Hrothgar delivers the killing blow to the bone naga (88 hp critical hit with fortune’s favour) and finishes off the mummy too; Juma drops the last incanter. As the mummy dies, it shrieks its terrible curse, inflicting mummy rot on Hrothgar and Juma.
With the battle over, the PCs search around for loot, finding some jewellery and gems. Thinking there might be more treasure in some of the tombs, they smash five of them open but there is nothing inside apart from mummified serpentfolk corpses.
Juma examines the great stone doors in the temple again and declares that they are sealed magically; opening them requires a dark ritual involving human sacrifice, presumably the one the PCs interrupted when they entered. Deciding there is nowhere left to plunder, the Juma Associates get ready to return to the city above, bringing the seven rescued girls with them. Now that the girls can speak coherently again, the party ask the ones they don’t recognise their names – they had already identified Appia from her portrait and also Lucretia (the girl Jagadamba had lead down the trapdoor in the deul).
Ulthar leads the victorious PCs and rescued girls out into the Street of Many Gods, proclaiming that the Juma Associates have triumphed yet again to all and sundry. A growing group of curious onlookers follows the party as they head into the Garden Ward to the Old Palace of the Sultan where they are granted an audience by Murad al-Rumi, Tribune of the Old Quarter. The tribune listens to the PCs’ rather garbled story of serpentfolk, witches, and bloodthirsty cults plotting below the city streets and promises he will send some of his men to investigate the secret temple. The party and the rescued girls are treated to refreshments, baths, and a change of clothes before carriages take them to the Imperial Quarter to be returned to their families.
Hrothgar and Juma recover from mummy rot after a good night's sleep.
A few days later the PCs meet with Lady Viviana Megaris at the White Swan and are paid their 10,000 gp reward for rescuing Appia; the other grateful noble families have rewarded the Juma Associates’ efforts too with gems and gold. Gil tries to start a rumour that Ciceria is dead among the patrons, without much success.
Gil translates Vishaka’s journal. As well as describing the Cult’s plans to awaken Manasangra’s sleeping incarnation, Vishaka writes of a rakshasa plot to free Vrishabha, the imprisoned Rajah.
After spending so long writing and then publishing Parsantium, it's great to get feedback! The book has had a couple of new reviews recently:
Neuroglyph writes on ENWorld: “Parsantium - City at the Crossroads provides a lot of new and unique content in a quasi-historical fantasy setting - which is likely to remind more experienced gamers of the Man Myth and Magic RPG. It has a lot of detail and content, and a very reasonable price, so might just be a perfect product to use to get out of the typical high-fantasy Tolkien-minded mode so many D&D-esque world settings represent.”
Read the full review: Fantasy Adventures with Byzantine Flair
Joe Kushner writes on Appendix N: “In terms of playability, for Game Master's willing to roll up their sleeves, the book has you covered.”
Read Joe's full review here.
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