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
Despite Jenma’s reservations, Juma persuades the party to press on in search of Jagadamba and the missing young girls without an extended rest. Hrothgar lifts up the trapdoor and heads down the steps, followed by the others. At the bottom of the stairs, the gnoll hunts around for tracks and then heads off down the western tunnel on the trail of the Witch of Flotsam. After some time, the party come to a pair of ancient double doors. Listening intently, scrabbling and digging sounds can be heard from the other side which the dungeoneering experts in the group identify as the sound of umber hulks. Gil suggests that Hrothgar might have taken a wrong turn and the PCs double back for a while, before realising they might well have lost the trail.
Returning to the double doors, Juma picks the lock and the party enter the large chamber beyond. An umber hulk stands in the centre, close to a large well in the floor. Hrothgar charges in to attack but falls victim to the umber hulk’s confusing gaze and blunders into the well, falling 30 feet. As he tumbles down, he goes past two more umber hulks who are climbing out of the pit!
The other PCs advance, soon realising there is an illithid by the door on the far side of the room. Undeterred, Gil casts mass resistance to protect everyone from psychic damage, then moves into the middle of the chamber and unleashes a fire shroud. The second umber hulk snatches hold of Jenma as the third one stops climbing out of the well and jumps down instead to pummel the prone Hrothgar at the bottom. Ulthar heals the gnoll, then moves up to help Jenma, roaring as he smashes the umber hulk with his axe. The dragonborn uses her sorcerous wings to fly away from the monster and then slays it with acid orb. Meanwhile Gil and Juma are battling the original umber hulk and the mind flayer. Juma uses his lightning lure and seed of fire spells to move the two opponents around, while Gil actually teleports next to the mind flayer to attack him in melee. The PCs aren’t the only ones capable of teleporting though – the illithid uses its psionics to exchange places with its thrall and wraps its tentacles around Gil’s head. Luckily, he doesn’t manage to eat the wizard’s large, tasty brain and is killed soon afterwards. Then, Ulthar kills the last umber hulk left in the room and Gil uses magic missile to finish off the one Hrothgar has been trading blows with at the bottom of the well.
Hrothgar climbs out the pit, Ulthar heals everyone and the PCs loot the mind flayer’s body. Tired and low on healing surges, they settle down for an extended rest. While he is on watch, Juma notices Hrothgar tossing and turning in his sleep and muttering loudly to himself. The gnoll wakes up with a start, but refuses to answer Juma’s questions and is in a bad mood for the whole of the following day.
Rested, the PCs open the double doors leading out of the well room. Beyond are the living quarters of the mind flayer, complete with moss bed and a magical pool decorated with frescoes showing Varuna, the Sampuran god of water. Ulthar goes to pick up the glossy black stone paperweight on the illithid’s desk but realises just in time there is something “not right” about it, and leaves it well alone. Gil casts comprehend language to translate the mind flayer’s papers, discovering that the alien creature is looking for an unknown object in the tunnels below the city.
After searching for secret doors and not finding any, the PCs realise they have lost Jagadamba’s trail and return to the city above. To try and find out where the young girls have been taken, the Juma Associates decide to visit a few well-known information brokers around the Old Quarter.
Hrothgar and Juma Jh’od Ji’ad head to the Seven Jugs Caravanserai in the Caravans Ward to see Mahmood, renowned barber and notorious gossip. As he combs the tangles and lice out of Hrothgar’s fur and waxes Juma’s intimate areas, the fez-wearing Mahmood answers the PCs’ questions in exchange for 500 gp, revealing the existence of a second, darker temple to the Black Mother deep beneath the city. A halfling named Brandil Hollowreed has apparently been there and can be found in the halfling camp outside the Camel Gate.
Meanwhile, Gil, Jenma and Ulthar visit the Drake’s Rest near the Marjani Minar and talk to the alehouse drake, Kordillian, finding out much the same information for the price of a few pints of beer and cheese pastries. Just in case there is more information to be learned, Juma spends 1,000 gp on a session with Madam Firmina at the Fallen Angel – the dominatrix tells him that thuggee assassins are hunting for Brandil Hollowreed to stop him revealing any more about the Black Mother’s secret temple.
At the halfling camp, it doesn’t take long for Jenma to intimidate a hapless cheese vendor into revealing where Brandil is hiding out. But, Hrothgar senses trouble – there are several suspicious looking types wandering around the market, presumably looking for the halfling too. To create confusion, Ulthar gives the stall-holder enough money to buy all his cheese, and tells him to announce “Free cheese for everyone!”, creating a small stampede to his stall. Then, Hrothgar tries to pick a fight with one of the suspicious characters by shoving into him. When this doesn’t work, Juma tells him that he knows where Brandil is hiding and starts leading him away from the other PCs. The thug follows, along with five of his companions, with Hrothgar tailing behind. Soon it becomes obvious that Juma is leading them on a wild goose chase, and the men draw their war picks and strangle cords from their robes. Juma and Hrothgar make a run for it, and although the thuggee land a few blows, they manage to escape.
With the thuggee out of the picture, Gil, Jenma and Ulthar enter the blue and white striped tent where Brandil is hiding and quickly reassure the halfling they have come to rescue him, persuading him to climb into their bag of holding so they can smuggle him out of the camp. Back at the PCs’ apartment, Brandil says he is willing to tell the PCs how to get to the Black Mother temple once they have retrieved the urn holding his mother’s ashes from his place in the Poor Ward. The place could well be under observation by the thuggee so some kind of cunning plan may well be needed....
1. The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
2. Menzoberranzan (4e D&D)
3. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume II by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
5. Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding (Kobold Press)
6. HHhH by Lauren Binet
7. I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City (AD&D)
8. Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos – The Fourth Faction by John Wagner
9. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
10. Cult of the Ebon Destroyers (Pathfinder)
11. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
12. Here Comes Everybody by James Fearnley
13. The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot
14. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan
15. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
16. Northlanders 2 by Brian Wood
17. MA3 The Raven’s Call by Wolfgang Baur (Kobold Press)
18. MA1 To the Edge of the World by Wolfgang Baur (Kobold Press)
19. 13th Age by Rob Heinsoo & Jonathan Tweet
20. Bridge of Birds by David Hughart
21. Turf by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards
22. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
23. High Heat by Lee Child
24. Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management by Phil Vecchinone & Walt Ciecanowski
25. Journeys to the West by Christina Stiles (Kobold Press)
26. Northlanders Book 3 by Brian Wood
27. James Penney’s New Identity + Guy Walks into a Bar by Lee Child
28. Empire State by Adam Christopher
29. Never Go Back by Lee Child
30. The Ramayana by R K Narayan
31. Promise of the Witch-King by R A Salvatore
32. Midgard Legends (Kobold Press)
33. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
34. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
35. Red Nails by Robert E Howard
36. Northlanders Book 4: The Plague Widow by Brian Wood
37. 21st Century Dodos by Steve Stack
38. City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
39. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
40. Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos – Endgame by John Wagner
41. Locke & Key: Omega & Alpha by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
42. Christmas Dodos by Steve Stack
43. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson