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Parsantium: Updated Overview of the City

Here's an update to the city overview. More to follow:

Metropolis, Conventional, AL LN, 100,000 gp limit, Assets 380,000,000 gp, Population 76,267 (racial mix tbc but includes dwarves, half-orcs, halflings, gnolls; few elves or gnomes)

The Free City of Parsantium stands astride the wide and slow-moving Dolphin Strait where the Griffin Water joins with the Corsairs’ Sea, and is thus at the crossroads of two continents and more importantly, four trade routes. Parsantium and its surrounding countryside and farms is ruled by Basileus (“sovereign”) Corandias XVIII the Lion-Blooded, direct descendent of the famous Batiaran conqueror and mighty general, Corandias I the Magnificent. Corandias’ wife, Thecia, is often referred to by disgruntled citizens as “that scheming enchantress”. The Basilieus is advised by his loyal vizier and wizard Arridaeus, himself a descendent of Corandias the Magnificent’s vizier. The day-to-day administration of the city is delegated to a Prefect, the coldly efficient and uncharismatic Bardas.

The city is divided into three quarters, each governed by a tribune and reporting to Bardas the prefect. The Imperial Quarter is on the north-west side of the strait, the Mercantile Quarter is on a central island, and the Old Quarter is on the southeast side. These quarters are further divided into wards: eleven in total. The layout of the city and the fact that the Batiaran rich tend to live on the northwest side of the strait while the poor (many of Sahasran or Akhrani origin) live on the southeast side makes Parsantium a divided city. This is made worse by restrictions on commoners from the Old Quarter visiting the Imperial Quarter – they need a pass which is only issued for those on “special business”. Unsurprisingly, there is a thriving black market dealing in stolen or forged passes, and many would-be burglars disguise themselves as nobility to sneak into the Imperial Quarter. However, since many of the residents of the Old Quarter are Sahasran in ancestry and therefore darker-skinned than the Batiarans of the Imperial Quarter, some of the guards are known to make racist assumptions about who is a commoner and needs to show a pass.

The three sections of Parsantium are joined by two vast stone bridges, built many centuries ago in the Sahasran style. The southeast bridge has apartment blocks lining each side with an arcade and small shops beneath. The northwest bridge is grander and lined with sculptures of past rulers. Made out of copper, these have turned green with age. Both bridges are crowded from dawn to dusk; street food stalls have sprung up along each to take advantage of the passing trade. Parsantians can enjoy kebabs on skewers, squab-on-a-stick, cheese pastries, thick hunks of bread smeared with tomato paste and olive oil and stuffed vine leaves.

Life in the City
- Each city ward is walled with arches and gates (locked at night) separating it from its neighbours and contains a communal well, at least one khanduq (walled marketplace) or market, and a watchtower. The ward’s mark (a symbol) is set high on the walls, facing in.
- The south-east gate is a chaotic jumble of camels, bullock-drawn carts, crippled beggars, snake charmers and eunuch/transvestite hustlers. By contrast, the Victory (north-west) Gate is much more peaceful and organised. What few beggars (mostly kids) are chased away by the guards whenever a noble is carried past on her palanquin.
- Outside the coffee shops, old men sit grumbling about the state of business, smoking sheeshah and playing backgammon.
- Throughout the city are numerous bathhouses where men and women can bathe and exercise. The grandest of these are in the Imperial Quarter and are decorated with beautiful mosaics and sculptures of poets and mythical heroes.
- Currency is the gold piece, known as the bezant.

Any comments or suggestions?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Hi Rich

i like the sound of parsantium a lot- especially the food bits (but that might be my post-Xmas diet talking!). have you got a game in mind for us when (if) we finish off red hand or did you want to take your break from GMing then? bear in mind that might leave Jeff as the only qualified GM... no pressure mate :-)
Jan. 3rd, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
I'm actually thinking of running two games in Parsantium (possibly 4th Edition): one for you guys and the other with the Freeport group currently going through Bastion of Broken Souls. I love DMing but I'll have been doing it for nearly two years without stopping by the time we finish Red Hand of Doom. Ideally, someone else would run something for a couple of months so I could play for a bit, and then we could start a Parsantium campaign in the summer.

Edited at 2008-01-03 07:51 pm (UTC)
Jan. 4th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
I'm actually feeling, after the shenanigans of the last year, like I might want to referee something again. Main problem is, a lot of my ideas are heavily modified versions of very old (1e or OD&D) scenarios which Richard, at the very least, might be familiar with.

Oh, and you'd all start at first level, suckers.

Jan. 4th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
1st level not a problem!
If you wanted to run a game for 2-3 months when Red Hand of Doom finishes, that would be great! I'm sure I wouldn't be able to remember the plots if you did use very old modules as a basis unless you're thinking of running Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Would this be D&D, Iron Heroes or Runequest? I vote Iron Heroes or RQ!
Jan. 4th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
Re: 1st level not a problem!
To be honest, I think the moment for Iron Heroes has passed - partly because I suspect bits of it are going to show up in 4e. What I fancy doing now is running some fairly vanilla 3.5 as a farewell blast before the new kid arrives in town, where I can cannibalise all the assorted useful stuff I have lying around - monsters, stock NPCs, etc. - before it becomes obselete. With RQ too, prep time is an issue, and I have some qualms about the new rule set, which seems to have introduced as many problems as it solved :/.

However, I might throw a couple of curveballs in - like not letting anyone play a class from the core PHB....

Jan. 4th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
No PHB classes
Well, I've been dying to try out a character using Book of Nine Swords...
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)
Re: No PHB classes
I dread to think how I would interpret *anything* outside of the phb though!
I'm sure you'll come up with some convoluted combination, but I can guarantee Georg's character will use at least four times as many different sourcebooks as anyone else's!
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 5th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
Re: No PHB classes
LOL! I think if this is going to be a "last huzzah" for 3.5 then we should try and use as many books as possible when creating our characters.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 4th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestions..
Thanks for the suggestions!

I think the Platinum Knights are too chivalrous, lawful good and noble to do this but there's no reason why there couldn't be another order of knights that joined in the Crusade and is now causing trouble for Corandias. I need to draw and post a map of the area around Parsantium as this would make it clear what's where. Sahasra is on the other side of the Pillars of Heaven so it would be [Zakharan] cities and shipping that are being harrassed. BTW, I need an alternative name to Zakhara for the Arabic-style lands as this has been stolen from Al-Qadim and is too well known. Any ideas?

The khanduqs are just in the Old Quarter and in the Mercantile Quarter, of course. I like the orphan and eunuch suggestion!
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 5th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
Arabic country
I'm going to go with The Caliphate of Akhran - name stolen from an old Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman novel.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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