Live from Barsaive: Episode 19

Parlainth: The Forgotten City, Part 1

  • Find our why Parlainth is our absolute favorite place in Barsaive!
  • Learn about Parlainth’s innovative…and risky…plan to protect itself from the Scourge
  • Why understanding Parlainth’s design is the key to running a successful campaign

Parlainth: The Forgotten City pdf available from FASA.
Parlainth Adventures pdf available from FASA.

  • Matthew Holtz

    I am enjoying the episode very much. I just wanted to let you know one mistake. There was no link between the horrors in Parlainth and out. The horrors were powerful enough to disconnect their astral body and their physical body. They were powerful enough that this separation would not kill them like it would other name givers. This ability is shared with the great Dragon. it is shown twice from what I know. The first was in Longing Ring. The second was with the dragon Ghostwalker astral form returning to his body.

    • Thanks for the info. It sounds like there is some additional source material that I’m not familiar with (maybe the Dragons book that I haven’t read yet?). The Parlainth book gives a very brief mention of some horrors in Parlainth, especially Despairthoughts, being able to “maintain psychic connections” with their victims in the physical world.

      It doesn’t really go into detail about how they do this, but what you mention…about separating physical and astral forms…does seem to make sense. That would also seem to be in line with what The Longing Ring says about how J’role’s horror operated.

      I’m wondering if this is one of those things that was just briefly hinted at in Parlainth (an early product) and then fleshed out later in more detail. My knowledge is mostly on 1st edition (and still haven’t real all of the 1ed stuff yet), so unfortunately sometimes I miss things that were explained in later material.

      I’m going to read all of it…eventually. 🙂

      • Matthew Holtz

        The Longing Ring and The Year of the Comet is the two places that I know of. I don’t remember if the Dragon book also have it.

        This was another reason that I love Earthdawn and what they did in First edition. The Novels to me was such a major part of the game world. It was also so easy to go to a new player and say hey read this book. The writers they had could paint a picture so much better than me.

        • I always meant to get into the novels back when I first started playing Earthdawn, but I didn’t (just read the Longing Ring this year). I’m wishing I had read them sooner. It is very cool that they were developed side-by-side with the source material.

          • Matthew Holtz

            The Longing Ring actually changed the game. When the thieves in the novel had an extra 1st circle talent, it was decided to change the thief in the game.

            the first trilogy also set the stage so well and help show that this was not DnD. I love how they showed that the main character and all his flaws could still be a Legendary Hero. And what it means to be Legendary.

  • Lou Prosperi

    Back for another cool episode of Live from Barsaive, this time about one of my favorite settings within Barsaive.

    When I GMd Earthdawn (which was most of the time I played ED), I used Parlainth a lot, especially for pick up games.

    I agree with you that the story of how the Therans hid Parlainth and left the clues behind was very cool. That was all Christopher Kubasik, author of The Longing Ring, Mother Speaks, and Poisoned Memories. He also co-designed the game, and wrote the original Barsaive Campaign Set. He was an integral part of the original design team, and sometimes I don’t think Christopher gets enough credit for the work he did on Earthdawn.

    And while he did a great job creating the background, Parlainth really comes to life in the campaign set designed by Robin Laws, another major contributor to Earthdawn (Infected, Orks (from Denizens of Earthdawn Volume 2), Horrors, Parlainth campaign set, Throal Campaign Set, Prelude to War, and Blades.

    I was very lucky to have such great writers and designers working with me on Earthdawn.

    Interesting notion about Horrors maintaining a link between their astral and physical bodies in and out of Parlainth. I’d have to go back and re-read things, but if a Horror can “disconnect” their astral “body” and physical body (which they most certainly can), I’m not sure why they couldn’t be astrally in Parlainth (even during the Scourge) and physically somewhere else in Barsaive.

    Stuff like this makes for cool adventures and campaigns. For instance, an adventure might start in Parlainth with the players discovering some specific Horror’s machinations (’cause that’s what they have, you know), and “defeat” it, only to discover that the Horror’s body is elsewhere and they have to somehow track it down and destroy it for good.

    Enough rambling!

    Looking forward to Part 2!

    • I just finished reading The Longing Ring, and I liked it a lot. I Haven’t had a chance to read the rest of the trilogy yet, but I will.

      I kind of wish there were more products like the boxed campaign sets. The other settings, with just books, are cool too, but it was really fun to rip off the cellophane and dump out a bunch of stuff on the table. Why did FASA get away from boxed sets? I’m guessing that the production costs per unit were probably a fair amount higher for boxed sets?

      Aside from the excellent setting itself, I really like the focus of Parlainth. More than any other Earthdawn product, it feels like a toolkit for the GM. Not just setting information that you can draw from, but dozens and dozens (or hundreds?) of adventure frameworks, all ready to go.

      • Lou Prosperi

        HI Chad,

        The main reason we stopped doing boxed sets was the production costs. They are considerably more expensive and labor intensive than books. Plus, sales of the third boxed set we produced, Sky Point and Vivane, were not as strong as we might have liked, which made the higher costs all that much more of an issue.



        • Matthew Holtz

          I agree with Chad some what. I really like the Parlanth box set. There was so much in it that would not have worked with just a book. But Sky Point and Vivane could have been done in a book. I had to buy everything from First edition because no matter what the information was such high quality I needed it.

          • I liked Sky Point a lot, but yeah, it probably could have been done as just a book. But it was nice having the huge full color maps. I’m still kind of mourning the loss of Sky Point in the current Earthdawn timeline.

            Its destruction fits into the storyline really well…no issues with that…but I just really liked it. On top of being a cool setting, that was where I ran my first few campaigns.

  • Patrick Martin

    Parlainth was my first purchase in rpgs. I had no idea what Earthdawn was, but I was pulled in with the art. I actually bought that box before the main book. But I read the Parlainth book so many times by the time I got the main book I was so ready to ignore most of the rules and throw the characters into the city.

    From Haven to the wonderful handout of the map wall to the Screaming Fountain (one of my favs) the whole box set sucked me in completely.

    Never did quite like how Twiceborn ended up being a toy of gharmeks, so that was out. And although the idea of her and hers went walking in the Living Room Games Barsaive at War was very cool, I hope that she’s back where she first came about with the arrival of 4th edition.

    Keep it up! Love the podcasts, love the setting, love 1st, 4th, and everything in between.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      I don’t have the book in front of me, but I believe that it has a multiple choice option about Twiceborn and the Gharmheks, allowing the GM to decide which one is really in charge. I don’t remember all of the details of the various options, but I’m sure we’ll be getting into that in an upcoming episode.