S is for Sahasra #AtoZChallenge

SahasraOne of my first professional game-writing jobs was for Dog Soul Publishing, in their Folkloric series. I created the land of Sahasra, an analogue of the India of folklore. I wrote the setting book, Sahasra: Land of 1,000 Cities, following it with an adventure, Sahasra: The Spirit in the Spice Groves, and a book for incorporating religion into the campaign, The Books of Faith: Hinduism.

The books were beautifully produced, with gorgeous graphics and maps. I purposely didn’t link to them here, because I was only paid for the first book. I’ve never received payment for the others to which I was entitled, and, as far as I know, royalties are still going to Dog Soul’s owners. You can see the books at DriveThruRPG, if you’re so inclined.

I’ve heard countless stories of game writers not getting paid, and it’s not a happy experience. I may see if I can get the rights for Sahasra reverted to me. It’s a fun and exciting setting, and I’d love to actually be able to do something else with it. We’ll see.

Here’s a bit from the overview of the setting book:

Sahasra, the Land of 1000 Cities is an exotic region of urban settlements interspersed with wild forests. The land mass juts out into the ocean and is roughly equivalent to India—the India of ancient folktale, legend and sacred text. Rich cities are ruled by kings and their beautiful queens.  Dark terrors lurk in the forests and burial grounds. Fabulous artifacts await the adventurer clever enough to find them.

Although the tales about King Vikramaditya and the variously-named vetala (goblin, genie and vampire are a few of the translations of the word) were first written down about 1070 AD, they were passed down as oral tradition for over a thousand years. The settings of these stories exist without historical context, however, and easily fit into any fantasy campaign. The focus is primarily on city dwellers who travel between urban areas by land or, less frequently, by sea—and even once by air in a magical flying chariot. Their concerns are universal—love, wealth, power, spiritual enlightenment—but from the perspective of rulers, counselors and merchants, rarely that of the villager or farmer.

The inhabitants of Sahasra are passionate people, given to impulsive actions. King Vikrama makes a promise to a stranger that nearly costs him his life, merely on the basis of the stranger’s rich gift. A young prince falls desperately in love with a woman at first sight and vows to marry her, even when she tries to poison his best friend. Another love-sick prince cuts off his own head as an offering to the gods because he had promised to do so if she became his bride; fortunately her prayers restore him to life.

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  1. I love it! There was a Russian version of this series too, if I remember correctly, I might have it somewhere. I also remember hearing about the problems with the publisher. The game looks lovely, I would definitely love to play it! 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
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