Two Pieces of Tarnished Silver—Chapter Five: Home Fires Burn
Two Pieces of Tarnished Silverby Erik Mona ... Chapter Five: Home Fires Burn Aebos's fist crashed into Creeg's jaw with the force of a battering ram. The alchemist made a meek little sound, spun once, and collapsed upon the garden floor. Korm had seen lesser blows from the cyclops's fists snap the necks of men much hardier than Epostian Creeg. Perhaps the punch had killed him. A fitting end for a traitor. ... At the foot of the low stair, cloaked in the form of a centaur, Juval cackled...
Two Pieces of Tarnished Silver
by Erik Mona
Chapter Five: Home Fires Burn
Aebos's fist crashed into Creeg's jaw with the force of a battering ram. The alchemist made a meek little sound, spun once, and collapsed upon the garden floor. Korm had seen lesser blows from the cyclops's fists snap the necks of men much hardier than Epostian Creeg. Perhaps the punch had killed him. A fitting end for a traitor.
At the foot of the low stair, cloaked in the form of a centaur, Juval cackled loudly. "That was unexpected! How very exciting. I had not known there would be entertainment prior to my collection of the fee."
Korm stepped toward the demon, his hands held palms forward in a submissive gesture. "I am Korm Calladan, and this is my friend, Aebos. We have no quarrel with you, and have come only to negotiate the return of winds to the seas surrounding the Relentless and the kingdom of Nex."
The creature turned its piercing eyes to Korm. Crimson flames smoldered under thick red eyebrows. "The almighty Nex created his demon ships for battle, did he not? This is a war vessel, designed for conquest. What harm does the lack of wind do to the Relentless? I can power the ship through storm and calm alike. If lesser ships are rendered useless, it is to our tactical advantage."
Korm frowned. He had not expected reason from a creature born of multiversal chaos. Convincing Juval to abandon its gambit without giving up the bag of treasure was bound to be more difficult than simply asking nicely, but Korm wasn't ready to give up yet. If they were to dissuade the demon, he would have to find an angle. And to do that, he had to keep it talking. He decided to start with the obvious.
"So those statues, they're former hosts? Old shells you keep around to remind you of past victories?"
"Oh, no," Juval said, its face masked with scorn. "By the time these wretches invaded my domain I'd long had my fill of human frailties. They were mere invaders. Victims. Three hundred years ago the Relentless ran aground near Lirgen, and over the centuries natives of those rain-cursed lands found their way onto the deck and explored the ship's lower quarters, seeking treasures. Instead they found the lens and their way into my domain. Among the earliest was a snake-haired medusa, whom I inhabited to great effect. Her eyes saw the world more vividly than any I had used before. Better, her form granted me the ability to cast any who beheld it into stone. Here, let me show you."
Juval's centaur form twisted upon itself, the rear legs pushing up into its torso even as the fiery red beard withdrew into a sharpening, increasingly feminine jaw. Korm's mouth fell slack as Juval's mop of ropey hair writhed and undulated, transforming before his eyes into a profusion of squirming green snakes. Juval's arms extended into lanky, gnarled emerald branches tipped with jagged claws.
"No!" cried Epostian Creeg, throwing his hands in front of his face. Korm met Juval's eyes just as the demon's pupils took on an ophidian cast. A dull power seemed to emanate from those hateful eyes, anchoring Korm to the ground and forbidding him from looking away.
The tips of his toes began to ache, and Korm imagined them hardening to gray stone within his boots, the transformation creeping rapidly, inexorably up his legs, over his groin, and into his trunk. He wondered when it would finally kill him. When his frantic heart stopped within a shell of rock? When the march of stone reached his eyes and he could no longer see? Or would the transformation preserve his consciousness so that he might live forever as a statue, feeling minute pain in every chip and scratch over the uncountable years he would spend trapped in this demon's personal Abyss? And when erosion set in, and all that was once Korm Calladan had crumbled to dust, would he still maintain his sense of self?
But Korm's toes did not turn to stone. His heart continued to race in his chest. Juval, now wholly a medusa, cackled with delight.
"You've nothing to fear from my gaze, child," it said in a voice that dripped with newfound femininity yet remained unmistakably that of the demon. "That body died out long ago. I can assume its image now only because it remains in my memory. For I now inhabit a shapechanger, and can become any creature that once was mine. No more can I create statues, but with a thought I can make my own body a gallery of the forms I have worn before.
"No, swordsman. The statues are not reminders of my previous forms. They are something far more useful. They remind me that though I control all aspects of this realm, the keys to its front gate are not in my possession. I must remain ever vigilant against unwanted intruders."
"But we are not unwanted," replied Korm. "Epostian Creeg brought us here. You and he had some kind of deal, didn't you?"
"I do not deal directly with wretches like that dandy on the ground," Juval spat. "My accordance is with his mistress, the Lady Iranez. That she uses intermediaries to deliver my price is a sign of weakness and lack of trust. Most disappointing."
"I also find Creeg most disappointing," Korm said. "But I assure you his offer is not genuine. As far as I can tell, he is acting as his own agent in this. In fact, the Lady Iranez instructed us to deliver a portion of treasure culled from the finest of her personal collection. Aebos, show our host what we have been authorized to deliver."
The cyclops reluctantly reached into the linen sack and withdrew a sturdy platinum tiara bejeweled with a rainbow of scintillating colors. A fine silver necklace chased with glittering rubies looped around the apex of the delicate crown and curled over Aebos's massive thumb to dangle invitingly.
Juval cackled, the snap of its derisive laughter sharper for the chorus of hissing snakes that accompanied it. When finally the demon's pleasure subsided into a fit of rough chuckles, it spoke, shaking its head. "You are a fool. What good does a pretty bracelet or a handful of coins do me here? I am trapped forever in this Hell of my creation, never to visit a market or fancy ball. Wealth as you understand it means absolutely nothing to me."
"I'm certain that we can come to some accommodation," replied Korm.
"As am I," Juval replied. "Creeg spoke true. My accordance with his mistress calls for the delivery of a new, interesting form once every decade. I inhabit that form until I tire of it, at which point I demand a new one." Juval turned briefly toward the murdered satyr atop the garden's central dais. "The last three deliveries Iranez has made have not been sufficiently interesting, and so I have stilled the waters of her beloved homeland until the quality of her offering equals the value of my service."
Aebos began carefully returning his treasures to the linen bag. The corner of Korm's mouth twitched. Things were about to go to hell, he thought, but at least if they managed to get out of here that bag of treasure would accompany them to Quantium.
Korm's mind raced to concoct a way to defeat the demon. If he stalled the creature, perhaps Creeg could rouse himself and come to their aid. Even the thought of pinning their hopes on Epostian Creeg—who had already proven himself their enemy—made Korm's stomach turn. He brought his left hand to rest on the grip of his saber, unsure what to do next. Juval seemed to read his thoughts.
"There is nothing you can do to win the day. The cyclops is already mine. I control every aspect of the world within the lens. I control every aspect of the Relentless itself, down to the finest detail. And now, thanks to eons of effort, I extend my control even to the waters surrounding the ship. And through those waters I control the fate of a nation. You should have known better than attempt to bargain with a demon, Korm Calladan. We are not limited by human frailties, weaknesses, or desires."
There it was again. The demon controlled every aspect not just of this gloomy underworld, but of the ship that surrounded it. Korm smiled. His sword might not be up to the challenge of killing a demon, but perhaps another avenue presented itself.
"Who was Durvin Gest?" asked Korm.
"No one of consequence," snapped Juval, in a manner that suggested otherwise. After a moment's consideration, it continued. "You remind me of him. Lean like a predator. Sword on the right hip, though Gest's was a true blade and not a needle like yours. He was a stronger man than you, from a better era, but the prototype is the same.
"You even have his eyes. Sharp as a forest drake. Gray as a wolf."
"You sound very familiar with those eyes," said Korm. Juval's own eyes flared, but the demon kept its face placid, as if it had barely noticed the comment. The calm extended only as far as its brow, where its serpentine hair writhed in disdain, each tiny ophidian face registering its personal disgust at his impudence. Behind Juval, on the small rise at the center of the valley, the burning manor house flared mightily. Korm felt its warmth on his cheeks.
"I knew him well. In the fifty centuries since a wizard's treachery left me formless and bound eternally within the lens, hundreds of visitors have ventured here—many of them human like you. Pathetic creatures. Frail. Singularly obsessed with protecting their lives yet incapable of doing anything meaningful with them. A human will always, always sell out its principles to preserve its life, but so few manage to think beyond petty concerns like family and community.
"But Durvin Gest was unfettered from sentimentality. He sought to use his ephemeral human life exploring the world, taking in its marvels, and leaving his mark in the form of deeds and tales that would long outlive him.
"A quest of limitless scope requires a vessel of limitless capability, and so Durvin Gest claimed the Relentless by virtue of sword and guile. And in time..." Juval turned to glance at the burning home behind it, "In time, he even conquered me."
Korm raised an eyebrow.
"I led the conquering hero all over the world. Around the Horn of Garund, through the straits of lost Azlant, and to the far shores of Arcadia. After every stop, Gest returned here to our home together. He told me of the people he had defeated and the mysteries he had solved. He brought me funerary masks and axeblades and bones and books, eagerly sharing the panorama of a larger world beyond the Relentless. A world I would never truly see. His triumphs became my triumphs. As his image of the world exploded with mystery and wonder, so did mine extend beyond the confines of my eternal prison. Our lives became linked."
Aebos snapped his fingers, finally understanding what Korm was driving at. "The symbol on the dining room wall! That's your doing! You and Durvin Gest had a partnership!"
"We had a bond. I knew that the captain of the Relentless was a truly exceptional human, and so I took on more than just a human form. I attempted to think like a human thinks. To aspire as the greatest of humans might aspire. To be the companion that this exceptional human desired. To be exceptional together."
"Plenty of exceptional humans are trapped on Nex's seas," said Korm. "Because of you I even ate a couple of them. Many more exceptional humans will starve when ships can't reach port. You've got to put an end to this." Slowly, deliberately, Korm withdrew his slender blade from its scabbard. "And if you don't, we're going to have to kill you."
Juval threw back its medusa head in a wicked laugh. "You do remind me of him, Korm Calladan. Curious and confident to the point of recklessness. You came here, to a world I command to face off with a creature older than your race's eldest empire. And you come in the company of a lout and an addict, wielding nothing but an unmagicked blade."
"I object!" said Korm. "Aebos is far from a lout."
"Even in the face of certain death you remain jovial. Just like him. But Durvin Gest never returned from his final adventure. By now he must be centuries dead."
Behind Juval, the burning manor exploded in a bright conflagration. As the fire cloud lifted, it left behind no sign that the home had ever been there at all. Korm suspected a similar transformation was now taking place in the ship's dining room on the other side of the lens.
"I no longer believe in exceptional humans," said Juval. "The age of the human is over. The form has expired its appeal. I thought a shapechanger would cure the ennui of my imprisonment, and in truth I will miss it. But I find myself limited to only forms I have inhabited before. A shapechanger will come again. In ten years' time I can even demand one from Iranez, or again Nex's waters will fall still.
"But I may never get another chance at a cyclops."
The medusa fell slack and slumped to the ground, its cheek slamming into the edge of a step with a dull thud. While the body itself remained motionless, the details of its appearance undulated and rippled. The brown linen garment lost definition and melded with the body beneath, which grew increasingly gaunt and malnourished. Its serpentine scales smoothed even as the tendrils of its hair withdrew into the skull. The feminine face sagged until it resembled the early outlines of a hollow-eyed bust. Its vacuous mouth hung crooked and low. It was no longer a medusa.
"I think I understand now why Durvin Gest might have chosen Juval as a companion."
It was no longer Juval. Korm turned to Aebos to shout a warning, only to realize that he was too late. His friend was down on one knee, bent over and struggling to steel himself against some unseen assault. As the swordsman rushed to his side, Aebos slackened his shoulders and sighed. Korm placed his hand upon his companion's arm. Aebos turned to him.
"They say that the cyclopes can see the future," the demon said in Aebos's voice. An unseen chorus echoed the words. "I wonder if your cyclops ever saw himself with his hands around the throat of his most trusted ally?"
Juval grabbed for Korm, a wicked smile upon its face, murder in its single eye. Korm rolled along the outside of Juval's attack in a move that always confounded Aebos in their many sparring sessions. But the cyclops was no longer Aebos, and Juval seemed prepared for his dodge. It spun to meet Korm's movement, swinging its forearm in a clothesline strike that swept Korm off his feet and put him on his back upon the ground.
Juval looked down at the swordsman and opened its mouth for some further insult, only to double over at the waist, clutching its arms to its stomach. Korm saw anger and confusion on his friend's face. "The form of the cyclops," Juval muttered with difficulty, "it burns! The pain is intolerable!"
Juval fell to both knees and moaned. Korm scrambled away from the demon and got to his feet. It crushed him to see Aebos in so much pain, but he reminded himself that the demon was not Aebos at all. Creeg had said that Juval pushed aside the spirits of the forms it inhabited, so the best he could hope for at the moment was that whatever plagued Juval so terribly had no effect upon his friend. Juval clawed at its stomach, trying to tear a hole in Aebos's leather armor to get at the source of the pain within. From between the demon's outstretched fingers Korm saw a flash of golden radiance that seemed to come from within the cyclops's body.
Juval turned its baleful eye upon Korm, and the swordsman recognized determination on the face of his friend. He immediately felt a blasphemous presence slice its way into his psyche, slashing the bindings between his body and mind and thrusting his consciousness aside. He no longer controlled the movements of his form, but as he sensed his hand reach for the grip of his saber he felt the familiar softness of the supple leather handle and realized that if he could feel texture through his alien hands, Aebos must surely have experienced the horrific pain that had forced Juval to flee. Sword fully drawn now, Juval turned Korm's head to regard the stricken Aebos, pitched over on one side upon the ground. He took a step toward the cyclops and raised the sword for a mighty blow.
Korm felt a sharp scratch in the pit of his stomach. Juval brought his hand to the point of pain, and at the touch a hundred daggers exploded within him. Juval threw back Korm's shoulders and screamed in anguish, his puppetry of Korm's form finally matching exactly the intentions of its owner. Korm felt as if a swarm of insects was tearing him apart from within.
Although Juval seemed reluctant to look directly at it, from his peripheral vision Korm beheld a corona of crackling golden light shining from his abdomen, and he instantly realized what had happened. Creeg had poisoned them both—and himself—from the moment he first had met them, no doubt hoping for exactly this result. Each point where golden fire seemed to scorch his innards away must have been some remnant from one of Epostian Creeg's flakes of golden seasoning. But understanding the source of the pain gave Korm no control over it, and hope vanished within seconds of the excruciating onslaught. Korm realized that the pain that wracked both puppet and master would soon kill them both. Epostian Creeg had won.
Korm was willing to die, if that meant Aebos would live. He had no control over his own body anymore, but perhaps he could extend his mind to touch that of Juval's, find some kernel of goodness that would confound it into remaining in his body long enough for Creeg's golden flakes to do their fatal work on them both. He did his best to push the pain to the back of his mind and opened himself to the imposter dwelling within him. He managed to contact only a tiny sliver of the demon's mind, a thundering abyss of resentment, hatred, arrogance, and anger. Such a mind offered little for him to work with.
Before Korm could formulate a plan, however, the demon slipped away, leaving him in control of his faculties once more. The pain left immediately upon Juval's withdrawal, though Korm felt a warm glow in his stomach that convinced him that Creeg's poison still provided a defense against another possession attempt. His heart jumped as he looked to Aebos, fearing that Juval would make another play for his promised tribute. But Aebos lay gathering his senses on the ground, free of demonic inhabitation.
A flurry of movement on the steps drew Korm's attention to the squirming shapechanger, who writhed in pain on the ground, stomach glowing with a golden radiance. Somehow Creeg's golden flakes had transferred back with it so that even the shapechanger's body had been infected. Not all of the flakes, of course, but enough to constrict Juval in paroxysms of pain. As if summoned by his triumph, Epostian Creeg stepped past Korm to approach Juval.
"You are all fools," he said, dabbing his bloody mouth on the back of his hand. Already an angry bruise marred the side of the face where Aebos had struck him. "Iranez of the Orb has more pressing matters to attend to than placating her demon. You have outlived your usefulness, Juval. We knew that a cyclops would be too tempting a morsel for you, so the Orb found us one. Then it was only a matter of fattening it up with a substance anathema to you, and we knew you would undo yourself. And you did.
"But poison has no command over demons!" cried Juval.
"Indeed it does not," replied Creeg. "But what you have ingested—what's now become a part of you—is not poison at all, but a violation of multiversal law. You act as if you are poisoned because it is a biological process that is killing you. Or killing your mortal form, but that is good enough for our purposes, as your formless soul will die just as surely."
"I—I do not understand," Juval said through gritted teeth.
"When you started causing us trouble, the Lady Iranez ordered me to learn what I could about demons, in particular how to combat their ability to possess victims and steal their bodies. This led me to discover an order of celestial azatas known as the Golden Host, who made war against demons countless aeons ago. They had no natural protections against possession, so they bathed their skin in eldritch extracts anathema to demonkind. When a demon possessed the azata, its soul and the azata's became the same being, trapped within the imprisoning golden skin."
Both Korm and Aebos had regained their senses and approached Epostian Creeg and Juval. The alchemist continued his narration, as much to brag to his companions as to inform the demon of its impending fate. "This process violated the fundamental rules that govern the multiverse. A creature of utter good or utter evil is either one thing or the other. A demon cannot also be a celestial. So the multiverse compensates by erasing the contradiction. And thus did the azatas of the Golden Host discover a method to poison the unpoisonable. A fascinating study in alchemy I might never have discovered if not for you. Go to your oblivion knowing that you have my most sincere appreciation."
"These creatures are not of the Golden Host," declared Juval through the shapechanger's gritted teeth.
"Of course not," Creeg scoffed. "Such a creature would never accede to subterfuge, and would never agree to our plan. So I didn't even bother asking it. I simply summoned the creature, murdered it, and dried its skin for later ingestion by our bait." At that word, the alchemist smiled a blood-soaked grin at Aebos.
"Just think, Juval. If you had truly been one of those humans you hate so much, you would have been perfectly safe from our plan. I hope it makes your blood boil to know that in the end, it was one of us that finished you."
The shapechanger's image rippled and twisted, refining itself into the form of a beautiful human woman with luxurious long red hair to match the familiar crimson eyes. The indistinct body smoothed and took on the curves of a shapely human woman garbed in the clothes and gear of a traveling adventurer.
"I was human once," Juval said in a soft, feminine tone wholly free from the muffled chorus that had previously accompanied everything the demon said. "I could learn to be again." It turned to look Korm straight in his gray eyes. "This is how Durvin Gest saw me. How I truly am."
Aebos hesitated. Korm reached into the pouch at his side and clutched the cylinder of glass containing the rest of Creeg's golden flakes.
"Do not trust it," Korm said. "I have touched its mind. There is nothing good left in it."
Epostian Creeg gasped as he recognized the thin golden flakes contained within the jar in Korm's fist. The swordsman stepped back to get the most of his swing and punched Juval in the face so hard that his hand shattered its teeth and penetrated its mouth. He withdrew his hand rapidly, wincing as the demon's jagged mess of a mouth cut furious channels in his bare flesh. But he left the smashed jar within. Aebos closed both hands around Juval's head and, for good measure, shook the demon violently to ensure even distribution of the flakes.
The creature's form shifted urgently as it jerked around in the cyclops's clutches. The fingers of the demon's hands melded and sharpened into cruel talons, which tore handfuls of flesh from Aebos's shoulders and arms. The cyclops released his grip and backed away from the fight. All detail fled Juval's form, which once again assumed the shapechanger's emaciated natural frame. With a surprising burst of energy, it lashed out at Creeg, throwing the alchemist fifteen feet away to land with a sickening crunch. Juval spat a dollop of blood upon the stairs and spoke through broken teeth in a raspy, desperate voice.
"You have hurt me, worms. Worse than any mortals have managed before, but I am afraid I have digested all of your foul meal, and yet I live. Perhaps an ounce more and I would have been undone. But I am not so greedy as to inhabit any of you again. I will have to content myself with tearing you limb from limb. A pity that you have no more of Creeg's poison."
Korm rushed Juval, saber raised for a deadly slash. On the downswing, Juval caught the blade in the palm of its hand, instantly heating the metal to soft, useless slag. The demon slapped Korm across the face with a backhand, sending him sprawling on the verge of unconsciousness.
With a touch of triumph to his movement, Juval spun to face Aebos on the ground, only to find himself looking directly into the eye of the cyclops. A wide grin split Aebos's massive head.
"I've been eating Creeg's poison since breakfast yesterday, and I have plenty left here in my belly. But I'm more than willing to share."
With that, Aebos opened his mouth and brought the index finger of his left hand to the back of his throat. Almost immediately, the cyclops let loose a powerful torrent of vomit directly in Juval's face, filling the demon's slack-jawed mouth. Even from where he lay upon the ground, Korm could see the sparkle of tiny golden flakes within the spray.
The golden glow at the pit of Juval's stomach spread across the whole of its body, and when the flash of light slowly faded, nothing of the demon or the shapechanger remained but the dying echoes of an all-too-human scream.
∗ ∗ ∗
From the deck of the Relentless, Korm and Aebos looked on as Iranez's crew put the Queen's Lament to the torch. A strong wind spread the fire quickly to the mainsail, which erupted into a curtain of flame. Iranez of the Orb and Epostian Creeg stood upon the bridge atop the sleek demon ship, while the boat's crew rigged enormous sails upon its impossibly thin masts for what must have been the first time in ages.
Korm clasped the bag of treasure tightly. Iranez had looked disappointed upon their return, but proved true to her word, allowing them to keep what they had earned. Even now Korm felt the Relentless pulling away from the Queen's Lament, catching the fresh westerly wind that would bring them to Quantium.
"Aebos, my friend," he said. "I think we are finally getting free of our troubles. It's all uphill from here. I'm not thrilled about going to Quantium, but at least we're moving."
Aebos shrugged. "I am eager to reach the city," he confessed. "I don't know about you, Korm, but I could use something to eat. I'm starving."
Erik Mona is the Publisher of Paizo Publishing and one of the primary architects of the Pathfinder campaign setting, as well as the former Editor-in-Chief of Dungeon and Dragon magazines. His previous game books have won numerous awards, and include the Pathfinder Campaign Setting Gazetteer, The Inner Sea World Guide, Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, "The Whispering Cairn" in Dungeon #124 (which kicked off the Age of Worms Adventure Path), and Pathfinder Adventure Path #19: Howl of the Carrion King, among many others. To find out more about Erik, visit his Facebook page.
What Happens in the Worldwound Stays in the Worldwound
... Illustration by Daren Bader. Wallpaper design by Crystal Frasier. Widescreen version here. ... What Happens in the Worldwound Stays in the Worldwound Friday, March 25, 2011Oceans 666—that's the best short description for Robin Laws's The Worldwound Gambit I've heard yet. Gambit is the fourth book in our Pathfinder Tales line and will be coming out in May, just in time to tuck it away in a bag and head to the beach. In this novel, preternaturally handsome and coolly charismatic...
Illustration by Daren Bader. Wallpaper design by Crystal Frasier. Widescreen version here.
What Happens in the Worldwound Stays in the Worldwound
Friday, March 25, 2011
Oceans 666—that's the best short description for Robin Laws's The Worldwound Gambit I've heard yet. Gambit is the fourth book in our Pathfinder Tales line and will be coming out in May, just in time to tuck it away in a bag and head to the beach. In this novel, preternaturally handsome and coolly charismatic swindler Gad decides to assemble a team of thieves, cutthroats, and con men to take the fight into the magic-twisted hellscape known as the Worldwound, intent on striking directly at the fiendish leader responsible for a series of raids into the surrounding territory—the demon Yath, the Shimmering Putrescence. Can Gad hold his team together long enough to pull off the ultimate con, or will trouble from within his own organization lead to an untimely end for them all? You won't be able to find out for a few weeks, but until then you'll have plenty of time to gaze on this great piece by Daren Bader.
... Golarion Day: Inner Sea World Guide Preview Thursday, March 3, 2010OMG! GUESS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WEEK? THE INNER SEA WORLD GUIDE DOES! ... Seems like I've been working on this book for a year. Oh, wait. That's pretty much correct. Feels good that it's finally about to hit store shelves and reach subscribers. In the meantime... as proof that it exists... here are five screen shots I just took of five pages from the book, to whet appetites and let folks know just how awesome looking this...
Seems like I've been working on this book for a year. Oh, wait. That's pretty much correct. Feels good that it's finally about to hit store shelves and reach subscribers. In the meantime... as proof that it exists... here are five screen shots I just took of five pages from the book, to whet appetites and let folks know just how awesome looking this book is going to be.
... Golarion Day: Chopper's Revenge! Thursday, January 13, 2010Last week, with the first installment of Golarion Day, I put out a call for everyone to start sending in ideas for future blog posts. Those requests are pouring in, but it's gonna take a few weeks for us to sort through them and match requests to the right content and all that. But keep the suggestions coming! ... This week, though, I thought I'd show off a bit of my office Sandpoint campaign. This game's one of the largest I've...
Golarion Day: Chopper's Revenge!
Thursday, January 13, 2010
Last week, with the first installment of Golarion Day, I put out a call for everyone to start sending in ideas for future blog posts. Those requests are pouring in, but it's gonna take a few weeks for us to sort through them and match requests to the right content and all that. But keep the suggestions coming!
This week, though, I thought I'd show off a bit of my office Sandpoint campaign. This game's one of the largest I've ever run—the initial goal was to have it be a game that the entire editorial pit could take part in as a team-building exercise. But as we've hired more folks, and as friends of current players have joined, the size of the group has exploded into an intimidating group of nine players. The campaign itself is called The Shadow Under Sandpoint. You can check out the campaign journal over on our boards—it's generally only a few game sessions behind where we're at.
Illustration by John Gravato
One of the tricky things about such a large group, of course, is designing encounters that challenge the group. You can't just boost the CR of the bad guys and make them individually tougher, because that'll only mean that the bad guy will have a much better chance to kill a few PCs before he's defeated—you don't want to kill PCs in every fight, since that's a downward spiral. Instead, I've found that having one particularly tough boss monster surrounded by lots of less powerful minions works really well—gives everyone in the party someone to face off against, but also lets me have big key encounters with major bad guys.
Such was the case several months ago, when I knew the PCs were going up against the ghost of an infamous local murderer named Jervis Stoot. Old Stoot (known as Chopper back during the height of his murdering days) is part of Sandpoint's history, and those who've played in "Rise of the Runelords" have probably heard his name. He was never a villain in that Adventure Path, though, so that made him a perfect source for a logical foe for the PCs to face in this campaign.
So when I designed Stoot, I made him a ghost that would provide a challenge to the party (they were all about 4th or 5th level at the time), but who also had some built-in options to call upon allies. Giving him a new ghost ability that allows him to summon birds and command avians made sense (he was a Pazuzu cultist back in the day, after all!). The fight ended up playing out over two sessions—one atop the old light while Stoot had possessed the town sheriff, and then a second after they defeated the possessed sheriff and chased the ghost back to his island den to finish him off. In both cases, I threw in some bird swarms to help amp up the terror and mayhem, resulting in what normally would have been a CR 8 encounter, but when you have nine players, that's what you gotta do!
(And don't tell my players, but they've not seen the last of old Stoot's ghost yet! That's why I'm not listing the way in which you can permanently put Stoot to rest, after all...)
In any event, if any of you are playing a game set in Sandpoint, or if you're looking for a cool, flavorful ghost to use, I thought for today that I'd throw Stoot's stat block in for folks to check out. You'll note I did something a little weird with this ghost—he should normally only have two special ghost abilities, but I gave him three—corrupting touch, avian mastery, and malevolence. In order to balance things, I also gave him an additional weakness and nerfed his malevolence ability. In other words, feel free when you're making villains up for your home game to fiddle with the rules!
JERVAS STOOT CR 6 XP 2,400
Male human ghost rogue 5
CE Medium undead (incorporeal) Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13
DEFENSE AC 19, touch 19, flat-footed 15 (+5 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 dodge) hp 61 (5d8+35) Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2 Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, evasion, incorporeal, rejuvenation, trapfinding, trap sense +1; Immune undead traits Weakness avians
OFFENSE Speed fly 30 ft. (perfect) Melee corrupting touch +6 (6d6; Fort. DC 17 half) Special Attacks avian mastery, malevolence 1/day (DC 17), sneak attack +3d6
STATISTICS Str —, Dex 16, Con —, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 20 Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 16 Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Toughness Skills Bluff +11, Climb +8, Craft (woodcarving) +9, Craft (metalworking) +9, Escape Artist +11, Knowledge (local) +9, Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +13, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +15 Languages Common, Thassilonian SQ fast stealth, surprise attack
SPECIAL ABILITIES Avian Mastery (Su) Stoot can command and influence all normal birds as if via dominate animal at will. He can control any number of birds within a 60-foot radius in this manner. Once per day, he may cast summon swarm as a spell-like ability to summon a swarm of crows (treat as a bat swarm sans the wounding ability). Weakness to Avians (Ex) Damage inflicted on Stoot from any avian's natural attacks is resolved as if he did not possess the incorporeal defensive ability. This includes creatures that have assumed the form of an avian.
DISCLAIMER: I know how much fun some folks have checking our work on stat blocks, but since I'm more or less copy/pasting these stats directly from my campaign notes without going back to give them the same level of checking I'd give something going into print... there might be an error in there somewhere! (This is also an excuse for me to see how harrowing it is to format a stat block for a blog post... wish me luck!)
... Illustration by Craig J Spearing ... Out of this World! Thursday, December 23, 2010The Inner Sea World Guide, our revised, reorganized, and expanded look at the world of Golarion, is off to the printer! While it won't be back and ready to share in all its hardbound glory until sometime in March, we've done the heavy lifting and put together a beaut of a book we think is going to blow away both those visiting Golarion for the first time and all of you who practically live there. But for...
Illustration by Craig J Spearing
Out of this World!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The Inner Sea World Guide, our revised, reorganized, and expanded look at the world of Golarion, is off to the printer! While it won't be back and ready to share in all its hardbound glory until sometime in March, we've done the heavy lifting and put together a beaut of a book we think is going to blow away both those visiting Golarion for the first time and all of you who practically live there. But for those who think they know what to expect out of our refreshed and 100% Pathfinder RPG infused World Guide, now seems like a great chance to give away five things about the The Inner Sea World Guide that you probably didn't know.
1. Shoanti. They're in the races rundown in Chapter 1: Races, right along with Chelaxians, Kellids, Tians, and all the rest.
2. The Darklands. They get their own four-page write-up now, right along with all the other countries and regions in Chapter 2: The Inner Sea.
3. Languages. A TON of them, listed, detailed, and divided into Modern Human Languages, Ancient Languages, and Other Languages, in Chapter 4: Life.
4. Guns. The Pathfinder RPG's first stab at rules for firearms shows up in Chapter 6: Adventuring, along with a ton of Golarion-specific gear.
5. Monsters. All of Chapter 7: Monsters is dedicated to investigating some of the deadliest denizens of Golarion, along with 9 complete write-ups for some of the Inner Sea's most notorious beasties.
If you knew all that already, well, then check out the new art for the Worldwound by Craig Spearing! I know you haven't seen that before!
... Illustration by Branko Bistrovic ... Get Lost Friday, October 22, 2010 ... Illustration by Damien Mammoliti ... We're nearing the homestretch in development of Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Cities of Golarion and that means it's time to start leaking some of the brand-new art you can expect to find within the tome's dusty pages. Check out these relics we've unearthed while plumbing the ruins of Kho in the Mwangi Expanse and Storasta in the demon-choked Worldwound. ... Mark Moreland...
Illustration by Branko Bistrovic
Friday, October 22, 2010
Illustration by Damien Mammoliti
We're nearing the homestretch in development of Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Cities of Golarion and that means it's time to start leaking some of the brand-new art you can expect to find within the tome's dusty pages. Check out these relics we've unearthed while plumbing the ruins of Kho in the Mwangi Expanse and Storasta in the demon-choked Worldwound.
Lords of Chaos: Demonic Boons Tuesday, August 31, 2010 ... Illustration by Tyler Walpole ... In Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lords of Chaos, James Jacobs describes the Abyss, its demon lords, and special powers mortal characters can gain if they worship these evil beings. These latter are called boons, the weakest of which are spell-like abilities, though those powerful mortals who delve deep into this evil gain even stranger powers. Access to the boons requires taking the Demonic Obedience...
Lords of Chaos: Demonic Boons
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Illustration by Tyler Walpole
In Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lords of Chaos, James Jacobs describes the Abyss, its demon lords, and special powers mortal characters can gain if they worship these evil beings. These latter are called boons, the weakest of which are spell-like abilities, though those powerful mortals who delve deep into this evil gain even stranger powers. Access to the boons requires taking the Demonic Obedience feat.
You physically defile yourself, others, or holy objects in order to prove your blasphemous devotion to a demon lord and gain special boons. Prerequisites: 3 ranks in Knowledge (planes), must worship a demon lord. Benefit: Each demon lord requires a different obedience, but all obediences take only an hour to perform. Once the obedience has been performed, you gain the benefit of a resistance to some element or attack associated with your demon lord, as indicated in the "Obedience" entry for the demon lord.
If you have at least 12 Hit Dice, you also gain the first boon granted by your demon lord upon undertaking your obedience. If you have at least 16 Hit Dice, you also gain the demon lord's second boon. If you have 20 Hit Dice or more, you also gain the demon lord's third and final boon. Unless a specific duration is listed, a boon's effects are constant.
If you ever fail to perform a daily obedience, you lose all access to resistances and boons granted by this feat until you next perform the obedience.
Here are just a couple of boons from the more than 30 demon lords presented in the book.
Abraxus: 1st boon: Secret Lore (Sp)identify 3/day, augury 2/day, or illusory script 1/day 2nd boon: Heretical Revelation (Su) Up to three times per day, you can whisper terrible secrets to an adjacent target as a standard action. The target can resist with a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 your HD + your Charisma modifier). If the target fails its save, it is stunned for 1 round, then confused for 1d4 rounds, and then nauseated for 2d6 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect. 3rd boon: Penultimate Incantation (Sp) Up to three times per day, you can affect a single creature within 60 feet with a targeted greater dispel magic. Each spell or effect dispelled inflicts fire damage to the target equal to the result of your caster level check made to dispel that effect.
Pazuzu: 1st boon: Whispers on the Wind (Sp)charm person 3/day, enthrall 2/day, or fly 1/day 2nd boon: Possession (Sp) You can cast magic jar once per day as a spell-like ability. You can use a holy symbol of Pazuzu or a statue of Pazuzu as your receptacle—if you do so, you can determine the exact creature type and position of all potential life forces you're capable of possessing. 3rd boon: True Temptation (Sp) If any creature speaks Pazuzu's name aloud three times with a single breath, and that creature is within 60 feet of you, you can cast quickened charm monster on that creature as an immediate action. You can use this power up to three times per day. Creatures with fly speeds take a –4 penalty on saves against this effect. If a creature that fails its save against this effect has protection from evil or a similar effect activated, that effect is immediately and automatically dispelled.
As for what the actual obediences are, you'll have to just wait and see....
... Scenes from the Abyss Friday, August 27, 2010So, we're finally wrapping work on Lords of Chaos. As with the first volume of Book of the Damned (last year's Princes of Darkness), the chapters of the book will be separated by actual in-game entries from the Book of the Damned, complete with creepy illustrations. I'm showing off two of those pictures here—both great examples of why you might want to schedule your next vacation for the Abyss. Look how scenic it is, there? So what if...
Scenes from the Abyss
Friday, August 27, 2010
So, we're finally wrapping work on Lords of Chaos. As with the first volume of Book of the Damned (last year's Princes of Darkness), the chapters of the book will be separated by actual in-game entries from the Book of the Damned, complete with creepy illustrations. I'm showing off two of those pictures here—both great examples of why you might want to schedule your next vacation for the Abyss. Look how scenic it is, there? So what if that mountain over yonder might get up at any moment and come eat you? That's part of the fun!
... Exiles of Zirnakaynin, with Special Guest Stars Thursday, August 26, 2010After a long hiatus because of convention season, the drow nobles game continued with a hunt for the kidnapped acting matron of the House Azrinae—and split into two groups of PCs when Ylvirixna (Rob McCreary) and Alivora (James Jacobs) decided the matron (decerebrated by mi-go) was no longer in charge and ran off with her body. Confounded by this betrayal, Rackutio (Josh Frost), Phyxafein (Tim Nightengale), and...
Exiles of Zirnakaynin, with Special Guest Stars
Thursday, August 26, 2010
After a long hiatus because of convention season, the drow nobles game continued with a hunt for the kidnapped acting matron of the House Azrinae—and split into two groups of PCs when Ylvirixna (Rob McCreary) and Alivora (James Jacobs) decided the matron (decerebrated by mi-go) was no longer in charge and ran off with her body. Confounded by this betrayal, Rackutio (Josh Frost), Phyxafein (Tim Nightengale), and Verandia (Jodi Lane) returned to the drow city of Far Parathra to plan their next move. Or so they thought.
The group couldn't find Zwimessa (Crystal Frasier) when they left to find the matron that morning (Crystal missed that session). Zwimessa, meanwhile, couldn't find any of the others when she woke—their rooms were empty, and the drow commoner prisoner they had taken from their occupied house was dead in one of the rooms. Hiring a diviner in Far Parathra, Zwimessa found that her family members had been kidnapped, and paid the mage to teleport her to where they were held, bringing two mage-called demons (Kelly Marie and Troy Siefker) with her for extra muscle.
Zwimessa, Fumerott (Kelly), and Poograh (Troy) arrived just outside of a strange laboratory where three mi-go had Alivorah, Phyxafein, Rackutio, Verandia, and Ylvirixna strapped to tables, with needles in their skulls connected to strange metal canisters. After routing the mi-go, Zwimessa's team freed the others, though Ylvirixna's brain had been removed and had to be put back in her skull with some powerful healing magic. Retrieving their gear from a nearby nook, the drow followed an escape tunnel (with a comatose Ylvirixna riding Alivorah's snake-like phantom steed).
The tunnel opened up into a cavern with several mi-go crates (each marked with magical runes) and a strange underground lake. While investigating the crates, they spotted movement in the murky water, and something hurled a rock at Zwimessa.
What followed was a furious battle with a pair of giant fish-men and two mutated, skinned ghouls. Fumerott grabbed and hurled one of the ghouls to the shore so Alivorah, Rackutio, and Verandia would have something to fight. Rackutio cast hungry pit on it, pulling in the wounded creature as well as two of the crates, which exploded on impact. OM NOM NOM! On the other side of the battle, the two giant fish-men deal horrendous damage to Poograh, but the stubborn demon continues to fight.
Fumerott and Zwimessa make short work of the remaining mutant ghoul, prompting the demon to eat her fallen enemy. Delicious!
The giant fish-men turned their attention on 20, Rackutio's eidolon, and managed to tear it apart, sending it back to its home plane. As the rest of the group converged on these foes, Rackutio summoned a greater water elemental (represented by a fire elemental in this picture, recolored blue with the magic of photo manipulation) to pound on the slimy things, and Verandia ended the fight with a controlled burst of channeled negative energy. Time to rest and loot... which, in Poograh's case, included eating the dead fish-men!
Tip: If you have players who are new to the Pathfinder RPG (as Kelly and Troy were) or gaming in general, all the choices for a classed character can be overwhelming. Sometimes it's easier to have them play an allied monster, which has fewer options for the player to learn. In this case, I copied the stats for a hezrou demon onto a character sheet, removed references to rules they didn't need to know about (like Improved Initiative, which is built into the stat block), summarized other complex abilities (like greater teleport), and didn't include other abilities they wouldn't need (like summon). This let them focus on playing their monster characters and dealing with dice rolls for attacks, damage, skills, and saves. Because these players are only present for this one high-level session, using conjured monsters allows them to play without devising a complex in-game story for why these two characters would show up and leave after a short time.
... Demon Lord Thursday Thursday, June 24, 2010I'm still scrambling to finish up writing for Book of the Damned II: Lords of Chaos, and while I'm not done yet (I'm a VERY naughty freelancer!), all of the art for the book is done. And since my time writing should be devoted to demons and not blog posts... I'll stop here and just show off some pictures: Angazhan, Cyth-V'sug, Flauros, and Kostchtchie, all courtesy of the super-talented Eric Belisle! ... Illustrations by Eric Belisle ... James...
Demon Lord Thursday
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I'm still scrambling to finish up writing for Book of the Damned II: Lords of Chaos, and while I'm not done yet (I'm a VERY naughty freelancer!), all of the art for the book is done. And since my time writing should be devoted to demons and not blog posts... I'll stop here and just show off some pictures: Angazhan, Cyth-V'sug, Flauros, and Kostchtchie, all courtesy of the super-talented Eric Belisle!
... What a Twist! Tuesday, April 27, 2010Things continue to be very hectic around here as we ride the wave of the convention season tsunami. So much so that a few stealthy projects have slipped through the cracks here on the blog. For example, Plot Twist Cards. So here's a brief gallery of just a few of the deck's dozens of awesome illustrations, all from the delightfully demented brush of illustrator Matt Dixon. Enjoy! ... Illustrations by Matt Dixion ... Wes Schneider ... Managing Editor ...
What a Twist!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Things continue to be very hectic around here as we ride the wave of the convention season tsunami. So much so that a few stealthy projects have slipped through the cracks here on the blog. For example, Plot Twist Cards. So here's a brief gallery of just a few of the deck's dozens of awesome illustrations, all from the delightfully demented brush of illustrator Matt Dixon. Enjoy!
... Let Me Tell You about My Character... Monday, March 29, 2010It seems like I’m the guy who usually ends up running the game, so when Sean announced that he was going to run a high-level campaign where all the PCs would be demon-worshiping drow nobles, I jumped at the chance to play. After all, high-level play, demons, and drow are three of my favorite things! You got a first look into the mayhem of our first session last week when Sean showed off his creepy black light, but today I’m going...
Let Me Tell You about My Character...
Monday, March 29, 2010
It seems like I’m the guy who usually ends up running the game, so when Sean announced that he was going to run a high-level campaign where all the PCs would be demon-worshiping drow nobles, I jumped at the chance to play. After all, high-level play, demons, and drow are three of my favorite things! You got a first look into the mayhem of our first session last week when Sean showed off his creepy black light, but today I’m going to tell you about my character. Like it or not!
Photography by James Jacobs
Alivorah Azrinae (CE female drow noble bard 7/demoniac 6) is something of a troublemaker, even in drow society. She's gotten in hot water with the Azrinaes many times in the past for cavorting and fraternizing with other houses—she thinks of herself as a spy, and loves learning secrets about other people and organizations. Her main problem is that she doesn't follow orders well and doesn't like divulging secrets without learning a secret in return—a trait that makes her not very helpful as a spy to anyone but herself. As a demoniac, she bears the mark of Abraxas on her right shoulder as a pale tattoo-like marking. Currently, she's a bit agonized by the fact that she actually knew a few secrets about the attack on the Azrinae family—had she divulged them, she could have possibly saved her house from being exiled. Her main goal now is to see that the Azrinae family gets to return to Zirnakaynin in a greater position of power than before. And if she gets herself a promotion in the family to a position of greater power, all the better!
The attached picture features the miniature I’m using for Alivorah, standing next to her entry on the family tree chart that Sean provided us. The mini (which was painted for me by the always-awesome Stephen Radney-MacFarland, who’s mini-painting skills are SIGNIFICANT) is one I originally used for Jason’s campaign a year or so ago, but since Jason quit running that game, I saw this as a great opportunity to use my cool drow mini again, even though she doesn’t really match the type of gear Alivorah carries. Also, those with keen eyes will note that Alivorah is the sister of Rob McCreary’s character, and that Josh is playing her uncle and Crystal her aunt. Should make for some interesting dynamics around the table!
As for that bit about being a “demoniac,” well... that’s a prestige class I’m taking the opportunity to playtest during this campaign. Originally presented as the 5-level demonic initiate prestige class in Pathfinder Adventure Path #15, this class is being upgraded to a 10-level prestige class and renamed to “demoniac” (the noun definition of which is “a person seemingly possessed by a demon or evil spirit”—it’s not a prestige class for characters who make smart decisions regarding the well-being of their immortal soul). Full details on the demoniac prestige class will appear in the upcoming Lords of Chaos: Book of the Damned Volume 2.
And for those readers who don’t care about my new character (you’re dead to me!), here’s a quick preview of some of the content I’m working on for Lords of Chaos—the beginning of Abraxas’s entry in Chapter 1: The Abyss and its Lords! (Note! The following hasn’t even been through development yet—some elements are certain to change by the time it sees print later this year.)
Master of the Final Incantation
Male demon lord of magic and forbidden lore
Temple libraries, reliquaries, vaults
Worshipers drow, sorcerers
Minions mariliths, xacarbas (see Pathfinder Bestiary II), serpentine creatures
Sacrifice spellbooks, magic scrolls, those who reveal secrets
Obedience Self-flagellate with a small whip or tree branch, punctuating each stroke with utterances of mystic words of power. Gain a +4 profane bonus on saves against written magical effects, such as sepia snake sigil or symbol of death.
1: Secret Lore (Sp) Gain one of the following spell-like abilities: identify 3/day, augury 2/day, or illusory script 1/day
2: Heretical Revelation (Su) Up to three times a day you can whisper terrible secrets to an adjacent target as a standard action. The target can resist with a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 your HD + your Charisma modifier). If the target fails its save, it is stunned for 1 round, then confused for 1d4 rounds, and then nauseated for 2d6 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect.
3: Penultimate Incantation (Sp) You affect a single creature within 60 feet with a targeted greater dispel magic. Each spell or effect dispelled inflicts fire damage to the target equal to the result of your caster level check made to dispel the magic.
... Trollin' on the River Friday, February 19, 2010We've had the cover for Pathfinder Adventure Path #32: Rivers Run Red (written by our own Rob McCreary) up for sometime now, but it bears another mention, as this cover sees the climax of a long and interesting evolution. It's little surprise that we were only three months into the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path—and Pathfinder's life in general—when it came time to order art for our first troll. How to handle this got a...
Trollin' on the River
Friday, February 19, 2010
We've had the cover for Pathfinder Adventure Path #32: "Rivers Run Red" (written by our own Rob McCreary) up for sometime now, but it bears another mention, as this cover sees the climax of a long and interesting evolution. It's little surprise that we were only three months into the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path—and Pathfinder's life in general—when it came time to order art for our first troll. How to handle this got a little tricky, though, as it's important to us that our creatures walk the line between familiarity and distinctiveness when it comes to earlier incarnations of the game. What we ended up with was the gnarled, lanky, long-nosed fellow from "The Hook Mountain Massacre". Neat! And totally a cool piece of art. But definitely nothing ground breaking.
Illustration by JZConcepts
Several months later, against all odds, we found ourselves ordering a cover for a Bestiary. Attempting to follow in the tradition of the "a whole bunch of monsters about to getcha!" covers from classic gaming bestiaries, we wanted a swarm of little monsters, one or two medium monsters, and a big monster. Creature ideas went around and around, then sketches did their circles, and what we ended up with was goblins, a maralith, and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT! OMG, that's a TROLL! Awesome! You don't get an incredible Wayne Reynolds cover and then say, "That looks amazing, but could we get this guy to look a little ganglier." This was our new look for the troll.
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Flash forward a few more months and we're ordering Kingmaker covers. So we want a cool bandit and a sexy fey and a barbarian dude and a—hey, how 'bout a troll boss! Okay, that'd be cool. And thanks to Vincent Dutrait, here he is.
Illustration by Vincent Dutrait
So our trolls have come a long way over the course of the past few years, but without a doubt, things are settled now. And if that nasty claw-claw-bite wasn't enough to send your PCs running for their alchemist fire, just wait for "Rivers Run Red" to see all the nasty tricks Chief Hargulka has in store for the Stolen Lands.
Looking back, trolls actually had it pretty easy. You should have seen the backstage identity crisis the ogre had before its debut. But that's a story for another day…
... Snagged from the Vault: Pathfinder RPG Bestiary Monday, July 6, 2009As promised, we shall continue to astound and delight you with pictures pilfered from the pages of the infamous Pathfinder Bestiary. Featured here today are four mighty and terrible creatures from the Great Beyond. We leave it in our readers' capable hands to determine which type of fiend each illustration represents... ... Art by Tyler WalpoleArt by Tyler Walpole ... Art by Ben WoottenArt by Kevin YanVadid and Nahk ......
Snagged from the Vault: Pathfinder RPG Bestiary
Monday, July 6, 2009
As promised, we shall continue to astound and delight you with pictures pilfered from the pages of the infamous Pathfinder Bestiary. Featured here today are four mighty and terrible creatures from the Great Beyond. We leave it in our readers' capable hands to determine which type of fiend each illustration represents...
... Snagged from the Vault: Beyond the Vault of Souls Wednesday, May 6, 2009Greetings, dear readers—as the Golem busies itself crafting the deadly artifact known only as the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary , the Preview Purloiners have struck once again deep into its fathomless Vault. Today we bring you Ralph Horsley's cover to Pathfinder Module J5: Beyond the Vault of Souls. The foolish minions of the Golem won't even known it's missing! But what is that pounding on the door...? ... Vadid and...
Snagged from the Vault: Beyond the Vault of Souls
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Greetings, dear readers—as the Golem busies itself crafting the deadly artifact known only as the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, the Preview Purloiners have struck once again deep into its fathomless Vault. Today we bring you Ralph Horsley's cover to Pathfinder Module J5: Beyond the Vault of Souls. The foolish minions of the Golem won't even known it's missing! But what is that pounding on the door...?
Vadid and Nahk Preview Purloiners
A wizard is capturing souls and binding them to magical gems to keep the spirits of the dead from departing to their just rewards, and the church of Pharasma, goddess of death, has had enough of his meddling with the afterlife. When a magical security feature in the wizard's tower sends the gems spinning off to several different planes, the church calls on the PCs to track them down. From the vault of the gods in the planar nexus of Axis, to the fields of Elysium where righteous heroes battle endlessly even in death, and on past the gates of Hell itself, the PCs must race through portal after portal to recover the lost souls before sinister outsiders can beat them to the prize.