Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Elyana Rides Again!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Illustration by Eric Belisle

It's time to begin another story on Paizo's free web fiction Wednesday, and this time we have something new and different for you! In celebration of the release of Plague of Shadows, the new Pathfinder Tales novel, we've brought you a brand-new prequel story from Plague of Shadows author Howard Andrew Jones, featuring a number of the same characters but taking place well before the novel. Once again (or rather, once before) the Forlorn elf Elyana and her friends will encounter the evil of the Gray Gardeners in Galt—but this time there are the dark depths of the Verduran Forest to contend with as well. It's a pleasure to get to see characters from the novels in the web fiction, and we hope to do so each time a new novel releases—as well as sometimes just for fun.

As an author, Howard has knocked it out of the park. Early comments on Plague of Shadows have been extremely positive, and it's easy to see why. Perhaps it's the smooth speed with which he handles the fight scenes (and there are plenty), or the fast-paced sword and sorcery flavor (which is hardly surprising, given his status as Managing Editor of modern pulp magazine Black Gate). Yet even more than that, I think it's the classic feel of his stories that draw people in. Of all the novels we've published so far, Plague of Shadows is the one that most closely hews to the time-tested adventuring party dynamic. There's Elyana, the Forlorn elven ranger who knows her love for any human can never last; Drelm the honorable half-orc, struggling against his heritage; Vallyn the bard; Kellius the wizard—these are characters that feel familiar, even as they feel new.

And that's just the main party. Set many years earlier than the novel, this new story, "The Walkers from the Crypt," introduces us to the party that came before, and to the tensions that laid the novel's groundwork. But I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll stop there, and just say that it's a lot of fun.

I would also be remiss if I didn't note artist Eric Belisle's amazing illustration of Elyana, who also features on the cover of Plague of Shadows. Eric's perfectly captured the look and feel of an elven ranger from Golarion, and I hope you'll agree that the character in both the story and the novel are every bit as compelling as the illustration.

James Sutter
Fiction Editor

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Elves Eric Belisle Howard Andrew Jones Pathfinder Tales Plague of Shadows Rangers Web Fiction
Qadira

That is a very nice depiction of her... any chance you can pass it onto the people at Reaper and get a mini made of it? I'd love to have a figure of that picture.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

That would certainly be cool!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Now, this is morning blog!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

My favourite thing about the art in the blogs and web fiction is so many of them work perfectly for character portraits. I have a player with a tree hugging Elf Rogue that could use this picture for her character straight up.

I'm excited about the prequel. Plague of Shadows is my favourite Pathfinder Tale in the series so far.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

My favourite thing about the art in the blogs and web fiction is so many of them work perfectly for character portraits. I have a player with a tree hugging Elf Rogue that could use this picture for her character straight up.

I'm excited about the prequel. Plague of Shadows is my favourite Pathfinder Tale in the series so far.

Yeah, but the art in the webfiction isn't part of the community use policy yet

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

That's okay, the above picture appeared in a blog post (Yay!)

And I don't need a community use policy to print and give a picture for a friend's home game character. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

My favourite thing about the art in the blogs and web fiction is so many of them work perfectly for character portraits. I have a player with a tree hugging Elf Rogue that could use this picture for her character straight up.

I'm excited about the prequel. Plague of Shadows is my favourite Pathfinder Tale in the series so far.

Yeah, but the art in the webfiction isn't part of the community use policy yet

Pretty sure he means home use. Heck I've done that with allot of fantasy artwork.

Love the pic + PofS is a great read so far. Pacing myself so I don't run out of reading material, ha ha.

Also love the interludes, really like the way they show the back-story of Elyana & the rest of the adventuring party.


So they don't have a cleric or Oracle in their party. Tsk. Tsk.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Very cool!


Eric Belisle is an amazing artist. I hope he's with Pathfinder for a long time.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor

Good picture, but I'm disappointed she wasn't drawn with her hair tied back. Nice and realistic detail from the book. I liked that she opted for practical over feminine when on duty.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Russ Taylor wrote:
Good picture, but I'm disappointed she wasn't drawn with her hair tied back. Nice and realistic detail from the book. I liked that she opted for practical over feminine when on duty.

Remember, this art goes with the prequel story, which takes place decades before the book. Maybe she wore her hair differently back then. I mean, wouldn't you try a few different hairstyles if you lived for hundreds of years?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

C'mon. A hot elf? Even if she's practical 99.9% of the time, there have to be those magical moments that the knot slips and the hair falls down. That's when the music starts.

Contributor

Berselius wrote:
So they don't have a cleric or Oracle in their party. Tsk. Tsk.

I didn't know about Oracles when I wrote the book, but I probably wouldn't have used one anyway. A high level cleric would have made things a lot simpler for the characters, and who wants to read about that? :)

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Russ Taylor wrote:
Good picture, but I'm disappointed she wasn't drawn with her hair tied back. Nice and realistic detail from the book. I liked that she opted for practical over feminine when on duty.

A boob window in the armour and you're complaining about the impractical hair? :D

She's meant to be beautiful and aware of her effect upon the men around her, but at the same time hard as nails. I think the artist has done a pretty good job of capturing that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
Russ Taylor wrote:
Good picture, but I'm disappointed she wasn't drawn with her hair tied back. Nice and realistic detail from the book. I liked that she opted for practical over feminine when on duty.

A boob window in the armour and you're complaining about the impractical hair? :D

She's meant to be beautiful and aware of her effect upon the men around her, but at the same time hard as nails. I think the artist has done a pretty good job of capturing that.

Agreed. But I object to the characterization of "boob window." Obviously that is an air vent. The fighting lady gets very hot in the midst of action, and heat rises. This practical feature of Elyana's armor keeps her in the fray and protects her from overheating.

Thank you, Eric Belisle and Howard Andrew Jones. Elyana, I salute you.


Quote:
I didn't know about Oracles when I wrote the book, but I probably wouldn't have used one anyway. A high level cleric would have made things a lot simpler for the characters, and who wants to read about that? :)

Who says the cleric has to be high level? As for making things simple, I'd kinda doubt that but hey, it's your book. Good job writing it none the less.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

She reminds me a big of Magua. If she makes a beckoning motion with her right hand while holding that big-ol knife, I am going the other direction fast.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just curious but what class or classes is Elyana? She has the abilities of a paladin (lay on hands) but I really don't see her being a paladin. A ranger maybe but not a paladin.

Howard, I love the contrast between "green" Vallyn & "veteran" Vallyn. Nice job conveying that part of the stories.

Contributor

Haldir wrote:

Just curious but what class or classes is Elyana? She has the abilities of a paladin (lay on hands) but I really don't see her being a paladin. A ranger maybe but not a paladin.

Howard, I love the contrast between "green" Vallyn & "veteran" Vallyn. Nice job conveying that part of the stories.

Thanks for that. Glad you enjoyed the Vallyn contrast.

I don't have the notebook with me that I statted Elyana out in, but she is a high level fighter with a few ranger levels. I didn't want her to be able to cast a whole lot of spells -- that would run contrary to the sort of noir feel I was going for. I did mention her ability to communicate with her horse once or twice and that was another ranger ability, but I didn't do too much else. I suppose she should probably have been casting more spells, but I elected to keep her low magic, just as some gms tweak their campaign world a bit. For instance, when I'm running I always prefer wizards to have to obtain a new spell even if they're qualified for one, and they can't just go and get it at the local spell-o-mart.

Contributor

Berselius wrote:
Quote:
I didn't know about Oracles when I wrote the book, but I probably wouldn't have used one anyway. A high level cleric would have made things a lot simpler for the characters, and who wants to read about that? :)
Who says the cleric has to be high level? As for making things simple, I'd kinda doubt that but hey, it's your book. Good job writing it none the less.

Glad you liked it, Bersellius. Honestly, it never occurred to me to have a cleric, but as I'm thinking back on the plot I am seeing some scenes that would have turned out differently if one had been along. Maybe I'll try writing one if I get another title.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Make it a half-elf cleric, Howard. That ought to make for some nice interplay and dialogue between Elyana and a new character like that. After all, someone who straddles both worlds should find some immediate common ground with her.

Just my two cents,
--Neil


Your story was a real page-turner, Howard. Smooth action sequences along with realistic, complicated and interesting characters kept me quite well entertained.
As I am trying to get into writing myself, I paid particular attention to how you wrote up your fight scenes. They didn't seem awkward or stiff at all. I wasn't aware that I was reading about a fight. It felt like I was watching it happen. That can be one of the hardest things to do in a fantasy story.
Congratulations on an excellent story, and may you write many more after this one.

Contributor

Dark Sasha wrote:

Your story was a real page-turner, Howard. Smooth action sequences along with realistic, complicated and interesting characters kept me quite well entertained.

As I am trying to get into writing myself, I paid particular attention to how you wrote up your fight scenes. They didn't seem awkward or stiff at all. I wasn't aware that I was reading about a fight. It felt like I was watching it happen. That can be one of the hardest things to do in a fantasy story.
Congratulations on an excellent story, and may you write many more after this one.

That's quite a compliment, Dark Sasha. I appreciate it.

If you've never read Robert E. Howard, you definitely should see how he choreographs his fight scenes. They're amazing. I spent a lot of time trying to take his combats apart to figure out how they worked, although I don't think I ended up sounding that much like him.

And I hope you don't mind me saying this -- but if you liked this book, I sure hope you'll try my other, a swashbuckling Arabian fantasy titled The Desert of Souls. It just came out a week or two ago and if it's not at your local Barnes & Noble, it's always available at Amazon.


Howard Andrew Jones wrote:

If you've never read Robert E. Howard, you definitely should see how he choreographs his fight scenes. They're amazing. I spent a lot of time trying to take his combats apart to figure out how they worked, although I don't think I ended up sounding that much like him.

And I hope you don't mind me saying this -- but if you liked this book, I sure hope you'll try my other, a swashbuckling Arabian fantasy titled The Desert of Souls. It just came out a week or two ago and if it's not at your local Barnes & Noble, it's always available at Amazon.

R.E.Howard is one of my favorites. I do agree though, that none of your characters fought at all like Conan does in Howard's works. But then, who does? Not many I'll venture to guess.

Thanks for the book suggestion, I'll make note of the titles for when I have some spare cash again. I do like my swashbucklers.

Contributor

Dark Sasha wrote:


R.E.Howard is one of my favorites. I do agree though, that none of your characters fought at all like Conan does in Howard's works. But then, who does? Not many I'll venture to guess.

Thanks for the book suggestion, I'll make note of the titles for when I have some spare cash again. I do like my swashbucklers.

Which Robert E. Howard stories have you read?

The man had great action chops, as they say. Leiber and Zelazny were great with action as well.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Here's also a master of conveying atmosphere, as in Tower of the Elephant and Queen of the Black Coast, two of my favorite Conan stories. Lots more than just action going on in those tales. God, I love Howard.

Howard Andrew Jones ain't bad, either! :)


Howard Andrew Jones wrote:

Which Robert E. Howard stories have you read?

The stories I have read are all compiled by Mark Shultz within the volume titled "The Comming of Conan the Cimmerian". I purchased this one because it held the best examples of his work without additions by later authors who were not Howard. I think there are a couple more of those volumes I don't yet have.

As Erik above mentions, The Tower of the Elephant and The Queen of the Black Coast are excellent examples. My favorite of all the ones I've read is The Phoenix on the Sword which contains all the elements of a true Howard story plus some very awesome short poetry.

"What do I know of the cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king."

I haven't yet had the chance to read Fritz Leiber. But Fafhard (sp?) and the Grey Mouser are on my list read eventually. I am in the middle of Zelazny's Amber Chronicles, but his stuff does not hold my attention as well as others. I am also in the middle of reading Jack Vance's Dying Earth series. Also in the middle of reading some nonfiction; Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, geeky Anthropological lay person's stuff.

Contributor

Dark Sasha wrote:
Howard Andrew Jones wrote:

Which Robert E. Howard stories have you read?

The stories I have read are all compiled by Mark Shultz within the volume titled "The Comming of Conan the Cimmerian". I purchased this one because it held the best examples of his work without additions by later authors who were not Howard. I think there are a couple more of those volumes I don't yet have.

As Erik above mentions, The Tower of the Elephant and The Queen of the Black Coast are excellent examples. My favorite of all the ones I've read is The Phoenix on the Sword which contains all the elements of a true Howard story plus some very awesome short poetry.

"What do I know of the cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king."

I haven't yet had the chance to read Fritz Leiber. But Fafhard (sp?) and the Grey Mouser are on my list read eventually. I am in the middle of Zelazny's Amber Chronicles, but his stuff does not hold my attention as well as others. I am also in the middle of reading Jack Vance's Dying Earth series. Also in the middle of reading some nonfiction; Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, geeky Anthropological lay person's stuff.

It sure sounds like you're reading the right stuff if you're serious about sword-and-sorcery! My advice on Fafhrd and the Mouser is that you don't necessarily have to read them in the order that the stories are supposed to happen for the characters -- I think the early to middle stories by the date they were written are much more enjoyable. Those collected originally in Swords Against Death are many of my favorites.

I loved the first Amber series, but I haven't read it in 20 years. Is The Pastel City on your "to be read" list? Any Moorcock or Brackett? The Sword of Rhiannon is a must read. Planet Stories is reprinting a lot of great Brackett. That lady could write -- fine, fine action scenes, and she was great with setting as well.

There are two more Conan volumes. And I think you're right about REH's poetry -- he was a natural storyteller and poet. He's one of my very favorite writers. I think some of his best battle scenes are to be found in his historicals.

Contributor

Erik Mona wrote:

Here's also a master of conveying atmosphere, as in Tower of the Elephant and Queen of the Black Coast, two of my favorite Conan stories. Lots more than just action going on in those tales. God, I love Howard.

Howard Andrew Jones ain't bad, either! :)

Yeah, REH, Brackett, and Lamb are my three top favorites.

And thanks for the nod, Mighty One!


Quote:
Maybe I'll try writing one if I get another title.

Personally I'd go with a Aasimar Paladin with self-confidence issues (due to not being able to fit in with the other villagers in his youth) who recently attracted the amorous (and flirtatious) attention of Thais...but as I said earlier...it's your book...so I'm sure whatever you'll do will be AWESOME UP THE WAZZU! ^_^

Contributor

Howard Andrew Jones wrote:
Dark Sasha wrote:


R.E.Howard is one of my favorites. I do agree though, that none of your characters fought at all like Conan does in Howard's works. But then, who does? Not many I'll venture to guess.

Thanks for the book suggestion, I'll make note of the titles for when I have some spare cash again. I do like my swashbucklers.

Which Robert E. Howard stories have you read?

The man had great action chops, as they say. Leiber and Zelazny were great with action as well.

Zelazny was a great guy too. I got a chance to work with him when we both did stories for Wild Cards: Card Sharks and I got to borrow his character, Pan Rudo, for one of my villains.

Contributor

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Howard Andrew Jones wrote:
Dark Sasha wrote:


R.E.Howard is one of my favorites. I do agree though, that none of your characters fought at all like Conan does in Howard's works. But then, who does? Not many I'll venture to guess.

Thanks for the book suggestion, I'll make note of the titles for when I have some spare cash again. I do like my swashbucklers.

Which Robert E. Howard stories have you read?

The man had great action chops, as they say. Leiber and Zelazny were great with action as well.

Zelazny was a great guy too. I got a chance to work with him when we both did stories for Wild Cards: Card Sharks and I got to borrow his character, Pan Rudo, for one of my villains.

You're a lucky man. I wish I could have had the opportunity to work with him. He remains among my favorite writers.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Tales / Paizo Blog: Elyana Rides Again! All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.