I've been told, all right.
A few weeks ago we ran a contest, in which people competed to stat up characters from my Pathfinder Tales fiction. Choosing only three favorites from these entries was incredibly hard. There wasn't a dog among them—no offense, Arni—and of course almost everyone who built an entry (or five) did something unique.
With a little help from "Mean" Russ Taylor, I narrowed the field to five favorites. That made things even harder, because every one of them had something different to recommend it. Some were elegant in their simplicity, others demonstrated exacting (and rather flattering) attention to detail. Others just plain put me to shame, because you folks know the rules so much better than I do.
What won me over in the end was a combination of authenticity to the characters coupled with innovative or surprising design choices. My three favorite entries gave me a new way of looking at how those characters do what they do.
My Favorites (in no particular order)
Xellos (Jeggare)—This one is both highly faithful to the novels and a very innovative build, since the magus didn't exist when I first imagined the count. Excellent explanations. Just outstanding all around.
havoc xiii (Radovan)—While I originally thought of monk levels for Radovan, the cad works out really well. This is another innovative build that challenged my preconceptions even as it was faithful to what we see Radovan doing in the books.
Rosgakori (Kemeili)—Really excellent, a trifle more powerful than I'd imagined her, but in ways that fit. Spell selection a little different from what I'd sketched out for the book, but since I didn't show her casting every spell she knew, that's not a problem.
Very Honorable Mentions (also in no particular order)
Jesse Benner (Jeggare/Radovan)—Extremely faithful to the books, these straight-up builds are pretty close to what I'd jotted down in my notes. Although I hadn't given Radovan any fighter levels, they certainly make sense.
Yumeko (Goblin Who Swallowed the Wind)—A beautifully simple presentation of one of my favorite secondary characters. This one would have my "less is more" prize if I had a bag full of special awards.
Beek383 (Jeggare, Arnisant, Zandros, Mon Choi, Radovan)—Together, these were easily the most comprehensive survey of characters, nice and straightforward. I like to think this is how others are using some of the novel characters in their games.
LoreKeeper (Radovan)—A good basic build for Radovan, a little lower-level than I'd imagined but with all of the essentials. I love the explanation. That makes the entry—and those that followed its example—that much more interesting.
Tangaroa (Azra)—I actually like the "ugly little girl" take on Azra, and this version definitely pays attention to her abilities from the book. Azra's the character whose "build" I've most questioned since her first appearance, since the oracle class came out soon after.
Blue_Hill (Caladrel)—A very good interpretation of the character, and surprisingly close to what I statted up in Hero Lab. Well done!
Kevin Andrew Murphy (Iolanda)—I never gave Iolanda's game stats this much thought, but if I had, I hope I'd have come up with something this good. The skill and spell selection make perfect sense. In this version, she's even deadlier than I'd imagined.
Pathfinder Tales Author
In the Seattle area this month? Join Dave Gross at University Books in Seattle on January 25 at 7:00 PM! Dave read from Queen of Thorns and preview an upcoming novel. Afterward he'll sign copies of all his Pathfinder Tales novels, including Elaine Cunningham's Winter Witch, for which Elaine has kindly provided book plates, so you can have both authors' signatures at once.