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A Novel Approach to Creating the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Pathfinder Tales Character Deck required the most research of any of the decks. The Pathfinder Tales line includes dozens of novels and short stories, and a veritable digital mountain of web fiction. At one point I had forty tabs and three ebooks open as I scoured through all of the Tales for our best cards. Surprisingly, in that immense field full of amazing options, the team picked three characters almost immediately.

Let's give a hand for our lovely crew. Maybe two hands—Celeste seems to be missing hers.

I've been a fan of Dave Gross's Radovan and Varian for years. We've managed to sneak his work into Season of the Righteous and the Summoner Class Deck, and he happily helped us out with this set, writing the flavor text for his characters.

"Some choose to wield the sword, others the grimoire. I note that we have two hands."

Count Varian can't memorize spells in the normal fashion. Thankfully, he's more than willing to throw money at solving that problem, and has years of fencing expertise as backup. He's also a renowned noble and ambassador of Cheliax, a graduate of the Acadamae, and a Pathfinder Society Venture-Captain. He's done fairly well, if he does say so himself.

"Listen up, you mooks. You die, makes me look bad. You know how much I like to look good."

Radovan's a wise-mouthed hellspawn, ready to literally jump into the fire to save his boss, Varian. Fortunately, the devil Norge keeps Radovan from burning. Less fortunately, the veritable host of devils whispering temptations to Radovan are just waiting for their opportunity to take control of his body, burst out into the world, or turn him into a gateway to Hell. Radovan really does have all the luck.

The deck also includes several signature boons from Radovan and Varian's adventures. I imagine basically all players of Varian will want Arnisant to accompany them. Just look at this face:

"Of course I am not comparing you to my hound. Arnisant is obedient to a fault."

The third character was selected almost as quickly, as we laid out a slew of major characters and images, and Mike quickly said something like: "And here's a bunch of other characters and THE LUNAR NAGA WE'RE GOING TO MAKE." Artist Eric Belisle really did an amazing job on Celeste and the team immediately agreed we had to bring her to life.

Lunar nagas make the best pirate astrologers!

That settled, what to do with all of the other amazing characters in Tales? SO. MANY. ALLIES. And one very talkative weapon.

Warning: Do not buy this deck if you are allergic to pictures of adorable puppies.

I really wanted to highlight the synergy of characters from the same Tales, so that you weren't just picking the best mechanics, but had a genuine reason to keep Hrym united with Rodrick or Torius Vin with his crew, or Zae and Keren Rhinn with Appleslayer. Also, Mike threatened to shank anyone who stood in the way of Appleslayer's inclusion in the deck.

No previously existing allies were included in the making of this deck.

Of course, some of these folks are amazing all on their own. The Tales deck includes some of the best allies we've ever made. We expect fans of Drelm from the Mummy's Mask Character Add-On Deck will like Elyana, who appears alongside Drelm in the novel Plague of Shadows.

But don't imagine that the 23 all-new allies are the only new boons in the Tales deck. There are plenty more, including legendary weapons and tomes of arcane and powerful lore.

Sometimes you just need to find a really scary book. And steal it.

A lot of these boons interact with specific allies; for example, the ally Eando Kline will let you recharge that Wayfinder from your discard pile.

The hope and goal was always that any Pathfinder Tales fan would have no regrets adding this class deck to each and every set. And maybe a few card players can get some great plays out of the cards, then seek out the stories that spawned them.

Keith Richmond
Adventure Card Game Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Class Decks Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Pathfinder Tales
Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's all about Appleslayer. Good pup!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

This deck looks fantastic! I can hardly wait.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

This deck is amazing! I had the opportunity to play Radovan as part of the Open at GenCon and have been anxiously awaiting my deck's arrival since. I can't decide if I'm going to play Radovan or Celeste first... My husband preemptively laid claim to any future incarnations of Varian after reading Prince of Wolves a year ago...

And the allies in this deck are amazing. I absolutely love the Pathfinder Tales books, and getting to see so many familiar characters (& a few I haven't had time to meet yet) as part of the deck is really neat. I especially enjoy the way the allies interact with each other, and how many of them have exploration powers that are more than just "discard this card to explore your location."


Looking at the Mummy's Mask add on Deck.... Since when was Drelm a cleric in Plague of Shadows? I thought he was just a devout fighter.

Other than that, I like the idea of this.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

This deck looks awesome - looking forward to finding it in my mail!
Playing SotRi is going to be really awkward with Varian and Radovan :D
Some questions:

- Is there a list of which books you took things from? I recently read the Worldwound Gambit and would like to know if something made it into the deck.

- I haven't read her novels, but it strikes me as curious that Celeste doesn't interact with the Swashbuckling trait or anything else related to SnS, given that she appears in (several?) novels about pirates. Is this the same for her other role as well?

- By the rules, the characters can also be played with their respective class decks, right? Also, are there plans to have Salim, Drelm or Channa Ti to become available for this deck?

- When Varian has to shuffle any number of spells from his discard pile into his deck for his role power, that number can not be 0, right? Consequently, when there are not enough spells left, he gets to ignore the impossible instruction anyway, right?

BTW, there was an error with the images: The first instance of Steal Book has the description Hrym on the link (which is the mentioned talking sword according to the pathfinder wiki), so I suppose there should be another ally/weapon instead of showing Steal Book twice.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Judging from the blog's wording - I suppose the first picture of Steal Book should be Captain's Cutlass (or whatever the 'very talkative weapon' is) ?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Should be Hrym from the name of the file

Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Celeste's other Role, Prophet of Piracy, is excellent in Skulls and Shackles. Should you find you need to get your piracy on :)

Hrym should be joining us shortly. Reported his image for fixing.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great job team, the preview looks fantastic!


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If that 1st Steal Book is supposed to be Hrym, then I am disappointed! I would very much like to see Hrym, please?!
Looks very nice overall.


Doppelschwert wrote:
By the rules, the characters can also be played with their respective class decks, right? Also, are there plans to have Salim, Drelm or Channa Ti to become available for this deck?

The Guide 4.2 (p. 7) only allows you to take characters from a Base Set or Character Add-On Deck and put them into a Class Deck.

ObTopic: I haven't read these books so I have no real ties to the characters and I have tons of other characters to try already, so I'll probably pass. I expect my friend who played Agna will like the Animals. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Um, minor thing, but isn't Akina a Barbarian? Dealing with and controlling her Rage is one of the main points of the novel.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

But yay! Tales characters!

Arnisant and Appleslayer!

Elyana and Celeste!

Protect the Red Leathers!

Lone Shark Games

Rysky wrote:
Um, minor thing, but isn't Akina a Barbarian? Dealing with and controlling her Rage is one of the main points of the novel.

I wouldn't assign much importance to the class traits chosen for the cards. Especially since we tend to assign only one class for multiclass characters.

Also, Novel characters tend to eschew official stats for very good reason. I'm honestly more dubious calling Varian a wizard, nowadays. :)

P.S. You can click-through to see Hrym's stats now. You may need to shift-reload to make the old Steal Book disappear.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yeah, he's a wizardmagusmonksorcererarcanist aka the poster child of the rebuild rules :3

Thankies for the response.

Oooo, shiny!


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yippee! Can see Hrym now! Thank you.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Also I just noticed Norge, woohoo!

Are these all the characters in the deck or just a sampling (going off of Hrym's card I'm guessing Rodrick is in it too)?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Sorry for spamming posts, but I just noticed non of the links work...


Akina seems to be described as a dwarven warrior.

Also all the cards here are cool.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

According to the blog, there are 23 new allies in this deck, so the allies in the blog are just a sample of roughly 1/4 of the characters.


Allies != Characters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Well at least the following 12 allies out of the 23 are listed in this blog:
Akina
Appleslayer
Arnisant
Eando Kline
Elyana
Grogul
Keren Rhinn
Rodrick
Shy Ratani
Snick
Torius Vin
Zae

Not obvious whether Drelm also makes an guest star appearance as an ally.

Lone Shark Games

Keith Richmond wrote:
I wouldn't assign much importance to the class traits chosen for the cards. Especially since we tend to assign only one class for multiclass characters.

This was an early mandate of mine, because I didn't want to open the door for (say) Varian getting five class traits. I let it go with the rogue/monk Tsuto Kaijitsu, and I regretted it almost immediately as people started asking about missing traits on other multiclass individuals. So, one class per card.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

;_; Poor Barbarians...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

These look awesome! I can't wait to try out Varian.


Mike Selinker wrote:
Keith Richmond wrote:
I wouldn't assign much importance to the class traits chosen for the cards. Especially since we tend to assign only one class for multiclass characters.
This was an early mandate of mine, because I didn't want to open the door for (say) Varian getting five class traits. I let it go with the rogue/monk Tsuto Kaijitsu, and I regretted it almost immediately as people started asking about missing traits on other multiclass individuals. So, one class per card.

With Drelm, I don't recall him even thinking about casting spells. But then it's been a while since I read Plague of Shadows and I haven't read the second book.

But overall it is a minor concern.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Eviljames wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
Keith Richmond wrote:
I wouldn't assign much importance to the class traits chosen for the cards. Especially since we tend to assign only one class for multiclass characters.
This was an early mandate of mine, because I didn't want to open the door for (say) Varian getting five class traits. I let it go with the rogue/monk Tsuto Kaijitsu, and I regretted it almost immediately as people started asking about missing traits on other multiclass individuals. So, one class per card.

With Drelm, I don't recall him even thinking about casting spells. But then it's been a while since I read Plague of Shadows and I haven't read the second book.

But overall it is a minor concern.

Read the second book, it's good :3


You'll find all the answers you seek about Drelm in the follow-up novel "Stalking the Beast." I used to it to write Drelm's biography for the PACG Hero Guide (some players wanted the backstory for their characters and collecting the blog posts was allowed under the Community Use Policy.)

story point:
Although to be fair, it was a bit unclear to me as the reader (and a 1st edition AD&D player) whether Drelm dual-classed to cleric or simply became a paladin. Running Abadar's church suggests cleric, but there's also a point in the story where Drelm uses "lay hands" on someone in an effort to heal them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A class deck based on the Pathfinder Tales characters is a neat idea. Tales Readers who play PACG gain extra insight into the boons accompanying their hero along with a deeper understanding of their hero's backstory and personality. On the flip side, the buy-in for PACG players who haven't read the novels and want to learn more is relatively low, a library check-out or a $10 book purchase.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Is Hrym an intelligent weapon, and is that why it can be acquired with Cha/Dipl but not Str/Melee?

Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Indeed, Hrym is an intelligent talking weapon.

He doesn't particularly like being used by your average fighter and paladin type and has multiple times ensured he instead ends up with someone he likes, like Rodrick.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The Lacuna Codex card looks funny without the "Powers" bar above the text box. Otherwise, this really looks like an awesome deck.

Lone Shark Games

Odd. The proof has the Powers bar, so that's probably just the website image.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

This happened before on the blog. I remember that Vic said something like it was a bug of some program involved, then it got fixed in the blog. I wouldn't worry about the actual card.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Doppelschwert wrote:
This happened before on the blog. I remember that Vic said something like it was a bug of some program involved, then it got fixed in the blog. I wouldn't worry about the actual card.

Yep. Chris should be fixing it soon (assuming the bug doesn't keep biting).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Why is Varian a Wizard and Celeste a Sorcerer?

new classes:
At the end of Lord of Runes, Varian could be considered an Arcanist- prep of a wizard, selection of a sorcerer.
His monastic training has just proven to be more for calisthenics than martial prowess.
At the end of Pirate's Prophecy, Celeste has come to terms with her new Oracle powers.

Though, would have been interesting to see you try to work in Varian's casting induced Nausea.

Even though I don't play the ACG much, I would love the get the decks. Radovan with Hyrm. heh heh heh...

Tis a sham(e) some of the Heroes were reduced to Allies.

Lone Shark Games

Selvaxri wrote:
Why is Varian a Wizard and Celeste a Sorcerer?

Because that's what the literature suggested they should be. YMMV.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Selvaxri wrote:

Though, would have been interesting to see you try to work in Varian's casting induced Nausea.

Didn't they, in a way? His recharging mechanics are completely different from the normal wizard mechanics, which clearly models him using scrolls to cast spells.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah, I really liked that detail for Varian.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Selvaxri wrote:

Why is Varian a Wizard and Celeste a Sorcerer?

** spoiler omitted **

Celeste *is* a sorcerer, and only gains her oracle level in Pirate's Prophecy. So...that's why.

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chris A Jackson wrote:
Selvaxri wrote:

Why is Varian a Wizard and Celeste a Sorcerer?

** spoiler omitted **

Celeste *is* a sorcerer, and only gains her oracle level in Pirate's Prophecy. So...that's why.

FYI, that's why she has a Prophet of Piracy role.


Well, I for one am not surprised at all!

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