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Chris A. Jackson

Chris A Jackson's page

Contributor. Pathfinder Society Member. 215 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 1 alias.


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Thanks everyone! Just so everyone knows, the amazing cover is by Remko Troost. If you want to see the whole thing, front, spine, back, without text, I posted it with permission on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/chris.a.jackson.967

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John Kretzer wrote:

So how was Gencon?

Anything exciting happened that you can share?

Had a fantastic time at GenCon, especially hanging out with Howard... We only see each other once a year, so sipping a beer with him and catching up is great. Josh and Gary (the young guns) are both great and fun to talk to, not to mention talented and professional... I wish I'd gotten my start that early.

Also got to chat with the Tor editor handling the distribution deal with Paizo. Very good feeling about this. It's a win for everyone, really, and they are not intending on meddling with the line.

I also showed a *few* people the new cover of Pirate's Prophecy...though it has not been officially released yet. I love the artwork...it's very different from my previous covers, and instead of a map in the inside, we did a cross sectional diagram of the Stargazer, which I like very much as well. It just went to the printer... You should see it soon, and the release is scheduled for early next year.

So, yeah...a good GenCon. You were missed, Dave!

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I just want to say, as a closing note, thanks to everyone for a great discussion. I love hearing everyone's views. It's great to see that I evoked so much emotion with the story.

Here are some points for thought:

Torius has real issues that he keeps buried deep. He does hate pesh, though it's not as "visible" as his loathing of people who sell sex. I think living with a mother drug-addict/prostitute damaged him deeply. He does refuse to carry pesh as cargo in the first book, but that's as far as I went. Probably should have gone farther. His loathing of addiction was the main focus in that regard. He certainly has an addictive personality.

Zarina: She totally went a little crazy when she found out what Vreva had done to her. There is a horrible violation, in her eyes, of the betrayal Vreva perpetrated upon her. She seduced her, and even loved her, and it was all a lie. Killing Saffron (whom she did not know was a familiar) was lashing out. Also, he did attack her... What she did to Vreva was sheer revenge for her own pain, justified by her profession, and she undoubtedly regretted it the moment it was over. She's a very complicated character...

So, I'm happy everyone enjoyed it, and can't wait for February. I have seen the preliminary cover art, and you are all in for a treat...and quite a surprise where I take the characters.

Thanks again!

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xeose4 wrote:

If you're gonna respond to some thread comments, Mr. Jackson, can you also answer: were you hungry the whole time you wrote this book? because I was hungry the whole time reading it. yeah there was some crazy fare when the Stargazers were feeding the wealthy merchant previously, but damn Vreva is a certified GOURMAND. I cannot believe that she doesn't have a weight loss spell (or else need to eat a ton to fuel her spellpower) because haha every time Zarine showed up Vreva had like, a SIX COURSE MEAL laid out! lawlz I love Vrava so much. I can totally picture the stargazer crew rallying around her instead of torius simply because she stocks the larder so much better than he does. hah!

Ha! I'm always hungry...love food, and good food was definitely part of Vreva's elegance. To put on anything less than a beautiful spread would have raised suspicion. She does like her luxuries... I can't wait for you all to see where she goes!!! Muaa haa haa!

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Just want to say that this is a really good analysis of characterization, xeose4. I'll hold off until the discussion is finished to put my two cents in, but you open up a lot of things I didn't really think of, and some that I did, and I'm happy about.

Keep one thing in mind: Vreva was a spy in Pirate's Honor, too. Spies only show you the person they want you to see...

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I was just brought on board by Jason and Neil to do some short fiction for the AP, and I am so psyched... Thanks to you all for letting me play in your world. This is going to be sooooo much fun!

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xeose4 wrote:


Also, I am utterly in love with Vera. I actually thought that her cat HAD to be a familiar ('cause it was remarked upon so often) in the first book, but I was gonna put money down on her being a magical rogue (with the magical adept rogue talents) or perhaps a weird bard rather than a straight-up sorcerer. That really surprised me!...

You were very clever to pick that up, and you were actually right. Vreva has a few levels of "poisoner" as a rogue. This helps her with drugging slavers, and a little stealth... Well done!

Loving the commentary, by the way... This brings so much to light that I had never thought of...

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leo1925 wrote:
How do you feel when your story is... how should i say this... invalidated (or alter so much that it's not the same story) by an existing spell?

In working with such a deep and powerful magic system, it's difficult sometimes to make sure you've figured out all the eventualities of magic to solve problems. It may seem like a cop out to say this, but I often think that if I can't think of using a certain magical "solution" for a problem facing my characters, well by golly neither could they! I strive to keep the magic in the novels relatively low level, and when a big spell is needed to solve a problem, there has to be a major investment to gain that spell. Sometimes the availability of high level magic in the game (as a GM) kind of makes my teeth ache. I limit the players access to high level magical items, spells, armor, weapons, etc simply because if these things were so readily available, everyone with enough money would have them, and that doesn't build a workable world (IMHO). That's how I write my fantasy. Yes, my characters employ raise dead right off the bat in the short prequel story, Stargazer, but Torius had to spend himself into the poor house to do it.

Hope that answers the question.

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Kalindlara wrote:
Which of the published APs is your favorite? (Liane or anyone.)

I have not played nearly enough of them, but I had a great time with Rise of the Rune Lords, and I'm currently GMing Shackles. As always, I include the elements I like, and skirt around the ones I don't while GMing. The only problem I have ever found with any of the AP's is when two different authors give the adventure a very different flavor. Hard from an editorial standpoint to keep that transition smooth.

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Ross Byers wrote:
A question for the broader table - What is your philosophy when describing the process of using magic? Especially when it is the POV character who is using it?

In Pathfinder Tales I don't delve too deeply into what is happening in the character's head when casting spells, but in Pirate's Promise -

Spoiler:
Vreva is captured and her magical ability is incapacitated by a slave collar that inhibits spellcasting. That scene describes what is happening inside her head as if an inner warmth she had always known was suddenly quenched. She is a sorcerer, so her magic is quite a part of her.

In my own world, it depends greatly on the type of spellcaster we're talking about. Some feel magic as part of the environment around them that they can manipulate using material components and written spells, much like Pathfinder wizards do, while others feel a more innate connection to the world and manipulate certain elements as part of their genetic heritage. Still other mages only manipulate magic through runes.

I like to approach magic like science: there are different disciplines of science and each scientist might solve a problem by approaching it through their own specialty. A geneticist might design a bacterium to eat pollutants, whereas a chemist will use a chemical process, and a physicist might use another approach...

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Steve Geddes wrote:

How do you all approach the Christmas tree effect?

It seems to me that PFTales protagonists don't continually "upgrade" equipment, nor are they festooned with trinkets - rather they each have one or two significant items. This is very much to my tastes, however it doesn't really seem true to Pathfinder's spirit. Are the minor items all there in the background, just not emphasised perhaps?

Other than potions and scrolls that I can't imagine any self respecting adventurer being without, I tend to shy away from powerful items. Arms and armor, yes, and my characters don't shy when spending their booty when the need arises. In Pirate's Promise I play a bit with weaponry improvements for ballistae that greatly increase effectiveness and versatility. My characters aren't super rich, either, and toys cost money, right. I always try to keep their spending in line with how much they have taken in.

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Wicked! I was so waiting for someone to pop the vamp bubble, and Wes is the perfect guy to do it!

Can't wait for this one.

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Orthos wrote:
If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

Can't really answer that one, because it's in the works... A place where no other tale has been based before! Muaa haa haaa!

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Kajehase wrote:

Ahem. A big thank you to all the writers who's answered so far, as well as to any who will answer questions in the future, and to everyone feeding them questions too, for that matter.

And just to stay on topic, a question: Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?

I use them too much. Just ask my editor... Semicolons are like em-dashes... Once you use one, you're addicted.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

With regard to ongoing series - one of the reasons I don't enjoy them as a reader is that I "know" they're going to survive for the next book. So when they get into dire straits, I don't really wonder if they're going to get through - just how. (The Worldwound Gambit was the only one I remember where I genuinely entertained the idea that the bad guys might win).

Do any of you ever find that as a constraint? (Like "I'd really like to kill Radovan off here, but that's unacceptable") Or are such considerations purely, 100% driven by the needs of the particular story in question?

Easy answer: Yes.

I find series constraining in a similar way, but consider this: Primary characters may survive, but maybe not in the exact way you think. There are lots of ways to "survive" in Golarion... Are you the same character if you are reincarnated as a halfling, or a cantaur, or a goblin?

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Steve Geddes wrote:

As a general question to any author interested in answering it:

How many of the other PF Tales books do you read?
How much of the campaign setting stuff? Just the ones covering the area your novel is set in? The whole kit and kaboodle? Something else?

I've read *almost* all of the PFT novels in one form or another. Occasionally, I get a copy from another author for a beta read prior to publication... Doing that now (what a treat!)

I'm a delver when it comes to campaign setting books. I get all the ones that pertain directly to settings of my books, which is a lot, considering how much Torius and his crew get around, but I tend to simply read the Inner Sea Guide for fun and ideas. The authors are spreading out a lot, and it's always fun looking for the next locale.

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I will be happy to answer questions of all kinds!

I first played Pathfinder the year it was released. My gaming group was throwing fits about an impending fourth edition of the game we were playing at the time, and all agreed to give the new kid on the block a try. Loved it from the get-go, and we started playing regularly.

I went to GenCon for the first time in 2011 and pitched myself to James Sutter as a nautical fantasy writer, having just finished a successful series of novels for a Canadian small press. Paizo had just started releasing the Skull and Shackles AP, and nobody was writing pirate stories, so I thought it would be a good fit. The fact that my wife and I are full-time sailors might have convinced him that I knew my way around boats.

I sent in a writing sample, and James tagged me and asked if I'd be interested in doing some web fiction. Of course, I was thrilled, and sent him some pitches (six I think) for web fic stories. He picked one, and I handed him the Stargazer web fic about two weeks later (I was really psyched about the project, and had the advantage of not having a day job at the time, so could devote my energy.) I must have han00ded in just the right thing at the right time, because the next email I got from James had the subject line "Paizo Novel?"

After I stopped screaming with delight (told you I was psyched about the project) I read that James had a hole in his novel schedule for the following year, and I could fill it if I gave him a 100K manuscript in five months. I jumped on it and handed him Pirate's Promise a couple of weeks early.

Aside from novels, I also got to contribute the introduction section of the Ships of the Inner Sea supplement.

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On Character death: Who among you have read "Wool"? I gotta say, after the third major POV character died, I stopped caring about the POV characters! The trick, I think, is to threaten the POV character with worse than death events...

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Liane Merciel wrote:

Character Death

Chris Jackson does this really, really well in Pirate's Promise:

** spoiler omitted **...

I really thought I would take some heat for that, Liane. There are *rules* that you don't break, right... I'm glad it worked for you. Now, I'm looking for more rules to break!

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John Kretzer wrote:
Whose else call is it? So we can start to beg them. ;)

The editor has a big voice as to what get's the okay to be included. I get along wonderfully with Sutter, and I've broached the subject. We'll probably have a beer and discuss it at PaizoCon...

Suffice to say, there are many irons in the fire...

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Rysky wrote:
Jackson! You know my thoughts on the matter, more Zarina pleeeeeeeaaasssseeeeee!

Not 100% my call, but let's just say you have all stimulated my imagination. Considering it...

I really like the idea of a "Vreva alone" novel. You should all be salivating buckets for the upcoming Pirate's Prophesy...you will see a new side of Vreva Jhafae.

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This is the second time I've gotten the suggestion that maybe Zarina survived... Hmmm... and you give good reasons and compelling ideas about why her survival is a good idea. Hmmm... all good!

Only thing I would say is I wasn't thinking Zarina's fighting was suicidal or cowardly, but a moment of redemption. She did not have unlimited teleport (dimensional hop, actually) and used that up quickly in combat, so she couldn't teleport to Stargazer. Could she have escaped? She was surrounded by slavers... Don't know.

So, you said you had a dozen ways she could have survived or could come back. I can only think of a few, and I don't know about bringing her back as undead... that's kinda icky...

Ideas everyone?

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I'm very excited about this deal, primarily because it will increase distribution. The Kindle availability is huge. The format change allows more detailed artwork on the cover, and perhaps some larger format maps and/or schematics inside.

Frankly, I'm shocked at the discount for subscribers and even non-subscribers who buy from the Paizo site. That shows you all how much Paizo loves you. Really.

Can't wait for December... cough *more pirates...* cough...

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Can't wait for this one. Yay, Dwarves!

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Justin Franklin wrote:
Alleran wrote:

I am both intrigued and wary.

Intrigued because this means more insight into naval elements and presumably the expansion on the ship combat rules in S&S.

Wary because as somebody who does have some interest in nautical stuff in reality, I worry that the authors won't and that the final rules (and representation of naval elements in PF) will come out looking like some unholy spawn of Davy Jones and a swarm of crabs. In which case I'd have to throw a lot of stuff out the window and create from scratch anyway.

Well I know for sure at least one of the authors is in the US Navy, so I expect he might know something. :)

I can vouch for the introduction as far as nautical authenticity goes. Thirty five years on the ocean. Can't say how honored I was to be included on this project, lowly novelist that I am... ;-)

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Okay, conflicts resolved and I vow to be there! Bring your copies of Pirate's Honor, and Pirate's Promise! PFS Boons for everyone!

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Thanks for posting, Liz!

Yes, more of everyone...Nautical mayhem ensues!!!

And more Vreva Jhafae!

So psyched to see this coming out! Thanks to everyone who enjoyed Pirate's Honor. This one's for you!

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We're using the Skull and Shackles pawns extensively running that AP. now I must have these, too. Very cool for me, with no room to store real minis.

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Kairos Dawnfury wrote:

Perhaps it's because I'm younger and haven't read an many novels, but most of my experiences with stories have been angsty anti-heroes and scoundrals who become heroic in the 11th hour.

Paizo's short fiction was honestly what got me really reading novels in the past few years, so I had the opposite experience. I'd like some genuine heroes with an emphasis on the GOOD aspect of their alignment. Heroism to me involves their intentions as well as their actions.

I didn't mean to imply I didn't like this story, I merely jumped on the bandwagon. I'm hoping we end up with a Rocky like story of a shaken confidence.

I would suggest King of Chaos for you as well, and there is a lot of fantasy out there, so look for reviews. If you want to read a great series in that vein, I might suggest Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarion. I fell in love with it 25 years ago, and still have my copies.

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I like this very much, and with all due respect to the above comments, how can you look upon a disabled character in the opening scene of a story, and not knowing anything about how or why they became disabled, decide that they are not, were not, or won't be heroes?

Frankly, I've had quite enough stories of "perfect" heroes. I enjoyed many such stories in years past, but I want something more complex now. I like to see someone who might not be a typical "hero" evolve into one throughout the story. I'm guessing that's what we'll see here.

Also completely agree with James: Heroism is actions, not shiny armor.

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I liked the hotel, the staff were great and the pool area was very cool. The free WiFi was a huge plus for me. The restaurant was a little pricy, but that just made me eat less... We actually requested a fridge for our room, so we had some food there which saved cost. From the point of view of someone flying in for the con, this venue could not have been more convenient. A free short ride from the airport, a short walk to the light rail into town.

The seminars were very good, though one room that was scheduled for seminars, readings, etc was taken over by gamers... That turned out to be a non-issue, as we simply redirected the attendees to a new venue.

It was a huge treat for me to meet the Paizo staff, and I want to thank everyone for their hospitality, friendship, and camaraderie. Thanks also to the people who bought out all the copies of Pirate's Honor from the store...you made my day!

Extra special thanks to Kyle for an awesome Meet and Eat, although that was not a "con event", it really started things out right.

Well done, Paizo!

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Jim in OK wrote:

I grabbed a digital copy of Scimitar Moon for my Kindle app so I can continue to read your piratey adventures. Too bad your other books aren't available from Paizo in .epub format; I really prefer my e-reader app to the Kindle format.

Glad you liked the story, Jim!

FYI, you can get all of my work in e-pub format from either Kobo or Barnes and Nobel. They both sell e-pubs. Alternatively, you can get the e-pub versions of the Scimitar Seas novels directly from the publisher, Dragon Moon press.

Fair winds indeed...I'll take all I can get!

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flash_cxxi wrote:
I'm almost finished, but I just have to say that given the super high quality of this piece of pure awesome, I expect to see the further adventures of the crew of Stargazer in print within the next year or there is something seriously not right with the world!

What a wonderful thing to say! Thank you, Flash! I guess I better get to work making the world "right".

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I've been biting my nails for this to go live, just to see the character illustrations. I love this one of Torius! The artist really nailed it!

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Emphasis on what Vic said! Game design and writing fiction are completely different animals.

Okay, having just broken into Paizo as a contributor with "Pirate's Honor", I'll tell you how I did it. Keep in mind that this is not the only way it could happen.

1) Establish yourself as a professional fantasy author.

2) Read, learn, play and love Pathfinder.

3) Pitch yourself with a story or game element in mind. I chose nautical fiction not only because that is what I love to write, and have been successful with, but because PFT had not yet put out a "pirate novel".

4) Submit writing samples upon request, with emphasis on that last bit. I know James' post states that you can pitch with a sample, but personally, I would ask first. Deluging James with a bunch of e-mails with attached samples that were not requested will probably earn you a quick boot.

5) Wait and do not heckle!

6) If you are asked to pitch specific story lines for web fic (the typical starting point) be prepared with several pitches.

7) If James picks one of your pitches, give him your absolutely best work, and send it in.

Of the above, number one is the hardest step, but there really are no shortcuts. I put out ten novels before I pitched to Paizo.

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Here's Damon's Pathfinder art on Facebook. The cover is posted there without the title and logo.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.442061125830641.87077.270998459603 576&type=1

Enjoy!

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Just finished "Liar's Blade"... love the banter... Nothing better than a wise ass weapon to keep you dishonest.

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Without asking the hotel what they are willing to do/offer us, there is no way to know what they will require. All it would take is a phone call, or a few e-mails to find out. If they want a non-refundable deposit, there are two options, take a collection or just say no thanks.

One point: since I will be flying in, and won't have a car, someplace as close as possible to the host hotel would be best for me. Don't know how many others are in the same situation.

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While I would love to do a picnic in the park Meet and Eat, the 4th of July crowds would kill it, I think, not to mention the chance of rain. Someone might give the hotel a call about the meeting room rental... This is the con hotel, after all. If they set up a cash bar, they will be making money (at least from me), so some subtle hints that maybe they could comp us the room might be agreeable. If the last M&E drew 125 people, we could probably promise them that many. The only other question would be food.

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Love this book... I'm going to be GMing the Skulls & Shackles for my group soon, and I'm going to open up options for races from the Advanced Race Guide... Should be fun.

One thing I wanted but didn't get was a favored class of Monk for the Catfolk... Seems a natural, and there is even a very cool piece of artwork to support my "want"... Ranger is a given, and rogue is the same, but I think a catfolk monk would rock!

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Ah... the puns have begun...

Everyone should have a look at the wiki on organizations. Some great examples here, though many are quite sketchy. Gives good ideas what types of organizations are already described in Golarion, what the judges might want, or not want, formatting, and what has already been done, or way overdone...

I think this will be more of an imagination challenge than a technical one, and I'm really looking forward to it! Bring it on!


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