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Since there are a bunch of scattered threads where we, the PFT authors, tell people where we will be, I figured I'd put it in one place.
To start things off, this year I will be at:
DragonCon in Atlanta, GA, Sept. 4-7, in the Dealer Room
Necronomicon, in Tampa FL, Oct. 9-11, doing panel discussions.
If anyone is affiliated with a game- or bookstore and wants a visit, post here and ask.
I would disagree with that, actually. The reason I got into RPG's was the story-telling element, not the wargame aspect. I like strategy games, but I play RPG's to roleplay. For me, it's all about the characters, as you can probably tell by reading my fiction. Different people play for different reasons, and games like PF give what the player wants, whether that's cool character archetypes, a ton of rules to tweak, awesome settings, or the ability to take all of these and spin a really fun story for your players.
I learned storytelling by GMing, and wouldn't be a writer if I hadn't started playing D&D.
I do agree that publishing the stats for characters is problematic. Once you do it, you're locked in to those stats. Fiction characters can grow, just like your RPG characters can, and their next level might not be what you, or they, expect...
John Kretzer wrote:
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!
Thanks for getting the chronology straight. Important to note that although the short story Stargazer was posted after the release date of the novel Pirate's Honor, chronologically it is a prequel to the novel. Once again, it's not necessary to read the web fic first, but elements of the web fic are mentioned in the novel.
Hmm...I suppose that would depend on the stowaway. They're not so heartless as to simply throw a stowaway overboard, and circumstances would certainly enter into the decision whether or not the person was put ashore at the first convenient port, taken to someplace safe, or taken on as one of the crew. Nothing is impossible, but if said stowaway turns out to be a soul-eating demon from the Abyss in the form of a harmless looking, doe-eyed halfling waif...well that would be an entirely different dilemma...
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.
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!
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...
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...
Not yet, but I'm considering using some of the modifications to the monk class... Maybe...
What do you all think of using footnotes in a fictional writing piece as a way to deliver background info?
I'm with Liane on this one. I have used footnotes, or more precisely notations, but only in a humor piece where the notation itself is a joke. For straight fiction, no. Breaking the readers immersion in the world and the story with any type of definitions or notations is IMHO a mistake. The best compliment I ever received from a fan was "I forgot I was reading." That total immersion is broken if the reader is looking up references. Even maps and glossaries are a little "immersion breaking" though less so.
Dave Gross wrote:
You're such a tease, Dave... ;-)
John Kretzer wrote:
Had a great time and the new hotel was huge, the people friendly, and the banquet was delicious.
Did spend a lot of time in the bar...Dave is a bad influence on my temperance... or maybe I was the bad influence... Also met a lot of fans and signed a lot of books.
I participated in the PFS Special game "Serpents Rising" and survived, sort of... My caster was feebleminded during the final conflict and spent the majority of the fight licking a door... hey, it looked like chocolate!
We just flew a red-eye back east, and are exhausted. I have another con this coming weekend in Charlotte, NC.
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.
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.
Dave Gross wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
For playing: Sorcerers, as I said, and monks. I also enjoy barbarians, but I don't general play them as meat shields.
For writing: Sorcerers again. Rogues of all stripes (poisoners are cool to play with). Martial classes with specialties like acrobatics (Torius), or serious attitudes (Grogul) I'm really loving writing Snick, who is a rogue with profession of Engineer, and a penchant for siege weaponry and things that go boom... I'd love to see her take a level as an alchemist, but that would make her wicked complicated. I have one more favorite that will be revealed in Pirate's Prophesy.
2) What are some of your favorite races?
Gnomes for their attitude, Half-orcs for the same reason. I had to have these two races playing against each other as humor relief in the pirate's novels, and one of the original pitches I sent to James Sutter was a tale with Snick and Grogul as the primary characters. That was wisely tabled, but they slipped in as secondary characters...
3) Any class or race you don't like?
Elves and bards both make my teeth ache a little. Paladins are very difficult for me to both play and write (hats off to Dave for doing that brilliantly) Summoners are difficult to play, but would be fun to write, and again, Dave beat me to that punch.
4) What is your favorite regions?
I had a ton of fun in Katapesh and especially Okeno (what a vile place). I'm enjoying Andoran a lot, as well... Not going to spoil too much there. You'll have to wait for Pirate's Prophesy. Also, Belkzen fascinates me because it is a region of savagery and chaos, but works on a visceral level of "might makes right" and "the strong survive". Yes...I'd like to go there, in the literary sense, of course.
5) What are your least favorite regions?
I don't really have any. I'm not partial to frigid climes in general, though I shoveled a lot of snow this winter, so now I have some experience to apply...
6) Top 5 favorite gods?
Calistria - Revenge, trickery, and lust. What a wonderful mixture! This is why I'm in love with Vreva Jhafae.Gozreh - I love the double aspect, and well...sea gods are right up my alley.
Besmara - well, duh!
Desna - stars and dreams...two of my favorite things.
Asmodeus - the whole notion of a coldly calculating evil is just bone-chillingly delicious.
7) Bottom 5 least favorite gods?
None really. I think the pantheon is well rounded. There is a lot of overlap, but that is, I think, intentional on the developers' part. There is definitely something there for everyone.
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 -
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...
I've written some SF/Satire/Humor, and I have a contemporary fantasy novel coming out this fall.
I am working (and have been for a very long time) on a SF novel involving genetic manipulation, but I'm hung up on the tech. I'm always hung up on the tech when it comes to SF. I'm a little hung up on tech in RL... Hah!
Ross Byers wrote:
You know, I never thought of making Vreva a bard... Huh.
I really wanted a character with a familiar, and someone who could charm the socks (and other garments) off of the slavers. Disguise, invisibility, eavesdropping, and thought reading all seemed like invaluable spells for a spy to have.
I get into animal psychology a bit in Pirate's Promise, and will again in Pirate's Prophesy, but the animals are familiars, and therefore have enhanced intelligence. The thought processes, however, are very feline. I've owned cats for many years, and yes, they are true neutral, but cuddly. They are neutral cuddly. They have very high charisma and know it... Much fun writing them...
This is difficult because I've got so much in the works right now, and I don't want to spoil anything.
Most of my true antagonists are humanoids, but there will be some big baddies coming your way soon. Writing nautical tales, I like to delve the lesser seen deep sea monsters. I'd love to get into the entire Aboleth thing, but that's a can of worms I'm not quite cleared to open yet. I'd also love to dive into the Hold of Belkzen. There is much to explore in orc culture, personalities, rituals, etc. I tend to steer away from dragons because they are so hyper intelligent and complicated. I've also been thinking about Nagas a lot, and what strange cultures they might have... Does Celeste have relatives? What might a city of Lunar Nagas look like?
Jeremy Corff wrote:
First the snarky answer: There is always something bigger out there that thinks you might be tasty.
Secondly, don't let your characters advance very quickly. Keep them at that reasonably vulnerable stage. Also, there is a serious "Crit Happens" factor when you are writing fiction versus playing the game. You have to let real world elements invade your writing. In a real world fight, there are a lot more seriously damaging injuries. A single well-placed arrow can kill a person, right? It might cause a really serious gamer to cringe, but we have to walk a tightrope between game and believability in a "I'm going to suspend your disbelief by showing you the game with a bit of RL mixed in" way.
Or, at least that's what I try to do...
Steve Geddes wrote:
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.
I like magic, especially sorcerers, and I'm fond of rogues and assassins. Magically enhanced assassins is a concept I've based a whole trilogy on. Great fun. As Laine and James have said, magic is a two edged sword in writing the PFS novels. Too much and you risk breaking your story, too little and it's not in the world enough. Walking that line is difficult, especially with successive novels involving the same characters, because you always want to up the ante. Taking a character sideways (picking up a level in a new magical class) is one way to make things fun but not overpower your story.
I keep class in mind with casters, definitely, but less so with the martial classes unless there are special conditions. It is constraining, but in a good way, I think. World building and character building in your own setting is a *very* complicated issue. In PFS the world is set, and the limits are placed on your characters by the conventions of the game. In some ways, this makes things much easier.
John Kretzer wrote:
Yes. Care to guess which novel of mine is based on a campaign I GM'd? Not one of the PFT novels...
Oh, and I wouldn't recommend it. Major pain...
I don't think I'd try to get into the head of any of the PFT authors' characters. I've had to do that writing for other publishers, and it's a rough business. Then there's the issue of getting it wrong and offending someone... No, I'm with Liane here. I'd wimp out.
I haven't played any of my characters, but I have their general stats and abilities on file, just so I don't have Celest cast too many spells and such.
And you're welcome! I think most of us love Golarion and Pathfinder enough to really be enjoying our work. I know I do.
I'm with Dave on this one. Usually I look for a good location to torture...er...challenge my characters in, then build a plot around it. Sometimes they both happen at the same time. I'll read supplements, or the Inner Sea Guide, and find an esoteric detail about some location, and dive in.
Dave Gross wrote:
I get that, Dave, but it was Radovan in some form...right? You wrote it in his POV, so he was still one of the main characters. ;-)
John Kretzer wrote:
Interesting question, John... Radovan in master of Devils advanced as a monk and could use quivering palm. That is a very high level trick. Making characters uber powerful, IMHO, tends to make writing uber difficult. I like levels between 6-10 or so for best balance of cool abilities, spells, and believability.
I don't really shy away from series. I've got two trilogies and a four-book series under my belt already, and I'm working on the fourth "Pirate's" book for Paizo now.
Favorite part about writing in Golarion is I don't have to worry about setting. It's done. The rules are set. I can concentrate on plot and characters.
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!
I use them too much. Just ask my editor... Semicolons are like em-dashes... Once you use one, you're addicted.
Steve Geddes wrote:
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?
Steve Geddes wrote:
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.
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.
In general, none of the PFT novels are really "world changing" in scope, though some come very close. Unless Sutter and the developers plan some world altering event, like a new war or cataclysmic event, authors are going to be focusing on smaller issues. We get to play, but can't break the toys. Just like we won't be writing stories about the iconic characters. (other than cameo appearances)You are definitely right that some stories are wider in focus, while others are narrower. Personally, I like to read and write the tighter focus "on the ground" personal stories, but that doesn't mean that, if asked to do something utterly crazy, like sink an island or blast a city to rubble, I won't take on the challenge. *evil laugh*
Glad you enjoyed it, Thanael!
Actually, all of my non-game related books are set in my own world, and there are some crossovers. Deathmask happens long before all the others, and the Cornerstones Trilogy takes place in the northlands, far from the southern empire of Tsing in Soul for Tsing. The Scimitar Seas books happen in the Tsing empire, and the Weapon of Flesh novels cross over somewhat with Soul for Tsing...but no spoilers!