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Erik Mona

Erik Mona's page

Publisher, Chief Creative Officer. Pathfinder Society Member. 6,369 posts. 3 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character.


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Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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The PFS Field Guide is the correct map. I revised it myself to solve various issues like the size of the Ivy District, and in doing so I decided to consolidate the city's districts to make it a little easier to wrap your head around the scope of it.

The Merchant's Quarter and the Coins are now the same thing.

Green Ridge is now a neighborhood within Eastgate.

Fort Tempest is not labeled because it is a location within the city, not a district in and of itself (at least not in the version of the city presented in the Field Guide).

The Guide to Absalom is a well-written book, but after setting my own campaign in the city and trying to get a sense of the whole place, I think the way the city is presented in that book is extremely scatter-shot, and not particularly helpful to running a campaign set there.

One way to make it easier to understand is to consolidate the districts, so I did so.

Eventually we will do a great big Absalom book along these simpler district divisions, and give this place the attention it deserves.

64 pages ain't enough.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Get ready for Pathfinder Monopoly with game pieces Valeros, Ezren, Karzoug and Karzoug, Jr!

#wheresseoni

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Liz Courts wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
JJ moves to Hollywood to head up Paizo Productions a la Gygax in the 1980s.
That...didn't turn out so well for Gygax, so let's hope not.

Besides, if anyone at Paizo is going to shift to a lifestyle of Hollywood drug parties and playmates in hot tubs, I'm afraid to say it's going to be me, not Jacobs.

I mean, I think that much is clear.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

You guys are really making me miss Winter Fantasy.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Thanks, Marco!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

It is awesome to hear that you guys are enjoying the series. Is there any chance I could get some of you to post reviews to the issue product pages or even the ongoing subscription?

We're really proud of what we're doing in this comic, and we'd love for more people to get to see it! :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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We're all looking forward to seeing you folks at this year's show!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, this is the Gen Con release.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Steve Geddes wrote:


There were a few odd choices for rarity, but that's par for the course - no doubt there's competing priorities: 'things that are easy to paint' should be common and 'things we don't need many of' should be rare. Making a bunyip difficult to place.

Also for some reason when writers in our adventures use bunyips, they tend to use a bunch of them at the same time.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cat-thulhu wrote:

1 in 10 so far, I could go 1 in 5 sets. I agree with you Steve there are way too many gargantuans that need doing, I could list 15-20 I desperately want to see in plastic without resorting to books.

PLEASE DO.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Marco Massoudi wrote:


When can we expect the 2016 Paizo product catalogue now that it comes out twice a year?

When I get around to doing it, probably appearing in a couple of months.

Thanks for the idea of small dragons. I'll see what I can do.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

My problem with Laori Vaus as far as minis are concerned is that I feel that the artistic style of her illustration doesn't quite match the Pathfinder aesthetic. Accordingly, I think she'd make for a pretty boring miniature. Flat color, very difficult to sculpt spikes, and a goofy face is a good recipe for a bad miniature.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Thanks, Christopher! Glad you are digging the series! It's been a ton of fun to work on for all of us!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Having looked at a lot of the Feiya and Irovetti minis, I think it's safe to say that they are general improvements over the original, Irovetti especially (though he's now a bit more gothy thanks to an indulgence in eyeliner). The Feiya I got in my case was actually quite lovely, but even with a really good repaint it's pretty clear that the original sculpt is the primary culprit.

Almost all the figures in this set, and I think literally all the figures in future sets, are digital sculpts. I think that makes a big difference on things like faces, and I think it has a lot to do with faces being generally better this time around.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Berk the Black wrote:


I'd sure like to see an alchemist lab in the future. Potion apparatus, bookcases, and a desk.

THAT is a very sexy idea.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Duncan7291 wrote:

My case had at least one of every mini. Here was the breakdown of the case:

1 super box with Feiya and King Irovetti in it.
1 cart, wagon, bed, barrel.
2 tables, crate

I cracked my personal case last night, and got a somewhat different mix of dungeon dressing:

1 cart, wagon, barrel, table
2 beds, crates

--Erik

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Marco Massoudi wrote:


Is the number of minis and set list for the next set (#11) already fixed and how many dungeon dressing pieces will it contain?

Same number of figures. Same amount of dungeon dressing. Same distribution method.

(So far as I'm aware. I haven't seen digital sculpts yet, so we're in the early stages of production when things still have plenty of time to change, but that's what I know at the moment.)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Duncan7291 wrote:
Erik, have yall thought about a dungeon dressing mini set along same lines of undead and goblin packs?

Yes.

WizKids did not sell enough of the goblin or undead sets to continue with this format, though I do think it's probably the most appropriate for a dungeon dressing set. It's something I will continue to discuss with them. I know we're all pleased with how well the dungeon dressing singles have been selling.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

DropBearHunter wrote:

got to wonder:

Are you opening actual cases to get the singles?
Or are you getting singles in appropriate numbers equal to x cases from Wizkids?

This is the first set I actually want one of every single.

We are opening cases.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Couple things.

1) The singles for this set are moving fast. That is strong encouragement to bust some more cases. So in a strange way, the faster these things disappear, the more likely we are to restock them. I understand the subscriber concerns, which is even more encouragement for us to dive back into the cases. I hear you.

2) We'll sell the promo beds until we run out, even if that is longer than a month.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

We're honestly at least a month away from an updated catalog.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Awesome! Congratulations to you and your team, Brother Willi!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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James Jacobs wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
I'm curious about the design decision to have Aroden die. What was the reason for choosing this event as THE event to shape the campaign setting. Was there something in particular that you wanted to do with his death? Was it just a cool idea that everyone liked so you stuck with it?
Lots of reasons, but mostly to start the setting off on a dramatic note, where heroes are very much needed. It's a humanocentric setting, and having the god of humanity die off is a huge kick into uncharted territory for the future.

Since this was my character and my idea, please allow me to also add that I specifically HATE the use of prophecy as a cliché in fantasy gaming (or fantasy in general). Killing the god of humanity and screwing up prophecy in one shot was a way to put the onus of heroism directly on the player characters. They aren't heroes because some forgotten book or poem said they would become heroes, but because of their own actions.

I remember spending a lot of time thinking about what to call the current "age" in the world, and this dovetailed with "Age of Lost Omens," which everyone on the staff sounded cool. Everything else we considered was kind of lame, as I remember.

So that's the origin of killing off the god of humanity. :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Announcement soon. Hayato soon.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

It's up now!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Derp. Yes. Typo.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Zhangar wrote:

My understanding was that Aroden was a straight-up wizard that fought with a sword. His sword was probably even his arcane-bond item.

Keep in mind that Aroden was mythic, (Mr. Jacobs has mentioend he'd even make Aroden a Champion), and so Aroden had a lot of options that a normal wizard wouldn't have.

Aroden was immortal even before he was a god, so he had lots of levels in lots of different stuff. He certainly had wizard levels, but my personal opinion is that he also had fighter levels, as he started as a common swordsmith, not some kind of archmage.

When we later released the magus, I thought that fit too, so if you want to go that way it certainly works from my perspective.

Since you can't really fight him, I honestly didn't put a ton of time into thinking about Aroden's stats beyond what I've stated above. A little from column A.....

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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captain yesterday wrote:
He was slain, and it took awhile, coinciding with the Chelish civil war (coincidence?).

Aroden's disappearance coincides with the beginning of the Chelish Civil War.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
I'm a big fan of almost everything James Jacobs and Erik Mona have done

Thanks, Kirth! That means a lot, especially from someone named after a Jack Vance character! :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

We've considered doing short videos covering certain parts of the setting, with visuals provided by some sort of interesting montage of art from our books.

Oh, to have more time and budget for a video/streaming RPG employee.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Yeah, I will probably jump back to Iconic Heroes for a couple of weeks while I wait for the first round of digital sculpts on the next set.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Azten wrote:
Kinda sad we might find out what happened to Aroden now. Where will the fun be, the conspiracy theories?

Ha.

I just wrote thousands of words on Aroden for Pathfinder #100.

"What happened to Aroden" is exactly none of them. ;)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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It didn't take much pressure, honestly. I think Vic or Mike (or both) suggested it, and I said "GREAT IDEA," and in he went. ;)

Any other requests from the card game side? I've been trying to sneak in several of the class deck characters in the last few sets, and will continue to do so as we move forward.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Origins hardcover is coming. I'll try to get more specific info.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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And that particular section of that comic was co-written by me (Aroden's creator) and James, so I'd say it's about as official a statement on Aroden as you're likely to get.

Until Pathfinder #100...

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I noticed the same thing while writing my post, and plan to confirm with WizKids next week. The last communication I have from them says 3 Long Barfront Sections, but you're right that the picture suggests otherwise.

I _suspect_ that they didn't use two long bar sections to match the width of the four shelf sections, but that's just a guess.

I will let you guys know if we need to make a correction.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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CBDunkerson wrote:
I can see where keeping extra minis around for years wouldn't be cost effective for Paizo, but 'two weeks after release' seems too short. It takes that long for me to just GET my subscription package... on a good month. That'd make it pretty difficult to wait to see what you got in your set and then order appropriate singles separately.

I can appreciate that being a bummer. :/

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

arbados wrote:
All three of the center bar pieces look different? It was said 2 cases would get everything you need, but what's the deal with the three different bar looks? I can't even get 2 cases, but was curious about why there appears to be three different looks not including the end pieces? That would be insane! I hate the idea that I need two cases to get what's displayed to begin with! Please tell me I'm wrong and misguided tonight!

I am not certain I fully understand your question, but I think that perhaps you are seeing the stand-alone curved "corner" pieces as part of the straight pieces. Maybe?

There is actually only one straight bar piece, repeated multiple times.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Coyle wrote:

Hoping the updated Feiya isn't too hard to find. I love the Pathfinder Battles minis--the best out there, I really believe it--but I went all out finding her the first time and have never been as bummed out by a bad mini as I was with her.

I was happy to spend the money to pick up the Iconic Heroes box to update the kinda not good versions of Sajan and Lini (and WOW, was the second go at those two phenomenal! 1,000% improvement between the originals and the boxed set versions!) and I'm hoping Feiya will be equally easy to obtain. That original sculpt was such a heartbreaker.

Keep up the good work! Every set keeps getting better and better.

Thanks, Coyle! I really appreciate your support! I have to give WizKids the lion's share of the credit on the Iconic Heroes especially. They really outdid themselves with that project (and continue to do so).

It was also some of our earliest experiences with digital sculpting, and having been to the mountaintop I'm not sure I'd ever want to go back at this point. We're now using digital sculpts on the entire product line, and the amount of control it gives us to deliver amazing poses and detail still blows my mind.

The new Feiya shouldn't be all that difficult to find, honestly. There will be one in every brick.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Erik, do you have any idea what is displayed on the bottom of the bases of King Irovetti and Feiya? I'm just trying to figure out if these are considered Promos, or if they contain the info from their original sets, or if they have the Rusty Dragon set marks?

I either don't know or used to know and forgot. Sorry. I strongly suspect they have their original set markings and numbers, but I am not 100% certain.

We will find out together!

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:


WizKids did a nice display with this picture and I am starting to feel the need for getting 2 of these sets :)

I agree! I was super happy to receive this image from them. I know everyone is very proud of the way this set turned out.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Joana wrote:
I second Steve's question. Since one of the benefits of the Battles subscription is a discount on purchasing singles, it's a bit disconcerting to hear that there will be less of an opportunity to use the discount in the future.

We will continue to sell singles of sets as they release, and future restocks are likely, but it is more likely to be a "here and there" sort of thing where we pop a few cases if we have any left, and we hope to eventually run out. With many of the earlier sets we took a "let's stock this forever" sort of approach that is not really feasible after 10 sets for a variety of reasons.

We'll also still sell promo minis and (I hope) other special stuff.

I appreciate that the policy change could be construed as a reduction in the value of a subscription, and I do apologize.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Steve Geddes wrote:

Can you shed any light on the reasons behind the shift in policy on selling single minis?

A lot of factors went into the decision. Restocking, warehousing, and logistical concerns were certainly factors.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Yeah, Ranzak (and the winter goblin in Reign) are special cases, where I'm trying to match a very specific piece of art. Generally, I'm going to stick with a matching green when/if we do more goblins.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Warning: I cannot for the life of me convince WizKids to make chairs at the moment, so I strongly suggest using alternative methods if chairs are important to you. There will be _no_ chairs in Pathfinder Battles for the foreseeable future.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Rarity on these items is not up to me. I know the current model is meant to be a tentative "toe in the water" test in case people didn't like these items.

That doesn't appear to be much of a problem, but ultimately it is not up to me.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Kajehase wrote:
Which is your favourite Doctor Who serial?

Ha ha ha.

WAY too difficult.

Allow me to do it this way:

ONE: The Dalek Master Plan*
TWO: The War Games
THREE: Inferno
FOUR: City of Death
FIVE: Earthshock**
SIX: The One Doctor***
SEVEN: Battlefield****
EIGHT: Chimes at Midnight*****
NINE: Dalek
TEN: Blink
ELEVEN: Day of the Doctor******
TWELVE: Mummy on the Orient Express*******

* Incomplete, impression based on reconstructions and existing episodes. "An Unearthly Child" is my favorite episode from the Hartnell era, but the rest of that serial is terrible, so I didn't list it. Runners up include The Daleks, The Aztecs, The Edge of Destruction, Marco Polo, The Crusade, and the War Machines. I really like a lot of episodes in this era.

** Or maybe Enlightenment. I liked the Fifth Doctor era a lot more as a kid than I do as an adult. Now I can see that the rot really began to set in in Tom Baker's last season, and while I can watch and enjoy nearly all of Five's episodes, it has a lot of foreshadowing of the decline to come.

*** Look, there are no truly good Colin Baker episodes. I find them all appalling for one reason or another. He had zero good companions, and the worst writing and production values the program ever had. The poor guy never had a chance. Even his Patrick Troughton team-up is terrible. So I picked "The One Doctor," one of my favorite Big Finish audio dramas. Other great ones include Ish, The Holy Terror (with Frobisher!), The Marian Conspiracy... so many. Colin Baker is delightful in audio. Literally any of the 30 or so audio adventures of his I've heard, some of which are not awesome, are better than any of his actual episodes. Poor guy.

**** Maybe? Look, I am not a Sylvester McCoy guy. The show was waaaaay too much a pantomime in this era for my tastes, and the much-lauded "Cartmel Master Plan" reads to me like fanfic that I am glad never happened, even if some of the early set-up was more interesting than what came before. I like Ace as a companion, but Seven is my least favorite Doctor. He doesn't really even work for me in audio.

***** Another audio. In this case, there's not much to choose from in TV. McGann is sometimes great in audio, and sometimes he seems bored out of his skull. This is his best story, and maybe Big Finish's masterpiece in their entire range. A fantastic episode filled with "timey-wimey" goodness.

****** If I'm not allowed to pick a multi-Doctor story, I guess I'll go with "Let's Kill Hitler." The Smith era is also one of my least favorites, for numerous reasons. Plenty of good episodes, but in my view very very few excellent ones. Day of the Doctor was one of the best episodes in the history of the series, though, so credit where credit is due.

******* So far!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

donato wrote:
If you were still working on Dragon and Dungeon magazine and you had your way, what would have been your plan to expand on Greyhawk? Did you have any ideas for where to go after Genie War?

That's a good question. I suspect I would have continued with the popular Demonomicon of Iggwilv and Core Beliefs series. I suspect future Adventure Paths would have been set in the "core world," and that would have influenced future development between both magazines in the same way that Age of Worms and Savage Tide influenced both magazines.

We got the bad news about the magazine fairly early in the development of Savage Tide, as I recall, which left us little time to daydream about what might come after. I don't have a great answer to this question because there wasn't much of a plan beyond what actually came out. Once we knew the magazines were doomed we focused on wrapping things up spectacularly and then began work almost immediately on Pathfinder, since we didn't exactly want to fire everyone the day after we sent off the last D&D magazine.

I do recall that my work on Age of Worms and especially Maure Castle made me quite interested in the Seekers organization. I think some of those half-conceived daydreams eventually went into the conception of the Pathfinder Society in-world organization, the subject of the article I wrote in Pathfinder #1, which came out at about the time you're mentioning.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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The Minis Maniac wrote:
Does it pay to bribe the Dev team to get what you want published?

I think you misunderstand how things work. As I am the one who sets the schedule, I am the one who should be bribed. ;)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

zergtitan wrote:
I don't know if you've read Occult Origins yet, but I have a question concerning the Reliquarian Occultist Archetype. Since the power comes from the relics they wield, is it possible to choose Aroden as your deity? It even gives Aroden a Sacred Implement.

I just gave my home copy of Occult Origins to a friend last night, so I need a little more time to get back to this one.

I'll give the archetype a close look later this week. Basically, if something is tapping into a divine power source to fuel it, that won't work for Aroden, because such a divine power source no longer exists. But that's more my philosophical take on it. A full analysis will follow shortly.

Remind me if I don't get to it soon, please.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Luthorne wrote:
The manasaputras are something I am looking forward to from Bestiary 5, thanks to that little snippet from the Esoteric Planes, which, incidentally, was one of my favorite parts of the whole book, so kudos!

Thank you! I've been noodling with a lot of ideas and concepts that went into Occult Adventures for a long, long time--since maybe as early as second edition D&D. "Psionics" never really worked for me, and I always thought that an occult "reskin" of the idea of mental magic opened the door for a lot of cool storytelling possibilities.

The Energy Planes always struck me as kind of the lamest and least usable element of the existing cosmology (also going way, way back), so I wanted to put a marker on that section to make sure I had a chance to make them a little bit more interesting.

Luthorne wrote:
1) What's some of the more interesting pieces of trivia you learned while researching for Occult Adventures?

During the research period and writing of Occult Adventures, I became completely obsessed with the Theosophical Society cult, and now have a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of their organization, history, and beliefs (at least for an outsider).

One of the most interesting sidelines of the cult, to me, comes in the early 20th century, a couple of decades after the death of the Society's founder, H. P. Blavatsky. Blavatsky's successor in the mainline Society (there were by this point already several offshoot organizations) was a woman named Annie Besant, and Besant's most influential guru was a mystic named C. W. Leadbeater. Leadbeater's codification, explanation, and extrapolation of Blavatsky's cosmology in a series of books with titles like "The Astral Plane" and "The Devachanic Plane" heavily informed (though likely indirectly) Gary Gygax's conception of places like the Astral Plane and Ethereal Plane he incorporated into the original AD&D cosmology, so long ago. (The monadic deva, for example, is a theosophical concept, as is the solar angel).

Anyway, every good cult needs a mystic with claims of some sort of great power or esoteric insight. While Besant was a skilled writer, orator, and leader, she did not herself claim highly developed psychic powers, at least in comparison to others like Blavatsky or Leadbeater (or a similarly fascinating woman named Katherine Tingley, who at the time ran the biggest American offshoot of the Theosophical Society from a giant commune in southern California). So Besant ended up confiding in Leadbeater and trusting him to an outrageous degree, overlooking multiple charges of inappropriate sexual conduct with young boys because his occult insight (i.e. charlatanism) was so important to the organization and to her personally. Her defense of Leadbeater caused another great rift in the Society, with co-counder Henry Steel Olcott personally voting to ban Leadbeater from the Society, and a bunch of American and British sections breaking away from the mainline Theosophical Society, which was now based at Adyar, India.

About a decade later, Besant found a way to bring Leadbeater back (she frankly needed him), and once again CWL was publishing books about the secret prehistory of humanity, as revealed to him via psychic consultation with the Akashic Record. Leadbeater was the Akashic Record master. His visions focused primarily on the previous incarnations of prominent Theosophists. The Society grew more and more obsessed with reincarnation after the move of their headquarters to India, and Leadbeater's work is emblematic of the apex of this influence. Monthly columns in "The Theosophist" recounted past lives, giving "star names" to the souls of key theosophists like Orion, Sirius, Selene, and hey, even Mona.

At this time, Leadbeater was living with Besant in the headquarters compound in Adyar. One day, while taking a midmorning stroll along the riverside beach, Leadbeater beheld the most beautiful sight he had ever seen: the dripping, nubile, taut young body of a young Indian boy named Jiddu Krishnamurti.

No, I'm sorry. The _AURA_ of young Jiddu Krishnamurti, which Leadbeater later described as "the most wonderful aura I had ever seen, without a particle of selfishness in it." It was definitely the aura that so attracted Leadbeater's attention. The fact that he had constantly surrounded himself with young Indian or Asian boys, keeping them as special occult students and even sometimes sleeping in the same bed as them probably didn't enter into it.

Anyway, Leadbeater was so transfixed by the 14-year-old Krishnamurti's aura that he convinced Besant that the youth could only be the vessel for a great "World Teacher" spirit that would soon emerge and lead the world's intellectual and spiritual development. This concept is known as the "Maitreya," and works hand-in-hand with the Theosophical cosmology of souls on the path of evolution and development from lesser forms to otherworldy intelligences designed to nurture the development of humanity toward enlightenment. (This Celestial Hierarchy goes by a number of names in Theosophical occult teachings, one of which being the manasaputra, which is how I brought them into Pathfinder). So similar to prophecies of the reincarnation of Jesus is the Maitreya/World Teacher theology that the Theosophical Society and aligned organizations began to publish books with titles like "The Coming of the New Christ."

The idea, basically, was that Krishnamurti was not yet the World Teacher, but that he would become inhabited by that spirit at some point. The top level of the Adyar Theosophical Society became almost single-mindedly focused on developing Krishnamurti as an appropriate vessel for this spirit. Members of the society earnestly believed that they were on the precipice of a New Age.

As Besant and Leadbeater toured Krishnamurti around the world, having him speak (particularly to Theosophical youth organizations) on issues of morality and occultism and further spreading his legend. Tales of his travels and speeches appeared regularly in "The Theosophist," often accompanied by florid descriptions of Krishnamurti's past lives in a Leadbeater-penned series originally entitled "Rents in the Veil of Time," but which ultimately became known as "The Lives of Alcyone," citing Krishnamurti's own star name, and focusing solely on him as the primary character. Allegedly mental transcriptions and descriptions of Akashic Records observed by Leadbeater while projecting his consciousness into the Astral Plane, these accounts read like someone's Pathfinder campaign notes, replete with corrupt nobles, descriptions of eldritch ancient civilizations, cities, and rituals, and even, every once in a while, with monsters. They're pretty awesome, and no doubt helped the increase the popularity of the Coming World Teacher. ("Behold," many Krishnamurti book covers say, "he comes quickly."

All of this, of course, drove further rents not just in the veil of time, but in the Theosophical Society itself, with more chapters spinning off into their own side-branch organizations (some of which still exist). As a complete aside, some of these organizations focused on the Masters of Ancient Wisdom, the esoteric "Great White Brotherhood" of secretive immortal sages and scholars who first introduced the key concepts of Theosophy to H. P. Blavatsky. These organizations developed, in the mid-20th century, in the the "Ascended Masters" branch of the New Age movement, with prominent branches including Elizabeth Claire Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant and the "I AM Activity," which swears itself to the Ascended Master St. Germain, one of my personal obsessions and favorite quasi-historical figures.

But back to Leadbeater and Krishnamurti. The Lives of Alcyone grew more and more popular, and soon not-so-prominent Theosophists were paying money to get their own star names, which Leadbeater worked into his monthly column as minor characters. A Theosophist might know that he was really the wife of Krishnamurti's father in ancient Chaldea, for example, and one's closeness in past lives to Alcyone was seen as a measure of status within the Society. While there were certainly skeptics, I cannot emphasize enough how much people believed this stuff.

Anyway, as the 1910s and 1920s went by, a major problem started to develop. Jiddu Krishnamurti just wasn't that into it. Over time he became sullen and unsure of himself in his cause. The death of his beloved brother Nitya in 1925 shook his faith in Theosophy itself. In 1929, at a national convention dedicated to his cult of personality and organized by the leaders of the Theosophical Society, Jiddu Krishnamurti, the World Teacher, finally gave the great religious message he had been born and groomed to deliver:

"I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies."

That message is, to put it lightly, un-Theosophical, and sent shocks through the convention that reverberated in Theosophical lodges all over the world. Krishnamurti dissolved the convention, dissolved the "Order of the Star in the East" that existed to serve him, and basically tore down the idea of organized religion in general, which, probably more than anything else, essentially destroyed the Theosophical Society. The group exists here and there, but ever since this event it has been fading in popularity. You just can't botch a second coming of Christ.

So, to answer your question, THAT's my favorite piece of trivia that I discovered while researching "Occult Adventures." I love the idea that the great religious secret that it took hundreds of thousands of years and numerous almost-perfectly enlightened reincarnations to deliver to us is: "This is all B.S."

Luthorne wrote:
2) Do you have a favorite of the six new classes from Occult Adventures? If so, why?

I really like most of them, but I think my personal favorite at the moment is the mesmerist. I wrote Meligaster's "Meet the Iconics" story, and I've been enjoying writing the character in the Pathfinder: Hollow Mountain comic. I haven't had a chance to play any of the classes yet, but mesmerist is a strong contender for my next character.

Luthorne wrote:
3) What genres of literature are you particularly fond of, and why?

I'm a big pulp magazine collector, so my favorite stuff tends to be early 20th century science fiction, fantasy, and adventure. I'm more interested in the genres earlier in their development, before they became too codified. I tend to prefer fantasy from before J.R.R. Tolkien, so I focus on authors like Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, Clark Ashton Smith, and Leigh Brackett. A lot of those authors also wrote horror or science fiction.

Surprise: I like fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

I've recently been reading some late 19th century and early 20th century occult fiction. Most of it is pretty boring, but the language is quite advanced and somewhat florid, which is another characteristic of authors I enjoy, as exemplified by authors like H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, A. Merritt (one of my absolute favorites), William Hope Hodgson, and even more recently Jack Vance, Matthew Huges, and even China Mieville.

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