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Jacob Saltband wrote:
I find it much easier to roleplay characters of low intelligence—it's often more fun, too, because it allows you to stop making the strategic choices all the time and just do whatever comes to mind or seems funny. I often get bored if the group is sitting around carefully plotting how to circumvent every challenge in the dungeon, and having a character who can keep the action moving by yelling "BORING!" and kicking in the door is a valuable addition to any game. (This is presumably why Seoni and the others keep Valeros around.)
Roleplaying characters of high intelligence can be harder, especially if (like me) you're quickly bored by certain types of puzzles. My go-to strategy is just to regularly ask the GM to make knowledge checks, so that I can be a know-it-all—or, depending on the game master, make up whatever esoteric trivia I want and trust the GM to back me up. ;) Also, remember that intelligence isn't the same as wisdom—you can be the learned wizard and still yell "BORING!" and kick open that door!
I'd say that my current favorite character is Artemis Kraugh, self-proclaimed tengu folk hero, from Erik Mona's Kings of Absalom game. He's a wizard who carries a sword as his bonded object, just because he thinks it looks cool, and is fond of making stirring speeches and screeching battle cries in my best death-metal scream. :)
Jacob Saltband wrote:
Not at all! Rogues are still my go-to class. People can argue numbers and compare builds all they want, but for me, Pathfinder is a storytelling game, and rogues and fighters are at the center of a lot of my favorite fantasy stories.
Oh my god, if only! That sounds so relaxing...
Yeah, don't worry that we're going to go all care-bear. You know about the all-evil adventure path we just announced, right? :)
And there are definitely great, important stories out there that *require* triggering content in order to function. I just always take a hard look at such things these days, and ask myself, "Is this actually adding to the story, or is it just grimdark or—worse—intended to be titillating?" (Frankly, asking yourself "what function does this serve?" is a pretty good approach to ALL elements of a story, controversial or otherwise.)
But it's probably obvious by now that I like to shake the morality pinata and see what comes out. For instance, that's a lot of what THE REDEMPTION ENGINE is about for me: the question of consent with regard to alignment, and whether ends justify means. (And, you know, cool outsiders. :)
Thanks so much for all the kind words about Distant Worlds! I'm really proud of that one. :) (And as for unleashing me more often—it's not so much a matter of leashing as having been focused on novels and comics, but I'm looking to dive back into another game book soon!)
Regarding gender issues in Distant Worlds: I apologize to anyone who felt put off by the book. A couple of notes:
*The lashunta were indeed based off a 30s pulp trope, at least where the art is concerned, though I attempted to subvert it somewhat by making them a powerful matriarchy focused primarily on scholarship. (They are most definitely *not* damsels in distress!)
*Yes, The Loving Place is rape-y, and it's a choice that I'm deeply conflicted about now. At the time, it was inspired by the fact that a lot of Giger-esque body horror has that "unnatural birth" element, which is inherently nonconsensual. In the years since I wrote the book, though, I've come to understand just how harmful/triggering any rape/nonconsenual elements can be for readers, and these days I'm firmly of the opinion that unless a story *must* involve rape, it probably shouldn't. So again, apologies to anyone blindsided by it, and I hope that you can skip over that paragraph and appreciate the rest of the book.
*There's not really a lot of space to devote to gender when you're detailing entire planets in a few pages, but outside of the pulp homage of the lashunta, I really tried to mess with conventional gender roles/sexuality/etc. If you want something a bit more interesting, I'd direct you toward the seven-gendered maraquoi on Marata (p. 42) or the genderless ukara battleflowers on Triaxus (p. 34).
Ultimately, all art needs to stand on its own, but I hope that adds some insight into my process!
Kevin Mack wrote:
You don't have to worry about any of them. Especially Appleslayer—our schedule is booked pretty far out, but his (and Zae/Keren's) book is already on it. ;)
Thanks for the comments everyone! This wasn't an easy decision for us to come to, but over the last year we've come to acknowledge that as the game grows and new opportunities develop, we really have to be strategic about where we spend our time and resources (rather than our traditional "everything all the time forever" approach :).
In answer to some specific questions:
*I can't talk yet about what Max is going to be writing, as it's still a few years out, but I'm *extremely* excited to have him on board. (I'll actually be playing Pathfinder with him and several other authors in a live audience-participation game at Gen Con—stay tuned for a post about it tomorrow!)
*In terms of what will take its place on the blog—unclear! We're shuffling some things around—as you've probably noticed, we've got a lot more posts than we used to—so I'm not sure how exactly Blogmistresses Chris and Liz will arrange things.
*We're planning to continue getting awesome illustrations of main characters from new novels to go along with sample chapters, so you should still expect to see some new community use art related to the fiction from time to time!
Keht Jelicho wrote:
I just got a copy of this, my first Pathfinder Tales novel actually, and I had been wondering if I should read other books in the line first or just dive in, but after going through this thread I am going to get started on it when I finish this post. That said when I got the book I remembered that I had heard that Pathfinder Tales books had boons/chronicles for Society play, and I found where those resources are for the earlier books, but not one for Lord of Runes. My question is will there be one for Lord of Runes later or are they being discontinued for some reason with the move to Tor?
We'll definitely keep doing the boons! Things are a little bonkers as we head into Gen Con, but it's absolutely on our list.
Outlook good. Ask again later. :)
Axis does need more love, what of the plane do you want to explore the most?
Just all of it, honestly. Its markets, its inns, its factories, its churches, its factions, its fortresses—it's the city at the center of everything, and as folks have probably already noticed, the more bizarre and cosmopolitan a city is, the more I like it. :)
Thank you! Really glad you're liking the book!
The chaos-junk was the result of the protean's chaotic presence interacting with the extreme lawfulness of that part of the Boneyard. The protean probably *could* have cleaned up after itself, but it didn't really have any incentive to—for it, completing the job in total secrecy would be booooriiiiing. :)
2. Death's Heretic was edited by Erik Mona and Christopher Paul Carey. The Redemption Engine was edited by Wes Schneider and Christopher Paul Carey. I trust them all utterly, and they were great at pointing out my faults in a constructive manner!
3. Because he's adorable and hilarious! I have a long history of updating my avatar any time a piece of art comes in that I can't stop laughing at.
4. Hmm... probably! I'm not sure which one off the top of my head, but it would definitely be one that was conducive to rock and roll. (Fun fact: the first article I ever tried to write for Dragon was a bunch of items for a bard to help you be a modern-day heavy metal musician--magical lute amplifiers and things--and the piece was so terrible that the editor did me a great service by not showing it to the rest of the staff. :)
4a. Personally, I think magic sounds *awesome*, and I'd be all about it, but I'm glad that the descriptions of Salim's magic worked for you—the dude's got issues.
James, what part of the planes would you like to explore more in the pathfinder setting? And what plane do you think needs more print attention?
Most of the planes could use more love, but I'm specifically focused on the First World right now, and I'd *love* to do more with Axis. (The only reason I'm not saying "Heaven" as well is that I got a chance to dig into it and create some landmarks in The Redemption Engine. :)
James Jacobs wrote:
Yeah, there are actually several cities that are stuck in the "not enough time to write it!" box. Jacobs is the Sandpoint guy, I'm the Kaer Maga guy, it would be just silly to have anyone but Wes do Caliphas... the list goes on. But rest assured that we're all drooling over the prospects... once we get through the even more exciting projects we're all working on right now. ;)
Flynn Greywalker wrote:
Also, if you liked DH, I continued to dig into the morality of Salim's whole situation (and the questions of good, evil, and free will) in the sequel, The Redemption Engine. :D
I'm sorry the new size isn't working for you. We felt like increasing the cost and increasing the size go hand-in-hand—people are used to paying a certain amount for mass-market books and a higher amount for the larger print/higher print quality/etc. of trade paperbacks. While I really appreciate that you would have been willing to pay more for the mass-markets—it's the same content, after all!—our prediction was that people would respond poorly to paying significantly more for the exact same novel format, and that the trade paper format would be seen as added value by the majority. As with everything in publishing, it was a gamble, and whatever way we went, it was inevitable that some people would be disappointed.
I continue to hope we made the right decision, in part because I personally love the new, larger-format covers. :) But thanks for your input!
Oh god. I salute your survival of the beautiful trench warfare that is shared housing. :)
All of them. Some things never change. :)
Also, for folks doing the math at home, it's important to remember that back in the Dungeon and Dragon days, we were mostly pretty poor. I taught night classes and frequently ate out of dumpsters during my early Paizo tenure, and not just because it was cool and bohemian (though it kinda was).
Nowadays, ten years later, I pretty much *never* eat out of dumpsters, and instead of 6 roommates in a falling-apart flophouse I have 7 roommates in an actually pretty nice house. MOVING ON UP, BABY!
Not to rain on the nostalgia, but we had ads in Dungeon. LOTS of ads. As many as we could get, really—it's how we subsidized an otherwise atrocious business model (meaning the magazine business model in general). And we'd spend hours trying to figure out how to fit them all in, because some folks would buy the right to be in specific places in the issue.
One of the exciting parts of starting Pathfinder was knowing that we'd never again have to stick an ad page in the middle of an adventure. :P
Cover art is final but text treatment on it is not.
And for folks wondering, this is one of the best novels we've published in the line. And I'm not just saying that because Wes works here—he really busted his ass making this book the best it can be, and it shows. As editor, I'm really proud of it, and can't wait for everyone to get their Ustalav and vampire fix. :)
Ha! Yeah, while I generally don't present new canon on the boards, I will say for certain that the Lashunta are *not* the result of formian-elf interbreeding. :)
1) I'd love to do more on Castrovel, too! Too many books to write, too little time...
2) Pulp! Castrovel is the land of pulp—specifically pulp Venus—and ALMURIC is the book I'd most recommend (available from Planet Stories!), though I'm sure Erik would point you toward a dozen different authors.
3) I've indeed done some work on Occult Adventures! But since I don't want to steal anyone's thunder, I'll only say that you'll be seeing some discussion of how that book ties into Castrovel in a product pretty soon here. :)
We've said it before, but one thing about expanding the setting in small, bite-sized chunks rather than huge books covering whole continents is that you get to pour all your energy and creativity into really fleshing out a small section of the world. And then you do it again. And again. Over time, the patchwork becomes a whole, and that whole is WAY more interesting and flavorful because you as the author had the chance to recharge, to consider the interactions of previous installments, to see what people liked, etc. That's actually how we started out building Golarion, back when the Inner Sea was mostly just names on a map and brief paragraphs of info supplemented by gazetteers in the back of Pathfinder, and I think it's one of our artistic choices that I'm most proud of. Biting off too much at a time ends up with too little butter spread over too much bread.
So yeah, I'm really excited about this project, and hope that readers feel the same way. :)
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?
My next one. I need to get a few projects out of the way first, but then I think it's high time to return to the First World... ;)
Steve Geddes wrote:
1) All of them, multiple times. :)
2) Once upon a time I got to read it all. Now I rarely get to take edit passes on the new setting books—there's just too much material given my other job responsibilities—but the other developers and editors are really good about bringing me those sections that touch on topics near and dear to my heart!
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the style of their hats, but by the content of their character." — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Oh man, this thread! Be still, my heart!
It's always fun to see people pick out your influences, because half the time it's spot on, and half the time it's stuff you've never heard of. :)
As it turns out, while Jacobs is correct that I was hugely influenced by Dan Simmons, the pulps, and Lovecraft for various planets, probably my biggest single influence was our own solar system. While I'm the rankest amateur when it comes to most hard science, I'm really fascinated by different astronomical phenomena and how they might impact life on a given world. So while one might look at Triaxus and think "Super-long winters and summers? Talk about a Game of Thrones rip-off!", the truth is that I actually came up with the long seasons idea by thinking about planets with really eccentric orbits, and I was totally oblivious to the parallels until I was writing the entry and typed something like "Every Triaxian knows that winter is comi—OH G++*!*N IT!" :P
So, to list some of the broad-strokes influences:
Aballon: Real-world Mercury, and the thought that robots really ought to have their own planet.
Castrovel: A wide variety of takes on pulp Venus, including some of the ones mentioned. The Lashunta were also heavily inspired by Robert E. Howard's Almuric. (Erik Mona, aka The Pulp Master, helped lay down pulp guidelines for both Akiton and Castrovel.)
Akiton: Pulp Mars, by way of Burroughs and Brackett.
Verces: Dune never crossed my mind, though I can see where you'd get that. Actually, I've wanted to write about a tidally locked planet for years—I even wrote part of a novel about one, back before I wrote Death's Heretic, and that world served as the model for Verces.
Diaspora: Dan Simmons, plus our own asteroid belt.
Eox: It just seemed like being undead would make space exploration so much easier. Plus I saw a picture somewhere of a skeleton wearing a space helmet and went "UNDEAD ASTRONAUTS! GENIUS!"
Triaxus: I've actually never read Helliconia, and as noted didn't recognize the GRRM parallels until fairly late in the game—I was just really interested in the evolutionary effects of a highly eccentric orbit. The biggest literary influences for me on this one were Richard Knaak's Dragonrealms series and the Pern novels—the Inner Sea's never really been the right place for dragon riders, so I wanted to make sure they got their own nation somewhere.
Liavara and Bretheda: Just my ideas of what life might be like on a gas world, and all the moons gave me chances to play with fun astronomical phenomena like tidal heating or Europa-style oceans that I couldn't fit in elsewhere.
Apostae: Captured objects and generation ships! There are a million books dealing with both, but lets give the nod to Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.
Aucturn: Lovecraft, all the time.
Pretty much everything else came from my brain—making up craziness is the best part of this job, after all! Hope that helps shed some light without killing the magic. :)
Ross Byers wrote:
So, serious question, what does the Tor contract mean for the backlog of Pathfinder Journals and Webfiction that has not yet been compiled into ePubs?
The short fiction and journals will continue to be compiled and sold as epubs on paizo.com as normal. We've just been super busy recently, and it's a ways down on Ye Olde To-Do Liste. :P
Hey everybody! Sorry to let this thread languish so long, but I was on vacation.
Regarding Pathfinder Tales ebooks: At least initially, they'll be sold by third parties—pretty much all the major players, now including Kindle! One of the big plusses of this deal is that we can finally, *finally* get the books on Kindle, which folks have been asking for on these threads forever. There will be links on Paizo's product pages that let you buy the ebooks from the vendor of your choice. The MSRP on these is $9.99, though individual sites have the ability to discount and make deals as they wish.
I agree that it's unfortunate that there's not a "subscribe" option under this model. It's certainly something we'd love to have, it's just unclear at this point whether there's a way to do it technologically and contractually when people are buying through the other vendors.
If it's seemed at times that not all the information was available, it's because we've been figuring this thing out as quickly as possible, trying to get everything arranged on very short timelines. Trust me, it's not subterfuge—you're just watching our internal processes work in real-time. :)
Regarding the price increase, and whether this counts as a "money grab"... I'm afraid that's really up to you to decide. What I can tell you is that it's really, really hard to make money on mass-market paperbacks unless you're selling a HUGE amount—the price is simply too low, once you factor in the printing costs and the bookseller's discount. Presuming you pay your authors and artists a decent rate—which we do—you can sell thousands of copies of a book before you get close to breaking even.
When we started Pathfinder Tales, we chose mass market because it seemed like the default, and because it's what we all had such fond memories of—certainly when I was a kid, most of what I owned were mass-market paperbacks. But the market has changed since I was a kid. More and more publishers are moving to trade paperback because you simply can't make money on print unless you're publishing an increasingly small list of Big Names. If we were starting Pathfinder Tales now, there would be no question that we'd go trade paperback.
The changes—the price bumps, the new size, the partnership with Tor, being able to sell on Kindle—are necessary to help the line grow and thrive. We need the books to be a competitive price and sell more copies so that we can do right by our authors, our game, and our partners.
It's important to me to keep the books as cheap as possible. But it's also important to me to get the best authors I can, and to reach as many readers as I can. Sometimes those two conflict. And in the end, as steward of these amazing books that my authors have poured their blood and tears into, I have to opt for whatever is going to get the books out to the most people. This isn't about trading old readers for new, it's about growing beyond what we can do on our own. And while paying more is obviously never going to be folks' preference, I hope that the price increase of at most $30 a year isn't going to break the bank for most readers.
Thanks for understanding!
Just in that it contains a lot of the same people. :)
At least, as far as I know...
What are the main differences between your job duties and Mr. Schneider's?
Seriously, though, there's a fair amount of overlap. At a direct managerial level, I'm in charge of the editors, and Wes is in charge of the developers AND editors (including me). At the same time, I act as his second-in-command, so I pretty much step into his shoes when he's unavailable, which adds to that overlap. Beyond that, as two of the most senior folks in the pit, we're both part of the managerial team that helps guide the overall product strategy and world design, as well as internal scheduling. In terms of our development duties, Wes takes a more active role in outlining and backstopping the game books, while I captain the fiction line.
So in short, we do very similar things, but he's the boss. :)
Are you currently playing in any Pathfinder games?
I'm in Erik Mona's Shadows Under Absalom game, but otherwise I'm a little bit between campaigns since the Asylum Stone game I was running wrapped up. Now that I'm digging myself out from under some big writing projects, though, I'm starting to think about what I want to run next...
I'm in the middle of writing up something more substantial, but Mike was a great guy, and I owe him a lot.
For those who didn't know him: You probably know his work. Mike was instrumental in creating the Pathfinder setting, and from Korvosa to Darkmoon Vale to Shelyn to Tian Xia, Golarion wouldn't be the world it is without him.