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I adore this thread.
And yeah, Erik gets most of the credit for the conversation between the runelords in pages 1-3 of HOLLOW MOUNTAIN #1. The three of us have been working really closely together on this series, which means sometimes inserting bits into each other's scripts or swiping each other's ideas. :)
Hooray! We're excited for the same reason—I do most of my pleasure reading via headphones these days, too. :)
As for the boons—yeah, show the GM the book on your phone, or a screenshot of your Audible library, or print out a screenshot... whatever works best for you. We trust you. :)
On the subject of whether elves are from Golarion or Castrovel: I find it's really fun to have it be ambiguous. There's some pretty strong circumstantial evidence that they're from Castrovel, but on page 10 of Distant Worlds, we deliberately say that nobody *really* knows which planet they evolved on, and that there's a certain amount of planetary pride at play. I love the idea of Golarion's elves—who many races see as snooty—rankling at being viewed as "provincials" by the elves of Sovyrian. :)
I'm with you, Chris—I've been relaxing at the end of the day by listening to The Redemption Engine. While it can be weird to hear voices or pronunciations different than what you imagined when writing, that's nothing compared to the deep, deep satisfaction of hearing somebody actually speak Gav's patter. :D
To summarize Wes:
*The trait was not intended to allow paladins of Asmodeus.
*We have no plans to publish actual paladins of Asmodeus (though it might be fun to have some Asmodean scammers calling themselves paladins, just to mess with people...).
*PFS will not be allowing paladins of Asmodeus.
*You can do whatever you want in your home game. This was true before we published the feat, and remains true today. :)
That's not just Wes talking—last I checked in with all the various stakeholders, that was Paizo's official stance. So if you're a person who cares about official stances, that's ours. :D
Radovan's being imprecise in his language—Viridio is indeed a devil. (Jeggare, of course, would be horribly shamed not to distinguish properly between the two...)
James Jacobs wrote:
I like to think we're getting better at it, because each time I see it pop up in something that I don't have direct control over (such as novels or card games) I get all crusady.
This is purely theoretical, of course. The novels don't have problems. The novels have *never* had problems. The novels will walk your dog when you're out of town. When you text the novels late at night because you're feeling lonely, they don't mind, because they were thinking about you, too. The novels would fight a shark for you. The novels remind you to call your mom but understand when you forget. I heard that one time a guy with blisters held a novel over his feet for an hour, and they healed.
I drive three hours per day to get to and from work. I have had Audible since 2005 and have hundreds of titles. I love the inclusion of these books to their service.
Yeah, Audible totally changed how I look at commuting. It also made working out and cleaning the house waaaay more appealing. ;)
I thought this crew might be excited to know that Audible is releasing ALL of the Pathfinder Tales backlist as audiobooks, with a ton of different high-profile narrators behind the mic. The first 15 just went live today, and while the audiobook samples are currently glitching, I've been informed that they'll be fixed by this time tomorrow, so you can sample all the different narrators to find your favorites!
The link is http://www.audible.com/Pathfinder.
As you might guess, I'm EXTREMELY excited about this, and can't wait to hear what people think. :)
So for anybody with the book, how does Ular Kel read? Is it hunnic, sarmatian/scythian, or mongol, or a kickass combo of all three?
It reads like pure, unadulterated joy. Like falling into bed when you're exhausted. Like an angel descending from on high with a lime slurpee when you're dying of thirst in the desert.
*ahem* Sorry, not sure where that came from. *cough*
In terms of real-world analogues, the most direct inspirations were the Kazakh and Mongol peoples, plus cities like Samarkand and Jerusalem. I generally try not to do straight-up reinterpretations of real-world cultures, though. While I love real-world history and anthropology, I believe in intentionally diverging from it (in part because it makes the writing process a lot more fun for me!). So a lot of the parts of the city that I'm most excited about—the Trade Palace, the Water Lords, the Spire of Azi, the Iridian Fold—have no direct historical precedent I'm aware of. (If they do, though, please tell me—it blew my mind a few years ago when someone compared Kaer Maga to Kowloon Walled City, because it was such a great analogue!)
For the record: I'm the person advising Macmillan Audio on the cultural analogues, and they definitely have the information about who's supposed to sound like what.
That said, as folks have pointed out, it's hard to find a narrator who can do all the different accents one might want, especially if (as in the case with the newer Pathfinder Tales novels) the production folks want to use the same narrator on every book. While it can be a little weird to have all the characters have the same general accent, someone doing *bad* accents is even worse, and in the worst cases can be downright offensive. So my default guideline for narrators is "If you can do the accents right—great! But if not, just read it like you're reading a story."
Regarding specific narrators: I'd love to hear more and detailed feedback about Steve West (the reader for Lord of Runes and Liar's Island). Suggestions of specific readers aren't useful—there are all sorts of financial/availability/contractual concerns that keep us from picking and choosing—but if the majority of folks have a problem with the reader, we can absolutely pass that information on to Macmillan Audio (the people producing the Tor-era audiobooks).
That said, please stay tuned, as there's an announcement I'm really excited about coming next month that will have some bearing on this particular issue... :)
As Kalindlara mentioned, I think Nightglass does a wonderful job of illustrating what life is like in Nidal. But even then, that's for someone raised to the priesthood—a "normal" person's life in Nidal probably isn't all that different from a normal person's life in Cheliax. Just because your state-sponsored religion is based on pain and evil doesn't mean you don't still have a family, friends, a job, hobbies...
Honestly, North Korea's a little bit *less* believable to me than Nidal. But that's just my opinion. :P
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!