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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
James, you are GMing and you have the PCs in a tower full of undead, you've got them a little creeped out with what they've seen so far; how do you keep the suspense up?
Turn down the lights. Then just keep ramping up the horror—steal shamelessly from all your favorite horror movies. And it never hurts to throw hints that someone in the party might secretly be working against the others...
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. :)
That's not a coincidence. :) Akiton has always been our Pulp Mars analogue, and Castrovel our Pulp Venus (though we've admittedly try to add things to both that aren't particularly pulp inspired, just to mix things up).
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. :)
Hmm... that's a toughy. For the writers... maybe Stephen King, just because he's seen it all, and my wife and I both love the Dark Tower series. John Green's a top contender as well, since we both like his stuff, and he seems like a cool guy. Dan Simmons is in there, too, and JK Rowling. Of course, it's also tempting to go with someone from ancient history, just to get a firsthand account of what life was like. (Or maybe some early scripture writers or founding fathers, just to get a few bones of contention hammered out.) But in general, I'm super fortunate in that I've actually already gotten to meet and hang out with some of my favorite authors!
As for where we'd go, I'd want to go to the greatest pizza parlor in the world... but I have no idea what or where that is, so I'd do a lot of research. Failing that... maybe Beth's diner in Seattle? I feel like eating a greasy 12-egg omelette together is a good bonding experience.
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!
Ross Byers wrote:
The general policy of not advancing the timeline continues to stand, but just as we make the occasional exception for adventures (like Shattered Star being a sort of sequel to Rise of the Runelords), we also make occasional exceptions for the novels.
For Radovan and Jeggare, we wanted to have King of Chaos be tied to Wrath of the Righteous, but of course that means that Lord of Runes then takes place after that AP (or at least after R&J's involvement in it). And to use a Gray Maiden, we needed to make a decision about Curse of the Crimson Throne, and so on.
Basically, in order to let Lord of Runes—the first Tor novel—play with a lot of established toys, we relaxed some guidelines. But on the whole, we still want our novels and APs to work no matter what order you read or play them in, so we're deliberately avoiding locking things down into a timeline whenever possible.
Hope that answers the question!
Thank you! I've been super-buried in work recently, but I'll try to get back to this thread as well soon. :)
Jeremy Corff wrote:
All the time. "Where do they get to go?" is as important a question to me as "Who are my characters?" when I'm in the early stages of planning a book. For better or for worse, a lot of my plots start out as "What story could possibly take them to X, Y, *and* Z?" I'm sort of a glutton in that regard, and fleshing out favorite locations only briefly mentioned in the setting material is the best part of writing tie-in. :)
Oh god. I salute your survival of the beautiful trench warfare that is shared housing. :)
Dave Gross wrote:
If they had been anywhere near 50% ads, they never would have folded.
They never did fold, actually—the license wasn't renewed. The magazines were actually doing better than they had in a long time when WotC took them back in-house.
That said, yeah, 50% ads would have been *decadent*.
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. :)
Jeremy Corff wrote:
Very, very carefully. It's honestly one of the trickiest aspects of a series.
Of course, I get to send my character to the planes, where there's *always* someone more badass than him around the next corner. :)
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. :)
Tor is explicitly anti-DRM. I don't know exactly what deals they have worked out with various retailers, but I know that if they can sell a book DRM-free through a channel, they do.
At the moment, it doesn't look like Tor is selling direct, at least as far as the Macmillan website is concerned—I think they prefer to cede that ground to the retailers.
I think that the hardest game element to manage in the novel line—for me and probably most of the folks here—is the magic system. It's hard to have to think through every implication and make sure that, even if it's not in the story, you know why your protagonist doesn't just cast Spell X and solve any given problem.
Probably one of the most pervasive specific issues is that of magical healing and resurrection, as folks have mentioned—it's hard to keep tensions high when there's a perception that anyone can be brought back from the dead for the price of a nice magic item. (There are, of course, plenty of good ways that issue can be skirted, and logistical reasons why being rich in Golarion doesn't make you functionally unkillable, but at the end of the day we're still working within a framework designed to let *players* bring characters back to life while trying to keep everyone else from doing the same thing.)
What formats will the ebooks be available in?
I know that they'll be sold by:
I'm personally not super savvy about ebook formats, so I'm not sure how many of those have proprietary formats. I need to investigate and educate myself before I can answer further. :)
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!