Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils

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Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils
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Journey to the East

On a mysterious errand for the Pathfinder Society, Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan journey to the distant land of Tian Xia, on the far side of the world. When disaster forces him to take shelter in a warrior monastery, "Brother" Jeggare finds himself competing with the disciples of Dragon Temple as he unravels a royal mystery. Meanwhile, Radovan—trapped in the body of a devil and held hostage by the legendary Quivering Palm attack—must serve a twisted master by defeating the land’s deadliest champions and learning the secret of slaying an immortal foe. Together with an unlikely army of beasts and spirits, the two companions must take the lead in an ancient conflict that will carry them through an exotic land, all the way to the Gates of Heaven and Hell and a final confrontation with the nefarious Master of Devils!

From fan-favorite author Dave Gross comes a new fantastical adventure set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-357-6
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-358-3

Master of Devils is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Master of Devils is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (229 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Tales Subscription.

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****( ) (based on 41 ratings)

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Good Characters in a Fun Setting

****( )

NO SPOILERS

Count Jeggare and Radovan, the stars of the first Pathfinder novel (Prince of Wolves) return in Master of Devils. This time, instead of the gothic-inspired land of Ustalav, they're in the Asian-themed land of Tian Xia. The new setting lends a *very* different feel to the story, as traditional Western fantasy tropes are replaced with even more fantastical elements drawn from Chinese and Japanese legend. Despite the unfamiliarity of the setting, the story was easy to get into and featured some laugh-out loud humour. The story is told from three points of view and drags a touch in spots, but there are some really clever action scenes to keep things interesting. For fans of Jeggare and Radovan, Master of Devils offers some real character development. Tian Xia could as well be a whole new Pathfinder campaign setting considering how different it is to the norm, making this novel a memorable entry in the line.

SPOILERS

As in their first novel, Jeggare and Radovan get separated early on and stay that way for most of the book--something that could prove frustrating to some readers. Jeggare finds himself effectively trapped as a new student at a martial monastery and has to learn a more physical way of life; the development here is done well and the reader gets a good sense that proficiency in anything takes time and work. The incorporation of Vancian magic into fiction is often quite clunky, but actually serves an important plot point here. Radovan, trapped in demon form, is forced to become the personal warrior for a powerful monk who wants him to kill a dragon! Radovan has to travel the land and defeat various local heroes, and there's a fantastic encounter with a "drunken master." The weirdest element is that some of the chapters are told from the point of view of Jeggare's dog! It's an idea that is unique and funny at first, but perhaps overdone.

The colorful, eastern-themed fantasy is less "grounded in reality" than western-themed fantasy is in Pathfinder, so the feel of Tian Xia is very different and may seem a bit goofy to some. I liked it, but it can take some time to get used to it. Overall, Master of Devils was a fun novel and (to my mind) better than Prince of Wolves.


*****


builds to amazing crescendo

*****

Another amazing installment in the Radovan and Count Jeggare body of work!

(paraphrasing)

"I thought you knew these people?"
"I do. Thats why i dont trust them."

we are off the the eastern lands of Tien Xia, and a world of asian mysteries. Mr. Gross wonderfully writs in a way wher ethe characters points of view slowly are saturated with the culture, so things that they seem as odd or impossible (like ki powers, massive leaps, kung fu movie kind of stuff) seem bizarre at first, but as they are assimilated into the culture, their point-of-view stlye narratives begin to shift to it being par for the course - as usual one of Dave Gross' best attributes is his ability to allow the reader to see changes, patterns, and even flaws in the lead characters that they themselves cannot see.

and thats just my praise for the writing style. The plot and evocative setting is just wonderful. It starts out as a great fanciful yarn with an exotic locale, and begins to spin faster and faster as different plot threads build momentum into an inevitable grand collision - youll find yourself reading faster and faster the closer you get to the end! In many ways it reminds me of gabriel garcia marquez' 100 years of solitude with its ability to suck the reader in with an ever-quickening pace.


The 36 chambers of the shaolin!

*****

THE GOOD:
This 2nd novel of Count Varian Jeggare and Radovan Virholt is great again, even better than the first one - because it adds a 3rd hero - the dog Arnisant!

So far the only novel to take place in Tian Xia (asia), Dave Gross captures the mood perfectly and there are great homages to martial arts movies.

THE BAD:
The things the characters do are not possible with the Pathfinder rules so far - this is later changed (Inner Sea Magic/Riffle scrolls) and explained (King of Chaos/Count Jeggares spellcasting and Radovans transformation) - but i am still waiting for the double quivering palm attack rules. ;-)

THE UGLY:
Arni can´t talk anymore. ;-)
Just kidding - nothing ugly here.


**( )( )( )

Power level is way off (somehow Radovan becomes a 15th level monk and Varian Jeggare becomes a magus?)


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Just announced! The cover is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Contributor

Return of Jeggare and Radovan - yes!

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Glee! Yet another reason for August excitement :)

Dark Archive

Cool cover and yes I know it is a mock up. :)


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Return of Dave Gross ... yes! :-)

Dark Archive Contributor

Wait until you see the final artwork. James gave me a peek at it today. I've been blessed with a few great covers in past, but this one leaves them all behind. Acknowledging my obvious bias, I'm tempted to say it's the finest piece of artwork I've yet seen from Paizo ... and that is saying a lot.

Scarab Sages

Having highly enjoyed Prince of Wolves, I have to say I'm looking forward to this. Congrats on your ongoing relationship with Pathfinder Tales, Mr. Gross!


I keep wanting to break out into Metallica's "Master of Puppets" song.

This is entirely your fault Dave.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

When did Varian and Radovan hit Epic level?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lilith wrote:

I keep wanting to break out into Metallica's "Master of Puppets" song.

This is entirely your fault Dave.

And that is a problem why? ;) I am looking forward to this one.

Dark Archive

A new Varian and Radovan book? YESSSS

Prince of Wolves was such a great book. Looking forward to more awesome tales featuring those two characters.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Lilith wrote:

I keep wanting to break out into Metallica's "Master of Puppets" song.

This is entirely your fault Dave.

And fixed :p


Yay for more of Count Varian Jeggare and Radovan! And in Tian Xia no less.


Very cool! I'm happy to see the first series begin in the Pathfinder Tales.


When do we get to see this awesome new cover art?!

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Within the month, certainly.

Dark Archive

*Snif*, a "twisted Master of Devils"... you guys finally decided to publish a book featuring me?


Nice. I'm reading the first one now.


A black & white pic is in the back of Worldwound Gambit, let us see the color version!

Dark Archive Contributor

I'll do more of this sort of post closer to the release date, but here are some notes on one of the films that would have inspired Master of Devils if I'd seen it before finishing the manuscript: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've added the finished cover image.

Dark Archive Contributor

Dave Gross wrote:
I'll do more of this sort of post closer to the release date, but here are some notes on one of the films that would have inspired Master of Devils if I'd seen it before finishing the manuscript: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.

I've added several more wuxia film recommendations at my blog. Another's coming on Monday.

Dark Archive

Excellent - Prince of Wolves was a great read and was enough to convince me to sign up for a Pathfinder Tales subscription. Looking forward to some Radovan goodness, with his 'big smile'.

Dark Archive

I was present at Paizocon for Mr. Gross to discuss this book, and he mentioned the chronological timing of this book and the next entry in the Pathfinder Chronicles fiction featuring Varian and Radovan.

I forget the order though....

I believe it was Master of Devils, THEN the Jade Regent fiction?

I know it's not important to the stories but I still like to be in order. =) Any help?

Dark Archive Contributor

srd5090 wrote:

I was present at Paizocon for Mr. Gross to discuss this book, and he mentioned the chronological timing of this book and the next entry in the Pathfinder Chronicles fiction featuring Varian and Radovan.

I forget the order though....

I believe it was Master of Devils, THEN the Jade Regent fiction?

I know it's not important to the stories but I still like to be in order. =) Any help?

Let me emphasize that the order in which you read them truly doesn't matter. In fact, the Wayfinder/Web story "A Lesson in Taxonomy" is chronologically the first Varian Jeggare story, but it's much more fun to read it after experiencing the first few tales of Radovan and the Count.

Chronologically it's "A Passage to Absalom" (the web fiction starting next Wednesday), then "Husks" (the AP serial), and then Master of Devils.

I wrote them in reverse chronological order, though, so there's a good argument for going backward.

Dark Archive

Quote:

Let me emphasize that the order in which you read them truly doesn't matter. In fact, the Wayfinder/Web story "A Lesson in Taxonomy" is chronologically the first Varian Jeggare story, but it's much more fun to read it after experiencing the first few tales of Radovan and the Count.

Chronologically it's "A Passage to Absalom" (the web fiction starting next Wednesday), then "Husks" (the AP serial), and then Master of Devils.

I wrote them in reverse chronological order, though, so there's a good argument for going backward.

Thank you Dave! That reassures me.

I guess while we are on the subject (and to help those who are also HUGE fans of V&R!), what are the other orders of their stories?

I think we can obviously say Prince of Wolves is before the Tian stories, but before that, does it go A Lesson in Taxonomy -> Hell's Pawns -> Lost Pathfinder -> Prince of Wolves?

I'm OCD about chronological orders...

Liberty's Edge Contributor

I finally posted a review on my blog. I had hoped to get this out before GenCon, so folks would be encouraged to pick up the novel there. Sorry for the delay.

You can read it here.

I didn't post the full review in the "reviews" section, because it's a double-feature post for Prince of Wolves and Master of Devils. It is a very long article.

I will post a link to the same article on Amazon.com when I'm able to enter a review on their website. It's still listed as "unavailable" there.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

I finished reading this on the way out to GenCon and the ending was quite spectacular. The bit with the thing and the stuff was so cool!

Spoiler:
involving the fan.
it did take me a few chapters to get into the plot and style, but turned fantastic quickly!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

I loved the thing and the stuff, too! I lol-ed, actually. ;-)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
srd5090 wrote:
Quote:

Let me emphasize that the order in which you read them truly doesn't matter. In fact, the Wayfinder/Web story "A Lesson in Taxonomy" is chronologically the first Varian Jeggare story, but it's much more fun to read it after experiencing the first few tales of Radovan and the Count.

Chronologically it's "A Passage to Absalom" (the web fiction starting next Wednesday), then "Husks" (the AP serial), and then Master of Devils.

I wrote them in reverse chronological order, though, so there's a good argument for going backward.

Thank you Dave! That reassures me.

I guess while we are on the subject (and to help those who are also HUGE fans of V&R!), what are the other orders of their stories?

I think we can obviously say Prince of Wolves is before the Tian stories, but before that, does it go A Lesson in Taxonomy -> Hell's Pawns -> Lost Pathfinder -> Prince of Wolves?

I'm OCD about chronological orders...

That's right.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I'm wondering if there's any copies out there, besides mine, that had issues with faintly printed pages. They aren't so faint I can't read the pages but there is quite a difference in those pages and other pages.

Liberty's Edge

Chris Ballard wrote:
I'm wondering if there's any copies out there, besides mine, that had issues with faintly printed pages. They aren't so faint I can't read the pages but there is quite a difference in those pages and other pages.

Precisely ONE page of mine had this problem, so I know what you are talking about, at least.

Dark Archive

I checked mine and it has a number of pages where the text looks a lot more like very dark grey than black. I could tell some text was lighter than other text. None of it is so light as to be hard to read though.

Paizo Employee Senior Editor

Chris Ballard wrote:
I'm wondering if there's any copies out there, besides mine, that had issues with faintly printed pages. They aren't so faint I can't read the pages but there is quite a difference in those pages and other pages.

That's a printer error. The inking looks good on all the copies I've seen. I'll alert customer service to this and see if they can't take care of you.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Christopher Paul Carey wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
I'm wondering if there's any copies out there, besides mine, that had issues with faintly printed pages. They aren't so faint I can't read the pages but there is quite a difference in those pages and other pages.
That's a printer error. The inking looks good on all the copies I've seen. I'll alert customer service to this and see if they can't take care of you.

Email sent :D

Thanks for bringing this to my attention Chris!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Just wanted to let you all know in case any one else had the same issue.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Mine's certainly not illegible, but the print is noticeably weird.


Same here. Some pages are very faint, not unreadable but faint.

That said, it's a great book so far. I bow to Dave's knowledge of eastern movies and tropes. Great fun!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Thanael wrote:

Same here. Some pages are very faint, not unreadable but faint.

That said, it's a great book so far. I bow to Dave's knowledge of eastern movies and tropes. Great fun!

I agree. This is definitely one of my favorites; I'm just under half done and it's going fast.


So now for the nerdy part. I know i know it's a novel and doesn't have to 100% follow the PF rules, but indulge me.

Radovan was revealed to be a CL7 (rog5/mnk2) character in KQ14. I don't know at which point in the novels/stories that is but it feels about right for before Prince of Wolves. Now in Master of Devils without doubt both Jeggare and Radovan gain a few levels, learning some monkish skills...

Spoiler:
...and in Jeggare's case arcane too unless I'm mistaken.

For example Radovan learns the High Jump monk skill (mmk5) and later Abundant Step (mnk12!)and even Quivering Palm(mnk15!!!). Is he really a 15 the level monk at the end of the novel then? On top of his rogue levels? Or is there a spell or a function of his devil-side that allows him to gain those skills?

This would mean a significant increase of character level between the novels, which i just can't really . It breaks suspension of disbelief at bit for the continuity imho. No doubt the novel is a great fun high level adventure but i can't quite wrap my head around that crass shift of power level of the protagonists.

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanael wrote:

So now for the nerdy part. I know i know it's a novel and doesn't have to 100% follow the PF rules, but indulge me.

** spoiler omitted **

Another look at Chapter Six might answer your question, but if not I'll give you the blunt answer if you can join us on the 29th.

Master of Devils Chat
Monday, August 29, 9:00 ET, 6:00 PT

To join the chat, point your browser to chat.dmtools.org, choose a screen name, and type /join PFTales.


Thanks for the answer Dave. I reread chapter 6 , but i still don't get it.

Spoiler:
How does he get access to Quivering Palm, when a few days/weeks/months before he just learned High Jump ?

Will see if I can make the chat.

BTW Dave, i read on your facebook page that you're searching for a reasonably priced copy of Snake in Eagle's Shadow. I do hope you have at least seen the film, or did you really not? It's a great classic, and has been broadcast on TV here in Germany quite a few times.

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanael wrote:
BTW Dave, i read on your facebook page that you're searching for a reasonably priced copy of Snake in Eagle's Shadow. I do hope you have at least seen the film, or did you really not? It's a great classic, and has been broadcast on TV here in Germany quite a few times.

No, I still haven't seen this movie, I've only read about it and viewed a few scenes. It's one of the remaining major gaps in my wuxia movie education.

If you don't catch me in the chat room Monday night, you can find me there on and off much of the time. Just shoot me a message, and I'll give you that straight answer, assuming no one else has done so before then.

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanael wrote:
BTW Dave, i read on your facebook page that you're searching for a reasonably priced copy of Snake in Eagle's Shadow. I do hope you have at least seen the film, or did you really not? It's a great classic, and has been broadcast on TV here in Germany quite a few times.

Also, Flames Rising has posted five more of my kung fu movie recommendations. I'll resume my regular blog recommendations soon.


Well I couldn't make it to the chat. Care to let the cat out of the bag, Dave?

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanael wrote:
Well I couldn't make it to the chat. Care to let the cat out of the bag, Dave?

The chat's still about six hours away. If you still can't make it, I'll respond under a spoiler-tag, but it's a BIG spoiler for those who haven't read the book. If you come to the chat room soon, you might catch me while I'm hanging out and eating my lunch for the next little while. Go to chat.dmtools.org and pick a username.

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanael wrote:

So now for the nerdy part. I know i know it's a novel and doesn't have to 100% follow the PF rules, but indulge me....

** spoiler omitted **

Big Damned Spoilers:

Radovan isn't really learning those high-level skills; rather, Burning Cloud Devil is using magic to "imprint" them on him, much in the same way that he controls Radovan's body from afar. This works only by virtue of Radovan's "big and ugly" state; to make this work, BCD needs not just a hellspawn but one currently trapped in a full-devil body. Radovan is uniquely suited to this role.

Thus, once he's shed of the big devil body, and while he may have picked up a few things along the way, Radovan's not walking off with the power to perform those high-level monk abilities. They died with the big devil he was stuck inside.

Scarab Sages

Awesome book. Best to date. Thanks Dave.

Sovereign Court

Written a review (summary: I really like the book).

I personally don't care about any speedy advance in power that wouldn't happen in-game, because the rules aren't written to make good fiction.


I loved this book! I ESPECIALLY love the appearance of my favorite simian demigod as I never get enough of him in any sorts of media. I've been wanting to read an asian-themed fantasy D&D story since I've started playing so I'm grateful you wrote it.

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