Pathfinder Tales: Death's Heretic

****½ (based on 46 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Death's Heretic
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Nobody Cheats Death

A warrior haunted by his past, Salim is a problem-solver for a church he hates, bound by the death goddess to hunt down those who would rob her of her due. Such is the case in the desert nation of Thuvia, where a merchant on the verge of achieving eternal youth via a magical elixir is mysteriously murdered, his soul stolen from the afterlife. The only clue is a magical ransom note offering to trade the merchant's spirit for his dose of the fabled potion. But who could steal a soul from the boneyard of Death herself ? Enter Salim, whose unique skills should make solving this mystery a cinch. There's only one problem: The investigation is being financed by the dead merchant's stubborn and aristocratic daughter—and she wants to go with him. Together, the two must embark on a tour of the Outer Planes, where devils and angels rub shoulders with fey lords and mechanical men, and nothing is as it seems.

From noted author and game designer James L. Sutter comes an epic mystery of murder and immortality, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-369-9
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-370-5

Death's Heretic is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Death's Heretic is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (229 KB zip/PDF).

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****½ (based on 46 ratings)

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Explores the Rich Possibilities of Golarion



What's not to like about Death's Heretic by James Sutter? Nothing that I can see. I was expecting great things in this novel after falling head over heels for Sutter's Pathfinder sourcebook on Kaer Maga (City of Strangers), and Death's Heretic did not disappoint. This tale centers around a murder mystery in Thuvia and features a pair of investigators, one of whom (Salim) is one of the most original characters I've seen in fantasy gaming fiction. His backstory is frankly fantastic, and the way it drives him forward fits perfectly. The action scenes are uniformly great: tense, brutal, and fast-paced. One of the other exciting things about this novel is that we get our first (chronologically speaking) glimpse of the Outer Planes of Golarion. There's also a really interesting portrayal of Fey, an element of the campaign world I hadn't yet really wrapped my head around, as well as a "deep dive" into the faith of Pharasma (Goddess of the Dead). As a mystery novel, it works well as the solution makes sense but wasn't easy to figure out ahead of time. Finally, it's one of the few genre novels of the type that features a romance element that's done well. To sum it up, Death's Heretic is one of the best of the early Pathfinder novels and definitely deserves to be read by RPG and general fantasy fans alike.


A Taldan nobleman who just placed the winning bid for the extraordinarily rare (and life extending) elixir of the Sun Orchid has been murdered. No big deal: just resurrect him, right? Well, it turns out he's not only been murdered, but his soul has been stolen--from the afterlife! The Church of Pharasma has to call in a special investigator, a faith-hating native of Rahadoum named Salim, to try to solve the mystery. Salim is forced to work with the dead man's daughter, Neila, and their investigation takes them to the City of Axis, the Boneyard, the Maelstrom, and even the First World. I'd feel much more comfortable running story lines in these settings now than before, as the novel makes them come alive in a way that prose descriptions can't always match. I don't want to spoil Salim's backstory (even in the spoilers section!), other than to say that it's gut-wrenching and unique, and explains why he hates the Church of Pharasma while simultaneously being obliged to help it. All in all, a fantastic use of the variety of settings that Golarion has to offer, great characters, and a strong mystery make this one a winner.

A Wonderful Story by Sutter


Sutter crafts an amazing tale about a faithless inquisitor. Do you hate your job? You can empathize with this guy.

Excellent work good sir. I'll begin on the sequel shortly!

best pathfinder tale i've read (or in this case listened to) yet.


ah, you think you need a review, but what you really need, is a chicken.


***( )( )

It was really hard to get into this novel. I wanted to like the characters but found no empathy for them. The book was highly predictable as a "who-done-it" and I had it figured out within the first couple of chapters.
Some interesting reflections on faith and atheism scattered through the novel.



A very good read if you are at all interested in: Pharasma, heretics, investigators, demons / devils, the Boneyard, Axis, Thuvia, the sun orchid elixir, or Rahadoum.

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