Pathfinder Tales: Liar's Blade

***** (based on 17 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Liar's Blade
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Bastard and Sword

With strength, wit, rakish charm, and a talking sword named Hrym, Rodrick has all the makings of a classic hero—except for the conscience. Instead, he and Hrym live a high life as scoundrels, pulling cons and parting the weak from their gold. When a mysterious woman invites them along on a quest into the frozen north in pursuit of a legendary artifact, it seems like a prime opportunity to make some easy coin—especially if there’s a chance for a double-cross. Along with a hooded priest and a half-elven tracker, the team sets forth into a land of monsters, bandits, and ancient magic. As the miles wear on, however, Rodrick’s companions begin acting steadily stranger, leading both man and sword to wonder what exactly they’ve gotten themselves into...

From Hugo Award-winner Tim Pratt, author of City of the Fallen Sky, comes a bold new tale of ice, magic, and questionable morality set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-515-0
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-516-7

Liar's Blade is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Liar's Blade is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet is available as a free download (397 KB zip/PDF).

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

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***** (based on 17 ratings)

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Everything and more ...

*****

From title to story end this book is simply awesome!

Pro's:

- Funny, witty and well written. Good banter
- Great connection/placing within the Golarion setting
- Amazingly interesting characters that evolve throughout the story
- Many sub-stories within the plot that (for once) actually works
- A real roleplaying storytale/feel that doesn't feel like someone
actually making a resume of actual roleplaying

Together with Liane Merciels Night* stories this is on my top 3 of the PF Tales, and I can highly recommend it!


Be Wary My Friend, of Talking Swords and Psychotic Tavern Wenches

*****

First let me start off by saying that while the story is awesome it is the dialogue where this novels rises heads and shoulders above others, similar to Pratt's equally good City of the Fallen Sky. Hrym is hands down my favorite Tales character that I've had the joy of reading. I'll come right out and say it, I keep a little notebook where I write down my favorite pages and lines in it. Liar's Blades and City of the Fallen Sky each have more pages to themselves than the rest of the Tales novels combined. The dialogue is just that good.

Also this novel contains the absolute best way to kill a Final Boss. Period.

I can't recomend this novel enough.


*****


Tim Pratt is on fire!

*****

While I enjoyed City of Fallen Stars, it just does not hold a candle to Liar's Blade. Incredibly sharp dialogue, loveable scoundrels, and crazy adventure combine to make this one of the best Pathfinder Tales books.

As an added bonus, there is a special treat for any fans of the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories.


Great buddy story with wit and adventure

*****

It has been 25 years (at least) since I read Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the gray mouser books so I can't really say if Tim Pratt executed this homage well or not. What I can say is that he did a fantastic job crafting a solid buddy story about two ostensible scoundrels who care deeply about each other and work as a team to take on the world together (even if one is "only" a sword). That sense of trust and shared knowledge infuses the story and gives it life.

And Pratt does a good job with the other characters as well. Each of the secondary characters has believable motivations and depth enough to both understand and, to an extent, even sympathize with their actions—even when you don't like what they do and know that they will eventually harm the characters we're most invested in. I'm talking mostly of Zaqen, of course, whose devotion to the mysterious jerk Obed is achingly raw at times, but even Cilian the deluded ranger has more to him than you might first assume (that both helps and hinders Rodrick and Hrym).

Add a great deal of wit and enough humor to spice it up a bit and you have people you don't mind spending some time with, even if they weren't doing much interesting. Set this all into a great adventure story and a plot that holds together even under scrutiny and you have a fast-paced tale that ramps up nicely to a great dénouement and even a touching (and only slightly forced) coda at the end.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Announced! Product image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Liberty's Edge

This must be what Pratt eluded to in his Reddit AMA.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Excellent news! I loved City of the Fallen Sky, so I'm really looking forward to some more Pratt in Golarion. Any chance we'll see some characters from his first Pathfinder novel make their way into this one?

Grand Lodge

Just got done reading the City of the Fallen Sky... good read! Pratt is an entertaining author!

Dark Archive

Sounds very cool.


Laschoni wrote:
This must be what Pratt eluded to in his Reddit AMA.

What is "Reddit AMA" sorry if that's dumb question. I haven't read any of the Pathfinder novels and was looking for a novel to start reading. Thx in advance

Dark Archive Contributor

AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. The guy who runs the event at reddit/Fantasy does a terrific job. Take a peek at the site to see archives of previous visits.


Thank you I'll do that

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Ugh, another unlikable 'hero'.

I hope the blurb is a misrepresentation.

Paizo Employee Developer

If you're worried you won't like Rodrick, you can read a free web fiction story in which he appears and get a feel for him. Check it out here

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

A heartless oaf... I might have to temporarily unsubscribe.

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

If you're looking for a knight in shining armor, then Rodrick's definitely not your protagonist. But if you like "heroes" like Han Solo or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, I think this one is a ton of fun!


James Sutter wrote:
If you're looking for a knight in shining armor, then Rodrick's definitely not your protagonist. But if you like "heroes" like Han Solo or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, I think this one is a ton of fun!

As a general rule, I like any character whose job has to be put in quotation marks. :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
If you're looking for a knight in shining armor, then Rodrick's definitely not your protagonist. But if you like "heroes" like Han Solo or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, I think this one is a ton of fun!

The thing is... Han Solo had a too-cool, world-weary, tough facade but there was a heart-of-gold underneath all that.

Are you really saying that Han Solo would have wormed his way into some rich-kids friendship in order to trick him into debt and then fool him into risking his life in a famously trap-laden tomb?
And then shrug dismissively when the poor sap is smashed into a pulp?
And then threaten another man at blaster-point if that man didn't sneak into a terrifying monster's lair to steal treasure for him?
Really?

Sorry, James, we've had two Tales so far with unsympathetic central characters and I've not enjoyed either of them. I've just struggled through them for the Golarion lore. Song of the Serpent was the worst because the unlikable, self-absorbed git was so adored by the actually decent, noble characters. That was just weird. City of the Fallen Sky just made everyone and out-for-him/her-self git. Apart, maybe, from the wizard who wasn't in it very long and was killed...

I just can't enjoy amoral characters with the self-absorption of myopic teenagers in a fun fantasy novel. Maybe if they're complex, richly-drawn characters in a work of great literature but that's not Pathfinder Tales.

Actually, now that I ponder it, I'm struggling to think of a great novel with an unlikable central character... Conan, I suppose, sometimes pulls off amorality - I'm not sure any of the Tales writers are going to claim to be the new Robert E. Howard though.

Radovan and Varian are popular for many reasons. I doubt they would be so if they were hard to like.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

While I'm not quite as disheartened as GeraintElberion, I do agree with him. And that's not because I'm looking for every hero to be a knight in shining armor. After all, Death's Heretic, in my opinion, was outstanding even though the protagonist was no Luke Skywalker.

And, to use an example from a different medium, I thought Payback was an awesome movie. I was definitely rooting for the bad guy :)

The difference, I guess, is that in the examples GeraintElberion gives, I'm not rooting for the character. I'm too busy thinking "what a turd."

Silver Crusade

I do have to admit I'm rooting for Rodrick to not survive this story. In his debut story, he reminded me far too much of some of the most frustrating PCs I've had to play alongside during the Bad Old Days. Backstabbing, party-strife-inducing, greedy, murderous bastard. Dude's a straight-up murderhobo.

That was why it was so satisfying to see Alaeron come out on top in their first story. >:) (but he still got off lightly considering what he did to various characters in that story)

This isn't a complaint about "dark" characters of course. Isiem is a fantastic example of one that can be sympathetic. Given what we've seen of him so far, I'm just not seeing that same kind of pull coming from Rodrick. Then again, bad gaming experiences are feeding into that.

edit-It just hit me. Rodrick reads exactly like those PCs whose players insist are Chaotic Neutral when they're played as solidly Neutral Evil.

Silver Crusade

I don't go into a novel with any preconceived notions of how I need protagonists to act. One of my favorite novels* ever had one of the most unlikeable central characters...well ever. Too often these days I see this not to be as prevalent an attitude as I've noted in the past, and I find that unfortunate.

Pathfinder Tales has yet to really let me down. In Sutter I trust to pull a great read out of all his authors.

* Catcher In The Rye

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I know it's a bit self-indulgent to quote myself but...

I wrote:


I just can't enjoy amoral characters with the self-absorption of myopic teenagers in a fun fantasy novel. Maybe if they're complex, richly-drawn characters in a work of great literature but that's not Pathfinder Tales.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Final description and cover image added!

Dark Archive

The Pathfinder Tales logo is AMAZING! Great work!!!

Contributor

Personally, I love morally ambiguous characters. The joy in them, as I see it, is when they turn the corner to the "cause of good" whether they know it or not. Robin Laws did this beautifully in Worldwound Gambit.

I really enjoyed Tim Pratt's "Tales of the Fallen Sky" and I really didn't think the main character was so amoral. Nor, I think was he "self-absorbed"... he was just a science nerd and totally focused on his craft...and staying alive.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

Sorry, James, we've had two Tales so far with unsympathetic central characters and I've not enjoyed either of them. I've just struggled through them for the Golarion lore. Song of the Serpent was the worst because the unlikable, self-absorbed git was so adored by the actually decent, noble characters. That was just weird. City of the Fallen Sky just made everyone and out-for-him/her-self git. Apart, maybe, from the wizard who wasn't in it very long and was killed...

I just can't enjoy amoral characters with the self-absorption of myopic teenagers in a fun fantasy novel. Maybe if they're complex, richly-drawn characters in a work of great literature but that's not Pathfinder Tales.

GE, I'm currently reading Song of the Serpent, and I am having a tough time finding something to like about Krunzle. I'm thinking that I may be glad I bought the ePub and don't have the dead tree copy cluttering up my bookshelf. I'll finish it and let folks know what i think.

I'm not going to suspend my subscription, though. I'll still get and read this one.

-Aaron

Dark Archive Contributor

Those of you who find some of the central characters of Pathfinder Tales unsympathetic: Which characters throughout the line, central and supporting, do you find most sympathetic?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Dave Gross wrote:
Those of you who find some of the central characters of Pathfinder Tales unsympathetic: Which characters throughout the line, central and supporting, do you find most sympathetic?

I'd put Elyana from A Plague of Shadows in that category. Certainly, Declan from Winter Witch. And, though somewhat mercenary and intent on revenge, Luma from Blood of the City came across as a character you could sympathize with. I'd also say your own character of Azra from Prince of Wolves was a supporting character I enjoyed a lot. She brought a different kind of ballast to the Radovan/Jeggare duo that was missing in Master of Devils. I haven't been able to read Queen of Thorns yet, so I can't compare anything there. But, I don't think I'm alone in wanting to see Azra again, because of the immediately credible sense of sympathy and empathy she builds.

I think the underlying theme in all these characters is that they tend to embody a principle seed of good (or in the case of Luma, righteous anger) inside them which comes across quite clearly. That's what makes them sympathetic characters rather than devil-may-care opportunists or finicky characters who are too self-centered or self-absorbed to generate much sympathy in the reader.

For instance, while I definitely like Jeggare and Radovan in all their stories, neither one necessarily generates a tremendous amount of sympathy. You can see how much they care for one another...even if they don't always feel comfortable conveying it to one another. And, you can sense that (at their heart) they're both mostly good people. But, Jeggare is the type of hyper-intelligent, higher breeding, know-it-all that you look forward to getting his comeuppance. And, Radovan is the hard knocks rabble-rouser who you certainly pull for when he puts the smack down on the bad guys with something even more terrifying because of his unusual toughness and heritage. But, his actions don't always stem from a simple desire to be good. They often seem to stem from what's practical or necessary for survival, either for himself or his boss. Arnisant the dog is probably a more genuinely good for the sake of good character. But it's harder to sympathize or identify with him because he's much more of a regular (even if somewhat tough) animal.

So, in terms of all the characters from the storylines of Pathfinder Tales...and especially the main protangonists...I think what folks have conveyed here is that they don't have a defining good character to root for. Instead, there's a lot more morally ambiguous characters who go out and take down the truly immoral villains. And, what they're missing is an in-your-face full-on moral character to root for...even if it's a character who's led a hardened life. There hasn't quite been a rogue with a heart of gold yet. But, plenty of rogues with a heart of tarnished brass instead.

Does that make sense?

I'll give one example of a character I think you can truly pull for, and sympathize with, who's led a tough life, and yet he's not completely bowed by it yet...and you want to see him redeem himself and turn the corner in a larger adventure. And that's Ederras from Liane Merciel's web fiction Certainty. That's the kind of character I'd have loved to see in a larger novel involving the Worldwound crusades. But instead of featuring that kind of hero, Robin Laws gave us the absolutely morally compromised Gad in the Worldwound Gambit who dared to con a bunch of demons and cultists, and Liane went on to pen the equally dark and conflicted anti-hero of Isiem in Nightglass. Both characters accomplished "good" things for the purpose of their individual stories, but the characters themselves aren't necessarily super sympathetic. They're not good for the sake of being good. Instead, it's circumstantial and that makes it harder to buy into them as strong, sympathetic characters.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed all of these stories and characters. And all for different reasons. But I do think there's a certain trope that's missing in how most of these protagonists have been cast. And that's what might be generating feedback that's popped up here. It's a hard thing to quantify or examine. But I think that's the challenge. Paizo is likely hitting the mark for those who enjoy morally ambiguous "heroes"...whereas those who want Big Damn Heroes who aren't afraid to take a public stand for good and don't worry what others think of them for it, are maybe a little underserved so far.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

Contributor

Awesome question, Dave! I agree with Neil that Luma of "Blood of the City" was a character I was truly rooting for. Betrayal is always a great sympathy motivating element. I would add Jerisa from "Worldwound Gambit" to the list; torn between love and duty, another great motivator. Alaeron, from City of the Fallen Sky (Noted previous error in title, Doh!), I loved simply because I personally identified with him; poor science geek who would much rather just tinker in his lab, caught up in a serious pot of trouble. My top choice, however, has to be Salim in "Death's Heretic." Talk about a soul in torment... Wow...

I've never been much of a "Knight in Shining Armor" fan, but as I said above, I love a marginal character that turns the corner. I've always loved Radovan because he's a marginal character *trying* to turn the corner, but convinced by his own cynicism that he's not the "Knight in Shining Armor" type, very much a Han Solo motif, but with spikes...


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

Sympathetic Characters:
I will echo Neil Spicer for a few.
-Elyana from A Plague of Shadows, she is on a quest to save her old beau. On the way, she learns tragic things about past compatriots.
-Luma from Blood of the City, I sympathize with her rightous anger, though I pitied her for her focus on revenge.
-Kagur from Called to Darkness, at first she was just revenge driven, but as her heart softened over the course of the story, she became more sympathetic. The young orc (can't remember his name today) was probably the MOST sympathetic character in the story.
-Tiberio from The Worldwound Gambit, a former brawler who now wants nothing more than to settle into a life of peace.
-Jendara from Mother Bears, as a parent, I was really rooting for her to rescue her son.
-Bonali from The Illusionist, because of his innocence. As he becomes more jaded, he may or may not become less sympathetic.

With the possible exception of Declan from Winter Witch (which I have not read since it came out), we have not had a Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi/Sturm Brightblade type of good character in the Pathfinder Tales.

-Aaron

Webstore Gninja Minion

Sturm Brightblade...yeah.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

By the way, here are some character concepts which I think could increase the amount of sympathetic characters in Pathfinder Tales:

Spoiler:

1) An Ex-Paladin or Ex-Cleric - Show us someone who's suffered a fall-from-grace. Maybe they've journeyed to the Worldwound. Or maybe they're standing guard against the Whispering Tyrant or the goblin hordes from the last Goblinblood War. Either way, they're "wounded" in some spiritual fashion and trying to find their way back. That kind of character concept can build immediate sympathy, depending on the direction the story takes...as well as the trials and obstacles the protagonist will face.

2) The People's Rogue - Leverage a story about someone like Blackjack from Korvosa. Someone along the lines of a Zorro or Batman. Whether such a character comes from privilege or poverty, paint him or her such they they're struggling against corruption and facing overwhelming odds. Tear them down and then build them back up. That kind of plot alone will quickly build sympathy, not simply for the character, but also his self-imposed "mission."

3) The Principled Spy - I've had a lot of ideas for awhile now involving a Calistrian spy serving to defend Absalom against all the external threats which come to the shores of the City at the Center of the World. A little bit of James Bond, a little bit of Lara Croft, and a dash of Jason Bourne or La Femme Nikita. Create some internal conflict for such a character, lots of betrayal, and clandestine situations...and people start dialing into this familiar trope pretty quickly. The important thing is to maintain the spy's dedication to his or her greater cause...which may or may not be their patriotism in the long run.

4) The Freedom Fighter - Give us a character in Galt or Nirmathas or any other repressed area of Golarion to root for. Isiem from Nightglass helped scratch this itch somewhat, but even he couldn't remain totally unaffected by those who raised him as a shadowcaller. Instead, give us someone heroic, who hasn't been jaded or worn down quite so far yet. Maybe a follower of Milani intent on throwing down a corrupt government?

Just a few thoughts,
--Neil

Contributor

Thanks for the thoughtful posts, Neil. Lots of great ideas here!

re: Ederras -- I don't intend for that short story to be the last we see of that particular character, although a change of scenery may be in order first. ;)

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Greenhilt, Roy Greenhilt.

Dark Archive Contributor

GeraintElberion wrote:
Greenhilt, Roy Greenhilt.

Best answer so far.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Forgot to say, quality cover art: really dynamic.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Liane Merciel wrote:
Thanks for the thoughtful posts, Neil....re: Ederras -- I don't intend for that short story to be the last we see of that particular character, although a change of scenery may be in order first. ;)

That's good to hear. Next to Kevin Andrew Murphy's alchemist protagonist, Norret Galtier, I put Ederras as my favorite of the web fiction characters so far. When I saw you'd been tagged to pen a novel for Pathfinder Tales, I hoped it would involve Ederras again. And when I saw Robin Laws slated to do Worldwound Gambit, I had hoped for an Ederras-esque character in that line-up. Later, when I learned he'd pitched it as more of an "Ocean's Eleven" con artist tale, I was still intrigued, but not as invested in the character of Gad as much as an Ederras tale set in the same location would have made me feel.

I guess I just sympathize more with that kind of character. Sutter's Salim in Death's Heretic came close to evoking that kind of feeling, as well. But Salim still came across as just a bit too jaded and worn down by his long suffering...at least, to the point that he doesn't seem capable of turning the corner or breaking out of the role he now finds himself locked within. He certainly has his in-character reasons, which are all completely credible. And his story is a thoroughly entertaining tale. Still not quite the level of sympathetic character I think people are searching for, though. Not yet, at least.

To me, Golarion needs a true hero. Not an erstwhile hero. Or a circumstantial hero. Or even a reluctant hero. Rather, I think it needs one who unexpectedly finds himself thrust into that role. He may struggle with it initially. But, in the end, he learns, he adapts, he embraces it, and then he embodies it in a way that transcends who he once was. I think that would elevate the fictional universe of Golarion through the Pathfinder Tales product line in a way that nothing else has yet.

But that's just my rambling, semi-thoughtful two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

By the way, apologies for side-tracking the discussion of Liar's Blade. I'll certainly pick this up and give it the same healthy read as every other novel I've read from Pathfinder Tales. I've always liked how the fiction line helps round out and provide examples of what the game world is like...especially, characterizations of people from different cultures within Golarion.

Silver Crusade

I'm hopelessly in love with Jendara from Mother Bears. To be honest, it's all the charas from that short. I'm doubleplussed that Wendy N Wagner got a full novel featuring them!

Thanks, Sutter! My endless whining for it paid off!


Keep printing them I'll keep reading them.

This book grabbed me from the start, and I personally enjoyed the morally ambiguous buddy romp through the river kingdoms.

I do agree that the Tales line has not had many "HERO" main characters, but I don't think Pathfinder as a whole has many true heroes. You have people who do what they FEEL is right as per their own sense of morality or obligation.

Doing good solely for good's sake seems to be a lost idea on the whole, but in a world were the God of humanity up and vanishes when he's supposed to return and usher in a golden age I can see why.

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

Don't worry, everybody--the desire for more traditional/pure-hearted heroes has been heard, and there's more coming down the pipe, it just takes a while for things to go through the writing and publishing process.

And in the meantime, I hope we can all enjoy a solid scoundrel story like Tim's!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:

Don't worry, everybody--the desire for more traditional/pure-hearted heroes has been heard, and there's more coming down the pipe, it just takes a while for things to go through the writing and publishing process.

And in the meantime, I hope we can all enjoy a solid scoundrel story like Tim's!

Dibs on a 600pg tale about a Tielfling Paladin of Iomedae who spends his life living with his same-sex Synthesist Summoner partner as they raise a bunch of goblin kids they picked up in some dungeon to be valorous and Good, while all the time having dazzling arguments about katanas, Monks and what it truly means to be a Paladin.

I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
James Sutter wrote:

Don't worry, everybody--the desire for more traditional/pure-hearted heroes has been heard, and there's more coming down the pipe, it just takes a while for things to go through the writing and publishing process.

And in the meantime, I hope we can all enjoy a solid scoundrel story like Tim's!

Dibs on a 600pg tale about a Tielfling Paladin of Iomedae who spends his life living with his same-sex Synthesist Summoner partner as they raise a bunch of goblin kids they picked up in some dungeon to be valorous and Good, while all the time having dazzling arguments about katanas, Monks and what it truly means to be a Paladin.

I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

If you write it, I'll read it.

Well, I'll think about reading it.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My copy finally arrived in the mail today! City Of The Fallen Sky has been one of my favorite PF novels to date, so I've been anticipating Liar's Blade for quite some time now. I'm only a hundred or so pages in, but already I've been laughing delightedly at the characterization, banter, and turns of phrase that made me fall in love with City.

I find Rodrick to be an excellent specimen of a particular character archetype that I enjoy, though if you find that type of character annoying or bothersome, it's unlikely you will enjoy this novel. You may still be able to if you can take some pleasure in the myriad atrocities that are inevitably visited upon a fictional protagonist, though. That is one of the joys of an utter rake of a character, imho. When he's winning, you can vicariously enjoy his cleverness/charisma/miscellaneous awesome, and when he's losing it's okay because he's quite awful and probably deserves it.

The fact that the adventure is set in the River Kingdoms is a pleasant surprise. The lore junkie in me has been delighting in the setting since Prince of Wolves, which really gave me a lot to soak up. "Ooh, they read Harrow cards *that* way?" and "Oh, cool, so that's what that particular celebration looks like?" and so forth. I've been running a Kingmaker campaign for a couple years now, so it's really neat to see a journey through these familiar locales. I will be eagerly learning more about these locations of which I've become quite fond, and keeping my eyes peeled for more interesting details to work into our game.

In terms of sympathetic protagonists, I'm all on board with the Elyana supporters. Plague of Shadows *is* my favorite PF novel, largely due to the complex relationships and deep feelings the characters have for each other. Elyana does right by her friend and lover, even though it breaks her heart to do so. I think she definitely counts as one of the Good Guys. And Luma from Blood Of The City was a complete breath of fresh air, because we got a relate-able female protagonist that gets a really classic revenge story without it being burdened by the standard female revenge tropes of rape or threatened children. Also we got pretty much the best closing line of a novel ever, though I suppose that's neither here nor there in relation to this discussion. In any case, her primary motivation may be personal, but she's out to stop bad people from doing bad things.

I think this is a definite case of "Your Mileage May Vary." I don't think most of these characters are all that bad, though I can certainly appreciate the argument that they're not all that Good, either. I have found every PF Tale to be well-written and a perfectly fine novel, but whether I stick with it or not depends more on my personal preferences. I love me some heroic derring-do, but for a long time I read nothing but books with squeaky-clean heroes doing Good for the sake of Good all over the place. I *like* heroes. It's inspiring to read about characters defending the defenseless, diving recklessly into battle to save an innocent, with no thought of their own safety. I seriously dig that. But it's fun to take a break and see how "the other half" lives, so to speak, for a while. Not every AP is going to appeal to every group, and I think it's the same for the fiction. Don't like pirates? Maybe don't play the pirate campaign.

I'm glad to know that there are impending Tales that will feature more traditionally Good protagonists, because I think it's important to present a broad range of characters and stories, so many different people can get involved in a narrative that appeals to them. This is useful to me because I want to read many, many more PF Tales, so people need to keep buying books, and also because I want to know other people are grinning broadly at their favorite character archetype saying the thing that he or she would totally say in that situation.

Lantern Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is there going to be a PFS Chronicle Sheet for this novel?

Silver Crusade

How do you pronounce “Hrym", anyway? I was three-quarters of the way through the book before I noticed it wasn't "Hyrm". "Hrym" sounds like a chainsaw starting up...

Paizo Employee Developer

Abierzen wrote:
Is there going to be a PFS Chronicle Sheet for this novel?

Yes, but we're changing up how we do Pathfinder Society Chronicle sheets for novels, so it may be a bit before this one comes out. We'll make sure to announce when it's available.

Contributor

Gorbacz wrote:

Dibs on a 600pg tale about a Tielfling Paladin of Iomedae who spends his life living with his same-sex Synthesist Summoner partner as they raise a bunch of goblin kids they picked up in some dungeon to be valorous and Good, while all the time having dazzling arguments about katanas, Monks and what it truly means to be a Paladin.

I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

Stop peeking at my notes! :) Lol!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

In my head, "Hrym" sounded like the momentary reverberant metallic chime of when a sword is drawn, that slight tuning fork hum. If that's the case, I found it a clever name for a sword.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

Finished! It took me a while to read this one because my reading always slows down in the winter when it's too cold to hold a book while walking.

I'll work on getting a review written, but here are some intial thoughts.

I liked Rodrick/Hrym more than Krunzle/Necklace. I think it was mostly that Rodrick and Hrym already had a years-long relationship built. They genuinely care about each other (and about gold).

I enjoyed the interplay between Zaqen and Rodrick. At one point he notes that it is nice to talk with a female without working an angle to get her to sleep with him. They become friends over the course of the book.

There are lots of lies in the book, but the revelation of truth is slow enough to keep me interested without feeling like I'm being spoonfed.

-Aaron


Loved the book. I have no problem with scoundrel protagonist. Some of the exposition at the end was a bit too much/clumsy imho.

Spoiler:
I.e. when Hrym or Neiros have long monologues

But all in all a very nice read! Love the sword and the banter and the clever mercenary PC adventurer protagonist is quite refreshing.

Spoiler:
can Hrym be modeled by existing PF rules? Is there a Spellstealer property somewhere?

Grand Lodge

Loved the book ( read it in two days , and not in one because i have work to do ;-)) , and made me read the Web stories and buy Tim Pratt´s previous novel.

Grand Lodge

Finished reading Liar's Blade. Great book but clearly not long enough to leave a lasting impression. May I suggest at least 8 more, for a triple trilogy? I think that would make this story much better.

Why, no. I'm not trying to manipulate, for more books, whatever would give you that idea? :D

(Honestly, Liar's Blade was awesome, but I need more. And that goes double for the rest of the Pathfinder writers.)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

After my whinging and moaning this turned out to be a great read.

Not only were the characters intriguing and sympathetic (the central protagonist is as close to CG as you can get while remaining CN) but the writing was much more elegant and controlled than City of Fallen Sky.

I loved the banter between the five characters, excellent.

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