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101019_ZemirPreview

Iconic Encounter: The Reality Next Door

“There's nothing we can do—all systems are jammed! Prepare for emergency landing!”

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Iconic Encounter: A Hail Of Bullets

“I thought you said the signal was coming from a ruin,” Velloro said into his comm unit, looking up at the huge, very intact fortification in front of him with a large, unruined door blocking the way forward. The captain’s response was garbled, no doubt thanks to the rocky, mountainous terrain between him and the Sunrise Maiden. “Ye… …is th… …thing there?”

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Iconic Encounter: The Scientific Method

She was in the temporary laboratory structure built for her by Iratha Incorporated deep in the swamps of Zulypsindo, a Near Space world known for its extensive marshlands and the site of the latest episode of “Dr. B’s Science Jubilee.” The windowless, prefabricated walls provided ample protection from nearly any environment outside, and the overhead lighting within dispelled the shadows, providing for a clean and efficient work space.

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092619_PathfinderSocietyPreview2

Tales of Lost Omens: The Idol and the Scythe

Legends say only a single man survived the doom that befell Fog Peak Hold. The Pathfinder sages will tell you that’s wrong: five made it out alive, though only three were still sane. The little matter of the collapse of the eastern pass had made the hold irrelevant by that point, and I guess the Taldans have been busy with other matters for the last few hundred years, so the place was never reoccupied.

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091919_RaiaPreview

Iconic Encounter: Good News and Bad News

Raia executed the last commands, feeling the change in the engine’s thrum as the Voidspear shifted course. She cued her coms. “All right, I’ve got good news and bad news.”

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091919_Magaambya_Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: When it Rains

“Come on, Couvo!” Seliette tugged at his sleeve, breaking his concentration and causing his complex mental translation to collapse into gibberish. He blinked up at his fellow student, confused by her voluminous waterproof cloak. The last time he’d gone outside onto the grounds of the Magaambya, the sky had been blue and cloudless. He hadn’t been sequestered in this reading nook that long, had he? Maybe Seliette was off on another of her field trips. He could hardly keep track of all the to-ing and fro-ing she did with her assorted mentors. “Come on where?”

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091219_QuigPreview

Iconic Encounter: Goodnight, Sweet Bot

Sparks flew as Quig’s plasma cutter burned through the robot’s cranial plating. On the makeshift workbench, the bot twitched and shook, servos seizing as batteries failed and crucial fluids leaked from the wreckage of the robot’s lower body. The cranial plate popped open, revealing crystalline arrays and circuit boards blackened by discharge from misfiring neural processes.

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091219_LastwallKnightsPreview

Tales of Lost Omens: Seeds of Hope

In her dreams, they all sounded together: the alarm and the battle march and the frenzied call to retreat. The calls overlapped into chaos, yet Veldrienne heard them all distinctly, and she understood with the perfect, crazed, crystal logic of dreams that of course the battle march was wild with panic, and of course the first call to alarm was a dolorous cry played over the bloody field of a lost battle, and of course it all began and ended with a weak, wounded note that broke on the thrust of a dead man’s spear.

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090519_ObozayaPreview

Iconic Encounter: Obozaya’s Mayhem Playlist

Obozaya peeked over the rocky ridge. There was still just one of the creatures guarding the entrance, less than fifty feet away. The tunnel mouth behind it was nothing special—just a dark hole in the side of the hill. Yet this was where the footage had shown the creatures taking her crew.

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090519_Hellknights_Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: Rat Trap

Watching from a hidden perch across the street, Ulthor studied the place. It was a stinking, squalid wreck in Absalom’s Puddles district. Dead fish lay half-surfaced in the sucking mud around the entrance, their rotted heads poking up as if straining for one last breath. Inside, the air was thick with flayleaf and pesh smoke, spilled ale and unwashed bodies, and the pervasive, inescapable stench of the Puddles’ foul tides. Dingy gray cloth covered the grimy windows and hung from the rafters, turning the already-dim tavern into a warren of shadows.

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082919_TheFirstRule_preview

Iconic Encounter: The First Rule of Captaining

Navasi grabbed Keskodai and yanked him around the corner, sending him sprawling as lasers sliced through the space he’d occupied a moment before. She returned fire, then ducked back behind cover and glared at the shirren. “I thought I told you to go in disguise!”

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082919_BadDogs_Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: Bad Dogs

Ketchi peered through the shrubbery at the overgrown monastery and grinned. "This must be the place!"

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082219_CathedralsOfTheMind_Preview

Iconic Encounter: Cathedrals of the Mind

“Okay, you’re in.” Even though she was holed up in the data center, hacking the locks remotely, tension made Raia whisper. “The tracker chip I planted says Averly is in there. We need to get to him before they do... whatever it is they do to people.”

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20190815-preview

Iconic Encounter: The Museum Job

Iseph crept through the empty museum, footsteps soundless on the tiled floor. All around the android, monsters loomed—alien creatures propped up in glass-walled display cases, their exhibits pumped full of inert gas to prevent the corpses' decay. In the dim emergency lighting, some of them almost looked alive. But of course that wasn't how places like this worked.

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080819_Altronus_preview

Iconic Encounter: Personal Magnetism

Iconic Encounter: Personal Magnetism Thursday, July 18, 2019 “‘Fix the shuttle,’ she says. ‘It’s only a little banged up,’ she says.” Angry clanging noises came from beneath the deck, followed by Quig’s face popping up out of the engineering access bay. He waved a spanner angrily. “Next time Navasi wants to sign us up for a salvage mission, she can patch the junker, and I’ll stay on the Maiden and watch for pirates!”Altronus stared down from the hallway, both sets of arms crossed. “I’m sure...
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073119_ShiningKingdoms_preview

Tales of Lost Omens: Dragonfear

They were talking about the dragon.

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Tales of Lost Omens: Portents from the Deck

Irhina felt their agitation thrumming through her tiny sea cabin. It was a sharp, jangled vibration, like a dozen out-of-tune instruments all bleating different songs. Something was coming, some great weight that sat on destiny’s weaving and bent all the skeins of fate toward itself.

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Tales of Lost Omens: The Snare

“There. Yes. Those two.” Excitement, wet and thick, curdled Chemurr’s voice. She coughed and swallowed noisily, but she was too agitated to keep the phlegm worms from crawling back up. Her swollen fingers clenched around Gaiter’s arm. “Come, boy.”

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20190711-preview

Tales of Lost Omens: The World Expands

Hadizah stood stiffly between two other students—one a degenerate lizardfolk and the other a savage Ekujae elf—as their frail teacher Mawunyo gestured with a staff at the vine-covered towers, graceful arches, and broad towers of the Magaambya, greatest magical academy in all of the Mwangi Expanse, if not the world.

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20190704-preview

Tales of Lost Omens: Bound for Glory

Ishaani walked through the bustling market in the shadow of her efreeti guardian, Shadqadir. "I don't like this. It's dangerous, dealing with... these matters... out in the open." She clutched the scroll case close to her chest, though it was already secured across her body on a leather strap and further sealed with magic.

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20190627-preview

Tales of Lost Omens: The Sea's Vengeance

Devrin Arlos laughed and eyed the six Chelish warships closing in on them. They'd chased Nightwave all the way from the Arch of Aroden, along the coast of Rahadoum, and through the treacherous Jagged Reach. They weren't likely to give up now. Ahead loomed the Eye of Abendego.

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20190620-Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: All That Glitters

Invisible and as silent as a church fart, Twilp Farfan slipped through the sparse midday crowds of Sothis's Malhitu Bazaar. Skulking in broad daylight always freaked the halfling out, but if he didn't stir up too much dust or bump into anyone, his passage would go unnoticed. Sothans tended to close up shop and nap in the blazing heat of the day, so there weren't many people about.

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20190613-Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: Blood Fate

Twenty-four black hooves, four iron-rimmed wheels, and fourteen glowing red eyes, the coach and six, the harbinger of my fate, my promise, my doom, glided down the cobbled street toward me without a whisper. The good citizens of Cesca scattered, scuttling into doorways, slamming shutters, scurrying into alleys like terrified rats. I stood and awaited my fate.

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20190606-Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: Far From Heaven

Selik slouched along at the back of the party with Boret and the other archers. "Stupid crusader. Why is he even here? We don't need him. Our god has returned and reunited us with the rest of the clan."

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20190530-Preview

Tales of Lost Omens: The Hopeful

Over the din of the bustling street market the young boy's cry reached the passing nobleman. "Pardon me, my lord. Are you seeking the god rock? Do you need the courage to take the leap? The blessing of one who passed the test?"

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20190521-Preview

Tales of Lost Omens

Now that we've concluded our Iconic Evolutions video series, I'm sure all of our readers are eagerly awaiting news of what exciting content we'll be sharing on Tuesdays going forward. Have no fear, brave Pathfinders, for I've got you covered!

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PZO8500-Jendara2

A Farewell to Web Fiction

For the last five years, Wednesdays have held a special place on this blog. Every Wednesday, it was our distinct pleasure to present a new chapter of serial Pathfinder web fiction. Some stories were from authors you already knew, tied into the latest Pathfinder novels. Others were from first-time Pathfinder authors, trying out new characters in front of a live audience—the entire internet.

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Crisis of Faith

Sandwiched between a boulder and the side of a mountain, with a burning skeleton trying to grasp at him from above, Jeddah found himself thinking of his wife and son—the two people who meant the most to him in this world—and silently said his good-byes.

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Crisis of Faith

Jed stood, his holy tankard outstretched in one hand, his rapier in another, as the zombies approached in their ponderous, shambling gait. For all appearances he might have been one of the great Caydenite adventurer-priests of old, ready to banish evil with holy power and charming wit.

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Crisis of Faith

The forests and low hills surrounding them were as bucolic as anything the bards described at Cayden's Rest, but Jed's spirits remained low as he followed his new companions over the quickly diminishing trail.

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Crisis of Faith

Jeddah Cailean tore a piece of bread off the loaf under his arm and tossed it into the vat of cooled barley tea before him. He then picked up a small barrel containing the last dregs of a previous batch of finished ale, swirled some water in it, and dumped it in as well.

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The Price Paid

Akina stood rooted, a peculiar chill dousing the embers in her gut. Could it be possible? Could these creatures truly want to handle things in a civilized manner? Ever since leaving for the war, she'd only ever encountered them on the battlefield, knowing full well they sought her death as much as she theirs. What if Ondorum was right? What if these hobgoblins hadn't participated in the fighting and were just victims of circumstances? Could she damn them for the actions of others?

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The Price Paid

The goblin's head morphed into a humanoid skull with a piggish nose and enormous, bat-like ears. Milky eyes fixed on Akina as fangs filled a slavering maw. The beast's body expanded and hunched over, bristling with fur until it resembled an enormous wolf with clawed hands instead of forepaws.

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The Price Paid

Akina trailed Ondorum across the main threshold, which he said the hobgoblins had been using to come and go. The air turned chilly and musty, with an underlying reek that flared the embers in Akina's gut—a fetid mix of blood, grease, dung, and rotting meat unique to hobgoblins. It conjured up too-fresh memories of their hideous warcries and how they'd clamber over the corpses of allies and foes alike to slaughter all in their path.

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The Price Paid

"There!" Akina thrust her maulaxe out, pointing to the craggy ruins on the hillside. "Told you I smelled hobgoblin stink. We'll have our pay by morning."

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The Gem

The grootslang coiled in the ruins of its egg and hissed. Its body was thick and muscular, like a snake's, armored with red and dull golden scales and supported at one end by two legs. Each leg was as wide as Jiri, and ended in thick claws. From the heavy chest between those legs a long neck stretched, ending in a blunt, triangular head. It looked like a viper's head, with slitted yellow eyes and a wide mouth lined with fangs, but from either side of that mouth grew three sharp tusks, six in all. A forked tongue flickered out of the grootslang's mouth, tasting the air before sliding back over one of the tusks, stripping the blood and tissue from it.

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The Gem

"It's not really Dahren's boat." Khair was slimmer than his companion, and a little taller, but with their beards and clothes they looked similar. Related, or just foreign, Jiri wasn't sure and didn't really care. She sat with Fumo and Hadzi in the cracked prow of the ship, under the watchful eye of half a dozen hunters. The hunters were Jall tribe, Jiri knew, from their short, dyed braids and the pattern of their mud cloth, but they hadn't introduced themselves. They were far from their lands in the east, working for foreigners and being rude.

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The Gem

The crocodile's jaws looked as big as Jiri. Its huge tail pushed it with the flooded river's current, angling toward the drift of brush that Jiri clung to. It would slam into that loose pile of logs and knock Jiri, Fumo, and Boro into the water.

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The Gem

Outside, the children of Thirty Trees laughed and their parents talked, monkeys chattered in the canopy and birds sang to the morning sun. But inside the little house that Jiri shared with Oza, the only sound that mattered was the muted clicks of the clay pots her teacher was packing into his bag.

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Diamond in the Rough

"He's resting, although not comfortably," Chakori said. She'd taken Anandi into the foyer outside Ravi's room, although they left the door cracked open. "I've done what I can for him. The rest he's going to have to do on his own."

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Diamond in the Rough

An hour's walk took them to a small cave along the rocky shoreline, one exposed by the low tide and grown brown and slippery with algae. Anandi followed Ravi inside, careful of his footing. "Well?" he asked, impatient.

Instead of answering, Ravi curled his hand around the back of Anandi's neck and pulled him close. The kiss tasted of wine and pesh. Anandi let it last longer than he should have, surprised by how much he liked feeling the firm body pressed against his. Gently, Anandi pushed him back. "Is this your price?"

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Diamond in the Rough

At sunset, Anandi returned to the captain's villa where a few silver coins to the doorkeeper saw him inside. The party had already begun, made lively by the musicians and acrobats in the ballroom. The human man seated in the chair covered in velvet and gold filigree was obviously the captain. A thick brown beard trailed down his chest, resting lightly on the blue brocade coat studded with golden buttons and trim. The jeweled goblet in his hand was already filled with wine and a servant stood by with a bottle at the ready.

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Diamond in the Rough

No sane person would leave Jalmeray to venture to the small, lawless island of Veedesha, which lay just off the coast, but Anandi had business there on behalf of the thakur.

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The Patch Man

"So where do we go?" Blit pulled the hood of his cloak over his head. He wasn't used to being out at sunset. He felt exposed.

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The Patch Man

Before Blit could reply, the worm-eaten door crashed open. An enormous green man with incisors the size of tent spikes ducked and stepped inside. Odim and two other Banshees walked in behind him. Gedrak carried nothing—he didn't really need to—but the other three held clubs and torches.

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The Patch Man

Blit crept toward the body, fingering two vials which, when mixed, would create an explosive powerful enough to separate a person from their more important appendages.

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The Patch Man

Seven silvers and a copper. Pesh, grit, and other drugs tossed like bread flour. One dead body, bled out on the floor of the abandoned hostel. Blit sighed. The Banshees hadn't even tried to hide this mess. They relied on him too much lately. Blit set down his pack and got to work.

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A Knightly Mission

Everything was black. Awareness crept back into Marra, and with that awareness came pain. Even before she dared to open her eyes, she felt it in her ribs every time she sucked in air. It took her a few moments before she realized that she could in fact breathe, that the pain was not so unbearable that it would kill her. She eased her eyes open, trying to make sense of the hazy blobs of color around her. It was green and brown with flecks of blue. As her vision cleared, she realized she was looking up at the tree cover and the clear sky beyond.

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A Knightly Mission

Marra sat back in the saddle and pulled on the reins, bringing her horse to a stop. She slid her hand forward to rest on the saddle in what she hoped looked like a natural movement. The truth was she wanted to get her hand closer to the sword.

She looked up and saw two men stepping out from under the tree line, both holding loaded crossbows. They were dressed in leather, distinguishable as high quality even from this distance, and each wore an emblem of the knights of Lastwall over the left breast. Marra swallowed, trying to slow her pounding heart and hoping her voice wouldn't tremor and give away her nervousness.

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A Knightly Mission

Marra paused the work she was doing: attaching a new leather strap to the inside of the pauldron that wasn't frayed and was small enough to fit her arm. She looked at Eron through strands of dark hair that had managed to work free from the leather thong she used to tie it back. Sweat coated her face from the effort of working on the armor, but even though her muscles ached for relief, she couldn't keep the grin from her face.

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A Knightly Mission

Marra crept forward, easing her weight from her heel onto the flat of her foot, making sure that no branches snapped underneath her weight and betrayed her presence. She held her bow at her side, an arrow nocked in place and locked under her forefinger. It was too early to bring the weapon to bear; the distance was too great. She needed to be closer to make an accurate shot. In front of her, an elk reached down to rip up some grass with his teeth, blissfully unaware of her presence. The animal snorted and jerked its head up.

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Armored

Sunlight dripped from a tiny window into her cell. Brea lay on her doublet atop the cold ground and tried to remember how many days had passed. Four? Seven? A dozen or more? She had seen no one, heard only the moans of distant neighbors, and received no nourishment of any kind. The dungeons of Deagan's Hold were not a place to keep prisoners for questioning or before a trial, but a place to forget they had ever existed.

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Armored

The pyre burned for hours. Its flames seemed to lick the sky, and Brea turned her horse and troopers away from the carnage. They rode for home, though she wasn't sure what that meant anymore. Smoke rose behind them, a dark reminder of her lord's betrayal.

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Armored

Farnick rode at her side, the squadron of troopers behind them. His head was cleanly shaved. No trace of stubble lined his chin. Brea's armor hung heavy on her shoulders, the gorget tight against her throat. All was as it should be.

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Armored

The tip of her longsword carved a channel along the beachhead of Lake Encarthan. She dragged the weapon, held it listlessly in her hand. Hers were dark, dirtied hands that knew the weight of good steel, the heft of a man's heart. She remembered a time when she was clean, though she could not recall the feeling of pristine boot soles, nor of a soul unstained.

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Winter's Wolves

Jendara moved through the dense forest, following Irlu as the tracker floated through the bracken and brush. Jendara was an able tracker; the dark-haired Blackraven made her look like a novice. Despite the hill giant's size and ungainly burden—Lugh stood six and a half feet tall—the creature had left little spoor. It might be huge and ungainly, but the giant clearly knew the woods.

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Winter's Wolves

The hill giant stepped over the smashed remains of the trees. It wore a vest and skirt made of filthy hides, and a necklace of raccoon skulls dangled between its two drooping and half-covered breasts. Its hair hung in clumpy strands the color of dirt, damp and clinging to its jowled cheeks.

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Winter's Wolves

Jendara dropped onto a fallen log and eyed her companion. "Are you ready to give up?"

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Hunter's Folly

At the warning cry, Aberny looked back and noticed the crude frame of branches that propped a large rock pile above the tunnel they'd emerged from. Even as he did, a scrabble of talons alerted him just before the beast burst upward, jaws snapping every which way. It clamped onto the ledge with one claw and swept the other out.

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Hunter's Folly

The trio hiked along the base of a scraggly knoll under the midday sun. Tali had at least stopped complaining about the dirt soiling her dress, and now joined Aberny in eyeing the skies for any sign of their foe. Ralynn kept an easy, if steady, pace ahead, one blade always out as he scanned the wild brush and every dip and curve of the earth in case the chimera crouched in wait.

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Hunter's Folly

Aberny gaped at the body for a moment, blood staining the earth at his feet. Then the scene around the campfire snatched his stare away.

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Hunter's Folly

Aberny chuckled at the sight of the gnome squaring off with the half-elf, paintbrush crossed with a short sword. The campfire cast the dueling partners into bronze-and-shadow relief. Ralynn glowered down his sword, while Tali glared back up at him, both as riled as if one had slandered the other's parentage.

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The Cloak of Belonging

Mortil spun only just in time to let loose a spell. Colors ravaged Gull's eyes, and he felt dizzy, as if a full drunken night were compressed into one heartbeat.

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The Cloak of Belonging

Old Cassomir was like a stately anchorage of petrified ships, and in the case of Madame Velm's domain, one strewn with harbor lights.