Twenty Years in the Making!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Self-plagiarizing is just one of many skills I've had to hone and develop after joining Paizo several years ago. Now and then, when I was under a deadline crunch for freelance, I'd dip into something I'd created for my homebrew campaign over the past 20+ years and steal a name or a monster or a spell from those documents, update it to 3rd edition, and continue on. When we decided to build an entire new game world to support Pathfinder, I did this a lot. Most of Varisia, about half of the world's deities, the Red Mantis assassins, Sekamina and Orv, and countless other tidbits first saw the light of day in Baria, my homebrew world, one that I've been using to run adventures and campaigns for friends and family since fifth grade.

As you see here, sometimes the things I produced for Baria got a wee-bit elaborate for a kid building his own adventures with a brand new electric typewriter and a stack of colored pencils, but what can I say? Growing up in the Northern California wilderness left me with a lot of free time on my hands. Little could I know at the time that I was planting the seeds that would eventually grow into the Second Darkness Adventure Path and the elven nation of Kyonin.

The Secret of Deathstalk Tower was a pretty straightforward adventure. An evil demon named Treerazer, who'd corrupted the elven homeland into a monster-infested forest named Tanglebriar, lived in a tower that could transform into an immense golem. This was, of course, Deathstalk Tower (although we renamed it the Witchbole in Golarion to match its evolution into an enormous evil tree). In the adventure, the PCs had to fight their way through Tanglebriar and then climb up the twelve levels of Deathstalk Tower to confront Treerazer before he could use his giant golem to crush civilization.

When I decided to transport Tanglebriar and Treerazer directly into Golarion, I knew that eventually I wanted to abuse my position of power here to get Treerazer professionally illustrated. The results of that you can see here. Ben Wootten's a much better artist than me, but I'm still amused and quite pleased with how close the official Treerazer matches up to my early version of him—I didn't send this picture to Ben, only described the demon to him in the art order. Seeing a childhood creation transform into something like this is a pretty strange experience, though.

Although Treerazer himself doesn't make an appearance in Pathfinder #17's adventure, he does appear in the volume's bestiary in all his CR 26 glory. Oh, and one more thing. That drow woman getting ready to cast a lightning bolt on the cover of The Secret of Deathstalk Tower? That just happens to be the first version of Allevrah, the cover girl for Pathfinder #18—in the adventure, she's the high-priestess of Treerazer's cult. The orange demon's a unique minion of Treerazer's named Lukarazyl (he's now a shemhazian demon but still works for Treerazer—see Pathfinder #5, page 87). Only the goofy-looking armored guy hasn't made the transition from this old cover to Golarion yet—he was Grotulth, the general of Treerazer's armies. Maybe he'll show up someday in a future Pathfinder?

James Jacobs
Pathfinder Editor-in-Chief

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: James Jacobs Monsters Second Darkness
Sign in to start a discussion.