Pathfinder Battles Preview: It’s All My Fault

The August release of the Skull & Shackles set of Pathfinder Battles prepainted fantasy miniatures is only a couple of months away. WizKids has delivered final production samples of all 55 figures in the set, and it's pretty amazing how they continue to raise the bar on sculpting and painting with each Pathfinder Battles release. It's always amazing to see creatures and characters we created in our minds finally taking form as three-dimensional full-color objects we can hold in our hands. I often consider it one of my greatest powers as a publisher, in fact, and this week's preview fittingly covers four figures that probably would never have existed if it wasn't for yours truly, even if I did not directly invent any of them.

Let me explain.

The devil-binding empire of Cheliax, a major nation in the Golarion campaign setting of the Pathfinder RPG, has a long and storied history that predates the founding of Paizo Publishing and the creation of Gen Con.

It all started more than 20 years ago, when my folks took me and my brother on a special vacation to see the Final Four NCAA tournament being hosted that year in Seattle. It was my first trip to the city, and as far as the basketball, the museums, and the monorails were concerned, it was a highly enjoyable trip for the whole family, and Seattle was a great city (little did I know then that I would end up living here a couple of decades later).

The problems started after the tournament, when my father had to stick around for some business meetings in the city while my mom took me, my brother, and my grandmother to a timeshare unit in a lakeside resort community called Lake Chelan to spend our final week in Washington state in a gorgeous, rustic stay in a tourist-oriented town filled with lake activities, waterslides, and other fun attractions. The only trouble was that we arrived in late March, whereas all of the town's fun activities were scheduled for the summer tourist season.

We arrived to find the lake mostly drained, the "resort" part of our accommodations flooded, all of the waterslides closed, and even the local bowling alley booked solid for the high school "bowling unit" (!!!). For a little kid of 13 years, that immediately qualified the trip for "WORST EVER" status, and it soon became a legend in our family, a source of laughs years later but something that actively and truly sucked for every hour during which it was actually taking place in what seemed like slow motion.

The word "Chelan" soon became synonymous with the depths of evil in my teenage mind, and as I moved on to college in the early 90s, I'd taken to using Chelan as the name of the evil kingdom in most of my fantasy fiction. By the time I moved to Seattle in 1999, I realized that everyone in my new home knew Chelan as a classy resort destination, and since they didn't share my teenage loathing for it, it just stuck out, like calling a kingdom Bellevue or Redmond or something. It didn't work.

But man, I still hated Chelan, and wanted to continue my literary revenge upon it. When it came time to design an evil kingdom for what would become the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, I decided to incorporate much of the creative work I'd done on Chelan, only I decided this time to mask it a little more with a slightly modified name: Cheliax.

So yes, I'm afraid Chelaix is all my fault, at least in concept. Others took the concepts I laid down and added significantly to them (especially Wes Schneider, the demented mind behind the Hellknights). One of the great things about being in on the creation of a huge part of the campaign setting is seeing where others have taken "my" original ideas. Cheliax has come a huge distance from my freshman year scribblings, and every time I see some new bit of development for it, I can't help but feel like a proud parent.

And the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path gave me plenty of reasons to play the proud papa, as Cheliax plays heavily in the background of the campaign and in its resolution.

Today I present three miniatures associated with the Chelish faction, intended to help you stage epic Skull & Shackles encounters but usable in any fantasy RPG. I didn't create any of these characters, but I was responsible for a big part of their background and I'm ultimately the one who decided to include them in the set. This close to Father's Day, I'll call that close enough and declare them my twisted progeny by proxy.

Up first we have the leader of the Skull & Shackles Chelaxians, the insidious Admiral Thrune! This diabolical naval "hero" and her crew play a huge role in the campaign's endgame, and her heavy mace, crossbow, and noble costume make her an ’interesting choice for a player character, as well. But in the campaign, I'm afraid you're going to have to fight her. And her companions, too! This medium figure is slated at the uncommon rarity.

Here we have one of Admiral Thrune's most trusted allies, the Scourge Hellknight Paralictor! This fully armored female polearm master Hellknight does everything in her power to protect the leadership of House Thrune, including pole-axing your player characters in twain. The medium figure is also uncommon, and while she is the first Hellknight we've produced in the Pathfinder Battles line and the only one in this set, it's fair to say she'll soon get a fair amount of company from others in her order…

A navy needs officers, of course, and the Skull & Shackles set is ready to deliver in the form of this figure, the Chelish Marine. His smart uniform matches that of his admiral, making them look great together. Because you'll probably want more than a single crewman, we've slated this medium figure at the common rarity.

And that's not all for this week! Last week I accidentally previewed only two figures, so I've decided to make up the difference by revealing what is probably my personal favorite figure in the entire set. Open your eyes, me hearties, and behold the SEAWEED SIREN!

The hideous creature is a CR 13 Large magical beast that inhabits islands and coastal regions, luring sailors with its three false heads. These bad boys (or girls, I suppose) have a host of cool powers, from a gaze attack to a curse power to bolts of sonic energy. Mostly, I just thought it looked amazingly cool. Even though the Seaweed Siren does not technically appear as a monster in the six adventures of the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path, its game statistics do appear in the Bestiary section of Pathfinder Adventure Path #60, technically making it qualify for inclusion in this set. And really, I just love the way it looks, so I used a rare bit of publisher fiat to include it in the set simply because I wanted it.

So blame me. Indirectly speaking, all four figures this week are my fault!

That's it for this week. Tune in to this space next week for a big announcement and an even larger preview of figures… from something other than the Skull & Shackles set. What? A NEW set of Pathfinder Battles minis? Whatever could it be?

Well, come back next week, and I'll tell you.

In the meantime, don't forget to set up an ongoing Pathfinder Battles subscription to make sure you don't miss a single figure!

Erik Mona
Publisher

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Miniatures Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Battles Skull & Shackles

I love all three Chelaxians, and can image all of them getting use as PCs as well. It's cool to see a heavily armored female especially. The Seaweed Siren is a bit niche for my taste, but I understand the special feelings of a proud father ;-)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

These. Are. Amazing!

Druvalia Thrune is a beautiful miniature. The detail is astounding! I love the Hellknight and Chelish marine, especially the uniform colours on the marine.

But the Seaweed Siren is just out of this world. Now I am going to include it in my campaign when I run it. It has got to be one of the most unique monsters ever.

Fantastic!


NICE!

And as much fun as having previews of the upcoming Skull & Shackles miniatures is ... I always look forward to the "next" set.

And if this one is still the more "generic" set (as in not tied to an Adventure Path) ... I am super-excited!

I'm hoping for lantern archons, eagles, ponies (yes, Medium-sized horses), shocker lizards, hound archons ... and maybe a case incentive that isn't in some way a dragon (yes I know, we had a rune giant too). :)
Although having said all that just now, if a gargantuan green dragon was the case incentive, I wouldn't be upset.

(It's just that I think some other monster types need "miniature" love).

A kraken, or a shemhazian(sp?) ... just to name a couple.

Dean


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The seaweed siren is hideous. I like it! And the other three are helping to fill out crews for the high seas. Another great reveal, with quite a bit of history. If I were to name the evil country in my campaign based inmy childhood experience, I'd probably creat a nation of Wichitaians. :).

The Exchange

Wow that seaweed siren is creepy, but I like it. My wife just walked in and just said,"Eew, how can you like that?" Needless to say, I just smiled and laughed. I guess we all got our quirks, LOL. The Chelaxians are awesome too, by the way. Great job on this set.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

3 I expected, 1 I hoped for. WHat a preview. I expected the chelxians given the roles they play in the AP. All 3 are very nice - Thrune is an incredible mini that will easilly double for a range fo female characters.

It's so good to see a hellknight at long last. Very nicely executed, yet I can't help but curiously note we seem to be getting a lot more female NPC types - is the balanceshifting too far the other way now? On a side note I am excited to hear more hellknight are imminent.

As for the Chelish marine? Very cool indeed and can easilly double for a range of characters and NPC's. I really love the versatility and quality of this set.

Now the niche mini - some time back I posted that this was a bestiary creature I would loooove to see the seaweed siren in mini form. You, sir have made me very happy! That is a seriously cool and creepty mini that is going to see some table time in my games, the reaction alone will make it worth while. Now I can live in hope of seeing the cultist of the the eye from the Isles of the Shackles companion book - awesome artwork that would make a monumental mini. I can live in (vain?) after all we got the coolseaweed siren didn't we?


If you're looking for a Kraken, Dungeon Crawler minis just did a prepainted one as the anchor for their recent Kickstarter. Check it out at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dungeoncrawler/dungeon-crawler-fantasy- miniatures


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The heads on the seaweed siren kind of look like The Beatles, which makes me a little sad there's only three of them. :-)

The Exchange

Christopher Hawkins wrote:
The heads on the seaweed siren kind of look like The Beatles, which makes me a little sad there's only three of them. :-)

Haha, now that is funny! It does look like them, now that you mention it, lol.

Grand Lodge

I thought the Beatles too at first look!

Erik it is all your fault. It looks like even more of my money will be leaving me and heading toward you. Please take good care of it. It will be missed.

Admiral Thrune would make a nice female Cleric miniature for some PC. I really like the heavy mace over one shoulder and crossbow in hand. Historically that has been my favorite combination for weaponry for my Clerics.

I like the trim and lean look of the Hellknight. The polearm is a nice touch too. There really isn't a lot of variety with polearms in PPM. The head of the polearm looks like some kind of heavy glaive. It's different! I don't picture Hellknights in white, but it really works in this case. It is cool she is uncommom. Maybe I can pull three out of a case.

I like it that the Chelish Marine also has a polearm. It looks like it could double for a pruning hook. So one moment you are hooking fish the next merchants. Four or five of these out of a case would be nice.

The Seaweed Siren is different. Looks like it will make for an interesting encounter. All I can say is "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!."

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I guess now I don't have to scratch-build a seaweed siren mini...

Contributor

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I guess now I don't have to scratch-build a seaweed siren mini...

That unbuilt Seaweed Siren mini disagrees; he (or she) thinks that you should build him (or her).


Beautiful minis as always!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool minis! And cool story behind the name of Cheliax!

How female-looking is the hellknight mini, actually? Could it be used for male PCs as well?

Ruyan.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
RuyanVe wrote:

Cool minis! And cool story behind the name of Cheliax!

How female-looking is the hellknight mini, actually? Could it be used for male PCs as well?

Ruyan.

The figure has curves and breasts, so not very likely for use as a male.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Actually -- Redmond is completely believable as the name of an evil kingdom. After all, the association most of us have with that place name is that it's the headquarters of Microsoft!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

With three of them, I was thinking the Monkeys actually.


I like all the figures in this update. I hope I get at least four o fthe Chelish Marines so I can have them as security detail for the Admiral. I love this idea of more than one figure from a specific faction/group.


Cat-thulhu wrote:

3 I expected, 1 I hoped for. WHat a preview. I expected the chelxians given the roles they play in the AP. All 3 are very nice - Thrune is an incredible mini that will easilly double for a range fo female characters.

It's so good to see a hellknight at long last. Very nicely executed, yet I can't help but curiously note we seem to be getting a lot more female NPC types - is the balanceshifting too far the other way now? On a side note I am excited to hear more hellknight are imminent.

Regarding the male/female ratio, as far as I can tell in this set its 10 specifically male/4 specifically female (humanoids). That doesn't really seem like its leaning towards too many female NPCs. Unless you mean all sets combined? I haven't looked into that.


In_digo wrote:
Cat-thulhu wrote:

3 I expected, 1 I hoped for. WHat a preview. I expected the chelxians given the roles they play in the AP. All 3 are very nice - Thrune is an incredible mini that will easilly double for a range fo female characters.

It's so good to see a hellknight at long last. Very nicely executed, yet I can't help but curiously note we seem to be getting a lot more female NPC types - is the balanceshifting too far the other way now? On a side note I am excited to hear more hellknight are imminent.

Regarding the male/female ratio, as far as I can tell in this set its 10 specifically male/4 specifically female (humanoids). That doesn't really seem like its leaning towards too many female NPCs. Unless you mean all sets combined? I haven't looked into that.

The acceptable male / female ratio has been a hotly debated topic on past sets... especially in Shattered Star where there was an overwhelming amount of female npc figures. My own preference is 2/3 male to 1/3 female. I really like the Hellknight figure and I was really hoping that it was a male sculpt -- but here's hoping some of the additional hellknight figures to follow will look just as great, and hopefully will include a male figure.

(Side note: It's funny, you would think in a game where you have a group of people that are using their imagination, that you could put down a female figure and say "that's my character, except imagine its a male figure". However, despite the fact that the two main groups I play with are mature groups (everyone is 35+), attempting this action will gain you constant ridicule -- and in the very least, there would be frequent references to the character's breasts. *Sighs*)

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I sympathize, my group is also made up of 35+ players and you'll get the same response if you try the female proxie for your mini. Woe betide any player trying to play an actual female character (or vice versa on at least 2 occasions)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

All 3 humans look very good. The Seaweed Siren is interesting. Will have to see that one in hand to see if it will be good, silly, or silly good.

What rarity are the Seaweed Siren, the Sea Troll, and the Pirate?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I just want to start out by saying I'm not trying to be critical. I like the fact that D&D (& by extension, Pathfinder,) has always taken inspiration from a wide variety of sources.

Anyway, anyone remember the old episode of Ducktales where Scrooge & his nephews went back in time to ancient mythological Greece? "Home Sweet Homer?"

The seaweed siren looks a lot like the Ducktales concept of the sirens. It's kind of cool seeing a monster from your childhood pop back up again.

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