Illustrating Zernebeth

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tim Pratt originally created the Technic League captain Zernebeth for his Pathfinder Tales novels City of the Fallen Sky and Reign of Stars. Now she's going to be appearing as an NPC in Pathfinder Adventure Path #89: Palace of Fallen Stars, and Tim was kind enough to share his thoughts on what it feels like to see her get illustrated for the first time—twice!—and appear in an adventure.

When I was ten years old, cat-sitting for a neighbor while they were out of town, I noticed some D&D Monster Manuals on their shelf. I'd never played an RPG at that point, so the lists of stats and sizes and powers and hit points didn't mean anything to me, but the artwork seized my imagination and didn't let go. I still remember the drawings of beholders, umber hulks, green dragons, gelatinous cubes, mind flayers, rust monsters—and seeing them brought to life in ink lines and paint made my synapses sizzle.

As I got older, I discovered that some of the best fantasy artwork was appearing in RPG manuals and source material, and on fantasy trading cards. When I became a professional author, I experienced the thrill of seeing my work brought to life by various artists time and time again—and it's a thrill that never gets old.


Illustrations by Miguel Regodón Harkness and Tatiana Vetrova

But now, in addition to the pleasure of seeing a character I created depicted so vividly by Miguel Regodon Harkness and Tatiana Vetrova, I've got an extra special thrill, something that would have delighted my ten-year-old-self (and delights me equally all these years later): a character I created is going to be part of a *game*. My manipulative white witch cyborg Zernbeth is going to make life interesting and/or miserable for Pathfinder players lucky enough to pick up the Iron Gods Adventure Path. She's making the leap from my brain to your gaming tables.

Sometimes I really love my life.

Tim Pratt
Pathfinder Tales Author

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Tags: Iron Gods Miguel Regodón Harkness Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Tales Tatiana Vetrova Tim Pratt
Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Wait so is it Zernbeth, Zernibeth, or Zernebeth? Everything says something differant!

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Who has three thumbs and rules the Technic League?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

just finished reading the novel...now i want to play this ap more than ever...


So I'm confused, is Ozmyn Zaidow or Zernebeth leader of the League?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What race is she? Sylph?

Shadow Lodge

she's jadwiga i believe...ethnicity of human mixed with the blood of baba yaga's daughters...


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
nohar wrote:
she's jadwiga i believe...ethnicity of human mixed with the blood of baba yaga's daughters...

Why does she have blue skin then?


Zaister wrote:
nohar wrote:
she's jadwiga i believe...ethnicity of human mixed with the blood of baba yaga's daughters...
Why does she have blue skin then?

She's been drinking colloidal silver? That's a thing you can do, you know. It does turn your skin blue.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
nohar wrote:
she's jadwiga i believe...ethnicity of human mixed with the blood of baba yaga's daughters...
Why does she have blue skin then?

Some Jadwiga do have blue skin, White Witches moreso.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That thumb.

Just.... that thumb.

What on earth is the purpose of an extra thumb like that?

Managing Editor

Neongelion wrote:
So I'm confused, is Ozmyn Zaidow or Zernebeth leader of the League?

The novel takes place *before* the AP. At the time of the novel, Zernebeth is the most powerful member of the Technic League.

Managing Editor

Rysky wrote:
Zaister wrote:
nohar wrote:
she's jadwiga i believe...ethnicity of human mixed with the blood of baba yaga's daughters...
Why does she have blue skin then?
Some Jadwiga do have blue skin, White Witches moreso.

Zernebeth is fond of magical experimentation. Her supernaturally cold skin is the result of that--it doesn't come stock on Jadwiga. :)

Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
HikariStarshine wrote:

That thumb.

Just.... that thumb.

What on earth is the purpose of an extra thumb like that?

Apparently Tim imagined it being on the *other* side of the hand, which would admittedly be more useful. But sometimes the art is cool enough that you just run with it!


James Sutter wrote:
HikariStarshine wrote:

That thumb.

Just.... that thumb.

What on earth is the purpose of an extra thumb like that?

Apparently Tim imagined it being on the *other* side of the hand, which would admittedly be more useful. But sometimes the art is cool enough that you just run with it!

Its good to know that I imagined the same thing as the author, because that makes much more sense...

Shadow Lodge

James Sutter wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Zaister wrote:
nohar wrote:
she's jadwiga i believe...ethnicity of human mixed with the blood of baba yaga's daughters...
Why does she have blue skin then?
Some Jadwiga do have blue skin, White Witches moreso.
Zernebeth is fond of magical experimentation. Her supernaturally cold skin is the result of that--it doesn't come stock on Jadwiga. :)

Aww darn, I was guessing she was a Samsaran.


I just finished Reign of Stars and the Dwarven GMPC I wrote months ago for this AP got chased out of Alkenstar For wanting to share knowledge. So I am really looking forward to meeting her in Iron Gods and letting him tell her what I think of her and her methods... ;)


I like the artwork but i have a few questions with the statblock, first i wonder why does she has wizard levels instead of witch (white witch) levels, and secondly i think that i remember her saying that she got the blue cold skin (while experimenting) from her days among the white witches and not while experimenting with technology.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

The art perfectly fits my image of Alaeron as a cougar hunter.

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