A Farewell to Web Fiction

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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.


Illustrations by Eric Belisle

Of all the fun that the web fiction has brought us, far and away the part I appreciate most is the number of authors who started with web fiction, knocked it out of the park, and went on to become beloved authors in the novel line. Some, like Chris. A. Jackson and Liane Merciel, were already accomplished novelists, simply taking their first crack at shared-world writing. Yet for others, like Wendy N. Wagner, Josh Vogt, and Gary Kloster, scoring a critical hit on their web fiction led directly to the sale of their first published novels. As an editor, there's no greater joy than being the first to snag an author destined for great things, and I cackle with glee at the thought of having been the midwife to those awesome authors' first novels.

But all good things must come to an end.

Over the last half a decade, Pathfinder has grown immensely, and Paizo with it. This blog, once such a fragile creature that it could be taken out simply by removing all the keys on Wes's keyboard, is now a robust beast with more posts per week than there are days. And while the web fiction was once one of very few outlets for folks hungry for Pathfinder fiction, there are now dozens of novels, not to mention the Pathfinder's journals, comics, audio dramas, and a huge backlist of free short fiction. Where once I (and later Senior Editor Chris Carey) desperately needed the web fiction to help us find the next great Pathfinder Tales authors, in the wake of Pathfinder Tales teaming up with Tor/Macmillan, I've got amazing, established authors like Max Gladstone, Sam Sykes, and Richard A. Knaak joining a roster already packed with folks like Tim Pratt, Dave Gross, Chris Jackson, and Liane Merciel. Add in the expense, both in time and money, of buying and illustrating free web fiction stories, and it just doesn't make sense to continue the tradition.

The web fiction we've already posted will continue to be available for free in perpetuity, and I'm also hoping to complete the ePub processing of the stories very soon for folks who prefer to read them that way. We'll also continue to post free sample chapters of the novels as each one comes out to let you test-drive the books before you buy.

Many thanks to all the faithful web fiction readers, and I hope you continue to enjoy Pathfinder Tales in all its various forms!

James L. Sutter
Executive Editor

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Tags: Eric Belisle Pathfinder Tales Web Fiction
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3 people marked this as a favorite.

That's a bummer. Free Fiction Wednesdays was easily my favorite feature of the blog. It might be time to retire this feed from my RSS feed then.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What a shame... I still buy novels, but I guess for budding authors it might be harder to break into this Paizo fiction.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Shivok wrote:
What a shame... I still buy novels, but I guess for budding authors it might be harder to break into this Paizo fiction.

This is my big worry... now I feel like there's no hope for me.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I still tend to not recognize most names they have listed as "established" authors.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Such a shame this is coming to an end, I've immensely enjoyed the Pathfinder Web Fiction, and echo the sentiments of others expressed above.

Also, ew, why are they hiring Knaak? Bleh.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I will miss Pathfinder Tales/Web Fiction. But what will take it's place?

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for all the great fiction, James!
Some of my favorites, such as Tim Pratt,
Marshiela Rockwell, Richard Lee Byers,
and Amber Scott, were featured on the
weekly fiction blog. That's actually how I
came to find Tim Pratt, the best of your
Pathfinder authors to my tastes (aside
from yourself, of course).
Hoping to see more with the new Tor deal!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So anyone else feeling the blogs are becoming a shadow of what they once were? Of all the things they used it for the wedsday story was one of the few slots that held any real intrest for me (Dont play society, dont play the card game, dont use minatures and the less said about pathfinder online the better.)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Dropping free Web Fiction...
Raising prices on subscriptions...

Is Paizo in $$$ trouble?


Boo!

Grand Lodge

Anything you can tell us about what Max Gladstone is writing and when it is coming out? Just finished Three Parts Dead today and loved it, and I'm interested to hear what part of the Golarion sandbox he'll be playing in!


I always thought these were just chapter excerpts from the published books

never looked at any of them

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sad to see it go. I especially liked the short stories that tied into the novels, but I've also greatly enjoyed some of the one-offs. I also have enjoyed some of the recurring characters that might not do all that well in a longer format like a novel (e.g. Darvin & Fife).

For folks looking for an outlet for having their Pathfinder fiction read, but who aren't looking to make a living off of it, you can consider the Pathfinder Chronicler. You won't get paid at all, but if what you're interested in is having an editor pass over it, and having at least a few other people read it, there is a possibility there.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My biggest frown on this is the end of that weekly community usable character art. When you run a game on VTT, all those character portraits are invaluable, IMO moreso than the fiction.

Here's hoping for moar free (Community Use) art!

Grand Lodge

Shame to see this go away. Always enjoyed it.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
a2fan wrote:
Is Paizo in $$$ trouble?

No, but as with any business, we are continually performing cost/benefit analysis. In the case of book pricing increases, these are largely due to inflation and the rising cost of production. For the web fiction, Sutter pretty clearly addressed the reasons behind the end of the line—it's done its job and our resources are now better spent elsewhere.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*sniff* Salim, Isiem, Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer, please make sure you all hang around.

Especially you, Appleslayer. You naughty little puppy, you.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So whats replacing the old fiction blog then?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:

*sniff* Salim, Isiem, Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer, please make sure you all hang around.

Especially you, Appleslayer. You naughty little puppy, you.

Oh yeah that reminds me whatever happend to the novel with them in it that was being worked on?

Executive Editor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the comments everyone! This wasn't an easy decision for us to come to, but over the last year we've come to acknowledge that as the game grows and new opportunities develop, we really have to be strategic about where we spend our time and resources (rather than our traditional "everything all the time forever" approach :).

In answer to some specific questions:

*I can't talk yet about what Max is going to be writing, as it's still a few years out, but I'm *extremely* excited to have him on board. (I'll actually be playing Pathfinder with him and several other authors in a live audience-participation game at Gen Con—stay tuned for a post about it tomorrow!)

*In terms of what will take its place on the blog—unclear! We're shuffling some things around—as you've probably noticed, we've got a lot more posts than we used to—so I'm not sure how exactly Blogmistresses Chris and Liz will arrange things.

*We're planning to continue getting awesome illustrations of main characters from new novels to go along with sample chapters, so you should still expect to see some new community use art related to the fiction from time to time!

Executive Editor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

*sniff* Salim, Isiem, Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer, please make sure you all hang around.

Especially you, Appleslayer. You naughty little puppy, you.

Oh yeah that reminds me whatever happend to the novel with them in it that was being worked on?

You don't have to worry about any of them. Especially Appleslayer—our schedule is booked pretty far out, but his (and Zae/Keren's) book is already on it. ;)

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If only there were freelancers who would do blog posts for a pat on the back and a handshake. I wonder where you could find those! ;)


I gotta be honest. I never read the web fiction BUT this weekly post was my favorite because as a GM, I was able to have a bank of NPC images to use for my games. Let's face it, even though I ran Council of Thieves and I am running Shattered Star now, to create a rich city, I need a lot of NPCs, some are mentioned without pictures, some even have stats without pictures. It sucks. I get why the APs cannot have dozens of pictures of NPC in them but this weekly new picture was great to use. My players were able to have full conversations with guards at the entrance of the Devildrome in Westcrown and have a connection thoughout time because the PCs could see them instead of being "not important enough in the story to have a picture" NPCs. The nobility of Westcrown got their art from this blog also and individual members of a thief guild in the city... Anyway, that's why I loved this blog.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Shivok wrote:
What a shame... I still buy novels, but I guess for budding authors it might be harder to break into this Paizo fiction.
This is my big worry... now I feel like there's no hope for me.

Yeah that is my worry too...sigh.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Robert Brookes wrote:
If only there were freelancers who would do blog posts for a pat on the back and a handshake. I wonder where you could find those! ;)

Ooh! Ooh! I will!

^_^

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
catdragon wrote:
I will miss Pathfinder Tales/Web Fiction. But what will take it's place?

Heya! One of my goals as the new-ish (it's been about 3 months) arbiter of our blog schedule is to make sure we replace the content with things that are relevant to community (whether that turns into more frequent contests, art previews, tidbits from around the office, or heck, even actually telling people in an easy to find place about the latest/recently announced products coming up like Liz's recent product blogs). It's entirely possible that we'll have options for fiction centric features, but unlikely that this will become a serial slot like web fiction was. And while we *do* have regular features, we've been slowly moving away from them being the sole post on any given day (we just have too much to talk about to limit ourselves to that kind of schedule). We've got a lot of ideas brewing around here and I think a lot of people will be excited about what we have in store :)

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am sorry to see the Web Fiction go. I can understand why Paizo is doing it though (which I explain in the next paragraph).

The only thing I never understood was that since everyone knew the new chapter was posted on Wednesday and there is a "Web Fiction" tab at the top, why was it posted in the "Paizo Blog" tab as well. All anyone needed to do on Wednesdays was go to the "Web Fiction" tab to see it (like I did). The "Paizo Blog" was wasted on Wednesday.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll be sorry to see the Web Fiction go, as I've enjoyed many of the stories over the years. They were nice bite-sized chunks that helped flesh out new or existing characters, and were more easily digestible than the novels.

I don't know how many folks are aware of this, but the editors of Pathfinder Wiki have created indexes for nearly all of the Web Fiction (as well as most of the novels). These are designed as a resource in case readers came across a Golarion canon term they didn't know anything about.

Take a look at Category:Web_fiction if you like.

Sovereign Court

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

Well, I would like to place on record a huge thank you for all the fantastic short stories we have had over the years through the web fiction. I can still remember when it was a pipe dream to get fiction associated with Golarion, and now we have so much the web fiction is ending.

Well done to all the authors and to James for organizing it all.

I am also in the group very sorry to see it go: I will miss my regular short doses.

J


1 person marked this as a favorite.

In the immortal word of Luke Skywalker....

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Sniffle.
I need a tissue.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Ize a sad Succubus now...

I wouldn't have gotten most if any of the Tales books if the web fiction hadn't turned me on to them. Farewell old friend, we hardly knew ye...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
a2fan wrote:

Dropping free Web Fiction...

Raising prices on subscriptions...

Is Paizo in $$$ trouble?

They aren't going to compete with their new licensee, Tor who's doing Pathfinder Tales with a significant price hike.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

While I understand the business necessity, add me to the list of people sorry to see the web fiction go.

And to James, David, Wendy, and the other contributors, I want to say thank you. I have my favorites, but I don't think there was a single story I didn't like.

In the spirit of the web fiction, I would love to see a short story compilation every year. A place where the authors could give little vignets or explore the stories of more minor characters. Or give new characters an intro before a first novel is published. It's amazing how after so few years the shared universe works so well in Golarion, and I hope it continues in the upcoming fiction.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ajaxis wrote:

While I understand the business necessity, add me to the list of people sorry to see the web fiction go.

And to James, David, Wendy, and the other contributors, I want to say thank you. I have my favorites, but I don't think there was a single story I didn't like.

In the spirit of the web fiction, I would love to see a short story compilation every year. A place where the authors could give little vignets or explore the stories of more minor characters. Or give new characters an intro before a first novel is published. It's amazing how after so few years the shared universe works so well in Golarion, and I hope it continues in the upcoming fiction.

I too would like to see short stories collected now and then. Short stories are a great way to discover new authors and I like to read short stories between novels so I can better absorb one before jumping into the next. For Pathfinder, short stories are the best source for Golarion lore tidbits. I don't know how many adventures/scenarios I've run and thought, 'this is a great story, there is no way my players characters will ever find this!' Or how many PFS events I've ended with 'read this one now that you've played it, you'll love the history.'

Thanks to James and all the authors for five years of FREE stories. I remember (from a PaizoCon seminar) these were put under marketing. I am glad that these stories have a grown into their own market. I have been really impressed by them and I've gotten something from every one I've read. Fortunately, since I am behind, I have a more to catch up on which gives me time to let this news sink in.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

*sniff* Salim, Isiem, Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer, please make sure you all hang around.

Especially you, Appleslayer. You naughty little puppy, you.

Oh yeah that reminds me whatever happend to the novel with them in it that was being worked on?
You don't have to worry about any of them. Especially Appleslayer—our schedule is booked pretty far out, but his (and Zae/Keren's) book is already on it. ;)

WOOHOO! The continuing adventures of Keren, Zae, and Appleslayer! :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh, poo. I am sad :(

The web fiction was rather variable in quality, but it will be missed.


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

I truly appreciated the web fiction and the spirit that animated its presence. Thank you!


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Pathfinder Chronicler and Wayfinder are still great sources for free Golarion-set fiction, and still great ways to get noticed as a fiction writer at large and by Paizo in particular.

The Exchange

Awww man, i really enjoyed the web fiction and it helped me decide on purchasing some of the novels. It will be missed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
So anyone else feeling the blogs are becoming a shadow of what they once were? Of all the things they used it for the wedsday story was one of the few slots that held any real intrest for me (Dont play society, dont play the card game, dont use minatures and the less said about pathfinder online the better.)

You're not alone. I mostly agree.. Looks like I'll only be hitting things up for preview times around Gencon and playtest times... Though to be honest i even missed most of that last time around.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Booo! Bad Sutter, bad! :p

...OK, now that I have that out of my system, I completely understand changing business models and the need to be cost effective. I'm a manager and I get changing markets, resource management, etc. and how that can cause a change to the way things are done.

But I really enjoyed my weekly fiction fix. In some ways it was a throw back to the fantasy short stories that inspired the creators of the game to build the amazing hobby we all hold so dear. I found myself more immersed in the story aspects of the game and have worked to bring more of those elements into my own games as a result. Novels are great, but short stories allow for a rapid succession of ideas and themes which can be used to inspire all sorts of creative endeavours. I find the loss of this as a regular feature is quite significant.

This cancellation has inspired me with an idea, but I'm not sure if I have the ability or time to pull it off. I'll mull over my options over the next few weeks and see where it leads. As is, just count me as another understanding but saddened fan. :(

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

This is disappointing news. I was always looking forward to both the new piece of art and the glimpse of Golarion the weekly fiction were providing.

Scarab Sages

"Dozens" of novels is not nearly enough! I've bought almost all of them. So far I've used the web fiction to find what I like, and bought novels relating to it or by those authors. I find it hard to believe all the good authors have been found. I'd much rather have a forum where editors can vet and approve new authors (and content would be more or less canon at least for awhile) than end up reading what amounts to fan fic.

But I'm sure you have something in the works to introduce a pipeline of new fiction material.

I am making a sad face now.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well there goes about 1/3 of the Paizo blogs I read. They will be missed! As long as the Battles blogs hang about, I should be okay.


About the accompanying art that will be missed: Does this mean that we are going to get messageboard avatar icons at a reduced rate?

For those who miss the web fiction itself: A workaround is available: Scan in the Messageboards / Paizo Community / Online Campaigns / Play-by-Post section and scan for good ones. Admittedly, you have to slog through a lot of not-so-good ones to find the good stuff (while putting up with the considerable risk that a campaign will die even if it is good), but when you do, you can find awesomeness. Not only do you get to see a lot of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, but you also get a smattering of other stuff. Check it out.

Of course, it would be even better if I could actually get into a good PbP . . . (although that should probably wait a bit until I get a new computer so that I don't have to post from my phone).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

While it's sad web fiction is going, I honestly haven't had time to keep up in the last three years, so if I do again, there's still a backlog.

Excited about Richard Knaak joining the line - I've enjoyed his work both for Dragonlance and non-shared world fiction.


James Sutter wrote:


*In terms of what will take its place on the blog—unclear! We're shuffling some things around—as you've probably noticed, we've got a lot more posts than we used to—so I'm not sure how exactly Blogmistresses Chris and Liz will arrange things.

*We're planning to continue getting awesome illustrations of main characters from new novels to go along with sample chapters, so you should still expect to see some new community use art related to the fiction from time to time!

More artwork shows please! And not from heroes or humans, but from monsters or heroes vs monsters!

Never really cared for the stories or the artwork of humans that got with it, so something new would be awesome. I never minded this though ,and I feel sorry for the people that really liked this and gonna miss it.

I really miss the big blog posts from 2007 - 2010, where monsters from AP's where shown (such as Ahuizotl, Leshy ect) maybe you can do that again!?

Sovereign Court

I'm really sorry to see this go. I even have the Calibre script I run weekly to get a early e-version for my Kindle. And, honestly, I'm a little sad to see Paizo grow too big for free fun weekly stuff.

-sigh-


As much as I commiserate with those who are sad to see these go, I'm

Really really really happy to see these replaced with something I might be interested in.


As for the end of "free weekly stuff" there is an entire site here of free content, free downloads.... The free chapters were more to gauge fan interest and drive novel sales. I never considered them free Pathfinder "content".

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