Behind Bloodbound

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's time for the second installment in the new blog series I started two months ago with Beyond the Pool of Stars, in which I explain why I commissioned each new Pathfinder Tales novel, and what made me fall in love with it.

This month, we're looking at Bloodbound, a book that's both harder and easier to write about than any other—because its author is none other than Paizo Editor-in-Chief F. Wesley Schneider!

Wes and I have been working together—and writing together—for more than a decade at this point. Fun fact: While Wes had previously published adventures with other companies before he started here, we both made our first adventure sale to Dungeon in the same issue—and the same adventure! We co-wrote "Shut-In" in Dungeon #128, and teamed up again on "The Lightless Depths" in the Savage Tide Adventure Path. Though creative differences on the latter almost resulted in parking lot knife-fights, I've learned a ton from him over the years, and I like to think he'd say the same for me. (Though probably not if I'm in the room—we have to maintain some standards.)


Illustration by Roberto Pitturru

So when we started publishing Pathfinder fiction, I encouraged him to audition. It can be intimidating to try something new under the eyes of your colleagues—just because we work here doesn't give any of us a free pass to a novel, and we're often each other's harshest critics—but Wes persevered. He started out with a web fiction story, "Shattered Steel." Then he wrote the Pathfinder's Journal Guilty Blood (also starring Ailson Kindler) in the Carrion Crown Adventure Path. At that point, I knew without doubt that he could write an amazing novel, and told him as much.

I'll let Wes talk about the more than two years that passed between the final outline of Bloodbound and the completion of its manuscript, but suffice to say, Wes worked extremely hard on this book, and it shows. The dialogue is snappy. The landscape—Ustalav, of course—is lovingly rendered, providing the perfect introduction to the gothic cities and streets Wes has been building for years. The characters are fun and compelling—and not just the protagonists! The book focuses on Larsa (illustrated here), a royal investigator and dhampir, and Jadain, a young priestess of Pharasma, as they track down a deadly rogue vampire. As you might expect, their odd-couple dynamic is fascinating. (After all, Pharasma hates undead, but a dhampir's only part dead... right?) Yet my favorite characters were the side characters—the crotchety former adventurer Ailson Kindler, and the delightfully snarky, foppish vampire Considine. (Seriously, if you like characters like Seltyiel—or Wes himself, for that matter—you're going to love Considine.)

So now, many years after we first started talking about it, Bloodbound is out in the world. I couldn't be prouder of how the book turned out, nor of Wes for writing it (even if it does rob The Redemption Engine of the coveted "longest Pathfinder novel ever" award).

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did—and if you check it out, please post reviews! Books live or die on the strength of their reviews, and this one deserves a long life (though as Considine shows us, undeath is pretty okay, too).

James L. Sutter
Executive Editor

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Tags: F. Wesley Schneider Pathfinder Tales Roberto Pitturru

1 person marked this as a favorite.

bought and finished it yesterday. I have to say I loved it


How does Pharasma's church usually deal with Dhampirs I wonder (especially those who end up worshiping her or being clergy members for her)?

Editor-in-Chief

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:
How does Pharasma's church usually deal with Dhampirs I wonder (especially those who end up worshiping her or being clergy members for her)?

Read the book. ;)

Editor-in-Chief

Blackvial wrote:
bought and finished it yesterday. I have to say I loved it

NICE! Thanks for checking it out!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Berselius wrote:
How does Pharasma's church usually deal with Dhampirs I wonder (especially those who end up worshiping her or being clergy members for her)?
Read the book. ;)

but I wanna know NNNNNOOOOWWWW....;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Better get reading then. :-D

Editor-in-Chief

3 people marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
(Seriously, if you like characters like Seltyiel—or Wes himself, for that matter—you're going to love Considine.)

Ha! This had me laughing out loud... and might be one of the best complements I've ever received.

Love you too, man! ;D

Sovereign Court

Wonder when there will be a chronicle for this one.... picked it up yesterday, got one of the first copies at local store. Also starting a new dhampir in society, hoping this gives me a big insight on the race.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
(Seriously, if you like characters like Seltyiel—or Wes himself, for that matter—you're going to love Considine.)

Ha! This had me laughing out loud... and might be one of the best complements I've ever received.

Love you too, man! ;D

That line sold me on this book. ^_^

Lord Valstaff wrote:
Wonder when there will be a chronicle for this one.... picked it up yesterday, got one of the first copies at local store. Also starting a new dhampir in society, hoping this gives me a big insight on the race.

I also have a dhampir boon laying around. Maybe it's time...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It took every bit of willpower I could muster to not just buy this novel immediately and instead put it on my Christmas wish list. Ustalav and vampires...*swoon*

Scarab Sages

I have a couple questions for Wes, if that is ok?

Questions:

Larsa several times expresses a desire for / need for the blood of the living. Is that just literary license, or a reflection of the Corruption mechanics that haven't been published yet?

Likewise the cursed mark of the Pharasman anti-spiral?

Is anyone ever going to deal with the Monastery of the Veil? Seems like that place is mentioned a fair amount. Might be something for a future module at least.

Thanks for the great read!

Editor-in-Chief

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Belabras wrote:

I have a couple questions for Wes, if that is ok?

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for the great read!

Nice! Thanks for checking it out!

Answers:

1) I wrote the description of Pathfinder's dhampirs in Bestiary 2, which includes this sentence: "Although not driven to consume blood for survival as their undead progenitors are, dhampirs nonetheless know a lifelong desire for blood that nothing else can truly sate."

Dhampirs don't just get the perks of vampires, they're also afflicted with a lifelong addiction. Larsa's no different.

Good times.

2) Greater brand from the Advanced Player's Guide.

As an aside, I wrote the Occult Adventures spell repress memory entirely because I needed a better version of modify memory for Ms. Kindler. It's nice when the rules/story flow can run both ways.

3) The Monastery of the Veil is also touched on in Dave Gross's Prince of Wolves. Larsa and Jadain take the same path through the Hungry Mountains as Radovan and the Count. There's even an Easter Egg on the bridge L & J pass over for Dave's readers (so keep an eye out!)

The residents of the Monastery, the Anaphexia, are also touched on in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Mysteries, so you might want to check that out for more details.

Thanks again for reading and hope that helps! :D

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Just finished listening myself (able to afford audible subscription, yeah)

Mechanically, is Larsa a slayer? Or a ranger?


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Belabras wrote:

I have a couple questions for Wes, if that is ok?

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for the great read!

Nice! Thanks for checking it out!

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks again for reading and hope that helps! :D

Repress Memory can't go on a wand, though, and while one of the cures can (Break Enchantment), it's hideously expensive.


I have a question. I mean no offense when I ask this, but was bloodbound proofread? I got the kindle version and I'm loving it. Half way through it now. I ask if it was because I keep finding all these grammatical mistakes as if a word processor was messing with the wording of sentences or something. It's completely possible that this is a normal thing for novels. I have only recently started getting into reading as entertainment, so I don't have a ton of experience with that. I read liars blade and city of the fallen sky before this one and noticed maybe one or two little mistakes. Bloodbound is another story 50% through the book. It seems to be about every chapter where you'll run across a word or two not conjugated correctly as if part of the sentence was erased and then rewritten. This could be a problem with just the kindle version, I really don't know. An example would be like "stilled prayed" instead of "still prayed". It's not a huge mistake or anything, but it's enough that as you're reading, you stop a moment to process why it doesn't make sense.
I am simply curious and don't mean to say the book isn't worth the money. Even with what I've spotted I still think it's worth picking up. I think it's just not something I've noticed much in the past while reading a book.


Durdrik wrote:
I am simply curious and don't mean to say the book isn't worth the money. Even with what I've spotted I still think it's worth picking up. I think it's just not something I've noticed much in the past while reading a book.

I noticed the same thing (Christmas wish list? Ha!). This novel does seem to contain more errors than usual.

It's not something that detracts from the story in any way, but it is noticeable.

As for the book itself, it was an enjoyable read, and I hope to see a followup at some point.


Also, if you have a hankering for lore about Ustalav, vampires, and the Pharasmin faith (including the Pharasmin Penitence) this novel is a must-read.


Yeah the penitence stuff is pretty crazy. It really adds to the atmosphere.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Threadromancy....

How old is Larissa? She seems... young for the timeline.

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