Tales of Lost Omens: Far From Heaven

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Selik slouched along at the back of the party with Boret and the other archers. "Stupid crusader. Why is he even here? We don't need him. Our god has returned and reunited us with the rest of the clan."

Boret grunted. "Dolok Darkfur is a power, no doubt, and without his leadership, we'd still be hiding in the forest. Even so... Ramnos has more practical demon-fighting experience than the rest of us put together. You'll be glad we have his sword on our side when we storm that keep."

Their god—a massive, bear-like creature whose bright feathers and intelligent eyes made it impossible to mistake him for an ordinary animal—led the group, flanked by that irritating crusader and the clan's god-caller, Nelket.

Selik spat. "The other crusaders left Sarkoris when the Worldwound closed. I don't trust him. Why is he still here? Shouldn't he be riding to the soft southern lands with the rest of his people?"

Boret snorted. "The crusaders only turned south because the Whispering Tyrant stirs. Things aren't so soft there."

"But why—"

"By the Stag Mother's antlers, boy, go ask him yourself if you want to know his reasons! The crusader doesn't confide in me."

Selik glared toward the front of the group, his eyes widening when the crusader stopped walking until Selik reached him, then fell into step beside him. "I could not help but overhear your question." His accent was atrocious. "I remain because I took an oath to cleanse your ancestral lands of the Abyssal taint. Some think because the land no longer bleeds demons, our work is done, but I disagree." He paused. "Also, I am very good at killing demons."

"Braggart."

Ramnos laughed, a sound that irritated Selik to his marrow. "I prefer to think of it as clear-eyed self-regard. I know you are angry, Selik. I don't blame you. Your people have suffered as much as anyone. But I wish your anger wouldn't settle on me. Not all outsiders are invaders. I've developed great affection for your people."

"You mean for my aunt."

"Starting with your aunt, let us say," Ramnos agreed.

"You'll never be part of the Farheaven Clan," Selik muttered. There were precious few of his people left, but Selik bristled at the idea of outsiders traveling with them, or, gods forbid, marrying in.

"Perhaps not. But—"

"We're here," the god-caller said, her voice somehow seeming to whisper in Selik's ear. He stepped away from Ramnos, joining the others on a low rise that looked down on the grim expanse of Carlhon Keep, once home to men and women, now a stronghold of demons, with black clouds swirling unnaturally above its towers and walls.

Illustration by Mariusz Gandzel

Selik had grown up in the forests and fields with members of his clan and had spent barely any time under roofs of wood and stone. Carlhon Keep was vast beyond his imaginings. Could his people really live there, if they removed the demonic infestation? "The walls are glowing," Selik whispered.

"Demonic runes." Ramnos sighed. "Those walls may need to come down entirely. The taint runs deep into the stone. The lightning worries me more, though." Sick green flashes lit the dark clouds.

Dolok Darkfur rose, towering on his hind legs, and Selik could not deny the stirrings of awe within him. With their god at their head, how could they fail? "I fear no lightning," Darkfur said, his voice all rumble and strength.

"The rest of us must." Ramnos pointed with his sword to tiny specks moving among the dark clouds and green flashes of electricity. "Those are wrath demons. Vile things. They do a dance—"

"They dance?" Selik scoffed. He made a mocking little pirouette.

"Their dance brings ruin," Ramnos said. "Few who witness it survive. The demons dance not for pleasure, but as a ritual, to call down evil upon their enemies. That lightning... I fear the fiends know we are coming, and have begun to dance our deaths."

"They can't dance if someone bites their legs off," Darkfur growled, and then rushed forward on all fours toward the keep, Nelket and the clan's warriors hurrying after him, swords and hammers drawn.

Ramnos watched them run. "It's a good thing we discussed the plan in advance. Ready your bow, Selik."

"What?"

The crusader pointed again. The specks in the air were getting bigger, and a few swooped toward them. Selik gasped, fumbled with his bow, and nocked one of the blessed arrows. He was one of the best archers in the clan, famed for his ability to shoot birds on the wing, but the things coming for them weren't birds—they were a grotesque cross between men and vultures, trailing feathers and dust.

"Better if they do not come close," Ramnos said. "They spew a poisonous cloud."

Selik took a breath, sighted, and loosed. The arrow sailed true and caught the approaching demon in its right wing just as it dove toward Darkfur. The demon spun, its other wing clipping the ground, and went down in a sprawl of feathers. The god paused briefly over it to deliver a killing blow, and then loped on. "I got it!" Selik crowed. Other demons fell to the holy arrows loosed by Boret and the other archers, and the rest of the demons in the air retreated back toward the keep.

"They were focused on your god, and didn't consider the rest of you threats before," Ramnos said. "Now, they do. Come on!" He rushed forward, and Selik followed, blood singing with something like the thrill of the hunt, but even more potent.

The archers stopped within bowshot of the walls and loosed arrows at the twisted figures on the battlements, protecting the warriors in the vanguard. To Selik's annoyance, the crusader stayed by his side, acting as a spotter and calling out targets—he seemed to know which demons were the equivalent of officers, and once Selik had killed a few of those, the lowlier fiends broke and fled.

Darkfur reached the keep's gate and rose up, roaring, to slam against the barrier. The runes on the walls flared and burned brighter. The warriors joined their god, battering the gates with their weapons, but the god was a siege engine in his own right, and soon the dark wood began to splinter and crack.

"Here." The crusader offered Selik a knife—almost big enough to be a small sword—with a blade that reflected more light than it should have beneath those clouded skies. "Your bow will be less use inside."

Selik reached out, scowled, paused, then snatched up the weapon. It felt good in his hand, thrumming with power. "Why are you giving me this? Why are you sticking so close to me at all?"

"It is... possible... I told your aunt I would look out for you," Ramnos said, "while she and the other warriors stay close to your god."

Selik stomped his foot. "I am not a child in need of a nursemaid!"

Ramnos chuckled another infuriating chuckle. "That is fortunate, as I would make a poor nursemaid. I am, however, a capable fighter, and would be honored to stand by your side."

"I don't need your help," Selik said. "I can find glory on my own!"

"I do not doubt it, but she made me swear an oath." He shrugged. "An oath is an oath."

"I don't—"

The crusader suddenly shouted and shoved Selik aside as a vulture demon leapt down on them from the battlements. The crusader and the demon went down in a jumble of limbs and feathers, claws and blades, and Selik froze. Shooting arrows at distant shapes was one thing, but now the demon was here, at his feet, stinking and writhing and vile and terrifying. He froze for a long moment, then looked around for help, but the rest of the clan was disappearing into a crack in the gates.

Selik shook himself, raised his new blade, and waited for his moment. When he was sure he wouldn't hit Ramnos by mistake, he struck, plunging his blade into the back of the demon's birdlike head. It screamed, the wound smoking, and Ramnos rolled out from under and struggled to his feet. The crusader plunged his sword through the monster's back, ending its shrieks. He plucked a moldy feather from his hair and rubbed at a long scratch on his cheek, but smiled. "You see? You are the one looking after me."

Selik nodded. "That's right. You're... lucky I was here."

"I never could take care of myself alone. That is why I joined an order of knights in the first place." Ramnos nodded toward the cracked gates. "Shall we teach these demons to dance properly?"

"Dancing is soft," Selik muttered, but he followed Ramnos into the keep as lightning began to lance down from the clouds all around.

The crusader's answering laughter somehow annoyed him less this time.

Tim Pratt
Contributing Author

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Tags: Pathfinder World Guides Tales of Lost Omens Web Fiction
Grand Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

HUZZAH DOLOK!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

That is a VERY colorful bear


18 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

ASFHASDFKDSJF.

You can't do this to me Paizo. You can't write an awesome story featuring a Summoner without even having announced when Summoner will be playable. :P

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.

This is neat. I like it. :)

Also excellent evidence Summoners will come eventually, even if not now.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

ASFHASDFKDSJF.

You can't do this to me Paizo. You can't write an awesome story featuring a Summoner without even having announced when Summoner will be playable. :P

In fairness, Dolok might be an unfettered eidolon, and the God Caller a ceremonial title rather than a full-fledged Summoner.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

13 people marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
HUZZAH DOLOK!

BEAR SQUAD RETURNS!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

BEAR GAAANNNGGG!!!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
That is a VERY colorful bear

Because he's not really a bear ;)

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

19 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
That is a VERY colorful bear
Because he's not really a bear ;)

Developer's Note: Dolok Darkfur reacts to claims that he's "not a bear" in much the same way that a professional wrestler might react to being told that they're "not a real athlete." While technically correct in Dolok's case, it's a conversation best had not in his presence. The last time someone called him "not a bear", a magic-reinforced castle surrounded by vrock demons was insufficient to keep him at bay (see above).


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
First World Bard wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

ASFHASDFKDSJF.

You can't do this to me Paizo. You can't write an awesome story featuring a Summoner without even having announced when Summoner will be playable. :P
In fairness, Dolok might be an unfettered eidolon, and the God Caller a ceremonial title rather than a full-fledged Summoner.

More than might be.

wiki link


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
That is a VERY colorful bear
Because he's not really a bear ;)
Developer's Note: Dolok Darkfur reacts to claim that he's "not a bear" in much the same way that a professional wrestler might react to being told that they're "not a real athlete." While technically correct in Dolok's case, it's a conversation best had not in his presence. The last time someone called him "not a bear", a magic-reinforced castle surrounded by vrock demons was insufficient to keep him at bay (see above).

AKA, "Let the wookie win".


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)


Now this, this I love! I recently revealed the existence of eidolons to my party and they’re about to see in a big way why an unfettered angry eidolon is a very bad thing.

Paizo Employee Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Quandary wrote:
I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)

Incidentally, that's why the term "outsider" for those extraplanar creatures is particularly thorny.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quandary wrote:
I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)

Ramnos is Tony Stark. Selik is Peter Parker. Aunt May is clearly a boss.

Sovereign Court

12 people marked this as a favorite.

This story Vrocks! Wait a minute...

--Vrock Blocked


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Fumarole wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

ASFHASDFKDSJF.

You can't do this to me Paizo. You can't write an awesome story featuring a Summoner without even having announced when Summoner will be playable. :P
In fairness, Dolok might be an unfettered eidolon, and the God Caller a ceremonial title rather than a full-fledged Summoner.

More than might be.

wiki link

It seems the article is based on old information then. Breath of the Dragonskull quite explicitly states that he's the eidolon of the god caller in question now.


Good story, I clamor for more.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)
Incidentally, that's why the term "outsider" for those extraplanar creatures is particularly thorny.

Might want to encourage using outlander instead to keep away from game terminology.

--Vrockabulary

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
King of Vrock wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)
Incidentally, that's why the term "outsider" for those extraplanar creatures is particularly thorny.

Might want to encourage using outlander instead to keep away from game terminology.

--Vrockabulary

Outsider is no longer game terminology. The creatures that were formerly in it are now fiends, elementals, celestials, etc.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
King of Vrock wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)
Incidentally, that's why the term "outsider" for those extraplanar creatures is particularly thorny.

Might want to encourage using outlander instead to keep away from game terminology.

--Vrockabulary

Outsider is no longer game terminology. The creatures that were formerly in it are now fiends, elementals, celestials, etc.

Guess I should take a closer look at the glossary!

--School of Vrock


I mean, I really like the inconvenient confusion, which isn't necessarily a contradiction,
planar outsiders can certainly be seen as outsiders in matters of community of humanity,
Rahadoum is premised on that concept specifically re: purging anybody loyal to Deific Outsiders rather than humanity itself,
and Sarkorian God-Callers seem about prioritizing "Gods" birthed by own kin VS independent deities with less intimate relation.
(of course Eidolons themselves are technically "Outsiders" but that is mechanical distinction, real societies can use other criteria)
Related terms like "trespassers" could easily be applied to much of Outsiders insofar as they encroach on mortal world.
(World Wound demonic invasion being "trespass" in the grand cosmic scale)


11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Quandary wrote:
I was confused and thought the crusader was an aasimar or other type of outsider, but finally realized he's just a regular community outsider not plane-touched etc. :-)

Yeah well, I suspect this particular Outsider wants to pick up the Native subtype, if you know what I mean. :)


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Tim Pratt writing for Paizo is always a great good thing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
HTD wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

ASFHASDFKDSJF.

You can't do this to me Paizo. You can't write an awesome story featuring a Summoner without even having announced when Summoner will be playable. :P
In fairness, Dolok might be an unfettered eidolon, and the God Caller a ceremonial title rather than a full-fledged Summoner.

More than might be.

wiki link

It seems the article is based on old information then. Breath of the Dragonskull quite explicitly states that he's the eidolon of the god caller in question now.

In other words, unfettered and then refettered.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Awe-inspiring. Selik is one hell of an archer and Dolok Darkfur is scary powerful. It's also cool to see characters from a 1e module become protagonists of a short story.

Anyways, we really, really need the summoner class, or something to that effect. And we need a balanced action economy for animal companions/summons/eidolons, one that doesn't bog down the game with a whole extra turn but that still makes them feel powerful and sentient.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Alright, assuming the God-Caller is a Summoner (or even if she isn't, I guess), it seems an awful lot like she casts Message, right before the illustration.


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First World Bard wrote:
Alright, assuming the God-Caller is a Summoner (or even if she isn't, I guess), it seems an awful lot like she casts Message, right before the illustration.

She is an actual summoner.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
HTD wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
Alright, assuming the God-Caller is a Summoner (or even if she isn't, I guess), it seems an awful lot like she casts Message, right before the illustration.
She is an actual summoner.

In First Edition

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

She could be in 2E as well, it just might be a Wizard option.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I hope more an as-of-yet unreleased class, they need to be really focused on their eidolon, which must work perfectly and essentially substitute for them in combat. The class could also kill the spiritualist and take their stuff - the point is always having the equivalent of a pumped-up animal companion...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My question is, how does Dolok Darkfur fit with the Unchained Summoner paradyme (as I'm guessing a 2e Summoner will be based on that, not the original Summoner class)?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Bluescale wrote:
My question is, how does Dolok Darkfur fit with the Unchained Summoner paradigm [...]?

He'd be an Agathion base form if you were building him in PF1 using Unchained Summoner rules.

Shadow Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.

*takes notes*


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Michael Sayre wrote:
He'd be an Agathion base form if you were building him in PF1 using Unchained Summoner rules.

Nice; i'm quite fond of my PC's Agathion eidolon. And that explains his nonchalance toward Lightning damage.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
She could be in 2E as well, it just might be a Wizard option.

I agree. I was just pointing out that saying she's a summoner isn't really dispositive, because the class might not exist in P2 or be so different as to be unrecognizable other than both having a class feature called Eidolon.


Getting summoner lore pretty early over here! Wonder if it's in the books for early PF2.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So is there no catch-all term for extra-planar creatures now? How does this affect the wording of stuff like Planar Binding, Banishment, etc?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ChibiNyan wrote:
So is there no catch-all term for extra-planar creatures now? How does this affect the wording of stuff like Planar Binding, Banishment, etc?

Good question. If outsider doesn't work, maybe the terminology you used might work: extraplanar creatures?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
ChibiNyan wrote:
So is there no catch-all term for extra-planar creatures now? How does this affect the wording of stuff like Planar Binding, Banishment, etc?

In the playtest, Banishment just worked on any creature not on its home plane regardless of type, while Planar Binding just works on any extraplanar creature, again regardless of type, while Planar Ally just called a 'servitor of your deity'.

I see no reason these things should change. All are pretty straightforward, really. Especially given the fact that Planar Binding and Planar Ally are Rituals.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Man have I missed the web fiction. Awesome!


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
So is there no catch-all term for extra-planar creatures now? How does this affect the wording of stuff like Planar Binding, Banishment, etc?

In the playtest, Banishment just worked on any creature not on its home plane regardless of type, while Planar Binding just works on any extraplanar creature, again regardless of type, while Planar Ally just called a 'servitor of your deity'.

I see no reason these things should change. All are pretty straightforward, really. Especially given the fact that Planar Binding and Planar Ally are Rituals.

This also allows for the use of Banishment or similar affects to effect say, the PCs in Heaven, or an Angel in the Abyss.

Paizo Employee Designer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
j b 200 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
So is there no catch-all term for extra-planar creatures now? How does this affect the wording of stuff like Planar Binding, Banishment, etc?

In the playtest, Banishment just worked on any creature not on its home plane regardless of type, while Planar Binding just works on any extraplanar creature, again regardless of type, while Planar Ally just called a 'servitor of your deity'.

I see no reason these things should change. All are pretty straightforward, really. Especially given the fact that Planar Binding and Planar Ally are Rituals.

This also allows for the use of Banishment or similar affects to effect say, the PCs in Heaven, or an Angel in the Abyss.

This was already the case in PF1 banishment. It affected extraplanar rather than outsiders.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

My character in WotR got banished from the Abyss so often that by the end he had his weapon learn plane shift and greater teleport.


Excellent, I'll take a novel, thank you.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great to see the return of Dolok Darkfur! Cool cast of characters beyond that as well, of course, but the feathered bear stood out to me from running a scenario with him at Fan Expo in Toronto last August. :)

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