Scribes in the Shadows: Meet the Authors of the Dark Archive!

Monday, July 25, 2022

Greetings, Archivists,

Pathfinder Dark Archive is almost here! This book wouldn’t have been possible without the creativity and skill of the authors who contributed. To celebrate the release, we wanted to turn the blog over to these writers to reflect on their inspirations for the project and let you know what else they’re up to. Without further ado, here are some of the creators responsible for bringing the paranormal to you! If you liked a section, consider letting them know in the comments or following them on social media!

James Case
Senior Designer

 Thaleon, the iconic psychic, dressed in white and blue clothes with an orange sash Art by Denis Zhbankov. Mios, the iconic thaumaturge. Dressed is a large jacket covered in charms and talismans, holding a lantern and large axe

Alternative art of Thaleon and Mios by Denis Zhbankov

Rigby Bendele (they/them)

I’m incredibly proud of my work on Dark Archive, including the Rumored Cryptid adjustment (page 61), "The Beast of Birchfrost" cryptid adventure (pages 66–71; turn to page 69 to see pictures of my son), “Tempting Curses” (page 162) and “Bargained Contracts” (page 164). During the design process, I spent a good amount of time at my local library flipping through folktales. One difficulty with writing concepts based in folklore is avoiding appropriation, as there are a number of tales and creatures that get presented as universal but actually have specific cultural origins. I worked hard to make my pieces feel like they could've come from real world folklore without appropriating.

This work challenged me in ways that made me grow as a designer. It was my first time working on a Pathfinder hardcover book and focusing on mechanical options instead of adventures. I'm excited to see it in everyone's hands at this point. I'm particularly eager to see how people use this work in the future, as I love the collaborative nature of tabletop games.

If you want to hear more from me, you can find me on Twitter @rigbeesknees or check out my work in the Pathfinder Lost Omens Travel Guide.


Jessica Catalan

Hi, I’m Jessica Catalan! I’m the current Starfinder Society Developer and a freelance author who writes a whole lot of words for Pathfinder and Starfinder! For Dark Archive, I wrote the Experimental Cryptid adjustment on page 60, “Time (Oracle Mystery)” on page 188, and “Hazards of Perception” on pages 122–125. Dark Archive is a weird, wild, and wonderful book and I’m beyond proud to be a part of it!


Banana Chan (she/they/he)

Hi! I'm Banana and I'm a game designer and screenwriter. When I was asked to write for Dark Archive, I was ecstatic (but I tried very hard to stay cool so I wouldn't embarrass myself). I wrote the rituals and the adventure “The Verdure of Iblydos” on page 148. Please note, I'm not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, I've just done a lot of research for this adventure (this is for any other fans of the podcast Cults). The big inspiration points for me (other than the Cults podcast), were folk horror movies, such as The Empty Man, The Invitation, The Wicker Man, The Blood on Satan's Claw and (of course) Midsommar and how new age beliefs currently operate. The cult leader, Mother Mitera, is specifically inspired by Nine Perfect Strangers, Goop, and Teal Swan.



Art by Tuan Duong Chu
a woman dressed in a red and black dress with white shawl

Sen.H.H.S

Hi all, Sen.H.H.S. here. I'm a TTRPG freelancer who started my debut with Pathfinder Bestiary 3 and has since contributed to several other books including Pathfinder Lost Omens Monsters of Myth, Pathfinder Secrets of Magic, “Ready? Fight!” from the Fists of the Ruby Phoenix Adventure Path, and Starfinder Drift Crisis. For the Dark Archive, I had the privilege of working on the first half of “The Last Dream” mindscape adventure on page 208. Yes, “that” map was my doing, you're welcome. :D Currently, I am working on a Pathfinder Infinite project featuring a team of Taiwanese writers. We hope we'll be presenting something about a traveling salesperson with interesting items sometime in the future. Please follow me on Twitter @SenHHS to discover when that will become available.

Oh, lastly, I just want to say

SPIDER BOYFRIEND’S GETTING HITCHED YEAAAAAH!


Joshua Kim (they/them)

Hey everyone! I’m Soup (they/them), a terminally hermit-inclined person that they keep letting write weird stuff. It was incredibly fun to write about the paranormal in a world where “normal” means magic, ghosts, and dragons. I wrote some of the case file lore sections and made sure to include lots of fun prompts that I hope will get your brain juices going. I think I was pretty successful at writing some spooky stuff and I hope you find it as neat as I did! I’m actually about to start running a Pathfinder Second Edition game for my weekly group and the Dark Archive will definitely be a cool book to draw from. I’m super excited to take a look at what the other authors have contributed! If you wanna find more of me rambling about games, writing, customer service, or my obsession of the week, feel free to follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/LiteralSoup)


Daniel Kwan (he/him)

Hello! I'm Daniel, a podcaster, game designer, and cultural consultant based in Canada. You might know me as the co-host of the 2x Gold ENnie Award winning Asians Represent! podcast or from my game design work (Candlekeep Mysteries, Avatar Legends, Wicked Congregation, Ross Rifles, & Motherlands RPG). I am also one of the co-founders of Level Up Gaming, a Toronto-based organization that provides the autism community with opportunities to develop social skills through tabletop gaming experiences. I wrote the “Sounds of Violence” incident report on page 115 of Dark Archive. The story prompt revolves around the aoyin, a creature from a classical Chinese text called the Shanhaijing (the Classic of Mountains & Seas)!



Art by Tuan Duong Chu
 a large dark oozing entity creating from a robed figured shadow

Jacob W. Michaels

Hi there, I’m Michael W. Jacobs—the so-called “evil” twin of Jacob W. Michaels, or so “they” would have you believe. But I ask, is it evil to expose you to the Echoing Pale? Would it not be worse to leave you in the dark, ignorant to all the lurking dangers blending in with the rest of us on Golarion? What if you didn’t know? What if you didn’t have to always be looking over your shoulder, wondering why the merchant you’ve worked with for years now scowls when you enter her shop? That casual greeting—just a friendly passer-by, or someone who thinks they know you, for some reason you can’t figure out? What if? (Evil twin aside, I’m actually Jacob W. Michaels, regular Paizo freelancer. I got to do the intro to Mirrors and Imposters section on page 116 of Dark Archive. It was a blast, and I hope it gives you something to reflect on.)


Andrew Mullen

Hello, Andrew Mullen here! My contribution to this book is the Mutant Cryptid template on page 59. Want to spice up a monster by making it weak to the memory of the taste of borscht, or some even more bizarre phenomena? I've got you covered! I've always enjoyed monster design, so I was very glad to offer ways GMs can make stranger adversaries.

Beyond this, I'm involved in two other projects of note. Alongside Mikhail Rekun (who you may recognize from the Dark Archive cover!) and Isabelle Thorne (who you may recognize from the Lost Omens Knights of Lastwall cover!), I'm a key member of the Luminant Age team. Luminant Age is a third-party campaign setting for Pathfinder Second Edition, a post-apocalyptic world of strange faiths, strange magics, and stranger creatures. You can find us at http://luminant-age.itch.io. I'm also a judge for the Brewmaster’s Compendium round 3] over on the Pathfinder Second Edition subreddit! Check out your community's creations and see what strange things lurk in areas even the Dark Archive has not cataloged!


Mikhail Rekun (he/him)

Приветствую, уважаемые читатели! My name is Mikhail Sergeyevich Rekun, and I’m one of the cover authors for Dark Archive.

I’ve always been interested in what one might call “Weird History.” As a historian, I mostly deal with formal, scholarly research and education—I even have a book, How Russia Lost Bulgaria, 1878-1886: Empire Unguided (Lexington Books, 2018). After hours though, I’d go down Fortean rabbit-holes like the Eilean Mor disappearances or the Philadelphia Experiment. So, when James Case asked if I wanted my name on the cover of the Dark Archive, well, I could hardly turn him down now, could I?

I wrote the lore sections for the Secret Societies (page 74), Deviant Abilities (page 94), and Curses and Pacts (page 156) sections, as well as “The Sacral King” incident report (combining Emperor Norton I of America with the Fisher King concept, for you Weird History fans) and the “Wishes in Krasnoprudny” adventure, along with several mechanical tidbits here and there.

If you like what you see here, I’m also the creative director of the Luminant Age project, a Weird Swashbuckler setting currently working on fulfilling our second Kickstarter. If you're fond of chimeric vampires and razor-wire whips, please follow us on Twitter at @LuminantA or check out our published products at https://luminant-age.itch.io!



Art by Sammy Khalid

Solomon St. John (they/them),
Editor

Greetings internet. I go by Sol, and I put my teenage special interest in cults and other esoteric faiths to use writing the lore of the Cults section (page 136) along with the “Occult Skill Feats” (page 78) that I hope you’ll enjoy. Atypical understandings of the divine are some of my favorite things to explore, so it was a real treat to take a broad look at some of the unexpected ways people in Golarion connect with the sacred and profane.

My first year and change at Paizo has been delightfully busy; in addition to working full-time as an in-house editor, I also wrote my first OP adventure, Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-12: Fury’s Toll, along with the “Spectra, Corrupted” adventure hook for Starfinder Drift Crisis and the undead companions & familiars from Pathfinder: Book of the Dead which, yes, includes the one that made everybody cry. I’m not sorry. :)


Mark Seifter

I'm Mark Seifter, Roll for Combat director of game design, and Paizo's former design manager as well as one of the four leads on the creation of Pathfinder Second Edition.

In Dark Archive, I wrote an assortment of different pieces, the foremost among them being the thaumaturge class on page 30. Thaumaturges use magical implements and exploit weaknesses and sympathetic connections in order to create magical effects without spellcasting and support various playstyles. I hope the class intrigues you and inspires you to create new characters, but most of all I hope it's fun to play!

I’m @markseifter on Twitter. Check out my Twitch stream with Linda Zayas-Palmer, Arcane Mark, Tuesdays at 7 PM Pacific, and Saturdays at 10 AM Pacific at https://www.twitch.tv/arcanemark, as well as my Roll for Combat Live YouTube stream with Stephen Glicker at https://www.youtube.com/c/RollForCombat/. Both shows cover a variety of RPG and Pathfinder topics! You can also join my discord at https://tiny.cc.arcanemark


Kendra Leigh Speedling (she/her)

Hi, all! I'm Kendra Leigh Speedling, and I wrote the reflection versatile heritage (page 119), apocryphal domain spells (page 142), and the sleepwalker archetype (page 206). The question of what's considered "weird" or "mysterious" in a setting with established magic and supernatural abilities has always been one that's interested me (what exists on the margins of a fantastical world?), and Dark Archive was a great opportunity to explore that. Getting these sections was really cool to work on, since at one point or another, I've written stories about both mirror people and dream magic. The apocryphal domain spells were also a fun challenge, as I tried to come up with more metaphorical or abstract associations with the usual domains. I hope people enjoy these new character options! You can find me (and cat pictures) at Twitter @KendraLS, and my full credits are on my website at klspeedling.com.



Art by Christoph Peters
A woman dressed in red and brown furs surrounded by small glowing figures

Alex Speidel (he/him)
Organized Play Coordinator

My family has a very dumb “game” reserved for wedding receptions and other events where we sit around for a while. It goes like this:

Alex: [picks up their knife] This is a duck.
Matthew: A what?
Alex: A duck.
Matthew: Ohhhhh. [takes knife]
Matthew: [to Carol] This is a duck.
Carol: A what?
Matthew: [to Alex] A what?
Alex: A duck.
Matthew: [to Carol] A duck.
Carol: Ohhhhh. [takes knife]
Carol: [to Bill] This is a duck.
This continues until our table gets called for dinner. Anyway in this book there’s a spell that lets you create a contagious illusion, enjoy!

For more excellent content like this, follow me on Twitter @AlexSpeidel.


Isis Wozniakowska (she/her)

Hey all, I’m Isis Woz, one of Paizo’s freelancers. I’ve written for Secrets of Magic, wrote two Starfinder scenarios (Starfinder Society Scenario #3-21: Frozen Ambitions: Renewal’s Blight and Starfinder Society Scenario #5-04: Fragment of the 4th), and I also did work on the upcoming Starfinder Interstellar Species. But for Dark Archive I wrote the mind smith archetype (page 204) and I’m so happy with how it came out! I hope people enjoy having a sword made of pure mental energy to play around with.

For me, Dark Archive was such a treat to work on since it covers so many interests that I’ve had in fantasy. As a longtime fan of paranormal and psychic detective stories—and a comparative literature major with an emphasis in mythology and spiritualism—this book is one that I’ve been excited for since I was given the chance to write for it. Hopefully you all will enjoy it too.

If you ever want to swap character concepts, Dark Archive or otherwise, you can find me on Twitter as @wozenstein, where sometimes I talk about TTRPG things but most of the time I just talk about and retweet Ace Attorney jokes.


a warrior dressed in white and yellow, with a shining sword

Art by Christoph Peters

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Tags: Authors Community Dark Archive Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
Paizo Employee Senior Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.

All of these authors completely knocked it out of the park! What parts of the archive are you looking forward to using? Let the author of the section know if there's one you're finding especially spooky or mysterious!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Always stoked to see Daniel Kwan on something! The whole team crushed it on this one.

Who do I have to thank for the Psychic class?

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:

Always stoked to see Daniel Kwan on something! The whole team crushed it on this one.

Who do I have to thank for the Psychic class?

That would be the esteemed James Case.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:

Always stoked to see Daniel Kwan on something! The whole team crushed it on this one.

Who do I have to thank for the Psychic class?

James Case! He did a wonderful job of the class, especially with the feedback given during the playtest.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you, every single one of you! I've been anxious all year for this book and I was not disappointed!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.

This is my favorite RPG book, maybe ever.


Ezekieru wrote:
keftiu wrote:

Always stoked to see Daniel Kwan on something! The whole team crushed it on this one.

Who do I have to thank for the Psychic class?

James Case! He did a wonderful job of the class, especially with the feedback given during the playtest.

Yes! Psychic was my #2 most-wanted class, and I’m blown away with how much better it feels in the final version than the playtest.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I find the amount of enbies on this amusing; I guess we are all fascinated by the paranormal :p


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The Psychic needed a couple more minutes in the oven, but I like this version of the class over any other d20 equivalent class.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
SaveVersus wrote:
The Psychic needed a couple more minutes in the oven, but I like this version of the class over any other d20 equivalent class.

Specifically, oscillating wave needs 1 more minute in the oven followed by 1 more minute in the freezer.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My favorite martial paired with my second favorite caster after the oracle. Great expansion overall.


Thaumaturge is giving me a lot of headaches about which build to do the most damage, and seeing that my future team won't have a focused healer, it gives me more headaches! Who should I thank because it's the best headache I've ever had in my life!!!!! I love this class, (but if I hadn't committed to being Thaum, I'd be racking my brain trying to create Psylocke!!!!), this book has been fantastic every read!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

An extra congratulations to
Daniel Kwan for your work, I have a 14 year old daughter with a relatively mild degree of autism, and I know how wonderful these people are, and sometimes all they need is a chance! I'm glad to know that there are more and more people like you who provide this chance! Thank you very much for that, if you remember, tell everyone that someone here in Brazil is very happy with your work, and wishes you much success!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
aobst128 wrote:


Specifically, oscillating wave needs 1 more minute in the oven followed by 1 more minute in the freezer.

Unless you keep putting it in the freezer, then you'll never have to put it in the oven.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I started looking through this just to see the classes and absolutely fell in love with the stories. So much fun to read. My next thought was "I need to read all the stories" so I spent the next week making an enormous spreadsheet of all Pathfinder stories ever so I can quit my job and spend 15 years reading all the stories in order. In case anyone else is susceptible to gnomic obsession:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M-nz1wYgbT7gCAVKFzaZVTNFkM5bmZ2ZQIq
Xxl1M9Pc/edit?usp=sharing


Awesome work to all the awesome wonderful people at Paizo Publishing! We shall bake you all COOKIES! COOKIES OF DOOOOOOOOOMMMM!

Grand Archive

I was initially resistant to the idea of Thaumaturge, the base concept of a class so heavily relying on gear that could be taken away being a major point of concern for me. However, I think Thaumaturge is my favorite class of all time. The flavor is just too good and its such an effective class. Great job on this design!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

While the psychic is my favourite part for reasons of being my next character, everything I've read so far has such clear and good story applications. Truly a treasure trove for every GM.

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