Marco Massoudi wrote:
FAR WEST is a crazy mashup of wuxia (kung fu), westerns, and a little bit of steampunk. My story in that anthology pits a group of misfits against the rail baron who injured them.
A Knight in the Silk Purse is the second in an anthology of Mesoamerican fantasy stories. My story in that one is a little dark.
In both of them, you'll recognize at least one other Pathfinder Tales author among the contributors.
And return greetings from Canada.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
The new novella's something all-new, and it'll be in print with a gorgeous cover. It's in a setting for which I've long wanted to write, and
I once heard that the Iron Kingdoms books might one day see print, but that was a while ago, and I've had no concrete info on that front.
If you're looking for something to tide you over, I've stories in Champions of Aetaltis, Shattered Shields, and Gods, Memes, and Monsters--the latter of which got a nice nod from Ellen Datlow in the annual summary to her Best Horror of the Year.
Of those, the Champions story is the one closest to a Pathfinder Tale, and the one in Shields is the darkest--and the one I'm most likely to revisit one day. Both anthologies also include terrific stories by other Pathfinder Tales authors.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Thanks for the kind words and for the effusive review you left for Lord of Runes. I'm glad you liked the Egorian Gazetteer, too. That was a lot of fun.
There are no new Radovan & the Count novels in the works, but my next novella will be unleashed in February 2017. If you like "the boys," I bet you'll also like "the girls" in the new piece. As with Prince of Wolves and "The Devil's Pay," it launches a new line, and I can't wait to read the stories that follow. You may recognize a few familiar names on the covers.
That's all the detail I can offer now, but if you follow my web site or twitter feed, you'll be among the first to see the title and description once it's ready for mortal eyes.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
There's none in the works, but I appreciate your kind words. I hope some of those books stand up to re-reading.
DM Mathpro wrote:
If you guys were to see your novels turned into a movie who would you like to see play your main characters? Really interested in seeing Chris's response to this but its for anyone/everyone.
My first pro sale was for an open call for Forgotten Realms short fiction. That was "Every Dog His Day" for Realms of Magic. The editor liked that one well enough to invite me to submit for Realms of Mystery. I did a few more stories and a short novel (novella, really) for the Realms.
Later I pitched to an open call for Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft novels. The editors liked both of my pitches, but since there were so many Realms pitches, they asked me to do the Ravenloft one.
I should have heard the sinister organ music.
What they didn't tell me was that the Ravenloft line was doomed, and they cancelled it when I was only halfway through my manuscript. Fortunately, rather than a kill fee and a clumsy translation of my unfinished novel to the Realms, I asked for a clean shot. That got me invited to pitch for the Sembia series, for which I wrote "Thirty Days" for The Halls of Stormweather followed by Black Wolf, my first full-length novel.
How do you folks outline your novels? Bullet points? Mindmapping? Sticky-notes with push pins and string and low-res pictures on a cork board a la conspiracy theorist?
One of my many flaws is that I go overboard on outlines. I try to keep them below 5,000 words, but I've slipped and ended up with a 15k outline once or twice.
Mine are big word documents with a page or two on each chapter, sometimes including reminders to myself about foreshadowing and subplots, running jokes, setting-specific references and how they matter to the boys, and so on.
I also include a list of important characters with descriptions ranging from a few sentences to a page, and copious footnotes and appendices.
It's a sickness.
To All the authors: What was the biggest/coolest thing you bought with the money from your first novel?
With the money from my first novel, I bought the original cover art to The Halls of Stormweather and, later, Black Wolf.
With the money from my Pathfinder novels, the coolest purchase I made was a diorama featuring a couple of obscure characters.
I’m delighted you liked the conclusion of Winter Witch. I encouraged Elaine to pop in on this thread, but she suggested that I leave a comment.
As some already know, Elaine couldn't complete the book because of a year of family emergencies. To ensure that Pathfinder Tales launched on time, Paizo moved Prince of Wolves up to the August slot and consulted Elaine about enlisting a co-author for Winter Witch. She agreed that I'd finish the manuscript.
Elaine created most of the characters and plot of the novel. She wrote that fantastic prologue and the first nine chapters. I revised those chapters to address editorial feedback and to get a feeling for her style. (I like to tell her I did the job to absorb her powers.) Rather than try to mimic her exactly, I tried “leaning” toward her style. I'm delighted that no one has ever noticed the change point and many don't realize there were two writers.
Chapters 10 and beyond are my work based on Elaine's outline, which I altered in response to editorial feedback. My changes began with matching the book to the setting, but I also combined a few characters into one (Mareshka), added a few more monstrous adversaries, and kept Olenka in the story longer. There were lots of other changes, but those stand out in memory.
A couple of my changes were choices Elaine wouldn’t have made. She still teases me about making it more of a “kissing book,” and I’m sorry to have made one of her favorite characters more brutal than she’d envisioned her. (Elaine usually has the darker imagination, but I have my moments.)
A while after she recovered from the very bad horrible year, Elaine and I often chatted about continuing the story of Declan and Ellasif with an “on-purpose” collaboration, perhaps one in which Radovan and the Count played supporting roles. We even sketched out a few outlines. Unfortunately, we did this simultaneously and took the characters in different directions.
In the end we realized we both like to lead too much to collaborate. There were never any quarrels, just a gradual realization that we’re better off supporting each other with manuscript critiques, gossip, and awful puns.
So while some of the character issues you've mentioned have indeed swirled in my imagination and Elaine's, I'm doubtful we'll ever get to explore them beyond our occasional "what if?" chats. If a continuance of Winter Witch ever appears, it’ll be by Elaine alone, and I’ll be the first to read it.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
It's because I was putting away the Lamashtu mini after running Thistletop for the second time that I thought, "I want all the gods about this size. As statues."
I have a couple extra Karzoug figures which I'm likely to strip and repaint as statues. It would be nice (but maybe not practical) to have statue versions of famous figures who'd likely have statues as chase minis or convention specials, but really it's not too hard to strip and repaint, especially as stone.
Looking forward to the next set, and generally very happy with the current one. Two requests, one of which you've surely heard from me before.
1. More contrast on the paint design, please! Figures that are mostly dark colors lose so much detail. I can't count how many otherwise good figures pre-painted black & brown have been a huge disappointment until I peered closely and saw that the figure itself was pretty good; there was just no way to see that.
When in doubt, default to much lighter shades. The paint should enhance rather than obscure the sculpture.
Also, just more color in general. There are too many black, gray, and brown figures that would really pop with a brighter color scheme.
2. I would love to see a couple or three large statues of Golarion's major gods in each future set, preferably not simply painted stone gray but in interesting variations (maybe a jade, maybe a painted statue, maybe one in mosaic tiles, and so on), but all of a similar size so we could construct things like the Sandpoint Cathedral, with the uniform size of the statues working to advantage.
Most of these figures would still be useful to non-Golarion players, since the gods make for pretty great general (if not generic) statue subjects.
One of my key references for this book was the Magic of Thassilon web supplement, in which you'll find all the mysteries of the Gluttonous Tome.
I've purposefully not statted out Radovan and the count.
Radovan is not only a rogue (and perhaps another class, which I've left vague because readers have statted him out so much better than I ever could) but also a special entity (as revealed a little at a time in "Hell's Pawns" and the first four novels).
Varian began as a (magically disabled) wizard/aristocrat/fighter but retrains almost every novel as he learns more about his unusual affliction. After Chapter 17 of Lord of Runes, I think it's safe to say that Varian has achieved his "final form." I'll leave the game experts to say just what class that is.
The Shadowless Sword has not been statted out (to my knowledge), but that's partly because Varian has not yet discovered all of its abilities. After reading Lord of Runes, you know its main attributes: speed, revealing illusions, and the ability to cut damned near anything.
Janneke is a ranger/fighter. Kazyah is indeed a druid and one of the two highest-level allies the boys have met. (The other, incidentally, is also a druid.)
Illyria is a necromancer.
The Oracle I never statted out, but it's safe to say he too was a high-level divine caster.
Lou Diamond wrote:
The answer is "foreshadowing" and "maybe one day you'll see." I always seed these books with hints of what might happen next. You've just gotten too good and spotting those hints.
Lou Diamond wrote:
James, In Lord of Runes it talks about some sort of upheaval in the political structure of Korovosa. Could you comment on was is going on in Korovosa.
It is indeed a purposefully vague reference to the events of Curse of the Crimson Throne. Players should be able to read it without being substantially spoiled.
Ross Byers wrote:
I have considered both of these questions in past and decided they'd be more interesting to answer in the context of a future story.
Say, what's this?
Come on by. I will answer spoiler questions, but I'll use the cloaking device. You won't have to see them if you don't want to.
John Kretzer wrote:
It's tough to choose favorites, because I like so many different classes. As a player, I like having skills and a wide variety of abilities. As a writer, I'm usually less interested in class than in personality, but I also like exceptions and multi-classed characters.
I'm going to say fighter/magic-user/thief!
2) What are some of your favorite races?
For a long time, humans were my default choice, and I still think of most fictional fantasy characters as essentially human "on the inside."
That said, gnomes are awesome. I think that one just ate a bug.
3) Any class or race you don't like?
I have a love/hate relationship with drow. I hate the racist paradigm that dark-skinned versions of traditionally lighter-skinned races are inherently evil. I love the idea of creepy subterranean elves.
In past campaigns, I've made drow albinos who used dark paint to protect their skin from sunlight when they made surface raids, or else I've declared that they aren't black, exactly, but rather a dark iridescent color because of a magical transformation that lends them the chitinous skin of their Spider Queen.
Also, I pronounce "drow" to rhyme with "crow," even though I know that's officially wrong. I just think crows are scarier than cows, and so should drow be.
4) What is your favorite regions?
Varisia, Tian Xia, Ustalav, and Kyonin are high on my list of favorites. There are several more that appeal to me a great deal, but I haven't plumbed their depths.
5) What are your least favorite regions?
Those nations that seem to have one overriding theme can turn me off, at least until I see the diversity within the region. For instance, the Worldwound did nothing for me until I read about ancient Sarkoris (and its modern remains) in Lost Kingdoms and Lost Cities, and then I loved it.
6) Top 5 favorite gods?
Desna, Lamashtu, Norgorber, Iomedae, Pharasma.
7) Bottom 5 least favorite gods?
I can't really think of any I dislike. I'd probably be least interested in writing about worshipers of Abadar, Gorum, or Torag.
Several of us Pathfinder Tales writers are part of Marc Tassin's Champions of Aetaltis anthology. You can ask us anything at today's Reddit AMA.
The Kickstarter launched a few days ago, and you can find that here.
Clearly, you haven't read the Radovan & the Count novels, which some argue should be called the Radovan & the Count & Arnisant novels. :)
While I never finished his character sheet except for spells and ability scores, I sketched out BCD as a ridiculously high-level monk/sorcerer. If the mythic rules had existed at the time, I'd have made him mythic for sure. He's one of several antagonists way above the boys' pay grade.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Kitting out anybody with the full panoply of gear game characters usually have would be pretty overwhelming. If nothing else, you'd have to navigate "laundry list" descriptions if you geared every fiction character the way you do in the game. I've tried to keep it lean without just introducing items I know will be useful to the plot. Sometimes I imply magic items rather than spelling out their abilities, as with Oparal's arms and armor.
There are more magic items in play in the next novel, partly because there are more characters who fit the "adventurer" paradigm and partly because there're some powerful magical forces in play. Still, I'm sure most PT characters are woefully under-geared by PFS standards.
On the other hand, I feel that paucity of magical gear gives me plenty of wiggle room for unusual or powerful items like the Red Carriage or the Shadowless Sword or the unique crossbow one of the new characters wields. What Pathfinder Tales characters lack in quantity of magic items, they often make up in quality.
Do any of you have a favorite class in the RPG you like to portray in your writing?
Rogues and their cousins are a lot of fun, as are fighter types. Feats and combat maneuvers translate well into scenes of high action.
Or do you find yourselves making a lot of characters of one class more than others?
When I first started writing tie-in fiction, I avoided spellcasters. Most of my heroes were warriors and rogues. The main villain was often a monster or a spellcaster, shoving the magic over onto the evil side of the conflict. I also tended to favor human characters, seldom including a demihuman, and then usually because another author in the series had written one, and I needed to include her in the narrative.
That began to change when I wrote one of the D&D (as opposed to Forgotten Realms, where I got my start) short novels under the house name T.H. Lain. In The Sundered Arms, I decided that all of my protagonists would be non-humans, and two would be casters. I meant it as a challenge to myself, but it turned out that writing casters--especially divine casters, who come with a hard-wired set of beliefs and prejudices--was much more fun than it was difficult. Since then, I've never looked back. Spellcasting semi-humans for the win!
How much do you keep a characters class in mind while writing, if at all? Do you ever find this constraining?
When conceiving the character and outlining the story, I keep it in mind a lot. When I start writing, my thoughts shift heavily toward the character's personality and desires, but by then I've made the connections between who the character is and what the character can do. Thus, I rarely need to go back and add more game-mechanic events to the story. The character's ability and personality are already "baked in."
But I also like to keep a character's class a little foggy. Other characters in the setting won't say, for instance, "Oh, she's a mute oracle." Instead, some might call her a witch, others a priestess, and so on. For example, the character in this example is Azra from Prince of Wolves, whom I'd originally conceived as having a cleric/cleric multiclass. Soon afterward, Paizo invented the oracle, a class that fit her even better.
Other characters, like Varian Jeggare, I've always intended to transform during their journey. The twin justifications of retraining and a world of high magic are my defense, but I limit it to Varian. Radovan is a unique being for reasons gradually unfolding in his continuing story. Everybody else just "gains levels," a phrase that still sounds weird to me, since the moment I put words into their mouths or set them in motion, the characters don't feel like sets of rules to me. It's only during initial creation and revision that I think hard about class, skills, feats, and so on.
In a perfect world, I think exact game mechanics remain invisible in fiction, but perceptive gamers can work them out. That's why I try to keep them mostly accurate to the Pathfinder RPG. And if there's more than one good answer for the question, "What's that character's build?" that's a good thing. It lets gamer-readers take on a more active imaginative role with the stories, and some have more interesting game interpretations of my characters than I ever did.
If you aren't sick of authors answering questions about their work, check out my latest Creative Colleagues interview with Josh Vogt, author of Forge of Ashes. You can see dozens more such interviews right here.
John Kretzer wrote:
What are some of your favorite authors?
As with so many boys of my generation, Zelazny was the galvanizing figure for me. Tolkien, Howard, Bradbury, Stewart, Leiber, LeGuin, and McKillip were also instrumental in shifting my primary affections from SF to fantasy. They aren't exactly fantasies, but the historical novels of Mary Renault tickle the same spot for me.
For contemporary fantasy, there's no one I admire or enjoy more than George R.R. Martin. I finally caught up on Joe Abercrombie's trilogy and love his writing, although I wish he'd given us a more conclusive conclusion.
The single book I'd most recommend to lovers of near-fantasy is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
My "guilty pleasures" outside of fantasy include Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Alan Furst, and Michael Connolly. Not that I feel the least bit guilty.
I'm woefully behind on current fantasy, but I've recently begun Max Gladstone's series on audio. It's outstanding.
And just to stay on topic, a question: Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?
Elsewhere this morning, I was reminded of my favorite brief reference on semicolon usage.
Region first, mostly.
But sometimes it happens simultaneously, as when I wanted to write a story about Varian's elven heritage, and Kyonin was the logical place to explore that history. Then more ideas about where the old man had been came up while researching the setting.
With the other books, it was definitely, "I want to write a story in Ustalav, Tian Xia, or the Worldwound"--the latter because timing was perfect for the Wrath of the Rightous Campaign, and it was also the logical destination for Oparal at the end of Queen of Thorns.
Chris A Jackson wrote:
Because this comes up now and then, I'll mention that close readers will notice that it isn't exactly Radovan who gains this ability. Ultimately, Radovan is neither a monk nor that high-level a character.
Steve Geddes wrote:
In a world of resurrection magic, killing a character is seldom the most interesting pain you can inflict on him.
Semicolons are an elegant mark for a more civilized age, not as clumsy or as random as a comma.
And only a Jedi can use one without cutting her fool arm off.
John Kretzer wrote:
Elaine Cunningham and I worked on Winter Witch, although circumstances didn't allow us to collaborate as much as pass the baton. We've been each other's sounding board since Pathfinder Tales was a twinkle in Paizo's eye. Elaine's also one of the first people I'll show an outline or a first draft.
Robin D. Laws and Liane Merciel both "loaned" me secondary characters from their tales for King of Chaos. Liane is another frequent sounding board. We often talk about how our Chelaxian characters' lives have overlapped and once outlined a story pitting Varian and Velenne against each other and their own secrets.
Chris A. Jackson, Amber E. Scott, Josh Vogt, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and Howard Andrew Jones have all exchanged manuscripts, outlines, or both with me. While it's sometimes invisible, they've all been a good influence on my final work.
James Sutter and several other Pathfinder designers and authors have loaned me a supporting character and a cameo character in the upcoming Lord of Runes. (That's plenty enough of a clue for some of you to figure out which ones they are.)
Outside of Pathfinder Tales, we tend to keep each other apprised of other writing opportunities, whether it's tie-in novels or calls for short-story anthologies. It's no coincidence that you often see our names pop up in the same places.
Steve Geddes wrote:
For the first couple of years, I read all of the other Pathfinder Tales novels. I fell behind and never caught up, but I still read some. A few of the other authors and I exchange manuscripts for critique, so sometimes I’ve read early drafts but not (yet) the finals.
While I haven’t read all of the campaign material, I browse a lot. When I think I might write a story in a particular region, I read everything I can find on it. The Adventure Paths are the products I most often read just for fun, although I’ve tried to resist reading all of them in hopes I can play instead of GM one some day.
While I was aware that my old colleagues at Paizo had created an Adventure Path line after the end of the Wizards of the Coast magazine license, I hadn't really looked at them until a local friend brought them to our monthly geek pub night. Somewhere around Crimson Throne or Second Darkness, I started subscribing to the APs via a local comic shop. Later I ran the first two books of Rise of the Runelords with the 4e rules. (I've recently started running it again with Pathfinder rules.)
At the 2008 World Fantasy Convention, I ran into Pierce Watters and Erik Mona. During the banquet, Erik told me Paizo was considering starting a fiction line and asked whether I'd be interested in contributing. I was, and later that weekend I took him to one of the world's great game shops, The Sentry Box, where I picked up a few more Pathfinder sourcebooks and really started studying the larger setting.
Soon after, James Sutter dropped me an email to say it'd be a while before they were ready to move forward with the novel line. In the meantime, he asked whether I'd be interested in writing the Pathfinder Journal for their first Pathfinder-rules AP, Council of Thieves. I pitched four or five ideas. The one he liked was a revised version of an old novel pitch for another setting. He asked me to change a few more elements, like eliminating a vampire antagonist and changing the half-orc to something else--maybe a tiefling, he suggested.
The result was "Hell's Pawns." By the time that was finished, James liked the characters well enough that he wanted novel pitches featuring one or both of them. The result that time was Prince of Wolves.
While you shouldn't steal the name "Sage Advice," you should absolutely make this a weekly feature that performs a similar function. With beginners entering the game and old-timers returning to a new rules system, some essential tactical essays like this one would benefit many readers.
Or so I think.
I didn't realize the book match was such a deep discount. I might start taking advantage of that when I buy audiobooks. The one I'm listening to now has many names I wish I could see spelled.
Maybe Audible will still let me have the discount since it remembers my purchases. To the Batcafe!*
* That was a typo, but then I fell a little bit in love with it.
Is there a pathfinder tales set in Sandpoint or Varisia? I'm just trying to get more context and set it in my mind better. Or, something that would help me with the culture of the chelexians, varisians, or shoanti? I Am looking for the stories, but any recommendations of source books or rule books are welcome too.
Also, this short story is set in Korvosa. It makes for good pre-reading of Lord of Runes, too.
About half of Winter Witch and most of the upcoming Lord of Runes are set in Varisia (both begin in Korvosa), as is Blood of the City (set in Magnimar).
Lord of Runes includes Chelaxian, Varisian, and Shoanti characters and the differences among them. It's very much influenced by the settings of the Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Paths.
Allow me to suggest a great way to kick off PaizoCon (whether or not you're attending) and to score one of the earliest-available copies of Lord of Runes.
Lord of Runes signing at University Book Store on May 21 @ 7:00 pm
Since the perpetrator seems too shy to post it on these boards, I'll leave Gnomatsu's latest creation here.
A famous Pathfinder Tales character created by another author joins the team in Lord of Runes. Another (in)famous character associated with Count Jeggare makes a substantial appearance, and a character from Winter Witch enjoys a cameo that heralds a new relationship for one of the boys. The rest of the supporting cast are new to the book, but those who know the setting can expect a substantial Easter Egg hunt if not some major revelations.
While none of the supporting cast of Queen of Thorns shows up for this one, one of the important new characters has a few key similarities to an important resident of Kyonin.
And that's enough teasing after a long, fun Marvel Phase One marathon in honor of my wife's birthday. Time to collapse.