Pathfinder Tales: Song of the Serpent

2.80/5 (based on 12 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Song of the Serpent

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A Reluctant Hero

To an experienced rogue like Krunzle the Quick, the merchant nation of Druma is full of treasures just waiting to be liberated. Yet when the fast-talking scoundrel gets caught stealing from one of the powerful prophets of Kalistrade, his only option is to undertake a dangerous mission to recover the merchant lord's runaway daughter—and the magical artifact she took with her. Armed with an arsenal of decidedly unhelpful magical items and chaperoned by an intelligent snake necklace happy to choke him into submission, Krunzle must venture far from the cities of the merchant utopia and into a series of adventures that will make him a rich man—or a corpse.

From veteran author Hugh Matthews comes a rollicking tale of captive trolls, dwarven revolutionaries, and serpentine magic, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-388-0
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-389-7

Song of the Serpent is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Song of the Serpent is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (246 KB zip/PDF).

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Average product rating:

2.80/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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The Troll King Cometh


Ever get that feeling your being railroaded? Well it sucks, but when it's not happening to you it's quite funny. Poor sardonic Krunzle finds this out the hard way when he ends up being the wrong guy at the wrong place at the right time. A very good and humorous read with an interesting cast of characters. I recommend it with the caveat that you don't take it too seriously.

Also, F*&+ OKENO, seriously.


The characters don't do anything. Everything seems like it is on rails taking you from point A to point B. Also, the main character is a terrible thief, and doesn't seem too bright.

EDIT: This really seems like a story written for another world and adapted for Golarion.



I'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, it creeps up on epic mysteries that left me wanting to learn more. On the other hand the characters are really pretty flat (with the exception of an interesting Troll.) Krunzle, in particular, never really comes alive.

Fun read, but lacks overall plot


I did enjoy most of this book in that the characters are funny and created with creativity. The book plot, the storyline however falls to the ground: It builds up through the book for the last suspense, the last great encounter ... which then greatly disappoint (at least me).

I cannot say that I don't recommend reading the book. But don't read it for learning about Golarion, and don't expect a huge revelation as the plot unfolds in the last two chapters.

Fun diversion


I enjoyed this Vance-ian style diversion. It's not the strongest novel in the pathfinder series, but it's refreshingly unpredictable and the prose is up to snuff.

Enterprising thief Krunzle is strong-armed into a mission to retrieve a powerful merchants daughter, compelling by the sorcerous, mind-reading necklace round his neck. But a job that never added up starts making even less sense, and it becomes clear that Krunzle is just one pawn on a whole chess board of pieces...

Cheerful amorality has a storied history (ha) in sword and sorcery - it can work well but it can also bring with it a glibness that reduces a reader's ability to care in what happens. Matthews avoids this with a helter skelter narrative that barely pauses for breath, and plot sprinkled with mysteries that gradually unfold throughout the book.

Its relatively short length is a critical part of its success, but for all that I had no problem devouring the book. Whilst not quite up to the eloquent tomfoolery of Jack Vance, the novel's debt is clear and the homage is is passable, and pleasurable.

Like the best sword and sorcery, Song of The Serpent frequently hits at a greater world, in which our protagonist is but a tiny part. It's something I really enjoy about the genre and it's rare done so well as it is here. A fun way to pass a day.

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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

Dark Archive

Well who doesn't want a snake necklace to choke them?

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Henry Jones Jr.

Liberty's Edge

Decidedly unhelpful magical items?

Woot! Intelligent magical items! Right? Hm?

Is this the guy writing this? Booklist has called him Vance's "heir apparent."... Bought.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Thanael wrote:
Is this the guy writing this? Booklist has called him Vance's "heir apparent."... Bought.

Hugh Matthews is indeed a pseudonym for Matt Hughes.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Well who doesn't want a snake necklace to choke them?

I'd probably rather have a certain Succubus to choke me instead of a snake necklace. That way I could die a little happier.

Lantern Lodge

Is that placeholder cutoff cover representative of the cover? I hope not.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GregWeb wrote:
Is that placeholder cutoff cover representative of the cover? I hope not.
Ross Byers wrote:
Announced! Cover image is a mockup.

We are just about a month out from the release of the book. Any idea when we will see the final cover?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the cover image and description.

I like the cover. My 2 year old will be calling this "The Troll Book." As in, "Papa's reading the Troll Book."
The Core Rulebook is "The Dragon Book with people in it."
The APG is "The 2 Headed Dragon Book."

I am definitely looking forward to reading "The Troll Book." It will make a nice Birthday present, precious!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So, there's going to be two novels in April?


Chris Ballard wrote:
So, there's going to be two novels in April?

Not exactly. Due to a problem on the printer's side, several of the books were significantly delayed, and we'll now be releasing one each in April, May, and June before going back to our normal bimonthly schedule. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Sovereign Court

Just finished reading this, I was underwhelmed.

Hughes is a capable author but this lacked wit or verve.

Krunzle was an unlikeable character and fairly dull: i've just read 300 pages about him and don't really know anything about him beyond him being a selfish male human thief. Eando Kline's tale was a group effort that trod similar territory with more personality.

I know that KAM is not to everybody's taste but at least he writes with panache.

This was crying out for Dave Gross' wit, or Sutter's development of character and relationships, or Jones' feel for group dynamics...

So, um, yeah... when's Mona going to write Korm and Aebos' full story?

Hey Paizo:

Is this book available on the mass market or not?

I prefer to buy books from either my FLGS or my FLB(book)S. However, the FLBS and their only distributor (Ingram Books, I suspect) both believe that this book is not legal for them to sell, regardless of if they can acquire it, before July 10. I asked them to look further into it and they refused because the data they have from the publisher (you, I presume) can only be updated by said publisher.

They simply wrote off of my story about the revised release schedule related to recent printing issues, as cited above by Mr. Sutter. They were about to lose my business entirely, however, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt by presuming that they are just following the rules established by the publishing industry.

Please fix this date problem and get your book out the door to brick and mortar distributors, pronto!

And, no I don't want an ebook and I don't want to use Amazon, who claims to have the book currently available but with a 5/15 (where'd they get this?) release date.


Eric Concannon
Lander, Wyoming

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer


Thanks for letting us know—we'll look into it.

The official release date was April 25. We set our release dates on Wednesdays because that's preferred by hobby game retailers; bookstores prefer Tuesday release dates, so they usually add six days. Still, that would make it May 1, not May 15, and *certainly* not July 10.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Vic Wertz wrote:
Thanks for letting us know—we'll look into it.

We've poked the appropriate people to poke the appropriate data, and everything should be in order by tomorrow. Thanks again for letting us know!

Thanks for working on fixing this, Vic.

I'm stopping in to the book store today to check on availability, however I'm not very hopeful:

Amazon still shows a 5/15/12 publication date.
Barnes and Noble still shows a 7/10/12 publication date.

Follow-up: Looks like the distributor updated their records last night: it was "available" with a reasonably appropriate pub date (5/2), so the book is now on order. Hope to see it in a week or so.

Thanks again, Vic.

Dark Archive

I checked my local B&N today, and the still have it listed to be released on July 10th and weirdly has the author listed as James Suttur. I wonder if there is some blending going on? They wouldn't let me look at the Ingram database. Nevertheless, it is not on the shelves in Atlanta nor Greenville SC

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Question about the end:

It was clear (to me) Chirk was a serpentfolk wizard of some sort-- unless I am wrong. The lily-headed serpent god-like think that Chirk was keeping hidden: is that something standard out of Golarion lore? I didn't recognize it, but was wondering if I should have. (Before we got there, I was wondering if we were going all Dark Tapestry and Lovecraft.)

I am not finding how to rate this book, but it was a wonderful read!

Webstore Gninja Minion

jewelz wrote:
I am not finding how to rate this book, but it was a wonderful read!

Click on the Product Review tab, then click on the "Write a Review" link.

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