Pathfinder Tales: Called to Darkness

3.80/5 (based on 16 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Called to Darkness
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Kinslayer

Kagur is a warrior of the Blacklions, fierce and fearless hunters in the savage Realm of the Mammoth Lords. When her clan is slaughtered by a frost giant she considered her adopted brother, honor demands that she, the last surviving Blacklion, track down her old ally and take the tribe’s revenge. This is no normal betrayal, however, for the murderous giant has followed the whispers of a dark god down into the depths of the earth, into a primeval cavern forgotten by time. There, he will unleash forces capable of wiping all humans from the region—unless Kagur can stop him first.

From acclaimed author Richard Lee Byers comes a tale of bloody revenge and subterranean wonder, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-465-8
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-466-5

Called to Darkness is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Called to Darkness is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (209 KB zip/PDF).

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Average product rating:

3.80/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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Old School Adventure!

4/5

If you ever spent a Saturday morning enjoying the adventures of a family that got whisked away to a strange dimension on a river rafting trip, this is the book for you. Continues a long tradition of Lost World stories, with solid characters and writing. Definitely worth the read.


A worthy ERB effort

4/5

I loved this book. It took my favorite human ethnicity, the Kellids, added my favorite setting, the Darklands, focused on my favorite aspect of that setting, Deep Tolgoth, and worked it all into a fantastic whole.

I've read some negative reviews about the characters lacking depth and being able to hear the dice rolling. I agree, which is why this isn't a 5 star review. However, overwhelming those complaints is a fantastic peek at the world that isn't covered by simply reading a campaign setting rulebook on the subject.

I liked that there was an older protagonist in this novel as well. It is unusual, and a refreshing change.

I would have liked to see more witty banter and, if this was going to be a true ERB novel, the protagonist has to find romance, preferably with someone who despises them from the beginning of the story.

Lady Ssa, which is Ass backwards, was one of the best characterizations of the serpent people I've seen. She felt very Smallville Brainiac to me.

"Lying to you would be like lying to a mollusk. There's no point."

There's a lot of PF fiction to get to these days, and I'm glad to see it start showing up in my local bookstore. RLB deserves a round of applause for this one.


The Adventures of Kagur and Holg!

5/5

WARNING! SPOILERS!
This book was SOOO good! At first it was a little bit slow, but in the end it gets so exciting when they enter the ziggurat and run away from the xulgaths. It was a little bit bloody and gruesome at times, but all in all it was a very good read!


Bit of a slog...

2/5

One of the longest Pathfinder novels is also one of the weakest. Byers has written an Edgar Rice Burroughs homage that unfortunately apes many of the flaws of Burroughs, along with his strengths.

Barbarian warrior Kagur is on a quest of vengeance, after her adoptive giant brother slaughters her clan. Accompanied only by an aging spirit shaman, their adventure will take them deep underground to face dinosaurs and more in a bizarre subterranean world.

Sad to say, this is the first Pathfinder novel that confirms to a lot of the negative expectations people have about RPG adaptation novels. It's not a bad book - well, maybe it is. It's certainly not a good book, and really lacks the fluency and depth of other Pathfinder Novels.

Firstly, the novel is episodic in the extreme. Every chapter feels like a drawn up piece of someone's campaign, and the piece don't snowball or add up together. There are several chapters you could remove from the book and it simply wouldn't be noticeable because what they contain has no bearing on the broader narrative.

Compounding this flaw is the fact you can practically hear the dice rolling during these confrontations. Dexterity checks, perception checks etc. It felt really obvious to me, and it gave the encounters a stale feeling, with little originality.

Further, it robbed the book of any sense that something was at stake. As a character, Kagur is very thin, and her "growth" is telegraphed miles away, and it was both predictable and uninteresting. I never felt any of the characters existed except as a means to move the narrative (or I should say campaign) to its conclusion - which is also easy to see coming.

These things really drain the book of sense of drama or tension. The fact that's it's a long book didn't really help matters I finished it - it's not a challenging read, I just thought it was really pedestrian and didn't measure up to the other fine efforts in the Pathfinder Tales series.


Exciting and Fun!

5/5

Called to Darkness is an exciting and fast paced read filled with adventure and great characters. Richard Lee Byers has crafted a tale that feels like a tabletop adventure, complete with strong action and vibrant scenes. This is the first novelization of an RPG that I've read that truly feels like playing at the table. Grab a copy now, and immerse yourself in this wonderful tale!


6 to 10 of 16 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Announced! Cover image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Dark Archive

Sounds like a interesting story.

Dark Archive

Richard Lee Buyers! Sweet lord I love his books... if his adventures are anything like his books, it will rock!

Silver Crusade

More Great White North love! Gimme!


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

It's a Darklands Western!

Liberty's Edge

Hmmm. Is it your standard Darklands setting or does it take place in one of the Orv vaults?

Dark Archive

Richard Lee Byers? Yes please!

Contributor

S. Werner wrote:
Hmmm. Is it your standard Darklands setting or does it take place in one of the Orv vaults?

Both!


The cover art for this book on the 2012 catalogue is different (and much better).Is that the correct one or another mockup?


That will be the first Pathfinder novel I will not buy.

Contributor

Fabius Maximus wrote:
That will be the first Pathfinder novel I will not buy.

Can you tell us why?


Liz Courts wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
That will be the first Pathfinder novel I will not buy.
Can you tell us why?

I'm sorry if this comes across too harshly, but I think Mr Byers is an inept writer. I've rarely read something as boring as his dragon trilogy, and the one about Thay isn't much better. He did not manage to make me feel any connection with his characters, and the storylines were too predictable. I certainly hope you do not plan to hire Ed Greenwood, James Wyatt or R.A. Salvatore as novelists. That would be even worse. Paul Kemp on the other hand...

I've also become a bit disillusioned about the Tales series recently, because I think the more recent books suffer from a lack in editing and feel rushed. I was especially disappointed in Mrs Laws' and Mr Gross' second novels. Both wrote excellent first books, but they probably needed more time working on "Master Of Devils" and "Blood In The Streets", respectively.

I certainly don't expect literary masterpieces from the Tales - although "The Worldwound Gambit" comes close (I will probably get flak for that) -, but I want stories that don't read like they were shoddily cobbled together.

*sigh* Now I wrote more than I wanted to. Sorry about the rant.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Gandal wrote:
The cover art for this book on the 2012 catalogue is different (and much better).Is that the correct one or another mockup?

The image currently posted here is an early mockup. The image in the catalog is still a mockup, but it uses the correct artwork. The final cover should be up here in a couple weeks.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Fabius Maximus wrote:
I was especially disappointed in Mrs Laws' and Mr Gross' second novels.

Robin Laws is a Mr. too.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
I was especially disappointed in Mrs Laws' and Mr Gross' second novels.
Robin Laws is a Mr. too.

G~+ d%%mit!

I knew that, I just automatically associate the name 'Robin' with a woman.

Sorry.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Will this be another book with an antihero as the protagonist? I could go for an actual hero one of these days :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

She's not an antihero... unless you feel that a character whose primary motivation is deadly revenge can only be an antihero.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
thebwt wrote:
Richard Lee Byers? Yes please!

X 2!! Richard is great!

Web Product Manager

Final cover image and product description are up!

Dark Archive

That's ... great art.


Realy pleased to see Richard Lee Byers name added to the Tales series. Had great time reading his FR novels.

Now we just miss a Paul Kemp and it will be perfect for me!

Contributor

Awesome cover art...I'm liking the small reptilian (dino) critter running along with her. Animal companion? Looking forward to this one!

Who is the cover artist, by the way?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

WANT.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chris A Jackson wrote:
Who is the cover artist, by the way?

Michael Ivan


It's interesting to see how people react to the tales line, but for me I've loved them all.

My favorites being Dave Gross' works.

Downloading to my nook now for reading tomorrow.


Just finished the book, and it didn't disappoint.

I now have some new perspective on the darklands, and the various layers.

All in all a great stand alone novel.

Contributor

TheChozyn wrote:
All in all a great stand alone novel.

Good to hear!

Do Tales subscribers get access to the downloads early? I've been patiently waiting 'til Wednesday.


Yea I had the PDF/epub when my order shipped on Tuesday at no additional cost. If you're picking up the novels here at Paizo.com there's no reason not to be a subscriber.

Still don't have the physical book in hand yet due to shipping delays.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I liked how the Oracle(s) were portrayed.

Having grown up on ERB, the vault warmed my pulp heart too

Contributor

TheChozyn wrote:

Yea I had the PDF/epub when my order shipped on Tuesday at no additional cost. If you're picking up the novels here at Paizo.com there's no reason not to be a subscriber.

Still don't have the physical book in hand yet due to shipping delays.

A little perk, eh? That's cool. I actually haven't been buying the physical books, just the epubs of the novels and short stories and novellas and so on. Can you subscribe to just the electronic versions of things?


Ahhh, sadly no, the subscriptions are only for the print products.


Matthew Morris wrote:

I liked how the Oracle(s) were portrayed.

Having grown up on ERB, the vault warmed my pulp heart too

Yea I kept getting a Land of the Lost vibe from the vault.

Contributor

TheChozyn wrote:
Ahhh, sadly no, the subscriptions are only for the print products.

I shall consider it nonetheless. Thanks for the info and for the early review!

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Some thoughts:

- This is the most action-packed Pathfinder Tales novel, apparently the darklands are pretty hostile places...

- Some of the set pieces create great mental images

Spoiler:
Frost Giant riding a triceratops into battle! Barbarian goes one-on-one with a T-Rex! Gibbering Mouther!

- The orcs are exactly how I imagine them.

- Oracle is spot-on.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Is it just me, or is the binding on this much, much cheaper than earlier Tales books? I just started reading my copy and the first 60 pages or so were barely attached to the binding and are about to fall out. Story's good so far, but I won't be able to read it a second time ...

Sovereign Court

tribeof1 wrote:
Is it just me, or is the binding on this much, much cheaper than earlier Tales books? I just started reading my copy and the first 60 pages or so were barely attached to the binding and are about to fall out. Story's good so far, but I won't be able to read it a second time ...

Mine is exactly the same as all of the others, you have probably just got a faulty copy.

Contact Customer Services, they're usually very good.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is the first of the Tales books I have purchased. Construction quality was fine. Overall it was an enjoyable adventure yarn touching on themes of vengeance and community. Perfectly good read.

Oddly, the only 'frustration' I had was that I kept being drawn into thinking of it as an adventure/campaign setting background book and having all kinds of unanswered questions;

Spoilers:
What were the little 'beast men' that attacked after the serpentfolk market? Kobolds?
What would the stats on Eovath's breastplate be? And where did it come from?
What was the plant with the paralytic effect that they hid under in the vault? Some kind of giant venus fly trap?

And most vexing of all...
What were the bloody Elder Things doing building a giant multi-dimensional pyramid in Orv?

I don't suppose Paizo has ever considered including these kinds of game details with the stories? Or in some sort of followup material? Are the stories considered part of the 'same' Golarion as the game or are the authors allowed to take liberties that would be vetoed in true game setting books?


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Spoiler:
=spoiler for some of the questions in DBDunkerson's spoiler]The beastmen would be morlocks.

And the books follow the rules of the game, except where doing so would be absurd (for instance, it's presumably much easier for a low-level character to take out a high-level character in the books, seeing as in real life you don't have an increasing number of hit points)

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