Pathfinder Tales: The Wizard's Mask

1.70/5 (based on 21 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: The Wizard's Mask
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Into the Shattered Tomb

In the war-torn lands of Molthune and Nirmathas, where rebels fight an endless war of secession against an oppressive military government, the constant fighting can make for strange alliances. Such is the case for the man known only as The Masked, the victim of a magical curse that forces him to hide his face, and an escaped halfling slave named Tantaerra. Thrown together by chance, the two fugitives find themselves conscripted by both sides of the conflict and forced to search for a magical artifact that could help shift the balance of power and end the bloodshed for good. But in order to survive, the thieves will first need to learn the one thing none of their adventures have taught them: how to trust each other.

From New York Times bestselling author and legendary game designer Ed Greenwood comes a new adventure of magic, monsters, and unlikely friendships, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-530-3
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-531-0

The Wizard's Mask is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

The Wizard's Mask is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (397 KB zip/PDF).

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Non-stop action that doesn't cease, pause, end, hesitate, or be mercy-shot


The cat things were cool. The rest... not.


Exhausting--Like a Marathon Without the Sense of Achievement



The Wizard's Mask is one of those books that starts off strong, full of excitement and action. As I got through the first few exhilarating chapters, I couldn't fathom why it got so few stars in reviews. But the further I got, the less I liked the novel. Frankly, it was just exhausting following the main characters: there's a death-defying combat, chase, or rooftop leap on nearly every page. It's like one of those airport bookstore thrillers, where every chapter has to end on a cliff-hanger even more unrealistic than the last. The plot is needlessly opaque, and some of the twists are more confusing than interesting, in a "here we go again . . ." way. Last, I'm not convinced the author had a very deep understanding of Golarion--at least compared to others like Dave Gross. I like Ed Greenwood (I used to play around in the Forgotten Realms sandbox years ago), but The Wizard's Mask comes across like a Michael Bay Transformers movie: too much action, too little characterisation, and a sense of relief when it's finally, really, actually, over.


The Wizard's Mask is set entirely in the warring countries of Nirmathas and Molthune. The main characters are a halfling thing named Tantaerra and a character named only (at first) The Masked, who starts off as a rival before becoming a benefactor and then partner in crime. Tantaerra and The Masked have a classic relationship of banter, insults, and attempts to outdo one another as they get chased all across Molhune, Nirmathas, and back and forth (seemingly endlessly) trying to stay one step ahead of the armies and inquisitors of each side. The action, blood, and body count mount with almost every page, and I can only imagine those two warring countries are sparsely populated by the time the novel gets to an end. But before that, there's a villain with confusing motivations named Arkholm (a.k.a., Orivin Voyvik) who continually turns up after suffering tremendous amounts of damage like a medieval Terminator. The last quarter or so of the book involves The Masked's backstory and a voyage into a classic D&D dungeon (full of gruesome and diabolical traps) to confront a cliched evil wizard named Mahalgris. A bunch of confusing stuff happens afterwards (swarms of dweomercats, body switching, a magic gauntlet that blasts a villain into becoming a tentacle monster?). Frankly, I lost track of what was happening as there was just too much, as if Greenwood just sat down to write a chapter each day to continue a shaggy dog story for as long as he needed to until reaching the required page count.

As I said, it starts off well and the action scenes, taken individually, are quite good. Players and GMs in the Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path could conceivably get a little useful background about Molthune and Nirmathas. But apart from that, I just don't see a lot of value in The Wizard's Mask. The pacing is frantic, there's little depth in setting or characterization, and I didn't really care what happened when I got to the end. In short, it's a poor example of a Pathfinder Tales book and of fantasy literature in general.

Better than I was expecting


given all the negative reviews. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I will agree the never-ending chase got a little old, and their continued escapes strained credulity. Ok. But I liked the 2 main characters, especially the halfling, and it was a fun ride.

Too much time (and page count) was spent on the initial city escape, to be sure.



The 85th book I have read in 2015 and by far the worst. I painfully finished it as I had to for credit in Pathfinder Society.

Pro - "The Princess" character is a wonderful character and i do not deny Mr Greenwood's ability to come up with some nice characters.

Sadly the plot doesnt really start until page 120 or so (the rest is one giant, pointless chase on roofs. Its a 90 minute car chase from a michael bay movie).

When we finally do sniff out some plot, its the classic trope of super powerful items with goofy names. Extremely flimsy reasons are given for why these godlike weapons arent already being used since the characters who end up recovering them are basically nobodies with mediocre skills.

I also detest the writing style. It bounces between 1st person, 3rd person, and 3rd person omniscient. It is an absolute mess, complete with awkward sexual innuendo that makes your whole face hurt from wincing.

Unless you are desperate for lore on Molthune, avoid. Even their detour into Nirmathas gave practically little useful lore.

A super bad book forced into a Pathfinder Tales by sprinkling a little jargon around.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Because you asked for it.... we're announcing it!

Product image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Ed Greenwood...sounds familiar.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Noticing a lot of scoundrels and thieves as protagonists for the line. I hope we get a good paladin story one of these days :-)

That said, Nirmathas and Molthune is where it's at!

Silver Crusade

I'm very interested in seeing the Nirmathas/Molthrune conflict from the ground level. :)

Silver Crusade

Huge coup!

Really looking forward to more of Ed's magiks.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Ed Greenwood...sounds familiar.

Didn't he use to write for Dragon?

The Exchange

Hmmm. reading the plot synopsis, it looks like this story could have a big impact on the part of the world in which it is set, wich is so far unusual in Pathfinder Tales.


Lord Snow wrote:
Hmmm. reading the plot synopsis, it looks like this story could have a big impact on the part of the world in which it is set, wich is so far unusual in Pathfinder Tales.

Yes, world shifting plots are rare indeed in Pathfinder Tales... Hmmm... Can't wait to find out how this one plays out! Awesome that Ed has come in to play in the PT sandbox!

Actually, if you are familiar with Ed Grenwood's writing, you'd know he has a 'delicate' touch. He has a way of making everything (in the story) seem so very important, and yet not 'shake the world' in ways that invalidate parts of the setting. If anything, he will BUILD UPON the plots and intrigues that already exists, and leave more RP opportunities all over the place.

I am looking forward to this - it will be my first Paizo novel.

I'm more interested in this than the previous two (Liar's blade and Pirate's honor).
But i'm waiting more than any other the new book of Howard Andrew Jones (Elyana and Drelm or whatever the title is going to be).

Oh, good. Of all the regions on Golarion, it had to be one of those I'm interested in.

Great to see Ed in Golarion. But I too would like to see some heroic rather than scoundrel/anti-hero/emo protagoniosts for a change of pace!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Is that Lem on the cover?

Assistant Software Developer

It is, but that's a mock-up cover and will change before the book's release.

Sovereign Court

mach1.9pants wrote:
Great to see Ed in Golarion. But I too would like to see some heroic rather than scoundrel/anti-hero/emo protagoniosts for a change of pace!

Heroes in Nirmathas? Paizo would be crazy to have a character as unpopular and uninspiring as Robin Hood...


Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Ah, thanks Ross. I should have looked for that...

*looks* Ed Greedwood wrote Guns of Alkenstar for the Web Fiction. I have not read that one in over a year. If I recall correctly, it was very good. I'll have to check it out again.


Liberty's Edge

It looks like Paizo's taking an interest in the Molthune/Nirmathas conflict in the next few months. We get both the Fangwood Keep module (hopefully) in April and Ed's novel in June.

Sly old Ed Greenwood found another world to play in. Good, I look forward to this, for if anyone can elegantly cram detail and intrigue in this (relatively) untouched part of Golarion it's Ed.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Updated product description and cover image!

I like the new cover! Who is the artist?

What is the cat with velociraptor claws?


Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The artist is Lucas Graciano.

And that's a dweomercat.

Sovereign Court

A lot of dead space in that cover, shouldn't the guy in the mask be higher up? Or are walls a key part of the adventure?

Sweet! I just downloaded this to my iPod. As soon as I finish my third read through of Blood of the City, I'll start this one. I'm halfway through, now, so I'll get it started soon!

Also, thanks for the reply, Vic!


Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

GeraintElberion wrote:
Or are walls a key part of the adventure?

Actually, I'd say that this book *does* happen to have more than the usual share of walls and roofs in it...

Just finished the book, and my opinion is *****, and Get it!

I just finished the book, and my opinion is, it was okay. Not the best from the Tales line, but not the worst either.

Despite the two main characters being thieves, they are still likable.

Things I liked:
-The development of the interaction between the two main characters
-Depite being good at it, Tantaerra dislikes killing things
-(mostly) Happy Ending

Things I disliked:
-Occasionally, time passed abruptly and we got dropped into the middle of action that we didn't see starting
-When the point of view changed, it sometimes took a while for me to figure out whose head I was inside of

If I can find a day to stay up late, I'll try to get a review written up and posted.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Opinion piece:

Ok.. I get it.. Just because it says "Pathfinder" on the cover, the author is not bound to follow the Pathfinder rules in any way other than setting.

That being said, I think Ed has never read the Pathfinder RPG. I think he read a short synopsis of the setting, jotted a few notes about names and deities, and then shoved all Pathfinder reference materials into a nearby bag of devouring.

This novel is horribly paced, with a never ending ridiculous chase scene that reminded me of a Jackie Chan movie. The characters were spotted at least a dozen times by basic guards (warrior 1?) meaning the PCs were at best level 1. So why are they being hunted by armies, and archmages, and nobles who seem to think they are super-powered professionals?

I kept looking around for the GM so I could punch him in the face.

Its like Ed took all the bad parts of "Crown of Fire" (and there were a LOT of bad parts) and he just adapted that book here with a few word replacements.

And... a Halfling female -> Human Male romance? I think there are some physiological incompatibilities. Just sayin... Wail of the Banshee.

Ed, if you want to write a book where the main plot is a series of miserable, un-believeable, and railroaded events... at least make it fun.

This book was just... not fun.


Sovereign Court

Got to agree with the above post, this was poor.

I would guess that if an author who wasn't a big name like Ed Greenwood had submitted this to Sutter it might have been thrown back at them.

Very flabby as well. Just put it down next to Wizard of Earthsea and The Wizard's Mask is about three times the size! Considering how little happens in the adventure...

The gender politics in this book are interesting too.
1. Only one female character. In the entire book. At all. Ever.
2. Everything that happens to her also happens to a man but she is the only one who loses clothes in the process. And is sexually humiliated. And perved on. Several times.
3. She is the weakest, least capable named character in the novel.
4. Her central personality trait is that she is a nag.

Maybe that wouldn't have stood out in a decent novel. [/shrug]

Rules should never be a factor even in RPG novels. They limit the author too much.

That said: it's Greenwood. What did you expect?

I'm not sure how to rate this, but if I did I'd easily give it 1.5 out of 5. Like some of the other Pathfinder Tales novels, it peters out about halfway through. The characters become stale, and things just get really weird at the end. There are a LOT of times where they're talking about how each other smells. Okay we get it. Adventurers need baths. Can we read about something else, please? I picked it up because it was Ed Greenwood, and I like his work in the Realms, but after this, I'm not going to buy anything else with his name on it without a solid recommendation.

I don't really even care about the "low level" feel of it, Eberron novels feel low level and I love them. It was more or less character development, a lame dungeon crawl, and an even lamer villain that did this novel in for me. I'm surprised I finished it.

Another thing that might or might not be a conscious decision on the part of Paizo, some of these novels feel like they need more room. I know Nightglass felt that way (a book with an amazing first half and a "what the heck??" second half). I think that it would have been a very good trilogy.

Golarion needs some recognizable, iconic characters from novels (and I admit I haven't read anything with Jarian and Radovan yet, maybe they will fulfill my want in that regard) that GMs will delight in dropping into their games at some point or another. I know that when I was a teenager and I dropped Drizzt into my Forgotten Realms campaign once as a contact point for my players, it was definitely a memorable occasion. I'd like to see Golarion have characters as beloved as any from the Realms.. I felt like this book was Ed's chance to create such, but did not quite deliver.

Community & Digital Content Director

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