Pathfinder Tales: The Dagger of Trust

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Pathfinder Tales: The Dagger of Trust
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Fog of War

Gideon Gull leads a double life: one as a talented young bard at the Rhapsodic College, and the other as a student of the Shadow School, where Taldor's infamous Lion Blades are trained to be master spies. When a magical fog starts turning ordinary people into murderous mobs along the border between Taldor and Andoran, it's up to Gideon and a crew of his fellow performers to solve the mystery. But can a handful of entertainers really stop a brewing war?

From author Chris Willrich comes a new adventure of intrigue, espionage, and arcane mystery, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-614-0
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-615-7

The Dagger of Trust is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

The Dagger of Trust is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (359 KB zip/PDF).

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A Bucket Full of Bards!



If you like bards, you are going to love The Dagger of Trust. The novel is full of bards--the singing kind, the storytelling kind, and even the puppet-show kind! I'm pretty sure the characters reflect various Pathfinder class archetypes. The book does an impressive job matching the game effects of bardic powers like inspire courage, and various spells like rope trick, into exciting and colourful descriptions that correspond. With the strong use of world lore, this isn't one of those RPG tie-ins you read and think "no 'real' adventuring party could every do that!" There are some sections of the book that are a bit repetitive, and the resolution of a mystery plot isn't 100% satisfying. Overall though, this was an enjoyable read.


The protagonist, Gideon Gull, and the other "good guy" main characters are students at a bardic school called the Rhapsodic College in the nation of Taldor. But there's a secret "school within the school" there called the Shadow School which trains select students into becoming professional spies and assassins for the Lion Blades. Gideon is one such student, and the book starts with a fun opening training sequence of his having to simultaneously take part in a public debate and stop a mock assassination without revealing himself. Gideon soon gets wrapped up in a mystery involving appearances across Taldor and Andoran of a supernatural fog that seems to turn some normal people into crazed killers. Unravelling the origins of the fog leads Gideon into a complicated intrigue plot that involves everything from druids to submarines (I know!) and beyond. I honestly got a bit lost between all the twists and turns, and I thought the middle portion of the book was a bit slow and repetitive. Still, the ending is really sweet and heartfelt--you care about the main characters and what happens to them.

I don't think the plot is necessarily top-notch, but I do recommend the book for its characters and expansion of setting flavour around Taldan-Andoren relations, the Wildwood Pact, and the Shadow School. Perhaps with a little better editing and some selective trimming here and there, this could have been in the top ranks of the Pathfinder Tales books.

Who knew Bards could be so fun?


I thoroughly enjoyed this. I liked the various party members (mostly bards--a class I've never played in roughly 40 years of RPGs), the setting, the factions, the sympathetic villains (I'm leaning toward antagonists as a general term), and the dialogue. The story had drama, pathos, humor, and lots of witty dialogue. A few serious belly laughs ("I love a good debriefing!").

Also, though a small part of the book, the "true neutral" druids really hit home what that would mean in a fantasy setting. Or could mean. I'm sure some people wrote that off as cliche, but it made me view true neutral druids a little differently than I had previously.

I also liked how it avoided a cliche happy ending w/ not 1 but 2 different romances. Characters that didn't survive the conflict. Side characters I cared about. The effort put into the songs behind the bardic spell casting. All good stuff.

Scooby Doo episode


Ha I just saw Darkrist said same thing. Here is the review i wrote for goodreads and amazon before coming here and reading his:

Just all around not good. I was rooting for this book, because it covered a lot of crucial lore territory in the Pathfinder world - Taldor, Andoran, and the druids of the forests in between. Add in the very secretive Lion's blade organization and I read every page, hoping it would get better.

The plot is a Scooby Doo episode
The Lions blades comes off very cartoony as well.
The character interactions are DeGrassi High or some other teenage tv show.

It is not good.

I hate writing bad reviews - and its rare if you check mine - so let's focus on the positive for a moment.

- you have a character who is into puppetry as a serious artform, which is just awesome.
- a relatively strong case is made for non-democratic governments - the Taldor loyalists are believable in their discourse, not played off as simple crazies or power freaks.
- the poetry and song, especially the Andoran patriotic ones, are just fantastic. I wish i had a book with all of them collected in one place! Fantastic stuff.

If you are a Pathfinder junkie, fight your way through it and you will be grateful for the content you can glean from it. If you are just looking for a decent yarn, move on to something else.

I don't think Bards do that...


So, throughout the book Mr. Wilrich refers to Gideon 'preparing' his spells in the morning, but Bards are spontaneous casters that don't prepare spells. I would hope that if someone wanted to write a story set in an established, specific world, that they would at least try to understand the basics of the classes they are writing about.
That glitch aside, the story is fine and helps illuminate the secret life of bards fairly well. As others have mentioned, the metaphors get severely strained at some points, and there are more than just a few major cliches.
However, I am easy to please, and this book filled my want for a fantasy book to read while I am sitting on the toilet.



I had a bit of a problem with my willing suspension of dis-belief while reading this book. I could not shake the feeling while reading it that it was a Scooby do episode. This was more of a personal hang-up on my part than a flaw in the writing or concept. I just kept thinking "Scooby-do meets Heart of Darkness.....never get out of the boat!" That being said, I really enjoyed the book. The characters were engaging and layered. There is a lot of Golarion color/flavor throughout the book. Other reviewers have attacked the writing style and narrative, but I have to disagree. I think the writing is pretty solid beginning to ending. I would have given a fifth star if not for seeing too many ghost pirates with fog machine cartoons in my youth.... Would love to read a sequel so I can see the main characters in a different framework.

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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

Sovereign Court

Lion Blades!

My mind is still churning with ideas for a 'rogue Lion-blades who are loyal to the Princess Eutropia and see her as embodying a return to true Taldan glory' campaign. So this should be inspiration-tastic.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Yes! For Taldor!

A magical fog is turning ordinary people into murderous mobs along the border between Taldor and Andoran? Sounds like Nidalian or Chelaxian TREACHERY TO ME!


Definitely excited! Thank you for continuing to bring in great writers with fresh ideas and intriguing characters, Paizo.

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

For the record, this book is pretty much "What if you had a James Bond training center at a bardic college?"

If you like bards, this book is the one for you. And if you don't like bards, this might be the book that changes your mind!


Bardic spies... Taldor and Andoran... Nice premise, and I'm intrigued.

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Sounds interesting!

Dark Archive

Matthew Morris wrote:
Yes! For Taldor!

BOO! Why would anyone want to read a book about Taldorian dandies? No, we want more books set in Cheliax!

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Yes! For Taldor!
BOO! Why would anyone want to read a book about Taldorian dandies? No, we want more books set in Cheliax!


Books about Taldor are perfectly fine. The real problem with this book is that it seems to focus on those foppish types in the Lion Guard, when everyone knows the real heroes of Taldor are in the Ulfen Guard!

Dark Archive

Kajehase wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Yes! For Taldor!
BOO! Why would anyone want to read a book about Taldorian dandies? No, we want more books set in Cheliax!


Books about Taldor are perfectly fine. The real problem with this book is that it seems to focus on those foppish types in the Lion Guard, when everyone knows the real heroes of Taldor are in the Ulfen Guard!

Yeah, you're absolutely correct; Ulfen guards are, indeed, the real heroes of Taldor. However, that is not saying much in a country filled with dim-witted fops and dandies. Naturally, your Ulfen savages are no comparison to real soldiers and heroes, such as the proud Hellknights -- or pretty much any average Chelaxian soldier. ;P

Webstore Gninja Minion

Product image updated.

This book's listing on Amazon ( sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389632476&sr=8-1&keywords=dagger+of+trust) and Barnes & Noble ( ?ean=9781601256140&itm=1&usri=9781601256140) both say it won't be released until July. Is that a mistake or is Paizo keeping it exclusive to their site for 6 months?

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Never trust Amazon release dates.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo uses the game store release day of Wednesday instead of the book store day of Tuesday. A lot of times this causes the Amazon system to assume it's not getting the book that week and it defaults to July as a placeholder date.

Managing Editor

Gah! Amazon release dates can change for the weirdest reasons... I'll have our sales team look into it. Thanks for letting us know!

Webstore Gninja Minion

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kajehase wrote:
Never trust Amazon release dates.

This. Amazon frequently uses some arcane method (likely involving goats, live covers of "Dark Side of the Moon", and candles made from Sicilian beeswax) to determine their release dates.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I'll try to write a review later.

Let me just say this is an excellent book for Taldan fans, as well as folks who want to know what it's like on the border.

I'm pretty sure not all the Andorans don't smell bad in the story too.

Also it helps to give flavor to bardic magic, something so needed. (Puppets casting sound burst anyone?)


I'm about a third of the way through this one and it is FUN.

Possibly the most fun I've had reading a PF Tales book since King of Chaos (which is of course an unfair comparison since KoC had cameos from my own characters so that's like +10 bonus chortle points right there).

Anyway it's a great read and I can't wait to dive back into it once I get out of work tonight. :)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Three-quarters of the way through this tale and I just discovered Chris Willrich used a character I introduced in Realm of the Fellnight Queen. She only has a brief appearance, but it's Viviana Albercroft, the priestess of Shelyn in Bellis. So, I know the feeling of those +10 bonus chortle points, Liane!

The Exchange

I am working through some fiction that was sitting on my shelf and finished this today, but I have a question, maybe someone can spoiler the answer for me

seems like i missed something:
the part about seeing her thoughts, don't trust her... I missed whose thoughts and why they shouldn't be trusted I think... anyone clue me in on what that part was? The mother maybe?


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