Betrayed by his companion and robbed of everything down to his boots, Rodrick wakes to find himself in the very tomb he meant to rob. Fortunately, Rodrick can still turn a profit—he just needs to slip past a slumbering linnorm, retrieve a talking sword with a wit as sharp as its blade, and return in one piece to his employer. Yet a talking sword may have goals of its own...
From Hugo Award-winner Tim Pratt comes a dark comedy of theft and danger set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I've been a huge fan of Tim Pratt ever since I discovered the Marla Mason urban magic series of novels, so I was stoked to see he's written some stories in the Pathfinder Tales line. Yesterday, I finished Bastard, Sword, a four-part story available for free download from the Paizo website. The story isn't what I expected (which was edgy urban magic) but it was nonetheless fantastic. Bastard, Sword features a character named Rodrick (who appears in some of Pratt's other stories and novels in the line), a scoundrel who is out for a quick buck but isn't a bad sort really. Set in a frontier region in Andoran, the story is laugh-out-loud funny and quite memorable. I usually read one part of these web fictions each evening, and it was hard to keep from gulping the whole thing down in one go. If you're willing to take your fantasy on the lighter (but not overly silly) side, I highly recommend this one.
Rodrick's been hired by a wealthy Andoran nobleman to steal a powerful, intelligent sword that has lain for years in a linnorm's barrow. Rodrick finds the sword, and its personality (see title) is completely fitting and utterly hilarious. The scene at the end of the story, where Rodrick uses a magic spell to convince the nobleman that an ordinary sword is the magical one and we realize that the fool is planning to ride into battle against demons with it, treads the funny/cruel line perfectly.