Pathfinder Tales: Nightblade

4.30/5 (based on 9 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Nightblade
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Where Demons Fear to Tread

Raised as a wizard-priest in the church of the dark god Zon-Kuthon, Isiem escaped his sadistic masters and became a rebel, leaving behind everything he knew in order to follow his conscience. Now, his unique heritage makes him perfect for a dangerous mission into an ancient dungeon said to hold a magical weapon capable of slaying demons and devils by the thousands and freeing the world of their fiendish taint. Accompanied by companions ranging from a righteous paladin to mercantile mercenaries, Isiem will lead the expedition back into shadowed lands that are all too familiar. And what the adventurers find at the dungeon's heart will change them all forever.

From acclaimed author Liane Merciel comes a dark tale of survival, horror, and second chances, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-662-1
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-663-8

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Nightblade is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

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4.30/5 (based on 9 ratings)

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Good (but not as good as Nightglass)

4/5

NO SPOILERS

Nightblade is a standalone sequel to Liane Merciel’s earlier Pathfinder Tales book (Nightglass) and continues the story of Isiem, a wizard-priest of Zon-Kuthon who has rebelled against his faith and home country. There are some great characters and descriptions in the novel, and it has a dark theme consonant with its subject matter. I did find myself a bit bored by a very long sequence that amounted to the novel equivalent of a dungeon crawl, and it’s all in service to a Macguffin that’s not explained adequately and doesn’t seem to justify the costs involved in trying to obtain it. All in all, I’d say Nightblade is a good novel, but not as near-perfect as its predecessor.

SPOILERS!:

After the events of Nightglass, Isiem has had to flee Nidal and now resides in the Cheliax city of Pezzack. There, he helps a band of rebels seeking to free the city from the subjugation of House Thrune. Isiem is asked to join an expedition to find an ancient weapon to battle House Thrune called a nightblade--a weapon created by a legendary Nidalese wizard named Melandroth. The expedition team includes a well-written Paladin of Iomedae named Kyril, some grudgingly accepted agents of the Aspis Consortium, and one of Isiem’s old frenemies named Ascaros. This last character is great, and was introduced in the short story “Misery’s Mirror” (available for free on the Paizo website, and worth tracking down before reading this novel). The problem that I referred to above is that we never get a good explanation for why a nightblade would be so important that it’s worth risking the lives of so many important figures in the rebellion, or (as we’ll see) have them teleport all the way to Molthune to try to find it.

Still, the first half of the book is great--excellent dialogue, some thought-provoking discussion on redemption, an exciting, well-described battle against the “Beast of the Backar Forest”, creepy “Splinter Men”, and more. The second part of the book takes place in Fiendslair, which I think is a demi-plane, and it’s suitably dark and demonic—doors that are fleshy and alive and have to be hacked through each time one wishes to pass, for example. The place is a labyrinth filled with all matter of threats, including monsters with the ability to take possession of intruders. It’s not badly written, but it is a *long* sequence with little pay-off. I don’t mind at all that the mission was an utter failure (that’s good Pathfinder!), but just that I never figured out what it was all about to begin with. The epilogue is really well done.

Not every novel, even from a talented writer, is going to be a winner. I’ve read enough from Liane Merciel that I’ll still eagerly look forward to whatever she comes up with next.


Better than the first!

5/5

Out of the darkness of Nidal, and into a darkness from the past - really enjoyed the classic feel of this one, and the butting of heads with the paladin character.


4/5

Unlike perhaps some of the other reviewers/posters, I liked this even more than Nightglass. And given that I liked Hellknight the best of them all, I can only conclude Ms. Merciel gets better and better on every outing.

A good cast of characters, and the ultimate villains of the horrid Fiendslair were truly frightening.

The character arcs of Isiem and Ascaros, the childhood friends of southern Nidal, was a nice study in contrasts.

On a side note, I continue to be impressed w/ all the shades of nuance and characterization authors in this line use for their paladins. Despite being all LG, they have all stood out for me in one way or another. In this book, it was Kyril.

Editing was pretty good.


4/5


5/5


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced! Cover image is a mockup and subject to change.


Woohoo! Nightglass sequel! Been waiting for this!

First more Salim, now more Isiem. You're spoiling me :)

Silver Crusade

YES


1 person marked this as a favorite.

carry on my wayward son


Very excited for this! Really enjoyed the character development in Nightglass and I am looking forward to the continued adventures of Isiem.

Dark Archive

Will this feel like a natural progression from Nightglass, or will be set some time after and be a standalone story?

Managing Editor

I'm working on this right now, and I have to say, Liane's better than ever. This book is both very different from many in the line, and yet perhaps one of the *most* Pathfinder-feeling adventures we've published. Can't wait for people to see it!

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Justin Sluder wrote:
Will this feel like a natural progression from Nightglass, or will be set some time after and be a standalone story?

Little bit of both, I think.

It is a standalone story and there are a number of new characters, but how Isiem finds himself in that situation and why he does what he does over the course of the book makes more sense if you've read the preceding materials (both Nightglass and Misery's Mirror, because Ascaros has a fairly significant role in the story too).

Dark Archive

Liane Merciel wrote:
Justin Sluder wrote:
Will this feel like a natural progression from Nightglass, or will be set some time after and be a standalone story?

Little bit of both, I think.

It is a standalone story and there are a number of new characters, but how Isiem finds himself in that situation and why he does what he does over the course of the book makes more sense if you've read the preceding materials (both Nightglass and Misery's Mirror, because Ascaros has a fairly significant role in the story too).

Cool cool. I look forward to seeing the developments.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes! I couldn't put Nightglass down once I started it. It's wonderful to see more Pathfinder fiction coming from Liane.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Apologies to Ms. Merciel, but with the title, all I can think of is the campy show-within-a-show Nyte Blayde from the Saints Row video games. :P


Nighglass was great. Really glad to see another Isiem book. More creepy Zon-Kuthon dudes please.


Agreed. So far Nightglass has been in my Pathfinder Tales Top-3, and I look forward to the next Isiem installment. :)

Grand Lodge

Nightglass is easily my favorite Pathfinder Tales book. I cannot wait for more Nidalese Theurge action.

Silver Crusade

Can't help but wonder if that paladin is going to wind up being

Spoiler:

:)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Didn't Ederras make a cameo in other Pathfinder Tales already? (Maybe the beginning of Kings of Chaos? I don't remember.)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Ross Byers wrote:
Didn't Ederras make a cameo in other Pathfinder Tales already? (Maybe the beginning of Kings of Chaos? I don't remember.)

Yes. Early discussion between Oparal and Ederras on her way into the Worldwound.


Great news, Nightglass is one of my top 5 pathfinder tales and i really wanted to see a sequel.

Didn't Ederras died in King of Chaos?


leo1925 wrote:

Great news, Nightglass is one of my top 5 pathfinder tales and i really wanted to see a sequel.

Didn't Ederras died in King of Chaos?

I did not especially like Nightglass. However, I read the book almost entirely in the middle of the night while giving my (then) infant daughter her bottle, so I wasn't in the most lucid of times while reading it. I'll probably find time to reread it before reading Nightblade.

I don't think we saw Ederras die. I believe that the last time we saw him he was riding off towards [insert city where Wrath of the Rightous AP starts]. Mendev?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Kenabres is the city. Mendev is the country.

Dark Archive Contributor

King of Chaos spoiler:
Ederras was alive and well at the end of the book.


King of Chaos:
Was he present in the scene when the maiden elf paladin (whose name i can't remember now) got back her sword? I didn't remember that, anyway it's truly amazing that he got to survive the slaughter of Kenabres.

Itchy wrote:
leo1925 wrote:

Great news, Nightglass is one of my top 5 pathfinder tales and i really wanted to see a sequel.

Didn't Ederras died in King of Chaos?

I did not especially like Nightglass. However, I read the book almost entirely in the middle of the night while giving my (then) infant daughter her bottle, so I wasn't in the most lucid of times while reading it. I'll probably find time to reread it before reading Nightblade.

I don't think we saw Ederras die. I believe that the last time we saw him he was riding off towards [insert city where Wrath of the Rightous AP starts]. Mendev?

To tell you the truth the majority of the second half of the book wasn't to my liking but it wasn't that bad and the first half of the book was GREAT in my opinion.


Ross Byers wrote:
Kenabres is the city. Mendev is the country.

Thank you! That's what I get for not doing due diligence and checking the Pathfinder Wiki before posting from memory like that.

I do need to make time to reread the Pathfinder Tales books that I read in that foggy time when I was up every night to bottlefeed my daughter. That would be:

-Song of the Serpent
-City of the Fallen Sky
-Nightglass
-King of Chaos
-Pirate's Honor?

I'm not sure on that last one. See above about that being a foggy period of time...

Contributor

Itchy wrote:


-Pirate's Honor?

I'm not sure on that last one. See above about that being a foggy period of time...

Well, if you're still fuzzy on that one, catch up quickly. Pirate's Promise will be out in December!

;-)

Contributor

Mikaze wrote:

Can't help but wonder if that paladin is going to wind up being ** spoiler omitted **

:)

Spoiler:
Nope! Good guess, though.

Ederras does come back for the book after Nightblade, but that's probably getting a wee bit ahead of myself. It's hard not to want to cackle about it right now though because I'm having a major spasm of lulz with my paladin-tormenting at the moment.

But aaanyway he gets to skip a round of suffering before we head back to see what he's been up to.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm hoping the paladin is Keren (along with Zae and Appleslayer). ^_^

Also, a blade that can KILL THOUSANDS of DEVILS? Holy hell, that's one hell of a major artifact!

Wait a minute...I smell the hints of a Adventure Path brewing here. I am right or wrong on that?

Webstore Gninja Minion

Updated product image and description to final.

Contributor

Love the cover!


New cover! Shiny! I like it.

Dark Archive

What a great read! I cannot decide if I like it or the previous novel the best!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

They're both excellent. And Liane's already mentioned a next book. So where is it? :-)

Contributor

Ed Reppert wrote:
They're both excellent. And Liane's already mentioned a next book. So where is it? :-)

It's in editing. :)

It is not, however, about Isiem.

I took a hiatus from following his story and switched scope to Cheliax, where we'll see all the stripes of lawful: LG (this is a character I've used before), LN (new character), and LE (old character).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Liane Merciel wrote:
It is not, however, about Isiem.

That's okay, I'll read it anyway. :-)

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