Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes

4.80/5 (based on 14 ratings)

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Some Secrets Should Stay Buried

Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan are no strangers to the occult. Yet when Varian is bequeathed a dangerous magical book by an old colleague, the infamous investigators find themselves on the trail of a necromancer bent on becoming the new avatar of an ancient and sinister demigod—one of the legendary runelords. Along with a team of mercenaries and adventurers, the crime-solving duo will need to delve into a secret world of dark magic and the legacy of a lost empire. But in saving the world, will Varian and Radovan lose their souls?

From best-selling author Dave Gross comes a fantastical tale of mystery, monsters, and mayhem set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

384-page trade paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-7451-6

Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content
Lord of Runes is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

Download the Chronicle sheet — (395 kb zip/PDF)

Lord of Runes is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

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4.80/5 (based on 14 ratings)

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As Good as It Gets!

5/5

NO SPOILERS

"So much fun!" "clean, clear writing", "fantastic!" "so good!" are all notes I made while reading Lord of Runes. It really is a gem of a Pathfinder Tales novel. Varian and Radovan are back, and this time they're adventuring through some locations and interacting with some characters that are near and dear to my Pathfinder heart. It's funny, exciting, surprising, shows a love of the setting, and is an all around good novel. I give it my highest recommendation.

SPOILERS!:

Having literally just finished running a multi-year Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign and running the Pathfinder Module Academy of Secrets for PFS, I was both jazzed and frustrated that Lord of Runes spends several opening chapters in Korvosa! Jazzed because I love the setting and it's fantastic to see NPCs like Vencarlo Orisini (he and Jeggare are old drinking buddies!) and locations like the Acadamae (Headmaster Toff Ornelos' niece is a major character) brought to life. I was frustrated because if I had known earlier, I good have incorporated some of the novel's great flavour into my running of the adventures! But that's just how the cookie crumbles. In addition to Korvosa, the novel features more of Varisia, such as Kaer Maga and the Cenotaph, and the plot (as the title might indicate) has to do with an ancient Thassilonian Runelord: in this case, Zuthra, the Runelord of Gluttony. Fans of Eando Kline should also read the novel, as he's a major character as well.

For me personally, it's a little weird to have finally read Lord of Runes. I remember seeing it in a bookstore very early in my immersion into Pathfinder (circa 2016) and buying it despite knowing it would be years before I read all the ones published before it. I think I'm in the last quarter or so of the existence of the Pathfinder Tales line. Bittersweet, but ever onwards!


Liked it the more I listened

4/5

I listened to the audio book on Audible as my first Pathfinder Tales listen.

At first, the novel rubbed me the wrong way. The plot takes a long time to really get going, and the author begins the book by throwing tons of exposition, names, and terms at you. This feels like it accomplishes nothing other than the author trying to show off their lore knowledge (even though they get a few details wrong). Someone unfamiliar with the setting would feel lost or confused. For someone familiar with the setting, it feels pointless and patronizing.

However, the longer the book goes, the more interesting it gets. Most of the characters are quite likeable, and I grew to enjoy the main duo.

However, one of the main characters is absolutely insufferable with few admirable qualities and don't really serve much purpose in the story. The book also makes a really massive revelation that makes absolutely no sense and does nothing but make the main character feel more like a Mary Sue.

Despite these misgivings, I enjoyed Lord of Runes.


4/5

This might be tied w/ Queen of Thorns for my favorite of the 5 novels. Though maybe it's a 3-way tie w/ Master of Devils, I don't know.

I'm getting worried the author will run out of variations on his titles, though ;-) So far we've had Prince, Master, Queen, King, and Lord.

Anyway, I loved the latest adventures of the dynamic duo, and am happy to see Jeggare finally moving beyond riffle scrolls to something more interesting.

I am just slightly concerned about how the novel ended up. Without spoilers, I'm trying to figure out how future adventures will continue in the same vein, now that the friends are...well, no spoilers. But their relationship has changed in a quite meaningful way by the end.


THE BEST TALES BY THE BEST WRITER!

5/5

GOOD:
Book 5 of a series, but can be read on it's own. Incredibly good fantasy tale with very likeable characters and unexpectable twists and turns.
BAD: LESS THAN 25 LEFT! NO BOOK 6 ANNOUNCED YET!
UGLY: -

Get it while you can.


Outstanding!

5/5

What an outstanding book! Can I nominate Dave Gross for a major award from somewhere? All of his characters are amazing! I used to have the itch to write some fantasy fiction, but as I marvel at his work here, I realize again that I could never come up with his skill of description, of dialog, of character conceptualization or sheer artistry of prose. I count myself lucky to have the chance to read his stories.

By all means, though, read the four predecessor tales of Count Jeggare and Radovan. This is exemplary work!


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Dark Archive

Apperantly Tor books doesn´t give free digital copies away as Paizo did.

Im very curious if the format change is worth the 50% price increase - i know THIS BOOK IS WORTH IT but as for the others - we´ll have to wait and see...


Reading the synopsis makes it sound like an Occult Adventures tie-in.

Grand Lodge

Mind Nibbler wrote:
I find it irksome that this book is the first one that we won't have a free digital copy of... The last couple Varian and Radovan books that came out, I read the digital version as soon as it was available, because I didn't want to wait for the print version!

You can always just not subscribe and get the digital copies from B&N or Amazon like I do.

Dark Archive

By Besmara's Booty!!! Its May and this book comes out in May.... THE BOYS ARE BACK!


Preordered the kindle edition! This is the best thing it has happened to me


I'm sorry so is digital copies not going to be available here at all? Only on 3rd party sites? That will be nice on GenCon since my phone won't let me get the epub from here but kinda annoys me for every other one. Stupid semi-ocd now all the books wont be in the same program.


Raef13 wrote:
I'm sorry so is digital copies not going to be available here at all? Only on 3rd party sites? That will be nice on GenCon since my phone won't let me get the epub from here but kinda annoys me for every other one. Stupid semi-ocd now all the books wont be in the same program.

That is my understanding. The digital books will only be sold through 3rd party vendors and will not be available at Paizo.com.


Want to read, but I am not buying a kindle digital copy if I can avoid it, and with the price increase I am going to have to weight the hard copy heavily. I know Tor will get these books out there which is good, but I think it will likely cut down on the number of Paizo books I buy. Sorry.


*Sigh* No PDF format anymore... I guess I'm out. Being blind is a real drag sometimes. Hopefully it will come out in audio, although I'm certainly not counting on it.

Dark Archive

Finally it is listed as "in stock" as of today.
I hope my local flagstore in germany gets this next week so i can read it in one go and write a nice review in comparison to the old paperback line...

Grand Lodge

Official release date from TOR still appears to be June 2, so I don't think you'll see it in Germany until then.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Valantrix1 wrote:
*Sigh* No PDF format anymore... I guess I'm out. Being blind is a real drag sometimes. Hopefully it will come out in audio, although I'm certainly not counting on it.

I realize that what is practical is not always what exists in reality, but it should be easier to design a screen-reader to read an ePub document than a PDF.

If you have an Apple device, the built-in VoiceOver screen reader should be able to read books from the iBookstore or downloaded ePubs. What kind of platform are you using?

Dark Archive

Andrew Betts wrote:
Official release date from TOR still appears to be June 2, so I don't think you'll see it in Germany until then.

I don´t know - i received the april stuff 8 days before street date.

Sometimes i even get it 10 days before and sometimes 14 days days later than street date.

It depends on shipping issues i think.

Paizo Employee Developer

Valantrix1 wrote:
*Sigh* No PDF format anymore... I guess I'm out. Being blind is a real drag sometimes. Hopefully it will come out in audio, although I'm certainly not counting on it.

Hey Valantrix! Sutter is out today, but I'll point him at this thread when he's back in the office and maybe he can shed more light on the topic. In the meantime, I did a web search to see if Tor had any plans for an audio recording of this book, and they did solicit an audiobook version of it along with the print and digital formats, so it looks like there will be one. Their site doesn't mention a time frame for release, nor if other titles will have similar treatment, but it does look like this book, at least, will be released as an audiobook. Again, Sutter can likely provide more information when he gets back in the office.


Mark Moreland wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
*Sigh* No PDF format anymore... I guess I'm out. Being blind is a real drag sometimes. Hopefully it will come out in audio, although I'm certainly not counting on it.
Hey Valantrix! Sutter is out today, but I'll point him at this thread when he's back in the office and maybe he can shed more light on the topic. In the meantime, I did a web search to see if Tor had any plans for an audio recording of this book, and they did solicit an audiobook version of it along with the print and digital formats, so it looks like there will be one. Their site doesn't mention a time frame for release, nor if other titles will have similar treatment, but it does look like this book, at least, will be released as an audiobook. Again, Sutter can likely provide more information when he gets back in the office.

Thanks Mark! This is why I love you guys!

Executive Editor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

All I can add to what Mark said is that big things are coming, and soon. Please stand by. :)


James, are there any plans for subscribers to somehow receive the pdf or ebook?

I mean what you are basically tell me, as a subscriber, is that you have remodeled the tales line: It will have a new look, it will have the same word count (as Dave said above), it will not have the free digital copy, but still you will have to pay more. Correct me if I am wrong but this sounds like a really bad deal, especially for people from overseas.

What I really dislike here is that you announced the deal with TorBooks and said there will be better possibilities with digital formats and the next thing you do is to cut the digital version out of the subscription. Granted it is my fault to not read the next couple of lines in the mail as I simply have assumed that the additional possibilities in digital versions do NOT result in the removal of the digital copy. Nevertheless, I am disappointed and this may very well be the first subscription I have to cancel permanently, albeit with a heavy heart.

Edit: Never mind, I just saw the thread in the tales forum about it. Apparently, the answer is no. You guys are more concerned about reaching a bigger audience than the existing subscribers.

Dark Archive

James Sutter wrote:
All I can add to what Mark said is that big things are coming, and soon. Please stand by. :)

Audio versions of Dave Gross novels - i´ll buy that!

But i don´t think i´ll buy every Pathfinder Tales after Lord of Runes.

Liar´s Blade wasn´t that good but i´ll give Liar´s Island a chance because the other two "Reign" novels were pretty good.

"Beyond the Pool of Stars" is also a must buy for me.

The story of "Bloodbound" has been done a dozen times - from Barbara Hambley´s "Those who hunt the Night" to the Bloodborn and Bloodforged novels from Warhammer BUT i´ll give it a try because it´s from a good writer and takes place in Ustalav... ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Is Paizo not selling any ebook versions? I have a Kindle, and while I read all the Tales books on it (after a conversion) I buy them all from this site. Do I have to go to Amazon to get the Kindle (or any electronic) version?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

You will have to go to Amazon for the Kindle version.

Dark Archive

James Sutter wrote:
All I can add to what Mark said is that big things are coming, and soon. Please stand by. :)

Why is this marked as "unavailable"?


Somebody needs to poke a button. It happens from time to time when they're in the process of shipping out subscriptions.


Currently listed on Amazon (Kindle) for $9.99; print version up for pre-order with a release date of June 02.


Just got my copy today...have not read it yet...I just got it 5 min ago I am not that fast of a reader...

The cover is great the print is easy to read...and the map is very well done.

I know I am a oddity in that I don't read much in electronic formats but to me the subscription is definitely worth the upgrade in the quality of the book.


So has anyone read it yet?


Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I've started it. Looks good so far. I still have to go back and read the last two books (Queen of Thorns, KIng of Chaos I think). There's a couple spoilers for those in this book if you haven't read the earlier ones.


Received mine today. I _hate_ the new size. It is the difference between fitting them on my mass-media paperback shelves (where all the rest of my nearly 20 Pathfinder novels are) and having to be moved into an _entirely different room with bigger shelves_. If I want to keep the two different formats all together, I'm gonna have to move everything all around.

Annoying.

Not annoying enough to unsubscribe, mind you, but enough to sully the experience.

Will Paizo be selling non-Kindle versions of the ebooks? I'd prefer to keep all my notes, highlights, and annotations (and, again, along with all the other books) in my current ereader (iBooks) over splitting them (like shelves, but far more difficult to move) between iBooks and Kindle.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Morbus, Pathfinder Tales books are available from the iBookstore. (Including the back catalog.)

Community & Digital Content Director

Anyone having issues adding this item to their cart should be able to now. It looks like our system decided we had much less than we actually did, even though we totally had enough.


Ross Byers wrote:
Morbus, Pathfinder Tales books are available from the iBookstore. (Including the back catalog.)

If that's the way to go for the future, then fine. Thanks!

Dark Archive

The book is available June 2 through the Apple Store.


Valantrix1 wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Valantrix1 wrote:
*Sigh* No PDF format anymore... I guess I'm out. Being blind is a real drag sometimes. Hopefully it will come out in audio, although I'm certainly not counting on it.
Hey Valantrix! Sutter is out today, but I'll point him at this thread when he's back in the office and maybe he can shed more light on the topic. In the meantime, I did a web search to see if Tor had any plans for an audio recording of this book, and they did solicit an audiobook version of it along with the print and digital formats, so it looks like there will be one. Their site doesn't mention a time frame for release, nor if other titles will have similar treatment, but it does look like this book, at least, will be released as an audiobook. Again, Sutter can likely provide more information when he gets back in the office.

Thanks Mark! This is why I love you guys!

Valantrix, it looks like you can get a pdf version through Google play.


Oh good. People have started reading it so I can feel safe talking about it.

Spoiler:
Totally loved the story. Varian, Radovan, and Arnisant once again sticking together the whole time was nice (besides a brief trip outside outside the Material Plane). Varian's ancestry/magic handicap revelation was pretty awesome to learn. I'm not sold on the romance though; it was no Azra-Radovan slow build or Varian's pining for the forbidden princess. The character herself was fine, reminded me a lot of the Calistrian inquisitor, but a lot of times felt like Moffat's Doctor Who with the sassy girl companion "love interest" story lines. (Sorry Dave for the comparison!)

But everything else? HOT DAMN! God damn orcs! Badass grey maidens! Happy birthday, Varian! Shoanti druid lady was fantastic! Brothers of the Seal seemed random but nice lil Kaer Maga flavour. Banner-fighting thief/mage was interesting and wouldn't mind seeing/learning more of her. The epilogue between the boys was sweet and awwww-worthy.

I don't know if it's the last adventure with the boys (I sure as hell hope not) but Lord of Runes would be a nice way to do it.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

In this post I list the places I've found where it's advertised to be released as an ebook on June 2. A couple of them indicate DRM-free. Google Play doesn't say the format, but a link from the page suggests that all of their ebooks are both epub and PDF.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A few chapters in and so far I'm loving it! Everything I've come to love about Radovan and Jeggare, but in Varisia. VARISIA!

Dark Archive Contributor

Thanks for the kind words, Protoman. I'll just mention, all casual like, that it appears the reviews page is now open.

I take the opposite of offense from comparisons to Moffat's work, although I'm more a fan of Jekyll than of Who. You have seen Jekyll, haven't you?


Dave Gross wrote:

Thanks for the kind words, Protoman. I'll just mention, all casual like, that it appears the reviews page is now open.

I take the opposite of offense from comparisons to Moffat's work, although I'm more a fan of Jekyll than of Who. You have seen Jekyll, haven't you?

After the website ATE the first attempt. I put up a more elaborated review up!

And unfortunatly, I haven't seen Jekyll.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Protoman wrote:
And unfortunatly, I haven't seen Jekyll.

It's on Netflix!

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just finished this last night. Loved it. Want to see an illustration of Radovan in his final "costume."


Ross Byers wrote:
Protoman wrote:
And unfortunatly, I haven't seen Jekyll.
It's on Netflix!

Not in Canada! Haha lame excuse for this day and age I know, but I'll have to look into it after this weekend. Still catching up on Penny Dreadful and planning on watching "period" movies for ideas for an Atomic Robo RPG game.


So, anyone know which runelord it is yet?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Major_Blackhart wrote:
So, anyone know which runelord it is yet?

It is....

:
Lord EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!!!

Dark Archive Contributor

While Radovan's latest attire is always fun, I'd love to see illustrations of Zora, Kazyah, and Illyria.

Dark Archive Contributor

And by the bye, I'll be answering AMA questions next Thursday, June 4, over at the fantasy subreddit. Since I have learned to use the spoiler tags, I'll be happy to talk plot points with those of you who've actually read the book already.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

can't wait to get this book

i wish Arni would get his own chapters again like in in Master of Devils


Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Arni is definitely cool.

Dave, what are these "house drakes"? I look up "drake" in the bestiaries, and those are all large two-legged evil dragon kin. Whatever "house drakes" are, they aren't those things, I'm thinking.

Not finished the book yet, but I'm close. I'm getting the impression that Varian is

Spoiler:
an Arcanist with the Arcane bloodline and an affinity (school understanding) for necromancy. That would make him at least 3rd level (because two Arcanist exploits) and probably higher.

Am I close?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The house drakes are pseudodragons.

I presume this is one of those cases where Paizo can't use the original name in the fiction?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Morbus Iff wrote:

Received mine today. I _hate_ the new size. It is the difference between fitting them on my mass-media paperback shelves (where all the rest of my nearly 20 Pathfinder novels are) and having to be moved into an _entirely different room with bigger shelves_. If I want to keep the two different formats all together, I'm gonna have to move everything all around.

Annoying.

Not annoying enough to unsubscribe, mind you, but enough to sully the experience.

Agreed but for different reasons. I didn't know this change was coming, and when I opened up my box I was like "what, is this now in large print for Grandma?" It looks wonky. I went and compared it to a bunch of other books I have of the same size (arbitrary pulls from the top of my to-read pile - Tim Butcher's Blood River, Philip Keith's Blackhorse Riders, P.G. Wodehouse's Leave it to Psmith) and I realized why - it hasn't been redesigned right for the new size factor, both on the cover and in the interior. The new size is fine in and of itself, and I have probably a full bookshelf of books with that exact size factor, but there's a design problem that makes it look like a kid in ill-fitting clothes.

On the cover, the logo is oddly placed (low) and all the fonts aren't just larger, but seem to be stretched vertically to try to use more of the space. The back cover, without more content, seems to be making the odd choice to put the UPC code in a prominent location to burn real estate. In the interior, the text is leaving a lot of the page blank especially at the bottom.

The existing design is fine for mass market paperbacks but it doesn't work "just bigger" for the new format. It makes it look clumsy and amateurish. It's like the cover expected to be a centimeter shorter at the top and the interior expected to be a centimeter shorter at the bottom. I strongly suggest going and pulling a bunch of books of that size factor and comparing how they do front and back covers and their internal pages.

The Wodehouse book is a good compare because it uses a front to back art piece like PFT does, but even with that on the back they put in an artist bio, a pull quote, etc. to make use of the real estate. It also comes in at 293 pages for what I'm betting is the exact same word count by better use of interior space.

Love you guys, love all (well, most, not a fan of the Greenwood one) the Pathfinder Tales novel, so this is loving constructive criticism - the design doesn't look comparable to other books of this size factor, and needs significant tweaking so it can look like "NYT bestseller" and not "self published like you see at a con" alongside other titles at the bookstore.


Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Kajehase wrote:

The house drakes are pseudodragons.

I presume this is one of those cases where Paizo can't use the original name in the fiction?

Ah! Yeah, that makes sense, thanks.

I don't know why they wouldn't be able to use it. They used it in the Bestiary. Maybe just artistic license on the author's part.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OGL doesn't cover non-game material, so using proper names which are OGL but not public domain in novels is legally uncertain, and best avoided.

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