PTBC - Death's Heretic


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Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

As requested, this is the new Pathfinder Tales Book Club thread for Death's Heretic by James L. Sutter.

To begin in chronological order, we decided to start with the Faithful Servants short story, so let's start the discussion here...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Hurry up Darkborn, I wanna get with the discussing :3

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

My first reaction to Faithful Servants was “whoa” as the very first sentence starts us off in Axis – Sutter didn’t waste any time in throwing his readers into the Outer Sphere.

(Having GMed eight Pathfinder modules and two adventure paths, most of the outsiders one encounters are demons and devils, so the opening scene with the axiomites and other rare creatures was very refreshing. The Emerald Spire was fraught with extraplanar creatures - especially Sutter’s level 15 - which I was also very pleased to see since I was playing a Riftwarden, so right out of the gate I was invested in this story.)

Meeting Salim in the Clever Endeavor was no different, and I liked him right away. His gambit with the reflection in the glass was, indeed, clever! I found the eidolon strange though, but I believe that was the author’s intent, and the name Connell was similarly odd as it sounds like a normal name where his appearance was not. But he, too, had me invested as the summoner class was the first one that I experimented with back when the APG first came out, and they are a lot of fun to play!

So what were everyone else’s immediate thoughts after the introductions of these two characters in this setting?

Silver Crusade

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Slight aside from the main characters, but I found my favourite part to be the Axiomite (LN) and Vulpinal (NG) sneaking away to be intimate. Just goes to show that no matter what you are, or whatever your alignment is, everyone likes to feel loved.

James Sutter wrote:


...but apparently even abstractions had needs.

Which actually got me to thinking how these two hooked up, an Axiomite, constantly thinking and striving and worrying and stressing about order and numbers and rules and logic, and the Vulpinal, an Agathion, a being of peace and placidity. Maybe she can truly relax when he's around, allowing her mind to stop and think about nothing for once in her existence. Or perhaps she's performing sone far wrought esoteric tests and algorithms that require the Vulpinal, and the numbers abd reaults only make sense to her. *shrugs* Who can say?

Back to the main characters;

Salim, trained in counter-surveillance, knowledgable about the planes and their denizens.

Connell, not all that bright but definitely determined. Adorable really.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Rysky wrote:


Which actually got me to thinking how these two hooked up, an Axiomite, constantly thinking and striving and worrying and stressing about order and numbers and rules and logic, and the Vulpinal, an Agathion, a being of peace and placidity. Maybe she can truly relax when he's around, allowing her mind to stop and think about nothing for once in her existence. Or perhaps she's performing sone far wrought esoteric tests and algorithms that require the Vulpinal, and the numbers abd reaults only make sense to her. *shrugs* Who can say?

Interesting...that makes me think of a "game" I used to play with one of my exes when we went out to dinner. We'd look at another couple at a table-for-two and try to guess what they were saying to each other, the way they met, how long they've been together, etc. Both of those scenarios were astute, and it'd be hard to choose between the two. Also, since the axiomite was the one to pull the vulpinal into the shadows, it makes you wonder what her motivation was. If it was brashness, it reveals a rarely witnessed side of an extremely lawful creature submitting to her chaotic emotions. Or it could've been bashfulness, as she knew her physical reaction to him would be extra visible to observers and she was actually trying to maintain order by attempting to conceal the display.

Silver Crusade

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Darkborn wrote:
Rysky wrote:


Which actually got me to thinking how these two hooked up, an Axiomite, constantly thinking and striving and worrying and stressing about order and numbers and rules and logic, and the Vulpinal, an Agathion, a being of peace and placidity. Maybe she can truly relax when he's around, allowing her mind to stop and think about nothing for once in her existence. Or perhaps she's performing sone far wrought esoteric tests and algorithms that require the Vulpinal, and the numbers abd reaults only make sense to her. *shrugs* Who can say?
Interesting...that makes me think of a "game" I used to play with one of my exes when we went out to dinner. We'd look at another couple at a table-for-two and try to guess what they were saying to each other, the way they met, how long they've been together, etc. Both of those scenarios were astute, and it'd be hard to choose between the two. Also, since the axiomite was the one to pull the vulpinal into the shadows, it makes you wonder what her motivation was. If it was brashness, it reveals a rarely witnessed side of an extremely lawful creature submitting to her chaotic emotions. Or it could've been bashfulness, as she knew her physical reaction to him would be extra visible to observers and she was actually trying to maintain order by attempting to conceal the display.

Interesting "game" :3

And that latter explanation is just adorable.

"So sparks literally fly when you're being intimate hmm?"

... It's stuff like this that would get a guy permabanned from a plane of existence kekeke.

Managing Editor

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It's been so long since I wrote this one that I only kind of remember what happens, which makes reading this analysis even more fun and surreal. :D

Silver Crusade

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James Sutter wrote:


Across the room, another axiomite pulled her companion, one of the fox-headed vulpinals, as deep into the shadows of her alcove as she could. Salim couldn't say whether the gesture was one of modesty or fear of judgment by her fellows, but it had little effect either way. Each time the fox-man touched the flawless skin of her thigh, a blaze of runes drifted up from the caress like golden dust, broadcasting her excitement to the room. The axiomites were living mathematical abstractions, but apparently even abstractions had needs.

The text in its entirety.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

So I'm assuming Salim is an inquisitor? Another awesome APG base class on display! I had gone into the short story assuming such, as Heretic is an inquisitor archetype, and the interaction with Father Adibold confirmed it. But actually, my guess is he's a multiclassed inquisitor because of his sword, as it's not Pharasma’s favored weapon, but I assume that’ll become more evident when we get to see more of his skills in use.

I was really excited to see that Salim had an Amulet of the Planes (120,000 gp value!) as it’s such an amazing item and - correct me if I’m wrong - I don’t think it’s ever been featured in any novels in any campaign setting until now. As for the cursed crown that Gatis Mirosoy was wearing that Salim destroyed, that reminded me a lot of the Crown of Evil from the Book of Vile Darkness from back in the D&D days, but I’m assuming that’s not what it was because that was a relic and probably couldn’t be destroyed in that manner. However, Salim's blade was described as “melted” and I’m not familiar with any [in-game] weapons like that, so maybe that's a relic too? Surely Sutter will go into the details of Salim's sword in the ensuing novel(s), so I’ll just have to wait for that answer.

P.S. Let's keep the Faithful Servants discussion open, but if you haven’t already started let’s read Death's Heretic from Chapters One to Seven for this Saturday, with discussion starting at the usual time, 2 p.m.

Silver Crusade

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Connell, whhhhhyyyyyyy?!?!

But yes, Salim's sword is a relic of a sort, and by "melted" it quite literally means something has melted the sword so that its original design can't be made out.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Rysky wrote:

Connell, whhhhhyyyyyyy?!?!

But yes, Salim's sword is a relic of a sort, and by "melted" it quite literally means something has melted the sword so that its original design can't be made out.

Don't worry, if Mirosoy is, indeed, freed from the curse and goes back to being a Summoner he can bring back Connell in a minute's time with practically no effort. Sure, Connell will be at half hit points, but very much alive! :)

Silver Crusade

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*sniff*

I hope so.

Liberty's Edge

Darkborn wrote:
So I'm assuming Salim is an inquisitor? Another awesome APG base class on display! I had gone into the short story assuming such, as Heretic is an inquisitor archetype, and the interaction with Father Adibold confirmed it. But actually, my guess is he's a multiclassed inquisitor because of his sword, as it's not Pharasma’s favored weapon, but I assume that’ll become more evident when we get to see more of his skills in use.

James Sutter has indeed specifically stated that Salim is multi-classed, having several levels in at least one martial class (I personally speculate that he's a Ranger or maybe Slayer) from his time in Rahadoum before he made his bargain with Pharasma (after which, yeah, he's an Inquisitor). Exactly what level he is and in exactly what classes is less clear.


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A few thoughts:
The Clever Endeavor reminds me of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

There are two "Faithful Servants" in this story: Salim and Connell. One unwillingly serves a (presumably) deserving mistress. The other willingly serves an undeserving master. I can see why Ceyanan wanted them to work together.

Connell is deliberately made likeable. He is compared to a puppy. Who doesn't like puppies? He obviously cares deeply about his master. Can eidolons love? The title of Chapter 4: The Greatest Gift, puts in mind John 15:6 - "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.NLT" I would say, yes, in James Sutter's view, an eidolon is capable of love. This is further supported by the two outsiders in the Clever Endeavor who are engaged in a relationship that is somewhere on the spectrum of lust to love.

Salim is initially made somewhat unlikeable. He is violent, gruff and rather unsympathetic. He gets somewhat more likeable over the course of the story.

I'm going to attempt to read Death's Heretic with a very critical eye on Salim. When I read the book the first time, I liked the character. However, he is a VERY bitter man. I generally find that bitter people are unpleasant to be around because the bitterness that fills them tends to spew out as they interact with others. Case in point: Salim's comment about Percinov's mother. He theorizes that she is dead. He confirms this hypothesis in a way that is very emotionally painful for Father Adibold. We don't notice it right away because we tend to want to like the main character in the story (especially if the story is from their POV) and because Father Adibold is portrayed as a rather unlikeable person.

I am theorizing that Salim is an unreliable narrator (I know that Varian and Radovan are unreliable because Dave Gross has said as much). Let's see how my theory holds up to scrutiny.

Silver Crusade

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To put it simply, "Misery loves company."

Managing Editor

Itchy wrote:

A few thoughts:

The Clever Endeavor reminds me of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

There are two "Faithful Servants" in this story: Salim and Connell. One unwillingly serves a (presumably) deserving mistress. The other willingly serves an undeserving master. I can see why Ceyanan wanted them to work together.

Connell is deliberately made likeable. He is compared to a puppy. Who doesn't like puppies? He obviously cares deeply about his master. Can eidolons love? The title of Chapter 4: The Greatest Gift, puts in mind John 15:6 - "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.NLT" I would say, yes, in James Sutter's view, an eidolon is capable of love. This is further supported by the two outsiders in the Clever Endeavor who are engaged in a relationship that is somewhere on the spectrum of lust to love.

Salim is initially made somewhat unlikeable. He is violent, gruff and rather unsympathetic. He gets somewhat more likeable over the course of the story.

I'm going to attempt to read Death's Heretic with a very critical eye on Salim. When I read the book the first time, I liked the character. However, he is a VERY bitter man. I generally find that bitter people are unpleasant to be around because the bitterness that fills them tends to spew out as they interact with others. Case in point: Salim's comment about Percinov's mother. He theorizes that she is dead. He confirms this hypothesis in a way that is very emotionally painful for Father Adibold. We don't notice it right away because we tend to want to like the main character in the story (especially if the story is from their POV) and because Father Adibold is portrayed as a rather unlikeable person.

I am theorizing that Salim is an unreliable narrator (I know that Varian and Radovan are unreliable because Dave Gross has said as much). Let's see how my theory holds up to scrutiny.

I love everything about this post.

Liberty's Edge

I think that "Faithful Servants" should be required reading for any player who plays a summoner. Maybe your eidolon isn't like that, but it does help get across that eidolons are individuals, and something of the mindset that might be involved in effectively becoming the willing extraplanar slave of a mortal.

(I had a player in my Kingmaker game, before it died because I moved away, playing a Strix raised by half-elves. I was thining that Nightglass should be required reading for him, but I'm too wussy of a GM to actually give my players reading assignments.... I save that for the classes I teach.)

The parallel between Connell and Salim is key in this story, and I think is the primary thematic element. It only gets stronger as you read more about Salim later and understand more his relationship with Pharasma.


First time participant in the book club, but looking forward to joining in.

I too love that post, Itchy! Great analysis!!!

I was thinking about the title of the final chapter, specifically in reference to the parable of the two sons in Matt 21: when JC's qualification to teach is questioned by the religious elite, he tells the story of a man who asks his two sons to each go and work; one says "sure!" and does nothing, one says "no!" and then does it... Ultimately the latter was the one judged as faithful. You see a parallel in the story w the old cleric (established religious leader), who questions Salim's role here (you're no cleric!) and ultimately refuses to cooperate. The cleric is clearly zealous (cutter), but ultimately his intent doesn't matter a whit, as his actions result in the death of an innocent. This is in stark contrast w the reluctance of Salim, who ultimately lets a criminal go, almost as though he was afraid of the roll of Judge. But despite his reluctance, he eliminated the true threat (crown), and put to rest the undead in the process, both things Pharasma would be thrilled about. And Pharasma in her neutrality certainly wouldn't care about intent, as only the actions and results of one's life are judged. I'm really looking forward to see how this plays out!

A few other points... I enjoyed the twist Mirosoy puts in at the end: I was expecting him to say "He's an Eidelon, I'll bring him back soon." Instead he says "It's an Eidelon... I'll make another." That made me want to punch him in the face!

One of the things I enjoy most about the Tales is the way the authors find really clever presentations of in-game mechanics... It inspires me to think creatively about how feats and spells can play out at the table, both as a player and GM. A great example in this story was during the zombie fight, when he looks to Connell and sees his neck coiled about the zombie, and Connell's jaws around his head. Translation: he has the grab evolution on his bite attack, and the long neck is how it enters in. Then came the twist and pop... Looks like he has the constrict evolution as well!

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

The Numerator wrote:


One of the things I enjoy most about the Tales is the way the authors find really clever presentations of in-game mechanics... It inspires me to think creatively about how feats and spells can play out at the table, both as a player and GM. A great example in this story was during the zombie fight, when he looks to Connell and sees his neck coiled about the zombie, and Connell's jaws around his head. Translation: he has the grab evolution on his bite attack, and the long neck...

That's one of my favorite parts about the Tales as well - breaking scenes down to examine their mechanical blueprints, like reading a heavily stylized walk-through of a module being played by PCs/NPCs. (Your specs for the eidolon are spot on!)

It also reveals how knowledgeable the authors are about the game, and the style in which they bring that knowledge to this medium is what really sets the Tales apart from other fantasy novels. It also leads me to guess which authors are gamers first and novelists second, or vice versa.

In Death's Heretic, the implied mechanics lead me to believe that Sutter is both equally. For example, as a gamer, in Chapter Two he nailed the Speak with Dead spell: mentioning that the subject needs at least a mouth to speak, the 10 minute casting time, and the Q&A was exactly the way it could've played out between PC and GM! Plus, on the metagaming side of things, only being able to ask four questions reveals that Khoyar is an 8th or 9th level caster. But also, as a novelist, Sutter graces us with an immense vocabulary - I must admit several times I had to put the book down in exchange for the dictionary - as well as keeping a steady pace with plot and structure (timing his set-ups and pay-offs precisely) and really bringing all the characters, no matter how minor, to life.
So far, for me, Death's Heretic has been the perfect balance between game and novel.


One other fun observation from the web fiction battle, when he charged into the dark hallway, it mentions he notices the zombies before they strike him. Blindsense? Or did he simply pass his perception to pinpoint an adjacent enemy in the dark?

Also, at first I thought the glowing sword was just a cool take on a light spell, but after looking at the inquisitor judgements, I'm thinking now that it was the smiting judgement: "This judgement bathes the inquisitor's weapon with divine light...."

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

The Numerator wrote:

One other fun observation from the web fiction battle, when he charged into the dark hallway, it mentions he notices the zombies before they strike him. Blindsense? Or did he simply pass his perception to pinpoint an adjacent enemy in the dark?

Also, at first I thought the glowing sword was just a cool take on a light spell, but after looking at the inquisitor judgements, I'm thinking now that it was the smiting judgement: "This judgement bathes the inquisitor's weapon with divine light...."

As far as I'm aware, Inquisitors don't get any blindsense/blindsight abilities, and he didn't cast a spell at that moment so it may just be the Blind-Fight feat; he'd sense the ghouls because he wouldn't be denied Dex to AC against invisible attackers. And good call with the Smiting Judgment, I totally agree.


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So what's in a name?

(note, this is my first reading of the book, and I'm only on Chapter 2 presently, so this is complete conjecture and any spoilers are unintended, nay prophetic even!)

Salim Ghadafar. A quick search of "ghada" came up w two ideas:

Ghada, a female name meaning "graceful" - Far From Grace?

Ghada, the common name for a large desert tree, one often used in Arabic poetry. The notable qualities being that it is hearty, can grow in poor soil, and can tolerate long periods of drought. It lacks leaves, but is very useful for stabilizing soil, as a building material, and fuel for fire. More can be found here.

I like the idea of surviving long periods of drought. At the point we learn his full name (ch 2) we know he despises his goddess, is estranged from his home (hinted that it has something to do w/ that hatred), and misses the desert. The water he's missing coud be his homeland, a sense of belonging, or even a drought of love from his goddess; the root of his emotional and physical estrangement. And yet, the hearty plant can endure it, where others die. Love the imagery there!

In addition, this tree provides no shade for others: as we saw in the web fiction, Salim has little patience and sympathy for others' suffering, probably since he feels like he's suffered far worse. But his lack of compassion is not a detriment to society, as this tree is a source of life (fuel), structure (building wood), and stability (roots that keep the desert from shifting). Though two of those uses would require his/its death. Perhaps this is a metaphor for people realizing the true impact of his actions after he was gone and they had time to reflect on his works, or never at all (like the summoner)? Perhaps he himself has never understood the impact his work has on others' lives, as he can only see the barren wasteland in which he finds himself (a land he is particularly suited for)?

Or maybe it just sounded desert-ish?

Silver Crusade

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My apologies for not posting anything yet, holidays have been much more busier than I expected. Will hopefully reread the relevant chapters and have something up by tonight.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Any more thoughts about our two main characters before we continue to read from Chapters Eight to Fourteen for this Saturday?

I find myself liking Salim more and more, despite his bitter demeanor, which is understandable given his line of work. His whole issue with Pharasma is so unique - most divine spellcasting characters are predictably devout where Salim is resentfully impious, and I'm loving it. I especially found his reluctance to use her spells, with the visceral embellishments of their use, darkly amusing as I would never thought it possible to create a character who gains powers from hatred of a deity, but when Akhom Qali dropped the line about that Salim hailing from Rahadoum it all made perfect sense. What a wicked punishment for an atheist!

As for Neila, I haven’t make up my mind about her just yet. Although determined to avenge her father, and believably exonerated from being a suspect by the explanation from Khoyar, I think she’s going to be in over her head. She doesn’t seem experienced enough to partner with Salim, unless that’s just what she wants him to believe, or maybe Salim’s critical observations of her are a manifestation of his desire to work alone - whether it be his trust issues, not wanting her to come to harm, or both. Despite her being absolved by Khoyar, I think Salim’s skepticism is justified, and it does seem like treachery is on the table. I’m pretty sure Qali is in the clear [unless his Bluff is more impressive than his Sense Motive] and Jbade also seems innocent, although only in that sense, obviously. (Queen of Spice indeed!) So my prediction right now is Hasam...by definition, no one would assume that someone so "unassuming" could be the betrayer.


Yes! Once they mentioned that he was from Rahadoum, it clicked for me! That is such an interesting spin on a cleric...err... Inquisitor. Outside the normal church indeed! This was a great turn by James Sutter, as it gave you this little nugget of understanding, but at the same time opened up 50 more questions... And ultimately made me really want to know more about this character. What in the world could cause one who denies the gods any worship (and to hear him talk, still does deny them), and allow them to ultimately work exclusively for them? And why is it that it sounds like it's against his will? Or more accurately, that he's resigned his will after being beaten, with comments like "why not, She'll get what she wants in the end anyway!"

I did love that when he finally uses magic in the fight in the forest, his prayer was in the form of an insult to Pharasma! It's like a petulant child who is told to apologize, and all they can say is "I'm sorry you were such a jerk to me..."


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I have been reading. If I can stay up late tonight, I'll get my comments thus far logged. I only just finished the chapter where he interview's Qali.

This is my second time through the book, so I'll try not to spoil anything. We will eventually find out why Salim is an Inquisitor of Pharasma. Hints have been dropped, but I won't point them out.

At this time, I think Neila went up in Salim's opinion when she stated that she doesn't have much use for the gods. He's still a very bitter man, and that shows through in a lot of his interactions.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

I have to start with the proteans...ever since Sutter posted about them (as relevant to The Emerald Spire) in the original PTBC thread I've been waiting for them to appear in this novel. It was so worth the wait! Their chaotic speech with the slashes between their blended words was best way it could've been written, I could almost hear their voices in my head! A part of me really wanted a full-blown fight to break out, I was curious to see if Salim could slay one. Our group that played The Emerald Spire almost TPKed to a pair of Imentesh on Sutter's level! (Go to Page 47 of The Emerald Spire Project if any of you are so inclined.)

The Maelstrom is so different from Axis - different from everywhere else really, and I should've figured it out as soon as Salim started finding the random items scattered around the site where the soul was taken, but having a protean slip into Axis to stir up trouble like that was amazing. Who would guess that a creature of chaos was the could be a suspect of a crime on the plane of law with all those axiomites around? Brilliant.

Silver Crusade

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"This orange offends me."

Probably my favorite line in the book.

Apologies for mumy abscence, double shifts SUCK. Trying to get caught up now.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Rysky wrote:

"This orange offends me."

Probably my favorite line in the book.

Apologies for mumy abscence, double shifts SUCK. Trying to get caught up now.

I'm a fan of Akhom Qali, he's definitely got style and I hope we see more of him, and "Farik!" (But the imentesh is still my favorite.)

Silver Crusade

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Darkborn wrote:
Rysky wrote:

"This orange offends me."

Probably my favorite line in the book.

Apologies for mumy abscence, double shifts SUCK. Trying to get caught up now.

I'm a fan of Akhom Qali, he's definitely got style and I hope we see more of him, and "Farik!" (But the imentesh is still my favorite.)

I couldn't stop picturing him as the Sultan from Aladdin :3

... So Khoyar=Jafar?

And yes, Proteans are awesome, though this book made me like Inevitables a little bit more as well.

Managing Editor

Rysky wrote:

And yes, Proteans are awesome, though this book made me like Inevitables a little bit more as well.

Inevitables don't put a lot of energy into their public relations.


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There used to be a publicity inevitable race, but they all turned chaotic evil remarkably fast.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Kajehase wrote:
There used to be a publicity inevitable race, but they all turned chaotic evil remarkably fast.

Which was inevitable. (I really tried to resist saying that - fail - so sorry.)

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

On that note, I hope everyone is poised to finish Death's Heretic by this Saturday. Also, get ready to vote on what we should read next. (I have The Redemption Engine ready to go for obvious reasons, but I'll leave that up to the majority.) Until then...

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Ah, Salim…it must’ve been hard to turn down Neila’s offer, but considering Salim’s last words to Khoyar and Faldus’ rejection of his resurrection, Neila should’ve known better than to tempt him in a manner contrary those actions. I’m curious to see if their paths will cross again, because they did make a good team (and a good couple) and if she does pursue a study in the arcane arts they’ll be even more effective together.

The epilogue left me with more curiosity about Ceyanan than I started with, after reading Faithful Servants. Aside from being Salim’s handler, who is he really? He’s no normal angel, and the bloody reaction of Salim (and only Salim) in his presence makes me wonder what he IS as well. Perhaps he's also a tormented soul with a call to action, like Salim…..

Silver Crusade

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And with that we learn the 4 Heretics of Death:

Salim, embittered immortal who hates the death goddess he serves.

Faldus, who sought the Sun Orchid Elixir.

Khoyar, who coveted immortality and turned his back on his religion and his goddess.

Shyka, who overcame time, and possibly Death herself.

Okies, time for last chapter roundups:

Chapter 15 - Rabbits in a Snare - Ugggh, stupid Lawful Stupid Paladins.

Chapter 16 - Whispers in the Dark - *begins drumroll*

Chapter 17 - The Priest-Hinter's Tale - And now we fully see an Inquisitor's rage, his self loathing, his sadness, his madness, and his motivation.

Chapter 18 - Movements Underground - Finally!

Chapter 19 - Friends in Need - Ain't no party like a fey party :3 and the hilariously awesome walking sexual harassment lawsuit that is Delini.

Chapter 20 - The First World - In a second read through I realized this trip must be quite arduous on Salim since he has do all that walking with a hard on. From personal experience let me tell you, doing long amounts of non-carnal physical exertion while rock hard? Not. Pleasant.

Chapter 21 - In the House of Death - Whelp, he got his wish. Temple of Pharasma be a burnin like a funeral pyre.

Chapter 22 - Everything Forever - Forever alone... Maybe?

Epilogue - Ceyanan the Shepherd. Empyreal Lords protect and guide, Demon Lords seduce and destroy, and Psychopomp Ushers go around poking people with sticks.

Hmm speaking of, does Salim simply regenerate when he dies or does Ceyanan pop in and cast True Resurrection on him?

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Rysky wrote:
Hmm speaking of, does Salim simply regenerate when he dies or does Ceyanan pop in and cast True Resurrection on him?

I was wondering the same exact thing! Since learning Salim is 127 years old, a part of me was hoping Sutter would kill him just so we could see what happens and that is he actually is immortal. When he was defeated in battle to the point where he lost consciousness, I thought he might have died, but since it didn't go into all that after he woke up I dismissed that notion. Perhaps in The Redemption Engine he'll be killed and that question will finally be answered.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Let's take another week to finish reading and voting. The holidays were hectic and with the spring semester starting I'm low on time too so I don't expect everyone to drop what they're doing, but if there's anything else you want to add about Death's Heretic before we move on the floor is yours...

Managing Editor

I know I shouldn't barge in, but since it looks like folks are almost done, I wanted to ask...

*Who were your favorite characters?

*What was your favorite scene?

I rarely get a chance to ask readers questions directly, and I'm really curious. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:

I know I shouldn't barge in, but since it looks like folks are almost done, I wanted to ask...

*Who were your favorite characters?

*What was your favorite scene?

I rarely get a chance to ask readers questions directly, and I'm really curious. :)

Delini! As a creature of baser appetites I always enjoy having randy fey around! Well moreso I think I like his lines and the scenes that accompany him as much as I like the character.

And when Salim and Neila finally made love was my favorite scene, so much catharsis.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

James Sutter wrote:

I know I shouldn't barge in, but since it looks like folks are almost done, I wanted to ask...

*Who were your favorite characters?

*What was your favorite scene?

I rarely get a chance to ask readers questions directly, and I'm really curious. :)

After Salim of course, Akhom Qali was my favorite character. Aside from the awesomeness of the aforementioned “orange” incident, his whole natural 20 Sense Motive check on Salim was more than brilliant, and his subsequent use of a confession as an alibi – normally an oxymoron – was bold to the point of being preposterous as he basically admitted to be a criminal that couldn’t be caught.

My favorite scene is still the Maelstrom encounter with the Protean, where the lawful Salim and Calabast (perhaps Neila too) are confronted by the embodiment of chaos IN the plane of chaos no less…it was almost as mind-numbing to process as a reader as it actually was to the characters. All the writhing an undulating of the Imentesh combined with its bewildering speech was so evocative and very few creatures of this magnitude and rarity have the essence of their being so aptly captured.

P.S. one can never barge in if one is always welcome.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Okay so as to not let things drag on let's start deciding on the bext book. My preferences right now are:

Prince of Wolves
The Redemption Engine
Winter Witch

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Rysky wrote:

Okay so as to not let things drag on let's start deciding on the bext book. My preferences right now are:

Prince of Wolves
The Redemption Engine
Winter Witch

I'm all for The Redemption Engine!

Anyone else?

Managing Editor

Thanks so much for the comments, folks! In addition to sating my curiosity, it's actually *really* useful for me to see which parts of my books folks connect with most. :)


I liked the book, though I really loathed the fae. I mean the Satyr's constant implication of sexual assault made me want to put a cold iron bullet in his forehead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry if the Paizo book club was meant for certain people. I really love the idea and would like participate - if it's an error for me to chime in, just me know (I would also like to see discussion of the Redemption Engine next).

I would echo the appreciation for Delani - he was the first character that felt "normal", odd as that sounds. He wasn't so extreme like the Jackal and the Half-Elf, and he wasn't reserved or posturing or obsessed with position and titles. And more importantly, the moment that he does overstep his bounds, we're shown him getting taken down a peg (or several). Him getting called on his s~&! really endeared him to me, on top of the (imo legitimate) grievance of the fey.

My favorite scene was, hands down, the encounter with the Protean (while an inevitable was there as well, no less!). Previously I'd only viewed proteans as stupid, crazy, idiot-wurms that just floated around and were weird! Quirky! That scene breathed more life into them than anything else I'd seen anywhere, ever. It was really, really cool and I'll remember it for a long time.

If I could add one character that really frustrated me, it was Neila. I commented elsewhere, I think, that she doesn't seem to have a lot of purpose in the book, aside from "generic love interest". I don't want to rag on a story I did enjoy (and I know people enjoyed her), but there were just enough times that I wanted to roll my eyes at her lack of... anything... beyond the role of "female companion that always has the right support option available for the main character" that by the end I... really did not feel that their parting was an emotional moment for either of them.

Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
xeose4 wrote:

Sorry if the Paizo book club was meant for certain people. I really love the idea and would like participate - if it's an error for me to chime in, just me know (I would also like to see discussion of the Redemption Engine next).

I would echo the appreciation for Delani - he was the first character that felt "normal", odd as that sounds. He wasn't so extreme like the Jackal and the Half-Elf, and he wasn't reserved or posturing or obsessed with position and titles. And more importantly, the moment that he does overstep his bounds, we're shown him getting taken down a peg (or several). Him getting called on his s@&# really endeared him to me, on top of the (imo legitimate) grievance of the fey.

My favorite scene was, hands down, the encounter with the Protean (while an inevitable was there as well, no less!). Previously I'd only viewed proteans as stupid, crazy, idiot-wurms that just floated around and were weird! Quirky! That scene breathed more life into them than anything else I'd seen anywhere, ever. It was really, really cool and I'll remember it for a long time.

If I could add one character that really frustrated me, it was Neila. I commented elsewhere, I think, that she doesn't seem to have a lot of purpose in the book, aside from "generic love interest". I don't want to rag on a story I did enjoy (and I know people enjoyed her), but there were just enough times that I wanted to roll my eyes at her lack of... anything... beyond the role of "female companion that always has the right support option available for the main character" that by the end I... really did not feel that their parting was an emotional moment for either of them.

If I have a single great regret about Death's Heretic, it's that we didn't get to see enough of what makes Neila a badass in her own right. If there's a third Salim book (and I hope there will be!), my plan is to bring Neila back so she and Salim can interact more as equal partners (by which I mean probably get on each other's nerves terribly :).

She's been doing some interesting things since the events of Death's Heretic...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
xeose4 wrote:

Sorry if the Paizo book club was meant for certain people. I really love the idea and would like participate - if it's an error for me to chime in, just me know (I would also like to see discussion of the Redemption Engine next).

I would echo the appreciation for Delani - he was the first character that felt "normal", odd as that sounds. He wasn't so extreme like the Jackal and the Half-Elf, and he wasn't reserved or posturing or obsessed with position and titles. And more importantly, the moment that he does overstep his bounds, we're shown him getting taken down a peg (or several). Him getting called on his s@&# really endeared him to me, on top of the (imo legitimate) grievance of the fey.

My favorite scene was, hands down, the encounter with the Protean (while an inevitable was there as well, no less!). Previously I'd only viewed proteans as stupid, crazy, idiot-wurms that just floated around and were weird! Quirky! That scene breathed more life into them than anything else I'd seen anywhere, ever. It was really, really cool and I'll remember it for a long time.

If I could add one character that really frustrated me, it was Neila. I commented elsewhere, I think, that she doesn't seem to have a lot of purpose in the book, aside from "generic love interest". I don't want to rag on a story I did enjoy (and I know people enjoyed her), but there were just enough times that I wanted to roll my eyes at her lack of... anything... beyond the role of "female companion that always has the right support option available for the main character" that by the end I... really did not feel that their parting was an emotional moment for either of them.

If I have a single great regret about Death's Heretic, it's that we didn't get to see enough of what makes Neila a badass in her own right. If there's a third Salim book (and I hope there will be!), my plan is to bring Neila back so she and Salim can interact more as equal partners (by which I mean probably get on each other's nerves terribly :).

She's been doing some interesting things since the events of Death's Heretic...

O.O

SQQQQQQQQQQQQQUUUUUUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

But no the book club is not private, anyone can chime in! Please do so!

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