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JoelF847 wrote:

With all this talk of sharing/borrowing each others characters, would you be interested in a Thieves' World style anthology set in Absalom where you liberally used each others characters? It probably couldn't work with established protagonists from novels, but if they were characters who were only used in the anthologies, it wouldn't interfere with plots for novels.

I don't think I'd try to get into the head of any of the PFT authors' characters. I've had to do that writing for other publishers, and it's a rough business. Then there's the issue of getting it wrong and offending someone... No, I'm with Liane here. I'd wimp out.

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
Have any of you ever tried to actually play any of your Tales characters in a Pathfinder game with other people? Or at the very least, made a character sheet for that character?

Kind of a reverse to this question...

Have you ever turned a RPG character of yours into one of your characters in a novel?

Yes. Care to guess which novel of mine is based on a campaign I GM'd? Not one of the PFT novels...

Oh, and I wouldn't recommend it. Major pain...

Contributor

Subparhiggins wrote:

Do any of you have a favorite class in the RPG you like to portray in your writing?

Or do you find yourselves making a lot of characters of one class more than others?

How much do you keep a characters class in mind while writing, if at all? Do you ever find this constraining?

I like magic, especially sorcerers, and I'm fond of rogues and assassins. Magically enhanced assassins is a concept I've based a whole trilogy on. Great fun. As Laine and James have said, magic is a two edged sword in writing the PFS novels. Too much and you risk breaking your story, too little and it's not in the world enough. Walking that line is difficult, especially with successive novels involving the same characters, because you always want to up the ante. Taking a character sideways (picking up a level in a new magical class) is one way to make things fun but not overpower your story.

I keep class in mind with casters, definitely, but less so with the martial classes unless there are special conditions. It is constraining, but in a good way, I think. World building and character building in your own setting is a *very* complicated issue. In PFS the world is set, and the limits are placed on your characters by the conventions of the game. In some ways, this makes things much easier.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

How do you all approach the Christmas tree effect?

It seems to me that PFTales protagonists don't continually "upgrade" equipment, nor are they festooned with trinkets - rather they each have one or two significant items. This is very much to my tastes, however it doesn't really seem true to Pathfinder's spirit. Are the minor items all there in the background, just not emphasised perhaps?

Other than potions and scrolls that I can't imagine any self respecting adventurer being without, I tend to shy away from powerful items. Arms and armor, yes, and my characters don't shy when spending their booty when the need arises. In Pirate's Promise I play a bit with weaponry improvements for ballistae that greatly increase effectiveness and versatility. My characters aren't super rich, either, and toys cost money, right. I always try to keep their spending in line with how much they have taken in.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Chris A Jackson wrote:
I like magic, especially sorcerers,

Ah. I was wondering why Vreva was a sorcerer and not, say, a bard.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Inspired by Winter Witch, but a question for everyone:
How do you deal with power creep?

Specifically, there is a tendency for characters in continuing series to grow in power (as they overcome the core conflict in each tale) to the point where it eventually becomes difficult to significantly challenge them. Especially in a shared setting series like Pathfinder Tales where real world threatening events are going to have repercussions that are outside of the scope of the novel line.

Executive Editor

Jeremy Corff wrote:

Inspired by Winter Witch, but a question for everyone:

How do you deal with power creep?

Specifically, there is a tendency for characters in continuing series to grow in power (as they overcome the core conflict in each tale) to the point where it eventually becomes difficult to significantly challenge them. Especially in a shared setting series like Pathfinder Tales where real world threatening events are going to have repercussions that are outside of the scope of the novel line.

Very, very carefully. It's honestly one of the trickiest aspects of a series.

Of course, I get to send my character to the planes, where there's *always* someone more badass than him around the next corner. :)

Dark Archive Contributor

Back when Elaine and I briefly entertained the notion of a sequel to Winter Witch, one of our most agreed-upon goals was to deal with the problem of Declan's seemingly limitless power.

With Radovan & the Count, especially starting in Master of Devils, I just made sure the boys were always heading toward a conflict with things they could never defeat on their own. They needed allies, information, and other advantages before they'd have a hope of surviving, much less prevailing.

Back in the heyday of 2nd Edition AD&D, one of my favorite module designers was the late Rick Swan. He gradually escalated the adversaries in both power and realism from, say, "brigands" to "orcs on wyverns" to "giant floating head with laser eyes." This progression wasn't unique to Swan, but it was crystal clear in his work.

For Pathfinder novels, I've always thought that was a good template: Start with the more realistic, less powerful environment and gradually reveal a more dangerous world of powerful monsters and magic. And, since every novel (so far) has started in a new location, the types of foes and thus the nature of allies, knowledge, and other advantages they require differ.

Of course, Radovan & the Count go through a lot of changes, sometimes acquiring different abilities or losing levels. There are lots of ways to keep them at a moderate "default level" of power while letting their experiences change them both in story terms and, invisibly (I hope), in game terms.

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Jeremy Corff wrote:
How do you deal with power creep?

Flippant answer first: by dumping my characters after every story and using different protagonists for the next one. ;)

More serious answer: One of the big advantages of writing for a game system, I feel, is that the rules already provide you with a bunch of options for playing rock-paper-scissors with your protagonists. All the tools available to an inventive and sadistic GM are equally available to a novelist, and unlike PCs, your characters can't even complain about it. And they can't mutiny! They can't do anything but suffer!

*cackle*

*ahem*

Anyway, and this might just be my total delusion speaking (as usual), but I've never actually worried about running out of lethal threats for any of my characters. One idea I really wish I'd had myself was what Gary Kloster did in Firesoul, namely setting up recurring antagonists who could level along with the protagonists (genius!), but even without that, I haven't yet felt like the world was ever going to run low on horrible things to throw at protagonists.

What is really hard for me with recurring characters is keeping their emotional arcs interesting. Finding new ways for them to grow and change, while also staying true to their original selves and active as adventurers (and people whose adventures anybody would want to read about)... that's much more difficult for me.


Jeremy Corff wrote:

Inspired by Winter Witch, but a question for everyone:

How do you deal with power creep?

Specifically, there is a tendency for characters in continuing series to grow in power (as they overcome the core conflict in each tale) to the point where it eventually becomes difficult to significantly challenge them.

For one, my heroine is her own biggest threat. Jendara is a really rash person. Sure, she's becoming a better fighter all the time, but she's still prone to making terrible, unsafe decisions.

Also, my greatest love is creating challenging settings. Sure, it's no longer a big deal for Jendara to fight a troll or a giant -- when she's in reasonable territory. What if she can't see? What if she's hallucinating? What if there's a landslide going on? As a writer, you can always find a way to make things much, much harder for you characters.

Actually, it's kind of disturbing how much I enjoy doing it!

Contributor

Jeremy Corff wrote:

Inspired by Winter Witch, but a question for everyone:

How do you deal with power creep?

Specifically, there is a tendency for characters in continuing series to grow in power (as they overcome the core conflict in each tale) to the point where it eventually becomes difficult to significantly challenge them. Especially in a shared setting series like Pathfinder Tales where real world threatening events are going to have repercussions that are outside of the scope of the novel line.

First the snarky answer: There is always something bigger out there that thinks you might be tasty.

Secondly, don't let your characters advance very quickly. Keep them at that reasonably vulnerable stage. Also, there is a serious "Crit Happens" factor when you are writing fiction versus playing the game. You have to let real world elements invade your writing. In a real world fight, there are a lot more seriously damaging injuries. A single well-placed arrow can kill a person, right? It might cause a really serious gamer to cringe, but we have to walk a tightrope between game and believability in a "I'm going to suspend your disbelief by showing you the game with a bit of RL mixed in" way.

Or, at least that's what I try to do...


Is there any one monster, or monster type, in Pathfinder that you would love to incorporate into a future story as either the main villain, or primary antagonists?

Dark Archive Contributor

Subparhiggins wrote:
Is there any one monster, or monster type, in Pathfinder that you would love to incorporate into a future story as either the main villain, or primary antagonists?

Yes.


Dave Gross wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
Is there any one monster, or monster type, in Pathfinder that you would love to incorporate into a future story as either the main villain, or primary antagonists?
Yes.

I'm guessing, you're not going to say what?

I'll amend that question to: what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

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Subparhiggins wrote:
what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

It is really hard to answer this one without getting all spoilery and spoiler-ful, which I imagine is true for most of us in this thread. Our favorite monsters are the ones we want to write about, and therefore probably have projects planned around. ;)

But I'll take a stab at it anyway because sure why not.

Aberrations: Fun! You get to use all kinds of wacky creepy mutated monster effects and incomprehensible inhuman horrors.

Animals: Fun! You get to Show Your Research and talk about ecosystems and natural behaviors and how that grounds your setting in realism and shapes the people who live there (or don't).

Constructs: Fun! You get to talk about the super cool magic users who created these things and what they chose to build into their constructs and why. Style and decoration choices can say a lot about the originating culture, the materials available, and the priorities of the creators.

Dragons: Fun! Also slightly intimidating. Dragons are so much the classic monster and embodiment of the genre that I love seeing them and hesitate to use them because I'm not sure I can do justice to their terror and majesty. But someday. Someday I'll get there.

Fey: Fun! Eldritch and creepy and magical in the old, dark fairytale sense. I love using fey for lower-magic stories in particular, so you can really play up the profundity of their magic and strangeness.

Humanoids: People make excellent monsters, it's true. :)

Magical Beasts: See "animals," above. Tack on imaginative flourishes for fantasy ecosystems. Logic + magic = a tricky balancing act, but tremendous fun when you can get the pieces to click together just right and an unreal world takes on that perfect illusion of existence.

Monstrous Humanoids: It is also true that monsters make excellent people. :)

Oozes: In another thread I posed the challenge "write a story about an ooze." I still think it's a pretty good challenge. Sometimes it's nice to tackle those just to stretch your imaginative muscles and challenge yourself to get better. I probably wouldn't do it more than a couple of times, though. After that I think it would start to get weird. "Why is that lady so obsessed with homicidal jello?"

Outsiders: Fun! And tricky. I do like trying to portray the profound inhumanity and alien perspectives of creatures who are so different from people and hold absolute alignments, but finding ways of doing this while also rendering them as three-dimensional characters with believable motivations is sometimes a challenge.

On the other hand you also get to use cool special effects and attacks, which is always a winner in my book.

Plants: Okay fine here is a category of monster that I don't actually like that much. We found one! This is it.

Undead: So much fun. SO MUCH FUN. All the special effects and horror and malevolence you could possibly ask for. Wheee!!

Vermin: Scroll back up to top, combine "aberration" and "animal," this is what you get. Lots of fun, but I think in practice I don't actually use the strictly defined category all that often, since most of my nominal "vermin" would actually get classed under "aberration" or "magical beast." Power creep in action right there, is what that is.


Liane Merciel wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

{. . .}

Humanoids: People make excellent monsters, it's true. :)
{. . .}
Monstrous Humanoids: It is also true that monsters make excellent people. :)

Now I want to see a story in which a Monstrous Humanoid actually turns out to be a decent person . . .

Liane Merciel wrote:
Oozes:In another thread I posed the challenge "write a story about an ooze." I still think it's a pretty good challenge. Sometimes it's nice to tackle those just to stretch your imaginative muscles and challenge yourself to get better. I probably wouldn't do it more than a couple of times, though. After that I think it would start to get weird. "Why is that lady so obsessed with homicidal jello?"

From the thread about Things a DM can put in a Dungeon to Totally Mess with Players: Find a way to get a gazebo into a Gelatinous Cube (and the floating Skeleton is good too).


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I know one of the things that makes Setting books interesting to me are the story hooks given to various places and factions. I see something like the Valley of the Birthing Death (Land of the Linnorm Kings) or Skywatch (Brevoy - Inner Sea World Guide) and can't help but think of the stories hinted at in the description.

Do you as authors have moments like that with the setting, or do you prefer to do all your world building on your own?


This question goes more to Dave Gross but i welcome anyone with a good theory.

What is Burning Cloud Devil? The only thing i can definitely tell about him is that he's human.

Contributor

Subparhiggins wrote:
Dave Gross wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
Is there any one monster, or monster type, in Pathfinder that you would love to incorporate into a future story as either the main villain, or primary antagonists?
Yes.

I'm guessing, you're not going to say what?

I'll amend that question to: what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

This is difficult because I've got so much in the works right now, and I don't want to spoil anything.

Most of my true antagonists are humanoids, but there will be some big baddies coming your way soon. Writing nautical tales, I like to delve the lesser seen deep sea monsters. I'd love to get into the entire Aboleth thing, but that's a can of worms I'm not quite cleared to open yet. I'd also love to dive into the Hold of Belkzen. There is much to explore in orc culture, personalities, rituals, etc. I tend to steer away from dragons because they are so hyper intelligent and complicated. I've also been thinking about Nagas a lot, and what strange cultures they might have... Does Celeste have relatives? What might a city of Lunar Nagas look like?

Dark Archive Contributor

Subparhiggins wrote:
Dave Gross wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
Is there any one monster, or monster type, in Pathfinder that you would love to incorporate into a future story as either the main villain, or primary antagonists?
Yes.

I'm guessing, you're not going to say what?

I'll amend that question to: what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

While I was making a little joke, I was also declining to spoil the nature of the antagonists in Lord of Runes. Since there's one on the cover, and two have appeared in previous books, I think it's safe to say I'm a big fan of dragons, especially very powerful ones with whom you can have a chat before dinner.

Dark Archive Contributor

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leo1925 wrote:

This question goes more to Dave Gross but i welcome anyone with a good theory.

What is Burning Cloud Devil? The only thing i can definitely tell about him is that he's human.

While I never finished his character sheet except for spells and ability scores, I sketched out BCD as a ridiculously high-level monk/sorcerer. If the mythic rules had existed at the time, I'd have made him mythic for sure. He's one of several antagonists way above the boys' pay grade.


Dave Gross wrote:
leo1925 wrote:

This question goes more to Dave Gross but i welcome anyone with a good theory.

What is Burning Cloud Devil? The only thing i can definitely tell about him is that he's human.

While I never finished his character sheet except for spells and ability scores, I sketched out BCD as a ridiculously high-level monk/sorcerer. If the mythic rules had existed at the time, I'd have made him mythic for sure. He's one of several antagonists way above the boys' pay grade.

By ridiculously high-level monk/sorcerer you mean beyond 20, correct?

Because, when i was trying to stat him (you know for fun), the closest thing i could go for was a 15+ level gestalt monk and infernal sorcerer.

Dark Archive Contributor

Yes, way beyond 20. Way, way beyond.

Dark Archive

Dave Gross wrote:
As with so many boys of my generation, Zelazny was the galvanizing figure for me. Tolkien, Howard, Bradbury, Stewart, Leiber, LeGuin, and McKillip were also instrumental in shifting my primary affections from SF to fantasy.

Ooh, what's your favorite Zelazny? The pure fantasy of The Changing Land/Dilvish the Damned, or when he mixes it up with the sci-fi in Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, etc.?

Walter Jon Williams, more a cyberpunk writer in his first outing, has a very strong 'Zelazny feel' to him in books like Knight Moves and Aristoi. (They might have met collaborating on the Wild Cards stuff.)

Anywho, other question for anyone; <-ignore misused semicolon

Apart from fantasy, what other genres would you like to write? Sci-fi? Romance? Horror? Historical fiction? Spy thrillers?

Dark Archive Contributor

The Zelazny I most admire is probably Lord of Light, although there are a lot of contenders. A bunch of my local friends pooled resources to buy me the NESFA Collected Short Stories for my birthday last year. I plan to continue working my way through them this summer beside our pond, which leveled up last summer.

But my favorite Zelazny is probably still Nine Princes in Amber, since that's where I started and because I love his version of the amnesiac opening. A Night in the Lonesome October is a sentimental favorite because it pushes so many of my nostalgia buttons.

I'm pretty sure Walter was a friend of Roger's. I'm sure they knew each other.

SF was my fandom before fantasy enticed me away. I still love it, although I seldom find a good SF novel that knocks me out the way it used to do when I was 12. I'm also still a fan of horror, with the same caveat. My current project includes elements of horror, and it's certainly informed by historical fiction, which I love. I'm a big fan of Alan Furst's spy thrillers, but I don't see myself attempting one.

Of course, the moment I write that, I start to think of it as a challenge.

Romance works for me on rare occasion. I had a brief A.S. Byatt phase, perhaps lured by the literary angle. Stereotypical romances do nothing for me, but if you connect one to another genre or just write it so well that critics hesitate to call it romance, I'm interested.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Now I want to see a story in which a Monstrous Humanoid actually turns out to be a decent person . . .

There have been a couple that come close. Celeste, obviously (although I guess technically she's an aberration), and a lot of the lesser characters that Salim encounters, although I don't recall offhand whether they actually fall into the Monstrous Humanoid category.

But yeah, I agree. One of the central questions that I keep coming back to in writing for the Tales line is the idea of what it means to be "human" in this world, and how "humanity" is defined, and ways in which you can gain or lose that identity. By no means is that a new idea in fiction, but you rarely get to make it quite so literal as you do in Pathfinder, so I tend to have a lot of fun playing around with different permutations of that concept.

Quote:
Apart from fantasy, what other genres would you like to write? Sci-fi? Romance? Horror? Historical fiction? Spy thrillers?

Honestly, I only really like writing fantasy. I love reading in other genres -- it's fun and useful to see how other authors approach various storytelling problems and what tropes are common in their fields -- but when it comes to things that I personally want to write, and like writing enough to sustain for the full length of a novel, it's just fantasy for me.

The reason, in large part, is because you can put all those other genres into fantasy. You can have spy fantasies and romantic fantasies and horror fantasies (such as, uh, everything I've ever done, pretty much). But you can't put magic in any of those other genres without shifting it over to speculative fiction of one stripe or another.

If I absolutely had to write another genre I'd take a stab at romance. Mostly because I'm completely terrible at it and could use the focused practice. (Romance is really really hard guys. HARD. What Joanna Bourne and Courtney Milan make so delightfully effortless-looking is, in fact, an incredibly difficult feat.) But if nobody's got a gun to my head then yeah I'm sticking with fantasy.

Dark Archive

Liane Merciel wrote:
The reason, in large part, is because you can put all those other genres into fantasy. You can have spy fantasies and romantic fantasies and horror fantasies (such as, uh, everything I've ever done, pretty much). But you can't put magic in any of those other genres without shifting it over to speculative fiction of one stripe or another.

I was just thinking that as I was typing that question, that half the stuff I was listing you do in a fantasy story anyway!

Contributor

Jeremy Corff wrote:
Do you as authors have moments like that with the setting, or do you prefer to do all your world building on your own?

I absolutely have those moments. There are so many inspirations sprinkled among the source guides that it's hard to read a single page of just about any of them and not come away with four or five possible stories. :)

The tricky part (for me, at least) is trying not to fall too much in love with a story that you won't end up getting to write. Part of working in a shared world is that there are lots of other people playing in various corners of the sandbox, and maybe somebody else has plans for that little piece of game lore, or is developing a different part of the world in parallel to what you wanted to do. Independent worldbuilding doesn't remove that risk, but does tend to reduce it.

Like everything else, it's a balancing act. Ideas have to be rooted in the world (which means, in part, pulling inspiration from the sourcebooks) but also have to be reasonably unique and inventive and hopefully not too similar to what someone else is working on.

Dark Archive Contributor

Jeremy Corff wrote:

I know one of the things that makes Setting books interesting to me are the story hooks given to various places and factions. I see something like the Valley of the Birthing Death (Land of the Linnorm Kings) or Skywatch (Brevoy - Inner Sea World Guide) and can't help but think of the stories hinted at in the description.

Do you as authors have moments like that with the setting, or do you prefer to do all your world building on your own?

Absolutely I have those moments.

With the exception of Master of Devils, in which I wrote the novel before the setting material existed, the outline for all the Radovan & the Count novels has begun with a simple idea of the conflict. Once that thumbnail gets approved, I dive deep into the setting for a detailed outline.

Usually the working outline is open in one window, the map in another, and several tabs worth of sourcebooks in a third. I usually know the starting and ending locations from the start. With those in mind, I scan the map for locations in between. First I pick those that have a relationship to the conflict and/or offer an opportunity for character development. Then I add those that seem logical for the plot, but mostly I'm looking for the sites that most pique my interest and for which I can find some connection to the story and characters.


Set wrote:

Apart from fantasy, what other genres would you like to write? Sci-fi? Romance? Horror? Historical fiction? Spy thrillers?

I'm currently working on a SF novel, but a big chunk of my short fiction is horror. I do most of my work in those fields, really--Pathfinder is the only fantasy that's been holding my attention lately.

My favorite genre to read, though, is mystery. I'd really like to write a nice tight mystery set in Golarion some time. Maybe one of those cozy ones with the recipes and the cats. ;)


Something I just noticed from earlier --

Liane Merciel wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

{. . .}

Animals: Fun! You get to Show Your Research and talk about ecosystems and natural behaviors and how that grounds your setting in realism and shapes the people who live there (or don't).
{. . .}

D&D and Pathfinder don't give enough credit to Animals. Intelligence <=2 and Charisma in the single digits? Not if you've had a dog that was like part of the family, or met a dog who knew how to open doors and also knew how to make you feel REALLY BAD after you followed his owners' explicit orders not to let him into the guest room . . . .

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It is true, my dog Pongu has an Intelligence way better than 2.

Wis... maybe not so much.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Now I want to see a story in which a Monstrous Humanoid actually turns out to be a decent person . . .

Check out Song of the Serpent. My favorite character in the book is Skanderbrog the Troll. He is an EXCEPTIONAL troll.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

My opinion on Songs of the Serpent is...mixed, but I agree that Skanderbrog was a great character.

Executive Editor

Jeremy Corff wrote:

I know one of the things that makes Setting books interesting to me are the story hooks given to various places and factions. I see something like the Valley of the Birthing Death (Land of the Linnorm Kings) or Skywatch (Brevoy - Inner Sea World Guide) and can't help but think of the stories hinted at in the description.

Do you as authors have moments like that with the setting, or do you prefer to do all your world building on your own?

All the time. "Where do they get to go?" is as important a question to me as "Who are my characters?" when I'm in the early stages of planning a book. For better or for worse, a lot of my plots start out as "What story could possibly take them to X, Y, *and* Z?" I'm sort of a glutton in that regard, and fleshing out favorite locations only briefly mentioned in the setting material is the best part of writing tie-in. :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Nothing wrong with that. I call it the 'space tourist' school of writing.

Dark Archive

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
D&D and Pathfinder don't give enough credit to Animals. Intelligence <=2 and Charisma in the single digits? Not if you've had a dog that was like part of the family, or met a dog who knew how to open doors and also knew how to make you feel REALLY BAD after you followed his owners' explicit orders not to let him into the guest room . . . .

In addition to dogs, cats, bulls, snakes, etc. even 'mindless' vermin in the real world have Intimidate ranks! (I've seen spiders chase people down a hall, for real, size penalty be hanged!)

Dark Archive Contributor

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Something I just noticed from earlier --

Liane Merciel wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
what is your favorite monster or monster type (such as devils/dragons/etc) in Golarion? And what about them appeals to you, and why?

{. . .}

Animals: Fun! You get to Show Your Research and talk about ecosystems and natural behaviors and how that grounds your setting in realism and shapes the people who live there (or don't).
{. . .}

D&D and Pathfinder don't give enough credit to Animals. Intelligence <=2 and Charisma in the single digits? Not if you've had a dog that was like part of the family, or met a dog who knew how to open doors and also knew how to make you feel REALLY BAD after you followed his owners' explicit orders not to let him into the guest room . . . .

Clearly, you haven't read the Radovan & the Count novels, which some argue should be called the Radovan & the Count & Arnisant novels. :)

Contributor

Set wrote:


Ooh, what's your favorite Zelazny? The pure fantasy of The Changing Land/Dilvish the Damned, or when he mixes it up with the sci-fi in Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, etc.?

Walter Jon Williams, more a cyberpunk writer in his first outing, has a very strong 'Zelazny feel' to him in books like Knight Moves and Aristoi. (They might have met collaborating on the Wild Cards stuff.)

Anywho, other question for anyone; <-ignore misused semicolon

Apart from fantasy, what other genres would you like to write? Sci-fi? Romance? Horror? Historical fiction? Spy thrillers?

I know I'm butting in, but Zelazny got mentioned, so… I must have read the original Chronicles of Amber 9 times or more, which is more than I've read any other book, even books I've scanned and edited. It was hugely important to my development as a writer.

I even sneaked in a reference to Corwin into Plague of Shadows, though I learned later I wasn't supposed to do that…

My first series (through Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's) was historical fiction. Some day I still dream of writing some space opera, but fantasy seems to be where I'm at.

Contributor

Liane Merciel wrote:


Actually, you know what my biggest "gamey" hangup is? Letting my spellcasters fly in battle. It's SUCH a standard tactic, and I do it constantly in games, but I never ever let them fly around in novels even when it doesn't make a ton of tactical sense for them to stay on the ground. And it is straight-up because I have a mental block in my head where it's just "NO THEY STAY ON THE GROUND, NO WIZARDS ZOOMING AROUND IN THE AIR, THAT IS FINAL."

I'm not going to change that, I'm just acknowledging it for the record. I know it's a blind spot. I don't care. ;)

I want to throw that question out for everybody else, though: what's YOUR biggest hangup for "gamey" things that you don't want to allow in your stories?

That's pretty interesting. Now that you mention it, flying spell casters seems like a really good way to keep them safe, and yet I can't think of a game I've run where my players did that.

Come to think of it, though, most of my players generally prefer fighters and thieves, or when magic users, like to be multi classed, so have fewer spells. Maybe they don't get high enough to have flying, or only think to use it for special situations.

Or maybe its because I prefer low magic situations and that even gets my players thinking that way. I generally downplay Elyana's Ranger magic. After the first half of Plague of Shadows I pretty much decided she was a Fighter multi classed with a Ranger, or she'd have to be throwing a lot more spells.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

D&D and Pathfinder don't give enough credit to Animals. Intelligence <=2 and Charisma in the single digits? Not if you've had a dog that was like part of the family, or met a dog who knew how to open doors and also knew how to make you feel REALLY BAD after you followed his owners' explicit orders not to let him into the guest room . . . .

I get into animal psychology a bit in Pirate's Promise, and will again in Pirate's Prophesy, but the animals are familiars, and therefore have enhanced intelligence. The thought processes, however, are very feline. I've owned cats for many years, and yes, they are true neutral, but cuddly. They are neutral cuddly. They have very high charisma and know it... Much fun writing them...

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Howard Andrew Jones wrote:
I generally downplay Elyana's Ranger magic. After the first half of Plague of Shadows I pretty much decided she was a Fighter multi classed with a Ranger, or she'd have to be throwing a lot more spells.

For what it's worth, I thought Elyanna's Ranger casting was right on target. A ranger doesn't really get many spells.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Actually, regarding Plague of Shadows - for a good portion of the book, I was convinced that the botanist-wizard (whose name currently escapes me) was Arcil is disguise. I was actually shocked when there wasn't a twist and Arcil had just been spying via magic.

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Ross Byers wrote:
Howard Andrew Jones wrote:
I generally downplay Elyana's Ranger magic. After the first half of Plague of Shadows I pretty much decided she was a Fighter multi classed with a Ranger, or she'd have to be throwing a lot more spells.
For what it's worth, I thought Elyanna's Ranger casting was right on target. A ranger doesn't really get many spells.

Thanks, Ross. I always thought the Ranger was an odd class. I get the "fighter versed in wilderness lore" business, but I never understood why that fighter should also have some magical abilities. I like some third-party versions of the Ranger I've seen where there are no spell casting abilities worked in.

In any case, with as many combat feats as Elyana has, I calculated that she'd have more spells that would be useful than we see her employing, so I could either have her cast more often (which I didn't want to do because I was more about her being a wilderness fighter than a spell caster) or have most of her levels in Fighter and a few more in Ranger.

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Ross Byers wrote:
Actually, regarding Plague of Shadows - for a good portion of the book, I was convinced that the botanist-wizard (whose name currently escapes me) was Arcil is disguise. I was actually shocked when there wasn't a twist and Arcil had just been spying via magic.

Hah! I hope that wasn't too disappointing. I also hope that the other twists worked for you.

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Chris A Jackson wrote:
I've owned cats for many years, and yes, they are true neutral, but cuddly. They are neutral cuddly. They have very high charisma and know it... Much fun writing them...

Well said, Chris. They're very self-sufficient except when they deign that you are to give them attention. One wonders how much loyalty most of them really have. I guess there's some, or the barn cat that adopted us wouldn't keep hanging around the property. Then again, she's such a friendly stray she's happy to see EVERYONE. So very different from our dogs.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Howard Andrew Jones wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Actually, regarding Plague of Shadows - for a good portion of the book, I was convinced that the botanist-wizard (whose name currently escapes me) was Arcil is disguise. I was actually shocked when there wasn't a twist and Arcil had just been spying via magic.
Hah! I hope that wasn't too disappointing. I also hope that the other twists worked for you.

I really enjoyed it. Was the 'old school' vibe to the flashback adventures deliberate? That is, I really got the feeling that the 'prequel' campaign was played in AD&D, while the 'present' was the sequel campaign for Pathfinder.

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Ross Byers wrote:


I really enjoyed it. Was the 'old school' vibe to the flashback adventures deliberate? That is, I really got the feeling that the 'prequel' campaign was played in AD&D, while the 'present' was the sequel campaign for Pathfinder.

Thank you.

The old school vibe wasn't deliberate, but now that I think of it, I'm not surprised. I have YEARS of old school fantasy gaming to draw on before I started playing Pathfinder, so it makes sense that it would color my fiction a little. It's interesting that you felt an AD&D vibe, because that's exactly what I played for many years. I suppose it's always going to be there as a subconscious influence...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

A question for the broader table - What is your philosophy when describing the process of using magic? Especially when it is the POV character who is using it?

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Ross Byers wrote:
Chris A Jackson wrote:
I like magic, especially sorcerers,
Ah. I was wondering why Vreva was a sorcerer and not, say, a bard.

You know, I never thought of making Vreva a bard... Huh.

Spoiler:
I really wanted a character with a familiar, and someone who could charm the socks (and other garments) off of the slavers. Disguise, invisibility, eavesdropping, and thought reading all seemed like invaluable spells for a spy to have.

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