Tag Archive | "pathfinder"

Flames

Victories, Setbacks, and Character-shading Moments: Robin D. Laws on Writing a Pathfinder Tales Novel

Posted on March 13, 2012 by

The Worldwound weeps. The living tower looms overhead. The demon Yath and his minions spread throughout the southern kingdoms. Trying times call for unlikely heroes. In The Worldwound Gambit by Robin D. Laws, the charismatic con-man Gad pulls together a band of roguish adventurers— caustic Jerisa, gentle Tiberio, haunted Calliard, pragmatic Vitta, and the mad fire magician Hendregan–to head north to face Yath and make the world safe for thieves and miscreants once again.

Heroic fantasy, mystery, horror, comedy, and dashes of swashbuckling romance… Laws wraps it all around a heist. Yes, dear reader, The Worldwound Gambit is a heist novel and it is glorious!

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Flames

Bloody-Handed Heroes: Howard Andrew Jones on Writing a Pathfinder Tales Novel

Posted on March 6, 2012 by

In Plague of Shadows by Howard Andrew Jones, the half-elf Elyana and her companions must race across the ravaged land of Galt, scale the Five Kings Mountains, and scour the Vale of Shadows for the cure that will save the cursed Lord Stelan.

Prepare yourself, for Plague of Shadows, dear reader, is fast-paced, sword-and-sorcery at its best.

“Friendship and loyalty lie at the heart of Plague of Shadows,” said Jones. “In whom can you really place your trust, and what does friendship really mean? Not that I’m ever on a soapbox about it. But loyalties, choices, and friendship drive the plot.”

In the short form or long, Jones has been praised frequently for his lightning quick pacing and irresistible plotting—pacing that does not sacrifice character development but depends upon it. Indeed, as Jones says below, “plot is character.”

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Flames

Beyond Her Goals: Elaine Cunningham on Writing a Pathfinder Novel

Posted on March 2, 2012 by

The Pathfinder Tales novel Winter Witch by Elaine Cunningham and Dave Gross tells the story of Declan, a magical mapmaker, and Ellasif, a diminutive barbarian from the Lands of the Linnorm Kinds.

“Some people are born knowing what they’re meant to be,” said Cunningham. “Ellasif is one of them, and from a very early age she was determined to become a fighter despite her apparent physical limitations.”

Together, Declan and Ellasif search for a missing child and in the process discover a lot about what it means to be a hero.

A veteran of shared world settings, Cunningham has written extensively in the Forgotten Realms. Her Realms work includes the Songs and Swords pentalogy, Starlight and Shadows trilogy, and the Counselors and Kings trilogy, as well as Evermeet: Island of Elves and City of Splendors: a Novel of Waterdeep (with Ed Greenwood). Her Realms stories were collected in The Best of the Realms, Book III: The Stories of Elaine Cunningham. She contributed Dark Journey to the New Jedi Order series set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

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Flames

From Selfless Warrior to Sinister Magician: Dave Gross on Writing Pathfinder Tales Novels, Part 2

Posted on February 27, 2012 by

Welcome to part two of our talk with Dave Gross. If you missed part one, you may want to go check out Part One first.

Dave Gross continues the adventures of half-elven Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan in Master of Devils. This time the oddly paired duo travel to the exotic land of Tian Xia, and Gross layers the storyline with a third narrative.

“Master of Devils is more about being trapped in a situation anathema to your desires,” said Gross. “What will it take to make you give up your pride or even your life?”

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Flames

Victories Aren’t Guaranteed: Dave Gross on Writing Pathfinder Novels, Part 1

Posted on February 21, 2012 by

A “half-breed” protagonist past his prime and his hellspawn bodyguard must find a missing Pathfinder before it is too late. Sczarni, werewolves, and a very weird witch woman… With Prince of Wolves the first novel in the Pathfinder Tales Line, Dave Gross captures the pulpy grandeur of Golarion without burying the characters under mountains of world-building.

“In Prince of Wolves,” said Gross, “one big question is, How can you find something you never lost? It’s about searching for the wrong thing, or realizing that you had it all along. It’s also about finding the unexpected.”

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Megan

Kobold Quarterly # 20 Review

Posted on January 23, 2012 by

As we have come to expect, a wealth of resources for fantasy games – what with archers (and arrows for them) heading up the character-based resources for players, adventures for GMs to run and ideas to help them hone their skills. The focus is on Pathfinder, but there is material for other rulesets (and much can be translated with little effort, provided you are reasonably familiar with the game mechanics of the system of your choice).

The Editorial introduces the issue focus on archery, with an account of how fictional archers inspired the editor, Wolfgang Baur, not only to play archer characters but to learn how to use a bow himself.

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Megan

Divine Favour: The Druid RPG Review

Posted on October 17, 2011 by

The Introduction begins with an overview of the Druid class – a divine spellcaster drawing on the limitless power of the natural world, and with Wisdom as his primary ability. Special abilities include Wildshape, the ability to change form; whilst druids need to concentrate on the things they are good at with their spells – controlling the natural environment, participating in combat and acting in concert with their animal companion. This page is illustrated with a delightful sketch of a Welsh Archdruid from the 18th century, a time when romantics tried to recreate ancient practices, something that led to the establishment of the Gorsedd and the Eisteddfod, something completely different from Druidism as practiced within a fantasy game!

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Megan

30 Haunts for Objects RPG Review

Posted on September 20, 2011 by

Haunts have been one of the most intriguing and (from my side of the GM’s screen, anyway) entertaining additions to the panoply of challenges to throw at characters… and here they take another novel yet classical twist: the haunt that is associated with an item rather than a location.

The work opens with a pseudo-scholarly account, the sort of thing you might cast before the more intellectual kind of adventurer to send them haring off into the horrors you have prepared for them. This leads in to the promised collection of some 30 haunted objects, by way of a note on persistent haunts, which can be a bit puzzling. As haunts duplicate spell effects whatever they do has a duration which can be ‘instantaneous’ or it can last for a set period.

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Flames

Dave Gross on Dark Fantasy in Kung Fu Movies

Posted on August 22, 2011 by

Dave Gross, author of Pathfinder and Forgotten Realms fiction, who Alana recently interviewed here at Flames Rising stopped by to tell us a little about how his favorite kung fu movies inspired his writing.

For inspiration in writing Master of Devils, the latest Pathfinder Tales novel, I steeped myself in dozens of kung fu movies. Some were straight-on martial arts stories from the heyday of the Shaw Brothers, while others were more recent blends of wuxia action with art-house photography. Among my favorites are the fantasy films of the 80s and 90s, many of which include a strong element of supernatural horror.

The first thing you need to know about kung fu movies is that any one of them can seem like five or six different movies crammed into one. Chinese screenwriters seldom stick to a single genre, so you’ll find elements of horror, romance, satire, political commentary, and even slapstick humor in what appears by the DVD cover to be a straight-up action film. Thus, when you’re looking for a “horror kung fu movie,” you shouldn’t expect a simple fright fest–although some of them have some great scary moments.

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alanajoli

An Interview with Pathfinder Author Dave Gross

Posted on August 9, 2011 by

Dave Gross is the former editor of gaming magazines including Polyhedron, Dungeon, Dragon, Star Wars Gamer, Star Wars Insider, and Amazing Stories. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also written fiction in a number of game worlds, including the Forgotten Realms and, most recently, Golarion, the home of the Pathfinder gaming system. His new novel, Master of Devils, releases later this month. Dave took time out of his busy schedule of writing and watching kung fu movies to chat with us about his upcoming release.

Flames Rising: You have an impressive history in editing for gaming magazines and anthologies, and a whole run of Forgotten Realms novels for Wizards of the Coast. What was the path that brought you to writing fiction for Pathfinder?

Dave Gross: In 2008 I visited the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary. It was mainly a social trip to catch up with some old friends. Two of them were also former colleagues from Paizo, Director of Sales Pierce Watters and Publisher Erik Mona. Erik mentioned his plans to start a Pathfinder Tales line and asked whether I’d be interested in contributing. Already I loved what I’d seen of Golarion.

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Megan

Book of Drakes RPG Review

Posted on July 5, 2011 by

Nothing quite as sweet as a miniature dragon, perhaps of a suitable size to hold in your arms like a pet… but drakes are not pets, but sentient beings in their own right, fascinating creatures to have around in your game. (I had to add ‘in your game’ lest I start to conjure fantasies of one coming in my back door…).

The Introduction talks about, despite – because of? – their iconic nature, how difficult it can be to actually have a DRAGON wandering around in your game. They’re big, they’re tough, and they tend to amass game-unbalancing amounts of treasure. Moreover, they’re supposed to be the creatures of myth and legend, not someone you meet down the pub for an ale and a few hints about the next adventure.

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Flames

Behind Plague of Shadows, a Pathfinder Novel

Posted on June 27, 2011 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of the Pathfinder novel Plague of Shadows. This novel, which was written by Howard Andrew Jones, is about a race against time set against a backdrop of treachery, magic and nightmares. Jones dives into the process of writing a tie-in novel with both feet. In his own words, you can read how this talented author came to be a part of the popular Pathfinder setting.

Round about the time James Sutter was given the greenlight to start up the new Pathfinder line word got around that I’d signed a two book contract with St. Martin’s Thomas Dunne Books for some Arabian fantasy swashbucklers. The first one, The Desert of Souls, was on its way through editorial when James contacted me to see if he could look at some writing samples. He must have liked what he saw, for he then asked me to shoot some proposals his way.

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Megan

Curse of the Golden Spear 1: The Gift Review

Posted on June 14, 2011 by

Plunging straight in, this adventure begins with a brief outline of this richly-detailed Japanese-inspired setting. In a neat twist, the characters too are seeing it for the first time, arriving as ‘gai-jin’ (the Japanese word for ‘foreigner’ although it’s a word with somewhat negative connotations) and seeing it with all the wonder of outsiders visiting a new and very different place, even as their players are finding out about a new setting.

Much of the discussion, though, is best kept for the GMs’ eyes. Unlikely to be common knowledge elsewhere, although it may be a topic of discussion in some academic and theological circles, life and death here, the state of the souls of both the living and the dead, is somewhat unusual. Reincarnation gone mad, shall we say, and leave characters to discover it for themselves as they begin to piece together what is going on. Japanese-inspired this setting may be, but it draws on the darker side, on the tales that are told, that create a setting filled with oriental horror.

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Megan

30 Haunts for Houses (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on May 17, 2011 by

Taking a new tack for Rite Publishing’s “30” series, this work looks not at items that you might find but a specific type of threat that you might encounter – the haunt. Indeed, not just any old haunts but those which have, for whatever reason, chosen to manifest in a house.

The product opens with an overview of haunts, which were introduced in Paizo’s GameMastery Guide – if you intend to make extensive use of haunts you may find a copy useful. Basically, haunts can develop in a location in which living creatures suffered in some way, and can be accompanied by undead. Despite having hit points and assorted capabilities, they can be thought of more as an atmosphere, an area in which effects are caused, than as actual beings in their own right. (I’m sure learned clerics and mages could argue for hours over that one!). They can only be removed from their location by performance of specific acts, based on the reasons why the haunt is there in the first place, although they can be damaged or negated such that they go away… but only for a while, they’ll manifest again later.

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Megan

Northlands (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on May 9, 2011 by

Jumping right in, the first chapter – Riddles of Steel: Roleplaying in the Frozen North – explains what’s so special, what’s so different about games set in harsh northern areas inspired by Norseland sagas and Viking lore. The familiar cod-mediaeval or renaissance fantasy civilisations of the majority of games is replaced with a bloodier and darker mindset, never mind that the place tends to be darn cold as well! Vicious monsters abound, and those which walk on two legs live life to the full in conditions that others may see as primitive, certainly more self-sufficient than their neighbours to the south.

But it’s not just a lack of urban luxury, guards to protect you from thieves and villains, and lower temperatures: the whole mind-set is different, and to get the most out of such a setting both GM and players – particularly those whose characters are native to it – will need to start thinking in a different way.

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Megan

Advanced Feats: The Inquisitor’s Edge (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on April 26, 2011 by

This work starts with an overview of the inquisitor, quite a talented chap with plenty of options. Pity the first paragraph repeats itself, perhaps we should send an inquisitor after the proof-reader!

So who is this inquisitor anyway? A potent mix of religious devotee, spy, investigator and hunter (of people rather than dinner): a bit self-serving in the way his powers generally serve to enhance himself rather than the group he is in, but at least he can claim it’s all to the glory of whatever deity he reveres! The special ability of ‘Judgement’ is both powerful and versatile, depending on what judgement is pronounced, and this is coupled with a reasonable number of skills and the ability to cast divine spells.

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Flames

Northlands Sourcebook Now Available for Pathfinder RPG

Posted on April 19, 2011 by

Northlands is a Pathfinder-compatible sourcebook for adventuring in the frozen north. Learn Rune magic, explore the Reaver’s Coast and Hyperborea, and wield the sword of Loki himself.

Designer Dan Voyce has opened up new and dazzling vistas for role-playing in the frozen north. The book begins with a concise but detailed overview of northern life, society, morality, religion, traditions and law. The major gods and their demands on mortals are described, as well as dueling, hospitality, outlawry, slavery, and relations between the various humanoid races.

More than description, Northlands is about ACTION! Characters can raid the coasts; explore the magic-rich realm of the giants; enter savage kingdoms ruled by bears and wolves; or journey to the top of the world itself to retrieve the shoggoth-guarded flotsam and jetsam of alien shores.

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Megan

Antipaladins (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on April 14, 2011 by

Archtypical bad guys, the evil counterpart to that goody-two-shoes the Paladin… but don’t feel sorry for the seven to be found in these pages, as plenty of love has been lavished on developing them into well-rounded villains all ready to give any good-aligned party a run for their money.

Just as a paladin is a shining example of devotion to his deity, so is the antipaladin. The difference is the nature of the deity that the antipaladin venerates and serves… and often, the precise way in which he serves and what he does in the course of such service. Even they probably see the ‘evil’ in what they do, in what they are working towards – it’s certainly clear to the rest of us – and yet they press on, often motivated by selfish ends like personal power and other rewards, rather than pure love for their deity.

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Flames

Open Design’s 5th Anniversary Sale

Posted on March 19, 2011 by

Sunday, March 20 marks the fifth anniversary of Open Design, a game company run under the patronage business model where gamers themselves can be a part of the design process. Here’s the blog post that started at all.

To celebrate 5 years, Open Design is running a sale at the KQ Store from Friday, March 18 through Thursday Mar 24. Our Kobold-in-Chief Wolfgang Baur says, “This sale is my way of thanking all of you for your support over the past five years. By definition, Open Design could only succeed with your participation. So to all the patrons who helped create our sourcebooks and adventures, and the folks who bought the finished products…thank you very, very much for this wonderful five-year ride. I look forward to continuing on with you to our glorious 10-year mark.”

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Megan

Visions of the Oracle (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on March 4, 2011 by

What is more mysterious than an Oracle? It is the turn of the Oracle character class to come under the microscope: no mere list of feats but a detailed look at the potentials and options available to players who fancy being an Oracle.

We begin with an overview of the class as a whole, discussing the salient points of an Oracle. It’s an interesting class, a spontaneous caster but divine rather than arcane (the answer to those of us who mutter that surely our deities would never let us choose the wrong spells for the day…), with many opportunities for the role-player as they tend to be good socially as well as with that air of mystery! Speaking of mysteries, your choice here sets the flavor of the whole character, affecting him in terms of game mechanics as well as laying the seeds for role-playing and characterization. As they are so important, there’s a thumb-nail sketch of each one, to aid your choice based on just what kind of oracle you would like to play. Oracles are well set up for defense, if offensive capability is desired crafty choices of mystery (Battle is good, or an elemental one) can prove an advantage. Oracles will tend to specialize in something, but that thing they can generally do very well indeed.

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