Dynamite has sent us an exclusive essay written by F. Wesley Schneider and James L. Sutter where they talk about the creation of the Pathfinder: Runescars series they did that is now being collected in a hardcover edition with a cover by Igor Lima with interiors by Ediano Silva.
Threading the Needle for PATHFINDER: RUNESCARS
By F. Wesley Schneider and James L. Sutter
When we took on the challenge of writing a new Pathfinder series arc, we knew we had a unique task ahead of us. As two of the folks who initially crafted the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, we had something that few comics writers working on an established property ever get: permission to play with all the toys. The fan favorites. The continuity bombs. The things that would normally cause the original creator to give the ol’ gladiatorial thumbs-down on a pitch… except that in this case, we were the ones with the power of the almighty thumb. (Well, us and our other colleagues at Paizo, but they knew that we could be trusted. They also knew that we had extensive catalogues of their deepest fear and keys to their offices—a good creative team operates on the theory of Mutually Assured Prankstruction.)
Anyway, we knew that we had the opportunity—nay, the obligation—to break out some of the big guns. But which ones? Hellknights were a natural choice, given that Wes was their mastermind. Varisia was the first region created for Pathfinder, and we knew we wanted to use at least one of the mysterious locations Creative Director James Jacobs had invented for it way back in the first Adventure Path. But what else would help the story feel truly iconic?
Well, how about the art from the back of the Core Rulebook? The elite female knights known as the Gray Maidens, who work as enforcers and secret police for the Queen of Korvosa, have been a fan favorite since the game’s birth, due in large part to their amazing concept art from Eva Widermann. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a badass Gray Maiden join the party? Someone who’s better at being Valeros, the series’ swaggering fighter, than Valeros? It was perfect!
There was only one problem: the Gray Maidens only exist as an official organization for a very short period in Golarion’s history. At the beginning of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, they’ve just been established. But within the span of an adventure or two, things have already gone haywire in the city, anarchy reigns, and the Gray Maidens are well on their way to becoming villains. By the time the Adventure Path is over—assuming the PCs succeed in their quest—they’re disgraced and scattered across the continent.
The solution, then, was to do something we’d avoided up until that point: nail down exactly when the Pathfinder comics are taking place. With the blessing of the development team, we decided that PATHFINDER: RUNESCARS would be set during the first adventure of Curse of the Crimson Throne, in the year 4708 AR. So if you’re a hardcore Pathfinder continuity fan, you now know exactly where Pathfinder’s iconic characters were and what they were doing when all the madness around the Crimson Throne went down! Better still, if you want to play through the events and visit some of these places yourself, you can do so with the complete campaign in the Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover.
PATHFINDER: RUNESCARS might not be the same as playing a Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure, but it’s close. It’s a Curse of the Crimson Throne story that went down differently, that knocked off the beaten path. Which is to say, it’s the majority of RPG adventures—it could have been your group. So, like any improvising Game Masters, of course we tipped in new details on our favorite characters, tangled in a few long-dangling plot threads, and set up new/old menaces for next session. There’s plenty of action and mystery for all readers, but Pathfinder RPG fans should definitely keep their eyes peeled for a hint of what’s to come.
The collected edition of PATHFINDER: RUNESCARS hits this month—a handsome tome sure to fit right in among all your RPG hardcovers. You can also follow the adventures of Seoni, Valeros, Imrijka, and Pathfinder’s other heroes in Crystal Frasier’s PATHFINDER: SPIRAL OF BONES. Check them out, and see what’s happening in the Pathfinder world when your characters aren’t hogging the spotlight!