Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Guest Post: The Pathfinder World of Golarion

The Pathfinder World of Golarion
Experience it — Even if You Don’t Play the Game
by Chris A. Jackson

Under the noses of an armada of warships, a pirate corsair ghosts beneath a crumbling megalithic viaduct on a mission not for plunder, but revenge. A debonair noble lord and his roguish assistant pursue a dreadful necromancer to retrieve and arcane tome that should never be read. A desperate young woman delves steaming tropical seas in search of treasure, and salvation.

Sound interesting?

These are some of the Pathfinder Tales of Golarion, a place I both work and play in. Golarion is the fantasy world created by Paizo Publishing for their Pathfinder role-playing game. I’ve played the game for years, but the game itself is not my work. I’m one of the lucky writers who create Pathfinder Tales stories so that both fans of the game and readers of fantasy can experience the wonders of Golarion. The stories use the game elements as a backdrop, but even if you don’t play the game, you can enjoy the novels and the world.

The Inner Sea Region, an area of 43 nations surrounding a “Mediterranean-shaped” sea, is the locale for most of the Tales. Vast and varied, from frozen glaciers to steaming jungles, but don’t worry about getting lost; each novel has its own map of the area where the story takes place right in the front cover, and a handy glossary of terms that might be new to a reader unfamiliar with the monsters, magic, and mythology of the world.

So what’s so great about Golarion and the Pathfinder Tales? More than anything, variety. There are tales in the icy north, and the tropical south, mountains and deserts, cities so ancient that they are built upon the catacombs of vampires, and dark markets where anything from the tears of a god to the dying scream of a virgin prince can be bought or sold. There are nations of slavery, nations ruled by undead, nations of shining freedom and democracy, nations ruled by those who have sold their souls to devils, and nations which have forsaken the gods altogether. With a diversity of heroes, pirates and spies, paladins and noble lords, desperate alchemists and wizards, and even rogues and their smart-mouthed sentient swords, virtually anything is possible. And you don’t have to know a single game rule to enjoy them. In fact, if you want a taste of the Tales for free, drop by Paizo’s web fiction page and give some of the short stories a read. Most of the Pathfinder Tales authors are represented there, and you can get a feel for their style, and see their characters rendered in the accompanying art for each chapter.

So, writing in the world of Golarion has become a labor of love for me. I get to play in a world I love, and publish stories about characters of my own creation. The fans of the game and non-gamer readers both enjoy the stories. The authors are given an amazing amount of creative freedom to tell tales that are not always “good vs evil” or “rescue the princess” in theme. The heroes are varied in morality, race, sex, sexuality, and ability, with depth and emotion driving their actions. My own include a former slave pirate captain who longs only for freedom, his snake-bodied lover and navigator, and a seductive courtesan who is much more than she seems. The editors at Paizo are great to work with. In fact, the entire Paizo crew is an incredibly cool and inclusive bunch of people. Every year, the company puts on “PaizoCon” where gamers, fans, authors, artists, and artisans meet to have fun, play, trade ideas, and just hang out.

My third Pathfinder Tales Novel, Pirate’s Prophecy, just released, so if you like sea stories, pirates, spies, romance, and intrigue, consider giving it a try. No need to start at the beginning, though if you want to read the tales in order, begin with the short story Stargazer, then Pirate’s Honor, Pirate’s Promise, and finally Pirate’s Prophecy. The fourth Pirate’s tale is in the works and should be out next year. Who knows what will happen next, but any story told in Golarion will be a rollicking tale indeed.

More about the author:

CHRIS A. JACKSON is the author of the Pathfinder Tales novels Pirate's Honor and Pirate's Promise. His self-published and small-press work includes the Scimitar Seas and Weapon of Flesh series, which have won three consecutive gold medals in the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year awards, as well as becoming Kindle best sellers. Jackson has also written a novella set in Privateer Press's RPG fiction line. He lives on a sailboat in the Caribbean. You can find him at jaxbooks.com or @ChrisAJackson1.

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