Forged in Magic - Arcanis RPG

RPGNow - Thu, 11/24/2011 - 05:27
Forged in Magic - Arcanis RPGPublisher: Paradigm Concepts, Inc.

Enchanted Treasures Worthy of Heroes


Tempered in the fires of creation, these treasures await heroes worthy to bear them. Within this book one will find more than one hundred wondrous and mysterious artifacts, enough to power countless campaigns.

Price: $8.00
Categories: Company News

BattleTech: Quick-Strike Cards 3055 Upgrade

RPGNow - Thu, 11/24/2011 - 02:21
 Quick-Strike Cards 3055 UpgradePublisher: Catalyst Game Labs

Tools for the Quick-Strike Commander

Quick-Strike: Technical Readout: 3055 Unit Cards provides players with easy-to-handle-and-store data cards featuring 'Mech and Omnifighter designs from Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade. Each card includes the unit’s image and gameplay stats for use in BattleTech miniature wargames using the Quick-Strike Rules set found in Strategic Operations, or can be used as reference cards for games using the BattleForce rules set found in the same core rulebook.

Price: $5.99
Categories: Company News

BattleTech: Record Sheets 3055 Upgrade

RPGNow - Thu, 11/24/2011 - 01:47
 Record Sheets 3055 UpgradePublisher: Catalyst Game Labs

More ’Mechs For The Battlefield

You’ve grasped the tactics involved with the additional units and weapons from Total Warfare to defeat your opponents. Now you own Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade and want to deploy some of those ’Mechs, vehicles, and battle armor on your gaming table. Grab your dice and start rolling, because these sheets are for you!

Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade is a companion to Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, containing 80 preprinted ’Mech—and 12 Clan aerospace fighter—record sheets that will have players firing autocannons, missiles and PPCs at each other in no time. The extensive Rules Addendum of this record sheet brings Solaris: The Gaming World to your table tops with rules for playing as a member of a MechWarrior stable, running arena scenarios, and even how to modify any map sheet into several of the most famous gladitorial arenas!

The Solaris VII BattleMechs are constructed using select equipment found in Tactical Operations. To use those designs, players will need that book.

Price: $7.99
Categories: Company News

BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade

RPGNow - Thu, 11/24/2011 - 01:28
 3055 UpgradePublisher: Catalyst Game Labs

The Changing Face of Battle

In 3055, a new breed of Inner Sphere BattleMech started rolling off assembling lines—’Mechs specifically designed to counter the Clan invasion—at the same time that secondline Clan ’Mechs began to appear. By 3067 those design have become a staple of the modern battlefield, giving rise to notable MechWarriors and new variants, while the demands of the ever-popular Solaris VII Games have resulted in a plethora of new dueling ’Mechs designed using prototype technology.

Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade presents the Solaris VII ’Mechs built using prototype technologies. Upgraded in appearance and technology, the designs first presented in the Solaris VII box set and Solaris: The Reaches are now back in print, along with several new Solaris VII designs. In addition to the upgraded appearance of selected Clan designs, all the art work for Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade is new, providing fresh illustrations of now classic Inner Sphere BattleMechs and Clan OmniFighters.

The ’Mechs in the Solaris VII BattleMechs section are constructed using select equipment found in Tactical Operations. To use those designs, players will need that book.

Price: $22.00
Categories: Company News

ROLF: Day of the Turkey

RPGNow - Thu, 11/24/2011 - 01:12
 Day of the TurkeyPublisher: NUELOW Games

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

In the Year of Our Lord 1666, a family of pilgrims was saved by a mysterious, mustachioed man when they found themselves in a life and death struggle against a demonic. Their savior? A time-traveling Edward D. Wood, Jr.!

Day of the Turkey allows four gamers to relive the historic battle when the legendary maker of turkeys turned turkey killer! This combat scenario for ROLF!: The Roleplaying Game for Big Dumb Fighters, or The Violent Worlds of Robert E. Howard, is designed for 2-4 players and features four pre-generated characters, including two pilgrims, Edward D. Wood Jr., and the dreaded Demon Turkey!

"This is your silliest idea yet."
(Editor L.L. Hundal to designer Steve Miller)

Price: $0.50
Categories: Company News

Things That Go Boom (4e)

RPGNow - Thu, 11/24/2011 - 00:40
Things That Go Boom (4e)Publisher: Sneak Attack Press

A goblins alchemist has developed primitive grenades and uses them attack caravans and gain followers. It falls to the heroes to confront this menace and break up his small but growing band before it grows into a force to powerful to recon with.

Things that go Boom is a single EL 4 encounter adventure for characters level 1-4. As a DM you can drop it into nearly any campaign or run it as a one-shot.

If features:

  • 1 Combat Encounter
  • 3 New monsters
  • 2 Dynamic terrains from Terrain Toolbox
  • Unlimited Explosions!

And all for FREE!

 

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News

RGPFREE002 - Paper Minis - Brain VIne and Fungaloid Lurkers

RPGNow - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 22:16
RGPFREE002 - Paper Minis - Brain VIne and Fungaloid LurkersPublisher: Roleplay Geek Publishing

Free Full-colour standees of two plant species with which to annoy your players.

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News

#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Feats For Sword and Board Fighting

RPGNow - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 21:31
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Feats For Sword and Board FightingPublisher: Super Genius Games

Sometimes rules supplements read like the world-setting bible of frustrated novelists. Although solid world-building is a useful skill, you don’t always need four paragraphs of flavor text to tell you swords are cool, magic is power, shadows are scary, and orcs are savage. Sometimes a GM doesn’t have time to slog through a page of history for every magic weapon. Sometimes all that’s needed are a few cool ideas, with just enough information to use them in a game. Sometimes, all you need are bullet points.

#1 With A Bullet Point is a line of very short, cheap PDFs, and each one gives the bare bones of a set of related options. It might be five spells, six feats, eight magic weapon special abilities, or any other short set of related rules we can cram into about a page. Short and simple, these PDFs are for GMs and players who know how to integrate new ideas into their campaigns without any hand holding—they just need fresh ideas and the rules to support them. No in-character fiction setting the game world. No charts and tables. No sidebars of explanations and optional rules. Just one sentence of explanation for the High Concept of the PDF, then bullet points.

The High Concept: Feats to make the otherwise fairly dull choice of fighting with a shield in one hand and a 1-handed weapon in the other more interesting.

The feats included in this PDF are:

  • Bashing Critical (Combat, Critical)
  • Knock Aside (Combat)
  • Guarded Attack (Combat)
  • Shield Check (Combat)
  • Shielded Maneuvers (Combat)
  • Shielded Rider (Combat)
  • Shielded Spellcasting (Combat)
  •  

    Price: $0.72
    Categories: Company News

    Palladium Books® Weekly Update – Nov. 23, 2011

    Palladium Books - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 21:17

    Seriously. Do it today and tomorrow and between shopping on Black Friday. When you’re standing in that mile long shopping line, take the hand of your loved one (mother, wife, husband, child, friend) and say, “I love you. Thank you for being here with me.” Tell your friends, siblings, children, and your parents that you love them and are proud of them. That you are glad you have them in you life. Let them know you appreciate and need them.

    A moment ago, I said to tell “even your parents.” I say “even,” because I think we forget our parents need to hear they are loved and appreciated. That you are as proud of them, as they are of you. I suspect most of us think of our parents as strong and always there for us. That they are forever people – immortals. In a way they are, because they shape who we are, and in so doing, embed a little piece of themselves in our hearts. Everyone who touches us with love and friendship leaves a little piece of themselves in our hearts that we can hold onto forever.

    As I write this, I have two very dear friends fighting for their lives. Kathryn Kozora is battling the monster we know as cancer. Sophie Bartold is in the final days with her battle against the same monster. Both are wonderful people. As good and kind and caring as can be. Both are deeply loved and cherished by many. With any luck, Kay will win her battle. For Sophie, a gentle and loving mother to us all, even the “kids” who were not blood members of her family, her battle appears to be coming to an end. Now we wait for her to slip quietly and hopefully, gently into the embrace of her maker. I visited Mrs. Bartold on Sunday. She was in amazingly good spirits and her usual cheerful self. We had a long, nice visit. Sophie Bartold is (as is Kay Kozora) another one of the Palladium Heroes behind the scenes who helped me and the company when we needed it most. But Sophie is much more than that. She is a dear friend and surrogate Mom who I love and care about. Her passing will be felt deeply by many people, but that’s only because she shared her love and laughter with so many of us fortunate souls. I love you, Mrs. Bartold, thank you for being a part of my life.

    In this time of sorrow, I find comfort in the warm memories of my own parents, in the friendship of Sophie’s sons, Thom and Ken, and from all the wonderful people in my own life. Thom is another great friend who has played a huge role in my life as well as Palladium’s. I am grateful and thankful to have him as a friend and I’m sorry for his pain. The struggles of these two wonderful people so close to Thanksgiving Day and my own struggles make me grateful for everyone in my life.

    This Thanksgiving Day I’m grateful for so many things. I’m thankful for having had two amazing parents who taught me about all the best things life has to offer. They taught me to cherish love and friendship. They taught me not to be afraid of sharing my thoughts, feelings and my life with other people. They taught me to recognize the gifts of beauty and joy all around me. To cherish what really matters: People, friendship and love. That includes all my wonderful friends, my crazy-but-wonderful family, and you, the greatest fans on the entire planet. Heck, in the entire Megaverse! You help keep me going. You are part of the joy in my life. Thank you.

    Alex, my best friend since 8th grade, scared the daylights out of us and gave us reason to worry twice this year, first with his house fire and then with his serious blood condition. I am so thankful that he is back at home, back on his feet and has his medical condition under control. I’m thankful Palladium is on the move with new releases as we move forward into an uncertain future. I’m thankful to have the privilege of working with so many talented and creative souls and to have so many awesome, kind and generous people as Palladium fans. I’m thankful for a job I love and hope I am able to continue to spin new worlds of adventure for many years to come. I have so many stories yet to tell. I’m thankful to have this forum with which to share my feelings, my sorrows, my happiness, hopes and dreams.

    I am thankful for everything I have and to the multitude of people who love and care about me. I love you too. I care about you too. I want you to know that. From Alex, Kathy, Wayne, Julius, Matthew, Monica and Adam, Kay, Sophie, Connie, Thom, Ken, Jeff, Joe, Aubrey, Teresa, Tony, Barry, and Brian, to the Palladium fans and all my friends and family around the world, you are special and important to me. You are appreciated. You give me strength. I apologize that I cannot list all of you by name, and I am humbled to be able to say that I have so many people in my life that I cannot begin to list them all. Each and every one of you have brought happiness, laughter and warmth into my life. Most of all, you have helped make me a better person and rich in the things that make life worth living. Thank you so very, very much.

    I could probably go on, but don’t worry, I won’t. ;)

    This weekend I want to make sure I let the people I love know how much they matter, and I hope you will do the same. Don’t wait until that person is fading or gone. Do it now. Spread a little joy and love with a few simple words of appreciation and gratitude. I’d say we should all do such every day, but we all know that’s not going to happen. But on this holiday of Thanksgiving, it is the perfect opportunity to take a moment to say I love you to the people who matter. Yep, sounds like a good plan. I’m starting with this Weekly Update.

    Now on to the gaming segment of this Update

    I’ll be brief and to the point.

    Robotech® New Generation™ Sourcebook is at the printer. I approved the printer proof last Friday. It should ship between November 29 and December 2. With the Thanksgiving holiday we cannot get an exact ship date from our printer at this time. This book is hot and has one of the highest pre-order numbers we’ve seen in a long time. Robotech® fans will not be disappointed. Have you ordered yours?

    Rifts® Path of the Storm™ – One writer’s vision for the Rifts® movie is at the printer! We finished it last weekend and it was waiting for our printer first thing Monday morning. I approved the printer proof just this morning and have been told the book ships December 5!

    This title is part sourcebook, part movie script and all fun. It was a labor of love for all parties involved and we think Palladium fans are going to love it too. The screenplay is a fast, fun adventure story that is a pleasure to read. To make it more fun, the author has statted out the key characters in the script and gamers can use the heroes, villains and story ideas in their own campaign should they choose to do so. This is a unique product that should appeal to all Palladium fans. After all, it lets the reader step behind the veil and see what goes on behind the scenes. And it’s a 96 page book priced at only $12.95 retail. It will ship December 5.

    I continue to tweak and fine tune Rifts® World Book 32: Lemuria. It should go to the printer in a week or two. I’ve been calling Rifts® Lemuria a book of wonders. It is jam-packed with exciting new ideas and characters, not to mention a lot of cool new weapons, living body armor, Biomancy magic, monstrous riding animals, symbiotes and toys gamers will go wild over. Stuff that can be used on land and undersea. This is another hotly anticipated book with a high number of pre-orders. Keep ‘em coming.

    Dead Reign™ Sourcebook Three: Endless Dead™ is next in line for completion and it too is full of ideas that will surprise and please gamers.

    Online sales remain worrisome. However, they have closely mirrored 2010 sales, and last year around this time, sales shot through the roof and stayed there for the entire month of December. I’m praying that will be the case again this year. So please, don’t forget about us over the long holiday weekend. Order some of those books you’ve been meaning to get. Buy a Christmas Surprise Package for yourself or a gaming friend and let your imagination run wild.

    Best deal in gaming. Alright, it’s that time of year where you start thinking about Christmas and buying loved ones holiday presents. Stores everywhere are advertising like crazy and offering amazing sales. But one of the best deals anywhere is right here: The Christmas Surprise Package$80-$90+ worth of merchandise (often more!) for only $38 plus shipping and handling. And you also get autographs if you want them and the element of surprise with your wish list. Heck, the Palladium Christmas Surprise Package may be “the very best” gift money can buy! At least for gamers. Don’t miss out.

    The other cool thing about the Palladium Christmas Surprise Package? You can buy one (or several) for yourself to fill in holes in your gaming collection, try new RPGs and game settings, get back issues of The Rifter®, get original art, art prints, autographs, and surprise your fellow gamer with one choice book or a pile of books for Christmas. Can you imagine the look on your friend or loved one’s face when you hand him a pile of role-playing products worth $90 (or more) with autographs? And you only paid $38 (plus shipping and handling). Word it right and you may get a Surprise Package that has enough items to give to two or three friends. No other game company offers an opportunity like this. And for a lot of people this is the only way to get books signed by some of the creators and Palladium staff. What are you waiting for? Order yours today. :)

    Click here to order yours today.

    Don’t forget, DriveThruRPG.com offers 90+ Palladium titles as PDFs including The Rifter® #1-48, first edition printings of Rifts®, Palladium Fantasy®, Heroes Unlimited™, BTS, and other game lines, as well as books such as Nightbane® Book Four: Shadows of Light™ and both versions of the The Mechanoids® RPG (1985) and The Collected Mechanoid Invasion® Trilogy (1981-1983), plus the new G.M. Support Kit and sneak previews of various books. The sneak peeks for Rifts® Lemuria, Vampires Sourcebook, and Endless Dead™ will be appearing soon.

    BIG SALE on Kevin’s Online Toy & Collectibles Store. Alex and I put a dozen new “Palladium” items (books, proofreader copies of books, rare stuff), and a lot more toys and action figures into my online store. All items are from my personal collection and are generally in very good to mint condition – and over the holiday weekend, starting today, ALL items are 20% to 30% LESS than the usually low prices. What a steal. Great holiday presents for someone. Check it out.

    http://stores.ebay.com/kevinstoys-artandcollectibles

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and a joyful, long weekend with those you love. Give thought to those presents for those special people and have fun shopping, seeing movies and gaming. Please don’t forget about Palladium Books when you’re running around to all those other sales this weekend. Game on and enjoy!

    – Kevin Siembieda, Publisher, Writer and Surrogate Santa

    Fan Comments from Christmas Grab Bags

    During the holiday season, we like to let you see some of the many comments we get with the Christmas Surprise Packages. It’s a nice way to acknowledge some of our fans and to share with you the kinds of words we hear from gamers throughout the season. We show only initials as some people would rather keep their identity private. Our thanks for your kind words of appreciation and encouragement.

    We are happy to do the Christmas Surprise Packages and spread a little joy and fun around the globe. It is a privilege and an honor to touch so many people with our games. The Surprise Packages are our way of giving back and saying thank you to our legion of amazing fans. In this selection of comments everyone seems to be looking forward to new product. – Kevin Siembieda

    R.B. in Dedham, Massachusetts, writes: Thank you once again for continuing to provide the Christmas Surprise Package. I look forward to it every year, and enjoy expanding my gaming collection. I may not get to game as much as I would like, but the time spent is well worth it. Whoever said paper and dice games are dead has obviously never seen Palladium’s ever expanding game collection. Thanks again.

    K.I. in Orlando, Florida, writes: I love the Christmas Surprise Packages! It’s funny, the first thing that gets me in the Christmas spirit is seeing this go on sale. Thanks Palladium.

    S.G. in St. Anns Ontario, Canada, writes: Keep the great ideas coming!!

    J.W. in Gatlingburg, Tennessee, writes: You guys rock. I bought the first Rifts® book and it remains a linchpin for my concepts of storytelling and science fiction. Thanks.

    J.D. in Elyria, Ohio, writes: Just got my Surprise Package, and it was awesome! I’m coming back for more!

    E.W. in Park Forest, Illinois, writes: Always love this [Christmas Surprise Package] every year. Keep up the good work.

    E.B. in Spearfish, South Dakota, writes: Rifts® is awesome, fun gaming at its peak.

    C.A. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, writes: I hope things look up for Palladium Books. I haven’t played since the 90s, but I read the books and roll up characters for imagination’s sake now and again. I cut my teeth playing horrible hack and slash games of Robotech® on an almost daily basis with my best friend and little brother. Perhaps I will look for a campaign someday. In the meantime, I appreciate these little opportunities to get lost in your creative work and think about character and destiny in a potently imaginative way. Thanks for all the memories and long live Palladium Books.

    Robotech New Generation Sourcebook

    NEW! Robotech® The New Generation™ Sourcebook At the printer – ships Next Week!!

    This sourcebook is epic in scope and opens up an entirely new range of game play by allowing mecha and O.C.C.s from all eras of Robotech® in one setting.

    For the first time ever, Veritech Fighters, Destroids, Battloids, Hover Tanks, Cyclones, and something called “Frankenmecha” – giant mecha amalgamations that combine the limbs, weapons and body parts of two or more mecha. There are also rules for creating Frankenmecha, new weapons and vehicles, seven new resistance fighter character classes, Invid Hives, key characters from the TV show, world overview and more. 8½ x 11 book format (not manga size), 96 pages.

    The battle for the liberation of Earth starts here. For the first time in its history, the Earth has been invaded and occupied by alien invaders – the Invid. The Invid think they have won, but Freedom Fighters, UEEF soldiers and other heroes continue to fight until they win.

    • 7 new O.C.C.s – including the Freedom Fighter, Patcher, Urchin, Wasteland Rider, Pathfinder, Invid Genetics Experiments, and Invid Cyborg Experiments, plus Invid Prince and Princess.
    • The resistance and how it operates in the New Generation setting.
    • New weapons, vehicles and mecha.
    • A setting where Battloids, Veritechs, power armor, technology and O.C.C.s from ALL eras of Robotech® come together.
    • “Frankenmecha” – kit-bashed mecha creations that combine the parts, weapons and limbs of two or more different mecha.
    • Rules for jury-rigging and combining parts from different generations of Robotech® mecha to create “Frankenmecha.”
    • Vehicle Combat Rules, Tactics and Maneuvers.
    • Vehicle control penalties.
    • Guidelines for survival and rules for exposure.
    • Stats for notable New Generation characters like Rand and Rook.
    • Invid Hives, world overview and adventure ideas galore.
    • Written by Irvin Jackson. Additional text by Kevin Siembieda.
    • Cover by Apollo Okamura.
    • An 8½ x 11 inch sourcebook (not manga size).
    • 96 pages – $16.95 retail – Cat. No. 554. Ships by the end of next week. At the printer.

     Path of the Storm

    NEW! Rifts® Path of the Storm™ – One writer’s vision for the Rifts® movie – at the printer – Ships December 5

    Everyone wants to know what’s going on with the Rifts® movie. Well, this book presents an insight and behind the scenes info on that front by Kevin Siembieda, plus an entire screenplay written on speculation by Matthew Clements as well as game stats and artwork for major characters in the script. Kevin was so impressed with the writer’s screenplay that he had Matthew make changes and improvements and sent the second draft to Jerry Bruckheimer Films for their consideration. Meanwhile, Matthew and Kevin hit it off and the next thing he knew he became Palladium’s new staff writer.

    We thought it would be fun to let Rifts® gamers and Palladium fans see the type of Rifts® movie we at Palladium Books would like to see made. So we are presenting Matthew’s screenplay as a proposed Rifts® movie script and Rifts® sourcebook. The screenplay is a fast, fun adventure story that is sure to please Rifts fans. To make it more fun, the author has statted out the key characters in the script and gamers can use the heroes, villains and story ideas in their own campaign should they choose to do so.

    This is a unique product and a fun read that should appeal to all Palladium fans. After all, it lets the reader step behind the veil and see what goes on behind the scenes.

    • A complete movie screenplay, with dialog.
    • A story that captures the feel and attitude of Rifts®.
    • Character stats for inclusion in your own games.
    • Three new demons and other villains.
    • Use the story and ideas in your own Rifts® campaign.
    • Some concept art and character illustrations.
    • A fun read and insight behind the scenes at Palladium.
    • Cover and interior artwork by Charles Walton.
    • Written by Matthew Clements. Additional notes by Kevin Siembieda.
    • 96 pages – $12.95 retail – Cat. No. 305. Ships December 5. At the printer!

     Lemuria

    NEW! Rifts® World Book: Lemuria™ Ships December

    The power, secrets and magic of the underwater realm of Lemuria revealed. Player characters can use symbiotes, magic and technology to breathe underwater and spend time below the waves.

    Lemuria is more than an underwater civilization of aquatic beings. They can trace their lineage as far back as the Atlanteans and can survive on dry land as well as underwater. In fact, their greatest secret is that there is no one resting place for the Lemurians, their great cities are always moving. Learn about the people of Lemuria, new Biomancy magic and weapons, Biomancy engineered riding animals, sea herbs, new powers of healing, sea monsters, and more. Epic adventure awaits.

    • The Lemurians, their race, history and society.
    • New O.C.C.s including the Serpent Hunter, Shriekers, Oceanic Guardsman, Biomancer Gene-Mage and others.
    • The Stone Guardians of Easter Island and other mysteries.
    • Biomancer Gardens and Aquatic Biomancy.
    • Living Biomancy armor, weapons and equipment.
    • Symbiotic creatures and constructs; some that enable air-breathers to survive underwater indefinitely.
    • Sea Serpents, Sea Dragons, monsters, and riding animals.
    • New dangers, new challenges, adventure ideas and more.
    • Written by Greg Diaczyk.
    • Cover by John Zeleznik.
    • 160 pages – $20.95 retail – Cat. No. 885. Final page count and price may be subject to expansion and increase. December release.

     Endless Dead

    NEW! Dead Reign™ Sourcebook 3: Endless Dead™ Ships December

    As time goes on, the zombie hordes only grow in number and strangeness. This book contains horrifying new zombies to haunt your player characters along with new O.C.C.s and tons of tables for detailing Survivors’ Hideouts, Safe Haven Communities, Death Cults and more. Survival is not enough. Now is the time for the war against the Endless Dead™. This book is going to be epic. Kevin and all the Palladium creators are pushing the envelope with each and every book they work on.

    • New types of zombies like the Fused Zombie, Multi-Zombie, Parasite Juggernaut and Walking Mass Grave.
    • New O.C.C.s including the Survivalist, Watcher, Wheelman, Zombie Hunter and Zombie Researcher.
    • More information on vehicles and tables for adding custom armor, weapons and anti-zombie defenses.
    • Rules for vehicle combat and zombie-fighting in vehicles.
    • Generation tables and random encounter tables for military bases, police stations, gun stores, buildings, suburbs, industrial parks, small towns, farmland and wilderness.
    • Tables for creating Survivor caravans, hideouts, hermits, Safe Haven Communities and Death Cults.
    • Timetable for setting campaigns during the Wave, the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse or months into the reign of the dead.
    • Stats for some of North America’s dangerous wildlife, a threat to survivors and zombies alike.
    • Written by Kevin Siembieda and Matthew Clements.
    • Cover by E.M. Gist. Interior art by Mumah, Bradshaw and others.
    • 96 pages – $16.95 retail – Cat. No. 233. December release.

    Dead Reign RPG

    Dead Reign™ RPG – Available Now

    With zombies and horror all the rage in film and books, this RPG captures all the best aspects of the zombie genre. The setting is as much about survival in a post-apocalyptic world as it is about battling legions of walking dead. If tales of human survival, horror and zombies are of interest, you will love this fast paced game and its sourcebooks.

    • Six Apocalyptic Character Classes (O.C.C.s), and Ordinary People with 40+ occupations to choose from.
    • Seven types of zombies plus the Half-Living.
    • Secrets of the Dead and tips on fighting zombies.
    • Point-blank zombie combat rules, vehicles and equipment.
    • Death Cults, their Priests, power over zombies and goals.
    • 101 Random Scenarios, Encounters and Settings.
    • 100 Random Corpse Searches and other tables.
    • Quick Roll Character Creation tables.
    • A powerful setting and many adventure ideas.
    • Complete stand-alone RPG with skills, weapons, game rules and guidelines for using other Palladium settings.
    • Written by Kevin Siembieda, with Josh Hilden & Joshua Sanford.
    • $22.95 – 224 pages. Cat. No. 230. Available now!
    • Note: There are two sourcebooks also available now: Civilization Gone™ (Cat. No. 231) and Dark Places™ (Cat. No. 232), each is 64 pages and retails for $12.95.

    Endless Dead Zombie Print

    NEW! Endless Dead™ Zombie Print – Available now

    A zombie horde stumbles toward you, but these aren't ordinary zombies, they are the Palladium staff and freelancers! That’s right, this horrifying mash of zombies includes Kevin, Wayne, Alex, Kathy, Julius and Matthew, as well as Kevin Long, Ramon Perez, Freddie Williams, Mike Mumah (the artist), Mark Dudley, Chuck Walton, Nick Bradshaw, Carl Gleba, Jason Richards, Brandon Aten, Greg Diaczyk and many, many others (36 monstrous faces total). Available in two sizes, both signed by the Palladium staff.

    • Black and White Print illustration printed on a nice 80 pound paper stock. Limited print run.
    • Art by: Michael Mumah.
    • Signed by the Palladium Staff: Kevin Siembieda, Wayne Smith, Kathy Simmons, Alex Marciniszyn, Julius Rosenstein and Matthew Clements.
    • Two Sizes and Prices:
      Cat. No. PR809-11, $6.00 retail, 11x8½ inches (the size of one of our books turned on its side); signed by the Palladium staff.
      Cat. No. PR809-17, $10.00 retail, 17x11 inches (the size of one of our books opened to show both pages); signed by the Palladium staff.
    • Available now. Order yours today! A few of you have them coming in your Christmas Surprise Package. Ho, ho, ho.
    • Note: Yes, you can “ask” for the Endless Dead Zombie print in your Christmas Surprise Package, but only people who ask for one will be considered, and you are likely to get the small, 8½ x11 print, not the big, gorgeous 11x17 print. Asking for the print is NOT a guarantee you will get one, as this is a new item available in the Palladium Online Store.

    Dead Reign T-Shirt

    Dead Reign™ T-Shirt – The Zombie Apocalypse – Available now

    The ultimate Zombie Apocalypse T-shirt: The front depicts a woman armed with a shovel standing on the roof of her car as a massive horde of zombies swarm around her. The front of the shirt reads: "Ever have one of those days?" Below the art is the Dead Reign™ logo and the words “The Zombie Apocalypse.” Printed white on a black T-shirt. Art by Amy Ashbaugh.

    The back of the shirt is red on black and says, "Relax, it's not like it's the end of the world or anything." but most of that statement has lines crossing it out, leaving only the words “it's the end of the world.” Under it is a Nick Bradshaw zombie silhouette and a small version of the Dead Reign™ logo. Funny, poignant, awesome!

    • Concept & Design by: Wayne Smith and Kevin Siembieda.
    • Art By: Amy Ashbaugh (front), Nick Bradshaw (back).
    • Available Sizes:
      Small, Medium, Large or XL: $18.95
      2XL: $20.95
      3XL: $22.95
      4XL: $24.95
      5XL: $26.95
    • Description: See above. Palladium's usual, quality 50/50 blend T-shirt and printing. White on black on the front, red on black on the back.
    • Catalog Number: 2531
    • Availability: Available now. All sizes available from Small to 5X Large.
    • Note: Yes, you can “ask” for this shirt in your Christmas Surprise Package, but if you get one it has the full price listed above. Inclusion in Surprise Packages will be very limited, so do not be disappointed if you do not get this shirt in a Grab Bag.

    Coalition Christmas T-Shirt

    NEW! A Coalition Christmas T-Shirt – At special holiday prices – Available now

    The shirt is here and looks even better than the original version printed on a white shirt back in the 1990s. We tweaked and darkened some of the artwork to make it even more dynamic. We have made this shirt affordable so as many people as possible can get one if they want it.

    The T-Shirt depicts a Coalition Dog Pack man-handling Santa. (He is a magic user, after all.) Scattered on the floor from Santa’s bag of presents are action figures of a Skelebot, Glitter Boy, Erin Tarn, Emperor Prosek, Victor Lazlo, Mechanoids, a Dog Boy plush toy, Spider-Skull Walker, RPG books and other items. The words: “Merry Christmas from the Coalition States.”

    This T-Shirt has been a fan fave requested for years, but the art for the shirt was lost. The T-shirt place had gone out of business, artist Scott Johnson had sold the original art at a convention and did not have a photocopy, and Palladium’s original design and photocopies had vanished. It was only recently that Publisher Kevin Siembieda found a photocopy tucked away where it didn’t belong in the Palladium archives. The rediscovery of the photostat has allowed us to reissue this beloved T-shirt in all sizes for the first time in a decade.

    As noted earlier, Kevin thought this fun and playful shirt should be made available for the holidays at prices affordable for everyone. These lower than usual prices are good from now through New Year’s Eve. Order yours today.

    • Art & Design by: Scott Johnson
    • Catalog Number: 2553
    • Available Sizes:
      Small: $13.00
      Medium: $14.00
      Large: $15.00
      X-Large: $15.00
      2XL: $16.00
      3XL: $18.00
      4XL: $19.00
      5XL: $20.00
    • Description: To distinguish this T-shirt from the original, which was printed black on a white shirt, this new edition is printed black on an attractive sand colored T-shirt.
    • Availability: Sold on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. Supplies are limited, especially in the smallest and largest sizes (3XL and larger).
    • Ship Date: Available now.
    • Note: Yes, you can “ask” for this awesome shirt in your Christmas Surprise Package, but if you get one it has a $20 value when included as part of a Surprise Package regardless of size and price in the Palladium Online Store.

    Property of the Coalition T-Shirt

    Coming Soon – Property of the Coalition States™ T-Shirt

    We plan to reprint this T-shirt as soon as our cash-flow improves, probably in a couple weeks. It has the symbol of the Coalition Army and the words, “Property of the Coalition States” emblazoned on it.

    • Concept & Design by: Wayne Smith
    • Catalog Number: 2528
    • Available Sizes:
      Small, Medium, Large or XL: $18.95
      2XL: $20.95
      3XL: $22.95
      4XL: $24.95
      5XL: $26.95
    • Description: The symbol of the Coalition Army and the words, “Property of the Coalition States” printed black on gray. 50/50 blend the same as all our shirts; pre-shunk.
    • Availability: Sold on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. Supplies are limited, especially in the smallest and largest sizes (3XL and larger).
    • Ship Date: December. Taking pre-orders right now.
    • Note: Yes, you can “ask” for this shirt in your Christmas Surprise Package, but if you get one it has the full price listed above. Inclusion in Surprise Packages will be very limited, so do not be disappointed if you do not get this shirt in a Grab Bag.

    Don’t forget there is also a fabulous Property of the Coalition States™ coffee mug; white image on black cup. Perfect for that hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s night, or soda when you game. Looks very official. Everyone at Palladium has one. Holds 15.5 ounces. Mircrowave safe. Cat. No. 2543. Other coffee mugs include Rifts®, Dead Reign™ and Gamer mugs. See the Palladium Books online store for complete details.

    Palladium Bookmarks Set One

    NEW! Palladium Bookmarks, Set One – Available now

    A set of four, 2 x 6 inch bookmarks, each depicting a different Palladium game line: Rifts®, Palladium Fantasy®, Heroes Unlimited™ and Dead Reign™. They are attractive, useful and make a fun collectible.

    • Designed by Kevin Siembieda and Wayne Smith.
    • Art by Scott Johnson (Rifts® Ultimate cover), E.M. Gist (Dead Reign™ RPG cover), Mark Evans (Palladium Fantasy®), and Tyler Walpole (Heroes Unlimited™).
    • Each is 2 x 6 inches, full color, printed on both sides.
    • Four different bookmarks in the set.
    • Cat. No. 2554. $5.00 retail. Based on what similar bookmarks sell for, we figure the set of four should have an $8.00 value, but Palladium’s price is only $5.00.
    • Ship Date: Available now.
    • Note: Yes, you can “ask” for this item in your Christmas Surprise Package, but if you get one it counts as an $8 value.

    Rifts Vampires Sourcebook

    NEW! Rifts® Vampires Sourcebook™ Ships December

    Unknown to most humans, deep within Mexico the vampires have established entire kingdoms. There they live like tyrants and gods, dominating an underclass of cattle people used as slaves and foodstock. Learn more about the vampires, their rivals, allies and the humans who willingly serve their supernatural masters for a chance to join the undead. A must-have guide for those who wish to travel deeper into the Vampire Kingdoms or play as vampires and their human minions.

    • More human kingdoms within Mexico like the Tampico Military Protectorate and Durango, the Silver City.
    • Firefighting robots, hover firetrucks and more anti-vampire gear.
    • Magic based Vampire Hunters and human strongholds.
    • Techno-Wizard anti-vampire weapons and magical devices.
    • Profiles for Doc Reid and Reid’s Rangers, the world’s most famous Vampire Hunters.
    • Fort Reid, an entire city devoted to hunting the undead.
    • The Bloodwatch, a secret vampire intelligence agency that tracks down and exterminates Vampire Hunters.
    • The Yucatan Peninsula, a mysterious dimensional pocket overrun by strange demons known as Xibalbans.
    • The return of the Mayan god Camazotz, Lord of Bats and Darkness.
    • The werebeasts of Mexico and Central America; those who assist the vampires and those who fight against them.
    • New O.C.C.s like the Bloodwatch Vampire Operative, Silver Swords Militia, Werejaguar Vampire Hunter and the Vampire ‘Borg.
    • Cover by Michael C. Hayes. Interior art by various artists.
    • Written by Kevin Siembieda, Matthew Clements and Braden Campbell.
    • $16.95 – 128 pages. Cat. No. 884. December release.

    NEW! Robotech® Genesis Pits™ Sourcebook Ships February 2012

    The Genesis Pits™ Sourcebook takes a deep look at one of the most awesome and terrifying powers wielded by the Invid: the ability to alter genetic structures and evolve their own species as well as other beings. To that end, the Invid have built massive evolutionary laboratories across the Earth and numerous worlds in an effort to find the perfect form to dominate the universe forever. The sourcebook includes a wide range of mutations, different types of Genesis Pits, new Robotech O.C.C.s and new "Frankenmechs" – hybrid mecha made from the leftovers of Earth's fallen defenders.

    The Genesis Pits™ Sourcebook goes beyond the cartoon and deep into the machinations of the Invid and their deadly consequences for all who happen into their path.

    • New genetic mutations usable by most characters.
    • Several never-before-seen Genesis Pits, like the Everglades Hell Gardens.
    • Evolutionary experiments gone wrong, like giant insects and devolved Invid, and extinct creatures from Earth's past.
    • Genesis Pits on alien worlds filled with strange monsters.
    • New Frankenmechs, like the Fury (Valkyrie and Queadluun-Rau power armor hybrid).
    • The last surviving Robotech Masters and their clones.
    • The Invid Simulagent R.C.C.
    • Mutated Zentraedi.
    • The fate of the Alaska Grand Cannon and more.
    • Written by Irvin Jackson. Additional text by Kevin Siembieda.
    • An 8½ x 11 inch sourcebook (not manga size).
    • 96 pages – $16.95 retail – Cat. No. 555. February 2012 release.

    NEW! Rifts® Megaverse® in Flames™ Ships February 2012

    We wanted this truly epic title out in December or January, but February is just a more realistic release date. We sure don’t want to rush a book so many people have been waiting for. We hope you understand.

    The Minion War spills across Rifts Earth, where demons and infernals hope to recruit allies and use the Rifts as gateways of destruction. Their influence shakes things up across the planet, especially at locations where demons and Deevils already have a strong presence. More details to follow, but for now, ‘nuff said.

    • Soulmancer and Blood Magic.
    • The Seven Deadly Plagues.
    • The Demon Plagues across the globe.
    • Battleground: Earth – as demons and infernals amass their legions.
    • Rifts Calgary – also known as Hell’s Pit; the kingdom described.
    • Ciudad de Diablo, Harpies’ Island and other notable Hell holes on Earth.
    • Lord Doom, Pain and other demonic leaders.
    • Horune treachery, Dimension Stormers and other villains.
    • Global chaos and the places most dramatically affected by the Demon Plagues.
    • Notable demonic generals, mercenaries, people and places.
    • Many adventure ideas.
    • Written by Carl Gleba.
    • 192 pages – $24.95 retail – Cat. No. 876. February 2012 release.

    NEW! Rifts® Chaos Earth™ Sourcebook: First Responders

    Data about the chaos and madness of the early days of the Great Cataclysm, and the brave men and women who tried to stem the tide of destruction and save lives, the First Responders.

    • Apocalypse Plagues: Strange diseases, symbiotes and mutations that transform, torment, harm and kill Earth’s survivors.
    • First Responder O.C.C.s, skills and special equipment.
    • Civilian O.C.C.s, skills and orientation.
    • Notable rescue vehicles, robot drones, and technology.
    • New weapons, vehicles, mecha and more.
    • Character modification and enhancement rules.
    • Creatures from the Rifts and adventure ideas galore.
    • Written by Jason Richards & Kevin Siembieda.
    • 96 to 128 pages – $16.95 retail – Cat. No. 665. Coming in 2012.

    DriveThruRPG

    PDF downloads from DriveThruRPG.com

    This is a great resource for getting out of print Palladium titles and other select books. We’ve made 90 titles available as PDF digital downloads from DriveThruRPG.com. This is a great way to try Palladium products and get access to out of print RPG source material. Some notable titles include:

    4th Quarter 2011 Releases October 2011 Releases

    November 2011 Releases

    December 2011 Releases

    2012 Schedule of Releases (tentative and subject to change) January 2012 Releases

    February 2012 Releases

    All of Palladium’s Core Game Lines to be Supported in 2012

    All of the following (and more) are being written right now. A few are already finished. Most will be 2012 releases. And this does not include projects I would like to do for Palladium Fantasy®, Dead Reign™, Warpath™: Urban Jungle and new mediums.

    New Books in Development (listed in alphabetical order):

    Beyond the Supernatural™: Arcanum
    Beyond the Supernatural™: Tome Grotesque
    Beyond the Supernatural™ Sourcebook

    Chaos Earth™ First Responders
    Chaos Earth™ – Zombie Apocalypse Rifts-style during the Great Cataclysm.

    Heroes Unlimited™ – Had two people who were supposed to be working on a pair of books, but they disappeared on me, so we are looking for folks to write a couple of HU2 sourcebooks.

    Nightbane® – An as of yet untitled project, and looking for more.

    Palladium Fantasy® – Mysteries of Magic 2 & 3
    Palladium Fantasy® – Tombs of Gersidi expanded and new. Plus I have a few ideas on this front myself to revitalize this line, including writing Land of the Damned 3 for 2012 release.

    Phase World®: United Worlds of Warlock™
    Phase World®: Pirates of the Three Galaxies™

    Rifts® Antarctica
    Rifts® Black Market
    Rifts® China Three
    Rifts® Deep South
    Rifts® New Navy™
    Rifts® Northern Gun™ Books One & Two.
    Rifts® Sovietski™
    Rifts® Titan Industries™

    Robotech® Genesis Pits™ adventure sourcebook.
    Robotech® UEEF Marines™

    Splicers® Sourcebook One – concepts and art by Charles Walton.
    Splicers® Sourcebook Two – concepts and art by Charles Walton.

    Recently Back in Print Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®

    Aliens Unlimited™ – For Heroes Unlimited™

    Rifts® Dark Conversions™

    Rifts® Game Master Guide

    Rifts® Book of Magic™

    Rifts® Bionics Sourcebook™

    Rifts® Adventure Sourcebook: The Black Vault™

    Rifts® World Book Five: Triax & the NGR™

    Rifts® World Book 8: Rifts® Japan™

    Rifts® World Book 13: Lone Star™

    Rifts® World Book 24: Rifts® China One

    Rifts® Dimension Book™ 7: Megaverse® Builder

    Rifts® Dimension Book™ 6: Three Galaxies™

    Rifts® Mercenaries™

    Rifts® World Book 20: Rifts® Canada™

    Rifts® World Book 22: Rifts® Free Quebec™

    Rifts® World Book 23: Xiticix Invasion™

    Coalition Wars® One: Sedition

    Coalition Wars® Two: Coalition Overkill

    2011 Christmas Surprise Package – Available now thru December 23, 2011

    The Christmas Surprise Package is our way of saying thank you to our fans and putting smiles on the faces of gamers around the world.

    What is a Palladium Christmas Surprise Package? $80-$90 (or more!) worth of Palladium Books product for only $38 plus shipping and handling. A minimum of eighty dollars ($80) retail. Sometimes much more! Santa Kevin often packs in $90-$100 worth of goodies.

    It’s a surprise package because you never know exactly what you’re going to get or who will sign your books. We try to include many of the items on your “wish list,” but we’ll surprise you with stuff you are not expecting. All Surprise Packages are “handpicked” by Kevin Siembieda from YOUR “wish list.” All books will be autographed if you want us to sign them. For many of you, this is the only way to get autographs!

    We are taking orders right now. Buy one or ten, but get at least one. Buy them as gifts or to try a new game line, or fill holes your collection. Just don’t miss out. The Surprise Packages will be available till December 23, 2011.

    Spread the word. Tell all your gaming pals, because the Christmas Surprise Package is only publicized by word of mouth, to readers of The Rifter® and on Palladium's website, so tell everyone you know. Buy one for every gamer you know and have a very Merry Christmas.

    Click here for more information and to place an order.

    The Palladium Open House

    Palladium Open House – May 4, 5 & 6, 2012 (May 3 is VIP Night)

    The Palladium Open House (POH) is, plain and simply, a blast for everyone.

    Think family reunion with people you like from around the world that involves laughs, fun and three days of role-playing games. (Four for those who attend VIP Thursday.) We invite you into our home – the Palladium warehouse and office – where we make the games you love and treat you like family and welcomed guests.

    40+ Palladium creators are there for you. The Palladium staff and as many of the freelance writers, artists, Game Masters and Megaversal Ambassadors as possible (typically 30-45) are present the entire event. Many run games you can play in. All are there to sign autographs and talk with you.

    Unlike game conventions, at the Palladium Open House you have unprecedented access to Kevin Siembieda and other Palladium creators, because they are there, on the floor with you all day long. They are happy to talk about Palladium Books, artwork, writing, movies, comic books and exchange stories about their own gaming experiences as well as listen to yours. Some artists are willing to do sketches of your characters, others bring prints and original artwork to sell. All are friendly and goofy gamers just like you. It seems like we laugh and have fun all weekend long, stopping only to catch a little sleep.

    Gaming events are run all day and into the night. Many are run by the very people who create the games, like Kevin Siembieda, Julius Rosenstein, Carmen Bellaire, Carl Gleba, Brandon Aten, Mark Oberle, Irvin Jackson and many others. There is also an open gaming area for pick up games. When gaming ends for the day at Palladium, there are two meeting rooms at the hotel where you can continue to play games, chat and have fun into the wee hours of the night.

    Panel talks (every day). I and others host several panel talks and question and answer sessions that reveal secrets, offer G.M. tips, player tips and lots of laughs.

    Costume contest (Saturday). YOU should make a costume based on one of Palladium’s RPG settings and enter the costume contest. It is always a ton of fun and winners who take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place all get Palladium gift certificates and a plaque worthy of hanging on the wall. Best of show gets a $100 gift certificate (actually, it’s Palladium Bucks redeemable wherever you find Palladium, at the POH, conventions, or via mail order). Costume contest categories are: Rifts/Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror/Modern/Superhero, and Best of Show.

    Live auction (Saturday). Get rare, out of print books, proofreader copies, artwork, prints, posters, collectibles, and strange things put up for rapid-fire auctioning by Kevin Siembieda.

    Meet fans from around the world. This year we already have gamers coming from Japan, Australia, Germany, England, Canada and across the country. Note: Our capacity is limited to about 350 people, so if there is a bigger than usual turnout, you may not be able to attend. Order your admissions tickets and reserve your hotel room now. The hotel will not be charged to your credit card till the day before the event.

    The POH is inexpensive compared to most game and comic conventions. You get more bang for your buck, total access to Palladium creators and enjoy everything for the price of admission.

    The cost of admission covers everything. The games, the panel talks, the auction, entry in the costume contest EVERYTHING.

    The hotel is only $69.95 a night for a room with two double beds or one king-size bed. Suites are under $140. Free hot breakfasts. Note: you MUST tell them you want a room in the Block Reserved for Palladium Books to get the special rate. Your credit card is not charged until a day before the event, so reserve early. Call 734-455-8100, Comfort Inn Plymouth Clock Tower Hotel.

    Food and stores all around. There are fast food places and inexpensive restaurants to eat all around Palladium Books. A Bennigans is across from the hotel. Denny’s, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s are down the street one direction, Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Lee’s Chicken, Baskin & Robbins, and more are down the other way. Westland Mall is a half mile away, so is Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny, Lowes, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Ikea and Dollar Tree, among many others. A large movie theater is around the block, almost walking distance, and another is near Westland Mall. We’ve got it all. ;)

    Price of Admission Palladium Open House – May 4, 5 & 6, 2012

    $40 for the Three Day Weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) when ordered in advance per each individual. $50 at the door and after March 31, 2012, if space is available. Cost of emission covers all events. Note: VIP Night, May 3, 2012, is an additional cost. A new batch of tickets will be made available in February, 2012.

    $20 for Friday 9:00 AM till Closing.
    $20 for Saturday 9:00 AM till Closing.
    $10 for Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
    $75 per person for VIP Night – Thursday – May 3, 2012. VIP night is a catered event limited to around 70-80 gamers plus Palladium creators. It is an additional cost, so if you plan to attend the entire weekend you must get a weekend ticket as well. NOTE: Since VIP tickets sell out so fast, we offer them in two batches. The first is sold out. The second offering will be in February 2012. VIP Thursday, May 3, 2012: 3:00 P.M. till 11:00 P.M.

    Placing Your Order: Please include your FULL address and apartment number. Also include the complete NAME of EACH person you are ordering a ticket for, as well as your telephone number in case there is a problem and we need to contact you.

    Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and most credit cards are accepted. All Credit Card orders must include: Credit Card No. – Name on the card – Address of the Credit Cardholder – Expiration Date – Telephone Number of the cardholder. If you are buying tickets for several people, please make sure we have the full NAME of each person.

    By Telephone: Call (734) 721-2903 – have your credit card information ready. You may place your reservation online in a similar way as placing a book order or you may use Palladium’s order line (734) 721-2903.

    Check or Money Order by Mail: Sent via the USPS or other delivery service. Send check or money order to:

    Palladium Books
    Dept. POH
    39074 Webb Court
    Westland, MI 48185-7606

    Please include your FULL address and apartment number. Also include the complete NAME of EACH person you are ordering a ticket for, as well as your telephone number in case there is a problem and we need to contact you.

    All tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis, so get your reservations in as soon as possible! Due to space and parking limitations and safety concerns, attendance will be limited to approximately 350 admission tickets.

    Click here for more details and to reserve your tickets.

    Queen of Ghouls

    The Queen of Ghouls: Life-Sized Halloween Props

    The Queen of Ghouls – Palladium’s very own Kathy Simmons – is locked in her dungeon, devising new ghouls. Go to queenofghouls.com to see her current selection of life-sized Halloween props. See her zombie doctor and other new zombies, Jack Skellington and Sally, and more. New creations are on the drawing board, and so is a new website. Each Halloween prop is truly life-sized (most are 6 feet or taller – Jack is almost 8 feet) and seems almost alive.

    Each is an all-weather, life-sized Halloween prop that can handle rain and snow, and is a one-of-a-kind work of art (no two are exactly the same). Each looks frighteningly “real.” All come apart and fold down to slightly larger than a king-size pillow for easy storage. Comes with easy instructions, a plastic storage bag, and the lawn stake to stand it up in your front yard. Indoor stand sold separately.

    Types of “Ghouls” include: Zombies (all kinds!), killer clowns, wizards, witches, devils, grave ghouls, scarecrows, executioners, mad doctors, deadly nurses, vampires, werewolves, and more. Kathy’s also now offering an array of hand-painted Halloween signs, signs with heads and bodies hanging from them, witch’s brewing pots, Halloween centerpieces and more. Best of all, her high quality creations are much more affordable and imaginative than most competitors or mass produced items in a store, making them affordable Halloween fun.

    If you think the photos online look good, you should see them in person. A typical “ghoul,” as she calls her creations, costs $129-$259. You can see some of her work at her Queen of Ghouls™ Ebay store – queenofghouls.com.

    Conventions & Events 2012 Gen Con Indy

    Palladium Books has already reserved its booth at Gen Con Indy 2012.

    We need Game Masters!

    We want to have a bigger presence at Gen Con Indy 2012 and that means more Palladium gaming events. We want Palladium Books to be a much bigger part of the gaming experience at Gen Con Indy 2012. Toward that end, we’re hoping a number of Game Masters will step forward and run “official” gaming events at Gen Con. To do that we need your help.

    Please let us know if you are planning to run at Gen Con Indy 2012, but most importantly, YOU NEED to contact Gen Con directly and fill out the Event Submission form/application and send it in to them BEFORE THE JANUARY DEADLINE. This can all be done online.

    Note: Though there are different “rounds” and deadlines for submitting events, it is our experience that submitting in time for the very first deadline is the only way to sure-fire guarantee the event will be included. So please, let’s plan now and get our events entered in the first round, mid-January 2012. Megaversal Ambassadors, please be a vocal and visible part of getting people to run Palladium gaming events for Gen Con Indy 2012. Any and all game settings (Rifts®, Heroes Unlimited, Palladium Fantasy®, Robotech®, Dead Reign™, Nightbane®, Splicers®, BTS, and all the rest) are welcomed. Let’s make the halls of Gen Con Indy 2012 ring with Palladium gaming.

    © Copyright 2011 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved.

    Rifts®, The Rifter®, RECON®, Splicers®, Palladium Books®, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®, Phase World®, Nightbane®, Megaverse®, The Mechanoids®, The Mechanoid Invasion®, Coalition Wars® and After the Bomb® are Registered Trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. Beyond the Supernatural™, Chaos Earth, Coalition States, Dead Reign, Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas & Superspies, Minion War, Mysteries of Magic, SAMAS, Thundercloud Galaxy, Three Galaxies, Vampire Kingdoms, Warpath, and other published book titles, names, slogans and likenesses are trademarks of Palladium Books Inc., and Kevin Siembieda.

    Robotech® and Robotech® The Shadow Chronicles® are Registered Trademarks of Harmony Gold USA, Inc.

    This press release may be reprinted, reposted, linked and shared for the sole purpose of advertising, promotion and sales solicitation.

    Read more...

    Categories: Company News

    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One

    RPGNow - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 21:09
    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part OnePublisher: Green Ronin

    The Threat Report is formatted as an update from AEGIS, the American Elite Government Intervention Service, the government agency in the World of Freedom tasked with handling super-powered menaces. In particular, initial Threat Reports deal with increased activity coming out of Emerald City on the west coast, to tie-in with the forthcoming Heroes Journey adventure series, also set in Emerald City. Things are happening in the city, and your heroes need to know!

    The report is introduced by an AEGIS field agent and includes a complete character sheet with M&M; Third Edition game information on the profiled villain. It also includes the villain's background and various ways to use the character in your own game. Each Threat Report is illustrated and, as a bonus, includes the villain's game information in Hero Lab format, so you can import it right into the character management software and use it right away! All this for just 99 cents an issue--where else can you get a super-villain for less than the price of a cup of coffee?

    Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One

    They have come from beyond to save our world from disaster: refugees offering their help, and possessing the power of an entire army! Make way for Erebus, master of the mind, the powerful reptilian Draco, and the technomantic skills of Ironmonger. The Starbreed are here to help, all we have to do is let them... Includes Part One of The Secret of the Starbreed, a Mutants & Masterminds adventure!

    Price: $0.99
    Categories: Company News

    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #46: Professor Zed

    RPGNow - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 21:02
    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #46: Professor ZedPublisher: Green Ronin

    The Threat Report is formatted as an update from AEGIS, the American Elite Government Intervention Service, the government agency in the World of Freedom tasked with handling super-powered menaces. In particular, initial Threat Reports deal with increased activity coming out of Emerald City on the west coast, to tie-in with the forthcoming Heroes Journey adventure series, also set in Emerald City. Things are happening in the city, and your heroes need to know!

    The report is introduced by an AEGIS field agent and includes a complete character sheet with M&M; Third Edition game information on the profiled villain. It also includes the villain's background and various ways to use the character in your own game. Each Threat Report is illustrated and, as a bonus, includes the villain's game information in Hero Lab format, so you can import it right into the character management software and use it right away! All this for just 99 cents an issue--where else can you get a super-villain for less than the price of a cup of coffee?

    Threat Report #46: Professor Zed

    The world is full of possibilities, imagine if you could explore all of them. Professor Zed did more than imagine, he made it happen, opening the way to an omniverse of infinite parallel realities. Now he's back, having looted them of the secrets that make him a power to rival any in this world. Can the heroes stop him? They won't be able to do so the same way twice.

    Price: $0.99
    Categories: Company News

    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #45: Jade Spider

    RPGNow - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 20:51
    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #45: Jade SpiderPublisher: Green Ronin

    The Threat Report is formatted as an update from AEGIS, the American Elite Government Intervention Service, the government agency in the World of Freedom tasked with handling super-powered menaces. In particular, initial Threat Reports deal with increased activity coming out of Emerald City on the west coast, to tie-in with the forthcoming Heroes Journey adventure series, also set in Emerald City. Things are happening in the city, and your heroes need to know!

    The report is introduced by an AEGIS field agent and includes a complete character sheet with M&M; Third Edition game information on the profiled villain. It also includes the villain's background and various ways to use the character in your own game. Each Threat Report is illustrated and, as a bonus, includes the villain's game information in Hero Lab format, so you can import it right into the character management software and use it right away! All this for just 99 cents an issue--where else can you get a super-villain for less than the price of a cup of coffee?

    Threat Report #45: Jade Spider

    A shadowy killer stalks the streets and towers of Emerald City, striking at will. Who is the mysterious master of the secret Jade Spider Style of martial arts, and can the heroes learn what they need to know to stop him, or will they too fall victim to the Jade Spider's silken strike?

    Price: $0.99
    Categories: Company News

    Claim the Iron Throne

    Fantasy Flight Games - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 20:07
    A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition is now on sale

    “The whole of the realm denies it, brother. Old men deny it with their death rattle, and unborn children deny it in their mothers’ wombs. They deny it in Dorne and they deny it on the Wall. No one wants you for their king... You may well have the better claim, but I have the larger army.”
    - Renly Baratheon

    Return to the lands of Westeros. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition is on sale now at local retailers.

    Take control of one of the houses of the Seven Kingdoms, and seize control of the Iron Throne. In the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, three to six players use diplomatic skills and military might to bring their enemies to their knees. Based on the best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones transports players to a fantastic realm of political skulduggery and veiled intimidation. How will you extend your reach and gain control over Westeros?

    An Enticing New Edition of a Classic Game

    The second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game has been completely updated with new components. The beautiful new game board resembles a hand-painted map, and tokens and game cards feature masterful imagery. The game also includes 138 attractive plastic figures that represent your footmen, knights, ships, and siege engines.

    Besides the marvelous components, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition features enhancements to the original game, incorporating elements from previous expansions into the game. Garrisons, siege engines, and ports are all included in this version. Several new elements have been added as well. The Tides of Battle cards enhance the risks and uncertainty of combat. Additionally, player screens keep your plans and schemes secret from your rivals.

    Controlling the Seven Kingdoms

    A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition develops over three phases. In the Westeros phase, players draw cards and random events and game procedures are resolved. During the Planning phase, players place their Order tokens on their available units, preparing them to execute your orders. In the Action phase, the Order tokens are resolved and forces clash. 

    To win, you must be the first House to control seven regions containing Castles or Strongholds. The game ends immediately if this condition is met. Otherwise, the game lasts ten rounds and the House with the highest position on the Victory track wins the game.


    Click above to view the trailer (Quicktime, 7.2 MB) or watch it on YouTube

    It takes guile, sweat, and sacrifice to dominate your enemies and gain control of the Iron Throne. Do you have the determination to complete the task? Find out in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition, on sale now. March to your retailer to get your copy, and let the game begin.

    ...

    Categories: Company News

    Your Return to Mirkwood Begins Today

    Fantasy Flight Games - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 20:02
    The final Adventure Pack in the epic Shadows of Mirkwood cycle is now on sale!

    “I caught him, Gollum. He was covered with green slime. He will never love me, I fear; for he bit me, and I was not gentle. Nothing more did I ever get from his mouth than the marks of his teeth. I deemed it the worst part of all my journey, the road back, watching him day and night, making him walk before me with a halter on his neck, gagged, until he was tamed by lack of drink and food, driving him ever towards Mirkwood.”
        –Aragorn, The Fellowship of the Ring

    The epic Shadows of Mirkwood saga for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game nears its end. Your heroes have captured Gollum and begin the long, treacherous journey back from the Dead Marshes to Thranduil’s halls in Mirkwood. Will their Return to Mirkwood end in success? Will Gandalf be able to question the miserable creature and learn the secrets of the Dark Lord’s Ring? Or will your heroes perish along the way, destroyed by the ferocious beasts drawn to Gollum’s racket?

    Find out today… Return to Mirkwood is now on sale at your local retailer and online on our webstore!

    The road back

    Gollum does not travel with your fellowship willingly, and those heroes stuck with shepherding him through the perils of the forest assume a thankless and trying responsibility. Return to Mirkwood is truly an epic Adventure Pack, confronting your heroes with some of the deadliest encounters they have yet to face!

    The ferocious Attercop, Attercop (Return to Mirkwood, 139), swarms of Mirkwood Bats (Return to Mirkwood, 138), spiders, and other forest-dwelling dangers lurk along your path, awaiting any opportunity to attack. Gollum’s presence only makes their dangers greater. Return to Mirkwood forces a player to take the role of Gollum’s escort each turn, placing his heroes in greater peril as enemies focus their attention on the wretched creature’s noisome moaning and muttering.

    Meanwhile, Gollum’s tantrums threaten to deplete your heroes’ rations or rouse their anger to the point where they might strike him down and forfeit all the hard work they committed to capturing him in the first place.

    The fate of Middle-earth depends upon you

    Despite the difficulties of your voyage, the end is nearly in sight! It’s true your Return to Mirkwood offers new dangers, but new allies await your fellowship as well, ready to lend their aid. Elves, Eagles, and Rohirrim all travel the forests, rooting out its dangers, helping to hasten your journey to Thranduil’s palace.

    The fate of Middle-earth depends upon the knowledge secreted away in the dark recess of Gollum’s miserable mind. Six thrilling Adventure Packs into the Shadows of Mirkwood saga, your heroes now have the chance to strike a blow against the Dark Lord and the mighty hosts of Mordor. Return to Mirkwood is now on sale at your local retailer and online on our webstore. Pick it up today, and quest for the good of all Middle-earth!

    ...

    Categories: Company News

    Waaagh! of The Iron Rock

    Fantasy Flight Games - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 20:01
    The third Battle Pack in The Capital Cycle is now on sale

    On the occasions when many of the fractious and unruly tribes are united by a powerful Warboss into a single cohesive force, their subsequent invasion is called a Waaagh!–a word that can only be properly pronounced at deafening volume. This is nothing short of a catastrophic crusade, bent on sweeping over the lands in a crashing tide of unrelenting war.
        –Warhammer, “A Green Tide of Sheer Violence”

    Oi! Listen up, pink skins: it’s time for Waaagh! The Iron Rock is now on sale at your local retailer and online on our webstore.

    The third Battle Pack in The Capital Cycle for Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game, The Iron Rock is an ideal collection of cards for players looking for some unbridled Waaagh! With 60 new cards, (3 copies each of 20 different cards), roughly half of which bolster the Greenskins, The Iron Rock is dead ‘ard!

    A sea of Greenskin warriors

    The Orc hordes excel at early rushes, and The Iron Rock adds a number of new cards to put your opponent on his heels early… and maintain your early advantage through the end of the game. Banner-thieving Goblins, Orc traders, and new rituals help you bring in more units early and rally them for battle. Of course, the Battle Pack doesn’t consist only of Orc cards, and a new dark knight rides on his mysterious quest, willing to join any cause should it suit him.

    The Orcs’ enemies are myriad as the Old World’s races all recognize the threat the Greenskin hordes would pose should they ever manage to unite. Dwarf engineers devise ingenious new ways to counter the Orc threat, the Empire’s nobility invests handsomely in its kingdom’s war effort, the High Elves seek Asuryan’s blessings in new spells, and the undead rise in mass from unholy burial grounds.

    Are you ready for the Greenskin hordes? Waaagh! is coming… Head to your local retailer or our online webstore today and pick up The Iron Rock!

    ...

    Categories: Company News

    Evocative City Sites: Barker's Circus and Sideshow (PFRPG)

    RPGNow - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 19:09
     Barker's Circus and Sideshow (PFRPG)Publisher: Rite Publishing

    "I am an explorer, a man of action, and foiler of nefarious plots. Come read my book, Evocative City Sites, and I, Owain Northway, will regale you with a tale of cheerful yet menacing place of frivolity, a freakshow, a museum of the strange adn unusual. I will tell you of Barker's Circus and Sideshow."

    Evocative City Sites: a modular supplement updated to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, detailing small locations that you could find in any urban campaign setting. Each site is detailed with its own cartography, a 1”=1 square scale map pack, two unique npcs, 5 adventure seeds, a high resolution image for your virtual table top, all presented in the unique, useful, and entertaining form of Owain Northway’s first person point-of-view guidebook. 

    Barker's Circus and Sideshow is a place of bright lights, wonderous performances, and dark dealings behind the scenes. The ringmaster is affable yet darkly mischevious, the attractions are unsetlling (especially the freakshow), and the clowns, the less said about the clowns the better. 



    Price: $2.99
    Categories: Company News

    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One (PDF)

    Green Ronin - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 18:24
    Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One (PDF)They have come from beyond to save our world from disaster: refugees offering their help, and possessing the power of an entire army! Make way for Erebus, master of the mind, the powerful reptilian Draco, and the technomantic skills of Ironmonger. The Starbreed are here to help, all we have to do is let them... Includes Part One of The Secret of the Starbreed, a Mutants & Masterminds adventure! Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One (PDF)
    Categories: Company News

    Death's Heretic Sample Chapter

    Paizo - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 18:00

    Death's Heretic Sample Chapter

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    by James L. Sutter

    In Death's Heretic, Salim Ghadafar is a problem-solver for a church he hates, bound by the death goddess to hunt down those who would rob her of her due. Presented below is the first chapter of the new Pathfinder Tales novel by Paizo Fiction Editor James L. Sutter!

    Death always smelled the same.

    After all this time, it wasn’t the stink that got to him—the reek of excrement, of putrefying flesh and organs never meant to see daylight. That was expected, easily imaginable by even the greenest killer. No, what stuck with Salim was the insufferable sweetness of it, the fact that behind the stomach-churning stench was the saccharine ghost of fermentation, cloying and coating the insides of his nostrils. It was impossible not to respond to it. Somewhere in the back of his brain, the part that was little more than animal, he knew that smell meant a kill, and that a kill meant success. That part of him wanted to crow, to roll in the filth until it covered him like a badge. On its own, the stink was tolerable. Combined with that sweetness, it made him want to vomit.

    The undead had that smell, too. With some it was musty and old, others mixed with the heavy scent of wet earth, and still others—those that walked among the living without notice—so faint that the lightest perfume could cover it. Yet it was always there.

    The ghouls had it in abundance, their dry, stretched flesh never quite sure if it wanted to heal or slough off completely. Without looking down, Salim stepped carefully over the nearest corpse and pressed up against the wall, studying the doorway.

    He’d killed most of the pack, though not before they’d glutted themselves on the parishioners. It hadn’t been difficult. These weren’t civilized horrors like the monstrous citizens of Nemret Noktoria, but rather the newly risen dead, as naive in their own way as the rural farmers they fed upon. They were strong, and hungry, but knew nothing else. They’d never been hunted. Fear was something they inspired in others, and by the time Salim taught them otherwise, it was too late.

    Still, it was the easy prey that surprised you, and there was no point in taking chances. There were still three of them beyond the door, waiting like cornered rats to rend and tear. It would only take one scratch from a poisoned finger-turned-claw to stiffen his limbs and leave him paralyzed, helpless while they fed—or, worse yet, let the infection in their bite spread through his veins like wildfire, burning out his flesh until he became one of them. No, this was no time to get cocky. Taking the ghouls might be easy, but there was no room for error. The execution had to be flawless.

    The glow of his torch was barely enough to light the antechamber in which he stood, its flickers seemingly swallowed up by the black void beyond the archway. Fixing that was the first order of business. If they went for his light—and they certainly would—the burns they’d get trying to take it would be nothing compared to the disadvantage his human eyes would be in the tomb’s darkness.

    Salim glanced around the crypt, silent save for the crackling of burning pitch. It was humble, little more than a brick-walled pit with steps leading up to the church, but it was this village’s holy of holies. Each of a dozen narrow wall niches held a cloth-wrapped form, most still thick with dust—the ghouls hadn’t bothered feeding on these mummified husks when the church graveyard bore riper, more putrescent fruit. Hands folded, covered with the withered threads of what were once flowers, the honored dead might have continued their dreamless sleep undisturbed, were it not for the two ghoul corpses that fouled the gray stone floor.

    They were exactly what he needed. Without a second thought, Salim moved to the nearest niche and took hold of the corpse’s homespun burial shroud. A single pull sent its contents spinning to the floor, leaving Salim holding several yards of cloth, which he promptly put to the torch.

    Flame caught the simple embroidery and raced up its edges. As he let the flickering tongues writhe over the sheet, Salim glanced down at its former occupant. A young man, and not recently dead by the look of him—tendons showed through withered flesh, but they still held the sack of bones in the rough shape of a man. The body’s relative cohesion gave Salim an idea, and he set down the torch, wrapped the now merrily blazing cloth around the blade of his sword, then leaned down to scoop up the corpse with his other arm. With the grisly parcel clutched to his chest like a lover, he moved along the wall toward the doorway.

    No time like the present. With a flick of his sword, Salim sent the burning shroud sailing into the room, the fabric flapping open to light the sepulcher. Something hissed in the darkness, and he followed the light with his other prize, swinging the corpse around the corner and into the room at shoulder height.

    The ruse worked. Thinking Salim had charged in after the blazing blanket, two of the ghouls pounced, dropping from the walls and ceiling to rend the corpse’s brittle flesh. In the second it took them to realize their mistake, the real Salim was among them, sword flashing.

    The ghouls’ leathery hide was stronger than human skin, but it still parted easily under the edge of his blade. Salim’s initial thrust caught the first one in the center of its back and slid in smoothly, the flat of the blade kept parallel to the ground to avoid getting stuck between the creature’s ribs. His recovery gave the second ghoul time to face him, but not enough to get its glistening claws up. Salim’s swing didn’t take its head clean off—his sword was light, and that sort of thing was more for storybooks and campfire tales than real battles—but it did the job, sending the creature slumping backward, head lolling to one side on a thin strand of flesh. Salim ignored it, withdrawing to a defensive posture with his back to the wall next to the archway, waiting for the third ghoul’s attack.

    It didn’t come. Heartbeat after heartbeat went by as Salim’s eyes darted back and forth, but the expected attack failed to manifest. The room was silent, save for his own heavy breathing. Then the blood pounding in his ears calmed, and he heard a new sound—a low, dry whimpering. Sword at the ready, he stepped forward and kicked the crackling shroud farther into the room.

    The third ghoul was curled up in the back of the burial chamber, hunched over into a fetal position in order to pull itself as far as it could into an empty wall niche. It clutched its knees and moaned again as Salim advanced.

    “Please,” it whined. Coming from the twisted form, the voice was shockingly human. It strained to shape the words with its grotesquely overlong tongue. “Please don’t kill. I’ll go. No more hunting. No more brothers. Just graves. Please.”

    In its fear, the ghoul came closest to resembling the man it had once been. Had the creature’s previous incarnation made a similar plea, as farmer to ghoul? Salim said nothing, but the ghoul nodded anyway. Chin to knee, it curled tighter and closed its eyes.

    “Hungry,” it whispered. From behind bruised-black eyelids, a tear welled and slid down the creature’s face. “So hungry.”

    This time Salim did respond.

    “I understand,” he said.

    Then, with both hands, he lifted his sword and brought it down.

    In the aftermath, Salim recovered his torch and let the light of it and the blackened, sputtering shroud show him the room in all its meager glory. It was as humble as the outer chamber, but it was clear that the room had been both crypt and funereal preparation chamber. A long stone slab that was almost an altar sat to one end, surrounded by the mundane implements of embalming, while the walls held more spaces for bodies, unlit lanterns, and fine tapestries showing the glory of various gods, from stag-headed Erastil to the Lady of Graves herself. Clearly, these villagers worshiped an array of divine beings, pooling their resources into a single church.

    And hedging their bets, Salim thought.

    Setting his torch down on the altar, Salim moved over to the baptismal font in the corner and looked down into its shallow basin. The holy water was still clear and unsullied—either the ghouls hadn’t had time to soil it properly, or one of them had accidentally been splashed and the rest had learned to keep their distance. Salim’s eyes, hooded and tired, stared back at him from the water’s reflection. The rest of his face—dark hair, dark skin, and thin, dark beard—all blended together into the chamber’s gloom. The splashes of black ghoul blood didn’t help, either. Balancing his sword along the stone where the font emerged from the wall, he leaned over and splashed his face, then began scrubbing his hands vigorously, setting clouds of black filth blooming like ink through the water.

    And not just black, he realized. There was red in the water as well. He glanced quickly down at his robes. Had one of the ghouls managed a lucky scratch without him realizing it? If so, he needed to move quickly to avoid sharing their fate.

    But no—he was unharmed. Looking down at the basin, he realized that the blood was welling up from beneath his fingernails, his hands slowly weeping red into the baptismal font. The realization was followed immediately by a telltale tickle on his upper lip.

    Oh. Of course. Salim dipped his hands back into the icy water. From behind him came the soft flutter of wings, as of a flock of doves suddenly startled into flight.

    “Hello, Salim.”


    "Ceyanan has an interesting way of announcing itself."

    “Ceyanan.” Salim waited a moment, hands gripping the font’s stone lip, then collected himself and turned.

    The angel was floating in the chamber’s center, its toes pointed like a dancer two feet above the floor. The robes that flowed around it in an undetectable breeze were gray against worm-pale skin, and combined with the black hair they made the figure look like a charcoal sketch. Its features were too perfect to be truly beautiful, like a marble statue, and androgynous enough that not even the sheer fabric revealed a gender.

    More arresting than all of these were the black-feathered wings that sprang from its back. Even half-folded, they were clearly not normal appendages. More shadow than form, they gave the impression that if they spread, they would not so much unfurl as bloom, the way the ghoul’s filth had expanded in the water of the font. Yet the angel’s floating seemed to have little to do with them, and they remained still, the individual feathers flickering in and out of visibility. It looked around the room.

    “I love what you’ve done with the place,” Ceyanan said.

    Salim ignored the apparition and instead located a clean patch of sleeve, which he used to wipe his nose, succeeding only in smearing the blood around.

    “Is this really necessary?” he asked, gesturing at bloody lips. “Every time?”

    The angel laughed, as innocent as a child, and spread its hands.

    “Consider it a gift, Salim. What better way to know that you’re still alive?”

    Salim let that one pass, but the angel wasn’t finished.

    “Besides,” it said, motioning toward the floor, “was that necessary?”

    Salim looked down. He was almost standing on the corpse that had acted as his decoy. The young man’s arms and legs, once locked tight in the stately constriction of the dead, were now sacks of shattered bone, flesh tattered by ghoul claws and the rough landing. Salim shrugged.

    “He didn’t object,” he said, but he was still careful not to kick the corpse as he stepped over to one of the ornate tapestries and began systematically cleaning his sword. Ghoul blood had already dried along its length, crusting both the shining blade and the twisted, melted-looking hilt with filth.

    “They rarely do,” the angel acknowledged. “But that’s neither here nor there. You know that I come bearing tidings.”

    “And here I thought this was a purely social visit.” Salim sheathed the blade. “But please, Ceyanan, don’t keep me in suspense—pray tell me what the bitch-goddess wants from me now.” He turned to lock eyes with the angel. “Is there a vampiric orgy in Caliphas that I’m to break up? A mummy that needs unwrapping? Or did someone forget to dig a grave deep enough, and a coyote ran away with some bones?”

    The angel frowned.

    “You should learn to show proper respect,” it said.

    “And you should know by now that I only give it where it’s due.” The mocking politesse was gone now, replaced by a cool, smooth anger. “If your lady wants to win my love, she’s got a long road ahead of her.”

    The angel waved its hand as if shooing a fly, refusing to be baited. It was an old game.

    “Have it your way,” it said. “You have the opportunity to work great justice in this world, but you’re welcome to see it as an order if it pleases you.”

    Salim waited.

    Ceyanan sighed. “No undead this time. Rather the opposite, actually—something uniquely suited to your skills. A kidnapping.”

    “Kidnapping?” Despite his resentment, Salim couldn’t quite keep the curiosity out of his voice. “That’s hardly my usual fare. Or yours, for that matter. How do I factor in?”

    “In this case, the victim is already dead.”

    The angel paused a moment to see if Salim would say anything. He didn’t.

    “The merchant in question,” Ceyanan continued, “was the target of a routine assassination—nothing special there. But after his death, his soul was stolen from the Boneyard before it could pass on to its final reward. Not destroyed—stolen. The local clerics have been unable to raise the body, and now the kidnappers are offering to sell back the man’s spirit. Naturally, the church is more than a little upset. We’ve already got the local clergy working on the problem, but we’d like you to step in and handle things. You might consider it a nice change of pace.” The angel’s hand swung to encompass the crypt and the already decaying ghouls.

    “Makes sense,” Salim said. “Letting a soul go missing hardly reflects well on the church. But why me? And why don’t they just pay the ransom and be done?”

    “The situation is in Thuvia.”

    Thuvia. The name hit Salim like a blow. That was too close. Far too close. But if the kidnapping were in Thuvia—

    “The sun orchid elixir,” he said.

    “Precisely.” The angel looked pleased.

    “Stealing a soul and selling it back for a shot at immortality. No wonder the Gray Lady’s pissed.”

    “Now you understand,” Ceyanan said. “You’ll depart immediately.”

    Salim gritted his teeth. “You know I don’t like being that close.”

    “As you so eloquently pointed out, winning your affection is not my first priority. Your familiarity with the region and its customs will make you that much more efficient. And you might even enjoy your time there.”

    “Not that I have a choice.”

    The angel smiled down at him again.

    “You did, once.”

    Salim opened his mouth to respond, but the angel had already grown transparent, its voice a whisper that receded into the distance.

    “Enjoy the desert, Salim.”

    Purchase the whole novel here.

    Coming Next Week: A brand new, standalone adventure featuring Salim, Ceyanan, and even stranger characters!

    James L. Sutter is the Fiction Editor for Paizo Publishing, author of the novel Death's Heretic, and co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign setting. His short stories have appeared in such publications as Escape Pod, Starship Sofa, Apex Magazine, and the #1 Amazon bestseller Machine of Death, and his anthology Before They Were Giants pairs the first published stories of SF luminaries with new interviews and writing advice from the authors themselves. In addition, James has written numerous Pathfinder supplements and City of Strangers and Distant Worlds. For more information, check out jameslsutter.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameslsutter.

    Illustration by Eric Belisle.

    Tags: Eric Belisle, James L. Sutter, Pathfinder Tales

    2011-11-23T18:00:00Z
    Categories: Company News

    Death's Heretic Sample Chapter

    Paizo - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 18:00

    Death's Heretic Sample Chapter

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    by James L. Sutter

    In Death's Heretic, Salim Ghadafar is a problem-solver for a church he hates, bound by the death goddess to hunt down those who would rob her of her due. Presented below is the first chapter of the new Pathfinder Tales novel by Paizo Fiction Editor James L. Sutter!

    Death always smelled the same.

    After all this time, it wasn’t the stink that got to him—the reek of excrement, of putrefying flesh and organs never meant to see daylight. That was expected, easily imaginable by even the greenest killer. No, what stuck with Salim was the insufferable sweetness of it, the fact that behind the stomach-churning stench was the saccharine ghost of fermentation, cloying and coating the insides of his nostrils. It was impossible not to respond to it. Somewhere in the back of his brain, the part that was little more than animal, he knew that smell meant a kill, and that a kill meant success. That part of him wanted to crow, to roll in the filth until it covered him like a badge. On its own, the stink was tolerable. Combined with that sweetness, it made him want to vomit.

    The undead had that smell, too. With some it was musty and old, others mixed with the heavy scent of wet earth, and still others—those that walked among the living without notice—so faint that the lightest perfume could cover it. Yet it was always there.

    The ghouls had it in abundance, their dry, stretched flesh never quite sure if it wanted to heal or slough off completely. Without looking down, Salim stepped carefully over the nearest corpse and pressed up against the wall, studying the doorway.

    He’d killed most of the pack, though not before they’d glutted themselves on the parishioners. It hadn’t been difficult. These weren’t civilized horrors like the monstrous citizens of Nemret Noktoria, but rather the newly risen dead, as naive in their own way as the rural farmers they fed upon. They were strong, and hungry, but knew nothing else. They’d never been hunted. Fear was something they inspired in others, and by the time Salim taught them otherwise, it was too late.

    Still, it was the easy prey that surprised you, and there was no point in taking chances. There were still three of them beyond the door, waiting like cornered rats to rend and tear. It would only take one scratch from a poisoned finger-turned-claw to stiffen his limbs and leave him paralyzed, helpless while they fed—or, worse yet, let the infection in their bite spread through his veins like wildfire, burning out his flesh until he became one of them. No, this was no time to get cocky. Taking the ghouls might be easy, but there was no room for error. The execution had to be flawless.

    The glow of his torch was barely enough to light the antechamber in which he stood, its flickers seemingly swallowed up by the black void beyond the archway. Fixing that was the first order of business. If they went for his light—and they certainly would—the burns they’d get trying to take it would be nothing compared to the disadvantage his human eyes would be in the tomb’s darkness.

    Salim glanced around the crypt, silent save for the crackling of burning pitch. It was humble, little more than a brick-walled pit with steps leading up to the church, but it was this village’s holy of holies. Each of a dozen narrow wall niches held a cloth-wrapped form, most still thick with dust—the ghouls hadn’t bothered feeding on these mummified husks when the church graveyard bore riper, more putrescent fruit. Hands folded, covered with the withered threads of what were once flowers, the honored dead might have continued their dreamless sleep undisturbed, were it not for the two ghoul corpses that fouled the gray stone floor.

    They were exactly what he needed. Without a second thought, Salim moved to the nearest niche and took hold of the corpse’s homespun burial shroud. A single pull sent its contents spinning to the floor, leaving Salim holding several yards of cloth, which he promptly put to the torch.

    Flame caught the simple embroidery and raced up its edges. As he let the flickering tongues writhe over the sheet, Salim glanced down at its former occupant. A young man, and not recently dead by the look of him—tendons showed through withered flesh, but they still held the sack of bones in the rough shape of a man. The body’s relative cohesion gave Salim an idea, and he set down the torch, wrapped the now merrily blazing cloth around the blade of his sword, then leaned down to scoop up the corpse with his other arm. With the grisly parcel clutched to his chest like a lover, he moved along the wall toward the doorway.

    No time like the present. With a flick of his sword, Salim sent the burning shroud sailing into the room, the fabric flapping open to light the sepulcher. Something hissed in the darkness, and he followed the light with his other prize, swinging the corpse around the corner and into the room at shoulder height.

    The ruse worked. Thinking Salim had charged in after the blazing blanket, two of the ghouls pounced, dropping from the walls and ceiling to rend the corpse’s brittle flesh. In the second it took them to realize their mistake, the real Salim was among them, sword flashing.

    The ghouls’ leathery hide was stronger than human skin, but it still parted easily under the edge of his blade. Salim’s initial thrust caught the first one in the center of its back and slid in smoothly, the flat of the blade kept parallel to the ground to avoid getting stuck between the creature’s ribs. His recovery gave the second ghoul time to face him, but not enough to get its glistening claws up. Salim’s swing didn’t take its head clean off—his sword was light, and that sort of thing was more for storybooks and campfire tales than real battles—but it did the job, sending the creature slumping backward, head lolling to one side on a thin strand of flesh. Salim ignored it, withdrawing to a defensive posture with his back to the wall next to the archway, waiting for the third ghoul’s attack.

    It didn’t come. Heartbeat after heartbeat went by as Salim’s eyes darted back and forth, but the expected attack failed to manifest. The room was silent, save for his own heavy breathing. Then the blood pounding in his ears calmed, and he heard a new sound—a low, dry whimpering. Sword at the ready, he stepped forward and kicked the crackling shroud farther into the room.

    The third ghoul was curled up in the back of the burial chamber, hunched over into a fetal position in order to pull itself as far as it could into an empty wall niche. It clutched its knees and moaned again as Salim advanced.

    “Please,” it whined. Coming from the twisted form, the voice was shockingly human. It strained to shape the words with its grotesquely overlong tongue. “Please don’t kill. I’ll go. No more hunting. No more brothers. Just graves. Please.”

    In its fear, the ghoul came closest to resembling the man it had once been. Had the creature’s previous incarnation made a similar plea, as farmer to ghoul? Salim said nothing, but the ghoul nodded anyway. Chin to knee, it curled tighter and closed its eyes.

    “Hungry,” it whispered. From behind bruised-black eyelids, a tear welled and slid down the creature’s face. “So hungry.”

    This time Salim did respond.

    “I understand,” he said.

    Then, with both hands, he lifted his sword and brought it down.

    In the aftermath, Salim recovered his torch and let the light of it and the blackened, sputtering shroud show him the room in all its meager glory. It was as humble as the outer chamber, but it was clear that the room had been both crypt and funereal preparation chamber. A long stone slab that was almost an altar sat to one end, surrounded by the mundane implements of embalming, while the walls held more spaces for bodies, unlit lanterns, and fine tapestries showing the glory of various gods, from stag-headed Erastil to the Lady of Graves herself. Clearly, these villagers worshiped an array of divine beings, pooling their resources into a single church.

    And hedging their bets, Salim thought.

    Setting his torch down on the altar, Salim moved over to the baptismal font in the corner and looked down into its shallow basin. The holy water was still clear and unsullied—either the ghouls hadn’t had time to soil it properly, or one of them had accidentally been splashed and the rest had learned to keep their distance. Salim’s eyes, hooded and tired, stared back at him from the water’s reflection. The rest of his face—dark hair, dark skin, and thin, dark beard—all blended together into the chamber’s gloom. The splashes of black ghoul blood didn’t help, either. Balancing his sword along the stone where the font emerged from the wall, he leaned over and splashed his face, then began scrubbing his hands vigorously, setting clouds of black filth blooming like ink through the water.

    And not just black, he realized. There was red in the water as well. He glanced quickly down at his robes. Had one of the ghouls managed a lucky scratch without him realizing it? If so, he needed to move quickly to avoid sharing their fate.

    But no—he was unharmed. Looking down at the basin, he realized that the blood was welling up from beneath his fingernails, his hands slowly weeping red into the baptismal font. The realization was followed immediately by a telltale tickle on his upper lip.

    Oh. Of course. Salim dipped his hands back into the icy water. From behind him came the soft flutter of wings, as of a flock of doves suddenly startled into flight.

    “Hello, Salim.”


    "Ceyanan has an interesting way of announcing itself."

    “Ceyanan.” Salim waited a moment, hands gripping the font’s stone lip, then collected himself and turned.

    The angel was floating in the chamber’s center, its toes pointed like a dancer two feet above the floor. The robes that flowed around it in an undetectable breeze were gray against worm-pale skin, and combined with the black hair they made the figure look like a charcoal sketch. Its features were too perfect to be truly beautiful, like a marble statue, and androgynous enough that not even the sheer fabric revealed a gender.

    More arresting than all of these were the black-feathered wings that sprang from its back. Even half-folded, they were clearly not normal appendages. More shadow than form, they gave the impression that if they spread, they would not so much unfurl as bloom, the way the ghoul’s filth had expanded in the water of the font. Yet the angel’s floating seemed to have little to do with them, and they remained still, the individual feathers flickering in and out of visibility. It looked around the room.

    “I love what you’ve done with the place,” Ceyanan said.

    Salim ignored the apparition and instead located a clean patch of sleeve, which he used to wipe his nose, succeeding only in smearing the blood around.

    “Is this really necessary?” he asked, gesturing at bloody lips. “Every time?”

    The angel laughed, as innocent as a child, and spread its hands.

    “Consider it a gift, Salim. What better way to know that you’re still alive?”

    Salim let that one pass, but the angel wasn’t finished.

    “Besides,” it said, motioning toward the floor, “was that necessary?”

    Salim looked down. He was almost standing on the corpse that had acted as his decoy. The young man’s arms and legs, once locked tight in the stately constriction of the dead, were now sacks of shattered bone, flesh tattered by ghoul claws and the rough landing. Salim shrugged.

    “He didn’t object,” he said, but he was still careful not to kick the corpse as he stepped over to one of the ornate tapestries and began systematically cleaning his sword. Ghoul blood had already dried along its length, crusting both the shining blade and the twisted, melted-looking hilt with filth.

    “They rarely do,” the angel acknowledged. “But that’s neither here nor there. You know that I come bearing tidings.”

    “And here I thought this was a purely social visit.” Salim sheathed the blade. “But please, Ceyanan, don’t keep me in suspense—pray tell me what the bitch-goddess wants from me now.” He turned to lock eyes with the angel. “Is there a vampiric orgy in Caliphas that I’m to break up? A mummy that needs unwrapping? Or did someone forget to dig a grave deep enough, and a coyote ran away with some bones?”

    The angel frowned.

    “You should learn to show proper respect,” it said.

    “And you should know by now that I only give it where it’s due.” The mocking politesse was gone now, replaced by a cool, smooth anger. “If your lady wants to win my love, she’s got a long road ahead of her.”

    The angel waved its hand as if shooing a fly, refusing to be baited. It was an old game.

    “Have it your way,” it said. “You have the opportunity to work great justice in this world, but you’re welcome to see it as an order if it pleases you.”

    Salim waited.

    Ceyanan sighed. “No undead this time. Rather the opposite, actually—something uniquely suited to your skills. A kidnapping.”

    “Kidnapping?” Despite his resentment, Salim couldn’t quite keep the curiosity out of his voice. “That’s hardly my usual fare. Or yours, for that matter. How do I factor in?”

    “In this case, the victim is already dead.”

    The angel paused a moment to see if Salim would say anything. He didn’t.

    “The merchant in question,” Ceyanan continued, “was the target of a routine assassination—nothing special there. But after his death, his soul was stolen from the Boneyard before it could pass on to its final reward. Not destroyed—stolen. The local clerics have been unable to raise the body, and now the kidnappers are offering to sell back the man’s spirit. Naturally, the church is more than a little upset. We’ve already got the local clergy working on the problem, but we’d like you to step in and handle things. You might consider it a nice change of pace.” The angel’s hand swung to encompass the crypt and the already decaying ghouls.

    “Makes sense,” Salim said. “Letting a soul go missing hardly reflects well on the church. But why me? And why don’t they just pay the ransom and be done?”

    “The situation is in Thuvia.”

    Thuvia. The name hit Salim like a blow. That was too close. Far too close. But if the kidnapping were in Thuvia—

    “The sun orchid elixir,” he said.

    “Precisely.” The angel looked pleased.

    “Stealing a soul and selling it back for a shot at immortality. No wonder the Gray Lady’s pissed.”

    “Now you understand,” Ceyanan said. “You’ll depart immediately.”

    Salim gritted his teeth. “You know I don’t like being that close.”

    “As you so eloquently pointed out, winning your affection is not my first priority. Your familiarity with the region and its customs will make you that much more efficient. And you might even enjoy your time there.”

    “Not that I have a choice.”

    The angel smiled down at him again.

    “You did, once.”

    Salim opened his mouth to respond, but the angel had already grown transparent, its voice a whisper that receded into the distance.

    “Enjoy the desert, Salim.”

    Purchase the whole novel here.

    Coming Next Week: A brand new, standalone adventure featuring Salim, Ceyanan, and even stranger characters!

    James L. Sutter is the Fiction Editor for Paizo Publishing, author of the novel Death's Heretic, and co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign setting. His short stories have appeared in such publications as Escape Pod, Starship Sofa, Apex Magazine, and the #1 Amazon bestseller Machine of Death, and his anthology Before They Were Giants pairs the first published stories of SF luminaries with new interviews and writing advice from the authors themselves. In addition, James has written numerous Pathfinder supplements and City of Strangers and Distant Worlds. For more information, check out jameslsutter.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameslsutter.

    Illustration by Eric Belisle.

    Tags: Eric Belisle, James L. Sutter, Pathfinder Tales

    2011-11-23T18:00:00Z
    Categories: Company News

    Death's Heretic Sample Chapter

    Paizo - Wed, 11/23/2011 - 18:00

    Death's Heretic Sample Chapter

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    by James L. Sutter

    In Death's Heretic, Salim Ghadafar is a problem-solver for a church he hates, bound by the death goddess to hunt down those who would rob her of her due. Presented below is the first chapter of the new Pathfinder Tales novel by Paizo Fiction Editor James L. Sutter!

    Death always smelled the same.

    After all this time, it wasn’t the stink that got to him—the reek of excrement, of putrefying flesh and organs never meant to see daylight. That was expected, easily imaginable by even the greenest killer. No, what stuck with Salim was the insufferable sweetness of it, the fact that behind the stomach-churning stench was the saccharine ghost of fermentation, cloying and coating the insides of his nostrils. It was impossible not to respond to it. Somewhere in the back of his brain, the part that was little more than animal, he knew that smell meant a kill, and that a kill meant success. That part of him wanted to crow, to roll in the filth until it covered him like a badge. On its own, the stink was tolerable. Combined with that sweetness, it made him want to vomit.

    The undead had that smell, too. With some it was musty and old, others mixed with the heavy scent of wet earth, and still others—those that walked among the living without notice—so faint that the lightest perfume could cover it. Yet it was always there.

    The ghouls had it in abundance, their dry, stretched flesh never quite sure if it wanted to heal or slough off completely. Without looking down, Salim stepped carefully over the nearest corpse and pressed up against the wall, studying the doorway.

    He’d killed most of the pack, though not before they’d glutted themselves on the parishioners. It hadn’t been difficult. These weren’t civilized horrors like the monstrous citizens of Nemret Noktoria, but rather the newly risen dead, as naive in their own way as the rural farmers they fed upon. They were strong, and hungry, but knew nothing else. They’d never been hunted. Fear was something they inspired in others, and by the time Salim taught them otherwise, it was too late.

    Still, it was the easy prey that surprised you, and there was no point in taking chances. There were still three of them beyond the door, waiting like cornered rats to rend and tear. It would only take one scratch from a poisoned finger-turned-claw to stiffen his limbs and leave him paralyzed, helpless while they fed—or, worse yet, let the infection in their bite spread through his veins like wildfire, burning out his flesh until he became one of them. No, this was no time to get cocky. Taking the ghouls might be easy, but there was no room for error. The execution had to be flawless.

    The glow of his torch was barely enough to light the antechamber in which he stood, its flickers seemingly swallowed up by the black void beyond the archway. Fixing that was the first order of business. If they went for his light—and they certainly would—the burns they’d get trying to take it would be nothing compared to the disadvantage his human eyes would be in the tomb’s darkness.

    Salim glanced around the crypt, silent save for the crackling of burning pitch. It was humble, little more than a brick-walled pit with steps leading up to the church, but it was this village’s holy of holies. Each of a dozen narrow wall niches held a cloth-wrapped form, most still thick with dust—the ghouls hadn’t bothered feeding on these mummified husks when the church graveyard bore riper, more putrescent fruit. Hands folded, covered with the withered threads of what were once flowers, the honored dead might have continued their dreamless sleep undisturbed, were it not for the two ghoul corpses that fouled the gray stone floor.

    They were exactly what he needed. Without a second thought, Salim moved to the nearest niche and took hold of the corpse’s homespun burial shroud. A single pull sent its contents spinning to the floor, leaving Salim holding several yards of cloth, which he promptly put to the torch.

    Flame caught the simple embroidery and raced up its edges. As he let the flickering tongues writhe over the sheet, Salim glanced down at its former occupant. A young man, and not recently dead by the look of him—tendons showed through withered flesh, but they still held the sack of bones in the rough shape of a man. The body’s relative cohesion gave Salim an idea, and he set down the torch, wrapped the now merrily blazing cloth around the blade of his sword, then leaned down to scoop up the corpse with his other arm. With the grisly parcel clutched to his chest like a lover, he moved along the wall toward the doorway.

    No time like the present. With a flick of his sword, Salim sent the burning shroud sailing into the room, the fabric flapping open to light the sepulcher. Something hissed in the darkness, and he followed the light with his other prize, swinging the corpse around the corner and into the room at shoulder height.

    The ruse worked. Thinking Salim had charged in after the blazing blanket, two of the ghouls pounced, dropping from the walls and ceiling to rend the corpse’s brittle flesh. In the second it took them to realize their mistake, the real Salim was among them, sword flashing.

    The ghouls’ leathery hide was stronger than human skin, but it still parted easily under the edge of his blade. Salim’s initial thrust caught the first one in the center of its back and slid in smoothly, the flat of the blade kept parallel to the ground to avoid getting stuck between the creature’s ribs. His recovery gave the second ghoul time to face him, but not enough to get its glistening claws up. Salim’s swing didn’t take its head clean off—his sword was light, and that sort of thing was more for storybooks and campfire tales than real battles—but it did the job, sending the creature slumping backward, head lolling to one side on a thin strand of flesh. Salim ignored it, withdrawing to a defensive posture with his back to the wall next to the archway, waiting for the third ghoul’s attack.

    It didn’t come. Heartbeat after heartbeat went by as Salim’s eyes darted back and forth, but the expected attack failed to manifest. The room was silent, save for his own heavy breathing. Then the blood pounding in his ears calmed, and he heard a new sound—a low, dry whimpering. Sword at the ready, he stepped forward and kicked the crackling shroud farther into the room.

    The third ghoul was curled up in the back of the burial chamber, hunched over into a fetal position in order to pull itself as far as it could into an empty wall niche. It clutched its knees and moaned again as Salim advanced.

    “Please,” it whined. Coming from the twisted form, the voice was shockingly human. It strained to shape the words with its grotesquely overlong tongue. “Please don’t kill. I’ll go. No more hunting. No more brothers. Just graves. Please.”

    In its fear, the ghoul came closest to resembling the man it had once been. Had the creature’s previous incarnation made a similar plea, as farmer to ghoul? Salim said nothing, but the ghoul nodded anyway. Chin to knee, it curled tighter and closed its eyes.

    “Hungry,” it whispered. From behind bruised-black eyelids, a tear welled and slid down the creature’s face. “So hungry.”

    This time Salim did respond.

    “I understand,” he said.

    Then, with both hands, he lifted his sword and brought it down.

    In the aftermath, Salim recovered his torch and let the light of it and the blackened, sputtering shroud show him the room in all its meager glory. It was as humble as the outer chamber, but it was clear that the room had been both crypt and funereal preparation chamber. A long stone slab that was almost an altar sat to one end, surrounded by the mundane implements of embalming, while the walls held more spaces for bodies, unlit lanterns, and fine tapestries showing the glory of various gods, from stag-headed Erastil to the Lady of Graves herself. Clearly, these villagers worshiped an array of divine beings, pooling their resources into a single church.

    And hedging their bets, Salim thought.

    Setting his torch down on the altar, Salim moved over to the baptismal font in the corner and looked down into its shallow basin. The holy water was still clear and unsullied—either the ghouls hadn’t had time to soil it properly, or one of them had accidentally been splashed and the rest had learned to keep their distance. Salim’s eyes, hooded and tired, stared back at him from the water’s reflection. The rest of his face—dark hair, dark skin, and thin, dark beard—all blended together into the chamber’s gloom. The splashes of black ghoul blood didn’t help, either. Balancing his sword along the stone where the font emerged from the wall, he leaned over and splashed his face, then began scrubbing his hands vigorously, setting clouds of black filth blooming like ink through the water.

    And not just black, he realized. There was red in the water as well. He glanced quickly down at his robes. Had one of the ghouls managed a lucky scratch without him realizing it? If so, he needed to move quickly to avoid sharing their fate.

    But no—he was unharmed. Looking down at the basin, he realized that the blood was welling up from beneath his fingernails, his hands slowly weeping red into the baptismal font. The realization was followed immediately by a telltale tickle on his upper lip.

    Oh. Of course. Salim dipped his hands back into the icy water. From behind him came the soft flutter of wings, as of a flock of doves suddenly startled into flight.

    “Hello, Salim.”


    "Ceyanan has an interesting way of announcing itself."

    “Ceyanan.” Salim waited a moment, hands gripping the font’s stone lip, then collected himself and turned.

    The angel was floating in the chamber’s center, its toes pointed like a dancer two feet above the floor. The robes that flowed around it in an undetectable breeze were gray against worm-pale skin, and combined with the black hair they made the figure look like a charcoal sketch. Its features were too perfect to be truly beautiful, like a marble statue, and androgynous enough that not even the sheer fabric revealed a gender.

    More arresting than all of these were the black-feathered wings that sprang from its back. Even half-folded, they were clearly not normal appendages. More shadow than form, they gave the impression that if they spread, they would not so much unfurl as bloom, the way the ghoul’s filth had expanded in the water of the font. Yet the angel’s floating seemed to have little to do with them, and they remained still, the individual feathers flickering in and out of visibility. It looked around the room.

    “I love what you’ve done with the place,” Ceyanan said.

    Salim ignored the apparition and instead located a clean patch of sleeve, which he used to wipe his nose, succeeding only in smearing the blood around.

    “Is this really necessary?” he asked, gesturing at bloody lips. “Every time?”

    The angel laughed, as innocent as a child, and spread its hands.

    “Consider it a gift, Salim. What better way to know that you’re still alive?”

    Salim let that one pass, but the angel wasn’t finished.

    “Besides,” it said, motioning toward the floor, “was that necessary?”

    Salim looked down. He was almost standing on the corpse that had acted as his decoy. The young man’s arms and legs, once locked tight in the stately constriction of the dead, were now sacks of shattered bone, flesh tattered by ghoul claws and the rough landing. Salim shrugged.

    “He didn’t object,” he said, but he was still careful not to kick the corpse as he stepped over to one of the ornate tapestries and began systematically cleaning his sword. Ghoul blood had already dried along its length, crusting both the shining blade and the twisted, melted-looking hilt with filth.

    “They rarely do,” the angel acknowledged. “But that’s neither here nor there. You know that I come bearing tidings.”

    “And here I thought this was a purely social visit.” Salim sheathed the blade. “But please, Ceyanan, don’t keep me in suspense—pray tell me what the bitch-goddess wants from me now.” He turned to lock eyes with the angel. “Is there a vampiric orgy in Caliphas that I’m to break up? A mummy that needs unwrapping? Or did someone forget to dig a grave deep enough, and a coyote ran away with some bones?”

    The angel frowned.

    “You should learn to show proper respect,” it said.

    “And you should know by now that I only give it where it’s due.” The mocking politesse was gone now, replaced by a cool, smooth anger. “If your lady wants to win my love, she’s got a long road ahead of her.”

    The angel waved its hand as if shooing a fly, refusing to be baited. It was an old game.

    “Have it your way,” it said. “You have the opportunity to work great justice in this world, but you’re welcome to see it as an order if it pleases you.”

    Salim waited.

    Ceyanan sighed. “No undead this time. Rather the opposite, actually—something uniquely suited to your skills. A kidnapping.”

    “Kidnapping?” Despite his resentment, Salim couldn’t quite keep the curiosity out of his voice. “That’s hardly my usual fare. Or yours, for that matter. How do I factor in?”

    “In this case, the victim is already dead.”

    The angel paused a moment to see if Salim would say anything. He didn’t.

    “The merchant in question,” Ceyanan continued, “was the target of a routine assassination—nothing special there. But after his death, his soul was stolen from the Boneyard before it could pass on to its final reward. Not destroyed—stolen. The local clerics have been unable to raise the body, and now the kidnappers are offering to sell back the man’s spirit. Naturally, the church is more than a little upset. We’ve already got the local clergy working on the problem, but we’d like you to step in and handle things. You might consider it a nice change of pace.” The angel’s hand swung to encompass the crypt and the already decaying ghouls.

    “Makes sense,” Salim said. “Letting a soul go missing hardly reflects well on the church. But why me? And why don’t they just pay the ransom and be done?”

    “The situation is in Thuvia.”

    Thuvia. The name hit Salim like a blow. That was too close. Far too close. But if the kidnapping were in Thuvia—

    “The sun orchid elixir,” he said.

    “Precisely.” The angel looked pleased.

    “Stealing a soul and selling it back for a shot at immortality. No wonder the Gray Lady’s pissed.”

    “Now you understand,” Ceyanan said. “You’ll depart immediately.”

    Salim gritted his teeth. “You know I don’t like being that close.”

    “As you so eloquently pointed out, winning your affection is not my first priority. Your familiarity with the region and its customs will make you that much more efficient. And you might even enjoy your time there.”

    “Not that I have a choice.”

    The angel smiled down at him again.

    “You did, once.”

    Salim opened his mouth to respond, but the angel had already grown transparent, its voice a whisper that receded into the distance.

    “Enjoy the desert, Salim.”

    Purchase the whole novel here.

    Coming Next Week: A brand new, standalone adventure featuring Salim, Ceyanan, and even stranger characters!

    James L. Sutter is the Fiction Editor for Paizo Publishing, author of the novel Death's Heretic, and co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign setting. His short stories have appeared in such publications as Escape Pod, Starship Sofa, Apex Magazine, and the #1 Amazon bestseller Machine of Death, and his anthology Before They Were Giants pairs the first published stories of SF luminaries with new interviews and writing advice from the authors themselves. In addition, James has written numerous Pathfinder supplements and City of Strangers and Distant Worlds. For more information, check out jameslsutter.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameslsutter.

    Illustration by Eric Belisle.

    Tags: Eric Belisle, James L. Sutter, Pathfinder Tales

    2011-11-23T18:00:00Z
    Categories: Company News

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