Earlier last month, tabletop RPG and fantasy publisher Paizo announced that Skullkicker’s Jim Zub would be penning their upcoming line of Pathfinder inspired comics. Below is a synopsis of the first issue according to a press release by Paizo:
In issue #1, Valeros can rely on only his sword arm and his friends, the mysterious and beautiful sorcerer Seoni and silver tongued quick-witted elven rogue Merisiel, but nothing can prepare him for the dangers that lurk ahead. The scattered and chaotic goblin tribes of Varisia are changing, growing in power and unifying in ways no one has ever seen before. At the heart of this strange evolution is an ancient evil looking to establish itself anew.
Sounds pretty great right? The first issue of PathFinder will be launching in August, but luckily I got the chance to catch up with Jim to talk about writing the new series.
I’ve known Erik Mona, head publisher at Paizo, for years through work I did at the UDON studio. UDON created a bunch of art for Paizo back when they were publishing licensed D&D magazines for Wizards of the Coast.
Erik and I have always seen eye to eye when it came to gaming, entertainment and storytelling. When I saw him again at Gen Con Indy last year he mentioned that Paizo had comic plans and, when Dynamite announced that they’d licensed Pathfinder as a new comic series, Erik asked if I’d be interested in pitching for it. I put together an outline for it and, thankfully, both Dynamite and Paizo really liked my approach to the characters and world and we’ve been chugging along ever since.
What is it like writing fantasy outside of the Skullkicker’s universe? Any similarities?
It’s definitely a challenge. The fact that they’re both sword & sorcery is one of the only common elements to working on both books. Skullkickers is an over-the-top action-centric send-up of the genre while Pathfinder is a character-focused adventure ensemble. I’m really enjoying having so much contrast between the two different comic projects. They’re both fantasy, but feel quite different.
Working with the already existing Pathfinder universe, was there any trouble with continuity issues or places you wanted to take these characters?
One of the greatest things about Pathfinder, as a game and world setting, is that it’s built to be explored. That’s what tabletop role-playing game are all about. So, utilizing the setting material for specific cast in the comic is just as valid as any of the adventures that players have created for their own characters over the years.
The first issue features character profiles, did you have any part in creating those? Is there a specific Pathfinder character you enjoyed writing the most?
The group at the heart of Pathfinder are the “iconics”, a group of characters who are meant to represent each character class option in the game. Although they’ve been completely visually designed and are seen on the cover and interior art of every Pathfinder product, they’ve never been fleshed out story-wise. Being able to develop their histories and motivations has been one of the most rewarding parts of this project.
I’m having a lot of fun writing group interactions, expressing how each of the 6 different characters react to particular scenes or situations. Out of the whole cast, I’m probably having the most fun with Merisiel right now. She’s an elven rogue who, on the surface, seems flighty and unconcerned with the world around her but, given her extremely long life and many experiences, has a lot she’s keeping hidden under that jovial veneer.
When can we check out Pathfinder #1?
Pathfinder launches in August at Gen Con Indy and will be available around the same time at comic shops and better gaming stores everywhere.