Radovan & the Count Reread: The Lost Pathfinder

Eric Belisle nailed the look of Count Jeggare.

Eric Belisle’s Count Jeggare altered and solidified my image of the character.

In June 2010, “The Lost Pathfinder” (still free, but also available in handy ePub format for a buck) launched the Pathfinder Tales web fiction.

Since 2010, a new chapter has gone up on the Web Fiction page almost every week. As I compose this post, there are well over fifty stories available, all set in the world of Golarion but all different in style, tone, structure, and even genre. If you find a story that doesn’t work for you, skip to the next one, and it probably will.

You’ll find work from Elaine Cunningham, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Amber E. Scott, Liane Merciel, Robin D. Laws, Wendy Wagner, Monte Cook, Tim Pratt, and many others, including setting-creators, developers, and editors Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, Christopher Paul Carey, and James L. Sutter. Some of these stories were basically the proving ground for later novels, and others are introductions to those novels. I strongly encourage you to check it out. There are some real gems in there.

But enough about them and more about me and the boys.

While it was the second Radovan & the Count story published, “The Lost Pathfinder” was actually the third written after I knocked out Prince of Wolves in an exhilaratingly short time.

Fun fact: “The Lost Pathfinder” was one of the early title ideas for the novel, but because it would look goofy to have the word “Pathfinder” in both the title and the logo, James had me pitch alternatives. I’m glad he did, because the whole “[RANK] of [DANGEROUS THING]” structure began there, and that has been a useful means to emphasize my pulp adventure intentions while giving the boys a “series within a series” framework.

My big fear when writing this story, partly borne out in reader reaction, is that it’s a pretty jerky introduction to Varian. Radovan is more or less himself during the events of “The Lost Pathfinder,” but Varian is at a low, and he doesn’t come across as a very sympathetic guy. The reason for that is that I wanted to give him plenty of room to grow into a sympathetic character in Prince of Wolves. In retrospect I realize it makes it harder for readers to latch onto him as a sympathetic protagonist, so I seldom recommend “The Lost Pathfinder” as a starting point.

Even though the boys alternate points-of-view in “The Lost Pathfinder,” it’s mostly Radovan’s story, since he’s the one with an external conflict and more interaction with other characters. While I’d already established an ongoing gag with his jacket in Prince of Wolves, I wanted to make a strong nod to it here, a moment that gave me hope when editor James Sutter noted he laughed while reading the manuscript.

Unlike the novels, in which I indulge my love of gothic horror, kung fu movies, classic fellowship fantasy, or platoon-level war stories, “The Lost Pathfinder” is not modeled on another beloved genre. It’s an “Egorian” story.

Another fun fact: When I first saw Eric Belisle’s gorgeous artwork, it galvanized my mental image of Count Jeggare. While the illustration of Radovan is excellent, and both served as reference for the now-scarce Reaper miniatures of the characters, I still haven’t seen the Radovan the way Eric captured the image of the Count. That said, there are some excellent illustrations of both characters on future covers and web fiction, not to mention a couple of game publications.

Go take a peek at “The Lost Pathfinder” and let me know what you think of it here, at Paizo, or at Goodreads.

 

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