[GUEST POST] Jeffrey Thomas on the Role-Playing Game Set in the Weird and Wonderful World of Punktown
Jeffrey Thomas‘ short story collections include Punktown, Voices from Punktown, Nocturnal Emissions, and Unholy Dimensions, and such novels as Deadstock, Blue War, Monstrocity, and Letters from Hades. He has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker and John W. Campbell Awards, and several of his tales have been reprinted in the anthologies The Year’s Best Horror Stories and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Visit his blog at: http://punktalk.punktowner.com.
From the start, I saw my setting of Punktown as a creative playground for other people besides myself.
I first came up with the notion for this world while my father was driving me somewhere or other, back in 1980. I noticed a woman in another car, whose face was partly in shadow, making it appear as if her long hair were growing out of black eye sockets. This image became the inspiration for the tentacle-eyed “Tikkihotto” race that appears in numerous Punktown stories. But for whatever reason, this image sparked more than just one alien…no, my muse’s gears didn’t stop turning there. By the time we arrived home, I had developed the idea of writing about a future world into which I could introduce all manner of strange beings, and bizarrely distorted reflections of our own here-and-now. SF as satire, social commentary, but with an unapologetic nod to the tropes of pulp fiction.
Fantasy novels based on a roleplaying game? You betcha. There’s no shortage of book series that
suck money from devoted fans tie in to popular gaming franchises, such as the novels that accompany World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Warhammer 40k, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons. Paizo‘s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game introduces the world of Golarion which, as many fantasy worlds are, is full of monsters, magic, dungeons, piles of treasure, plenty of traps, and–most importantly–an endless stream of “adventurers” who got conned into believing that the best way to make a living is to throw themselves headlong into danger and pray they come out the other side with all their wiggly bits intact. With Pathfinder Tales, Paizo has unleashed a growing variety of authors on the reality they’ve created to see what stories they can conjure.
So how do game dynamics and rule books translate into novel-length plot and characters?
Pretty durn well, actually. So strap on those boots, grab your walking stick, and prepare to journey through three such literary concoctions from the Pathfinder Tales library. Oh, and you might want to make sure your first aid kit is freshly stocked with healing potions. Just in case.
Does this need an NSFW warning? You bet!
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