Monday, February 25, 2019

Kickstarter and Me: 2019 Update

I backed a number of new Kickstarters in 2017-2018, all for D&D Fifth Edition products. I have received my rewards for most of them over the past couple of months, so it seems high time to give an update. Here are links to my earlier columns about projects I've backed:
First, here are a few quick updates on some of the projects listed in those previous columns:

Fate Core: The last remaining stretch goal reward, Shadow of the Century, was delivered to backers in January 2019. I haven't read through all of the most recent digital stretch goals, but the core rulebook and first few supplements were solid work.

Freeport: The City of Adventure for the Pathfinder RPG: The sixth and final part of Return in Freeport was released in late 2018. The collected edition is available in PDF now, with the print version coming very soon (it's currently available to preorder). I provided feedback and errata for each installment as they came out, so earned a proofreading credit in the final book. 

Just last month, Green Ronin announced to backers that the long-promised Freeport Companion for Fantasy AGE will finally be released later in 2019. That will be the last promised reward for this 2013 Kickstarter.

Spirit Island: This boardgame's Kickstarter is long over, but it recently had a follow-up campaign for an expansion, Spirit Island: Jagged Earth (which I believe we backed through my wife's KS account).

Book of the Righteous for Fifth Edition: I had just received this book before my last update, and--like every other Green Ronin book I've funded--it has proved to be one of my better investments on Kickstarter. The book contains a great amount of detail about its unique pantheon of gods, some solid new crunch for 5E games, and lovely full-color art throughout. Since then, I have written two blog posts about using this book with the Freeport setting (here and here). 

Next, here are details on the four projects I have backed since my last update, and their status:

Mini-Dungeon Tome for 5th Edition or Pathfinder RPG, by AAW Games (September 2017): I only backed this for a PDF of the 5E version, which was delivered last year. A few bonus mini-dungeons, including a half-dozen holiday-themed adventures, have been released since then. Because I only got the PDF, I haven't yet read the entire book; in retrospect, I should have sprung for a print copy so that I could browse it more comfortably. 

A larger obstacle to me getting full use of the book is that many adventures use monsters from third-party sources that I don't own (such as Open Design's Tome of Beasts). The book contains an index with highly-abbreviated stat blocks, but that's not nearly enough information for a GM unfamiliar with the source.

Tome of Horrors: Reborn for Fifth Edition, by Frog God Games (November 2017): The original Tome of Horrors (by Necromancer Games, the precursor to FGG) was a ground-breaking work that converted hundreds of monsters from previous editions of D&D to the v.3.0 rules set. The later Tome of Horrors Revised updated it to v.3.5, then the Tome of Horrors Complete did the same for Pathfinder, and the book also spawned a couple of sequels of all-original monsters. The Reborn version offers a selection of monsters from all of those previous Tomes, updated to the 5E rules. I owned the v.3.0 edition in print, and the v.3.5 in PDF, so only backed the Kickstarter at the PDF level. That delivered this past fall, and I'm still making my way through it. (The parts that I've most read most carefully are the handful of entries that converted monsters from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, which I hope to run using 5E someday.)

Strongholds & Streaming, by Matt Colville (February 2018): Colville's "Running the Game" series, which strives to demystify the experience of becoming a good DM, quickly became a runaway hit on YouTube. This allowed him to take a pet project and spin it into a full-fledged book, Strongholds & Followers. The Kickstarter also funded the creation of a studio setting for livestreaming his next D&D campaign--in fact, the Kickstarter was so overwhelmingly successful that Colville has formed his own company, MCDM Productions, and quit his former day job. The book is complete, backers have received the PDF, the print version is in production, and Colville has started planning his next book (for 5E mass combat rules). His D&D campaign, "The Chain," streamed its first episode in January 2019.

I backed this project for both the PDF and print book. I won't be reading the book in great detail until I receive the hard copy, which is still a few months away. (When I do, expect to see a review here, slanted as usual towards how useful it would be for a Freeport game.) I still haven't decided whether I'll be watching any of the streamed game yet, because I have many other ways that I'd rather spend my free time (like playing games myself). But I backed the project because people like Colville, who has many great ideas to share with the RPG community, deserve to be supported and encouraged in what they do. Even if I never watch the streamed game or use any of the material in the book, I'll be satisfied in having backed his Kickstarter.

Pirate Campaign Compendium for 5E and Pathfinder RPG, by Legendary Games (February 2018): I backed this project for the 5E version, and have recently received both the PDF and the print copies. I've only read about half of this book so far, but am already more disappointed than thrilled with the result. While the book does update a huge amount of existing nautical-themed material for Pathfinder into 5E mechanics, the published text seems rushed and in dire need of extensive editing. After creating and maintaining my unofficial RPG errata archive for most of two decades, I find it very hard to shut off my "editor mode" and ignore grammatical errors, sloppy implementation of rules language, and incomplete conversions. When I feel compelled to correct the text multiple times per page, as I have for many chapters, reading a book like this one becomes far more exhausting than fun. This book has put me off of buying any future Legendary Games products--in fact, at the moment, I'm rather dubious about whether I'd ever want to try to use anything from this title in my future campaigns. Which is a damn shame, because this book should have been a go-to reference for anyone who, like me, is thinking about running a 5E Freeport campaign. But, to put it very bluntly, if this book had been produced by a company with more rigorous standards, such as Green Ronin, Paizo, or Wizards of the Coast*, it would never have been allowed to go to print in the form we received it.

On the plus side, the company promptly sent me a replacement copy when I discovered that one of the signatures (16-page sections) of my book was missing, and the previous signature duplicated instead. But that's small consolation for the other issues.


This past year's Kickstarters have rather polarized me regarding future campaigns. I'll gladly back interesting projects by companies that I already know well and trust to deliver high-quality products (like Green Ronin, Greater Than Games, and potentially MCDM), but I've grown more and more leery of projects by companies I've never bought anything from before.

* Just yesterday, I heard that Wizards has revealed that its next D&D hardcover, Ghosts of Saltmarsh, will include rules for ships and related nautical subjects. That's sure to be a better investment by a long shot.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The LEGO Movie 2 Minifigures

A new Minifigures series for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part was released on February 1, a week before the movie opened in theaters. So naturally, it's time for me to buy some new toys and share my reactions to them!

Most of these characters (about 3/4 of them?) have heads printed with two alternate expressions. All of them except for Unikitty have at least one pet or hand-held accessory. All come with a white baseplate to distinguish them from previous series.

As usual, I have not purchased every single character in the series (only 15 out of 20 this time), and have relied on the Brothers Brick review for a few details. Those I did buy are marked with an asterisk (*). Two discrete subgroups--The Wizard of Oz and The Popular Band--are discussed together at the end of this column, while the rest appear alphabetically. (The band appears last, because explaining its appearance in this Minifigures series is a bit of a spoiler for the movie, or at least more so than the other characters.)

Apocalypse Benny has the same body as the previous movie, except that one of his arms has been replaced with a robotic claw. He carries a toolbox with a more pristine Space logo than his spacesuit's worn one. One of his two faces is typical cheery Benny, while the other is squinting suspiciously.

*Apocalypseburg Abe is one of many characters who have changed their look for the new, grungier Apocalypseburg setting from the new movie. Lincoln now wears a biker-style jacket with a huge skull buckle, and crossed axes on the back. His signature stovepipe hat has goggles molded onto it, which will make this hat/beard piece a popular part with steampunk enthusiasts. Abe wields an axe, which came with an extra shaft (and thus reminded me of the old joke about the man who claimed to own Abe Lincoln's "original" axe).

*Battle-Ready Lucy wears her old Wyldstyle jacket (now a bit dirty), but she now wears leather pants and boots, and a brown hood with red-lensed goggles. This hood will be a highly-sought piece for use in post-apocalyptic and desert settings; it's available in other sets with the goggles pushed up out of her face. She comes with binoculars and a quiver, but surprisingly, no bow or crossbow.

Crayon Girl has a two-toned, cylindrical purple costume with a simple floral print. Her torso and legs are even simpler, being unprinted (though the boots are formed by two-color molding). She carries a 2x2 tile with a crude crayon drawing of a LEGO minifigure's head. She is one of three characters in this series (with Giraffe Guy and Watermelon Dude) who are defined solely by their costumes. These cute costumed minifigures have proven very popular in past series, and now some of them are being featured in the new movie.

*Giraffe Guy wears a long-necked giraffe costume--the tallest collectible Minifigure costume to date--which bears a very strong resemblance to Geoffrey, the Toys 'R' Us mascot. This costume is a very intriguing choice to include in this series. Before its bankruptcy, Toys 'R' Us had a long history of selling LEGO products, including a number of sets exclusive to that chain, at least one of which featured Geoffrey himself. The LEGO Group has also had a few close shaves with financial disaster over the years, which makes me wonder whether this character was included out of solidarity or as a "too soon" joke--or both.

Gone Golfin’ President Business wears a checked sweater-vest, plaid golf pants, and dark green boots. He carries a silver golf club, and his two faces are decidedly more friendly than any of his expressions from the first movie's sets. His hair is unchanged.

Remix Emmet wears headphones and is grinning broadly as he listens to "Everything is Awesome" on his smartphone and drinks his coffee. His body is identical to other versions of the character, so he's one of the least interesting minifigures in this series.

*Sherry Scratchen-Post and her cat Scarfield appeared in the first movie, but have been updated with post-apocalyptic looks. Sherry wears a leather bodice, skirt, and boots, with metal armbands, and her cat sports a spiked collar and mohawk. Her outfit will prove useful in a number of genres, and her gray hair (same as her previous appearance) remains a rare color for long hairstyles.

Scarfield nicely plays against the "cute pet" look of most LEGO animals (though he fails to not be cute), and would make a suitable familiar (or summoned monster) for a more violent or chaotic spellcaster. An axe-blade or mace-head (not included) can be attached to his tail, as seen in the movie, but the original cat figure was not really designed for such connections, so the "clutch" is less secure than I'd like.

The Swamp Creature is based on the character of the same name from the Monster Hunters theme. His head and mask are the same, but he now wears leather pants with suspenders, has a skull tattoo on his chest, and carries a whip. I prefer the original design as being more generally useful for fantasy monster minis.

*Unikitty has already had her own collectible Minifigures series (and TV series), but she reappears here in a form almost identical to her original debut. As such, she's not of much interest unless you're new to The LEGO Movie franchise, or want more pastel pony tails and spiraled horns. (Her coolest look from the new movie--the spiky giant battle-cat--is its own set.)

*Vest Friend Rex is a new major character in the story, whose two expressions both show his smug confidence. He wears a pocketed vest with his "R" initial, tall chap-like boots, and a hat with a vest design (in dual-colored molding) and more pockets (printed). His shaggy hair forms part of the hat piece. The best part of this character is his dinosaur sidekick, which is an all-blue version of the baby velociraptor figure from the Jurassic World theme.

*Watermelon Dude is dressed as a huge slice of watermelon. He wears a large wedge-shaped costume (making him the easiest character in this series to identify by feel), with a torso and legs of matching white, green, and pink. He holds a melon slice (a printed 1x1 quarter-circle tile) in one hand. He's probably of most interest to costumed character completists.

The Wizard of Oz

The Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys made an appearance in The LEGO Movie (and in the LEGO Dimensions Wizard of Oz Fun Pack), and now Dorothy and her companions appear in the sequel. I'm a bit disappointed that these four characters didn't get yellow or gold baseplates, especially since the checklist/instructions insert shows them standing on the Yellow Brick Road. These four characters make a delightful set that would be greatly enhanced by building an appropriate base for them.

*Dorothy Gale wears her signature blue gingham dress, which has a cloth skirt. Her feet are printed with the sparkling ruby slippers, and her hair is a very nice rendition of Judy Garland's iconic braids. She is accompanied by Toto, a gray version of the terrier that first appeared with the Dog Show Winner (Series 16).

The *Cowardly Lion has a golden-brown body and head, with a tail and a very regal mane headpiece. He comes with the medal for bravery given to him by the Wizard, printed on a clear 1x2 tile.

*Scarecrow has a torso printed on both sides, and a face that captures the movie character's melancholic smile quite well. He wears a floppy conical hat, and carries a Certificate of Achievement to show that he has brains.

*Tin Man is all pearl silver plastic except for his dark gray hands and his red heart (a special 1x1 printed tile). His body is printed with streaks of different metallic shades to make him look weathered and prone to rust. If you remove his tie and funnel, he would make a wonderful, generic, metal statue or animated construct. Alternately, a gray L-bracket around his neck instead of the tie would allow him to wear his heart in just the right spot. (The ties and hearts are quite small, so my Tin Man came with extras of both parts.)

The Popular Band (SPOILERS!)

At the conclusion of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Emmet learns that Lucy was once part of the Popular Band, who sang his favorite song from the first movie. The movie never shows us what she looked like back then (apart from having blue rather than black hair), or what any of her band-mates looked like, but this Minfigures series includes all four members. These women wear bright, flashy clothes, and have hair in various unnatural colors (which makes their wigs great parts for Pathfinder gnomes!). Each band member comes with a magenta microphone (actually two, because the piece is so small).

*Candy Rapper has a pink-and-white-striped outfit with a tutu-style skirt, and long pink hair with some subtle details. Along with her microphone, she holds a clear 1x2 tile printed as a cassette tape.

*Flashback Lucy wears a dark blue and magenta bodysuit decorated with bubbles, and wears a lighter-colored version of her Wyldstyle hair (aqua instead of black). She carries a 2x3 tile printed with a gold record and the song title "Everything is Awesome."

*Hula Lula wears a floral-printed dress with a lei, and an asymmetrical green cloth (grass) skirt. She carries a 2x2 tile record with a different label color than previous versions. Her ponytailed hairdo is lime green with a swirl of pink in the front. Her hair and skirt would work well for a dryad or other forest spirit.

*Kitty Pop channels a catgirl vibe by wearing a leopard-spotted dress, a white tail, and cat ears poking out of her hair. She comes with a white and pink tiger-striped electric guitar. Her hair, torso, and shorts (or miniskirt?) are a new coral color that is practically neon bubblegum in its intensity, which (as the Brothers Brick opine) photos don't do justice to.

So many pink and kitty parts...

Past Collectible Minifigures Reviews 

LEGO Minifigures Series 14: Monsters!
Series 15 Minifigures
Disney Minifigures
LEGO Minifigures Series 16
The LEGO Batman Movie Minifigures
The LEGO Ninjago Movie Minifigures
The LEGO Batman Movie Series 2
LEGO Minifigures Series 18: Party
LEGO Minifigures: Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts

Monday, February 11, 2019

Time of the Tarrasque #19: Mist Opportunities

"Time of the Tarrasque" is my current homebrew Pathfinder campaign. For an index of past session summaries, see The Story So Far.

Our heroes include:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (archivist) 4.
  • Fatou, human wizard (evoker) 3/cleric of Yaziel 1; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor of the Lost Egg 4.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 4; and Zafira, camel mount.

Last time, our heroes set off with the kobold caravan north from the Burburan Oasis. After a few days' travel, they spotted smoke, and scouted out the source. They found the camp of a Ghost Fist scouting party, and dispatched all but one of the orcs. They interrogated this prisoner, terrifying him into spilling a good deal of information about his tribe: information about their leaders and rough numbers (which confirmed what they had learned previously), and the location of their main base.

By the end of the interrogation, it was clear that the prisoner faced a horribly painful death if word of his loose talk got back to Yazdanyar. Edel offered the half-orc a quick death as a mercy, and ZhaZha delivered it--a blow with her pick that shattered the man's skull. Impressed, the kobold Tyrrentyg commented, "I'm glad you are on our side!" (After Jumari's intimidation of the prisoner and this display, many of the kobolds acted far more wary and respectful towards the two half-orcs.)

Fatou reasoned that since the prisoner worshiped a god of her pantheon, even if it was a reviled one, she should say a brief prayer appropriate to the pantheon as a whole. While she did so, the caravan prepared to resume its journey.

Near the end of the night, Fatou was the first one to spot the Shalash Escarpment ahead: a long, dark line along the horizon that gradually rose higher into the sky as they continued north. It eventually became apparent that they would not reach the base before daylight. Tyrrentyg informed the PCs that there was a source of water--and shelter--an hour or so away from the bottom of The Stairs, where Vartoranax's caravan regularly stopped going both north and south. The merchant declared that they would press on until they reached that shelter. The other kobolds were unhappy about this decision, being both sensitive to bright light and twitchy about being out in the open under it.

The travelers could see the heights ahead more clearly as the sun rose. The Escarpment was a cliff hundreds of feet high, which continued far out of sight to the east and west. It was the tallest thing that ZhaZha, Jumari, or Fatou had ever seen--and even Edel, who had seen and crossed mountains, was rather daunted at the thought of climbing this.

After some time, a weathered stone monument became visible, just a little off their current heading. The guide, Nylrynn, signaled to go that way. The structure turned out to be a statue of a reclining sphinx, but the heroes couldn't guess at its subspecies, or the structure's age. Two smaller, vaguely humanoid statues stood before it, but they were worn down to little more than crude pillars. The kobolds headed for a small pool standing a stone's throw away from these monuments. From there, the party could see an entrance in the rock between the sphinx's forelegs. Tyrrentyg directed the PCs to assist Nylrynn in checking out the shelter for "unexpected guests."

As the scouts moved closer, they could hear the sounds of animals squabbling inside--which went silent as the beasts sensed their approach. The entrance led to stairs going down, and a couple pairs of eyes appeared in the darkness within. Fatou and Jumari cast protective spells on themselves, then the inquisitor tossed some rations near the top of the stairs. This drew one of the animals--a hyena-- outside to grab the food. At this, ZhaZha charged her camel Zafira forward and spitted the hyena on her lance, killing it instantly. Fatou moved up and cast burning hands at three more hyenas on the stairs. Nylrynn shot one, wounding it enough that it retreated out of sight. A hyena bit Zafira, and Edel healed the camel while ZhaZha killed the beast who dared hurt her mount. Fatou's force bolt and Jumari's falchion slew another. Two fresh hyenas attacked, but were promptly dispatched as well.

This left just one wounded beast inside. Edel cast dancing lights into the room below. ZhaZha dismounted, and went down the stairs, which were largely covered in drifted sand. These led to a room that had once been a shrine of some sort, with a fallen idol at the far end, and carved walls defaced by age and vandalism. She could not see the hyena, but Fatou, who cast invisibility on herself before descending, spotted it crouched behind the broken statue and warned the others. Edel and Jumari entered, but Nylrynn remained on guard at the top of the stairs. ZhaZha moved around the idol and killed the last hyena.

The party found nothing else in the chamber except for gnawed bones, the larger ones broken open for their marrow, and a good deal of hyena scat. Fatou identified the statue as an image of Chazital, the Medan god of air, but it was a form she had not seen before. Chazital is usually depicted as a storm cloud or gigantic bird, but this statue was vaguely humanoid, with feathered wings (now lying in pieces around it), and only a single eye above its broken beak. The cleric guessed that this might be a depiction of the god's corrupted aspect, Hayasan, worshiped by giants who had fallen to evil. Based on the single eye, Fatou assumed that the structure's builders were cyclopes; the entrance would be a bit low for them, but nigh impassable for the larger desert giant race.

The cleric then began using prestidigitation to clean the filthy room as Jumari and ZhaZha took the hyenas outside to prepare their meat for cooking, despite its rankness. The kobolds moved into the chamber to camp through the day, while the PCs set up a tent for themselves outside.

During the day, the heroes were able to view the rocky wall ahead of them. The ground rapidly grew steeper north of their shelter, until it approached nearly vertical at the cliffs. In the portion of the Escarpment closest to them, they could see a great rent in the cliff face, where fallen rock had formed a slope spilling into the desert plain. Above the opening of this narrow valley could be seen occasional switchbacks. Tyrentyg confirmed that this was the path known as "The Stairs," and their destination. It was not an easy climb, but was the only safe way within hundreds of miles for caravans to ascend or descend the Shalash Escarpment. It typically took a full day's march to make the climb, including an hour or so to reach the base from here. The kobold herald (somewhat smugly) judged that their entourage would have an easier time with it than would a typical human or elf caravan with many more, and more heavily burdened, pack beasts.

The caravan set out again at dusk. About halfway to the base of the Stairs, the increased altitude allowed Fatou to spot movement to the east. She send her owl Nochaesh to go check it out--and when the bird got close enough to see anything clearly, its mistress sensed a surge of panic as the owl abruptly reversed direction. Fatou warned the others that something was coming. The heroes asked the kobolds about possible places to hide and pick their ground for a battle. Nylrynn informed them that there were a number of dry gullies and ravines here, formed by the rare fall of water along the Escarpment. These gullies would give them some cover, especially the smaller kobolds.

ZhaZha spotted the closest gully, and the kobolds bolted for it. Nylrynn moved ahead to scout the way for her people, as the larger adventurers followed behind them. Fatou sent Nochaesh back out to give warning when the approaching whatever-it-was got close to them. She then looked for some treacherous ground to slow down the enemy, and chose a sharp turn in the ravine for their stand. At the owl's warning, the cleric cast obscuring mist, covering a short stretch of the gully and the higher ground around it, then moved uphill to join her friends, who readied their weapons.

Moments later, there was a clatter in the mist as something fell into the ravine--then a louder clatter as something larger fell. A humanoid figure walked out of the mist above the gully, but was quickly spotted by the defenders. This man wore dark armor and shield, and had skin almost as dark, with long white hair and a short, scruffy beard. Fatou identified the man as a half-elf of drow descent, which fit the description of the Ghost Fist leader Ragalash. [Edel failed to be so certain, which prevented him from using his naturalist ability]. ZhaZha charged the half-drow and hit him hard with her lance, which also let her determine his armor was made of leather and wood. He tried to cast a spell defensively (burning gaze), but failed and lost it.

Three battered skeletons walked out of the mist and attacked ZhaZha. Two hit, and she destroyed the third. The heroes could hear something large moving in the mist behind these undead, and more crashes and thuds sounded beyond that. [Edel could identify the orc skeletons easily, so began lecturing about them.] 

Fatou used her owl to deliver a protection from evil spell to help protect ZhaZha from the undead. The cavalier challenged the half-drow, and hit him again, hard. Her camel and Jumari took out the other two skeletons, but then the inquisitor could see a horse-sized scorpion in the mist--a fast giant scorpion zombie! The undead vermin hit her twice, and another zombie--this one a half-orc plague zombie--closed with her. Fatou channeled to heal her friends.

ZhaZha struck the half-drow with her lance again, and this time he crumpled. His undead minions, however, mindlessly continued the assault. Jumari hit the scorpion, then stepped back. This meant that ZhaZha and her camel were the easiest target for the monster, and it wounded them both. The cavalier impaled the plague zombie, which exploded; fortunately, only Jumari was adjacent to it, and she easily resisted the diseased gore that splattered her. The cavalier backed away, which left Jumari as the closest target to the scorpion, and she took two more punishing hits. Two more half-orc zombies--the normal sort, this time--lurched into view through the mist.

Edel healed Jumari, and switched the subject of his exhortation to the undead scorpion. Fatou cast invisibility on the inquisitor, allowing her to safely withdraw and heal herself more. The scorpion cut down the zombie between it and ZhaZha, then struck her and her camel. The last zombie moved up past it, but was finished off by the lancer's attack of opportunity. Edel shot the vermin, and Fatou finished it off with a scorching ray. After Jumari slew the last orc zombie, the cleric channeled to heal her friends again, then dismissed her mist spell.

The party searched the half-elf's body, finding a darkwood shield, magic darkwood wooden armor, and a cloak of human guise (which he had not activated). He also carried a fine scimitar, an elf skull carved with necromantic signs that he seems to have been using as a divine focus, a chunk of onyx large enough to use to animate another scorpion like the one they destroyed, and a couple small pots filled with two different strange, pungent substances. (They will need to find an alchemist to identify these.) After stripping the body, they hurried to catch up to the kobolds.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Baker's Dozen of Pathfinders

As an artist by temperament, I have drawn pictures of most of the characters I've played over my 30+ years playing RPGs (and rather less consistently, quite a few NPCs for games I've GMed). However, for the first two years I after I joined Pathfinder Society, I did not draw any of my organized play characters, despite having nearly a dozen of them to choose from. That changed back in October, when I drew my sorcerer Mahesh as part of #Inktober2018. By the end of that month, I had also drawn Cassilda Tillinghast, a campaign mode PC created for a module. Since then, I have drawn the rest of my stable of characters, as well as one each of my kids' and wife's PFS characters, and a couple other friends' characters. All of those drawings can be see in my DeviantArt gallery here, but I wanted to collect and share them in this blog, too. (I'll just be sharing my own PCs here.)

Character number isn't the best way to order these portraits, as I've had a couple of slots reserved for quite some time before I started playing the character assigned to them (and in a couple cases, those characters changed name and concept entirely when I had an idea I liked better). I also drew these portraits very much out of order, with my "dash-one" being one of the last ones I did. With that in mind, I decided to present my characters in roughly the order I started playing them. (Click on an image to see it full-sized.)

Ansari Zolta was my first-ever PFS character. He is a human rogue, the son of a Qadiran merchant. He was raised paying lip service to the Dawnflower, but during his apprenticeship to a dwarf brewer, he became a follower of Cayden Cailean. Ansari thanks Cayden for his many narrow escape, and has been initiated into the hero-god's priesthood (a single level dip, which he's unlikely to add to). 

Ansari is aware of the fractured politics within the Pathfinder Society, but has never considered joining any faction besides the Grand Lodge. His loyalty--and his relative trustworthiness for a professional sneak-thief, have earned him the notice of the Decemverate, and he has recently achieved Seeker status.

Raudabjorn Kjallaksson is more simply known as "Bjorn" among his fellow Pathfinders and members of the Ungrounded mercenary company, because most non-dwarves find his full name difficult to pronounce. This stonelord paladin of Torag is a much-decorated soldier of the Mendevian Fifth Crusade (and the Silver Crusade faction), and now bears a fiend-bane waraxe named Zakrukrul, "The Axe My Foes Fear." 

Despite his zeal for the cause, he sometimes finds himself at odds with other crusaders who have become jaded by fighting a seemingly endless war. He survives by never letting himself forget why he became a paladin: to protect the defenseless, to help the afflicted, and to raise up the downtrodden. 

Mahesh Imar A'zun is a nagaji serpentine sorcerer from Tian Xia. Not long after his arrival in Avistan, he earned a minor title in the nation of Taldor. Improving his standing among the noble class has become a full-time job between his missions for the Pathfinder Society. At the same time, he takes pains to make himself useful and likable, as he is keenly aware that, even with his new status, a nagaji will always be an outsider in Taldor. 
Mahesh has a viper familiar named Zuku, who has become quite spoiled by his master's pampering.

Mariko Snowtop is an undine white-haired witch from the port city of Goka, in Tian Xia. Despite her frail form, she always carries a heavy magical aquarium ball that contains her king crab familiar, Fiddle-De-Dee. Besides her skills as an arcane spellcaster, Mariko is also a very successful merchant with many contacts within the Exchange faction. She has allies in many far-flung places, including the Snowmask clan in the far north, the Ekujae elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and the Saltroot druids of Bloodcove. Most of her business affairs are currently focused on the Bloodcove and Kaava regions, where she has developed quite a reputation for sabotaging Aspis Consortium operations, and profiting from those victories.

Neferanu is an Osirian oread brawler who was trained as a temple guard. He joined the Scarab Sages in order to recover the lost lore of his homeland, and to learn forgotten martial arts techniques. He has had some notable success in that pursuit: he recently earned the right to become a living monolith, which allows him to increase his size and strength in combat.

Jalon Greenbottle, was the bastard son of a human mercenary, Macario Ross, and a Kyonin elf woman. His half-sister, Saadet, was born several years later, to an orc woman during another of his father's numerous affairs. When Ross died on a mission to free halfling slaves from Cheliax, the half-elf and half-orc were adopted by the Greenbottles, one of the many halfling families that their father had saved. This family history made the Liberty's Edge faction a natural fit for the siblings. Jalon trained to become an inquisitor of Gorum, and still wears his father's simple, highly worn wooden holy symbol.

Saadet [my wife's character], on the other hand, is a skulking slayer rogue. Her brute strength and dirty fighting style are complimented by her brother's finer grasp of tactics, subtlety, and ranged weaponry. As a Gorumite, Jalon is no master diplomat, except in comparison to his sister.

Nar-Lok is a half-orc heavens shaman. He wears a hat and robes festooned with stars and astrological signs, and has numerous tattoos in the same vein, in order to better advertise his profession as a fortune-teller. As a member of the Dark Archive, he repeatedly risks life and limb to recover priceless sources of magical knowledge.

Nar-Lok's first spirit animal was Stella, a thrush, but after one too many adventures in the infamous Blakros Museum, he will soon be acquiring an Improved Familiar, the wyrmling nightmare dragon, Daosvaria.

K'Chaw is a tengu cavalier who learned horsemanship in part from the Hon-La nomads of the interior of Tian Xia. She is a knight who has sworn to protect the common folk (order of the shield), and has joined the Silver Crusade out of admiration for their ideals.

K'Chaw currently rides a horse named Nene, but will soon be trading her for an axebeak mount earned on one of her earliest adventures. (I have only played K'Chaw once so far, but she is nearly 4th level thanks to GM and pregen credits.)

Volutus [left] is a sylph sky druid who worked as a sailor before joining the Pathfinder Society. 

Milo Nimblefingers [right] is a halfling cleric of Calistria. When not adventuring, he works as in a temple-operated brothel. 

Milo is my one and only Core Campaign character. He was designed to provide the roguish skills in an all-cleric party for our PFS home game, but has only played one adventure so far.

Atticus Nox is a tiefling investigator who frequently works as the partner of Nephrael Tharix, an aasimar cleric of Asmodeus. Over the past year, my wife and I earned both earned a GM boon in order to play these two characters, who belong to races not normally available for play in PFS. I have very recently completed the last tier of that boon, which allows me to give another player the ability to play an aasimar or tielfling, so now our two children will be starting to play their tiefling characters very soon.

Atticus also started with a couple promotional boons that improve his Knowledges and some other skills--very useful to an investigator!

Cassilda Tillinghast, a human mindblade magus, started out as a character created to play in a Pathfinder module in campaign mode. (See this column.) We haven't quite finished that module yet, but I've already decided that I want to rebuild her from 1st level for regular PFS play. She's currently one of my "GM babies" (a character with XP solely from earning GM credit) until after we finish The House on Hook Street, because I don't need two versions of "alternate universe Trick" competing for attention with each other!

Mumbly Peg is a kitsune hunter from the wilderness of northern Avistan. Peg was inspired by the fact that one of the We Be Goblins! series of modules grants access to an owlbear animal companion. My home group played all five Goblins adventures over the Christmas holidays, and we plan to replay the one with the owlbear boon so that we can earn it for characters who can make proper use of it. That's why Peg is shown here with an owlbear, though she will have to settle for an ordinary bear until 2nd level, and only a Small bear/owlbear until 4th. However, she's only just earned her first XP--a GM credit--last month, and will probably remain a "GM baby" at least until the owlbear comes online.