The PREVIEWS Party: For those unfamiliar with the book, what is Pathfinder: Goblins! all about?
Erik Mona: Pathfinder: Goblins! is an anthology of tall tales, legends, and outright lies goblins tell each other while gathered around a campfire attempting to one-up one another. Although they are among the most pathetic and stupid creatures of the Pathfinder RPG world, goblins have a great deal of ambition and pride, which leads them to boast about achievements both great and small. Each issue contains two such “goblin tales,” written and illustrated by an all-star list of comic writers and artists, with a few folks (like me) from the gaming side to deliver goblin goodness direct from the source. Each issue also includes a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game appendix with character statistics, new magic items inspired by the stories, and other details on the world of the Pathfinder RPG as seen through the beady eyes of its most beloved antagonists.
The PREVIEWS Party: What makes Goblins! the perfect addition to the regular Pathfinder comic?
Erik Mona: Goblins already featured as important adversaries in “Dark Waters Rising,” the first Pathfinder comic story arc, and they’ve been beloved by Pathfinder fans since they starred in our very first Pathfinder adventure back in 2007. At the demand of Paizo’s customers and Pathfinder players, we’ve produced plastic goblin gaming figurines, plush goblins, and several game books and adventures featuring the little critters. The Pathfinder: Goblins! comic is the perfect way to let them tell their stories in their own squeaky voices.
Adam Warren: Well, my bud Jim Zubkavitch's work on the main Pathfinder title has adeptly struck a fine balance between slam-bang action and nuanced character delineation, between epic fantasy imagery and smaller-scale human/demi-human interaction. That balancing act represents a job well done, but also leaves open the opportunity for completely unbalanced and unhinged stories set in the universe's margin—which is where the gleeful mayhem of Pathfinder: Goblins! comes in, of course! As a side note, I should add that the regular Pathfinder comic has been tragically lacking in comical scenes of repeated eye-gouging, an undeniable flaw which my particular Goblins tale addresses with considerable thoroughness. (Hence the story's ocularly oriented title, "The One-Eyed Goblin Is King.")
The PREVIEWS Party: Erik, you are a big fan of comics, but your writing background is mostly in game design. What has your experience been like collaborating on a comic story?
Erik Mona: It’s been a hugely enjoyable experience for me. My professional background is in magazine editing, and for about a decade I was the editor responsible for writing art descriptions for illustrators working on Dragon and Dungeon magazines, and later with our own line of Pathfinder products at Paizo. After writing thousands of art descriptions and seeing how an artist interpreted them (for good or ill), I learned a lot about the vocabulary of visual art, and how to construct descriptions that result in the desired effect. In my capacity as Paizo’s publisher and chief creative officer, I’m also the in-house guy who works with Dynamite to evaluate and critique every page of every Pathfinder comic as it is produced, which has brought with it a ton of lessons and an insider look at how comics are made. I jammed all of that experience into my story in a way that I hope made sense to artist Shane White. His pages look great, and I’m really pleased with the final result.
The PREVIEWS Party: Adam, your background is mostly in comics. What has it been like entering the gaming world with this book?
Adam Warren: Really, it's been more of a matter of re-entering the gaming world, as I used to be heavily, ridiculously, perhaps even insanely immersed in RPGs once upon a time, back in my teens and early 20s. Gotta admit, this story’s arguably the closest I’ve come to actually playing a FRPG since those bygone days of yore, but the goblins’ blatant avarice and treachery seemed strangely familiar, somehow . . . (Just kidding, fellow players from back in the day!)
The PREVIEWS Party: The goblins are the most immature and wildest of Pathfinder’s villainous races, so how scared should we be of what is going to transpire in this book?
Erik Mona: Very, very scared. The first issue includes some gruesome killings, dismemberments, and ultra-violence, but it’s all done in a very humorous way. I think the immaturity, expressive faces, and plain old stupidity of Pathfinder goblins makes them difficult to hate, even when they’re chewing your hand off or eating your dog’s tail.
Adam Warren: You should be very scared indeed, in my informed opinion as an unlicensed doctor of comics—but not too scared to pick up the miniseries, I hasten to clarify! Nay, rather you should be just scared enough to be intrigued and entertained by the stories in Pathfinder: Goblins! Speaking of intrigue and/or entertainment, here’s a synopsis of the Goblins story that artist Carlos Gomez and yours truly worked on: After a band of cunning—yet still stupid!—goblins ambushes a hapless party of adventurers outside a legendary dungeon, one of the mightiest magical artifacts in all the land falls into the beasties' filthy, little paws. But, will the fabled Other Eye of the Arch-Lich Kalzaroth only exacerbate the goblins' natural greed and idiocy, and tear the band apart in a brutal, yet whimsical, explosion of betrayal, mutilation, and megalomania? (Spoiler Alert: The answer is an emphatic "Yes!")
The PREVIEWS Party: Okay, final pitch time! Why should everyone run out and pre-order Pathfinder: Goblins! right now?
Erik Mona: Pathfinder: Goblins! is a perfect mix of fun and fantasy, a look at a sword & sorcery world not through the bright eyes of its heroes and heroines, but rather through the beady squints of its most pathetic and humorous antagonists. Each issue contains two complete stories that present very different looks at goblins from top artists and writers, and Pathfinder RPG game appendixes in each issue feature new rules for goblin characters, treasures, and more. It’s the best way to get to know Pathfinder goblins short of inviting them into your house. And, this way, your family pet gets to live, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Adam Warren: Well, for one thing, ace artist Carlos Gomez did a hell of a job on the artwork for “The One-Eyed Goblin Is King”—a better job than I could’ve done myself, to be honest! Not only did he bring great energy and humor to depicting the story’s playfully ghoulish events, but he succeeded remarkably well in visually differentiating each of the ill-fated goblins, which is a much tougher task that you might think.