World of Prime

The fabulous Kristin has once again performed the impossible, and sold another one of my books, this time to the award-winning Lou Anders at Pyr. Little did the poor man know he was in for a whole series!

The first one, Sword of the Bright Lady, is due out Sept. 9th. You can preorder it on Amazon now (hint, hint). The cover is by Gene Mollica, who also did the fantastic Promise of Blood cover.

UPDATE: Dave Gross, author of Pathfinder Tale's Prince of Wolves, has given it a fantastically apt quote:

Sword of the Bright Lady is an exciting new take on the modern-man-meets-magic conflict—it’s a how-to guide for surviving in a world of gods and monsters."

Wow! I would totally buy that book.

Theoretically this will be followed up by Gold Throne in Shadow, Judgement at Verdant Court, Verdict on Crimson Fields, and Black Harvest. My long-time fans (all two of you) read the first two of those sequels as a single very long book, although they have undergone some significant changes.

Here is the cover for the second book - it's so hot it's on fire! Look for it in October!

Book III has an eye-catching cover - so arresting it's in chains! Look for it in December!

Book IV's cover has an elf on it. If you look closely you can see her eyes are purple:

And here it is, Book V, the final entry in the series. It's not the end of Christopher's story but it is the end of the part we get to see. Thank you so much to everyone who stuck with me to the end.

A map!
Whisky Hammer asked about a map in the comments and I realized I should put one up. Years ago a very kind and talented artist, Michael W. Donovan, made a map from my rather crude sketch. There's Kingsrock in the center, the troglodyte mountains in the north-west, the gnoll swamp in the south, the druids off to the east, and Knockford in the west (the village of Burseberry is just north of the town):


  1. Warren from WisconsinSeptember 11, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Hello just finished SotBL. It was a great read, can't wait to find out what Christopher does next. This is so much more than a fantasy novel, I love the revolutionary theme.

  2. Thanks!

    But now I can't stop picturing fifes and red coats. :D

  3. I picked this up at the bookstore last night, and it kept me up. I love Christopher and Karl and how the magic works and... (deep breath... stop gushing all over the poor author....) I am now feeling direly in need of the next five installments, stat! :-)

    I'm definitely recommending this book to all of my engineer friends, as I think it really has an engineer mindset, which is cool. (Not being an engineer myself, but a lowly copy editor, I can only compliment you on your engaging prose style, which is quite refreshing in these current grimdark fantasy times.)

  4. Gushing is appreciated. :D

    My editor already has the 2nd one in his hands (though it won't come out till next year), and I am almost finished with the 3rd. But it encouragement like this that will get me through the rest of the series.

  5. Finished your book and really enjoyed it. If you pull a Patrick Rothfuss in the middle of this series you will be hunted down, your Tael removed and your head boiled.

    Compliments may help motivate you to do the main task of the author aka - apply your a$$ to the chair and write - but hords of outraged fans threatening to boil your head definitely will.

  6. Hehe... I do remember that Rothfuss said his 2nd book was "already written" back when the first one came out... and we all had to wait 5 years for it anyway. :D

  7. Just finished the book today and I'm hooked. I'm sick to death of 'noble Prince\Princess saves the kingdom' stuff and seeing well written books like this and from others like Brian McClellan is refreshing. I don't know how Kings and Kingdoms took over so much of fantasy, but I love seeing good books that challenge that standard model. I hope to see a lot more shaking up of the political system Christopher found himself in. I'm a big fan of Sara Creasy's books too, so was surprised to see on your website that the two of you are married. I hope you both keep up the good work!

  8. Two guys from Wisconsin? What are the odds? :D

    That is one of the great features of Promise of Blood: no more aristocrat worship! Ironically in the World of Prime the aristocrats really are better than ordinary people. :D Also, the main characters in PoB are basically privileged members of the upper classes. :P

    This is one of the things I wanted to explore with the book: how do you deal with the Nietzschean* worship of power in a world where those people really do have super powers and you really do need them to survive?

    * I think that's the answer to your question.

  9. Just finished PoB - great stuff! And yes I shouldnt have stayed up till 1:30...
    I am sick of the aristocracy - all fantasy fans like to think of themselves as noble heirs in exile I think. Glad you are so over it! Can we expect the mass guillotine party soon? Yes I know Brian McClellan did it first...
    Write faster!!!

  10. Not too soon... he's only 5th rank. To make it dramatically interesting any revolt against the ruling class has to wait until he is part of the ruling class. Otherwise it would be too morally clear-cut. :D

  11. Randomly pick out this book at B&N along with dozens other... and I love this one the most.

    Definitely luckiest find of the year

  12. Now I'm jealous... buying a dozen books at a bookstore here in Australia is a daunting prospect. On the shelf my book sells for $40!

    Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!

  13. Hello, I started reading fiction in 1963 with Robert E. Howards' Conan books.
    Just finished SotBL a beautiful read, one of the best time travel books I have ever read.
    Fast paced, plenty of action, thought provoking, and the ending section is the strongest part of the book (I feel}. Looking forward to the next installment.
    Glenn C.

  14. Thanks! That is high company to be in. :)

    You might enjoy Dave Duncan's "The Seventh Sword" trilogy, which, oddly enough, was not actually an influence for my book even though it's about an engineer turned swordsman serving a god in a different world. In theme and development they are completely different. But I am a big fan of Duncan so I heartily recommend it.

  15. One thing I kept wanting, was more back-story for the religions of the world - is there an origins legend for the Bright Lady and Marcius and what about her other 3 defenders? It felt like something basic that the main character needed to know. And how did the Church get established where it is - is it ancient and got driven back to its current limited status?
    Also a bit more about the competition - the yellow robes.

    And I had to wonder if all the "monsters" are equally monstrous - or if maybe some are less savage and possible future allies, but merely opposed to the corrupt system the humans live under. Some hint that not all those in the 'Wild' are Dark might be nice.

  16. I actually removed backstory, because I wanted to keep the narrative moving. The next book introduces a significant character who is a Yellow Priest, so the view does broaden a bit.

    The third book addresses that exact issue - just how monstrous are the monsters, and why?

    However, the true history of the religions and the gods doesn't show up until the 5th (and final) book.

  17. Tom from Oregon
    Good read Love revolutionary engineers!

  18. Well, you know engineers. They never see a system that can't be "improved." :D

  19. Hi...Was looking for a good read at BAM yesterday and seen your Sword of the Bright Lady and decided why not. Best why not I have done in a while. I didn't put it down until I finished it at 4am. Rarely does a book do this to me. Outstanding job and I look forward to the next installment, hopefully soon.

  20. Thanks! Pyr seems to have scheduled the next one for October. Apparently it's already available for pre-order (hint hint :D ).

    Now I need to get cracking and fill in those plot holes in book 3.

  21. Does this world contains other kingdoms? Or other factions common in fantasy world like elves/dwarfs?

    And will we see the structures and ranks from the monsters side?

  22. There are other kingdoms in the world, but the Kingdom of the Rock is somewhat isolated for reasons that become clear at the end of the next book. I am a bit limited at showing the monster's side since everything is from a single point of view, but he does get to meet some non-humans in the 2nd & 3rd book.

    And - spoiler alert - an elf shows up at the end of the 3rd book, pointy ears and snooty attitude and all. In this series I am not trying to subvert or invert or upend the standard tropes; instead, I am trying to embrace them completely. Which means figuring out why they are like that, and what else that would mean.

    Hence my changed definition of nobility. In a world where power is so fungible, an inheritance is only as good as the tael it brings. Many fantasy worlds have people with super-powers and aristocratic leaders as separate groups, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Whatever it takes to get super-hero sword fighting skills, the nobility of any world would a) do and b) monopolize.

  23. Just finished the Book and thought it was great!! Great to see such a different take.
    As an avid reader of all of Brian Aldiss novels I can only compliment you as being in a similar space

    Have you read the Helliconia trilogy???

    Kind regards


  24. Thank you - Aldiss is one of the classics.

    Mostly what I remember from Helliconia is the fat death/wasting cycle, which was pretty ingenious even if completely absurd. Any decent engineer would have just picked a suitable middle ground and left it at that. :D

  25. Hi! Swedish reader here. Just finished this after picking it up at my local English book shop and liked it a lot. Any Eta on that sequel yet? Also; why no "blue" book? ;)

    On another note; as a (novice) hema sword fighter (I.e. Full contact longsword) I cannot help but smile with recognition at the "bash the other guy with no regards for defense"-style of fighting you describe for your tael-fuled fighters. It is very close to what is referred to as "robo-cop fencing" in hema circles; which is what you get with novices once they realize that, in the thick padding of hema armour, a full force blow will mostly hurt your pride. Christopher would be at that level in a month with daily sparring, even if he had never seen a blade before.
    (Also swords vs plate irl is a bit like fork vs tin can, but I can forgive that because magics. But perhaps Chris should invent the military pick? :) )

  26. Thanks! Gold Throne in Shadow will be out in October. As for the lack of "blue," originally there was only going to be 3 books; then I realized I needed 5. But I couldn't justify 6. So some color had to be cut, and I just didn't have any cool scenes with a blue tinge in mind.

    Very interesting comments about sword sparring. I guess in martial arts that never really comes up; even with gloves and padding you can't help but want to block a punch to your face. So soldiers on Prime must train like hema: put on armor and learn to wale on each other without fear of getting hit. After a month they're good enough to get in their one swing on a ranked fighter, and then they die.

    Yes, magic is a convenient excuse. That's why we writers like it! :D But he skips picks and goes straight to rifles. :D

  27. Just finished gold throne in shadow. Just after sword of the bright lady. Now I am ready for the next one. Hurry! Hahaha. Just want to say 'Thanks. Any eta on book 3?

  28. Book III should be out next October. The manuscript is almost done; just a few plot holes to pave over. It's got a great arc about Cannan that I am really proud of. A little bit dark, though.

  29. I randomly picked up SotBL in August or September from the library and couldn't put it down until the need for sleep interrupted, then finished it the next day at work. Shortly thereafter I asked the library to purchase the sequel. Became first in line to put it on hold (though a second person jumped in almost immediately thereafter) - before they even announced it was on order. For over two months it was on order or in processing so I finally bought GTiS the 31st (I'm expecting a tax refund in a couple of months, so could 'justify' it), and finished the first reading in about 6 hours.

    I love it.

    Given the power of the weapon blessing when used on guns I'm hoping Christopher will induct a few more priests of Marcius (despite his moral hangups). A dozen blessed guns might have taken out that Shaman.

    I'm also looking forward to seeing Gregor's transition to a split rank priest, which should be soon.

    Thanks for the tip on the colors of the books from you and Anonymous. This wasn't obvious to me.

    I assume the hjerne-spica are constantly targeting human and 'monster' kingdoms around this world (assuming the originally founders of the new kingdom came from another part of this world). I don't understand why the founders would keep them a secret; surely it would be more secure if everyone new what they were and were ever on their guard against them. Perhaps it's because their leader was a secretive arch-mage? And I feel sorry for Cannan as he seems the likeliest to have either been taken over by one, or to have encountered one (though what you wrote about the cursed ring in SotBL is another possible explanation).

  30. So you're saying I got TWO sales out of you. :D Thanks!

    I think Cannan suffers so much in the 3rd book that he will be on the cover. A dubious reward, but it's something.

    As for why they keep the HS secret, it's simply desperation. There isn't really any way to be on guard against them. Like the Black Death or the Spanish Flu, they appear from nowhere, nothing can stop them, and afterwards the survivors bury the dead and try to forget, so they can go on living. Newspapers and accounts from both those plagues barely even talk about them; it was just too depressing.

    Needless to say our eternally optimistic engineer will not find that an acceptable state of affairs. :D

  31. You're welcome!

    Reading the world of prime worldbook is answering a lot of questions.

    p. 214 of GTiS:
    "I don't think so," Karl answered him. "They had already invested the woods as of then"....

    Was "invested" supposed to be "infested"?

  32. Thousands of people have downloaded the Worldbook, but I didn't know any of them had actually read it. :D

    If it was supposed to be "infested," it's too late now. :D But actually, "invested" is a military term for acquiring a position through troop movements. Karl would never use "infested" in its place - that might look like he had an emotion. :D

  33. 4th read (jumping around after the first).

    Alas... :C

    p.147 ..."rather more alacrity than one would except from under so much armor."

    Still time to fix it for the mass market paperback (and ebook)? :P

    I'm done bugging you...until the next book!

  34. OK, that's a real one. At least it has all the right letters, just in the wrong order. :D

  35. Okay, I lied. I'm back.

    It occurs to me that if someone has enough Tael for a fifth rank, then he has enough to promote two 4th ranks to fifth rank, or other combinations (my fave would be the blue ally to 5th and Torme to 4th). Even though Christopher hates promoting people there would be significant utility in this.

    I saw a black cathedral on the map in Court of the Aesir. Is this cannon?, hidden from the populace?

    Off hand I wonder how common female leaders of nations are on Prime. Presumably this is more common in Elven and cleric/druid/ranger/wizard/sorcerer led nations (are there any bard or rogue led nations?).

    It's been decades since I've read this much DnD.

    One thing I do not understand is how a 12th level cleric can resurrect. Does their domain focus grant a domain spell as if they were one rank higher (in which case resurrection would be a domain spell on Prime) versus an additional domain spell at the current rank? I also assume that a resurrection costs 200 tael instead of the 2000 based on current DnD rules. What is happening to the commoners like Charles who are being raised from the dead so often? Are they losing two points of constitution each time, or is this negated by the fact that everyone gets maximum hit points? And how long does it take for their natural 512 tael to regenerate after being raised?

    Three more typos:

    SotBL (Google ebook)
    p. 113-115
    "It's only five tael to the gold," the guard said.
    "tael" and "gold" reversed. No native of Prime would get this wrong, and if he did the other would have quickly corrected him instead of agreeing with him.

    "He turned to Jurgen, who only shook his head, his face black, but younger smith took the sword and considered it."
    missing "the" before "younger"

    GTiS (trade paperback)
    p. 309
    "send Uma to the Saint get her"
    missing "to" before "get"

    I think I noticed another typo in GTiS, but was reading in bed and didn't dog ear the page.

  36. Not sure what point in the narrative you're referring to; he wants to promote Karl to 0 to 5th so he can lead the regiment. Instead, he winds up promoting a 4th to 5th, and he had already promoted a 1st to 4th, so that kinda works out the way you suggested.

    The game guides are a bit out of date with the narrative. The fact that the Gold Throne is actually ruled by Black is one of those worst-kept secrets, like who the local mafia don is.

    There's actually no particular bar against female fighters. The privileges of rank trump the advantages of size and strength pretty quickly. The KotR is a young kingdom; it's still struggling to increase its population, which is why women seem regulated to having babies. In more developed areas it's different; but then, every society is different. I'm working on revising the World Book to reflect my current demographics, but yes, all of the classes have their place (even NPC classes make a kind of sense in my world). As for elven-led nations... there is actually only one. Elves in my world look like Tolkien elves, and they sort of act like them - aloof, patronizing, near-immortal - but they have a very different history and psychology. He gets to meet an elf at the end of the 3rd book, which proves less illuminating than he had hoped. :)

    In an earlier version of the manuscript I made it clear that priests of the Bright Lady cast healing spells as if they were one rank higher, but all other spells as if they were one rank lower. This is still true, but I'm not sure the text spells it out quite so clearly. So Krellyan casts healing as a 13th level. Given the price of actually buying a 13th rank, you can see the prestige class PotBL is quite impressive. :D

    Excellent work on the typos. I am particularly aggravated by the reversal of tael and gold! How confusing that could be to close readers. (For instance, I am still annoyed that Jack Vance miscounted his dragons in between two battles in Dragon Masters). Oops!

    I originally did have a segment on what it meant to raise commoners from the dead, but that turned out be boring, so I cut it. :D

  37. I just caught what seems to be a blooming love interest between two ranks. It'll be interesting to see that play out. The characters are knowledgeable and seem mature enough I forget that nearly everyone Christopher is working with is almost two decades or more his junior.

    Thinking about inheritance: If a ranked falls in battle in the wild, and their Tael is recovered, does their heir inherit the Tael? And would the heir of a kingdom or county inherit from both the previous ruler (who may not be a relative) and that previous ruler's ranked spouse (assuming there is one)?

    In one of Jim Butcher's Codex Alera books person A tells person B that villain did something. A few paragraphs later person B repeats this back to person A and person A acts as if he didn't know this ("What?!") and gets mad. Continuity errors break the suspension of disbelief worse than a simple typo. But I suppose this is the price we readers pay for author prolificacy. :)

    Speaking of which:
    GTiS p. 231
    "His knew that his army survived because of the constant drumbeat"...

  38. Well, usually only one decade - the knights are late 20's. In the third book Lalania admits she is 23.

    A battle outside of the kingdom would count as under kingdom rules, so ya, the heir would be entitled. That's an interesting question about the spouse; but usually, tael is handled as part of the inheritance law, so the spouse probably has a will that directs where it goes. The lord probably has less freedom; his will will have to stipulate that all of his tael goes to whomever succeeds him.

  39. Scott from PA...againFebruary 25, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Posted before and have to again...Second book just as good as the first and kept me reading once again late into the early morning. I made my 12 year old son read the first and the next day he was running up to me asking for the second. Can't wait for the 3rd to come out...

  40. Thanks! I am intrigued that it appealed to a younger person. I deliberately kept the language and the situations at a neutral level; although some terrible stuff happens it's mostly off-screen, so to speak. That tone will continue through all the series, even though their are some pretty dark issues coming up.

    I just turned in the manuscript for book III. I was very excited about that, until I realized it meant I had to actually write book IV. :D

  41. What are the stats of the PoTBL (Priest of the Bright Lady I assume) prestige class? It is not in any of the World of Prime gamebooks.

  42. Every DM should make up their own custom features, the better to confound the players. :D

    Basically the Healers cast all healing spells as if they were one level higher, and all other spells as if they were one level lower. And, apparently, they are not allowed to cast Necromancy spells. But that's it.

    I am in the midst of revising those worldbooks, though I confess the prestige class won't be in the new ones either. I'm not actually sure I would allow it as a DM; it seems a bit OP. :D

  43. Have you decided what rank and alignment is the King? In fact I am more interested in the King's alignment.

  44. I think it actually says the King is 13th rank in the first book. Politically he is neutral; he allies with all humans against non-humans. Personally he might have been Green once, but kingship has turned him Yellow. Most humans are Green or Yellow.

  45. Huh, I thought the king was a pragmatic red.

    I ran some calculations based on the tael from a commoner being the size of a grain of rice (a short grained rice being about 20 microliters in volume according to wikipedia), and the Saint would have been given a bit over 1 liter of Tael on his promotion. Someone going from 19th to 20th rank would have to drink a little over 150 liters of the stuff.

    Boiling the head of a high-ranked person would look like smoke coming out of a genie bottle: never ending.

    Unless they can pull it out of their heads a high-powered spell caster would begin having logistical issues.

    It seems the prestige class would be less over-powered if they were only allowed the healing domain from the bright lady. And until you said differently I thought the clerics of the 4 prime deities who allow clerics would all be similar in having a +1 caster level domain.

    Since Loki and Forseti do not interact with mortals I kind of wondered how yellow and blue under-deities would have even started, or have been allied with Loki and Forseti when they did get promoted to the deific ranks.

  46. " they are not allowed to cast Necromancy spells"

    So gentle repose is a non-necromancy spell in Prime? And higher than 2nd level, since Christopher mentions that the vicars can cast it, but says nothing about prelates of the Bright Lady being able to cast it (to the grunts, after the major battle in the first book)?

  47. The King might be turning Red, but casting divination spells on or about the King is an act of treason, so no one is going to admit to knowing. :D

    Tael only assumes physical form in certain situations. This is the stuff that lets people turn into bears, so mass/size is the least of its worries. :D FYI, adamantium is tael made permanently solid, so that's another oddity.

    Yes, the prestige class is probably overpowered. Such is the privilege of fiction. :D On the other hand, Christopher didn't get to be that class. He has to make do with the bog-standard issue. He's kind of envious of the druids, too.

    How the gods interact with the world is a big topic in book V.

    Preserving corpses seems more like healing to me, so I would have always ruled that as not an act of necromancy, even if I had thought of it beforehand, which I hadn't. :O Christopher forgets about the prelates because in his experience he only saw it done by a Vicar. The Prelate of Knockford had an actual role in the first draft of the book, but sadly it got cut.

  48. Thanks for the info! I'm still rereading GTiS, and will probably be doing so until book 3 comes out.

    It's a great world to fantasize in thanks to your focus on the mechanics.

  49. And five more questions:

    I assume most arms and armor is hereditary, and that the colors link to the wearer's alignment in most cases. Was one of Cannan's ancestors a Red, then, since his native alignment seemed more Green?

    Does anyone rank their war horse or familiars?

    Does it take the same amount of Tael to rank an animal (or a Hobgoblin) as it does a human? The worldbook seems to imply so, but this isn't intuitively obvious.

    Are any of the Adventure settings near Kingsrock?

    Was Fairweather a landowner or just 5th ranked gentry? (ie. Is Duke Nordland typical in leading drafts, or does this usually go to heirs and the upper gentry?)

    It also makes sense in the second book that Christopher would consider a Vicar instead of a Prelate for gentle repose due to their ability to stuff 3rd level spell slots with the spell. I couldn't figure out how the logistics worked without that. What this world needs is a mass gentle repose (which upon inspection would only be available at the 11th rank, so not too beneficial in this setting).

  50. Hereditary links aren't actually a big deal in this kingdom. Having rich parents helps, of course, but it's not the only way to become noble. In some places there are powerful magic items that only work for people of a certain bloodline; there, parentage matters a lot. Cannan is Green; he wears Red as a fashion statement. Basically he's warning people that he is quick to violence. Just like Nordland is Blue but is also pretty much a hard-ass. The moral code people ascribe too doesn't relate to their personalities.

    Black Bart really wanted to turn his warhorse into a nightmare, but he couldn't afford it. :D Nobody in this kingdom spends tael on animals, but in other places they do.

    According to the rules of my world-book, CR and level are interchangable, so yes, it costs the same amount to make a 3 HD magic creature as it does to make a 3rd rank noble.

    The map for the Goblin book puts it just north of the kingdom... but the goblins in that book are very different than the ones in SotBL. The gnolls are supposed to be in the south (though I call them ulvenmen because reasons). The Formian book also describes a neighbor of the kingdom, but I don't know if they ever show up in the series.

    I don't know much about Fairweather; he died before I got a chance to meet him. :D Technically the Wizard leads a couple of drafts too, he's just a lot more hands-off than Nordland. Generally the upper ranks are trusted with more authority. The Gold Apostle in particular would have over-lapping loyalties, though you can imagine the King doesn't like that.

    Preserving corpses isn't that useful; most people can't afford to raise commoners. Christopher can only do it because he is not supporting a retinue. He's captured all of the profit of his adventures single-handedly, which, as Lalania keeps telling him, is not how it's supposed to work. :D

  51. I was just thinking of the sheer cost of a suit of armor. Though I suppose and sort of heir could just as easily sell the suit and get another made. Though I'd expect most ranked arms and armor would be more tightly held, by counties if not families.

    "it costs the same amount to make a 3 HD magic creature as it does to make a 3rd rank noble."

    So would a person get 40 tael from a 1st rank hobgoblin, or just 16?

    "but the goblins in that book are very different than the ones in SotBL"

    To Christopher's benefit. :) Trolls are bad, Ogre Mage Dukes fearsome, but tanks are tanks.

    So has the Saint or Cardinal Faren ever led a draft?

    "He's captured all of the profit of his adventures single-handedly, which, as Lalania keeps telling him, is not how it's supposed to work. :D "

    Well so far. Can't wait to find out how that 5th rank promotion goes! (I have an idea, but don't want to spoil if it's correct.)

    Will it take a defensive battle within the kingdom to convince the nobles that guns are the real deal? I'm curious to find out.

    Assuming free tael tends to the same size (despite what you said above about tael not being overly limited), according to my calculations the source of tael is about rank 107 (based on the worldbook figures for planetary diameter and subtracting the planes). I wonder what a 107th ranked planet is capable of?

  52. Most knights only wear what D&D calls "half-plate," basically a few bits of plate rounded out by mail. Cannan is wearing that when they first meet; only Gregor and Black Bart have the full suit. Of course most games and novels completely butcher the historical use of armor. I decided to follow suit, as part of the genre. The Red Knight series by Miles Cameron is an exception for its historicity (and I highly recommend it).

    Hobgoblins are a special case; they yield less tael because they are small and not so dangerous and very stupid. The goblins actually created them in an attempt to farm tael without risk; basically they wanted to cheat the entire tael system, because you know, that's what goblins do. Christopher probably would have coped with tanks better. At least it would be something he could recognize. :D In book IV he's back up there, tangling with the goblins again, so we will see how it goes. (Hint: not well.)

    None of the White Church leaders have ever led a draft. They have been very careful to not be military assets. Which, given what happens to military assets in this world, looks smart (and to many people, cowardly).

    A battle in the kingdom... why it's almost as if you've read book IV. :D

    That is a interesting calculation about the maximum rank. Fortunately even the gods are limited to 25th rank, and planets aren't sentient, so they can't hold rank. It does, however, make you wonder what all that tael is for...

  53. Wow, picked the first two up from the library on a whim, a bit of fantasy-fluff... So so *so* much better than I was expecting! Loved the underlying D&D-flavored mechanics of the world, especially being so intimately wrapped into how people think and act. Nobles who really *are* better than the commoners; "player characters" who really can take more damage (tael = hit points), etc. And I love the underlying politics, too! Can't wait for book three, and so excited to hear there's a 4 and a 5! And what's this about a "worldbook"? We can actually play in your world???

    Two books, three days (darn that J O B thing!)... giving them both to my kids to read now, then probably my gaming group!

  54. Yay for libraries!

    I guess in gaming terms I am the guy who thinks "fluff" ought to evolve from "crunch." :D

    There is a worldbook on DriveThruRPG; but I am in the middle of revising it for clarity and consistency. My end goal is to create a computer program that generates adventure worlds for sandbox campaigns. I'm making progress, but then I have to stop and write more book IV. Book III will be out in December. :)

  55. Now that book 3 is in it's final stages (hopefully) I can soon find out Cannan's dramatic plot development.

    I always had the feeling that Niona was the first know character to have been consumed by the hjerne-spica and that Cannan fought and destroyed that creature.

    My question in regards to that thought is would a resurrection of a person that had been taken by a H.S. be viable? Would their personality/spirt be retrievable?

  56. That's not quite what happened... although it's not entirely off-base, either. :D

    Generally speaking, the revival spell is quite powerful. It can bring people back from pretty much anything. This actually becomes a bit of a plot point in book V. :)

  57. According to the end of Judgement at Verdant Court if Christopher goes home he won't be able to cast spells since there is no tael on Earth. However he has tael with and within himself so his powers should work on Earth. What is the problem?

  58. Christopher assumes his tael won't follow him, since nobody on Earth has it in their heads when they die. When Marcius tells him magic won't work, he takes that to mean he can't cast spells. Christopher is not yet quite cynical enough to think a demi-god is lying to him.

    Well, not yet, at least. :D

  59. Marcius is of the White and Christopher is planning to return. Why would he lie?

  60. Marcius would never lie. He just isn't telling the truth. :D

    It's mostly Christopher's fault. He never asked what, exactly, Marcius wanted him to do. Not that that would help, since Marcius can't tell him. Which is just as well, because at this point Christopher would probably refuse...

  61. "It does, however, make you wonder what all that tael is for..."

    The power to make a decision in a few billion years?

    Good god Judgment is a mind blowing book. A boggling, astonishing journey. Luck really is with Christopher; two-fold since it seems he might avoid a duel. But the sheer horror of unintentionally taking advantage of the Saint can't be pleasant.

    Is an apostle 10th or 11th rank?

  62. Thank you!

    An Apostle is 10th; at 11th you become a saint, and they stop giving you titles after that. So few people ever get there, it doesn't seem necessary.

    The Saint is the kind of fellow who wouldn't hold a little mistake like that against you. Which, given what happens in Book IV, is really fortunate... :D

  63. Thanks!
    I work in mol. bio. and recently read a little thing about prion diseases, which sparked a nasty idea: Tael Taint.

    A magical purple dye which intercollates and subdivides with tael, but does not register as tael (and weighs nearly nothing). Depending on the abilities of the creator it could poison, curse, ruin spells, corrupt enchanted arms and armor, etc.... These could be immediate effects, or delayed effects.

    The unranked members of an army would have it painted on a surreptitious part of their heads. If all goes well, no problem, but if the enemy is victorious, or captures heads, the lower ranked troops are most likely to have their tael crudely purified through boiling rather than fully separated through orison/cantrip (especially if the majority of the enemy ranked are non-casters).

    Tael taint would be easy to deal with if you know it's there, but if you don't, or don't have the ability to purify tael away from it, it could cause serious problems.

    I could even see despotic nations generally using it on their own people to "discourage" theft of tael taxes by the hoi polloi (or Bloody Mummers). I'm not sure if this would be cost effective though.
    I wonder if the guy kicked out of the army will be back (to Christopher's detriment) in the future.

    And I wonder if the magician's baby's father is the friendly yellow magician.

    I'm already sad that only five books are scheduled.
    I understand multi-classing in your system, but what are the rules for someone who goes through the apprentice-ranks in one class, but switches to another class for the full 1st level rank? If there's no trade-off it seems that the orison bonus makes it worthwhile for many clerics or druids to apprentice through an adept (if possible) before taking a full cleric rank at a later date. I'd only see it as not worthwhile if it means they don't learn their class language, or they really need one of the orisons the adept doesn't have access to.

  64. I can see somebody standing on the back of a wagon, selling Tael Taint; you paint it on your head, and the Hjerne-spica know you're tainted, so they eat someone else instead. Sleep safe at night, knowing changelings won't eat your family! My world's snake-oil patent medicine. :D

    The fellow from the army actually has a walk-on role in Book IV; though, since he was never named, I don't know that anyone will recognize him. Bonus points if you can spot him!

    After this series, I want to write about different characters in the World of Prime. They won't have guns, but they will allow me to explore how other people deal with tael - so far, we've seen everything from a priest's point of view.

    I think I said that only the Warrior class translated to any of the marital classes. A cleric apprenticing as an adept just to get a spell early probably isn't the right temperament for the priesthood... :D

  65. Nice work, I just finished reading the first 3 book, I tried to pace myself but they were gone in 4 days, how long will we have to wait for book 4?

  66. Thanks! I have about two or three chapters to write in book IV, but given production times, that means not till Xmas at the earliest.

    As he gets higher in rank, the magic becomes kind of crazy, and it's having an effect on the plot.... :D

  67. So if Christopher had asked a comprehensive set of questions, instead of making assumptions, he would have a better idea of what is really going on?

  68. Not really. Nobody is willing to tell him. In addition to the usual idea that it's easier to control someone when they don't know what's going on, on Prime there is another consideration: divination.

    They can actually predict the future to a limited extent. But of course, the more people predict the future, the cloudier it becomes, as everyone changes the future by reacting to their predictions. Once you get a prediction you like, you tend to try and make sure nobody changes anything - which means keeping everyone in the dark.

    Also, some of the things he needs to know are simply so far outside of normal assumptions that he can't be blamed for not questioning them; and one of his greatest strengths is making assumptions. He assumes guns will change the battlefield, he assumes gunpowder will work, he assumes he can survive without putting whole worlds at risk... if he didn't make these assumptions, he'd spend the rest of his life a a mute peasant. Which would serve no one's ends. So they actively encourage him to make assumptions. :)

  69. Really looking forward to book 4. Read all three twice now, and im sure ill give it another run before xmas.

  70. Thanks! It's in editing right now. Unfortunately I don't think it will come out this year, but should be early next year.

  71. 1 Any Chance on Gregor class changing completely like into a Paladin or a Warpriest ala Pathfinder?

    2 Revolver Rifles mainly fell out of favor due to imprecise matching or worn matching of the chamber to the barrel and body of the gun. With the exploding hot gases in people's faces. How is this problem avoided?

    3 Mercury II Fulminate is made by dissolving mercury into nitric acid in solution with Ethanol. How is he getting any of these things for an upgraded gun? Further upgrades of the gun require this to happen because the gunking from the non discharged black powder causes the gun to jam.

    Past that, awesome books and i hope he starts leveling more people up for the most basic upgrades. High Level Wizards where mainly great for buffs, CC, and counterspells so i don't see his problem with that

  72. Thanks for the comments! :)

    1. There's only one OP home-brewed class allowed in this world - the Healers. :D I do hope to write more books about different characters, but at one book per base class that's already a dozen more books. And the next story is going to be about an Aristocrat class character. :D

    2. Christopher has an answer to this one: magic. The smiths use magic to mate the breeches to the barrels, so they actually have a better fit than any reasonable machine shop could make. Ah the wonders of "Repair."

    3. Nitric acid was known in the 13th century. Ethanol, of course, is a staple of all fantasy worlds. :D Mercury is a bit harder but it's a byproduct of gold mining, and gold mining is apparently the single largest industry in a D&D world, based on the quantity of the stuff.

    In Book IV he goes a slightly different route... but then, by book V, things will change even more.

  73. I've been looking for information about a potential release date for book 4, but couldn't find anything. Is there a rough estimate yet?

    1. Amazon claims it will be out April 10, 2018. And what Amazon wants, Amazon gets! :D

      Hopefully we'll get a cover for it in the next few months.

  74. Wow. Book 4 didn't go as I expected. I thought the big bad of book 5 would be a lich, but can see how the clues you dropped in 2 and 3 could point to what they did.

    I also thought Christopher would deal with that lich as a level 9 and then go home, but see this is not to be. Now I wonder if he'll ever get home at all.

    Looking forward to Black Harvest. And after the twists in Verdict I think that'll be enough for me in this storyline (that's not a criticism, it just turned far darker than I thought).

    I'll look for the cast-out soldier on a reread.

    1. "I'll look for the cast-out soldier on a reread."

      Ah, yes, halfway through the book. It's not as dark on a reread, at least so far.

  75. Planar binding, or lesser planar binding?

    How was the cloak enchanted?

    How is that magic user so old?

    1. I agree, five books is enough. :D The next one will be the final one in Christopher's story.

      That demon did seem a lot tougher than a CR 9 encounter. Sigrath should never have tried it; but the HS wanted to properly terrify Christopher. You know how Evil is, always showing off.

      The cloak is another home-brew - it's just a cloak of displacement with a twist. Since it makes it generally worse, I'll allow it. :D

      Ah, the Witch of the Moors... in an earlier version, she got a lot more screen time, which sadly got cut as it had nothing to do with the plot. Suffice to say all is not as it seems - the Witch is an inherited position, held by a series of women who use illusion magic to make themselves look the same.

    2. Ah ha, I was wondering if she was possibly a half-elf.

    3. Nah, Tolkien already did that one. :D

    4. Well, since you had no problem decoding those oblique questions :P :

      Did Homer's son's namesake know what he served?

    5. Haha! That one took me a minute. I think the answer has to be "no," since they lie out of habit. But he surely knew he served the god of death (Hordur). Which kinda amounts to the same thing...

  76. (I can't seem to log in with OpenID anymore. I am the most recent Anonymous [aka pulnimar].)
    Thanks for the Campaign Journals.

    I completely failed to see how Crimson Fields would go, so I'm making book 5 predictions public:
    1) The Formians were either allied with, or taken advantage of by, the Gold Apostle in book 4, so I see a campaign involving them and the Moaning lands.
    2) Blue or Green priests make the best new overlords for the Gold domains. So I see this happening.
    3) The "bigger bomb" is Christopher's attempt at a nuke. The gods realize what this means and directly intervene to stop it. Out of the bargaining Christopher gets a resurrection for Niona, and possibly some surety against the braineaters, elves, and dragons.
    4) Christopher finds out his wife had moved on through some sort of scrying. The good of "those yet to be born" is a phrase he starts to understand in a particular way. He ends up staying on Prime, and ends up with Lalania, possibly ends up a father before the book ends, and never gets much above 13th rank.

    I hope point 4 isn't correct (what if his wife was unknowingly pregnant before he disappeared?), but look forward to finding out!

    1. Oh yeah, and thanks for the book recommendations.

    2. And one possible continuity error in Crimson Fields:

      The last we saw of Christopher's elf subordinate (the books are in the bedroom and my wife is sleeping; I can't remember her name) she was a 5th rank druid. She dies and gets reincarnated, yet still can throw lightning bolts according to the gestures of the castellan.

      Either she gained a rank somewhen, or she's actually rolling a flaming sphere or throwing a flame.

    3. 1.The Formians do make an appearance! Though the Moaning Lands seemed to have been forgotten about. In my defense there are countless haunted sites and monster lairs around. I can't keep track of them all. :D

      2. That is sort of mentioned but the focus of the story goes in a different direction.

      3. I guess arms racea only ever ends in nukes. :D The only thing I will say is that this is the final book in the series. Christopher earns a bit more than surety; he gets an actual resolution by the end.

      4. He does finally learn what that phrase means, and he does stay on Prime - it is a bit of a running gag that despite his constant attempts to return to Earth he never actually gets there. Other than that I think you'll be surprised. :D

      Continuity error: Good catch! Those tricksy elves. Apparently, elven reincarnation stones also restore your lost rank. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :D

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. :)

      The elves have been around long enough, and have enough high ranked sorcerers and druids, that this is plausible.

      If their reincarnation lets even the non-druid elves shape-shift into elvish form it's pretty buff compared to the regular reincarnation anyway.

    6. The elves actually have a package deal: they're all effectively 3rd level with a suite of classic druid abilities (shape-shift, woodland stride, etc.). It's like a prestige class; no elf is allowed off of Elfheim without it (since there are only a few elves born every year they can afford it). Nobody sane would go to Prime as a 1st level. :D

    7. Sadly I didn't get to introduce the dwarves. Maybe in another book. :)

  77. I see you changed the brain-eaters and elves from the worldbook.

    I did enjoy it. I see how the so many things in the previous novels tie into the ending.

    I think you could have divided this into two novels though. The first part would have worked with a blue theme (alliances and duties). The transition at the halfway mark from the campaign pacing of the earlier books to an adventure pacing was jarring, and "Mr. Falconer" had me thinking you jumped the shark. Then after that first quest with Falconer everything was explained and made sense, then Mr. Falconer's convenient brother was another shark jumping moment, and then you tied it all off with an ending that practically guarantees that any other stories or adventures would have to take place years before Christopher's arrival on Prime. Which was kind of bittersweet.

    He's not the smartest guy in the world, and the name was an eyeroll moment. But it makes sense that he'd be the smartest person Christopher knew who'd actually be motivated to join.

    I'm glad everyone had a happy ending (except Johm), including Lalania.

    I look forward to the minor character stories.

    This song has been on the radio recently, and some of the lyrics recall the Gold Throne:

  78. Thank you! I'm glad it makes sense and feels complete. I'm still annoyed at Game of Thrones for all the loose ends it just plain forgot about. (Like... what ever happened to "the longest winter in history?")

    I don't think either the campaign or the adventure could sustain an entire novel each. Usually those kinds of stories are leavened by learning about the characters, but we already knew all the characters from all the previous campaigning and adventuring. Admittedly the pace in the last half is breakneck, but adventures at the Epic scale always are. :D

    It is true all other stories will have to be set before the arrival of Christopher - I expect my epic fantasies to have endings that matter! But that's okay because they'll all be in some other kingdom - Prime is a very big world and there are lots of other places to explore.

  79. Thank you for the series. I loved books 1-4 and I loved the first 3/4 of book 5, before you went big. I am just going to pretend that it ends where I want it to end. Thanks again. I enjoyed it immensely.

    1. That's fair. Dog knows I am doing the same thing with Game of Thrones. :D

  80. Just wanted to say that your series was something I've been looking for, for quite some time. I've had bad luck finding decently written series where the premise is "going to another world" and I've got to say yours was the best executed one I've read yet. I'll be comparing future similar series to this one as its become my gold standard. It was a wild ride.

    Its interesting how people took Falconer's character in the story. In some ways I can agree, he sort of acted as a deus ex machina, rapidly moving the plot forward while taking over the role of the protagonist and putting him in the backseat of the ride. Maybe jumping the shark in some ways but I will say I wasn't able to predict anything that happened afterward which is a plus in my book, I wasn't even close to how I thought things were going to end, I even still expected lalania as the true interest in the end especially with the build up of the previous books but hey, things worked out in the end.

    Its sad knowing that their story is over but that's when you know you read a good series when you want more and never want it to end. Really looking forward to your future stuff! Thank you for the ride.

  81. Thank you for the comments. :)

    It's interesting that Falconer appears as a exterior force; he's literally a creation of Christopher's god-like powers. Christopher deliberately makes him as a vessel to dump all the power he doesn't want into, then tries to walk away from everything. The fact that he picks someone Lalania will be attracted to... is not an accident. That's another thing he's trying to escape.

    And of course, in doing so, in using a person to achieve his ends, he's acting exactly like the gods he's trying to destroy.

    On the other hand, another way to look at it is that all of them were merely instruments in Karl's story, and the author foolishly told the story from the wrong perspective. :D

    I am still working on some stories in that world, but with different characters. And probably nothing with the same epic scope.