Dynamite and Paizo's collaboration continues with Pathfinder: The Hollow Mountain. Byron Brewer chatted with Erik Mona about the success of the Pathfinder property across various media as well as his own personal favorite character. Cover by Sebastian Cichon.
ERIK MONA: In Paizo's game books, the iconic heroes of the Pathfinder comics are the stand-in for the readers' own player characters. They're festooned with equipment and weapons just like real Pathfinder characters, and in the eight years since they first appeared, Pathfinder players have seen the iconic characters in all sorts of harrowing situations. The Dynamite series gave us the opportunity to look into what makes these characters tick and where they came from, something Pathfinder players have wanted to know from the very beginning.
BB: With issue #4 in February, we are approaching the climax of this miniseries. Can you bring us up to speed for any new readers wishing to jump on, without spoilers?
EM: The Pathfinder adventurers entered the treacherous dungeons of Hollow Mountain in search of the lost treasures of the Runelords, a powerful cadre of ancient wizards. There, they ran into a group of rival adventurers consisting of their old frenemy Seltyiel and a band of some of the less scrupulous Pathfinder iconic heroes, like the halfling mesmerist Meligaster and the elf alchemist Damiel. After a brief battle, the two groups ventured up a magical lift to the antechamber of Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath, the arrogant, long-missing villain who once ruled Hollow Mountain and who carved her face in gargantuan stone features upon the mountain itself. There, the assembled heroes faced the Castellan, Alaznist's demonic steward, who soundly defeated them and scattered them into two groups on different dungeon levels. Issue #4 explores how those two different groups manage to work together to reunite. At this point it's less about "winning" than it is about surviving and escaping the dungeon alive. Even worse, all the healers are in one group and all of the warriors are in the other, giving weight to the old adage: never split the party!
BB: Quite the recap, thanks … Now, as a writer, how do you handle characters like Ezren the wizard and Seoni the sorceress? Every writer has trouble with magic as a weapon, not wanting it to become a deus ex machina?
EM: In this case the game rules of the Pathfinder universe come in really handy. Even though the heroes have faced trying battles in the series so far, they're still on their first day in the dungeon. That means that all of the spellcasters are running short on spells, and they're running out of healing potions as well. A reasonable party would either camp out or sleep, but the group's split into two groups has left plenty of unreasonable adventurers in each party.
BB: Favorite character in this adventure thus far?
EM: My favorite character is a newcomer to the Pathfinder team—Meligaster the halfling mesmerist. Meligaster can control minds with a glance, and cares only about himself. The same qualities that make him miserable to be around for his companions make him a joy to write. He's also supremely confident in his abilities, and it's always fun to see an egotistical jerk pushed out of his comfort zone, when he begins to realize that perhaps he isn't the all-powerful conquering hero he thinks he is. There are some real moments of vulnerability for Meligaster in issue #4, and I think he's even more interesting when he's lying in a puddle of his own blood relying on others for help than he is when he's smiling, joking, and manipulating ally and enemy alike.
BB: So what does artist Tom Garcia bring to the table?
EM: Tom does a great job capturing not just the detailed outfits and complex gear of the Pathfinder adventurers, but also their personalities. His facial expressions are fantastic. Making Meligaster seem like a bum with words is one thing, but seeing the expression on the little bastard's face in a way that truly pushes up the creep factor is a magic only an artist like Tom Garcia can conjure.
For more on Pathfinder: The Hollow Mountain #4, click here.