Category Archives: cool news

Cards Against Humanity: Fantasy Pack

It’s no secret that I’m terribly fond of Max Temkin. Not only is he fun to be around, but he’s a genuinely nice person who has pitched in to help with Worldbuilders in several different ways over the last couple years.

For example, when we did our podcast together, we weren’t originally planning on having sponsors. But when our audience turned out to be startlingly large, Max immediately suggested we take on select ads and donate all the money directly to Worldbuilders.

Hold on, it occurs to me that some of you might not realize who I’m talking about here. Max is one of the guys who created Cards Against Humanity.

If you don’t know what Cards Against Humanity is… Well, I almost want to congratulate you, because this must be your very first time on the internet. Welcome, traveler! Adventure awaits!

CAH is a hugely, crassly inappropriate game that has given me many wonderful laughs with good friends. It’s… it’s really indescribable. So I might as well just post up a link to the very NSFW edition of Tabletop where they played it. As well as this video of grandmas getting high and playing the game.

But seriously, the game has penetrated pretty much every avenue of geek culture. And even better, (he said, gliding right past many, all-too-easy jokes that could be made due to the phrasing in that last sentence) the CAH folks have elevated irreverence to an art form. Last year, Max and his team protested Black Friday by selling something they called Holliday Bullshit.


What was in the box? Actual cow poop. This is a fact that still makes me smile. Then CAH took the money they made from that and donated it to Worldbuilders so it would go to Heifer International. Which is kinda poetic, if you think about it. Circle of life and all that.

I could go on and on about the things they’ve done. One year for black friday, they raised their prices instead of having a sale. Earlier this year, they released a pack of science-themed expansion pack of cards and donated all profits to provide full-ride scholarships for women seeking STEM degrees.

Anyway, today we finally get to unveil something we’ve been working on for a while: A fantasy-themed expansion pack for CAH.

Fantasy Pack

(I have no idea what’s going on in that picture. Seriously. No. Idea.)

This pack contains 30 cards, and it’s everything you’d expect from a fantasy-themed CAH expansion. The ideas for the cards were written by a team of crack authors who have helped out Worldbuilders in the past.

And (if you haven’t already guessed) ALL the proceeds from the first two weeks of sales will go to Worldbuilders in support of Heifer International. For those of you who have been wondering about the yellow progress bar on our website that says, “Coming Soon.” Well… now you know what that is for….


Some of the authors who wrote cards are:

  • Neil Gaiman
  • Sam Sykes
  • Myke Cole
  • Jacqueline Carey
  • Kevin Hearne
  • Martha Wells
  • Sherwood Smith
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Wesley Chu
  • Laura Anne Gilman
  • Delilah Dawson
  • Me
  • And a few others who would prefer not to be named….

So there you go. I’ve seen the cards. I’ve held them in my hands and read them and they are delightfully awful. A few of them made me laugh my evilest laugh.

You can buy a pack by following this link. Hell, why not get two? Get 10! (Then you get free shipping, too.)

CAH has a running tally on their website showing how much they’ve raised for us, and we’ll be checking that regularly to update our thermometer. (But again, we’re doing it manually. Because it’s hard to automate these things, and we’d rather spend our money on helping people rather than re-programming widgets.)

So. Go forth. Make the world a better place by playing this wonderful, horrible game.

Also posted in cool things, gaming, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat28 Responses

Hollywood News

As many of you know, a few days before San Deigo Comic-Con this year, the option on my books expired.

What this means is that ages ago, I sold some people the rights (the option) to make a TV show based off The Kingkiller Chronicles. They tried to make it happen, but it didn’t work out. Then, when the option period expired, all the rights reverted back to me.

Just so you know, this sort of thing happens all the time. The vast majority of things that get optioned never get made. The same way that most people that think about writing a book never get it published. Shit happens. People lose interest. Things get complicated. Projects lose momentum.

I don’t have handy statistics at my fingertips, but I’d be willing to bet a dollar that more than 98% of all book options end this way, with no TV show or movie or anything happening.

Anyway, my rights reverted. It didn’t come as a huge shock to me.

This, on the other hand, was a surprise:


(Click on the headline if you want to read the article.)

Because everyone was suddenly interested in the books,  I spent most of my Comic-Con having meetings with representatives from every major Hollywood power. At least that’s what it felt like to me. It was a strange experience, and I talked about it in some detail on the episode of Untitled Rothfuss podcast that Max and I recorded out at the convention.

To say that I didn’t know what I was doing in those meetings is a bit of an understatement. In fact, I remember starting several of the meetings by saying, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in this meeting.” I also dimly remember explaining to someone that there was no way you could turn The Name of the Wind into a movie. I explained it rather, well… emphatically for, like, 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s fairly high on the list of things you’re not supposed to do in a meeting with someone who wants to turn your book into a movie.

I had fun though. It’s nice to be desired. For that brief moment in time I was the prettiest girl at the party, and everyone wanted to dance with me. (Only frequent readers of the blog can appreciate how clean I kept that little analogy.)

Princess Pat

The meetings weren’t stressful for this simple reason: I wasn’t that interested in turning my books into a movie. I know for a lot of authors, a movie deal is like the holy grail. It’s kinda free money. And if a movie gets made? Well, then, you get a truckload of cash, a bucket of fame, and your books get to hang out on the bestseller lists for a while. Usually a long, LONG while.

But honestly? Money’s never been a huge motivator for me. And my books already sell well. And I’m already more celebritous than I’m entirely comfortable with.

Most importantly though, I’ve never been that interested in a straight-up movie deal. Pretty much every fantasy movie created so far has been an action movie, or plot centered, or both. And my books aren’t like that. My books are about the characters. They’re about secrets and mysteries and the hidden turnings of the world. My books are all about antici-


-pation. And a movie, even a long movie, simply doesn’t have enough time to fit all of that stuff in. That’s why my original option was for a TV show. I wanted space for the story to breathe.

So when I met with these people from movie studios, I told them that I wasn’t terribly interested in a movie deal. Not to be a dick, but because I prefer to be honest with folks. I’m happy to have meetings, talk about stories, listen to a pitch…  As I said, it’s fun to be desired. It’s nice that you think my books are pretty. Let’s have a dance. But I wanted them to know that I wasn’t really planning on jumping into bed with anyone. (Damn. I knew the analogy was going to end up there eventually.)


There was one exception. When I met with Lionsgate, I said, “If you come at me with a movie offer, it’s going to be a hard sell. I’m not that excited about movies by themselves. But you guys are different from a lot of other studios. Those guys are huge. Monolithic. But you’re more agile and innovative. Your movie people and your TV people actually know each other. They could work together. Share resources.

I continued: “If you came at me with a pitch that involved a television show AND a movie, I’d listen to that. I’d listen really hard, because something like that would let us be big-budget while still giving my story room to breathe. It would give people the ability to spend more time in my world. I can’t think of anyone who has really done that, but it seems like we could have the best of both worlds that way. And it seems to me that you guys are one of the only places that could realistically pull something like that off.”

Yeah. I’m from small-town Wisconsin. But I’m not stupid. And it’s impossible to have 15 hours of meeting with Hollywood people without learning something about who’s who and how that world fits together.

But ultimately, I was just shooting my mouth off and I knew it. I was running on too much caffeine and too little sleep, but I still realized what I was saying was something along the lines of, “I see you guys are offering me the moon, but I’d really like the moon AND a chocolate cake with solid gold frosting. And you need to make the cake from scratch.”

So comic-con finished up. I went home. My coach turned back into a pumpkin and my pretty dress turned back into a geeky-tshirt and kinda grubby pair of cargo shorts. Which is probably for the best. As I’m not very good at important meetings or dancing. I’m way too beardy to be a princess.


The End.

*     *     *

Then Lionsgate got in touch. “About that whole TV-show-and-a-movie thing you mentioned,” they said. “If we’re going to do some sort of big narratively intertwined multi-platform development deal based on your books, wouldn’t it make more sense to do a video game along with the TV show and movies? Because seriously, why wouldn’t we want to do a video game too?” (I’m paraphrasing a little here you understand.)

I said, “What?”

*     *     *

Since then, I’ve been talking with Lionsgate kind of a lot. Going over particulars. Talking serious talks.

And when I say, “I’ve been talking with Lionsgate” I mean “Me and my team of skilled movie-smart people who do this for a living and some of them are powerful, hard-eyed lawyers.” Because like I said, I’m from small-town Wisconsin, but I’m not stupid.

And I’ll be honest, from the first moment I sat down at the table, I was ready to walk away. I liked the way Lionsgate was willing to dream big with me about adapting my books. They were willing to think outside the box. They were willing to make a whole new box just so we could go outside of it.

But… well… Hollywood is scary. The contracts are, to be quite honest, horrifying. And the power differential is immense. Even the smallest of studios is more powerful than some countries. And the biggest author ever is kinda not a very big deal at all.

So yeah. Silly as it might sound, from the very beginning of this process, I was willing to walk away from the deal. I was almost looking for an excuse to do it, because life is too short. I didn’t want to get a sack of money and pat on the head, then spend the next three years watching helplessly as they molested my books.


So we started to negotiate, and that’s where I received my biggest surprise of all.

You see, I never expected a studio would treat me like a human being. But through this whole process, Lionsgate has treated me with amazing respect. I’ve made what to me seem like reasonable requests, and they responded to them… reasonably. And I’m not just talking about pretty words here, they’re making contractual agreements granting me control of things. They haven’t just been reasonable, they’ve been kind, and understanding.


To be perfectly honest, it’s a bit disconcerting. I never anticipated that a Hollywood studio would treat me like a human being. Let alone want to work with me as a creative partner and respect the fact that I do, in fact, know a lot about how stories work. This story in particular.

So… yeah. That’s the news. Me and them, we’re gonna do a thing.

Lionsgate is making its own press release today and there will be stories in all manner of Hollywood news outlets pretty soon. It’s not a coincidence that my blog is launching up on the very same day as their big announcement. In the same hour, even. Lionsgate coordinated with me so I could share this news on my blog at the same time they’re launching their story.

This was important to me because if you read my blog or follow me on social media…  well… you’re a part of the reason my books are a big deal. A lot of you have been a part of my team for years, and I wanted the chance to tell you about this piece of news myself rather than have you hear it on the street.

The fact that Lionsgate was willing to go to some lengths to let me launch this blog simultaneously with their press release is another good sign, in my opinion. It shows they respect me, and it shows they respect you guys, too.

Now I know some of you will be reading this news with fear in your hearts. You’ll worry about them screwing it up. I understand. I know you love these books.

But hear me when I say this: You cannot love these books more than I do. You can’t care about them more than I do. I’ve put twenty years of my life into them. They ride next to my heart. They are my tangible soul.

And I’m not stupid. I hope by this point you know me well enough that you can trust me not to rush into… well… anything. If I cut a deal like this, it’s only because I really think there’s a chance for us to make something beautiful.

I’ll talk about this more on the blog later. I’ll answer questions and explain things and give more details.

Later. We’ll do that all later.

For now. Just for the next couple of days. How about we just let ourselves be a little excited about this? There will be plenty of time to fuss and fidget in the days to come. But right now, I’m not going to worry. Right now I’m just going to spend some time being a happy geek, excited at the thought of getting to see the Eolian or the Fishery. There are some scenes I’d love to see somewhere other than inside my own head.

I’m guessing there’s some scenes y’all would like to see, too….

See you later Space Cowboys,


Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, BJ Hiorns Art, movie talk, the longest fucking blog ever, the man behind the curtain, trepidation | By Pat282 Responses

Humble Bundle and Worldbuilders

I don’t know about y’all, but I love books.

You know what else I love? Supporting charitable causes.

And last but not least, I enjoy getting a bargain as much as the next guy.

If you’re into any of these things, this blog is for you.

I’ve talked about Subterranean Press here before. I’m fond of them for many reasons. They produce fine, high-quality books, doing lovely specialty editions, and occationally bringing a lost work back from out-of-print. Not only that, but they’re the reason The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle ever saw the light of day, and they’ve been long-time supporters of my charity, Worldbuilders.

So here’s the news: Subterranean Press is celebrating their 20th anniversary, and they’re doing it in style by teaming up with the folks at Humble Bundle to do an international e-book bundle.

What’s Humble Bundle? I hear you ask.

Well, Humble Bundle teams up with creators to bring together a bunch of something (a bundle, if you will) then they let you decide how much you’d like to pay for it. This means you usually end up getting hundreds of dollars of books or games for a bargain price.

But that’s not even the best bit. The best bit is that they let you decide where your money goes. You decide how much of your money goes to the creator, how much goes to a charity, and how much you’d like to leave as a tip for Humble Bundle itself.

For this bundle, the associated charity is Worldbuilders, if you hadn’t already guessed.

So let’s say you’ve been a fan of Subterranean Press for ages, and you want to grab a bunch of these delicious books for yourself. Here’s how you could do it.

humble slider

(Actual footage.)

Hmmm… you sure you want to go that route? You do know that Worldbuilders is, like, a really awesome charity, right? You know we do good things all over the world. We help hungry families, promote sustainable agriculture, provide clean water and education for….

25_wb awesome

Woah there. You don’t have to give Sub-Press the short straw, either. This is their party after all. They’re the ones supplying the books, and they were gracious enough to bring Worldbuilders in as their charity….

50_all equal

Hmmm… Well, in some ways you’re taking the coward’s way out with this option. But I noticed that you bumped your overall donation up to 50 bucks, so I’m not particularly inclined to call you names at this point….

My point is that the Humble Bundle gives you an unprecedented amount of control over your purchase. (And, honestly, these sliders are a lot of fun to play with.)

So here’s the details about the Sub-Press Humble Book Bundle:

If you pay any amount of money at all, you’ll get these e-books.

base bundle

The Jack Vance Treasury, Inside Job, Muse of Fire, Jacaranda: A Novella of the Clockwork Century, The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, The Top of the Volcano: The Award-Winning Stories of Harlan Ellison®, and Brayan’s Gold.

If you pay more than the average donation (currently $12.58), you’ll also get the following twelve books:

The Mallet of Loving Correction, Nobody’s Home: An Anubis Gates Story, The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, The End of the Sentence, The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate, Tortured Souls: The Legend of Primordium, and Amityville Horrible, Bleeding Shadows, I Travel by Night, Salvage and Demolition, New Amsterdam, and The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein.



So just to break it down for you, if you pay at least $12.58 (or so) you’ll get all 19 of these.

Lastly,  anyone who pays $15 or more will receive all of the above, plus three more additional e-books:  Academic Exercises, The Hunter from the Woods, and Black Hat Jack.


So as long as you donate more than $15, you get more than $123 dollars worth of e-books. AND you get to support a great publisher and a great charity at the same time.

I’d like to point out that included in these books are three I’ve hugely enjoyed myself. Specifically, Scalzi’s collection of blogs, and Salvage and Demolition, which is a nice taste of Tim Power’s writing for those of you who haven’t tried him before.

Best of all, one of my all-time favorite series is in this mix: The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.


(This includes Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was)

Honestly? That e-book is worth $12.50 just by itself. It’s a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy and has a functioning soul.

I wish I could talk about more of these books, but honestly? Those are the only ones I’ve read. It’s shameful, really, as there are books here by some of my favorite authors. That’s why I just made a point of buying this bundle myself. It’s a bargain even if I just read one or two of them.

Need another excuse to jump in? All these e-books are DRM free, so you can read them on any platform you like.

That also means you’ll be able to read them in any *country* you like. That’s something you won’t find anywhere else.

This is a *very* limited-time offer. So don’t wait too long or you’ll miss it.

And if you know of anyone else who likes awesome things, I’d appreciate you helping us to spread the word. There’s only five days left, and after that, the deal is over.

Here’s one last link to the Bundle.

You know what to do,


Also posted in Subterranean Press, Worldbuilders | By Pat24 Responses

Link Salad

It’s been a while since I posted up a blog full of random interesting links.

Here’s a few having to do with my books:

It’s odd to me, showing up on the same list as Aldus Huxley, Angela Carter, and Margaret Atwood.

Again, very flattering company. And I like the quote they used. I remember writing that one and being proud of it.

Over the years, I’ve been described as the next Tolkien, the next Scott Lynch, the next George Martin…. And while it’s flattering, I’d really rather be the first Pat Rothfuss. I have much more experience being that.

Now that I post up these three links, I realize they’re all lists of some sort. Which makes me feel kinda awful. My only saving grace is that I didn’t find these by clicking through horrible clickbait websites. (You’ll never believe what these authors did! Number 5 will surprise you!)

Speaking of, have you seen The Onion’s new parody site? Clickhole?


(Click to Embiggen. Seriously.)

It’s lovely as only The Onion can be.

*     *    *

In other news, here’s an article on Facebook being a whole new kind of dick.

And a blog where Vi Hart is being a whole new kind of cool.

Lastly, many of you remember Tabletop episode where I played Lords of Waterdeep with Wil Wheaton, Brandon Laatsch, and Felicia Day.

(Don’t know what I’m talking about? You can see the original, delicious half-hour episode over here.)

I laughed my ass off at the original episode, but the game was edited down considerably to get it to be 35 minutes long.

If you were ever curious to see how the whole thing played out in detail. If you ever wanted more owlbear jokes. If you ever wanted to watch my terrifying strategy unfold like a delicate flower made entirely of razor wire and the screams of angels….

Well, now you can. Because they released the extended version of the episode. More than two hours of solid gaming goodness. 



P.S. Have I mentioned something kinda awesome is happening on July 7th?

It is. It very is.

Stay tuned for details.

Also posted in Beautiful Games, cool things, Felicia Day, Geek and Sundry, hodgelany, videos, Wil Wheaton | By Pat35 Responses

The News: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

So here’s the news:

I have a book coming out around November-ish.

Slow Regard - Front

It’s not book three. It’s not a mammoth tome that you can use to threaten people and hold open doors.

It’s a short, sweet story about one of my favorite characters.

It’s a book about Auri.

That’s the news. The short version. If you’d like the long version, I’ll give that below….

*     *     *

I didn’t set out to write a book about Auri. I really didn’t.

What happened was this: a while back, I was invited to contribute something to George Martin’s Rogues anthology. I mentioned it a while back on the blog…

Wow. I just went looking for the blog post where I mentioned the Rogues anthology, only to discover that I kinda never wrote it.

Well. Okay. I guess y’all get a little side order of news with your news today:

rouges cover 2

I’m in this book too. It’s coming out in June.

What happened was this: a couple years back, George Martin and Gardner Dozois invited me to be in an anthology called Rogues. I said yes, because back in 2009, when I was working on The Wise Man’s Fear, they’d invited me to participate in a different anthology: Star Crossed Lovers.

But in 2009 I was behind deadline and freaked out about it. So I said “No” and went back to struggling with WMF. It broke my heart a little. Because it’s one of those anthologies you dream about being invited to. It was the anthology equivalent of getting invited to the cool-kid party back in high-school.

Anyway, when they asked me to contribute a story to Rogues back in 2012, I said yes for two reasons.

1. Because how fucking cool is it to be in this anthology? Look at my name up there, right next to Neil Gaiman’s. Seriously. Look at that. My name is almost touching Neil Gaiman’s name….

I know I should be cooler about this. I should pretend that I’m a professional and a grown-up and everything. But I’m really not. I’m still the same person who read Neverwhere back in the late 90′s and went, “What? Seriously? You can do that?”

And now I’m anthology-buddies with him. In fact, Gaiman’s story is “How the Marquis Got his Coat Back.” It’s about the Marquis De Carabas from Neverwhere.

The other reason I said yes was…

2. I’d had a story idea about Auri tickling around my head for a while. What’s more, I thought she would make a nice counterpoint to some of the other  classic rogue-type characters in the anthology. Sort of a trickster rogue, as opposed to a thief, swashbuckler, or a con man.

“Besides,” I thought to myself. “It’s just a short story. Three or four thousand words. Maybe 6 or 7 thousand if I run long. That’s about two week’s writing, tops.”

So I started writing about Auri. But as it unfolded, it went in directions I hadn’t expected. The story was… strange. I hit 3000 words and I was barely started. Writing about the Underthing was more complicated than I’d anticipated.

So the story got longer. I hit 7ooo words without even realizing it. I kept going, unearthing more secrets about Auri and the Underthing.

Eventually I hit about 15,000 words and forced myself to stop. It wasn’t going to work for the anthology, it was too long, and it wasn’t a trickster tale of the sort I initially expected it to be. Honestly didn’t know what the hell kind of story it was, but it wasn’t going to work for the anthology.

I e-mailed George and Gardner and begged for an extension on my deadline. They were very kind and understanding. I tried a few different things that failed miserably, then I realized who *really* belonged in an anthology about Rogues: Bast. Once I figured that out, I wrote “The Lightning Tree” for the anthology, and it worked out really well.

But I was stuck with half a story. Half a strange story. Half a strange, too-long story that wasn’t doing the things a story is supposed to do.

Reluctantly, I walked away from it and went back to working on book three. I love Auri, and the story had an odd sweetness to it. But I had work to do.

But the Auri story kept tickling at me. And let me tell you this, having a half-finished story stuck in your head is ten times worse than having a song stuck in there.

And there’s only one way to get it out. So when I came to a good stopping point in my revisions, I went back to the Auri story. It just wouldn’t leave me alone.

It ended up over 30,000 words long. An odd length for me. Much too long for a short story. Much shorter than my usual novels. (For a frame of reference, 30,000 words is about the same length as Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.)

What’s more, the story had unfurled into something full of secrets and mysteries. Something sweet and strange. Not a normal sort of story at all. I suppose it was silly of me to assume a story about Auri would be usual in any way.

The problem was, I had no idea what to do with it. I liked the story, but I like strange things. And I’m fond of Auri. And most importantly, I’m the author. Asking me if I like my story is like asking a mom if she likes her baby….

I showed it to a few people, and they seemed to like it pretty well. But they were friends, you can only trust them to be so honest with you.

I revised it a couple times, then showed it to a few authors. They liked it, but they agreed, it was an odd story.

Then I took a big risk and showed it to Vi Hart. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog where she put some of my lyrics to music, we are now Best Friends.

So I knew her, and respected her opinion, but since we haven’t known each other very long, I trusted her to tell me the truth.

She read it, and we talked about the story. She pointed out some things she thought were problematic. I agreed. She pointed out some things she liked, and I was flattered.

We were in a bar in San Fransisco at this point. The Casanova. We’d spent a lovely evening together, and I was drinking a little bit, which is unusual for me. And it might be because of that that I started to lament the fact that the story was kind of a hot mess. Good stories are supposed to contain certain elements, I explained, and my story didn’t have those things.

Vi said she liked it.

I told her I liked it too, but that didn’t change the fact that people expect certain things from a story. If people read this story looking for those things, they wouldn’t get them, they’d be dissatisfied. Disappointed.

And Vi said something I hope she’ll forgive me for paraphrasing here without asking her first. She said, “Fuck those people. Those people get all the other stories in the world. Everyone writes stories for them. This story is for people like me. We deserve stories too.”

That shut me up. Because she’s right. It might not be for everyone. But not every story has to be for everyone. Maybe this was just a story for people like me and Vi. People who are curious about Auri and the life she leads. People who are, perhaps, not entirely normal.

Vi said a few other things that gave me enough confidence to send the story to my agent. He liked it, and said we should show it to Betsy, my editor at DAW. Betsy liked it. Really liked it. The people in her office liked it.

That made me think that maybe it *was* a story for everyone. Or maybe there are more people like me and Vi in the world than either of us expected.

Anyway, the end result is this:

Slow Regard - Front

I’ll have more details about it later. Exact dates. If and when I’m touring. Those things are still up in the air a bit right now.

But today’s the day we’re officially announcing the cover, showing it off to people at C2E2 and letting it out onto the internet. I’ve been holding off on this post so y’all could be some of the very first people to see it.

I think a lot of you are going to like it.



Also posted in book covers, geeking out, Neil Gaiman, Stories about stories., the business of writing | By Pat156 Responses

The Final Kickstarter Post

As I type this, the Pairs Kickstarter stands at about $250K which means all 12 decks have been unlocked, and there’s been a lot of cool extras added.

Also, the kickstarter will be ending in about 33 hours. And after the kickstarter ends, there will be no adjusting your bid. (More details about this below, when I talk about the cool new stuff that’s been added.)

First, I want to show off some art. Like the Princess and Mr. Whiffle deck.

Princess Deck

These characters should be familiar to those of you who have read The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. As you can see above, the cards range from the noble Sir Whiffle down to the contemptible Black Duke of Banebridge.

We’ve got the core deck for the Four Corners, too: NotW Deck

The order of these cards goes from high to low social ranking. The Amyr are pretty high up there. The troupers? They’re the 10, as we all know there are none lower than the filthy, thieving Ruh.

The Modegan deck has some of that social hierarchy too. But it’s not as simple as that, as Modeg is not a simple place:


This card is called The Hollow Gods. You should probably click it to see an embiggened version of the image. For reasons.

We’ve got the Faen deck too. You’ve seen shirtless bast in a previous blog. Here’s an early sketch of the White Riders….

4-SitheYou may have heard of them:

“Rode they horses white as snow.
Silver blade and white horn bow.
Wore they fresh and supple boughs,
Red and green upon their brows.”

There non-Rothfuss decks too, each awesome in their own right. There are Professors and Pirates:

Professor and Pirate Decks

Barmaids and Baby Cthulhu.

LilCthulu and Barmaids Decks


Goblins and Fruit (Pairs = Pears. Get it?)

Goblin and Fruit Decks

And the deck I’ve rooting for ever since it was set at our 200K stretch goal: the muses from one of my favorite comics of all time: Girl Genius. (I’m a super geeky fan of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s work.)


In addition to the decks themselves, we’ve unlocked a lot of stretch goals too.

I’m not going to go into all of them. You can go browse the Kickstarter itself for that. I’m just going to hit some of the big ones:

  • Three sevens – More Calamities, Mendicants, and Mortal Guests:

Early on in the kickstarter, people asked if the seven card in the main deck would be the Chandrian. It’s a sensible question. Chaen does mean seven after all….

That said, the answer is a resounding “no.” These are decks of cards *from* the four corners. A deck of cards like that simply wouldn’t exist. If it ever did exist, it would have been burnt down to the waterline long, long ago.

But this suggestion gave me an idea. So I had many secret talks with Shane and James. The end result is the Calamities.

Each of the sevens has a different picture revealing a different calamity. And James worked out a few simple (though optional) rules that makes drawing a seven worse that drawing a ten. (In Pairs, high-numbered cards are bad.)

Fast forward to about a week ago, when Hank Green and Veronica Belmont agreed to lend their likenesses to a couple cards in the Faen Deck:

Faen Deck

(Early sketches of Hank’s Alabaster Buttocks and Veronica’s wanton cavorting with faerie boys.)

And I started to think, wouldn’t it be cool to have more Mortal Guests?

Like maybe some character from the books? Like maybe Kvothe? and Elodin? And Auri?

So we’re doing that. Nate has agreed to do five more pieces of art. There will be a few surprise guests too….

Lastly, we’re adding something similar to the Modegan Deck as well. The seven in that deck is Mendicants, and now each card will show a different type of traveler coming into town. There will be Tinkers, trade caravans, wandering Amari, and, of course, the dreaded Edema Ruh.

  • Unseen rewards: 

As you can see right on the kickstarter page, if you order at the 42 dollar level (or higher) you get freebies in addition to any four decks of your choice. (The limited edition Pairs coin and sticker.)

But there are a few other cool free add-ons that aren’t listed so clearly on the front page, because they were unlocked later.

For example, since we’ve hit 250K, everyone who comes in at the $50 level or higher gets a rule book that…

…will be a collection of all the Pairs variants, like Calamities and Pieces of Eight, and alternate games, like Blackstone and Hawthorn. It will also contain some Pairs history (both real and fictional) and artwork from the game.

One of the other unseen goals is for the people who come in at the $80 level and above. It’s a limited-edition bookplate, drawn by Shane and signed by me.


Plus you get the decks themselves, and since your pledge includes shipping, you’re actually getting them cheaper than they’re going to be selling for in the stores.

  • Finally, a warning.

If you’re like me, and moderately addicted to kickstarter, you’re probably used to being able to go in during the final confirmation process and add a few things to your pledge.

You won’t be able to do that with this kickstarter.

That’s because James isn’t doing add-ons. So we’re not using a third-party service like Backerkit or Pledge Manager.

The good thing about this is that it *really* streamlines the ordering and shipping process. That means we’ll be able to get you your order more quickly and cleanly than most kickstarters.

The downside is that if you’re used to waiting until after the kickstarter closes and adding a few extra items at the end, you’re going to end up being a sad panda.

*     *     *

That’s all I’ve got, folks. Thanks for being awesome and supporting this project. And by extension, supporting me and Worldbuilders. (I’m giving the charity a piece of my royalty money.)

And I’d like to say thanks on behalf of James and Shane and Nate, too. I love the games and art these guys create, and I love that y’all are helping them make a living doing it.

One last time: The Link to the Kickstarter.


Also posted in cool things, gaming | By Pat33 Responses

A Pair of Kickstarters, and Kickstarting Pairs

Hey there everybody,

I’ve got some cool news today. Something that I’m really seriously geeked about.

But before I share that with you, I have to take care of some business. And that means sharing a little bit of bad news.

  • The (kinda) Bad News:

Luckily, this news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s already involved. If you backed the NOTW Kickstarter last year, and you’ve been reading your e-mail, you already know the Kickstarter isn’t shipping on time.

I’m sorry as hell about that. But I’m afraid there’s not much I can do on my end. At this point, all the production, logistics, and shipping is being handled by Albino Dragon. There were over 11,000 orders, and it’s taken longer than all of us would like.

Rest assured that the parts of the kickstarter I do have direct control over are being taken care of as quickly as possible. Those of you who were lucky enough to get into the tiers that included a the prototype jot should have already received it, as I personally mailed all of those out before Christmas.

The only part that’s still up to me is signing the bookplates.

bookplate crop

So. Many. Bookplates.

You know what the best part of signing 4500 bookplates is? Nothing.

Okay, that’s not really true. They actually turned out really nice, and I know they’re going to make y’all happy when you get them. But you honestly have no idea how numbing it is signing several thousand of them.

I got these toward the end of January, and I’ve been signing them ever since.

At first I had a vague fantasy of signing all of them in one long 18 hour marathon. Unfortunately, I discovered signing my name 300 times in a row without a break caused a blinding pain to shoot up my arm, making me want to die.

And here’s the thing, I use that arm for a lot of things. Important things.

So, rather than flirt with carpal tunnel and potentially destroy my ability to type, I’ve been doing them in small batches over the last couple weeks.

As of last week, I’d sent about 2300 of them back to Albino Dragon so they could start shipping packages as soon as the other items end up at the warehouse.

(Edit! Only 20 minutes or so after posting this blog, I had a few people on facebook tell me they *just* got shipping notifications from Albino Dragon. So it looks like packages are moving toward backers at this very moment. Huzzah!)

As bad news goes, it’s not that bad. Everything’s still moving forward. The cards are going to look great, the poker chips will be cool, and the bookplates are beautiful.

But it does make my good news today a little awkward….

  • The Awkward News:

Any of you who have spent some time on kickstarter know that a project shipping late isn’t that uncommon. Especially when the overall kickstarter ended up being about six times bigger than any of us expected.

Here’s the problem. Months and months ago, game designer James Ernest dropped me a line. He’d created a new card game, he explained, and asked if I’d have any interest in incorporating it into my world.

For those of you that don’t know, James is the owner and head game designer for Cheapass Games. I’ve been playing his games for over 15 years.

Though a monumental effort of will, I kept my cool. I told James I was flattered, but I needed to play the game first to make sure it was a good fit for my world.

He sent me the rules, and I played it with a few friends. It was brilliant. Easy to learn, but with some good strategy. You can bet on it. You can play for drinks (or Sounten.) In 30 minutes everyone was mocking each other, cursing our own bad luck, and talking shit.

It’s exactly the sort of game you’d see people playing in the Eolian.

I told James I thought it was a great fit. “My people will love it,” I said. “But I can’t feel good about launching this project until my other Kickstarter ships though.”

“How about February?” James asked.

“Perfect,” I said.

But things didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. And by the time I knew the NOTW kickstarter was going to be shipping late, James had already brought other people onboard and scheduled his launch. There was no good way to move things around.

  • The Good News:

Despite my Midwestern guilt and the awkwardness of having these kickstarters overlap, I’m still really excited.

Not only is the game designed by James Ernest, but the art is going to be done by Shane Tyree. He did the NOTW deck with Albino dragon. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to working with him again:


The previous kickstarter was a deck of cards *about* The Name of the Wind. But this is something different. This is a deck of cards *from* the Four Corners. It’s the deck of cards that Kvothe and Wil and Sim would sit down and play with at Ankers.

A few details:

  • This isn’t a standard deck of 52 cards. It’s a pyramid deck with 55.
  • It’s got ten tens, nine nines, eight eights, and so on.
  • The point of the game is to avoid pairs. To simplify this all the cards of each number have the same picture. (So there’s one Tinker, two Amyr, three nobles, etc etc, all the way down to 8 Bandits, 9 Beggars, and 10 Ruh.)


  • The one exception is the sevens. We hit one of our early stretch goals, so the sevens (Calamities) are each going to be unique. I’m sure the savvy among you can figure out why.
  • Folks were clamoring for an Adem mercenary in the deck, so we’re going to put that in. It’s probably going to replace the courtesan.

Honestly, there’s a lot more I could tell you about the decks, but I think I’ll save that for a later blog.

For now, I’ll just keep it to two things:

1. We’d like to do some other decks from my world, too. A Modegan deck. A University deck. A Faen deck….

James is hoping to bring in decks from other worlds, too. Like a Girl Genius deck done by Phil Foglio. I would love to see that.

But those need to happen as stretch goals. That way James can cover printing costs and afford to pay the artists.

That means the more people jump onto the kickstarter early, the more decks we’ll all have to choose from.

2. For those of you who like awesome things: Here’s the link.

Later Space Cowboys,


P.S. Okay. One final thing. When I was talking with James last night, he mentioned that as a game designer, the thought of designing a game like Tak was really interesting to him.

What would you guys think about us making that a stretch goal in this kickstarter? Is that something you’d like to see?

Also posted in calling on the legions, gaming | By Pat70 Responses
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