Saturday, February 4, 2017
Blood Money, a four-part series of web fiction written by Steven Savile and available for free on Paizo's website (here), is set in the desert metropolis of Katapesh. The story is told from the point of view of the Nightwalker, a professional assassin. Of all the Pathfinder Tales fiction I've read so far (novels and web fiction), this was the first story I was actively repulsed by. The Nightwalker is the embodiment of the Mary-Sue perfect character: the smartest, stealthiest, toughest character who never fails and never makes mistakes. Even worse, the story somehow tries to glamorize and make you feel empathy for a professional murderer who really is no better than a psychopathic mob hit-man even though he has a "code of honour" and "always completes a job." The story is ridiculous, insulting, and predictable. Definitely one to skip.
The Nightwalker is actually a minor nobleman named Isra Darzi. Isra pretends to be a drunken layabout in order to maintain his cover, and in this respect the story does a good job of showing what an (evil) Vigilante character could be like in a game. The plot starts when Isra realizes someone has hired the Nightwalker to kill . . . Isra! Although this idea has been done before, it's not bad. The culprit is Isra's own brother-in-law. One of the things that confused me was that the Nightwalker has a reputation for never, ever failing on a mission (which is one of the reasons Isra has a conundrum), but then we find out his brother-in-law has hired additional assassins to kill him. It doesn't really make much sense, nor is the brother-in-law's motivation particularly convincing. Even worse, the story ends with a "damsel" (sister) in distress scenario before proceeding to a rather brutal, grisly end. I frankly would have been just as happy if the Nightwalker had been killed by the brother-in-law, as neither had any redeeming qualities.