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Praedor: The Great Wolf of the Heavens

Praedor is a Finnish Sword and Sorcery / Medieval European Fantasy franchise started by the acclaimed graphic novelist, Petri Hiltunen in 1986. Set in the world of Jaconia, a circular region of land around the size of India, surrounded by the seemingly infinite cursed land of Borvaria, it has inspired multitudes of graphic novels, short stories, novels, as well as a tabletop RPG over the decades from a number of Finnish fantasy novelists. The titular Praedors are adventurers who dare to explore beyond the boundaries of Jaconia and seek forgotten treasures from the ancient ruins of Borvaria. They are widely seen as dishonourable scoundrels, but their freedom from Jaconia's strict social caste system makes them desirable pawns in power plays far from the boundaries of the cursed lands.

The franchise is yet to receive translations outside the country, making Praedor a case of No Export for You for English-speaking consumers.


The Praedor franchise consists of the following works:

Graphic novels:

  • Kuninkaan lapset (Children of the King) by Petri Hiltunen, 1998.
  • Kuolleen jumalan palvelija (Servant of the Dead God) by Petri Hiltunen, 2001.
  • Koston Merkki (Mark of Vengeance) by Petri Hiltunen, 2002.
    • Consists of the earliest short comics gathered to a single album.
  • Taivaan suuri susi (The Great Wolf of the Heavens) by Petri Hiltunen, 2016.

Novels and short stories:

  • Vanha koira (Old Hound) by Ville Vuorela, 2004.
  • Kirotun maan kulkijat (The Wanderers of Cursed Lands), short stories by a number of different writers, 2014.
  • Kirotun maan ritari (The Knight of the Cursed Lands) by Erkka Leppänen, 2016.
  • Käärmetanssija (Serpent Dancer) by Ville Vuorela, 2016.
  • Koston kukkulat (The Hills of Vengeance) by Jaakko Alamikkula, 2017.
  • Uponneen jumalan uni (Dream of the Sunken God) by Sakari Peuranen, 2018.
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  • Kahden maailman seikkailijat (The Adventurers of Two Worlds), short stories by a number of different writers, 2018.
  • Kuninkaan kotka (King's Eagle) by Jaakko Alamikkula, 2019.
  • Verivartio (Blood Guard) by Ville Vuorela, 2019.
  • Tarinoita Jaconiasta (Tales from Jaconia), a short story collection, 2020.
  • Helmiruhtinaat (Pearl Princes) by Erkka Leppänen (2021).
  • Pitkien Varjojen Maa (The Land of Long Shadows) by Ville Vuorela (2022).

Tabletop games

  • Praedor: Roolipeli Jaconian seikkailijoista (Praedor: The Role-Playing Game of the Adventurers of Jaconia) by Ville Vuorela, 2000.
    • The one and only!
    • Illustrated by renowned artist Petri Hiltunen!
    • There's also the 1.1 version with lots of added stuff.
  • Salaisuuksien kirja (Book of Secrets) by Ville Vuorela, 2016.
    • First official expansion of the 2000's Praedor RPG.
    • Contains hot new perks, rule updates, random stuff etc...
  • Kirottu kirja (The Cursed Book) by Ville Vuorela, 2017.
    • Second official expansion of the 2000's Praedor RPG.
    • Is mainly about the ruins of Borvaria.
  • Varjojen kirja (Book of Shadows) by Ville Vuorela, 2018.
    • Third official expansion of the 2000's Praedor RPG.
    • Is about the forbidden and secret places of Jaconia.
    • Contains the map of the ruined city of Warth.
  • Kielletyn rakkauden kirja (Book of Forbidden Love) by Kristel Nyberg, 2019.
    • Fourth official expansion of the 2000's Praedor RPG.
    • The name says it all - you know darn well what the expansion is about (all sorts of smutty and naughty things the other authors dare not even mention).

Contains examples of:

  • The Ageless: The mages, thanks to their elixir of immortality. In spite of its certain side-effects, such as sterility and certain physical changes, they take extreme care to keep the secret for themselves, in order to avoid an overpopulation crisis, or worse, the fate of Borvaria.
  • Barbarian Tribe: In spite of its limited size, Jaconia manages to boast three distinct barbarian cultures that further divide into smaller tribes and clans:
    • The Nomads of the Wolf's Desert are Jaconia's only truly ethnically distinct population. Descending from slaves of the Magekings who escaped to the desert that separates Jaconia from Borvaria, they physically and culturally resemble a mix of Native Americans and Bedouins.
    • The Mountainfolk live among the two great mountain ranges of Jaconia, and likewise descend from escaped slaves. They're generally stereotyped as Conan-esque musclebound warriors with epic beards and a disdain for soft, civilized folk. They also have a few Mongolian and Viking traits mixed in their culture.
    • The Woodsmen just barely qualify as a distinct barbarian culture. They've only existed as long as the mainstream Jaconian culture — some 500 years — and dwell in the great forests of the south. They're generally viewed as outlaws and brigands, and that's more or less where their origins lie.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Nameless Beings are a result of humans being exposed to wild magic, and having their bodies fuse with life forms from other dimensions. The results are never pretty.
    • In a lesser example, the elixir of immortality that the mages use causes them to develop Prophet Eyes, while their skin slowly takes the colour and texture of aged wood. If they stop taking the elixir every few months, their bodies harden entirely, resulting in a bad case of And I Must Scream. Such a condition is also the punishment for those who kill mages.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Purely good heroes are almost nonexistent in the Praedor franchise, but the villains tend to be even viler for it. Many of the stories do explore just how the bad guys ended up as the monsters they became, however.
  • Eldritch Location: Borvaria was forever changed by the wild magic that destroyed it. Apart from the monsters and poisonous plantlife, the laws of nature don't always seem to apply there. A visitor has to be prepared to face "sounds without shapes, shapes without sounds, shadows without bodies, bodies without shadows," as more than one protagonist has described the phenomena that haunt the entire region. And that's before one tries to approach one of the countless leaking portals to the other worlds.
  • Expy: Ferron, the protagonist of Hiltunen's graphic novels, started out as one to Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name and Conan the Barbarian.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Justified in that the society that provides any means for natural research that might result in the creation of firearms has only existed for slightly over 500 years in the setting. Black powder has recently been invented, but doesn't yet have practical applications. In general, the overall technological level is similar to that of China and Europe in the 14th or 15th century.
  • Magocracy: The six ancient Magekings ruled over Jaconia with an iron fist for untold millennia, until they were finally ousted by their former servants, the Council of Mages, with the aid of their mortal slaves. Taking heed of the Kings' example, the Council decided that magic users should no longer interfere in mortal politics, and retreated to the city of Circol, which remains the sole place in Jaconia where the trope still applies.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: All unnatural beings in the setting are either products of magical experiments, or more often the wild magic that destroyed Borvaria. These Nameless Beings, as they are commonly known, are warped monstrosities resulting from the physical fusion between humans and beings from other worlds, and are universally insane and incapable of reproducing.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: The ancient Magekings were a particularly effective and brutal example.
  • Taking You with Me: What the last surviving Mageking, Remus Thesioporus of the city and realm of Tulath, intended to do to the entirety of Jaconia when he believed that his downfall at the hands of the rebel mages and mortals was imminent. He wound up doing this to the Demon Knight Cesaran, who foiled his scheme at the cost of his own life.

Links etc:

    • Finnish page about Praedor.
    • Publisher of Praedor novels.
    • Publisher of Praedor RPG and related stuff.
    • Publisher of Praedor novels and graphic novels.
    • Read the reviews, see the covers, stalk the authors, etc...
    • Contact us on Facebook!
    • Is a nice and compact community of nerds.
    • Authors are mostly approachable and 100% sexy.
    • Keep in touch with the latest Praedor-related news, rumors or random weird-ass (but strangely cool and innovative) products.
    • Relate to the actual pain of the authors while they are constantly struggling between creating new stuff, self-loathing and chronic imposter syndrome!
    • Argue with us about the inconsistency of the world of Jaconia. We dare you! There's even an upcoming duel about the bifurcation of Jaconia's biggest river, the Franfar, and the hurt feelings the discussion caused.
    • The page is in Finnish, but we DO speak English though. In fact, most of us speak it very well.