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RPG Superstar 2015

Meet the Iconics: Damiel

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Flayleaf may ease your mind. Pesh may invigorate your humors. Yet as any sage and scholar can tell you, knowledge is the most addictive drug. And once the quest for learning has its hooks into you—once your eyes have been opened—there’s no tearing free.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Damiel Morgethai was born, as so many elves are, in the nation of Kyonin. One of innumerable scions of the prestigious Morgethai family, he grew up in the picturesque town of Riverspire, where the southwestern border of Kyonin’s great forest gives way to fertile, rolling plains. When finally old enough to pursue a trade, the exceedingly precocious young elf was loaded up with what funds his family could spare and packed off to the shining capital of Iadara, to study alchemy under several of the art’s great masters. And it was here that the trouble started.

Damiel took to alchemy immediately, reveling in the idea of transmutation—the changing of one thing into another, by means chemical or arcane. “Alchemy,” he was fond of proclaiming to his friends, “is pure magic, even when it isn’t.” Within a few short years, the brilliant and studious Damiel had learned enough from his instructors that they set him loose to pursue his own studies, becoming advisors and respected colleagues rather than true masters.

Yet he had learned more than just strange formulae in Iadara. As cheerful and innocent as it seemed on the surface, Damiel’s obsession with what he called “the Change” went beyond the simple curatives of an apothecary, beyond even the magical and explosive concoctions of those alchemists trained for battle. In his eternal quest to understand his theories better, Damiel gave himself literally to his studies, and began to use his concoctions on his own flesh, striving to unlock the full potential of his body. What emerged from those long, sleepless nights was someone new. Someone dangerous.

Officially, Damiel’s banishment from Kyonin was the result of plagiarizing another alchemist’s discoveries, or perhaps siring an illegitimate son with an embarrassed noble. The documents don’t speak of the way his former friends noticed the change in his eyes, which became increasingly wild as lack of sleep and increasing amounts of “invigorating aether” took their toll. They don’t note the sudden rash of crimes in the districts he frequented, daring thefts and capricious arson. And they certainly don’t mention the young woman found in the alley behind his apartment, her face burned near away in an ultimately successful attempt to hide her identity—and the identity of her killer. In truth, the later would be difficult to decipher anyway, as even the killer himself might have trouble recognizing the monster that would take a girl’s life simply for seeing something she shouldn’t.

For Damiel was no longer the man that he once was. In his thirst for ever-greater secrets, he had unlocked enormous potential—strange tinctures that quickened his movements to a blur, or twisted his constitution to survive any poison or malady. Yet while he gained ever-increasing control over the vagaries of his flesh, these discoveries took their toll on his mind. He fell deep into addiction, deeper than even the aether he was so fond of could match. He would lose himself to the Change, only to wake from a maddened stupor and find that he’d done terrible things. And worse, that he no longer cared.

Exiled from his homeland, Damiel wandered for many years, slowly learning to control and live with his addictions. Gone were the blackouts, the uncontrolled and senseless violence. In their place grew a hard and haunted-eyed young man, handsome save for his wild look and the puckered scars along his veins. Seeking to peddle his secret knowledge, he traveled to Daggermark in the River Kingdoms, joining up with that city’s Poisoners’ Guild. For a time, his unique concoctions made him a minor celebrity in certain circles. But as the months passed, Damiel’s control over his base nature slipped, and the old lust for the beautiful chaos of unconscious (and unconscionable) action took over, loosing the beast of the Change to walk the streets. In the end, the Poisoners’ Guild took terminal offense to Damiel’s “exploits,” and though the elf argued hard that his deviant handiwork—being unpaid—was none of the guild’s concern, he was forced to go his own way once again.

Today, Damiel has grown further, into a man of two minds. The first—the greatest remaining shadow of the Damiel Morgethai That Was—truly repents for the arbitrary and senseless suffering he’s caused, and attempts to keep his darker urges in check. The second is that man brought forth by the Change, the mad and capricious soul that holds all other creatures in contempt, and exists only to feel the heat of the explosion on his face or see the shifting colors of poisoned flesh. This latter comes forth primarily in combat, where Damiel’s potions push his body faster than it has any right to move, flitting through the fray to fling corrosive ash or nick warriors so delicately with his poisoned injection-blade that many don’t know they’ve been cut until they find themselves unable to breathe. Though Damiel no longer gives his vile tendencies full rein, and carries himself well in social situations, most who look into those bagged and bloodshot eyes quickly understand the truth of his nature: unbalanced, unstable, unpredictable—and totally indispensable in a fight, which is why he still manages to fall in with other adventurers from time to time. And as he continues to mature, some of them even survive his companionship.

James L. Sutter
Fiction Editor

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Alchemists Damiel Iconics Meet the Iconics Wayne Reynolds
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Sovereign Court

Jeez! Are all the APG iconics monsters?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I didn't think Alahazra was a monster.

Sovereign Court

Jekyll and Hyde. I like it. But I certainly do hope we get some more obviously good APG iconics.

Sovereign Court

Ross Byers wrote:
I didn't think Alahazra was a monster.

I had no idea we'd already had an Oracle preview.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Ross Byers wrote:
I didn't think Alahazra was a monster.

Dunno, she could easily be a LG intolerant religious fanatic. I really don't like anti-heroes being iconics. Eesh.

==Aelryinth


Apparently "Iconic" is Golarian Common for "Asshat"

Are there any non Shakespearean iconics? Ones without depth derived from tragedy or bombast?


To each their own, personally I like Damiel as he is. Anti-heroes are extremely fun to run a party of in a game, IMO. From a DMs perspective I mean.

I'd rather see a character with a decent backstory and flaws than one without personality who fights for "Good" for no other reason. Thats not saying that a Good character can't have flaws or a troubled past, just that the APG characters so far are a contrast to the previous Iconics we've seen profiles on.

The only evil Iconic we've seen so far is Seltyiel...

Good Aligned Iconics: Valeros, Kyra, Seelah, Alahazra, Ezren, Feiya, Imrijka and Lem.

Neutral Iconics: Merisiel, Seoni, Alain, Damiel, Sajan, Amiri, Balazar, Harsk and Lini.

Evil Iconics: Seltyiel.

Good and Neutral are both well represented. Whats the problem?

Sovereign Court

Cartigan wrote:


Are there any non Shakespearean iconics? Ones without depth derived from tragedy or bombast?

I grit my teeth and hold out hope for the Summoner.

Liberty's Edge

Cartigan wrote:

Apparently "Iconic" is Golarian Common for "Asshat"

Are there any non Shakespearean iconics? Ones without depth derived from tragedy or bombast?

Kind of makes you wonder what "Cartigan" means in Golarion Common, doesn't it?


Jeremiziah wrote:
Cartigan wrote:

Apparently "Iconic" is Golarian Common for "Asshat"

Are there any non Shakespearean iconics? Ones without depth derived from tragedy or bombast?

Kind of makes you wonder what "Cartigan" means in Golarion Common, doesn't it?

"Person who says what you don't like"

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
I didn't think Alahazra was a monster.

Dunno, she could easily be a LG intolerant religious fanatic. I really don't like anti-heroes being iconics. Eesh.

==Aelryinth

It's part of that gritty feel of Golarian. There are heroes about, but they're generally outnumbered by the anti-heroic types and some classes like Alchemists, and class options like Cockatrice Cavaliers practially scream Anti-Hero all over them.

Grand Lodge

I enjoy stories where the anti-hero is forced into the hero's role, often against his will, kicking and screaming the entire way. Makes for good drama! :)

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Hey, at least Damiel is trying. That puts him above Sir Douche of Jerkasston in some regards.


Jekyll and Hyde goes D&D!

That's the perfect background for an alchemist. Brings some great RPing opportunities.

Only thing I don't like about the Iconic Alchemist is that he is an elf...
shoulda been a human (or possibly a dwarf)...


Alch wrote:

Jekyll and Hyde goes D&D!

That's the perfect background for an alchemist.

You mean the obvious background for an Alchemist. The Alchemist class was so obviously based on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - as opposed to the transmuting wizard - it is painful.


I know I don't want to see a "Transmuting Wizard". I prefer a potion/poison and chemical specialist, like the Alchemist is. That being said, no Alchemist has to focus on Mutagens (as Damiel obviously does).

Personally, I like the Bombing Alchemist better. Thats my personal preference. Everyone is entitled to their own favorites, likes and dislikes.

There is also the issue that basing the Alchemist class off the "Transmuting Wizard" would make the class altogether too similar to the Transmuter and render it somewhat pointless. At least if the flavor and abilities were more along those lines.


Cartigan wrote:
You mean the obvious background for an Alchemist. The Alchemist class was so obviously based on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - as opposed to the transmuting wizard - it is painful.

That's what I meant. But I think it should be that way. He is an Iconic and cross-references to other good fiction is one of the things that makes D&D so much fun.


Yasha wrote:

I know I don't want to see a "Transmuting Wizard". I prefer a potion/poison and chemical specialist, like the Alchemist is. That being said, no Alchemist has to focus on Mutagens (as Damiel obviously does).

Personally, I like the Bombing Alchemist better. Thats my personal preference. Everyone is entitled to their own favorites, likes and dislikes.

There is also the issue that basing the Alchemist class off the "Transmuting Wizard" would make the class altogether too similar to the Transmuter and render it somewhat pointless. At least if the flavor and abilities were more along those lines.

I can see Crazy Harry from the old Muppet Show as a Bombing Alchemist. Obviously his alignment is Chaotic Explosive.


QOShea wrote:


I can see Crazy Harry from the old Muppet Show as a Bombing Alchemist. Obviously his alignment is Chaotic Explosive.

Or The Midnight Bomber what Bombs at Midnight! "Boom!"

Kidding aside. Thats the concept I think of when I first see the class. I specifically don't care much for the Jekyll/Hyde Trope as a character concept for my own character (not that I may not explore that at a later date). For an Iconic character though, to me its perfectly fine, has a ton of flavor, background and personal tragedy involved. Thats good for the story, IMO.

I'd rather the iconic characters not be just some statblock that players use however they want. Sure, you can do that, but these blurbs just give the option not to and to mess around with a fleshed out pregen character. Thats a good thing to me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dr. Damiel Morgethai: physician; alchemist. Searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all elves have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation alters his body chemistry. And now when Damiel Morgethai grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs. The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter. The creature is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. Damiel Morgethai is believed to be dead, and he must let the world think that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him.


Yasha wrote:
QOShea wrote:


I can see Crazy Harry from the old Muppet Show as a Bombing Alchemist. Obviously his alignment is Chaotic Explosive.
Or The Midnight Bomber what Bombs at Midnight! "Boom!"

YEAH BABY YEAH!

Sovereign Court

Eildath wrote:
Dr. Damiel Morgethai: physician; alchemist. Searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all elves have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation alters his body chemistry. And now when Damiel Morgethai grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs. The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter. The creature is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. Damiel Morgethai is believed to be dead, and he must let the world think that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him.

Marry me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'd gladly run Damiel in a game. I like the new direction of the iconics. They fit the dark, gritty nature of Golarion.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

For the record, some of the new iconics are genuinely good people. It just happens that we got a few jerks on the team this time around. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
For the record, some of the new iconics are genuinely good people. It just happens that we got a few jerks on the team this time around. :)

Yeah, the original lineup was goody to a fault. Even that emo boy Selytiel, he was a honest good old fashioned brooding goth.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
For the record, some of the new iconics are genuinely good people. It just happens that we got a few jerks on the team this time around. :)

I'm just waiting for Feiya's blog. Tien ethnically (IIRC from one of James's posts) but from Irrisen and a devotee of Desna. And a white-haired hottie who might give Seoni a run for her money. Plus I guess she might be a bit of a do-gooder trying to overcome the whole witch of Irrisen stereotype.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Cartigan wrote:
You mean the obvious background for an Alchemist. [Love love love].

LOL! Oooooh, this guy. This guy's my new buddy. I like him. I hope he's at Gen Con, cause he deserves a biiiiiig hug.

Gorbacz wrote:
Even that emo boy Selytiel, he was a honest good old fashioned brooding goth.

Hey! Hey! Seltyiel doesn't "brood." He's got a sword.

James Sutter wrote:
For the record, some of the new iconics are genuinely good people. It just happens that we got a few jerks on the team this time around. :)

And too true. You can actually catch all of the new iconics' alignments in Master of the Fallen Fortress, which should hint at who's going to be altruistic and who's more likely to be more self serving. For folks keeping score Yasha has the line on this upstream, with the remaining AP iconics being [AMENDED] NG, CG, and N.

Will you find true love with any of these new iconics? Stay tuned!

Shadow Lodge

Kvantum wrote:
I'm just waiting for Feiya's blog. Tien ethnically (IIRC from one of James's posts) but from Irrisen and a devotee of Desna. And a white-haired hottie who might give Seoni a run for her money.

Pfft. She easily surpassed Seoni for me the first time I saw a color picture. Then again, I never did consider Seoni to be the best looking of the iconics...Amiri and Lini have her beat, and Merisiel is about dead even with her. From the APG, Alahazra is also about dead even, and like I said, Feiya beats her easily.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

with the remaining AP iconics being LG, CG, and N.

ORLY?

I thought for certain Imrijka(the one I'm really waiting for, along with Balazar) was NG.

A LG half-orc iconic is fine too, of course!

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Mikaze wrote:


ORLY?

I thought for certain Imrijka(the one I'm really waiting for, along with Balazar) was NG.

A LG half-orc iconic is fine too, of course!

Yup, you're right. Imrijka is NG. Alhazra was the LG one.

Amended. Carry on!

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Kthulhu wrote:
Pfft. She easily surpassed Seoni for me the first time I saw a color picture. Then again, I never did consider Seoni to be the best looking of the iconics...Amiri and Lini have her beat, and Merisiel is about dead even with her. From the APG, Alahazra is also about dead even, and like I said, Feiya beats her easily.

Yeeeeah. And sometimes they all get together and wash each other's hair and have splash fights. We've actually got art of that here, actually. We just don't feel it'd be appropriate to share. :P

Liberty's Edge

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Yeeeeah. And sometimes they all get together and wash each other's hair and have splash fights. We've actually got art of that here, actually. We just don't feel it'd be appropriate to share. :P

*jaw drops*

Paizo Employee Creative Director

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Pfft. She easily surpassed Seoni for me the first time I saw a color picture. Then again, I never did consider Seoni to be the best looking of the iconics...Amiri and Lini have her beat, and Merisiel is about dead even with her. From the APG, Alahazra is also about dead even, and like I said, Feiya beats her easily.
Yeeeeah. And sometimes they all get together and wash each other's hair and have splash fights. We've actually got art of that here, actually. We just don't feel it'd be appropriate to share. :P

Yeah. Kyra's STILL angry that Merisiel "accidentally" cut her bra strap with that "wildly thrown" dagger when they were tormenting Valeros.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Pfft. She easily surpassed Seoni for me the first time I saw a color picture. Then again, I never did consider Seoni to be the best looking of the iconics...Amiri and Lini have her beat, and Merisiel is about dead even with her. From the APG, Alahazra is also about dead even, and like I said, Feiya beats her easily.
Yeeeeah. And sometimes they all get together and wash each other's hair and have splash fights. We've actually got art of that here, actually. We just don't feel it'd be appropriate to share. :P
Yeah. Kyra's STILL angry that Merisiel "accidentally" cut her bra strap with that "wildly thrown" dagger when they were tormenting Valeros.

That's right, throw more fuel on the shippers' fires.

Spoiler:
Still pulling for KyraXMerisiel! ;D


James Jacobs wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Pfft. She easily surpassed Seoni for me the first time I saw a color picture. Then again, I never did consider Seoni to be the best looking of the iconics...Amiri and Lini have her beat, and Merisiel is about dead even with her. From the APG, Alahazra is also about dead even, and like I said, Feiya beats her easily.
Yeeeeah. And sometimes they all get together and wash each other's hair and have splash fights. We've actually got art of that here, actually. We just don't feel it'd be appropriate to share. :P
Yeah. Kyra's STILL angry that Merisiel "accidentally" cut her bra strap with that "wildly thrown" dagger when they were tormenting Valeros.

...Can I draw this? :D

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Lilith wrote:
...Can I draw this? :D

I can't imagine how we could possibly stop you. ;)

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I quite love the iconic backgrounds and would like to put forward a formal request that we see the web fiction starring the iconics.

Thank you.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Lilith wrote:
...Can I draw this? :D
I can't imagine how we could possibly stop you. ;)

Ask for a really huge batch of cookies?

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Kajehase wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Lilith wrote:
...Can I draw this? :D
I can't imagine how we could possibly stop you. ;)
Ask for a really huge batch of cookies?

@#$%, good call!

Lilith! What he said.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, this writeup on the iconic is written poorly. I'm sorry, Damiel is not a man...he's a male elf. His perspective isn't human, and his changed perspective wouldn't be human, either. IT'd be murderous, capricious fey, not bestial, ferocious psycopath (fey could be considered psycopaths just based on what they are).

His insane side wouldn't be an emotionless, immoral killer; he'd be an inhuman, wildly capricious and destructively whimsical thing of alien desires and elemental passions that would trample down such petty things as moral restrictions on the way to doing whatever he thought was fun and would give him a thrill. Mercurial wouldn't even begin to suprise an elf with that mindset. He'd be exiled from his homeland because his lack of self-control would make it pretty obvious something was wrong with him.

==Aelryinth

Dark Archive

I love the write-up -- particularly that it aims at a mature audience that can appreciate the "Change" as representing the constant internal struggle between Man's civilized/cultured veneer and his animal/savage core.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

DCironlich wrote:
I love the write-up -- particularly that it aims at a mature audience that can appreciate the "Change" as representing the constant internal struggle between Man's civilized/cultured veneer and his animal/savage core.

I'd agree...but Damiel is not a Man, he's an elf. It should be the constant internal struggle between an Elf's Civilized veneer, and his elemental/chaotic fey core. I.e. the difference between an Elven and a Human jekyll/hyde.

==Aelryinth

Shadow Lodge

Elves aren't fey in PFRPG.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

men aren't animals in PFRPG, either. We're talking at the core. And nobody's going to deny they've got ties to the fey. Fey is elven primitiveness; animalism is Man's.

==Aelryinth


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:

men aren't animals in PFRPG, either. We're talking at the core. And nobody's going to deny they've got ties to the fey. Fey is elven primitiveness; animalism is Man's.

==Aelryinth

So every elf has to act exactly the same? None of them can behave like an out of control chemically induced monster because their other side is an elf? Doesn't that fall under racial stereo-typing? Besides, every writer is entitled to their own vision of how a character acts or behaves. The whole argument seems pretty silly.

Liberty's Edge

That his monstrous alter-ego has a decidedly human bestiality is what truly got him exiled from Kyonin. Made the neighbours wonder what his great-great-mother had been doing when she adventured with some dirty human males. And the Morgethai's blood is naturally 200% pure-elven, mind you.

Hence the exile.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:


@#$%, good call!

Lilith! What he said.

Oh butter! I'm not going to get anything I write into Wayfinder again, am I?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

The Elves of Golarion are not really fey/elemental like. I suggest reading, duh, Elves of Golarion sourcebook :)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
And nobody's going to deny they've got ties to the fey.

In Golarion, Gnomes are the race with ties to the First World. While some GM's may say different for their own campagin, the iconics are built to comply with Pathfinder/Golarion RAW. So I deny it.

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