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RPG Superstar 2015

Meet the Iconics: Hayato

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Honor is strength. It is a maxim that Nakayama Hayato has known since birth, and one whose barbs he still feels deep in his flesh. Yet Hayato also knows a deeper truth: that just as a sword must bend to avoid breaking, so too must honor. And the more rigid the steel, the easier it shatters.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Hayato was born a retainer on the estate of Lord Nakayama Hitoshi, just a few days' ride from the great city of Oda in Minkai. The son of the chief falconer and his wife, Hayato—whose name means "falcon"—quickly proved just as proficient with the dangerous birds as his father, emulating their proud and fierce natures.

It was while accompanying his father on one of Lord Nakayama's hawking outings that he first came to the lord's attention. At eight years old, Hayato was assigned the honor of being the personal attendant to the lord's son, Masao, assisting the privileged child with his falcon. All went well until the noble son, still new to the sport, mishandled his bird and nearly lost an eye for his trouble. The furious lordling prepared to kill the falcon then and there, but Hayato interceded, explaining the boy's error. Enraged even further, Masao began beating Hayato, drawing the attention of the rest of the hunting party. Though Hayato bowed low and accepted the savage blows of his master, he neither cried out nor begged for mercy. When Masao finally tired, Lord Nakayama himself addressed the bloody servant child, asking him why he had been so bold as to correct his superior. Without faltering, Hayato bowed to the lord and said simply, "Because it was the truth."

From that point on, Lord Nakayama took the young Hayato under his wing, frequently assigning him duties within the manor house, engaging him as a companion for his son, and seeing to his education in matters both martial and intellectual. In time, Hayato grew to become a powerful warrior, rising to the position of head samurai of the Nakayama holdings. When Masao died in a drunken duel at the age of twenty, thus depriving Lord Nakayama of an official heir, the bereaved lord began to look more and more to Hayato as a son, even allowing him to take the family name.

Yet Masao's death was only the beginning of the Nakayama family's misfortune. It was shortly after this episode that the Nakayama estate was visited by Kaneka Yoshiro, a traveling lord and government official with a position high in the Imperial Court. With considerably more prestige and official sway than Nakayama, Kaneka was received with full honors—yet it quickly became apparent that the guest was interested in more than just hospitality. Within a few days, Kaneka's cunning insults, lewd advances toward Nakayama's wife, and barely concealed challenges to Nakayama himself left Hayato's lord with no choice. Honor forbade him from allowing the slights to stand unanswered, yet challenging a governmental superior was as good as a death sentence.

In the end, honor won out, just as Kaneka knew it would. Nakayama challenged Kaneka to a duel, and was quickly slain by the talented swordsman. In recompense for the "insult" Kaneka had suffered, the Imperial Court allotted all the Nakayama holdings to Kaneka. Nakayama's widow, faced with the prospect of a dishonored existence among peasants, had no choice but to accept Kaneka's proposal of marriage if she wanted to retain her position.

Though the Nakayama samurai were bound by direct order of the court to honor their new arrangement—and plied with substantial gifts by their new master—Hayato saw the theft for what it was. Several nights later, having watched Kaneka's celebrating guards drink themselves into unconsciousness, Hayato crept into his former master's bedchamber and confronted the usurper even as he lay sleeping with his new wife. Though Kaneka screamed for his retainers, in the end it became clear that his only option was to fight. Taking up the sword that Hayato tossed onto the bed, Kaneka did everything he could to kill the samurai quickly, yet Hayato would not be denied his revenge. At last, bleeding from several terrible wounds, Hayato succeeded in getting past the noble's guard, ending his short-lived dominion over the Nakayama estate in a fine spray of blood.

As Kaneka fell to the floor, pink froth spilling from his lips, Hayato dropped his sword and knelt beside it. Knowing that to attack any lord in this manner—let alone the man the government considered his rightful master—would bring sure execution, he drew his tanto and prepared to die with his honor intact.

A hand on his shoulder stayed his blade. When Hayato looked up, he beheld Lady Nakayama—now Lady Kaneka—in her dressing gown, its yellow silk stained with the blood of her most recent husband. With tears in her eyes, she thanked Hayato for avenging Lord Nakayama and returning the estate to her control. Yet with her next breath, she condemned him forever. Taking his hand in her own—an undreamed-of show of affection and familiarity—the noblewoman forbade Hayato from taking his own life. Instead, she snuck him out of the manor and into a carriage bound for Oda, with only a string of coins, his armor, and a command to live as best he could. When the morning sun rose, it found Hayato on a caravan traveling north, bound for the icy reaches of the Crown of the World and from there on to the mysterious lands of the Inner Sea.

Now in his mid-thirties, Hayato is a hard man who keeps to himself. Though he has long since learned to speak Taldane, he remains terse by nature, feeling that everyone in his new home speaks too much but says too little. He operates as a fearless and talented mercenary—or ronin, as he terms it—for those whose cause seem righteous, yet refuses to bow to anyone regardless of status, saying only that he has had his fill of masters. Hayato is loyal to those few friends who can get past his stone-faced demeanor, yet remains secretly tortured by his conflicting senses of honor. To continue living as a masterless samurai—let alone one who has committed a great crime—is shameful, yet to deny Lady Nakayama's command would be equally shameful. With no clear answer, Hayato has temporarily shelved the problem. Yet deep in his heart, he harbors a secret hope: that perhaps one day he might raise an army of champions and take it back over the Crown of the World, rooting out the corrupt politicians of his homeland and restoring the honor of himself, his adopted family, and the samurai code he was born to uphold.

James Sutter
Fiction Editor

NOTE: Artist Wayne Reynolds and Paizo Publishing will be auctioning off the original art for Hayato, with all auction proceeds being donated to the Red Cross to help Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami—check this blog tomorrow for details on how you can help!

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Hayato Iconics Meet the Iconics Paizo Samurai Wayne Reynolds
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Scarab Sages

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Cool..

But Hyrum, Why did you want to wait until everyone was in work before you put this up?

Kind of anticlimactic..

Though I look forward to hearing more about the Auction.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Meiyo, Sutter-san. :-)

Dark Archive

Hai ! Domo Arigato !

Shadow Lodge

Yoroshiku!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Tales Subscriber

Excellent! An NPC my players would be honored to meet.


Dragnmoon wrote:
But Hyrum, Why did you want to wait until everyone was in work before you put this up?

We wanted to be here in case there were a lot of questions about anything related to the post and didn't want people to sit around wondering. We're talking about moving the time when the blog goes live to 10am PST which is when most of us try to get here.

Hyrum.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why is he carrying a bastard sword?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Skeld wrote:
Why is he carrying a bastard sword?

–5 points for trying to start the katana wars. You should know better. SHAME! Shame.

Liberty's Edge

This is awesome, great back story, if a little classic. Awesome to see it him in color. Can't wait for the others.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Skeld wrote:
Why is he carrying a bastard sword?
–5 points for trying to start the katana wars. You should know better. SHAME! Shame.

Good thing I have a +5 bonus (untyped, of course) to my Will save vs. Shame by Creative Directors!

-Skeld

PS: All in good fun, James. :)


This made me happy!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Skeld wrote:
Why is he carrying a bastard sword?

LOL!!! I think you might be receiving live insects in the mail soon too. :)

Liberty's Edge

Quote:
NOTE: Artist Wayne Reynolds and Paizo Publishing will be auctioning off the original art for Hayato, with all auction proceeds being donated to the Red Cross to help Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami—check this blog tomorrow for details on how you can help!

That is just REALLY cool of both Paizo and Wayne. Kudos to all of you!

Dark Archive

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see the need for this or the ninja characters in the game. I know the game needs to grow to survive, but there are lots of other areas and avenues that can and probably should be explored within the material already presented and hinted at.

If it were a separate item, I'd pass.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Kurt_the_Demon wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see the need for this or the ninja characters in the game. I know the game needs to grow to survive, but there are lots of other areas and avenues that can and probably should be explored within the material already presented and hinted at.

If it were a separate item, I'd pass.

To be fair, Hayato probably feels the same way about a lot of Core Rulebook classes.


Is that a carp on his banner pole?

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

niel wrote:
Is that a carp on his banner pole?

I believe that's Toshi the Angriest Carp. Look at those teeth!

Paizo Employee Developer

niel wrote:
Is that a carp on his banner pole?

Is that a serious question or are you being koi?


I do like the description of Hayato; he sounds like the kind of character who'd appear in a Kurosawa film and be played by Toshiro Mifune.

And not to rain on anyone's parade, but can we see the write-ups for the iconic inquisitor, summoner, and witch sometime?

Dark Archive

Mark Moreland wrote:
Is that a serious question or are you being koi?

HA !

Eric Hinkle wrote:
I do like the description of Hayato; he sounds like the kind of character who'd appear in a Kurosawa film and be played by Toshiro Mifune.

You nailed it right there Eric!

Eric Hinkle wrote:
And not to rain on anyone's parade, but can we see the write-ups for the iconic inquisitor, summoner, and witch sometime?

I think Hayato came to the head of the Iconic write up line because Wayne Reynolds and Paizo will be auctioning off the original art for Hayato with the auction proceeds being donated to the Red Cross to help Japan recover from the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami.

Just another reason Paizo rocks !


to go with the obvious

Mark Moreland wrote:

niel wrote:

Is that a carp on his banner pole?

Is that a serious question or are you being koi?

Something seemed fishy about that banner pole.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Eric Hinkle wrote:


And not to rain on anyone's parade, but can we see the write-ups for the iconic inquisitor, summoner, and witch sometime?

Yup, but this one had to be rushed out due to the upcoming auction. The others will be along in due time...

Shadow Lodge

Grrr! Some of us have eagerly been waiting for months for the next APG "Meet the Iconic" segment...and you cheat us out of Imrijka, Balazar, or Feiya for some guy who's still in beta? GRRRR!!!


James Sutter wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:


And not to rain on anyone's parade, but can we see the write-ups for the iconic inquisitor, summoner, and witch sometime?
Yup, but this one had to be rushed out due to the upcoming auction. The others will be along in due time...

Thanks, and good on you & the company for what Paizo is doing here.

Scarab Sages

Kthulhu wrote:
Grrr! Some of us have eagerly been waiting for months for the next APG "Meet the Iconic" segment...and you cheat us out of Imrijka, Balazar, or Feiya for some guy who's still in beta? GRRRR!!!

And someone who is an archetype :)

I am thinking the fact they plan to sell off the art for redcross has much to do with why he is in the blog right now. With all the trouble over in japan and with them raising money by selling the art work, it is a good time to have him front and center.

Shadow Lodge

I understand the auction is for the tsunami charity....but I think a picture of Feiya might have raised more interest (among other things).

:)

Paizo Employee Developer

Kthulhu wrote:

I understand the auction is for the tsunami charity....but I think a picture of Feiya might have raised more interest (among other things).

:)

Unfortunately, Feiya's original artwork has been sold and thus can't be donated to the charity auction.

At the price Wayne sells these for, this is a major donation on his part, and we felt that the occasion was important enough to devote manpower to getting this writeup written and posted to support the auction, even if it was out of order.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:

I understand the auction is for the tsunami charity....but I think a picture of Feiya might have raised more interest (among other things).

:)

I have to agree that I'd love to see a write-up for Feiya next. The witch is my favorite of the new classes and she's one of the more...interesting... character designs.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Understand about charity, but really it should have been the summoner*

Only other complaint is I wish the names had been more pseudo Chinese/Korean than pseudo Japanese.

Other than that, welcome to the iconics (Can we get a write up for the Iconic Antipaladin? I'd love to see 'Dark Seelah') :-)

*

Spoiler:
Because the good book says charity begins at gnome

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Whoa, hey! No fair cutting in line in front of Balazar, Imrijka, and Feiya!

But seriously, this is for an extremely good cause. Major props, Paizo and Wayne!

Hayato seems like a cool guy. Eh fights corrupt nobles and doesn't afraid of anything.

I'd totally trade Alain for him. Dude's from Taldor, so it sounds like he'd fit right into the current scene in Minkai. :P

So.... LG or NG? ;)


Really enjoyed reading this; Mr. Reynolds, as always, did an amazing job with Hayoto. Love the color and all of the detail on his armor...reminds me of the first time I saw a suit of samurai armor when I was a kid in a museum and how cool I thought it was.

Major, major kudos for the auction! You guys rock!


Kurt_the_Demon wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see the need for this or the ninja characters in the game. I know the game needs to grow to survive, but there are lots of other areas and avenues that can and probably should be explored within the material already presented and hinted at.

If it were a separate item, I'd pass.

Kthulhu wrote:
Grrr! Some of us have eagerly been waiting for months for the next APG "Meet the Iconic" segment...and you cheat us out of Imrijka, Balazar, or Feiya for some guy who's still in beta? GRRRR!!!

Oop. Looks like you two had some autocorrection/spell checking errors. I'm not positive, but I think what you both meant to type was, "Thank you Paizo for giving us this wonderful blog post out of the kindness of your hearts."

If that's what you meant, then I completely agree with you. Thanks, Paizo!


Eric Hinkle wrote:
I do like the description of Hayato; he sounds like the kind of character who'd appear in a Kurosawa film and be played by Toshiro Mifune.

I agree; he'd make an awesome samurai for one of Kurosawa's films :)

Paizo Employee Developer

Matthew Morris wrote:
Only other complaint is I wish the names had been more pseudo Chinese/Korean than pseudo Japanese.

Seeing as Minkai is almost completely inspired by real-world feudal Japan and the traditions and legends of the Japanese people, using Japanese as a root for naming is something that helps people root the fantasy setting in reality. We have nations in Tian Xia based more on other Asian nations like Thailand, Korea, China, etc. and the naming conventions there will be more in line with the traditional names used in their real-world analogues.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Eric Hinkle wrote:
And not to rain on anyone's parade, but can we see the write-ups for the iconic inquisitor, summoner, and witch sometime?

Heh. Been waiting for this question.

Yes, we'll get those meet the iconics entries up online at some point.

Shadow Lodge

He does seem pretty cool. But an archtype getting it's own iconic just makes the list of iconics that Paizo still owes us a lot more massive. There's DOZENS of them in the APG!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kthulhu wrote:
Grrr! Some of us have eagerly been waiting for months for the next APG "Meet the Iconic" segment...and you cheat us out of Imrijka, Balazar, or Feiya for some guy who's still in beta? GRRRR!!!

Every time someone complains or calls us cheats, I move the dates for those still unpublished "Meet the Iconics" back by 7 days each. Just so you know. :-P

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kthulhu wrote:

I understand the auction is for the tsunami charity....but I think a picture of Feiya might have raised more interest (among other things).

:)

Well... since the picture of Feiya is no longer Wayne's to sell, he couldn't really auction that one off.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kthulhu wrote:
He does seem pretty cool. But an archtype getting it's own iconic just makes the list of iconics that Paizo still owes us a lot more massive. There's DOZENS of them in the APG!

That's another –7 days for the other Meet the Iconics! :P

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Oh, and before anyone jumps on WAR about the "kanji" in Hayato's pic not making any sense...

Find one bit of Inner Sea-local text in paintings of books or scrolls that actually makes sense in their real-world equivalents.

(just nipping that in the bud before it starts)

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
That's another –7 days for the other Meet the Iconics! :P

Why do you hate the Horse Lord iconic? :(

Scarab Sages

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Grrr! Some of us have eagerly been waiting for months for the next APG "Meet the Iconic" segment...and you cheat us out of Imrijka, Balazar, or Feiya for some guy who's still in beta? GRRRR!!!
Every time someone complains or calls us cheats, I move the dates for those still unpublished "Meet the Iconics" back by 7 days each. Just so you know. :-P

Since I have no interest in Iconics..

You cheated me out of a Blog I would want to actually read!!

Who do I send my Complaints to about blogs I don't want to read?

You have cheated out of at least 5 minutes of my day, and the more I Complain about it the more you are waisting of my much needed free time!!!

That should get me at least 4 weeks right?

;)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Fast Sword!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:
Only other complaint is I wish the names had been more pseudo Chinese/Korean than pseudo Japanese.

Since Samurai are fairly uniquely Japanese, it would feel wrong to have the iconic Samurai to not have a Japanese name.

I do agree that other Asian cultures and names should be represented when they cover more of Tian-Xia. I have faith Paizo will do a good job of this when Jade Regent and the supporting material comes out.


James Sutter wrote:
Yup, but this one had to be rushed out due to the upcoming auction. The others will be along in due time...

I hope that doesn't mean something like, "We'll do the next one six months from now." Iconic action has been sorely missed on the blog!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Mark Moreland wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Only other complaint is I wish the names had been more pseudo Chinese/Korean than pseudo Japanese.
Seeing as Minkai is almost completely inspired by real-world feudal Japan and the traditions and legends of the Japanese people, using Japanese as a root for naming is something that helps people root the fantasy setting in reality. We have nations in Tian Xia based more on other Asian nations like Thailand, Korea, China, etc. and the naming conventions there will be more in line with the traditional names used in their real-world analogues.

Ah, I understand.

You have a better 'picture' of Tian Xia than I (obviously), but I was hoping the iconic <japanese named classes> would come from other lands than <Golarion pseudo-Japan> to be surprised.

No offense intended.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dragnmoon wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Grrr! Some of us have eagerly been waiting for months for the next APG "Meet the Iconic" segment...and you cheat us out of Imrijka, Balazar, or Feiya for some guy who's still in beta? GRRRR!!!
Every time someone complains or calls us cheats, I move the dates for those still unpublished "Meet the Iconics" back by 7 days each. Just so you know. :-P

Since I have no interest in Iconics..

You cheated me out of a Blog I would want to actually read!!

Who do I send my Complaints to about blogs I don't want to read?

You have cheated out of at least 5 minutes of my day, and the more I Complain about it the more you are waisting of my much needed free time!!!

That should get me at least 4 weeks right?

;)

In theory, yes. But since you aren't interested in iconics, your post nullifies itself and turns into an incomprehensible series of squeaks and honks, which results in a net modification of +0.

Liberty's Edge

Mark Moreland wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Only other complaint is I wish the names had been more pseudo Chinese/Korean than pseudo Japanese.
Seeing as Minkai is almost completely inspired by real-world feudal Japan and the traditions and legends of the Japanese people, using Japanese as a root for naming is something that helps people root the fantasy setting in reality. We have nations in Tian Xia based more on other Asian nations like Thailand, Korea, China, etc. and the naming conventions there will be more in line with the traditional names used in their real-world analogues.

+1

James Sutter wrote:

To be fair, Hayato probably feels the same way about a lot of Core Rulebook classes.

+1 +1 +1

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Hobo wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Yup, but this one had to be rushed out due to the upcoming auction. The others will be along in due time...
I hope that doesn't mean something like, "We'll do the next one six months from now." Iconic action has been sorely missed on the blog!

We'll do the next one when we have the time. It's not an easy thing to write these; it basically takes about a day for an author to come up with a name and a story for an iconic, and when we're trying to gear up for a huge pile of deadlines that are compounding due to PaizoCon and Gen Con, we simply don't have time to have one of the few folks at Paizo I trust to write an iconic's backstory take a day out of their schedule.

In this case, it was important to do so, since we want to get the painting auctioned off ASAP so we can get the money to the Red Cross to aid Japan ASAP. Seems like a pretty damn good reason to sacrifice a day of productivity from a super busy editor or developer to me.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Matthew Morris wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Only other complaint is I wish the names had been more pseudo Chinese/Korean than pseudo Japanese.
Seeing as Minkai is almost completely inspired by real-world feudal Japan and the traditions and legends of the Japanese people, using Japanese as a root for naming is something that helps people root the fantasy setting in reality. We have nations in Tian Xia based more on other Asian nations like Thailand, Korea, China, etc. and the naming conventions there will be more in line with the traditional names used in their real-world analogues.

Ah, I understand.

You have a better 'picture' of Tian Xia than I (obviously), but I was hoping the iconic <japanese named classes> would come from other lands than <Golarion pseudo-Japan> to be surprised.

No offense intended.

Ah. Nope. The whole point of ninjas and samruais is that they've got some REALLY compelling and interesting historical basis. That history happens to come from Japan, which means that those iconics are from Minkai.

We'll have fantasy equivalents of China, Cambodia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and so on in Tian Xia... but we're not talking about Tian Xia here. We're talking about samurais.

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