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Meet the Iconics: Altronus

Monday, June 26, 2017

The countdown to Starfinder is on, and to celebrate, we're continuing to delve into the backstories of the iconic characters that appear in illustrations throughout the Starfinder line. Today we meet Altronus, the iconic solarian!

Illustration by Remko Troost

Altronus Barasul Dovenayan was born into House Holdare, a traditional and respected family on the kasatha generation-ship-turned-homeland Idari. The Holdare trace their lineage to Great Families already well respected when the Idari left Kasath for their centuries-long trip to the Pact Worlds, and have maintained strong connections with both the houses that rose to prominence on the ship while crew functions were paramount, and younger houses risen to prominence since the Idari became an enormous space station. Much of the influence of House Holdare comes from their renown for producing skilled adata—scholar-priests who oversee the removal and preservation of thin slices of the brains of deceased kasatha in technomagical temples called adats. Even in times when ships officers, pilots, and navigators find their social relevance waning, the adata remain highly respected in kasatha society.

The eldest living member of House Holdare, Barasul Naedarin Allar of Clan Allar, Keeper of Ten Million Thoughts and doyen of the ship's adata, took a special interest in Altronus shortly after his birth, though he was but a distant nephew to her. Of course the attention of so great a clan elder comes with more responsibility and expectation than comfort, and though Altronus was raised with significant prestige and resources as a youth, he was also pushed to begin adata training very early, his family even going so far as to name him after famous adata doyens.

While Altronus did not excel at his studies the way his family had hoped, neither did he do poorly, and most people chalked his merely adequate results up to his relative youth. In truth, Altronus was indeed an excellent scholar, simply one who had trouble focusing on a single topic for long. Inevitably, some interesting fact in his studies would pique his interest and draw his research off into unrelated sidetracks. This broad, self-directed education made him adept at making connections between disparate fields, yet earned him little love from traditionalist teachers who saw his scattered studies as a failure to focus and a deliberate rejection of tried-and-true scholarly practices.

Though his close family were dedicated worshipers of Talavet, the Storyteller deity, one of Altronus's more sympathetic teachers felt his wandering focus could be better brought into line with training in the philosophy of the Cycle, which teaches that existence is an endless, connected series of events as stars are born, die, and born again. Though the Cycle is the guiding philosophy of the solarians, contemplative warriors with a tradition stretching far back into the history of Kasath, it's also seen as a useful tool for training body and mind in preparation for the rigors of other vocations.

Altronus was accepted as a student into a prestigious cosmonastery on the Idari, and taught to focus his thoughts on the forces of the universe around him, to draw strength and guidance from the endless repetition of celestial creation and destruction. He took to the training immediately, and soon was among the most advanced students, most of whom sought not just to understand the lessons of the Cycle, but to embody them in the path of the solarian. Altronus, however, was still slated for a career as an adata. This preordained path didn't bother him—as he approached adulthood and the yearlong ritual walkabout of the Tempering, he was allowed to take on guard shifts at the ship's famed Sholar Adat. There he watched over rooms of stasis pods where adata connected to the Sensorium, the technomagical temple archive where flashes of memories from archived kasatha brains could be experienced, sorted, and analyzed. On rare occasions, he was even allowed to experience ancient Sensorium memories himself, and it was these glimpses of lives and secrets long lost that most drove Altronus to complete his studies and become a full adata.

During one of his last scheduled shifts as an adata student, Altronus was assigned to an inactive Sensorium access node—one rarely used, but like all Sensorium access points still important enough to be protected by force fields and a round-the-clock guard. Though most such shifts were uneventful, on that night Altronus was surprised by the appearance of a fully cloaked and apparently rushed senior adata, Remura Esolla Kaiban of Clan Senthen, flashing a warrant to allow unscheduled access to the memory of a recently deceased citizen. Thanks to his tendency to collect trivia, Altronus knew Remura was scheduled to be giving a lecture at the far end of the Idari. What, he wondered, could be of such great importance that the revered adat would end the lecture early, not to mention need an emergency Sensorium warrant?

Altronus knew he should mind his own business, but again curiosity overrode his training. Altronus contacted a friend at the far end of the ship, who informed him that not only had Adata Kaiban not left the lecture early—she was still on the stage.

Immediately Altronus sounded an intruder alert, and rushed into the Sensorium access node to confront the false adata. To his surprise, Altronus discovered not a kasatha, but a small, sickly gray humanoid standing in a pile of robes and strange machinery, with long wires and humming crystals latched onto the Sensorium feed and hundreds of images flashing from the access node to the gray creature's alien devices. Altronus leapt to activate the Sensorium emergency disconnect, but the bulbous creature struck him with a taclash, ripping the pulsecaster from his grip, then shot him with a pistol that fired a searing green ray. Through the resulting haze of pain, Altronus managed to seal the access node's security force fields, trapping himself and the gray intruder inside.

With a shock, Altronus realized the severity of the situation. Any response to his alarm would take precious moments to arrive, and still more to disable the force field. Unarmed, Altronus had little chance of holding the intruder at bay. He had no way of healing the wound from the creature's pistol. For the first time in his life, Altronus truly confronted the fact that he was going to die. Like the stars themselves, he too would be extinguished, his body breaking down and eventually being reincorporated over millennia into new entities, new worlds, new stars. At last, he truly understood the Cycle. With his final moments, he reached out to the universe, embracing it.

And the universe answered.

Altronus was as surprised as the strange gray alien to find a long, shining golden blade suddenly sprouting from his lower right forearm. Yet he had seen enough of solarian training to recognize the blade of stellar energy for what it was, and leapt to put it to use, placing himself between the creature and the node's access panels. The two fought in grim silence, and though it was clear the gray invader was the more skilled, Altronus stood his ground, putting to use every scrap of training he'd gained. He didn't need to win—only buy time, keeping the creature from finishing its infiltration of the Sensorium until help arrived.

Blow after blow fell upon Altronus, and the pistol's strange green rays continued to singe and scale his flesh, but Altronus would not fall. His blade scored many fewer hits, and at times seemed to pass cleanly through his foe to no effect, but he pressed the attack as best he could. As he did, a fierce joy welled up in him, a sense of the rightness of the path that had led him to this moment. This cosmic contentment continued to expand until he had no choice but to release it, unleashing a burst of searing stellar flame in all direction.

At last, ship security arrived, using their command bypasses to deactivate the access node's force fields and dragging the half-dead Altronus from the fight. Yet upon seeing that it was outnumbered, the bulbous-headed alien didn't continue to fight, or attempt to escape. Rather, it paused to take stock of the situation, toggled a device on its arm—and detonated its own head like a bomb.

The security team secured the body and questioned Altronus. When several true adata arrived, they immediately attempted to preserve part of the horrid gray thing's exploded brain. While their efforts to pull meaning from the splatter were greatly hindered, two ideas were recovered. The first was that gray spies had deeply infiltrated the Pact Worlds. The second was that the time of something important called "Phase Three" was coming soon.

The Doyenate of the Idari was informed, and additional security added to Sensorium access nodes. While the matter of gray infiltrators was officially left open to investigation, with no more solid leads and no further incidents, official attention quickly turned elsewhere.

But Altronus couldn't let the issue lie.

Questions filled his mind. How thoroughly had grays infiltrated the Pact Worlds? Had they successfully infiltrated the Idari? What did this gray seek to learn from the Sensorium? Why had it sought to destroy its own brain when capture became inevitable? And, most importantly, what was Phase Three, and how soon would it arrive? Altronus tried to quiet his mind with further solarian training, but while his powers grew, his sense of calm did not.

As it came time for Altronus to begin his Tempering, he realized he could never accept a role as an adata while the mystery of the gray invader hung over him. He sought, and received, approval from his house doyen to abandon the path he had long trod, and informed his family that he was leaving the Idari. He had no firm idea of where he would go, nor how his investigation would advance, only a vow to chase down every strange occurrence that might mark a potential gray incursion within the Pact Worlds. While many of these events had other—sometimes equally strange—explanations, he found enough potential connections to the grays to support his growing suspicion that secret conspiracies indeed existed just out of sight. Still a rigorous scholar, he began to accept that he'd need to give more credence to outrageous claims and unlikely stories if he ever wanted to uncover the truth.

Now inarguably an adult, Altronus has nevertheless remained on his Tempering for much longer than the traditional year, and still sees himself as working to form the traditions that will guide him through his later life. He often signs on with freelancers and adventuring companies as a guard, scout, or researcher in order to support himself—especially if their activities align with his obsession—yet his primary goal always remains researching the shadowy web of plots he first glimpsed that night in the access node. Ironically, while he comes across to many kasatha as overly impetuous and offbeat, his natural kasatha love of traditions, his devotion to the Cycle, and his scholar's desire to monologue about admittedly unconventional research often causes members of other races to see him as an eccentric professor or addled conspiracy theorist. Any skepticism as to his usefulness, however, disappears in the first firefight, as Altronus launches himself into the fray and "lets the cosmos take control," slicing through hordes of enemies with terrifying calm.

Owen KC Stephens
Developer

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Tags: Altronus Iconics Meet the Iconics Remko Troost Solarians Starfinder
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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Hmm i have to say this is my favorite so far. I really like the feal of the Kasatha and Solarians.


Huh. You usually never see the Greys in settings where they are technologically on par with the civilizations they are trying to infiltrate.

Interesting.


Space Monks! Gimme!

When is the solarion preview coming out?


d'Eon wrote:

Space Monks! Gimme!

When is the solarion preview coming out?

My guess is Friday based on the pattern. but could be slightly sooner or later.

Also I love all of these Iconics so far<3

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

Greys! Effin' loving this stuff.

And that is a good backstory, showing the bigger narrative going on in the Pact Worlds right now. Really interested to see how this- may or may not- ties into the Adventure Path. Good stuff.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I dunno, this one came across as a little to jargon heavy for my taste. It starts with a whole bunch of names and phrases that are essentially meaningless to me without some larger context.


Kasatha Houses of old. Yessss, I was hoping I could use the Kasatha like the Fallen from Destiny!

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Cyber Mage wrote:

I dunno, this one came across as a little to jargon heavy for my taste. It starts with a whole bunch of names and phrases that are essentially meaningless to me without some larger context.

Is there anything other than proper names that was not explained?

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

9 people marked this as a favorite.

There are terms like doyen which are English, but uncommon enough not everyone will be familiar with them.

I wanted to make sure the kasha, Idari, and solaria culture came through at least a little, and in this tight a space it's hard to do that without getting a bit techno-babble-y, given how much technology impacts their life, and Altronus's backstory.

As it is, this final version much smoother after James Sutter gave it a good editing pass.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Love the artwork. I notice that there's a Pharasman spiral on the robes. Is the cycle associated with Pharasma? And what is the starburst symbol?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Imbicatus wrote:
Love the artwork. I notice that there's a Pharasman spiral on the robes. Is the cycle associated with Pharasma? And what is the starburst symbol?

I think that spiral represents a black hole. The other end of the scarf has a star on it. I believe it represents the two extreme points in a star's life cycle.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Imbicatus wrote:
Love the artwork. I notice that there's a Pharasman spiral on the robes. Is the cycle associated with Pharasma? And what is the starburst symbol?

If you compare it very carefully to a Pharasmin spiral, you'll see it is different. This spiral is a symbol of the Cycle, which (as an endless repetition of creation and destruction), is obviously tightly aligned with some aspects of Pharasma, goddess of birth, death, and fate.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Love the artwork. I notice that there's a Pharasman spiral on the robes. Is the cycle associated with Pharasma? And what is the starburst symbol?
If you compare it very carefully to a Pharasmin spiral, you'll see it is different. This spiral is a symbol of the Cycle, which (as an endless repetition of creation and destruction), is obviously tightly aligned with some aspects of Pharasma, goddess of birth, death, and fate.

I see. Having a different spiral symbol was a little confusing, but it makes sense.

Sovereign Court

oooo this is my favorite yet, was planning on playing a shirren but now i want to go kasatha!!!


10 people marked this as a favorite.

" The truth is out there"
-Altronus


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I knew it was going to be the solarian, but I really wanted it to be the technomancer.


From the art, it seems Altronus is armored in some fashion. Solarions having some form of armor proficiency confirmed?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
d'Eon wrote:
From the art, it seems Altronus is armored in some fashion. Solarions having some form of armor proficiency confirmed?

I believe it was said somewhere that all classes get some form of armor proficiency.

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I wasn't expecting Mulder to make an appearance, but now that he has, he might be my favorite.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Archmage Variel wrote:
d'Eon wrote:
From the art, it seems Altronus is armored in some fashion. Solarions having some form of armor proficiency confirmed?
I believe it was said somewhere that all classes get some form of armor proficiency.

Yep everyone has light armor proficiency, or light and heavy armor proficiency.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

The Solarian is the best class... this is not really something to argue about...no, me having re-watched every Legacy of Kain game on Youtube does not have a lot to do with this.... neither has the fact that I once wrote some kind of soul reaver class with a spirit blade... it is just an objective fact..

Soooo happy... so long until Starfinder comes out...


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
d'Eon wrote:
From the art, it seems Altronus is armored in some fashion. Solarions having some form of armor proficiency confirmed?

Well, we have yet to see a class without armor proficiency, and the lack of somatic components in spellcasting leads me to believe that all characters get at least light armor proficiency.

Additionally, based on other class previews, I will boldly conjecture that the Solarian gets 6 skill ranks/level, a good (full) BAB, light armor proficiency, three good saves, and weapon proficiency with basic melee and small arms.


The Gray mentioned in his story is really interesting to me. I can't wait to see more of them in the Alien Archive.


While all the art so far has been amazing, altronus for me always fell short. Shivering with the eyes, or maybe the headband. Or something with his head, plus the blade seems kind of undefined. Still good art, but lacking compared to the others.

That said, his story is Awesome! Loving how much culture we get here, plus his original plan to be a doctor only to turn hero is pretty cool. I'm assuming then that he has the scholar theme,which is cool and something I didn't expect.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yes, Altronus is a solarian with the scholar theme.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Was that creature one of the Grays from the Bestiary 5?

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, it's the Starfinder version of that creature, but yes.
At least, to the best of Altronus's ability to determine.
It could have secretly been a reptoid...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Well, it's the Starfinder version of that creature, but yes.

At least, to the best of Altronus's ability to determine.
It could have secretly been a reptoid...

The plot thickens...


So are the grays doppelgangers? They seem like doppelgangers to me, and infiltrating a society to control it from the shadows is exactly something they would do. I'm super curious about "Phase Three."

Edit: Whoops, just saw the posts above me. Thought they were doppelgangers. Forgot about the grays.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, this story did not go the way I expected at all! Grays! Yay! So does the philosophy of the Cycle exist as a religious system separate from the various deific religions of the Pact Worlds, or is it common for Solarians to adopt patron deities like Desna, Pharasma or Ibra alongside their practice of the Cycle? Considering this is a class, I assume so. I wonder what a Solarian devotee to the Devourer would look like...

On another note, Starfinder's threats are starting to mount up. The Aspis Consortium, the Azlanti Star Empire, the Swarm, the Great Old Ones (along with the Dominion, I assume), and now the Grays. I wonder what else is out there? I'm totally calling a fanatic Reaver horde dedicated to Zon-Kuthon. That would be so sweet.


Hell knights too


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Hell knights too

The Hellknights, along with the Free Captains, appear to be joinable factions in the game, as per Paizocon's Core Rulebook preview, so I didn't think they necessarily counted as threats.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The Cycle is a philosophy, common (but not universal) among solarians, but also followed by non-solarians who find its tenets useful or meaningful.

Many who follow the Cycle do not worship a specific deity, but certainly there's nothing about the Cycle that precludes deific veneration.

Yeah, we have a whole "Threats" section in the core rulebook which gives brief overviews of major, generally-known-and-woried about threats, and some lesser info on more minor threats.

And that's separate from factions, which can certainly be threats to one another, even if they aren't on the same almost-never-helpful trajectory as the "threats."


The Cyber Mage wrote:

I dunno, this one came across as a little to jargon heavy for my taste. It starts with a whole bunch of names and phrases that are essentially meaningless to me without some larger context.

Yeah, several have been like that. The soldier had quite a few references to weapons and gods that hadn't been explained when the preview was published. This seems to have a needless term for scholar and some kind of weapon - taclash, which might be a whip or something. Presumably a pulsecaster is a laser.

I'm particularly curious how and why the quad-arms would travel for centuries to the Pact Worlds. As in how did they know about it and what do they get out of travelling that far?

Also, 'cosmonastery'

Really?


Wow that's a lot. So we know any factions yet?


And if memory serves, we've seen pulsecaster weapons before- Keskodai uses one. Deals non-lethal damage, which is perfect for someone on guard duty

Sovereign Court

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Voss wrote:
The Cyber Mage wrote:

I dunno, this one came across as a little to jargon heavy for my taste. It starts with a whole bunch of names and phrases that are essentially meaningless to me without some larger context.

Yeah, several have been like that. The soldier had quite a few references to weapons and gods that hadn't been explained when the preview was published. This seems to have a needless term for scholar and some kind of weapon - taclash, which might be a whip or something. Presumably a pulsecaster is a laser.

Based on science's well-known bias for portmanteau, I'd say a taclash is similar to a tactical lash, or some kind of combat whip.

As for adata, reducing that experience to the term 'scholar' very much diminishes their function. Yes, they analyze and sort information, but they also experience the memories of their ancestors which seems significant.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Voss wrote:
I'm particularly curious how and why the quad-arms would travel for centuries to the Pact Worlds. As in how did they know about it and what do they get out of travelling that far?

That's the kind of detail discussed in brief in the core rulebook, but it doesn't make sense to go over it in a modern character's backstory.

Voss wrote:

Also, 'cosmonastery'

Really?

Yep!


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Terminalmancer wrote:
I wasn't expecting Mulder to make an appearance, but now that he has, he might be my favorite.

Not Mulder, the Question. And he has managed to displace the Shirren from his perch as my favorite, And push the Vesk and Rat back to 3rd and 4th place, with the Human Operative in 5th and the Android a distant 6th :) I can't wait to see the two(?) remaining Iconics.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Kind of in love with the concept of a cosmonastery now.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wow, that was fantastic! If this was novelised, it would make a fantastic opening chapter for a great story. Very cool and evocative.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Voss wrote:

Also, 'cosmonastery'

Really?

Yep!

Owen K. C. Stephens, turning typing errors into gold for fun and profit! :-)


All fluff pulls jedi with achon thyme and looks like i am rolling solarion to


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Voss wrote:

Also, 'cosmonastery'

Really?

I blame Cosmo.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh dang, i forgot about Solarians for a minute there while i was so caught up in Mechanic hype.. gotta play them both!

Whats up with the energy blade phasing through the gray? i would like to know more.

I was also hoping to learn some more about the Kasatha themselves, are the lower arms more primary than the upper? what is up with their mouthy bits? i cant shake the idea that they are telepaths of some kind...


The Kasatha are an PC race and so I can answer your questions in order.

1. Nothing indicates this, no.

2. Their culture forbids them from displaying their mouths in public.

3. They are not telepathic, they are very acrobatic though.


IonutRO wrote:

The Kasatha are an PC race and so I can answer your questions in order.

1. Nothing indicates this, no.

2. Their culture forbids them from displaying their mouths in public.

3. They are not telepathic, they are very acrobatic though.

Besides their entries on the WIKI's can you suggest any places to read up on them? I am curious as to the reason for their mouth coverings.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aunders wrote:
Kasatha Houses of old. Yessss, I was hoping I could use the Kasatha like the Fallen from Destiny!

Good thing I'm really violent and I have this cape


We don't know why they have to cover their mouths, just that they do. For their lore, there's not much more than what the wiki says, but People of The Stars and Iron Gods have a bit more info.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

There are terms like doyen which are English, but uncommon enough not everyone will be familiar with them.

...

Since I was in a French university, it's a common word for all universities in Québec, even with the english universities that are McGill, Concordia and Bishop.

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