Meet the Iconics—Aric

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Introducing Ultimate Intrigue's newest iconic character, Aric the vigilante. Be sure you also meet the Red Raven, his masked guise and alter ego.

Tumultuous Galt has captured the popular imagination—and noble nightmares—as blood-drenched anarchy dominated by unscrupulous demagogues, anonymous executioners known as the Gray Gardeners, frothing mobs that seek the destruction of a shattered aristocracy, and imposing guillotines known as final blades that drink the souls of the deceased. The madness has persisted for decades and consumed more than a dozen failed governments, claiming countless lives and shattering as many families—all in the name of liberty and the common good.

Aric was too young to understand why the Gray Gardeners came, dragging his parents into the night on charges of treason. He was too scared to watch as the final blade known as Madame Margaery descended twice, and he was too lonely to stop crying on the ride from the capital to his new home in the countryside. At Sister Sarinda's Home for Revolutionary Orphans, he learned that he could not show too much anger, even when forced to work too many hours sewing garments sold by his pitiless caretaker, his wages garnished to supplement funds the revolutionary governments promised but rarely delivered. While food was scarce, he was fed a torrent of “true” Galtan values that changed with every coup.

Like his fellow orphans, Aric eagerly absorbed these hateful lessons. However, where they believed themselves young revolutionaries who might sniff out traitors, he could not forget the cruel regime that had killed his parents and changed his life. He instead likened himself to the folk heroes of legend who served the common people at the expense of foul nobles. And so he ran away to live out his reckless fantasy.

He didn't find freedom so much as bandits found him. Fortunately they also found young Aric's dream amusing, and the aging leader Thanarus accepted the boy as his protégé. As Aric quickly learned, the bandits were not unprincipled thieves; the Revolution had wronged every one of them, much as it had wronged him. As a former knight who had seen the anarchy consume everything he held dear decades before, Thanarus had suffered longest of all. Nonetheless, he had upheld the old oaths of conduct sworn so long ago, and instructed Aric in the ways of mercy and morality, hoping to banish the hatred that burned within his pupil's heart. Thanarus also taught him the arts of the battlefield, acknowledging that no amount of integrity could keep a man safe in their tumultuous land.

These relatively happy times could not last. The merciless eyes of the Gray Gardeners inevitably turned upon Thanarus and his daring exploits, capturing him and his followers just before Aric returned from an errand in Woodsedge. By the time Aric pushed his way into Isarn, Thanarus was already dead—one more spirit consumed by Madame Margaery, body unceremoniously thrown from the city's crumbling walls, and victim of the current Revolutionary Council, known as the Council of Skulls. Aric waited until nightfall, chased away the scavengers, and buried his mentor by moonlight, keeping only the shredded cloak and ivory cameo of a bygone age that Thanarus had worn so proudly.

What followed was a blur of nights, weeks, and months spent seeking revenge against the council and Galt's corruption. Aric—now garbed in scarlet and Thanarus's cloak to hide his identity—tracked down and destroyed the Council of Skulls' inner circle. Hardly a morning passed without some citizen discovering a dead senator being scavenged by gruesome ravens that cawed with pride. In time, the people of Galt gave this crimson killer a name: the Red Raven.

The Council of Skulls buckled under the Red Raven's attacks and the demagoguery of their political rivals. The bloodthirsty mobs overthrew the regime and elected a new council headed by Citizen Korran Goss, who invited the red-garbed vigilante to help rebuild Galt and stop those who would perpetuate anarchy. At first the tasks were simple: deliver a message here and spy on a conspirator there. Then the requests grew in their violence: the breaking of an arm to send a warning or the apprehension of a traitor. Donning his mask gave Aric the courage to act and suppressed the mercy Thanarus had taught behind a faceless mien of unforgiving justice. As Citizen Goss's requests grew increasingly bloody, Aric began questioning his own role and whether the Red Raven was truly serving Galt or merely perpetuating a new generation of hatred. By night, the Red Raven could bury these doubts. By day, Aric couldn't help but voice his concerns, hoping to unearth some method behind the madness—or at least find true allies among the angry mobs. Driven by his passion and Thanarus's training, Aric's words began to find purchase in sympathetic ears. Unfortunately, they also reached the Revolutionary Council, and Citizen Goss quietly signed Aric's death warrant, contacting the only man he trusted to apprehend the miscreant: the Red Raven.

With the signed orders in hand, the Red Raven set off across the city while grappling with the irony of his task: the capture of his secret identity by his masked guise. Questions coursed through his mind. How could he, the Red Raven, survive the night without sacrificing the seductive fame in which he reveled? How could he convince Citizen Goss to reconsider? At last, he paused atop a roof and tore the mask from his face. “How?” he asked. “How can I delude myself? The Red Raven was supposed to end tyranny, yet here I am the worst tyrant of them all.”

Citizen Goss awoke to delightful news. The knave Aric of Halvon had been captured and left on the front steps of the council building, and the Red Raven had left a personal note praying that Aric's death would bring Galt one step closer to freedom. Goss cackled his approval when Aric's sham trial delivered a guilty verdict, and congratulated himself when the Gray Gardeners threw Aric into prison to await execution. His mirth only faded when the Red Raven stopped answering his summons. There was no sign of the masked hero. Even the ashes of the vigilante's incinerated costume had been swept from the street the day before. And in the prison Aric found peace.

However, not all were content to let another innocent fall to Madame Magaery, especially one so outspoken as Aric. In the dead of night, his cell door swung open, and an aging legal clerk by the name of Quinn extended a hand to help Aric to his feet. Together they fled south to Taldor, evading bounty hunters and exchanging tales of noble souls who had fallen prey to Galt's bloodlust. Where guilt wracked Aric with memories of the lives he had taken, Quinn was resolute, dedicated to aiding the falsely accused no matter the price. Aric could not help but find strength in his savior's words and actions. They parted ways soon thereafter, Quinn vowing to one day lay low the red-cloaked vigilante who had captured Aric. Aric in turn silently promised to uphold the ideals that Thanarus had taught him so long ago, and that Quinn had reinforced.

Aric has wandered ever since, wielding his courtly charms as an outspoken defender of liberty and peace. Thanarus's cameo once more serves as a reminder of the virtues Aric hopes to uphold—and the cost of losing himself in a cycle of violence. Yet charisma cannot vanquish all evils. When nothing can stop an injustice but cold steel, Aric dons his recreated disguise, and the Red Raven flies once more.

John Compton
Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Tags: Aric Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Vigilante Wayne Reynolds
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Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

This is great! I love how it paints the alignment split between the two. ^_^

Also, love the iconic investigator's cameo.

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Quinn!!!

GREAT choice. I'm loving how the newer Iconic backstories are beginning to tie the others together. Nice work, John and Paizo! :D


love his backstory, i give an interesting view into Galt


13 people marked this as a favorite.

Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lilith wrote:
Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.

and so the shipping begins


6 people marked this as a favorite.

"Begins."

Heh.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When I read Quinn's name in the blog I actually yelled out loud in surprised.

I now want to see a Quinn discovers Red Ravens identity scene.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Will his iconic mini come with wine glass in hand?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And the hits just keep coming!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lilith wrote:
Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.

Dueling by night, "dueling" by later night!


Ooo. Very nice. Glad to see another Iconic tied in too. Now if only Ultimate intrigue would ship sooner....


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I take back what I said last time -- Quinn and the Red Raven NEED to team up now!

This feels like such a Galt-appropriate origin, and definitely makes the Red Raven more sympathetic than the Unreliable Narrator of the last Meet the Iconics made him out to be. He's a character I'm excited to see more of in the campaign setting -- maybe something special in the Pathfinder Comics line, hmm? :)

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Duncan7291 wrote:
Will his iconic mini come with wine glass in hand?

If it does, I have the perfect NPC for him to play.


Thank the Heavens you didn't pull a Clark Kent on us :P
(Seriously, wearing glasses to cover your identity is dumb XD )


8 people marked this as a favorite.

You should know this only fuels my desire to play a Galt-themed AP.

Liberty's Edge

See, now I not only think he's a good Iconic, I actually like the guy.

I'm always happy when I actually like an Iconic as a person. :)

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Lilith wrote:
Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.

I don't think Geppa would like that.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Brilliant story! I really like that not only have you got compelling and good reasons for Aric to have a different alignment as the Red Raven, but you also have given a reason for his changed costume. All tied up in a way that makes perfect sense. Seriously well done!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well at least we know he has the dead parents trait.

(Paizocon 2015 Reference)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lilith wrote:
Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.

I ship it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

We all know that Commissioner Quinn is going to find out that the Red Raven is secretly Aric Wayne in disguise... Eventually.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've cast my divination spells and rolled my exceptionally high Perception skill. There is no way that Aric and the Red Raven are the same person. This is biased, circumstantial evidence.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So I'm guessing Aric is LG and Red Raven is LN?


Ashram wrote:
So I'm guessing Aric is LG and Red Raven is LN?

I'm thinking NG and LN. Aric's civilian persona seems concerned primarily with goodness, and I don't think that making existing systems just is important to him (compare with Quinn, Ace Attorney).

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The red raven. A hero that served the revolution and tried to bring justice and peace, only to discover that he had merely replaced evil with another. That conflict, of having tried to save a city, only to condemn it with their actions, is what makes a compelling character.
Their flaws and their virtues combine to paint a picture of the man behind the mask. One that is more than the cloaked sentinel of the night.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

*Cue 1960's-esque Red Raven theme song complete with visualized sound effects when people get punched.*


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm going pretty sure Red Raven is CN, as that was his original alignment before the vigilante class was released, but I'm not sure about Aric. Definitely good, I'd probably go with NG or CG.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like material for a good comic...


SheepishEidolon wrote:
Sounds like material for a good comic...

Well, there is the Pathfinder comic book series :P


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So Quinn (love the Investigator class!) redeems Aric/Red Raven?! "And there was much rejoicing..." Seriously, that is VERY cool. I was rather bummed to read the Red Raven's original intro and disappointed in his support of tyranny. Now we know that was in the past....and hopefully stays there.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Quinn and Red Raven need to be in a Galtese AP together, The End of Terror the end of the Red Revolution and the stabilization of Galt.


I love it!

Liberty's Edge

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

"CITIZEN GOSS! YOU HAVE FAILED THIS NATION!"


2 people marked this as a favorite.

+1 for a Galt AP.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh better yet an AP where you work to overthrow the most recent government along with the grey gardeners to establish a new council of your own control that depending on how well you do shows how much you've stabilized Galt.

Character traits that also deal with why the PCs want to end the revolution or take power for themselves, or become the fantasy Napoleon halfling cavalier.


^I guess if you wanted another Evil AP that soon after Hell's Vengeance . . . .


2 people marked this as a favorite.

YES MUCH WANT GALT AP PLEASE DO!
However, similar to some other iconics, there's not really any way that this is the backstory of a level 1 character. Still great though!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is a thread about APs going to lvl 20 where we mused about a Galt AP with PCs who are undying because they already died once.

Under a Final Blade.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lilith wrote:
Quinn x Aric. Callin' it now.

I propose "Vigilator" for this ship name.

Dark Archive

This was good. I thought the iconic story for the red raven sucked but this is good.


This is definitely one of my very favourite entries.

Dark Archive

Nice to have a good(ish) guy to break up the run of bad guys. (Not that I don't love bad guys, too!)


Let me add my own vote in for an AP that allows the PCs to try to save Galt from the Red Revolution and the Gray Gardeners.

Silver Crusade

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

The Department of Managing Expectations says: curb your enthusiasm for a Galt AP for foreseeable future.


Especially one that settles a very intriguing hotbed of potential adventure....doubt that will happen. No AP to overthrow Thrune, so why expect such for the Terror? An AP in Galt would be nice, though.


A great bit of writing. Thanks :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
The Department of Managing Expectations says: curb your enthusiasm for a Galt AP for foreseeable future.

I understand the reasoning, but at the same time that just makes it feel even more clear that by making the revolutionary AP about Cheliax we kinda wasted an opportunity. I love Cheliax but we already get a lot of it.

Fourshadow wrote:
Especially one that settles a very intriguing hotbed of potential adventure....doubt that will happen. No AP to overthrow Thrune, so why expect such for the Terror? An AP in Galt would be nice, though.

Not much of a "hotbed of potential adventure" if we never see it. We get a ton of Cheliax stories between PFS and other adventures, I can't think of anything that puts us in Galt.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Not much of a "hotbed of potential adventure" if we never see it. We get a ton of Cheliax stories between PFS and other adventures, I can't think of anything that puts us in Galt.

There is Requiem for the Red Raven, which remains one of my favorite PFS adventures.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like this! Two back-stories for one mixed up personality! Quinn is an awesome character too, so it's great he could be brought into the story.

"What will the Red Raven do next? Find out next time on [cue the echo-chamber] The Adventures of the Reeeeddd Raaavveeennnn!"


4 people marked this as a favorite.

BURSTS THROUGH THE WINDOW

SWINGS UP THE CHANDELIER

CUTS WORDS INTO TAPESTRY WITH SWORD

GALT MODULE PLZKTHX

LEAVES BEHIND A SINGLE RED ROSE

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