Meet the Iconics: Alain

Friday, July 23, 2010

Deference and respect are the privileges of noble birth. Few know this better than the man who calls himself Alain, yet equally well does he know that such things are not always freely given where they are due. And in those cases, it's the burden of the nobly born to correct the error, and to take by force that which is their right.

Alain was born in Taldor with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, son of a wealthy but relatively minor noble house. As a boy, he showed remarkable affinity for both physical activities—especially the martial pursuits—and the ins and outs of courtly etiquette and intrigue. Though both traits made him the quite popular with the peerage—especially the young ladies of the court, necessitating more than one woman being shuffled off to a nunnery on a nine-month "vacation"—Alain's wealth and natural abilities also gave him an excessively healthy sense of self-importance, sometimes getting him into trouble that would have crippled a man of lower station. By the time Alain's father realized that the cane-scarred whipping boy might not be the most effective means of corralling his youngest son, Alain was already near grown, and thoroughly convinced of his own competence in all things.

Though Alain regularly dismissed such noble studies as literature and linguistics—"If the elves want to speak, let them learn a man's language"—he could never get enough of bards' tales of battle and bloodshed, often keeping the minstrels at his favorite taverns playing late into the night. Excel as he might at the joust or the ritualized combat of the nobility, he longed for the primal exultation of war, where his mastery over his fellow men would not just be avowed or lauded, but proved undeniably by the blood on his sword, as clear as the red-dripping talons of an eagle. He had the nobility of society. Now he wanted the nobility of nature.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Unfortunately for Alain, any serious clash of arms lay far beyond the borders of his father's expansive holdings, and neither his father nor his two elder brothers showed the slightest desire to sustain a blood feud with another house. All three men attempted to turn Alain to knighthood, a socially safe and proper outlet for his bloodlust, yet the idea of serving as a squire for any length of time—of letting someone else give him orders!—was unthinkable to young Alain. At last, when he could stand it no longer, the young scion gathered what funds and personal affects he could carry and declared himself a sellsword, setting off for the "crimson poetry of the fray."

True warfare has little in common with heroic ballads, and few who see its raw and naked face come back unchanged. Certainly this was true for Alain. Yet where some men learn wisdom in the wrack, at last understanding the price of a life and the senseless ease with which it's taken, Alain learned something else. In the clash of spears and the screams of horses, the man who had been a trumped-up merchant's son became an elemental force of destruction, cutting down swaths of men who were never his enemies, but merely his opponents. Though he became rich in his own right off of the heavy purses his patrons heaped upon him, Alain cared only for what the rewards represented: that here was a man whose worth was proven, in fire and iron.

Today, Alain wanders as he wills, taking commissions when they suit his fancy and embarking on his own expeditions when they don't. Thanks to his prowess on the battlefield, warriors are often drawn to fight at his side, and to Alain's secret surprise he's developed quite a knack for leading them, issuing gruff and decisive commands. These companions are almost always cohorts rather than friends—though Alain does a fine job of managing his troops and urging them on to ever-greater feats, long experience has taught him that soldiers are a short-lived lot, and hence he sheds few tears when it's time to pay the butcher's bill.

As much as his life revolves around the battlefield, Alain still retains the social graces that made him so popular (for better or worse) in the courts of his upbringing. If greeting another warrior or potential client, he may introduce himself as simply Alain, comporting himself with a calculated aloofness designed to increase others' opinions of his abilities. Where an attractive lady is concerned, however, his rough edges immediately smooth, and many are the highborn women who've fallen prey to the "rogue knight" calling himself Alain Germande, Third Son of House Germande, Bearer of the Shielding Spear—and any other honorifics that strike his fancy.

In truth, whether leading soldiers in a suicidal charge or booting serving girls out of his bed in the morning, Alain cares little about the people around him. More than money, love, or lust, Alain cares about his reputation, and strives with every encounter to increase his own legend, whether as scoundrel or saint. Perhaps the only creature he truly values is his horse, Donahan. Exceedingly well trained, and having accompanied Alain for longer than any of his human compatriots, Donahan represents everything Alain looks for in a partner: absolute loyalty, absolute trust—and absolute obedience.

James L. Sutter
Fiction Editor

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Tags: Alain Cavaliers Iconics Meet the Iconics Taldor Wayne Reynolds
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Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Wow, what a jerk. Seltiyel is more likable and he's Lawful Evil! I mean, yes, he's a competent warrior, but who on Golarion would travel beside Alain when Valeros and Amiri and Seelah are out there with just as sturdy sword arms at their command?


As a soldier of 10 years I can honestly say I've met many officers with a similar mindset. And believe it or not many soldiers will willingly follow such men. If you believe your commander is a sound tactitician it is very easy to let yourself be lead....

In any case what do you think his alignment is LN? From one of the pics (where he is defending the witch he may be a TWF? Which order?

Cheers.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Kvantum wrote:
Wow, what a jerk. Seltiyel is more likable and he's Lawful Evil! I mean, yes, he's a competent warrior, but who on Golarion would travel beside Alain when Valeros and Amiri and Seelah are out there with just as sturdy sword arms at their command?

This is a man who needs to be in a party with ... Lem!


Order of the Cockatrice presumably...Golarions(braver) version of Harry Flashman

Dark Archive

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now i want to see a pic of him and valeros fighting something, with valeros facepalming!

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ardenup wrote:

As a soldier of 10 years I can honestly say I've met many officers with a similar mindset. And believe it or not many soldiers will willingly follow such men. If you believe your commander is a sound tactitician it is very easy to let yourself be lead....

In any case what do you think his alignment is LN? From one of the pics (where he is defending the witch he may be a TWF? Which order?

Cheers.

Not questioning his ability to command loyalty on the battlefield, just why anyone would willingly spend time with him when a high AC and DR aren't vitally important things to have.

Silver Crusade

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

Because he's such a great target, EVERYONE wants to kill him. So it makes the job of finding a place to hide and throw bombs from.


I'd actually like to see him statted out- I assume either twf or sword and board twf? Mounted is a short feat tree so that's given...

Liberty's Edge

I think he part of the Order of the Dragon, could be wrong though. His stats are in The Master of the Fallen Fortress (available free from Paizo.) along with the other 5 new iconics.


Awesome.

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

LN, Order of the Cockatrice. Lance, Longsword, Flail, or Light Crossbow. Mounted Combat and a lance is (apparently) his main style, despite his TWF on the Master of the Fallen Fortress cover. Bluff, Intimidate, Perception, and Ride for skills. Str 17, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12 for starting 1st-level stats.


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He's Order of the Cockatrice, or at least was in Master of the Fallen Fortress.

When my local playgroup decided to play MotFF, I gave a short thumbnail sketch of each character so they players could decide who they wanted to play. For Alain, my decription went something like this: "cavalier, which is a mounted warrior type with a paladin-like challenge ability. This guy's alignment is Lawful Asshat." (I really loathe the Order of the Cockatrice... which is why I think they are probably the best-written of all of the Orders. ;D )


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He may be my new favorite iconic. Simply because he's the kind of guy everyone just loves to hate!

Silver Crusade

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Amiri: So I thought you didn't want to adventure with me anymore.

Seelah: I thought so too. But in the end you're, at worst, violent, rude, messy, a slave to your own passions, and sometimes gassy.

Amiri: Thanks. So what about the new partner that didn't work out?

Seelah: Alain? Guy's a douche.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Hmm, It's nice to see the Iconic Jerk.

That and it makes my thoughts on Taldor more appropriate as well.


the leader of Taldor is a jerk, but this iconic is even a bigger jerk.
Seoni could flicker her wrist and fry this guy.


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Actually I like his personality, it definitely fits him well, and its good to see a cavalier that isn't a lancelot/arthur wanna-be. Seems more of a Pathfinder Achillies, which is always nice. He seems more chaotic to me, like as in chaotic neutral or maybe good...its hard to say though. For some reason he doesn't strike me as lawful, since he doesn't even like taking orders and ran off to do his own thing. He doesn't seem to have any consistent way of doing things, whatever strikes his fancy.

I'm definitely liking the new breed of iconics, looking forward to seeing more.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:
Hmm, It's nice to see the Iconic Jerk.

Didn't Valeros already cover this though? I was disappointed to see another dumb jock fighter although Alain seems a lot worse than him.


Um, James.... You *DO* know what a Nunnery was, don't you? When Shakespeare wrote, "Get thee to a nunnery!", he wasn't telling someone to go to a convent and spend time with nuns.

'Nunnery' was an old term for a bawdy house, or as they call them in Texas and Nevada, a Chicken Ranch...

You *may* want to do a quick edit! :)

-Mike

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Callous Jack wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Hmm, It's nice to see the Iconic Jerk.
Didn't Valeros already cover this though? I was disappointed to see another dumb jock fighter although Alain seems a lot worse than him.

Valeros isn't a dumb jock! Nor is he a jerk. Okay, he has simple tastes (wine, women and well, it's mostly just wine and women). Still despite that he is loyal, caring, trustworthy and will happily stand between a dragon's breath and any of the fine ladies he works with. Not because he hopes to get lucky, but because he genuinely cares for them.

Alain on the other hand is a tool. Which is good, because conflict makes good stories.

Any chance we'll see the iconics in any Pathfinder Fiction?


I don't think he's a tool or a jock really, he's really a mercenary, so he looks out for himself and other peoples needs or feeling don't really register to him. He's not a great person to know, but to me he's more interesting that way. I'm just glad he's not the "tough, brooding, anti-hero with a heart of gold". Character variety is good; he sounds like a lot of medieval/ancient world heroes to me, especially the ancient worlds definition of "hero".


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Mike Dowd wrote:

Um, James.... You *DO* know what a Nunnery was, don't you? When Shakespeare wrote, "Get thee to a nunnery!", he wasn't telling someone to go to a convent and spend time with nuns.

'Nunnery' was an old term for a bawdy house, or as they call them in Texas and Nevada, a Chicken Ranch...

You *may* want to do a quick edit! :)

-Mike

It was both, actually. One was the traditional meaning, the other a slang term; Hamlet was, as was his wont, using both meanings to humiliate Ophelia.


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Carpy DM wrote:
Mike Dowd wrote:

Um, James.... You *DO* know what a Nunnery was, don't you? When Shakespeare wrote, "Get thee to a nunnery!", he wasn't telling someone to go to a convent and spend time with nuns.

'Nunnery' was an old term for a bawdy house, or as they call them in Texas and Nevada, a Chicken Ranch...

You *may* want to do a quick edit! :)

-Mike

It was both, actually. One was the traditional meaning, the other a slang term; Hamlet was, as was his wont, using both meanings to humiliate Ophelia.

So it was a play on words - a pun? Ophelia should have retorted, "Get thee to a punnery!"


Amael wrote:
I don't think he's a tool or a jock really, he's really a mercenary, so he looks out for himself and other peoples needs or feeling don't really register to him. He's not a great person to know, but to me he's more interesting that way. I'm just glad he's not the "tough, brooding, anti-hero with a heart of gold". Character variety is good; he sounds like a lot of medieval/ancient world heroes to me, especially the ancient worlds definition of "hero".

Alain is a mercenary (a freelance to be exact), but he is also a tool. He is more interested in money and reputation. He strikes me as the kind of guy that is willing to sacrifice his men to accomplish his mission. He has the charisma to sway men into following him, but he has no problem throwing those men to the meat grinder if he needs to. That does not mean he won't be there beside them, only that he puts the job before those he fights beside (lawful neutral).


Thraxus wrote:
Amael wrote:
I don't think he's a tool or a jock really, he's really a mercenary, so he looks out for himself and other peoples needs or feeling don't really register to him. He's not a great person to know, but to me he's more interesting that way. I'm just glad he's not the "tough, brooding, anti-hero with a heart of gold". Character variety is good; he sounds like a lot of medieval/ancient world heroes to me, especially the ancient worlds definition of "hero".
Alain is a mercenary (a freelance to be exact), but he is also a tool. He is more interested in money and reputation. He strikes me as the kind of guy that is willing to sacrifice his men to accomplish his mission. He has the charisma to sway men into following him, but he has no problem throwing those men to the meat grinder if he needs to. That does not mean he won't be there beside them, only that he puts the job before those he fights beside (lawful neutral).

heh heh I don't think that still qualifies as a tool. The part that I thought makes him more chaotic is the fact how he only cares for himself more then anything else, and tends to do as he pleases when it comes to things, like in taking a contract or doing things to suit his fancy, or using his "nobility" to get ladies. Chaotics tend to favor their individuality more then anything else. If he was really Lawful neutral, he probably would have done what his family expected of him, what his noble house expected of him and obeyed, but his lack of regard for being ordered about would in my eyes make him something else. He's definitely not a nice person, but many great heroes and leaders were definitely not nice people, and now they're "admired" for their deeds. He strikes me as someone with that kind of potential.


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c873788 wrote:
So it was a play on words - a pun? Ophelia should have retorted, "Get thee to a punnery!"

She did, but that part got cut in development.


c873788 wrote:
So it was a play on words - a pun? Ophelia should have retorted, "Get thee to a punnery!"

That's why you can hear some High Schoolers taunt... "Oooooh Ahhh Opppheeeelllliaaahhh.... Oooooh Ahhh I-feeelll-yahhh"

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Alain is interesting to me for another reason that has come to mind. He's the opposite of David Drake.

From The Tank Lords:

David Drake wrote:
I'd like to think people had better sense than that. The one thing that ought to be obvious to a civilian is that war zones are an experience to avoid. Nonetheless, I know a couple men who've moaned that they missed "Nam," the great test of manhood of our generation. They're idiots if they believe that, and twits if they were just mouthing words that had become the in thing for their social circles.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Callous Jack wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Hmm, It's nice to see the Iconic Jerk.
Didn't Valeros already cover this though? I was disappointed to see another dumb jock fighter although Alain seems a lot worse than him.

Valeros is more the likable fool.

Sovereign Court

Wasn't the Cavalier in the old D&D Cartoon a bit of a jerk? Maybe it's an homage to him?


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Coledar wrote:
Wasn't the Cavalier in the old D&D Cartoon a bit of a jerk? Maybe it's an homage to him?

heh heh I was thinking that too. I have the DnD cartoons and theres an interesting commentary as to why they "had" to make the Cavalier that way. Had something to do with interest groups requiring a certain moral message about the group being always right, and the complainer/antisocial person being "wrong". Gotta love good intentions...


Mmm...good blog.

Contributor

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Nunnery can mean either brothel or convent. I suspect he's sent women down the road to both, in his time...


I LIKE this guy!!!! He's such a jerk! I'm sure the ladies will be all over him.


Seems like a chance for a good roleplayer to have Alain grow out of his jerkish behavior.

Sovereign Court

Carpy DM wrote:
He's Order of the Cockatrice, or at least was in Master of the Fallen Fortress.

Based on the heraldry on the banner and shield he is carrying. It is kind of hard to see in the blog entry, but in the line art in the APG file, it stands out much better.


Please tell me they have an Order of the Weasel.


Voltron64 wrote:
Seems like a chance for a good roleplayer to have Alain grow out of his jerkish behavior.

Or not, and let the others deal with it. I mean, whats wrong with using the people in your life?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I love this guy the way that he is. I don't much see the problem with him, but I guess I figure Neutral people are often like this. I definitely see no 'good' in him.


This guy's face reminds me of a guy at my wife's work. Freaky.


Yeah, that doesn't sound at all LN to me. Actually, I would peg that background as NE. Extremely self-centered, cares only for the rewards, intentionally avoids making friends, values obedience above all else, etc. LE or NE, for sure. There's nothing remotely redeeming in that personality profile.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zurai wrote:
Yeah, that doesn't sound at all LN to me. Actually, I would peg that background as NE. Extremely self-centered, cares only for the rewards, intentionally avoids making friends, values obedience above all else, etc. LE or NE, for sure. There's nothing remotely redeeming in that personality profile.

Who says lawful neutral has to be remotely redeeming? Lawful neutral is actually my second favorite bad guy alignment!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Go go Gadget-Alignment-Debate-Version:3856!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jack Bauer = Lawful Good! FIGHT! :-P

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

I just wanted to say thank you for using the word "proverbial" instead of the much more common (and offensively stupid) "literal" that normally gets used in that context.

It literally makes me glow with joy.

Oh wait...that's what I was b&*$%ing about...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sebastian wrote:

I just wanted to say thank you for using the word "proverbial" instead of the much more common (and offensively stupid) "literal" that normally gets used in that context.

It literally makes me glow with joy.

Oh wait...that's what I was b~%%*ing about...

Yeah, it's good that Paizo gets their semantics right on the penultimate week of APG previews.

Also known as the Alignment Debate Week.

Batman = Chaotic Good

;-)

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Gorbacz wrote:
Sebastian wrote:

I just wanted to say thank you for using the word "proverbial" instead of the much more common (and offensively stupid) "literal" that normally gets used in that context.

It literally makes me glow with joy.

Oh wait...that's what I was b~%%*ing about...

Yeah, it's good that Paizo gets their semantics right on the penultimate week of APG previews.

;-)

golf clap

Well played.


Batman is Lawful Evil.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
Batman is Lawful Evil.

That's Joker ...

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Joker is Chaotic Evil (I should know, I've seen him at our meetings).

Batman is Lawful Good.

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