Meet the Iconics: Shardra Geltl

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today we introduce the next of the new iconic characters from the Advanced Class Guide: Shardra the shaman. Shardra will also be a playable character in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous set due for release in February 2015.


Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

It's a sorry lot for a proud dwarven daughter to be raised a miserable dwarven son, but everyone receives one lot in life, and Shardra Geltl never knew to expect better. Childhood was kind, her sisters loved her, her brother protected her, and always she had the whispers of tools and books to keep her company. Adolescence, though, came bearing heavy burdens. Her siblings moved on with their own lives, replaced by harsh teachers and taskmasters. She weathered a staggeringly awkward first kiss as her childhood best friend grew into a handsome lad, followed by a painful arranged engagement to a lovely girl from the neighboring Dechl clan. But the mines and refinery of Xolgrit fed the war machine of Rolgrimmdur far above, and militant efficiency demanded all citizen-soldiers accept and excel in their roles, no matter how miserable.

But Shardra still had the whispers to keep her company on lonely nights.

Books quipped bits and pieces of their tales, bowls jabbered gossip shared over breakfast, and picks stammered the poems of the rocks they clove. And while the odds and ends of Xolgrit kept her company, the stones of the Old Road, carved long ago by dwarves still hunting for the sky, sang legends. More and more often, the shy dwarf slipped away to wander the crumbling paths, learning the deeds of her ancestors away from the clamor of duty and expectation. She assumed the whispers were her friends, there to keep her safe and offer respite from the dull ache of life. Then one "trustworthy" stone crumbled beneath her feet, dropping her into darkness.

The fall was short. Her arm met stone with a wet crunch, but the ache from the shattered bone faded away as the whispers rose in deafening song. All around stretched an ancient cavern. Hot springs bubbled across its floor, while mosaics and beaten gold masks decorated the walls. Mundane beasts and fantastic creatures wandered past, unperturbed by her presence.

A single tuatara waddled forward as she cradled her limb. It borrowed a tongue from the whispers and spoke. "What are you?"

"I—" She opened her mouth to speak, borrowing too from those old, quiet chants. And although the whispers had a word for all things in creation, they had no words for the expectations of others. "I don't know."

From that day on, the whispers poured themselves through Shardra's reptilian friend, speaking louder and more clearly with a mouth to form the words. She soon named the creature Kolo—an old dwarven word for the beauty in everyday things—and told Kolo of Xolgrit and Rolgrimmdur, and of the beauty of the stars in the night sky, and how to tell past and present and future apart. And Kolo taught her how to speak to spirits and borrow their favor to mend her broken bones, and of dwarven faith from long before they mingled their worship with the deities of the surface world. It taught her how to glean deeper secrets from the artifacts of the dead, and how to greet the Ladies of Crag and Ember—powerful elementals who laid claim to the hot springs and the surrounding tunnels. Most precious of all, Kolo taught her of the rivethun—dwarves who drew great power by embracing the disjunction between their bodies and souls—and she learned to brew the alchemical tinctures her past sisters used to quiet the rages of adolescence and bring their minds and bodies into harmony.

As Shardra's mystical skills and budding femininity began to show, her parents lamented their loss of a son and the addition of yet another dowry. Their irritation changed to joy as their daughter's dealings with the spirit world guided Xolgrit's miners to rich new veins of ore and long-lost treasure troves. The Geltl clan's fortunes reversed as Shardra's confidence, skills, and womanhood blossomed, and eventually clans from Xolgrit and beyond offered handsome brideprices.

Shardra's gifts attracted more than suitors, however. Lonely spirits and treasure hunters alike came to Xolgrit hoping to profit by the young shaman's insight. Neither settled peacefully into the community's rigid order. The string of lootings, possessions, drunken brawls, hauntings, and soured beer drew the attention of Rolgrimmdur, and the city-state dispatched a squad of soldiers—under the command of Captain Itcel Dechl—to put down the ragtag mercenary gangs squatting in town. Shardra herself turned her magic on its source, driving the spirit invaders back to the hot spring and demanding the Ladies of Crag and Ember keep their subjects under control.

Unsatisfied by her easy victory over a band of drunken thugs and grave robbers, Captain Dechl and her soldiers traced Shardra's path through the Old Roads, and eventually claimed the sacred shrine (and the wealth covering its walls) as a cultural treasure for Rolgrimmdur. The elemental Ladies raged at the presumption, swearing in turn to reduce Xolgrit to rubble. Both sides declared the dwarf maiden a traitor and cast her aside as they charged into battle. Shardra lashed out, seizing control of an earth elemental and using its might to collapse the ancient shrine.

With nothing left to fight over, the opposing armies fled.

Lacking any evidence of Shardra's actions but burning with frustration, Dechl used what remained of her authority to accuse the spirit-talker of heresy. Although friends and family staunchly defended her innocence, Shardra took the allegations as a chance to act on plans that had grown increasingly tempting. She left Xolgrit and her tutors, childhood friends, and family by paths only the stones remembered. Shardra reached the surface a guarded but curious woman, more interested in stories of the long dead than the bickering of the living. With Kolo the crag tuatara at her shoulder, Shardra now wanders the world, uncovering lost treasure and listening to the tales it has to tell. Permanent ties still chafe, even ones as shallow as a favor owed or an unpaid tavern bill, but her heart softens toward any who wander. Despite her love of the world's vast mysteries, a small part of the shaman yearns for the joy and companionship she once felt with her sisters, and Shardra corresponds with her family often, ever watchful for any discovery that might provide an excuse to write or visit her distant, glittering home.

Crystal Frasier
Contributor

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Tags: Iconics Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Shaman Wayne Reynolds
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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The master craftsman has magic: he's making magic weapons. What he doesn't have are spells.

That is, he understands that folding such and such powder into the steel makes it supernaturally strong, and that speaking certain ancient words while tempering the edge make it impossibly sharp, and certain runes of power hammered into the blade have different effects, but he doesn't know how to turn that knowledge into a fireball.


Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
Set wrote:
...The Ask Harsk thread...
How did I miss this?!
Well, as a ranger he has high ranks in Stealth, he's in a favored terrain, and he has Hide in Plain Sight. Also, dwarf, so he's below your eyeline.

I have the sneaking suspicion (along with searching for the thread for ten minutes) that I've been hunting snipes...

O________________O

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Necromancer wrote:
Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
Set wrote:
...The Ask Harsk thread...
How did I miss this?!
Well, as a ranger he has high ranks in Stealth, he's in a favored terrain, and he has Hide in Plain Sight. Also, dwarf, so he's below your eyeline.

I have the sneaking suspicion (along with searching for the thread for ten minutes) that I've been hunting snipes...

O________________O

<evil grin>


captain yesterday wrote:
i think the stereotype of dwarves not embracing magic is one that should be retired, i find it annoying and tiresome.

It probably stems from the portrayal of dwarves as being "Mans Man" in that they wield "Manly" weapons like axes and hammer, they have beards (like Men), drink ale (like Men), pick up wenches (like Men) and don't pussyfoot around with none of that sissy s&+# magic like them dancing pansy footed elves (not Men). Real Men want to crush their enemies before them and feel the spray of the blood of their foes on their face as the revel in the superiority of their strength over their conquered enemy. /rant

Frankly, I don't subscribe to that portrayal. Do Dwarves have a tendency to desire martial prowess over magical? Probably, especially since they tend to be a highly 'physical' race. But that wouldn't mean they shun it at all. Magic is a powerful tool to be used in both every day tasks and in warfare. I find Dwarves, if anything, are highly practical and would adopt anything that makes what they do, better.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I think it comes from the old system on the demihuman races also being classes. Dwarves, as a race, didn't cast spells.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
2 gp per dose

Jeez, the only viable way to be transgender in Golarion is to put your life on the line as an adventurer, isn't it?

Then again, since the average person seems to survive on 6sp, Golarion seems to have an adventure based economy.

Liberty's Edge

Aspel wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
2 gp per dose

Jeez, the only viable way to be transgender in Golarion is to put your life on the line as an adventurer, isn't it?

Then again, since the average person seems to survive on 6sp, Golarion seems to have an adventure based economy.

Eh. The default farmer from the GMG makes 9.5 gp a week, and you only need two doses a week. So...expensive, but not crippling. And that's someone without their own business, business owners can manage several times that amount of money.


Hmm... totally random thought. Would undead, especially intelligent undead, count as Transliving?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Aspel wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
2 gp per dose

Jeez, the only viable way to be transgender in Golarion is to put your life on the line as an adventurer, isn't it?

Then again, since the average person seems to survive on 6sp, Golarion seems to have an adventure based economy.

It costs a lot less if you learn to make it yourself. I imagine most trans folk on Golarion either learn a bit of folk medicine or else work together to support small alchemy shops.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

The Oppara Buyers' Club?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Kajehase wrote:
The Oppara Buyers' Club?

We do not invoke that horrible, tone-deaf, self-congratulating film.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Kajehase wrote:
The Oppara Buyers' Club?
We do not invoke that horrible, tone-deaf, self-congratulating film.

I'm unfamiliar with the film, but I take personal umbrage at the comparison of the shining jewel that is Oppara with...well, any other city, really, but Dallas in particular. We do not have a Central Deathway!*

*:
Claim may not be valid for members of the Qadiran military.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Set wrote:
Calybos1 wrote:
Ehh, the presence of arcane magic among dwarves still rubs me the wrong way. Dwarves are supposed to shun that kind of crap!

Tolkien dwarves, perhaps, but Norse-inspired dwarves were *fantastic* crafters of magical equipment (including Thor's hammer and Odin's spear, items far beyond what the gods themselves could craft!) and powerful enchanters and shapeshifters.

Thematically, ignoring Tolkien, dwarves would be more likely to be Vancian-style spellbook toting rune-Wizards than elves, who would be more likely to be innate Sorcerers, whose magic is all raw untrained instinct and born in their blood.

Funny thing: Tolkien dwarves could use spells and magic. They do so in the background in the Silmarillion and the introduction to them in The Hobbit has them singing the following lines:

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

-The Hobbit

Tolkien based his dwarves on the Norse legends. He didn't have any spell-casters show up in his stories as an active character though. Perhaps that's why the dwarves of D&D were unable to cast arcane power; Gygax wasn't much of a fan of Tolkien and probably didn't look too deeply into it. He took the characters that showed up and negated magic to keep them in balance with the other races.

EDIT: Just noticed Ross's post above. Yeah, the dwarf-no arcane thing is almost certainly just a D&Dism.


Feros wrote:
Set wrote:
Calybos1 wrote:
Ehh, the presence of arcane magic among dwarves still rubs me the wrong way. Dwarves are supposed to shun that kind of crap!

Tolkien dwarves, perhaps, but Norse-inspired dwarves were *fantastic* crafters of magical equipment (including Thor's hammer and Odin's spear, items far beyond what the gods themselves could craft!) and powerful enchanters and shapeshifters.

Thematically, ignoring Tolkien, dwarves would be more likely to be Vancian-style spellbook toting rune-Wizards than elves, who would be more likely to be innate Sorcerers, whose magic is all raw untrained instinct and born in their blood.

Funny thing: Tolkien dwarves could use spells and magic. They do so in the background in the Silmarillion and the introduction to them in The Hobbit has them singing the following lines:

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

-The Hobbit

Tolkien based his dwarves on the Norse legends. He didn't have any spell-casters show up in his stories as an active character though. Perhaps that's why the dwarves of D&D were unable to cast arcane power; Gygax wasn't much of a fan of Tolkien and probably didn't look too deeply into it. He took the characters that showed up and negated magic to keep them in balance with the other races.

EDIT: Just noticed Ross's post above. Yeah, the dwarf-no arcane thing is almost certainly just a D&Dism.

Of course, given that the "mighty spells" is followed directly by a reference to "hammers fell like ringing bells", it could easily be a reference to forging magic items, which is back to the Norse crafting thing. He also describes the barrow blades for example as "wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor."

There isn't a lot of actual spellcasting in Tolkien at all, other than by the Maiar and some of the more powerful Eldar. There's a lot of magic, but not active spell casting.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I really wish I remembered where I read this so I could give the original author credit, but it was something like how in Tolkien, a lot of the 'magic' is really just a racial ability of the fantastical races. To humans it is magic because they don't have that level of skill.


Ross Byers wrote:
I really wish I remembered where I read this so I could give the original author credit, but it was something like how in Tolkien, a lot of the 'magic' is really just a racial ability of the fantastical races. To humans it is magic because they don't have that level of skill.
Quote:
For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy. But this, if you will, is the magic of Galadriel. Did you not say that you wished to see Elf-magic?

Tolkien himself talks about it in Letters and other places. Not in quite those terms, but elven magic is essentially Art raised to the level of Creation. Dwarves probably the same way, but he doesn't talk about them as much.:)

In Numenor, taught by the elves and with a trace of eldar and Maiar blood, Men came close to the same thing and some remained even after the Fall.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, magic in Tolkien is VERY different from the magic of D&D and descendant games. Innate magical ability and the calling to spirits were the most common forms.

So a dwarf with innate arcane ability wouldn't be out of place in Tolkien's myths, but would be far more muted than what we play in the game. The absolutely-no-arcane thing is pure game mechanics.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

For what it's worth*, somewhat relevant to the conversation: the Advanced Class Guide seems to have Annevia's elixir in it: elixir of sex shift. Instantaneous, irreversible (except via another dose of the elixir), recognizably the same person.

*2250 gp.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This one made me happy. :)

except, strictly speaking, for the parts that made me sad, but then it got happy again

Really loved the shoutout to real world cultural traditions and the fact that her parents big initial grief was actually "well hell, got another dowry to arrange" rather than her transition itself. This was honestly heartwarming.

Thank you so much for this backstory Crystal! :)

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, Shardra gets to be in the Awesome Hats Club with Alahazra and Imrijka.


Mikaze wrote:

This one made me happy. :)

except, strictly speaking, for the parts that made me sad, but then it got happy again

Really loved the shoutout to real world cultural traditions and the fact that her parents big initial grief was actually "well hell, got another dowry to arrange" rather than her transition itself. This was honestly heartwarming.

Thank you so much for this backstory Crystal! :)

16 pages before you post...

Paizo's working you hard huh?

Silver Crusade

Tels wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

This one made me happy. :)

except, strictly speaking, for the parts that made me sad, but then it got happy again

Really loved the shoutout to real world cultural traditions and the fact that her parents big initial grief was actually "well hell, got another dowry to arrange" rather than her transition itself. This was honestly heartwarming.

Thank you so much for this backstory Crystal! :)

16 pages before you post...

Paizo's working you hard huh?

:) That job's actually been done. It's just been a hell of a month. Got a ton of catching up to do on the forums though.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mikaze wrote:
Also, Shardra gets to be in the Awesome Hats Club with Alahazra and Imrijka.

As was mentioned, they all share the same overworked haberdasher, and hang out for drinks once a month when they takes their hats in for a tune-up.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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He's just secretly making new hats. That's easier than mending all the holes, tears, and various stains acquired in their adventuring careers.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I'm not sure "haberdasher" is the right word, especially for somebody that clearly spends more time forging than sewing. I'm going to go with "Hatsmith."

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Crownforging. ;)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mikaze wrote:
Also, Shardra gets to be in the Awesome Hats Club with Alahazra and Imrijka.

it is pretty rad

the booze is not watered down
and they take your coat at the door

Paizo Employee Warehouse Morlock

Mikaze wrote:
Also, Shardra gets to be in the Awesome Hats Club with Alahazra and Imrijka.

Is no one going to mention Feiya's headgear...? Or is she not cool enough for the AHC? :p

Silver Crusade

Mika Hawkins wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Also, Shardra gets to be in the Awesome Hats Club with Alahazra and Imrijka.
Is no one going to mention Feiya's headgear...? Or is she not cool enough for the AHC? :p

I'd hope she wouldn't be denied membership due to her headgear being classified more as a tiara, but you know how infighty these clubs can get sometimes....

Liz Courts wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
Well, Hakon's still an option... Hakon alongside a tsundere Harsk would be fifteen types of amazing.

I'm glad I checked in on the slash-fiction* part of the discussion before bed. Glad to see everything's in order here.

** spoiler omitted **

DAMN IT PEOPLE, I HAVE TO WORK TODAY. Stop giving me fan service art ideas!

** spoiler omitted **

This thread just keeps on giving. :D

Spoiler:
All I'm going to say tonight is that the Storval Plateau is just riddled with steamy hot springs and any Shoanti would know about them.

Also, if Seltyiel were to ever go through with the redemption quest Seelah keeps encouraging, the Final Fantasy 4 mirror method could be implemented and play out very differently.

welp, didn't take long at all to fall back on old habits


10 people marked this as a favorite.

I didn't want to be part of your stupid hat club anyway.

goes and sobs in the corner


I thought Witches didn't cry... they got even.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You should form a club, and call it something like G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy hatS).

Edit: Now I need to find someone on DeviantArt who could draw Bill Watterson-ized versions of Feija and Daji.


Feiya wrote:

I didn't want to be part of your stupid hat club anyway.

goes and sobs in the corner

We never knew, Feiya! You use a different haberdasher and never spoke up. You've really only missed two so far.


Feiya wrote:

I didn't want to be part of your stupid hat club anyway.

goes and sobs in the corner

Divine casters only? Start your own club. Make Ezren and Damiel buy boomerangs hats.

Edit: NINJA'D

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Can the (Feiya-inclusive) Awesome Hats Club please be the 4 Iconics for an upcoming AP?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

That's not a well-balanced party. Three full casters.

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Ross Byers wrote:
That's not a well-balanced party. Three full casters.

Awesome Hats Club scoffs at your 'well-balanced party.'

Besides, Feiya's familiar can tank / skill-monkey / face in a pinch. With the right buffs, anyway. :)


I call discrimination. We need some male characters with awesome hats.

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
I call discrimination. We need some male characters with awesome hats.

Replace Feiya, whose 'hat' is more of a tiara anyway, and replace her with Balazar, whose hat is indeed awesome.

It's no Headpiece of Frinn, but if the goal is to increase your perceived height by 50%, it gets the job done!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Balazar is his own haberdasher and it shows.

Sovereign Court

I think Balazar's is pretty cool. Hatato too, but I think that's more appropriately considered a helmet. Zadim can do in a pinch.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Feiya wrote:

I didn't want to be part of your stupid hat club anyway.

goes and sobs in the corner

you can be part of the 'drink and throw things out of windows' club with Valeros, Amiri, Oloch, Kess and I if you want

Shadow Lodge

Lamontius wrote:
Feiya wrote:

I didn't want to be part of your stupid hat club anyway.

goes and sobs in the corner

you can be part of the 'drink and throw things out of windows' club with Valeros, Amiri, Oloch, Kess and I if you want

Wait a minute? How is Damiel not part of the 'drink and throw things out of windows' club? Heck, some of the things he drinks might have him throwing the building out the window.


Usual Suspect wrote:
Lamontius wrote:
Feiya wrote:

I didn't want to be part of your stupid hat club anyway.

goes and sobs in the corner

you can be part of the 'drink and throw things out of windows' club with Valeros, Amiri, Oloch, Kess and I if you want
Wait a minute? How is Damiel not part of the 'drink and throw things out of windows' club? Heck, some of the things he drinks might have him throwing the building out the window.

Probably doesn't count if it's in your job description.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Kudos on this character concept and for presenting it. Cool character as well!

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Devs spontaneously RPing with the iconics on forums makes this the best company ever.


I realized I'm a dumbass with my earlier question as I had some terninology messed up with regard to transgender/intersexed/transexual. For the record I'm still not clear. Oops!

In my defence when I asked the question I was epically sleep deprived and had a bit of a migraine...then the next day my hearing sorta shorted out. Seritonin?

Anyways, learned a lot in this thread. :)

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
Captain K. wrote:

Kyra - unhappily gay, in relationship with Merisiel.

Some stuff in that post was right, some was wrong. This one, for example.

Kyra's quite happy about being gay. Her sadness stems from other stuff... like how the church of Sarenrae is suffering a schisim, or how her home town got razed by bandits, or how Merisiel seems to always be running off into danger without regard for her safety.

There is a scene in the comics which heavily implies that she is unhappy/conflicted about it.


That's one way of interpreting the scene GeraintElberion, certainly a valid way if you'd like to read it that way, but I wouldn't say "heavily implies" overall.

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