Meet the Iconics: Mavaro

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Starting today, we'll be introducing you to the six new iconic characters featured in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures as part of our Meet the Iconics series. This week we'll start off by meeting Mavaro, the iconic occultist!


Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Mavaro's earliest childhood memories are of the silent seclusion of a Pharasmin convent deep in the Mindspin Mountains. The boy never learned what brought his mother to the strange cloister built among ancient standing stones, but there she had sought refuge. The sisters' strict tutelage was the only life he knew; his only friends the esoteric books and scrolls of the convent's great library. He spent years in the library, devouring countless tomes to learn more of the world denied him.

Tales of horrors stalking the cloister's corridors held Mavaro's wanderlust in check. As he grew older, Mavaro dismissed the stories and learned to secretly navigate the forbidden halls of the convent, where he regularly bore witness to the nuns' strange ceremonies. One was a ritual of severe fasting and meditation that gradually wasted the sisters' bodies. After a period of fasting, novices would unveil a yellowed, sigil-scripted skull of the order's founding abbess, Mother Wren. The acolytes then listened in turn for a ghostly whisper from the skull to indicate a worthy candidate. Soon afterward, the selected nun's sisters would rise to adorn the candidate's body, withered in self-starvation, with strange sigils and specially cast silver talismans. They'd wrap her in fresh linens and carry her down into a hidden, spiraling catacomb to carefully place her among generations of similarly mummified worshipers spanning thousands of years.

In Mavaro's twenty-second year, Varisian traders arrived at the abbey. While the nuns took the opportunity to restock their food stores and other essentials, Mavaro felt entranced by a wagonload of riches reclaimed from the ruins of a stone giant temple. Tribal totems, esoteric steles, and ruined relics of forgotten cultures all called to him—representations of a world and cultures he'd only ever read about. When one of the traders pulled forth a strange sword of ancient design, bearing a carved, glowering face with gleaming red gems inset as eyes, Mavaro knew he had to obtain the treasures at whatever cost.

But as only a lonely scribe, Mavaro had no way to pay for the items. So he quietly stole into the forbidden catacombs where he knew the silver talismans of the abbey's mummies lay for the taking. Little did he know, though, that the sisters' starved bodies actually served as unwavering guardians, and with the desecration of their remains, an evil long held in check by their sacrifice slipped free. As the caravan trundled away from the holy ground, taking the convent's traded relics with it, the binding magic that held the entity in check cracked imperceptibly, and its spiritual corruption leaked forth.

The deaths began slowly. At first they just seemed like bad luck: a broken neck from a short fall; a drowning in the convent's well; three nuns killed in the collapse of an old stone wall in the kitchens. But soon the malevolent presence grew more bold, and the sisters realized something was hunting them in the quiet corridors. By the time the prioress realized that Mavaro's pilfering had jeopardized divine defenses centuries in the making, it was too late. One by one, the nuns were slaughtered by the dark thing of rust and chains slipping through their midst. The quiet butcher saved the prioress for last, possessing her body in anticipation of a long, self-inflicted torment. But wrenching back control of her body for the briefest moment, the prioress knocked a lantern aside and set fire to the convent in an attempt to destroy the entity—and herself—in cleansing flame.

Though injured, the vicious entity was not destroyed in the blaze, and only it and Mavaro survived. Desperate to protect himself, Mavaro shifted through the smoldering ruins of the haunted abbey, desperately collecting any holy relics he could find in hope of warding off the lingering evil. Vestments of razor wire still glowing red, the spirit soon found Mavaro. The young scholar would surely have faced his death, had not the skull of Mother Wren whispered to him from the ashes. The ancient holy woman commanded Mavaro to close his eyes and open his soul to the power of the items he had collected. Its long fingers flicking like the lashes of a scourge, the wicked shadow closed on the desperate youth, cooing promises of endless, barb-licked torment. Mavaro felt the power of the relics well up inside him, and shakily reached for the ruby-eyed blade he had purchased. Trembling, but full with strange power, Mavaro blindly struck.

A red gem shattered in the sword's hilt and the dark thing shrieked, flailing jangling fetters as it retreated through the ruins. Mavaro fled the holy site as quick as he could, never looking back at the only place he'd ever called home.

In the twenty years since, Mavaro's life has been a strange paradox. He's now a man of many indulgences, making up for his modest childhood with good food and raucous company. He deflects inquiries about his youth with inconsistent but highly entertaining tales tied in with his mysterious collection of relics and strange objects. Quietly, though, he regularly casts one eye over his shoulder, ever watchful for the shadow he's come to call the Thorn Priest, which stalks him still. Mavaro regularly consults the yellowed skull of Mother Wren, heeding her ghostly whispers as he pursues the relics he traded away long ago. His travels have taken him to markets across Varisia, the strangest of private collections, and many dangerous, distant locales. Still he seeks to reclaim their power, determined to undo the folly of his youth and face the Thorn Priest once more.

Brandon Hodge
Occultist Contributing Author

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Tags: Iconics Mavaro Meet the Iconics Occultists Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Wayne Reynolds
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19 people marked this as a favorite.

sup fat Valeros


1 person marked this as a favorite.

i get stressed out about thinking of walking with that much junk on myself


15 people marked this as a favorite.

finally an iconic I can identify with

Liberty's Edge

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow, someone went to the Liefeld school of gear, straps and pouches.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

The alchemist is like, "come on man, you're holding too much stuff. It's becoming awkward."


Hytothlodeus, Your right :3 me too
an fatty oldy guy who tries to survives in this hard jungle seeking the meaning of life.


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

That story basically defines Bad Juju!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

For a moment I thought it said Mario.

Wow, that Italian Plumber has got quite an interesting set of gear. :)


18 people marked this as a favorite.

So the Dresden-esque Occultist class' iconic character has a sigil-inscribed skull that acts as a channel for a spirit/ghost that talks to him and gives him advice? Hmmm.... -.-


3 people marked this as a favorite.

A very fitting background for the iconic Occultist. Nice to see the quality in the new stories will meet that of the ACG iconics.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

alas poor yorick i knew him well


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Well at least he is trying to make up for that tragedy he is responsible for all those years ago. I can't wait to read the rest of them. So how many think that the Kineticist will be the last iconic they show:)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Well at least he is trying to make up for that tragedy he is responsible for all those years ago. I can't wait to read the rest of them. So how many think that the Kineticist will be the last iconic they show:)

I suspect it depends on what order Wayne Reynolds finishes his art assignments.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Well at least he is trying to make up for that tragedy he is responsible for all those years ago. I can't wait to read the rest of them. So how many think that the Kineticist will be the last iconic they show:)
I suspect it depends on what order Wayne Reynolds finishes his art assignments.

All the art is already in and the book has been off to the printer for a bit already, so Wayne's pace has nothing to do with the order in which we share their Meet the Iconic blogs.

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Also...

Great job on the backstory, Brandon!


11 people marked this as a favorite.
Blackvial wrote:
alas poor yorick i knew him well

ARRRRRGH! NO! NO! It's "I knew him" not "I knew him well!"

Paizo Employee Developer

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Fun story!

HyperMissingno wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
alas poor yorick i knew him well
ARRRRRGH! NO! NO! It's "I knew him" not "I knew him well!"

*Blackvial successfully casts detect Shakespearean scholar*


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

Actually, it's "I knew him, Horatio."

Also: great job! Alignment wise, I'd say Neutral.

Silver Crusade

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

Actually it's: "What bugger left a skull just lying about? I might've tripped on that!"

Great backstory. I'm a fan of a hefty hero.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I want to play a gestalt fighter occultist named Mavaleros!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
DrakeRoberts wrote:
So the Dresden-esque Occultist class' iconic character has a sigil-inscribed skull that acts as a channel for a spirit/ghost that talks to him and gives him advice? Hmmm.... -.-

I KNOW RIGHT? I'm glad I'm not the only one to think that. ;)

Hmmm...I'm guessing he's human but if he is what ethnicity is he?

Also, a Pharasmin Convent deep in the MINDSPIN MOUNTAINS of all places? On top of that sheer amount of danger they were ritualistically sacrificing themselves to maintain a centuries old magical ward to prevent a evil entity from being loosed (that could basically kill them all quite easily)?

Wow, these nuns are the EPITOME of RELIGIOUS DEDICATION!


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

Wow, THAT was a great Iconic background!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Right now he is asking his skull-friend, "Where'd I put my keys?"


Berselius wrote:
DrakeRoberts wrote:
So the Dresden-esque Occultist class' iconic character has a sigil-inscribed skull that acts as a channel for a spirit/ghost that talks to him and gives him advice? Hmmm.... -.-

I KNOW RIGHT? I'm glad I'm not the only one to think that. ;)

Hmmm...I'm guessing he's human but if he is what ethnicity is he?

Also, a Pharasmin Convent deep in the MINDSPIN MOUNTAINS of all places? On top of that sheer amount of danger they were ritualistically sacrificing themselves to maintain a centuries old magical ward to prevent a evil entity from being loosed (that could basically kill them all quite easily)?

Wow, these nuns are the EPITOME of RELIGIOUS DEDICATION!

He's a white guy who's country of origin has little to do with his backstory, so the likely first guess is Varisian.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Really hoping for the phrase "Mavaro will also be a playable character in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask set..." to just pop up at the end of the first paragraph there


Yay, fat guy. Sadly he doesn't seem that bright though... no common sense.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
Yay, fat guy. Sadly he doesn't seem that bright though... no common sense.

Well, wis is the occultist's dump stat.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great background


I can't help but think that, if Mother Wren would have acted sooner, all that death could have been avoided.


I've heard of mother's abandoning their children at monasteries, but this takes it to a new level. It's no wonder things turned out poorly, he wasn't properly socialized.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great, creepy background. Would make an interesting short movie.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
Yay, fat guy. Sadly he doesn't seem that bright though... no common sense.
Well, wis is the occultist's dump stat.

Good point.

I was never into the Occultist class... and even though this guy will either die from diabetes... his lack of common sense... or the undead evil trolling him... he does make the class seem a bit more interesting.

Unlike him, I am a fat guy on the fat decline... but it is still good to see an iconic that probably gets stuck in that crevice in the dungeon.. but has the talking skull to keep him company. Makes things interesting.

:p

I do like the whole thing about the missing ruby on the sword, too.. it is a very nice detail.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

What's with all the hate on his weight? Is there a rule iconics have to have a certain look or something? It seems cool. Do they ever provide stats on the iconics?

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
H2Osw wrote:
What's with all the hate on his weight? Is there a rule iconics have to have a certain look or something? It seems cool. Do they ever provide stats on the iconics?

One of the goals with this set of iconics was to provide more age and body diversity among the iconics. So... he's the big one. It draws attention by design, I think.

They used to provide stats for some, both in various books and on the website. Most are still available - PFS uses them for people who want to jump in or whatever.

I don't think they've said whether they will be releasing pregenerated iconic stats for the Occult batch. I believe they did for the ACG. At least one of the older ones, Balazar the summoner, never got any (if I recall).

Hope you can follow that - it got a little rambling. ^_^

Grand Lodge

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

Hopefully they can get John Rhys Davies to play him in the upcoming Pathfinder Movie


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Eesh, there has to be a better way to set wards than that. Also razor wire and pain. Sounds like a Kyton of some sort.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
David Neilson wrote:
Eesh, there has to be a better way to set wards than that. Also razor wire and pain. Sounds like a Kyton of some sort.

Thought that too - I love kytons. ^_^

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I love my occultist but wasn't really sure how the "fixated on items" aspect of the flavor really fit with my concept. After reading this Iconic I think I understand my own character better.


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

That is a neat backstory. I never really considered the Occultist before, but reading that it really makes me want to take another look at the class.

I personally like the fact that he's overweight. It adds depth to his character. Every iconic doesn't need to have heroic proportions. In the real middle ages, being overweight was considered a sign of prosperity. It meant you had enough food and money to get fat. Look at a lot of the paintings from the time. A lot of the women in the paintings weren't thin. Though there were other factors involved too.

Mavaro would probably be considered quite the catch!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As a Stately American (or is that Stout American), I approve of this character design. Just remember, thin may be in, but fat is where is it is at. However, for the sake of fairness, I have got to ask, where is the big girl who needs love too icon?

Liberty's Edge

I got the weirdest feeling reading this blog as it is disturbingly similar to the background story I made up (and never wrote down) for an unorthodox paladin 20 years ago 0-0

Creepy to say the least. Which is a good fit for the Occult Adventures' theme I think.


Nice background! As for the design, I think it's great. Reminds me of one of my favorite characters in Howard's Conan stories; Taurus of Nemedia, prince of thieves!

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
H2Osw wrote:
What's with all the hate on his weight? Is there a rule iconics have to have a certain look or something? It seems cool. Do they ever provide stats on the iconics?

One of the goals with this set of iconics was to provide more age and body diversity among the iconics. So... he's the big one. It draws attention by design, I think.

They used to provide stats for some, both in various books and on the website. Most are still available - PFS uses them for people who want to jump in or whatever.

I don't think they've said whether they will be releasing pregenerated iconic stats for the Occult batch. I believe they did for the ACG. At least one of the older ones, Balazar the summoner, never got any (if I recall).

Hope you can follow that - it got a little rambling. ^_^

They've already announced a package of quests that uses the Occult Adventures iconics -- so they'll definitely be releasing the pregen stats before long.

Silver Crusade

That was quite a backstory...


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The black raven wrote:

I got the weirdest feeling reading this blog as it is disturbingly similar to the background story I made up (and never wrote down) for an unorthodox paladin 20 years ago 0-0

Creepy to say the least. Which is a good fit for the Occult Adventures' theme I think.

Paizo has psychically stolen several ideas from my brain. I've taken to wearing tin-foil hats, which helps. You should too. Protect your intellectual property any way you can! ;D

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I knew it. Like I said on Facebook, Varisian, well fed, Pharasmin. I will love seeing the stats.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
The black raven wrote:

I got the weirdest feeling reading this blog as it is disturbingly similar to the background story I made up (and never wrote down) for an unorthodox paladin 20 years ago 0-0

Creepy to say the least. Which is a good fit for the Occult Adventures' theme I think.

Paizo has psychically stolen several ideas from my brain. I've taken to wearing tin-foil hats, which helps. You should too. Protect your intellectual property any way you can! ;D

I would not be surprised to see a tin foil hat in Occult Adventures equipment section!

But as a follower of the paranormal IRL, the Occultist reminds me of John Zaffis, star of Syfy's Haunted Collector.

--Vrocky Horror

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

This!!!... This is important.... This means something.


King of Vrock wrote:
I would not be surprised to see a tin foil hat in Occult Adventures equipment section!

This has actually been confirmed to be a magic item by the developers a couple of times.


Berselius wrote:
DrakeRoberts wrote:
So the Dresden-esque Occultist class' iconic character has a sigil-inscribed skull that acts as a channel for a spirit/ghost that talks to him and gives him advice? Hmmm.... -.-

I KNOW RIGHT? I'm glad I'm not the only one to think that. ;)

Hmmm...I'm guessing he's human but if he is what ethnicity is he?

Also, a Pharasmin Convent deep in the MINDSPIN MOUNTAINS of all places? On top of that sheer amount of danger they were ritualistically sacrificing themselves to maintain a centuries old magical ward to prevent a evil entity from being loosed (that could basically kill them all quite easily)?

Wow, these nuns are the EPITOME of RELIGIOUS DEDICATION!

I'm hoping he's from Nidal myself.

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