Meet the Iconics: Rivani

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Today, as part of our ongoing Meet the Iconics series, we introduce the next of the six new iconic characters featured in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures. This week we meet Rivani, the iconic psychic!


Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

The path of the initiate is long and fraught with danger. For Rivani, the journey began as a young girl of 12 in the teeming city of Chendras, in the distant land of Vudra. Born the seventh daughter of a minor functionary in the court of a great rajah, Rivani seemed set to follow her sisters into a life of government service. Always a precocious child, Rivani took well to her studies, spending hours in her master's library studying tomes she could barely comprehend. She especially favored lavishly illustrated accounts of harrowing victories over fantastic creatures, or voluminous surveys of distant lands and their many peoples, monsters, and mysteries. Rivani thrilled at imagining herself traveling to those distant lands as a questing hero, and soon these whimsical idylls consumed her every thought. As her revels grew more vivid, Rivani grew more distant from her sisters, putting her presumed future as a courtier at risk.

The rishis at court saw promise in the young girl's whimsy, and implored the rajah to put Rivani to the Trial of the White Lotus, a simple test to determine a child's mental aptitudes. After a series of intelligence and motor skill challenges, the rajah's poets probed Rivani's knowledge of the world's esoteric nature. They were surprised to discover that Rivani's reading had already set her on the path to spiritual development. She knew of the growth of the soul through reincarnation, of the astral body and the etheric double, and of the distant planes that house them. She knew also the rudiments of ki, the energy force that binds all living things into a spiritual family. In terms of esoteric theory, Rivani knew more than most third-year chelas. A promising child, indeed.

But it all came down to the Trial of the White Lotus. Following the minor challenges, the rishis brought Rivani to a secret room within the onion dome of the rajah's highest tower, and there revealed a lush garden of fabulous flowers and colorful plants. Here was a verris bulb from distant Kaladay, there a purple jonquil from mythical Hermea. A massive quanlum bush—identical to the specimen allegedly recovered by Khiben-Sald himself on the far planet of Castrovel—dominated a far wall, next to a collection of ghorus seeds floating in a nutrient tank. And at the center of the room lay a pedestal, and on that pedestal a simple white lotus—Rivani's final challenge.

"Cast forth your mind," the rishis bade her. "Merge your life essence with that of the flower and realize that you and she are but tongues of the same flickering cosmic flame." Rivani closed her eyes and concentrated on regulating her breath, relying on techniques she'd read inscribed upon an archaic manuscript of palm leaves by a lost yogi brotherhood. With each exhalation, she pushed her consciousness deeper beyond her physical body into the scintillating emanations of ki that comprised her health aura. At first, Rivani wasn't sure if she simply imagined that it was so, but when her mind conjured the thought of her aura touching upon that of the white lotus, she felt her spirit lighten, and a beatific calm overcame her.

Sensing a breakthrough, the rishis instructed Rivani to infuse her ki with that of the plant, to meld her mind with its animating force and open its closed petals. As she considered their instruction, Rivani pictured the bulb of the lotus opening one petal at a time. From within the flower glowed a coruscation of colorful energy Rivani inherently knew represented the force of life itself. It flourished within the tiny cup of the white lotus, but it burned with an intensity that echoed that of the sun. At that moment Rivani realized—not just read, but truly realized—that all life, hers, the flower's, even the sun's, were but aspects of the same glorious creation. As her conviction grew deeper, as the petals of the white lotus opened faster and faster, Rivani became aware that her mind also opened itself one petal at a time. Sweat dripped from her brow, threatening to distract from her spiritual unfoldment by reminding her of the limits of her physical body, but still Rivani delved deeper.

In her mind's eye, Rivani stepped further and further into the light until she could no longer distinguish herself from the flower. But she felt other presences, too. The poets of the court were also part of the fabric of life, and Rivani brushed against their innermost thoughts without even meaning to. She saw their anticipation, their pride, their amazement at her unexpected power. She saw too their betrayals, their scandalous secrets, and their venal, immoral ambitions. Rivani had passed the Trial of the White Lotus, but none of the rajah's rishis celebrated her victory.

Instead, certain that her unexpected foray into their consciousness had revealed secrets that could threaten their status at court, the rishis proclaimed Rivani a mahatma reborn, the vessel of a world teacher consciousness returned to Golarion to guide the people into a new age. Just not in Vudra.

With the blessings of a rajah nervous about his advisors' tales of Rivani's mind-reading prowess, the rishis dispatched their blessed student across the sea to the Isle of Jalmeray, there to further study among the adepts of the Houses of Perfection. Each of the that institution's three monasteries welcomed their honored visitor from the East, but the Monastery of Unblinking Flame in particular seemed most eager to accept her into their ranks. Even as far away as Chendas, Rivani had heard tales of the Houses of Perfection and their "impossible" entrance trials. Steeling herself for the test of a lifetime, Rivani prepared, as her books instructed, to outwit an efreeti.

Instead, white-robed warrior monks escorted her to the monastery's courtyard garden for an audience with Anandala, the order's ageless sovereign. She denied Rivani's entrance to study at the monastery, for she was to be a teacher, not a student. "Everything you could teach us you read in a book," she said. "We have read books. Go out into the world and learn to live. Once you know something for yourself, come back to Jalmeray and teach us what you have learned."

Thereafter, Rivani spent several months as a librarian's assistant in Quantium before fleeing the city after becoming a pawn in the psychic espionage and infighting of the Council of Three and Nine. From there she ventured to Absalom, spending most of a year as a translator for the esoteric manuscripts department of the Forae Logos before conflict with a fellow librarian drummed her out on the streets. Although she still reads voraciously and is seldom found without a well-thumbed book or two, Rivani henceforth swore off finding the world's secrets in musty libraries, and finally set out to make some discoveries of her own.

A life filled with so much travel has filled Rivani with a wanderlust that borders on fatalistic. Her relationships burn intensely but briefly, as she constantly guards against delving too deeply—accidentally or otherwise—into the minds of her friends and lovers. She seems always fixated on the next stop on her journey, and while of a generally kind nature and friendly demeanor, she takes it as a matter of faith that she will soon be moving on, and avoids long-lasting, deep connections with others. Rivani loves nothing more than to share stories of her travels and cultural explorations, and to receive the tales of others in return. Through all of this she's begun to develop her own philosophy, but it will be many years, and many many more adventures to come, before she will be ready to share her wisdom with the world.

Erik Mona
Publisher

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Iconics Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Psychics Rivani Wayne Reynolds
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Not gonna lie, I absolutely love the outfit, the face, the explicit acknowledgement that she is not so much "love 'em and leave 'em" as "can get close, but the quest for knowledge will take her away", and especially the sense of tempered enthusiasm for the future and all that it holds.

I like her better than Seoni. I don't see them antagonizing each other though - in fact, I believe that Rivani will get along famously with the Arcanist, and likely Ezren too.


It is nice to see a character that has living parents and siblings and is not seeking revenge, seeking redemption, looking for lost loved ones, or trying to remember who they are or who they used to be.

Designer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Fashion Goblin wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:

So, out of 29 posts in this thread, ten of them discuss her appearance in some fashion, from desiring more fanservice to "wanting to nail her" and comments on those.

Can we steer the conversation away from this? There's plenty of other things to discuss about Rivani *besides* her appearance.

srsly. Spilling so much internet ink on the clothes of the iconics.... That's just weird. :)

Can we get an AP that's just 18 levels of Rivani and Enora sitting quietly in a library researching and talking about their loving, yet somewhat estranged, families over lunch breaks.

There's actually a pretty fun piece of art of Enora and Rivani in a research room in a spirited philosophical argument about the true nature of the planes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:

It is nice to see a character that has living parents and siblings and is not seeking revenge, seeking redemption, looking for lost loved ones, or trying to remember who they are or who they used to be.

Still, as somebody seeking redemption for my revenge against my now-dead loved siblings for their murder of my parents, whom I have forgotten along with who I really am, I appreciate Paizo making characters I can relate to.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

13 people marked this as a favorite.
christos gurd wrote:

"intelligence and motor skill challenges"

Isn't motor skills dexterity?

They also made her break down and reassemble a carburetor while blindfolded.

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:
christos gurd wrote:

"intelligence and motor skill challenges"

Isn't motor skills dexterity?
They also made her break down and reassemble a carburetor while blindfolded.

They wanted to see how well she could realize her aspirations?


Ajaxis wrote:
Valeros, for example, I understand.

Like Valeros is hard to understand?


Shisumo wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
christos gurd wrote:

"intelligence and motor skill challenges"

Isn't motor skills dexterity?
They also made her break down and reassemble a carburetor while blindfolded.
They wanted to see how well she could realize her aspirations?

I would rather it be the major Payne route and see her with a level of gunslinger.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm not crazy about Rivani's lore. The most compelling characterization occurs by showing a character's actions, decisions, and reactions. We don't see much of that here aside from showing she likes books and her psychic power level is over nine thousand. She doesn't have any reaction from the most compelling part of her lore -- when her psychic powers let her see the sins and betrayals of the rishis. The lore doesn't even say how Rivani felt when passing the test. Was she happy? Was she sad to see the corruption in the men she trusted? How does she feel about her powers? Does looking into the mind and hearts of men make her uncomfortable? Excited? Does she enjoy it? I don't know anything about this character's personality other than being a book worm. Throwing all the names of planets, cities, and stuff doesn't add any depth to the character, either.

Compare to Amiri's lore, which shows the actions and reactions of the iconic barbarian. Everything she does demonstrates her personality and strength. The lore shows how she felt and why. It even provides surprising character depth. Even though Amiri felt murdering her kin for trying to kill her was justified, she still believed it was the wrong thing to do. I learned a lot about Amiri from her lore and feel sympathetic towards her.

I know very little about Rivani because her lore focuses on things happening to her rather than her decisions and actions. Action defines character.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I love you Rivani!


I want a Rivani novel!!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:

It is nice to see a character that has living parents and siblings and is not seeking revenge, seeking redemption, looking for lost loved ones, or trying to remember who they are or who they used to be.

Like me?


Wasn't originally going to go there, but I'm going to:

Anyone 'ship her with the mystic theurge? But only if he's shorter than her?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Erik, this is my all-time favorite Iconic. Well done!

Lantern Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Really like this character.

It is very refreshing to have an iconic adventurer whose family and life is not all dead or tragic.

That she becomes an adventurer because she wants to, with fate only aiding her on that path. With no dark secrets, traumatizing monsters or deaths.

For the record, my indian colleague saw Rivani's artwork and said that her outfit make sense from an indian inspired view and that's a big plus!

Dark Archive

12 people marked this as a favorite.

I like the idea of characters who are out adventuring because they failed at something during apprenticeship, and need to jumpstart their training with some practical experience at (magic / intrigue / swordplay / whatever), and yet Ravina takes it in the opposite direction.

She tested so well that all the old school trainers found her to be an imminent threat to their comfy tenures, and so they 'encouraged her to see the world' or 'spend more time with her family' or whatever.

I'm vaguely reminded of Dune.

"Our job is to spend lifetimes juggling bloodlines to lead to the birth of the kwisatz haderach."
"Oh hai! I'm here!"
"Crap. We weren't really expecting you to show up in our lifetimes. And you're not as leash-trained as we were hoping. This blows all our timetables. Can you *not* be the chosen one?"

Usually when one is a 'chosen one,' it's the enemies you are prophecies to overthrow who find your existence terribly inconvenient. With Rivani, it's her entrenched peers who find her to be upsetting their carefully allocated and catalogued applecarts.

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My first thought on the art was how similar she looked to Kyra. Clothing that is blue with gold, lots of layers, and shows very little skin.

On further review, while Kyra's top layer of clothing is blue, there's actually much less there than I remembered -- she'd be gold primary and blue secondary.

Which means I think pictures of both of them together would be very visually interesting.

Also: We comment on the art first because reactions to visuals are visceral and immediate, and this is the first good look most of us have gotten of her. Personality and story take more processing to get to. I do really like her background, and remain very interested in learning more of Vudra.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Vic Wertz wrote:
christos gurd wrote:

"intelligence and motor skill challenges"

Isn't motor skills dexterity?
They also made her break down and reassemble a carburetor while blindfolded.

She was being tested to become one of the new hosts of Top Gear?

Silver Crusade

The NPC wrote:
Ajaxis wrote:
Valeros, for example, I understand.
Like Valeros is hard to understand?

Maybe I can identify with Valeris more?

For all of Rivani's evocative back story (as opposed to an evoker's backstory), I wish we had more of an inside look at her personality. What does she feel about the events happening to her? Erik's write for Zadim the iconic slayer, for example, is a great example of what I'm thinking of.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ajaxis wrote:
The NPC wrote:
Ajaxis wrote:
Valeros, for example, I understand.
Like Valeros is hard to understand?

Maybe I can identify with Valeris more?

For all of Rivani's evocative back story (as opposed to an evoker's backstory), I wish we had more of an inside look at her personality. What does she feel about the events happening to her? Erik's write for Zadim the iconic slayer, for example, is a great example of what I'm thinking of.

Did you see Erik Mona's post here?

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.

And add me to the list admiring Wayne Reynold's art.

Liz forgive me, but a comment on cheesecake clothing:
Seoni's clothes make sense for a Varisian, tattoed, high charisma, sorceress raised on a traveling caravan. NPC Codex-295. As a bookworm, psychic, from a family of bureaucrats in Vudra learning her role as a mahatma, cheesecake clothing doesn't work for Rivani.

So I approve of Wayne Reynold's choices on both.

Silver Crusade

Luthorne wrote:


Did you see Erik Mona's post here?

Uhm, no. I guess that covers my comments. Thanks Erik.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Rivani strikes me as the type of person who has a hard time sticking to one thing because she devours it so quickly and ravenously that there's nothing left; she would have a new obsession every month (with obsession being the correct word; by the first week she knows more about the subject than some people who have been studying it for years) before getting caught up in the next cool and interesting thing.

Basically she's a huge nerd


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arachnofiend wrote:

Rivani strikes me as the type of person who has a hard time sticking to one thing because she devours it so quickly and ravenously that there's nothing left; she would have a new obsession every month (with obsession being the correct word; by the first week she knows more about the subject than some people who have been studying it for years) before getting caught up in the next cool and interesting thing.

Basically she's a huge nerd

that fits her really well


Ajaxis wrote:
The NPC wrote:
Ajaxis wrote:
Valeros, for example, I understand.
Like Valeros is hard to understand?
Maybe I can identify with Valeris more?

It would be regrettable if you did.


Rivani makes me wish even more, that we'd get some novels with the Iconics.

A anthology of the Occult Adventures' Iconics coming together would be beyond cool. Perfect way to start a new "Occult" series...


Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

I am pretty sure that if you cover the component cost of 25 thousand gold pieces Paizo will be willing to consider that wish.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Drejk wrote:
I am pretty sure that if you cover the component cost of 25 thousand gold pieces Paizo will be willing to consider that wish.

A cool $8.5 million in USD at current market price, in case anybody was curious.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
Drejk wrote:
I am pretty sure that if you cover the component cost of 25 thousand gold pieces Paizo will be willing to consider that wish.
A cool $8.5 million in USD at current market price, in case anybody was curious.

The fact that you had that number in less than 10 minutes is weirdly impressive. :)


Joe Hex wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Drejk wrote:
I am pretty sure that if you cover the component cost of 25 thousand gold pieces Paizo will be willing to consider that wish.
A cool $8.5 million in USD at current market price, in case anybody was curious.
The fact that you had that number in less than 10 minutes is weirdly impressive. :)

What can I say; I aim to impress weirdly.


Eh, 1 gp = $20, so it'd be $500,000.


But we should take into account that our modern society values gold more than Golarion's. :P


Yeah, but do those numbers take into account, the financial crisis in Greece? The whole EU is deciding the exact dollar value of a chicken, let alone a gold piece.

Silver Crusade Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Arachnofiend wrote:

Rivani strikes me as the type of person who has a hard time sticking to one thing because she devours it so quickly and ravenously that there's nothing left; she would have a new obsession every month (with obsession being the correct word; by the first week she knows more about the subject than some people who have been studying it for years) before getting caught up in the next cool and interesting thing.

Basically she's a huge nerd

Same

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
Drejk wrote:
I am pretty sure that if you cover the component cost of 25 thousand gold pieces Paizo will be willing to consider that wish.
A cool $8.5 million in USD at current market price, in case anybody was curious.

Converting from troy to averdupodlywonkus... uh, normal pounds, slowed me down, but yeah, 8.5 mill. I'm always amused by NPC write ups in books where they've got 250 gp. or something in loose change, and that being *five pounds* (~$85,000!) of gold in today's money.


Before the advent of computers gold was valued for pretty much nothing but its scarcity. Gold is just much easier to come by in most D&D settings than the real world.

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

I think this woman looks incredibly powerful and sexy. It's a gorgeous, breathtaking illustration that makes you want to learn more about the character and/or make your own character that's every bit as great as her - something that I think the iconics should do. It makes sense for characters like Seoni and Amiri to dress the way they do. It fits with who they are and how they act and think. This character dresses in a way that makes sense for her, and it doesn't make her any less easy on the eyes.

I'll tell you another thing. I had a bad playtest experience with Occult Adventures and as a result had absolutely no interest in picking up this book or using any of its content. Thanks to Rivani here, both her text and her artwork, now I do again.

So there you go. Paizo made a purchaser out of a skeptic, and they did it all without using fanservice. Pretty good, I'd say.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

[shallow]I like that she's got big hips.[/shallow]


Dragon78 wrote:
Nice backstory and also awesome that Castrovel and Hermea were mentioned.

...and Quantium, yay!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Set wrote:

[shallow]I like that she's got big hips.[/shallow]

She may be the youngest daughter, but she's decidedly bhabi-rockin'.

I am not even remotely ashamed of this pun.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
TheAntiElite wrote:
Set wrote:

[shallow]I like that she's got big hips.[/shallow]

She may be the youngest daughter, but she's decidedly bhabi-rockin'.

I am not even remotely ashamed of this pun.

never be ashamed of your puns, even if they are horrible


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Blackvial wrote:
TheAntiElite wrote:
Set wrote:

[shallow]I like that she's got big hips.[/shallow]

She may be the youngest daughter, but she's decidedly bhabi-rockin'.

I am not even remotely ashamed of this pun.

never be ashamed of your puns, even if they are horrible

My only regret is that I do not know the appropriate linguistic term in the language for nubile, as other appearance puns don't work for her. I mean, you can easily comment about a older huntress with a big cat pet by saying 'awesome cougar...and the cat is pretty sweet too,' but the bhabi quip would work best for her older, married sisters.

It's a thing. Like people misusing MILF.

WHICH IS A SILLY THING TO BE ANNOYED BY.

That said, I am not going to be ashamed of thinking she can be brilliant and beautiful at the same time, nor will I be remotely of the mindset of presuming "Sue-dom" about her. She comes across as awesome yet modest.

Paizo Employee Developer

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Let's steer the conversation away from discussions of the best pun to use to describe attractive women of different ages, please.

Grand Lodge

Mark Seifter wrote:
Fashion Goblin wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:

So, out of 29 posts in this thread, ten of them discuss her appearance in some fashion, from desiring more fanservice to "wanting to nail her" and comments on those.

Can we steer the conversation away from this? There's plenty of other things to discuss about Rivani *besides* her appearance.

srsly. Spilling so much internet ink on the clothes of the iconics.... That's just weird. :)

Can we get an AP that's just 18 levels of Rivani and Enora sitting quietly in a library researching and talking about their loving, yet somewhat estranged, families over lunch breaks.

There's actually a pretty fun piece of art of Enora and Rivani in a research room in a spirited philosophical argument about the true nature of the planes.

Always in favor of more library based art!


Set wrote:

I like the idea of characters who are out adventuring because they failed at something during apprenticeship, and need to jumpstart their training with some practical experience at (magic / intrigue / swordplay / whatever), and yet Ravina takes it in the opposite direction.

She tested so well that all the old school trainers found her to be an imminent threat to their comfy tenures, and so they 'encouraged her to see the world' or 'spend more time with her family' or whatever.

I'm vaguely reminded of Dune.

"Our job is to spend lifetimes juggling bloodlines to lead to the birth of the kwisatz haderach."
"Oh hai! I'm here!"
"Crap. We weren't really expecting you to show up in our lifetimes. And you're not as leash-trained as we were hoping. This blows all our timetables. Can you *not* be the chosen one?"

Usually when one is a 'chosen one,' it's the enemies you are prophecies to overthrow who find your existence terribly inconvenient. With Rivani, it's her entrenched peers who find her to be upsetting their carefully allocated and catalogued applecarts.

Her name is a killing word...


Despite Erik's post, I actually would like a little more on her personality. A novel featuring her would be great. Also just happy to have the Psychic class, I really like it, even if it isn't as unique as the others.

Liberty's Edge

So... what's with the floating?

Given all the art showing that she seemingly never touches the ground and half her equipment orbits around her, I half expected the Psychic class to have some sort of permanent 'hover' ability... but no. So what's the deal? Truly excessive use of telekinesis? Slippers just too pretty to scuff? Threw herself at the ground and missed?

Silver Crusade

Erik Mona wrote:

Hey, now, don't be hateful.

Hate leads to suffering.

And Mr. Mona knows this because he's a wise old man.


CBDunkerson wrote:

So... what's with the floating?

Given all the art showing that she seemingly never touches the ground and half her equipment orbits around her, I half expected the Psychic class to have some sort of permanent 'hover' ability... but no. So what's the deal? Truly excessive use of telekinesis? Slippers just too pretty to scuff? Threw herself at the ground and missed?

Maybe she's casting Levitation and Mage Hand? Multiple Mage Hands per round? I don't have a very good explanation for it, no less than you do.


Psychics get overland flight.

Touching the ground's pretty optional once that comes online.

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