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

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Tags: Iconics Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Psychics Rivani Wayne Reynolds
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This is fantastic.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Very nice. I do wish it had something on Rivani's reaction to her abilities and trials. Disgust, awe, simple acceptance? I know what she's been through, but not what makes her tick. Valeros, for example, I understand.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like how this background shows the difference between a psychic and a sorcerer. It seems that, unlike a sorcerer, a pyschic has to spend a lot of time studying and learning in order gain a propper grasp over how to unlock the power.

I wonder if this means there will be a psychic sorcerer bloodline or archetype to represent those that this power comes to naturally?

Edit: I should add that this iconic background is really cool as well ;)

Paizo Employee Developer

63 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

No


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

If you want cheesecake, there's a whole bunch on the internet. I'd rather have characters wearing whatever's appropriate for the character. Rivani's outfit does he history justice.

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

Very nice! I really liked that people try to use her psyhic ablities to political intrigue, that's not something you see so often, really.

Liberty's Edge

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

WHERE IS OUR VUDRA BOOK

GIVE IT TO MEEEEEE


Nice backstory and also awesome that Castrovel and Hermea were mentioned.

Liberty's Edge

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

(To clarify: this story is smurfing amazing and it does absolutely nothing to curtail my need for a fully-fledged Vudra sourcebook - pretty much exactly the opposite, really)


Bravo, sir. Bravo!


I agree, it makes me even more interested in Vudra.


"intelligence and motor skill challenges"
Isn't motor skills dexterity?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Yeah, they put her through some simple physical tests as well.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Fantastic, a character who's long term goal is to become a spiritual guru is such an awesome concept.

I want to play a psychic.

Also can't wait for any incoming Jalmeray AP.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

awesome story, hottest iconic but... she looked like having gotten enlighment at... 1st level? she sounds too powerful but thats also cool I guess... but damn, isn't she hot or what? AND SMART! and loves books! she is my hindu waifu lol!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

go to deviantart if that's what you want for the iconics

now on to the topic of the new iconic character, i love her story and the picture is beautiful


Kinda cool.

Project Manager

22 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

No

My favorite part of this is that he didn't even bother with a period. :-D

Most efficient post ever.


Philo Pharynx wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

If you want cheesecake, there's a whole bunch on the internet. I'd rather have characters wearing whatever's appropriate for the character. Rivani's outfit does he history justice.

I agree - I like her attire just as it is - we have enough nearly-naked female fantasy art - she is fantastic

Dark Archive

Wonderful story, I especially enjoy the description of coming to understand the flow of the universe. It is rather accurate to others accounts, though I do wonder is it simply that those who become monks focus more upon bringing the physical in alignment with the metaphysical compared to psychic where they attempt to overcome the physical with the metaphysical...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.
the xiao wrote:
awesome story, hottest iconic but... she looked like having gotten enlighment at... 1st level? she sounds too powerful but thats also cool I guess...

Harsk murdered a tribe of giants in his.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

She's a great iconic, but...

Another human? Sigh.


13 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

Thanks for linking the definition, but I actually really loved that we got a female caster iconic that wasn't showing more skin than cloth. Weirdly, I think Rivani is one of the most attractive iconics we've had yet because of that. She's a character first and foremost. Plus, if you'll pardon the literary jargn, her outfit makes her look crazy badass.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ross Byers wrote:
the xiao wrote:
awesome story, hottest iconic but... she looked like having gotten enlighment at... 1st level? she sounds too powerful but thats also cool I guess...
Harsk murdered a tribe of giants in his.

Yeah, but he's a first level dwarf, clearly.


Is the whole White Lotus thing intentional?


Huzzah! Less skin adds more character. She is legit on that merit and I have yet to read her story.


Weirdly enough, the last time I posted art of Rivani on a PF-themed facebook group everyone decided that they wanted to nail her.

Good story. Gives us an idea of how Psychics work in Golarion.


Like it. Very good story.

Community Manager

44 people marked this as a favorite.

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.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I also wish we had a little more detail on how to roleplay her, but perhaps in time we'll learn more of her personality and how she reacts to things.


Rivani has an interesting backstory. With all the experience she is putting under her belt, I bet she will make a fine teacher.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Vudra source book when?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
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.

EDIT: No, actually, I'm not gonna be passive-aggressive about this. I'll be up-front here:

The character design really sticks out at me as being awesome, and that is the main thing I like about this iconic. Nothing against the writing. I just really dig the design. Speaking as a fan of animated movies, I think that's just as valid an aspect to discuss as the story. Great job on that. She looks very cool.

I guess the main thing that sticks out at me other than the character design is that we finally have the "messiah" minority represented. It's amazing to finally feel like I have a place in this world.


Definitely looking forward to the crunch.


For me, the fact that she has a reasonably happy backstory stands out the most. Her design is definitely interesting, but compared to all the tragedy I've noticed in the backstories of the other iconics I'd argue she's one of the most well-adjusted of the bunch.


Very nice art!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, I think that's why I don't have anything to say about the story. It didn't piss me off or make me cry. It's overall pretty pleasant, unless you consider the psychological ramifications of forcing someone to leave their home forever to be a god-on-earth. But it sounds like she's pretty chill about that, anyways.

Dark Archive

I wasn't paying attention to the art, but now I see she has what looks to be a light crossbow and a kukri. That it extremely awesome. Seeing her float makes me want the psychic to get an ability that mimics the 20th level ability of Irori's obedience, because that would be awesome and I would actually get to play with it.

Grand Lodge

We got another snippet of info on Hermea!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:


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

I DID say she loved reading and is smart. And her story is very Eastern mysticism unfluenced. Ehat is not to like? AND she has a good reason to adventure!


the xiao wrote:
awesome story, hottest iconic but... she looked like having gotten enlighment at... 1st level? she sounds too powerful but thats also cool I guess...

I love to imagine someone bringing this backstory in for a campaign starting at first level.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
the xiao wrote:
awesome story, hottest iconic but... she looked like having gotten enlighment at... 1st level? she sounds too powerful but thats also cool I guess...
I love to imagine someone bringing this backstory in for a campaign starting at first level.

Hmm...

*scribble scribble scribble*


Carina suddenly remembered some interesting facts about her life!


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Terminalmancer wrote:
I also wish we had a little more detail on how to roleplay her, but perhaps in time we'll learn more of her personality and how she reacts to things.

Agreed, as a character whose powers come directly from her mind, I'm surprised we don't really get to look into hers. Still a cool story, and lovely art.


Dungeon Kobold wrote:
Carina suddenly remembered some interesting facts about her life!

MY GOD.

It all makes sense now...

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The story seems to imply both of her parents may still be alive...what kind of adventurer has those?!?


Robert Little wrote:
The story seems to imply both of her parents may still be alive...what kind of adventurer has those?!?

I know right?

The GM is being too lenient with her.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Fyre wrote:

I'm going to risk being pummeled.

I wish her costume had a bit more "fanservice"

Just want to say this:

Thank you, Paizo, for staying well away from this. For all the talk about characters carrying a ton of useless gizmos around, I do love the character design and I think it's the most immersive there is for the very reason that you avoid the needless sexual exploitation of characters in lieu for them to be much more fantasy-like.

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