Meet the Iconics: Erasmus

Wednesday, July 8, 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 Erasmus, the iconic medium!


Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Erasmus was born the youngest scion of a minor noble house in Caliphas, Ustalav's capital. Along with his five older siblings, he enjoyed the benefits of a fine education and practice in horsemanship, swordplay, and tutelage in the arcane arts. Yet he understood he had little hope of ever claiming ancestral holdings or heirship. He spent his early life in the cosmopolitan pursuits of the idle rich, and he seemed destined for some opportune marriage to secure his family's comfort, with the resulting life likely to be one of bored leisure.

As Erasmus left his teenage years behind, though, the heirs of his family began to mysteriously die. Authorities discovered Nissa, his eldest sister—a cunning duelist—slain in some underground fighting pit by an opponent she severely outmatched. His uncle, a skilled magic-user, was torn apart by a summoned creature in his own occult library, while the corpse of his son was found broken below his high tower. His second sister, Veldira, choked to death on porridge in the Pharasmin cathedral where she served. Erasmus's closest confidant, his sly older brother Baylock, was found hanged in a dark alley in what authorities ruled a suicide. Amid the turmoil of the deaths, Erasmus's father began to waste away in his council chamber, while the family's eldest surviving heir, Erasmus's brother Vinn, took control of the family affairs.

It wasn't long before the voices started.

At first they were the faintest whispers, which Erasmus dismissed as sleep-deprived hallucinations or echoes bouncing through the corridors of his family's estate. But with each new death, the whispers grew stronger and their message clearer: "Murder." Erasmus ignored the ghostly mutterings as best he could, quietly writing them off as the lunacy of grief. But, with his suspicions aroused, he began to investigate the whispers' claims. Erasmus told no one of the subtly altered summoning circle he found in his uncle's chambers, or of the oily residue that failed to wash from his father's used silverware. The more he discovered, the more intense the chorus of voices grew in his crowded mind. Servants concealed Erasmus's late-night wanderings as best they could, or dismissed his mutterings and wild ravings as overwhelming grief.

It all came to a head when one of Erasmus's episodes interrupted his own father's funeral. Snapping his head back and forth, Erasmus railed against a chorus of unseen phantoms. Amid the outburst, he howled that his family was victim of his eldest brother's deceit.

None who heard truly listened, though, all convinced that grief had pushed Erasmus past the brink of insanity. Vinn, Erasmus's only remaining family member, committed him to Havenguard Lunatic Asylum.

For nearly a year, Erasmus languished at the asylum, baffling his well-intentioned wardens as they sought to heal the man's troubled mind. But on the anniversary of his father's death, another voice called through the darkness. From a neighboring cell, a new prisoner calling himself "the King" counseled the troubled man. With gruff kindness, the stranger with the accent of a northern barbarian taught Erasmus not to fight the chorus, but rather to accept and welcome it, opening his mind and body to its words. Erasmus gradually identified each mysterious voice in turn, and finally understood they were the shades of his family—the spirits of his deceased brothers, father, and uncle—who endlessly dwelled upon the circumstances of their deaths. Over time, he learned to sit in quiet communion with the voices, and to allow them to exercise their influence upon his mortal shell.

With the aid of his uncle's mastery of magic, Erasmus easily retrieved the keys to his cell to secure his escape. Under the control of his battle-eager eldest sister, the asylum's guards had no hope of restraining him. But when he gratefully burst open the King's cell, he found it empty. Too harried to ponder the implications of his friend's disappearance, Erasmus fled, relying on the influence of his roguish brother Baylock to slip through the shadows to freedom.

Yet, the world had not changed for the better during Erasmus's absence. Vinn had used his brother's madness to legally disown him from any claim to his family's titles or lands. His murderous brother had also married into a prestigious noble family, solidifying his holdings and winning him considerable influence in Caliphas's royal court. Seeing little chance at justice, and now questioning the source of the mysterious voice that had counseled him back to sanity, Erasmus knew he'd need living allies to retake his birthright. He boarded a ship crossing Lake Encarthan, the restless spirits of his ancestors following close behind.

Brandon Hodge
Contributing Author

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Erasmus Iconics Mediums Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Wayne Reynolds
51 to 100 of 129 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
the xiao wrote:
Are his eyes yellow!?!?!?

Well he's possessed, you see...


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I find it funny that people are so fixated upon the fact that he's holding a Harrow deck and how that doesn't fit the flavor of the new class, but seem to not notice he also has a Quija Board and crystal ball as well, all objects popular media has associated with contacting the dead. The Harrow Deck is just another extension of that in my eyes.

Community Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.
the xiao wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Not enough pages, actually! A book including it would need to be at least our next-smallest size (64 pages) or more.

I love Paizo but WotC did web enhancements...

So do we, when our product schedule allows for it. (It usually doesn't.)

Paizo Employee Developer

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
the xiao wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Not enough pages, actually! A book including it would need to be at least our next-smallest size (64 pages) or more.

I love Paizo but WotC did web enhancements...
So do we, when our product schedule allows for it. (It usually doesn't.)

*points to every Adventure Path Player's Guide I've worked on*

*and taken art and editor and web team resources to provide for free*

Paizo Employee Developer

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
the xiao wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Not enough pages, actually! A book including it would need to be at least our next-smallest size (64 pages) or more.

I love Paizo but WotC did web enhancements...
So do we, when our product schedule allows for it. (It usually doesn't.)

*points to every Adventure Path Player's Guide I've worked on*

*and taken art and editor and web team resources to provide for free*

*Comforts the overlooked free products and quests downloads pages for Pathfinder Society Organized Play*

Sovereign Court

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
John Compton wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
the xiao wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Not enough pages, actually! A book including it would need to be at least our next-smallest size (64 pages) or more.

I love Paizo but WotC did web enhancements...
So do we, when our product schedule allows for it. (It usually doesn't.)

*points to every Adventure Path Player's Guide I've worked on*

*and taken art and editor and web team resources to provide for free*

*Comforts the overlooked free products and quests downloads pages for Pathfinder Society Organized Play*

*Comforts the sad developers*


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
DeciusNero wrote:


Wonder what his surname is?
His surname is Gormenghast.

In "real" life Dutch humanist Erasmus (I am assuming this is who he is named after, Dutch pride speaking), was known by his surname: Erasmus (full name: Desiderius Erasmus). Maybe the question should be what is his given name? Of course he could be named after Erasmus of Formia (St. Elmo).


Great story! Is the starknife just his weapon of choice, or does he worship Desna?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Honestly, based on past precedent, I figure any sort of special Harrow version would be an archetype in a setting-specific product like, say, Occult Realms. Or some future book.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Erasmus is a great example of Ustalav's flavor, a delicious flavor at that.

I'm looking forward to the class details that are forthcoming.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Erasmus is channeling some serious Dr. Strange in that picture (possibly literally).


The real question is there anyone who uses a starknife that isn't a worshipper of Desna;)

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Worshipers of Maat?

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This is my favorite new origin story, so far.

While the dead family is a neat unifying theme, I'm eager to see other variations, like someone who taps into heroes of stories they read as a child (and perhaps, speaking to their shades, learns that the stories weren't always entirely truthy, or finding out that one 'famous hero' was entirely fictional and the 'spirit' they are calling up is something else entirely, something fey, perhaps), or an unsavory sort who deliberately dug up grave artifacts to steal the power of dead people with talents he wants, or someone with a mystical link to spirits of people who died in non-overlapping time periods (and different cultures or even races), and only belatedly discovers that she's calling up the memories of past lives, incarnated as 'spirits!'

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Backlash3906 wrote:
Great story! Is the starknife just his weapon of choice, or does he worship Desna?

I figured that was the other sign of his theoretically Varisian heritage.

Which doesn't mean he doesn't worship Desna.

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
The real question is there anyone who uses a starknife that isn't a worshipper of Desna;)

I do. Well, I mean, I'm a sniper, so really I use a bow, but sometimes you have to get up close to kill people and then I use my starknife which I really like because sometimes I can throw it, too, so it's like totally a double use weapon. And I guess sometimes I use my bladed scarf to kill people, but mostly that's just there in case people get too close and get too touchy.

But I don't worship Desna because *yawn*. I mean she's the goddess of wandering around, which is okay I guess, but something I do anyway, although I will admit that the butterflies are pretty. I worship Calistria, because she's the goddess of pulling peoples lungs out through their necks if they wrong you, which is one of life's greatest joys. Oh, and sex, but my wife and I have that covered already.


I'm not saying it's Elvis....but it's Elvis

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I would happily pay $20 to $30 for the Harrow spirits as a web enhancement :-)


I was talking about characters who are cannon to Golarion, not what a player character would have or believe.

It would be nice to have a list of the Iconics with there alignments and what Deities they worship.


Kalindlara wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
the xiao wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Not enough pages, actually! A book including it would need to be at least our next-smallest size (64 pages) or more.

I love Paizo but WotC did web enhancements...
So do we, when our product schedule allows for it. (It usually doesn't.)

*points to every Adventure Path Player's Guide I've worked on*

*and taken art and editor and web team resources to provide for free*

*Comforts the overlooked free products and quests downloads pages for Pathfinder Society Organized Play*
*Comforts the sad developers*

What I meant is, if the material is done already, why not release it?


That gave me the same awesome chill up my spine, that I had when I opened up the old Ravenloft box set!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

We don't know how much of the Harrowed Medium got past the "rough" stage - they might not want to release it without a good polish, especially if there's the expectation of PFS legality.


Even if there's no class mechanics that specifically use the harrow deck, I could easily see many occult characters taking an interest in it. It fits the genre well.


I assume the King is his dad? Lol.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Omnitricks wrote:
I assume the King is his dad? Lol.

"...with the accent of a northern barbarian." So no, probably not. But that of course leads us to the question of what northern barbarian, whether living or otherwise, would be in a position to help Erasmus through that issue?

The only northern king I can think of off hand who might fit that description is Choral the Conqueror, or possibly the last Rogarvian king...

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Omnitricks wrote:
I assume the King is his dad? Lol.

"...with the accent of a northern barbarian." So no, probably not. But that of course leads us to the question of what northern barbarian, whether living or otherwise, would be in a position to help Erasmus through that issue?

The only northern king I can think of off hand who might fit that description is Choral the Conqueror, or possibly the last Rogarvian king...

Maybe King Jarguut, last king of Raemerrund, which fell during the Winter War. He was known for being quite bookish and learned...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
pH unbalanced wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Omnitricks wrote:
I assume the King is his dad? Lol.

"...with the accent of a northern barbarian." So no, probably not. But that of course leads us to the question of what northern barbarian, whether living or otherwise, would be in a position to help Erasmus through that issue?

The only northern king I can think of off hand who might fit that description is Choral the Conqueror, or possibly the last Rogarvian king...

Maybe King Jarguut, last king of Raemerrund, which fell during the Winter War. He was known for being quite bookish and learned...

Nice reference. ^_^


Salazzar Slaan wrote:
Erasmus is channeling some serious Dr. Strange in that picture (possibly literally).

Or Hal Jordan...


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Ross Byers wrote:
He's Hamlet. But with more ghosts.

I'm not seeing Hamlet so much. A little, sure, but... wrongfully imprisoned... a wise mentor... a daring escape...? Oh, I think we can do better.

Alexandre Dumas wrote:

"Let us start, then; we need no witnesses."

"Very true," said Monte Cristo; "it is unnecessary, we know each other so well!"

"On the contrary," said the count, "we know so little of each other."

"Indeed?" said Monte Cristo, with the same indomitable coolness; "let us see. Are you not the soldier Fernand who deserted on the eve of the battle of Waterloo? Are you not the Lieutenant Fernand who served as guide and spy to the French army in Spain? Are you not the Captain Fernand who betrayed, sold, and murdered his benefactor, Ali? And have not all these Fernands, united, made Lieutenant-General, the Count of Morcerf, peer of France?"

"Oh," cried the general, as if branded with a hot iron, "wretch,—to reproach me with my shame when about, perhaps, to kill me! No, I did not say I was a stranger to you. I know well, demon, that you have penetrated into the darkness of the past, and that you have read, by the light of what torch I know not, every page of my life; but perhaps I may be more honorable in my shame than you under your pompous coverings. No—no, I am aware you know me; but I know you only as an adventurer sewn up in gold and jewellery. You call yourself in Paris the Count of Monte Cristo; in Italy, Sinbad the Sailor; in Malta, I forget what. But it is your real name I want to know, in the midst of your hundred names, that I may pronounce it when we meet to fight, at the moment when I plunge my sword through your heart."

The Count of Monte Cristo turned dreadfully pale; his eye seemed to burn with a devouring fire. He leaped towards a dressing-room near his bedroom, and in less than a moment, tearing off his cravat, his coat and waistcoat, he put on a sailor's jacket and hat, from beneath which rolled his long black hair. He returned thus, formidable and implacable, advancing with his arms crossed on his breast, towards the general, who could not understand why he had disappeared, but who on seeing him again, and feeling his teeth chatter and his legs sink under him, drew back, and only stopped when he found a table to support his clinched hand. "Fernand," cried he, "of my hundred names I need only tell you one, to overwhelm you! But you guess it now, do you not?—or, rather, you remember it? For, notwithstanding all my sorrows and my tortures, I show you to-day a face which the happiness of revenge makes young again—a face you must often have seen in your dreams since your marriage with Mercedes, my betrothed!"

The general, with his head thrown back, hands extended, gaze fixed, looked silently at this dreadful apparition; then seeking the wall to support him, he glided along close to it until he reached the door, through which he went out backwards, uttering this single mournful, lamentable, distressing cry,—"Edmond Dantes!"

:D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shisumo wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Excellent. I'm curious about the Harrow deck he has, though.
Most likely the product of his uncle's influence - an Ustalavan conjurer is quite likely to be familiar with and make at least occasional use of the Harrow.

or he could be like everyone's favorite hellspawn and uses it to gamble

Paizo Employee Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Kieviel wrote:
I would happily pay $20 to $30 for the Harrow spirits as a web enhancement :-)

At that point, we might as well make it a real book, in which case you could pay less than that for the same thing!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Kieviel wrote:
I would happily pay $20 to $30 for the Harrow spirits as a web enhancement :-)
At that point, we might as well make it a real book, in which case you could pay less than that for the same thing!

I'm on board. ^_^

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
the xiao wrote:
What I meant is, if the material is done already, why not release it?

Because it's not done. It hasn't been developed, edited, illustrated, laid out, or budgeted for in terms of both time and production costs.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Kieviel wrote:
I would happily pay $20 to $30 for the Harrow spirits as a web enhancement :-)
At that point, we might as well make it a real book, in which case you could pay less than that for the same thing!

Well, I'm convinced :-) it'll be ready for the August shipment right? ;-)

Dark Archive

I enjoy this character. He seems fun under the sun.


Merasums, is that you!?


Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:
Merasmus, is that you!?

I tried to find a good Merasmus voice response for this the first time I read it but none of them seemed to fit.


Shisumo wrote:
Omnitricks wrote:
I assume the King is his dad? Lol.
"...with the accent of a northern barbarian."

Oh, dangit. I missed that part.

Obviously can't be Elvis, then, 'cause that boy's a Southerner sure as shootin'!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Salazzar Slaan wrote:
Erasmus is channeling some serious Dr. Strange in that picture (possibly literally).

I was going to make a complicated math pun to tie all of this to the one and only Dr. Orpheus in an homage to the powers of the dead and spirited performance, with a dash of XKCD for good measure, but that would have been...

Too derivative.

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Nice pic Wayne!

Thanks very much Oceanshieldwolf (& Morgandefay). Glad you like the artwork. :)

Nice backstory Brandon.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TheAntiElite wrote:
Salazzar Slaan wrote:
Erasmus is channeling some serious Dr. Strange in that picture (possibly literally).

I was going to make a complicated math pun to tie all of this to the one and only Dr. Orpheus in an homage to the powers of the dead and spirited performance, with a dash of XKCD for good measure, but that would have been...

Too derivative.

Watch it, my friend. There are limits.


Good backstory, imho not well served by WAR's Bizarro World anatomy and same-y art.

Also too close to my PFS oracle who is haunted by his dead wife. Please change. ;-)


Wow, this guy's got one heck of an exciting backstory and some serious character motivation. He's really interesting.

I love the streak in his hair, too.


Add one more for those who want the Harrowed Medium. I could play a Persona MC.

Dark Archive

9 people marked this as a favorite.

This class looks like it would very well suit the Wendo practitioners in the Mwangi Expanse, channeling their wendo spirits / loa. More so than the Juju Oracle, for that matter.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Set wrote:

This class looks like it would very well suit the Wendo practitioners in the Mwangi Expanse, channeling their wendo spirits / loa. More so than the Juju Oracle, for that matter.

* You should totally write this up for a future Wayfinder issue. *

Dark Archive

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

This class looks like it would very well suit the Wendo practitioners in the Mwangi Expanse, channeling their wendo spirits / loa. More so than the Juju Oracle, for that matter.

* You should totally write this up for a future Wayfinder issue. *

I'm already a bit 'eh' on the idea of the Egyptian gods being a part of a fantasy world, I'm not sure I'd want to continue in that vein by writing up voodoo / Yoruba loa as Medium spirits to channel, and I really don't know anything about the *individual* wendo in Golarion.

Not that Chango and Baron Samedi and Erzuli wouldn't be fantastic and flavorful 'spirits' to channel, but it wouldn't feel as 'Golarion' to me as (for example) a Medium who 'channels' the Runelords (even if they aren't all technically dead...), and has a gluttonous necromancer mode and a super-angry hair-trigger evoker mode and a flirty seductive enchanter mode.

A channeling Medium tapping into some other 'pantheon' could be interesting too, such as the Orc pantheon or the Elf pantheon or the Godclaw.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Set wrote:
HypnoToad wrote:
Set wrote:

This class looks like it would very well suit the Wendo practitioners in the Mwangi Expanse, channeling their wendo spirits / loa. More so than the Juju Oracle, for that matter.

* You should totally write this up for a future Wayfinder issue. *

I'm already a bit 'eh' on the idea of the Egyptian gods being a part of a fantasy world, I'm not sure I'd want to continue in that vein by writing up voodoo / Yoruba loa as Medium spirits to channel, and I really don't know anything about the *individual* wendo in Golarion.

Not that Chango and Baron Samedi and Erzuli wouldn't be fantastic and flavorful 'spirits' to channel, but it wouldn't feel as 'Golarion' to me as (for example) a Medium who 'channels' the Runelords (even if they aren't all technically dead...), and has a gluttonous necromancer mode and a super-angry hair-trigger evoker mode and a flirty seductive enchanter mode.

A channeling Medium tapping into some other 'pantheon' could be interesting too, such as the Orc pantheon or the Elf pantheon or the Godclaw.

What about channeling the forgotten Small Gods of the Sarkoris?


Rynjin wrote:
Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:
Merasmus, is that you!?
I tried to find a good Merasmus voice response for this the first time I read it but none of them seemed to fit.

BONUS DECKS!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:

Good backstory, imho not well served by WAR's Bizarro World anatomy and same-y art.

Also too close to my PFS oracle who is haunted by his dead wife. Please change. ;-)

I can see how the anatomical proportions and perspective may not be everyone's cup of tea, and, yes, Wayne's illustrations are same-y. They look like they were drawn by Wayne, and complement each other. If one bothers you, more will bother you..more.

I like the attention to detail Wayne brings to miscellaneous and sundry items, the proliferation and abundance of which disturbs some viewers sensibilities of just what constitutes appropriate (or an appropriate or practical level/amount of) adventuring gear. Which I completely understand.

Looking at this illustration I am drawn to a whole bunch of trinkets, objects, bags, pouches, ornaments etc. Nicely presented. Well illustrated.

Not having a go at you bugleyman - you can see I have empathy for and understanding of your aesthetic reservations or dislike. Nor does Wayne need me to support him. And I'm no gushing fan. I just think Wayne is a technically proficient illustrator with a great deal of passion for fantasy drawing whose aesthetic I appreciate.

51 to 100 of 129 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Paizo Products / Product Discussion / Paizo Blog: Meet the Iconics: Erasmus All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.