Meet the Iconics: Iseph

Friday, May 12, 2017

The countdown to Starfinder is on! We're highlighting the iconic characters and core classes that appear throughout the pages and covers the Starfinder line. Today we meet Iseph, the iconic operative!

Illustration by Remko Troost

As biomechanical entities, androids can theoretically live forever with the proper repairs. While some embrace this form of immortality, most androids live what they feel is a full life—usually around a hundred years—and then voluntarily instigate a process called renewal, in which the android's soul leaves its body, allowing a fresh android soul to inhabit it. Most people consider this a joyous occasion, metaphorically equivalent to the old android giving birth to a child, and understand that a post-renewal android is an entirely new person who just happens to inhabit the same body. Yet not all people are willing to honor this change or forgive past debts and slights, and such is the case with Iseph.

Iseph awoke in an abandoned storage facility on the machine world of Aballon, standing upright in a black-market renewal crèche. Around them, the place was completely empty, save for a note and a pen left in the center of the concrete floor. Clearly hastily scrawled, the note read only: Run. Hide. Retaliate. Beware the mark. Next to the words was a drawing of a symbol—the same inexplicable design branded on Iseph's chest. Yet the biggest shock was when Iseph picked up the pen, as the note's writer had clearly intended—for the handwriting on the note matched Iseph's own.

Confused and disoriented, with only some basic downloaded knowledge of the world they'd just been born into, Iseph did as the note instructed, doing their best to disappear into Aballon's bustling android population. It was here that, among other things, they first met other androids and discovered that some identified with particular genders, though Iseph never felt any such personal connection. But the questions raised by the note continued to plague them. Who had worn their body before them? Who were they running from, and why? What was the mysterious symbol? Eventually, Iseph worked up the courage to begin making surreptitious inquiries into the planet's infosphere. All of these searches failed, yet in curious ways, as if the information was being actively scrubbed and redacted. Worse, Iseph began to get the sense of being watched, faces in the crowds that seemed strangely familiar. After a month of tentative forays into they city's silicon underworld, Iseph at last tracked down someone who claimed to recognize the mark, but who insisted on meeting in person at a nearby virus bar.

Iseph was almost to the tavern when it exploded in a massive fireball, the blast consuming an entire city block.

Thoroughly spooked, Iseph fled Aballon, taking passage on a ship to the Diaspora. Yet as they worked there, quickly finding themself a deft hand at piloting rock-hopper shuttles and mining tugs, Iseph's fear turned to anger. Wider Pact Worlds society proved far messier than Aballon's orderly machine culture, and Iseph was first confused and then disgusted by the prejudice and jealousy androids still encountered from some humans. They met android escapees from illegal colonies in the Vast, bearing blatant symbols of corporate ownership and scars from cruel disciplinary implants, and began to suspect what their own mark might say about their origins. Incensed, Iseph made contact with the Android Abolitionist Front, learning to fly more combat-oriented craft, to sneak through the shadows, and to put down the enemies of their people with ruthless efficiency. Under the AAF's guidance, Iseph became a black ops expert, until a disagreement with their handler over a messy job led them to go independent. Today, Iseph officially hires on with freelancer crews as an elite pilot specializing in dangerous transport or exploratory missions—and if those jobs sometimes require a little infiltration or a bullet from the shadows, well, that costs extra.

Though paranoia over being hunted by their mysterious enemy (as well as friends of former assassination targets) makes Iseph something of a loner, the android desperately craves companionship, and is fiercely loyal to those few who prove themselves trustworthy. As a result of their early days on Aballon and personal experience as an android in a largely biological society, Iseph questions or rejects many aspects of mainstream Pact Worlds culture, and enjoys exploring the countercultures on different worlds. Iseph believes the ends often justify the means, yet strives to only take on jobs that fit with their sense of morality. An initial focus on android rights has broadened into a tendency to identify with oppressed people and underdogs everywhere, no matter how alien, and to hate any form of slavery with a passion. While Iseph finds the most joy in flying any manner of ship or vehicle—usually too fast and recklessly for the comfort of their passengers—their infiltration abilities remain as sharp as they ever were, and the former assassin has no objections to pulling out their trusty sniper rifle again when the cause is just.

Unrelated Starfinder Note: We've been doing a lot of previews recently, both here on the Paizo blog and on other websites. There's more than we can contain on the blog, so if you want to see more of the neat stuff that's been revealed (including new art for planets, races, ships, and more—and that's just in the last week!), be sure to bookmark the new Starfinder News Hub thread!

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

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Tags: Iconics Iseph Meet the Iconics Operatives Remko Troost Starfinder
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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Freehold DM wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
Usually a resurrection spell can't resurrect someone who does not want to be brought back to life. An android that goes through renewal has chosen to pass on, and so doubtfully wants to be brought back from the dead. Since it "functions like raise dead" the subject will not return if they aren't willing to do so.

*nods*

I can see most not wanting to but depending on whose resurrecting them they might allow themselves to be bright back.

Ya but what kind of person tried to steal the body of what basically amounts to their child? Starfinder therapists must have their work cut out for them.

???

True Resurrection gives you a whole new body.

I don't recall unicron using a diamond...

I said new, not upgrade.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kalindlara wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
Ya but what kind of person tried to steal the body of what basically amounts to their child?
Ephraim Waite?

A smarter slaad would be making an NPR's Waite, Waite... Don't Tell Me! joke here.

Set wrote:

Wicked Witch "If I keep forced reincarnating that android, eventually a *useful* soul might move in..."

<Meanwhile, in the surrounding forest, a half-dozen newly awakened gnomes, elves, etc. are vaguely remembering having been an android working for a particularly short-tempered witch, for a brief period of time...>

This would be good mashed up with that 2006 Christopher Nolan film

Spoiler:
The Prestige and Tesla's invention.

you all seem to be assuming that the PF spells will be directly ported over without any new wording of any kind to SF - this seems quite unlikely

Silver Crusade

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

Androids already exist in Pathfinder so I was going off those rules.


dharkus wrote:
you all seem to be assuming that the PF spells will be directly ported over without any new wording of any kind to SF - this seems quite unlikely

I hope the basic feel of the spells (not necessarily the scaling, but the mechanics that make the spell what it is) are still ported over. A magic missile is a magic missile regardless of the amount of damage it does, but shocking grasp looses the fun of its role play feel if it becomes a ranged attack. There's a certain feel to catching a goblin midair and tazing it.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
It'd be pretty messed up for an android to allow another soul to begin it's life, only for the first soul to change their mind (although that's a great player-specific plot line).
It'd be a pretty good hook for an occult-classed android PC who is haunted/channels previous souls incarnated in the same body.

I now have an idea for a character that could be done two ways: A medium who channels all their past souls, or a fractured psyche spiritualist (or even a normal spiritualist I guess) accompanied by it's own former self.Thank you.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you paizo for some nonbinary representation.

Grand Lodge

24 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I really enjoyed Iseph's story and the mystery behind who wants them dead. Even more so, I really enjoyed the high-level discussion of the nature of Android souls that followed. I had no desire up to this point to play an android... Now my head is full of stories that could make a lovely character background. Thank you!

___

As a fifty year old, I spent most of my life wishing that the English language had a gender neutral pronoun for people. I did not like most of the invented pronouns, and the singular 'they' blew my mind everytime I heard it. My inner grammarian had such trouble with it. I slipped up all the time, for six months.

However, my world is full of non-binary people. Yours is likely too. And if these folks wish to be addressed with the singular 'they'... Who am I to object? So I used 'they' over and over, practicing it. Was it an adjustment for my fifty-year old brain? Yes. But I learned to do it, and so can all of you. Try it for a while, and the singular 'they' becomes a natural, fluid thing.

I'd like to advocate patience and understanding along both sides of the pronoun discussion. For those that are balking at a singular 'they', give it a chance. For those seeing others balk, give them a few months to catch up. It always takes a while to learn a new language, especially when it's one you think you already know.

Hmm

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Hmm wrote:

I really enjoyed Iseph's story and the mystery behind who wants them dead. Even more so, I really enjoyed the high-level discussion of the nature of Android souls that followed. I had no desire up to this point to play an android... Now my head is full of stories that could make a lovely character background. Thank you!

___

As a fifty year old, I spent most of my life wishing that the English language had a gender neutral pronoun for people. I did not like most of the invented pronouns, and the singular 'they' blew my mind everytime I heard it. My inner grammarian had such trouble with it. I slipped up all the time, for six months.

However, my world is full of non-binary people. Yours is likely too. And if these folks wish to be addressed with the singular 'they'... Who am I to object? So I used 'they' over and over, practicing it. Was it an adjustment for my fifty-year old brain? Yes. But I learned to do it, and so can all of you. Try it for a while, and the singular 'they' becomes a natural, fluid thing.

I'd like to advocate patience and understanding along both sides of the pronoun discussion. For those that are balking at a singular 'they', give it a chance. For those seeing others balk, give them a few months to catch up. It always takes a while to learn a new language, especially when it's one you think you already know.

Hmm

well said

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Hmm wrote:
It always takes a while to learn a new language, especially when it's one you think you already know.

I appreciated your entire post, but this line really stuck out to me. I fully plan on using it in future discussions, so thank you. :)

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts, if you haven't already, take discussion of the use of the pronoun "they" to another thread.


i wonder if there are any Androffan pattern shells still functioning in Starfinder or how such shells would be viewed by other Androids... I would think there would be several thousand about and not all of them would die from unnatural causes so at least several hundred could make it to the current era, are they completely compatible with Pact World technology, did they go through the same slavery period as the new model shells or did they get a grandfather clause that freed them? could be lots of interesting bits of lore and plot hooks to play with there.


Didn't we already meet Iseph months ago?

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Maybe it was a previous Iseph!

*DUN DUN DUN*

Dark Archive

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Symar wrote:
Thank you paizo for some nonbinary representation.

And thanks to you, I just realized that the robot is non-binary, which, in my head, is funny.

The two most annoying things about getting old are the senility and the other thing I can't remember.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:

Maybe it was a previous Iseph!

*DUN DUN DUN*

Yeah right. I bet they say that to everyone they owe money to.

"Owe you? I don't remember that. Must have been a previous inhabitant of this robot."

"Iseph, it was freakin yesterday. I spotted you for lunch. It's just 20 bucks."

"Nope. Not ringing a bell."

"Just--"

"DIFFERENT INCARNATION!"

*sigh* "Every. Single. Time."

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts and replies that I missed the first time around.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
quibblemuch wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Maybe it was a previous Iseph!

*DUN DUN DUN*

Yeah right. I bet they say that to everyone they owe money to.

"Owe you? I don't remember that. Must have been a previous inhabitant of this robot."

"Iseph, it was freakin yesterday. I spotted you for lunch. It's just 20 bucks."

"Nope. Not ringing a bell."

"Just--"

"DIFFERENT INCARNATION!"

*sigh* "Every. Single. Time."

Note to self:

Don't loan androids anything.

Do get loans from androids.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Imagine the legal defense for an imprisoned Android, "My client renewed three years into a life sentence and this new soul is entirely innocent."


there'd presumably have to be a way to prove you renewed for this to go well legally

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