Meet the Iconics: Keskodai

Monday, May 15, 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 Keskodai, the iconic mystic!

Illustration by Remko Troost

For those inducted into the faith of Pharasma, the Lady of Graves, death is not an ending, but a doorway: an entry into a new existence and way of being. The shirren Keskodai understands this transition well, and greets it with the joyful reverence it deserves—an outlook that's not always comforting to the patients in his medical bay.

Keskodai grew up in the burning deserts of Fullbright, the side of tidally locked Verces that's always turned toward the sun. Though cosmopolitan, his hometown of Takoris was primarily shirren, having been an early satellite settlement of the original shirren colony on that world. The child of a priest of Hylax, the Forever Queen, Keskodai grew up steeped in the values of friendship and diplomacy, and felt a deep connection to the divine, yet chafed at the idea of serving the same god as his parent. Exactly which god he'd serve instead remained unclear, until the coming of the Gray Shakes.

Believed to be the result of a biotech experiment gone wrong at the local university, the plague called the Gray Shakes burned through the city like a wildfire, turning shirrens' chitin gray, rotting off their antennae, and eating away at their telepathy and motor function, leaving them awake but unable to communicate until they finally expired. In the weeks it took the local government to find a cure, thirty percent of the city's shirren population died.

In the midst of this horror, a young Keskodai first encountered priests of Pharasma, black-robed beings of all different races who'd come at news of the plague. Somberly, the Pharasmins walked among the afflicted, offering magical healing where they could and comfort to those too far gone, whispering to them of the Cycle of Souls and the new worlds that awaited them. The beauty of their ministry moved Keskodai, and he quickly joined their hospice work, leaving home to study at a temple in the Ring of Nations once the plague was safely contained.

After years as an initiate, Keskodai returned home a full priest of Lady of Graves, ready to tend to his people. He quickly fell in love with two members of his congregation, a female-host couple, and the three soon joined arms in marriage. Yet as much as he loved his community and his partners, a part of him remained unsatisfied. That part of every shirren that thrills at choice and decision-making began to wonder: Had he made the right choice in coming home? In choosing a life so similar to his parent? How could he know if he wanted this when there was still so much out there that he'd never experienced? The desire to explore continued to grow, until at last, after the birth of their first son, he and his partners sat down and made a plan. He would leave and see the galaxy, taking their child with him to expose him to the same new experiences. Once the child was old enough to leave his cradle-jar, Keskodai would decide whether he'd seen enough to return in good conscience, in which case both of them be welcomed with open arms. If not, the child would return alone.

In his effort to see as many worlds as possible, Keskodai took to signing on with freelance adventurers and starship crews, particularly those headed out beyond the edges of the solar system. While quite capable in combat, he prefers to act as the ship's medic, trusting that his mercenary companions will give him plenty of opportunities to employ his goddess-granted magic in patching up the broken or blessing them on their journey into the Great Beyond. The cheerful manner in which he talks about death often initially disturbs those under his care, yet anyone who spends much time with the shirren quickly learns that his even-keeled, fatalistic approach to life and death doesn't make him cavalier about it: for him, to give less than his best effort in healing his friends would be to risk them dying before their appointed time—a loss for him, and a grave failure in his duty to his goddess.

As with many shirren, Keskodai is a team player, always ready to throw in to help others, and a social butterfly who loves meeting new people. A crewmate once called him "the galaxy's friendliest death priest," and he wears the badge with pride. Though quite fond of option bars and other artificial means of stimulating his choice centers, he's careful not to let himself overindulge... usually. More often he satisfies his need for independence by customizing his gear—though he doesn't consider himself vain, Keskodai is intensely proud of the aesthetics of his gear, his collection of trophies, and his mustache (which he thinks lends him an air of gravitas). His greatest pride, however, is his son Chkoresk, still in his larval stage. Like many shirren parents, Keskodai constantly carries Chkoresk—affectionately nicknamed "Chk Chk"—around in a heavily fortified cradle-jar designed to let Chk Chk learn about the world from relative safety. While Chk Chk isn't old enough to speak yet, his telepathy only good enough to grant brief blasts of childlike emotion, Keskodai holds conversations with him regularly, with Chk Chk tapping on the glass to communicate his answers.

Though Keskodai is generally as easygoing as he appears, he still has his demons. The Gray Shakes tragedy left him deeply distrustful of certain types of research and technology, and he's constantly torn between his faith in individual freedom and his desire to protect the community through heavy government regulation. Worse, he's come to love the life of a wanderer and the friends he's made along the way, and deeply fears the day when Chk Chk grows old enough to return home, and Keskodai has to choose whether to head back to Verces with him, or continue on alone.

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

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Tags: Iconics Keskodai Meet the Iconics Mystics Remko Troost Starfinder
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Dark Archive

Never mind that how about the dreaded meet my parents scenario.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Ah, so we'll have 2 APs and then Chk Chk will be an Iconic in their own right.

First off, Chk Chk is already iconic! ;)

Secondly, I'm guessing that since alignment is a thing, and that since Pharasma's alignment is neutral, that Keskodai is either Neutral Good, or Chaotic Neutral.

Personally, I'm betting on Chaotic Neutral since he's OK with death, and being a shirren automatically predisposes one towards chaos (option bars). Also, he does his best as a healer because you shouldn't die before your time, not because life has value, so Neutral.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
Never mind that how about the dreaded meet my parents scenario.

Could you just imagine the shirren equivalent of teen dating with three genders involved and the problems that would come with a teen shirren choosing between crushes? Oh, the angsty drama!


I see the discussion for the iconic of my preferred race and it's full of puns.

GLORIOUS!

Dark Archive

We are all missing the chk chk magnet pun.

Dark Archive

Or how about the little guys favorite fast food place? Chk chk fil a.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sigh..... Crickets chirping


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
I, for one, can't wait for the canonical dad jokes. I can already hear Chk Chk tapping on the glass to indicate his embarrassment at how utterly uncool his father is.

Wait'll lil' Chk Chk gets old enough to ask questions, and Keskodai starts giving "Dad answers"...

Liberty's Edge

ok, so the whacky one of the party. I can dig it


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:

(hearteyes)

Oh gods, I'm in love with a married man.

Back off, he's mine!

Everything about the Shirren rules.
Everything about Keskodai rules.

Silver Crusade

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

Navasi: "Here I bought a present for li'l Chk Chk."
Keskodai: "A hollow sphere?"
Navasi: "It opens like this, and Chk Chk can go inside. Have a bit of a roll around the ship."
Keskodai: "How exciting! Is this a device humans use for their larva?"
Navasi: "It was originally designed for hamst- I mean human larvae yes."


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What exactly is a Shirren mustache? Do they grow fuzz on their faces? Is that what the males call their antennae?

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

18 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Navasi: "Here I bought a present for li'l Chk Chk."

Keskodai: "A hollow sphere?"
Navasi: "It opens like this, and Chk Chk can go inside. Have a bit of a roll around the ship."
Keskodai: "How exciting! Is this a device humans use for their larva?"
Navasi: "It was originally designed for hamst- I mean human larvae yes."

This is beautiful. You're all beautiful.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

16 people marked this as a favorite.
Brew Bird wrote:
What exactly is a Shirren mustache? Do they grow fuzz on their faces? Is that what the males call their antennae?

Much like some human mustaches, Keskodai's mustache only shows up at high resolutions.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I just want you to know, my friend linked me this in the skype chat and I was so enthralled by what I read here I started crying and moaning, "Ohhhhh nooooo, nooooo, CHK CHK!!!"

The shirren are perfect, bless Paizo for this gift.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I love the character. But if you want to make the bad guys in your game really EVIL, just have them (space) sunder :)

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jhaeman wrote:
I love the character. But if you want to make the bad guys in your game really EVIL, just have them (space) sunder :)

You... monster.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

They ask me why I'm bringin'
A baby into battle

"That's really irresponsible!"
And getting them rattled

Paizo Employee Editor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mahorfeus wrote:

They ask me why I'm bringin'

A baby into battle

"That's really irresponsible!"
And getting them rattled

Don't Hassle the Hoff!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jhaeman wrote:
I love the character. But if you want to make the bad guys in your game really EVIL, just have them (space) sunder :)

Why would you say that?!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Am I the only one imagining other adventurers giving Keskodai the evil eye for bringing his baby on adventures the same way people do to pregnant women having a glass of wine?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Really great Iconic...or would that be iconic? Including of course the baby.

Also...what is in the second canister?

My thouht...Chk Chk's pet green slime.

Sovereign Court

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

I'm impressed with all of these iconic write-ups. They manage to bring out wonderful personalities and personhood of the characters and bring to life details of a complex and thoughtful setting.

I was going to wait for all the iconic previews, but I think I am safe in announcing Chk Chk as my favorite Starfinder iconic character now.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
John Kretzer wrote:

Really great Iconic...or would that be iconic? Including of course the baby.

Also...what is in the second canister?

My thouht...Chk Chk's pet green slime.

I think it is Chk Chk's Larvae formula food.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Now I want to see an adventure in space as keskodai is a wandering, aimless mercenary healer, pushing a larvae canister around...


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Lone Wolf and Grub!!!!

Edit: I kept picturing Chk Chk in a Samus morph ball, but Freehold's idea is much much better.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Lone Wolf and Grub!!!!

*debeverages*


James Sutter wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
What exactly is a Shirren mustache? Do they grow fuzz on their faces? Is that what the males call their antennae?
Much like some human mustaches, Keskodai's mustache only shows up at high resolutions.

Maybe I'm crazy, or song what I want to see, but between his frontmost mandible things, covering the four in the middle, is that it? A Tom Selleck-styled stache?


Also,I absolutely LOVE everything about him, from his sense of fashion to the stache. The kid he has with him, everything.

And I especially love that for Shirren, one member of the family leaving and potentially not coming back is the sort of deal that can be made. I mean I'm sure they're not thrilled, but his family seems to understand. Sure they'll miss him, but they aren't left alone, as they still have each other. And since their whole species has that choice mentality, I'm sure they're more understanding about dealing with it.

Also, I know only 2 data points is little to go on, but the names. Keskodai and chkoresk both are named that can be said if you clench your teeth and speak workout using your voice. Makes it sound bug-like. Plus I site his nickname. Makes me wonder what other kinds of names can be made with that technique

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

7 people marked this as a favorite.
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
What exactly is a Shirren mustache? Do they grow fuzz on their faces? Is that what the males call their antennae?
Much like some human mustaches, Keskodai's mustache only shows up at high resolutions.
Maybe I'm crazy, or song what I want to see, but between his frontmost mandible things, covering the four in the middle, is that it? A Tom Selleck-styled stache?

Yup! And "bug Tom Selleck" is totally how I've been describing him around the office. :D


2 people marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Maybe I'm crazy, or song what I want to see, but between his frontmost mandible things, covering the four in the middle, is that it? A Tom Selleck-styled stache?
Yup! And "bug Tom Selleck" is totally how I've been describing him around the office. :D

Not Tom... Shelleck?

I'll show myself out.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

4 people marked this as a favorite.
quibblemuch wrote:
James Sutter wrote:


Yup! And "bug Tom Selleck" is totally how I've been describing him around the office. :D

Not Tom... Shelleck?

I'll show myself out.

https://media.giphy.com/media/3oz8xVjxTPNEzyKRKU/giphy.gif


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So... Navasi triggers a huge discussion into the necessity of diversity and representation.

Iseph triggers a huge discussion about pronoun is.

Keskodai triggers a bunch of dad jokes...

I kid! I absolutely love this! I especially enjoy the axis of law and chaos, so this is really interesting. I want to play a chaotic neutral shire n that is just impulsive and tons of fun!

So, what role in ship combat does Keskodai fill?


James Sutter wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
What exactly is a Shirren mustache? Do they grow fuzz on their faces? Is that what the males call their antennae?
Much like some human mustaches, Keskodai's mustache only shows up at high resolutions.
Maybe I'm crazy, or song what I want to see, but between his frontmost mandible things, covering the four in the middle, is that it? A Tom Selleck-styled stache?
Yup! And "bug Tom Selleck" is totally how I've been describing him around the office. :D

I knew from the moment I saw him poke his head out from behind everyone in that group shot, I knew he'd be the best of them :D


MageHunter wrote:

So... Navasi triggers a huge discussion into the necessity of diversity and representation.

Iseph triggers a huge discussion about pronoun is.

Keskodai triggers a bunch of dad jokes...

I kid! I absolutely love this! I especially enjoy the axis of law and chaos, so this is really interesting. I want to play a chaotic neutral shire n that is just impulsive and tons of fun!

So, what role in ship combat does Keskodai fill?

He's the mechanic. He'll get to fixing the ship's engine right after he finishes up fixing the shield generators he broke after fixing the drift drive.


Archmage Variel wrote:
MageHunter wrote:

So... Navasi triggers a huge discussion into the necessity of diversity and representation.

Iseph triggers a huge discussion about pronoun is.

Keskodai triggers a bunch of dad jokes...

I kid! I absolutely love this! I especially enjoy the axis of law and chaos, so this is really interesting. I want to play a chaotic neutral shire n that is just impulsive and tons of fun!

So, what role in ship combat does Keskodai fill?

He's the mechanic. He'll get to fixing the ship's engine right after he finishes up fixing the shield generators he broke after fixing the drift drive.

Nope, he's secondary science officer. He gives color commentary to what Raia says, mostly in the form of dad jokes.


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So Chk Chk will be old enough to be an iconic in his own right by the time starfinder is releasing supplements with new classes.


Browman wrote:
So Chk Chk will be old enough to be an iconic in his own right by the time starfinder is releasing supplements with new classes.

I like the way you think.

My favorite so far. Mostly because while we try to make Iseph's and Navasi's my group always devolves into Keskodai's. Lots of personality, some good backstory. Just all around fun.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Silver Scarab wrote:
Whats with the bug leg tied to his belt tho?

Looks kinda like a rust monster antenna to me.


He's so beautiful, and a family man. It's a shame he had to join those vile undead murderers. :(


I don't know what goes on in any of your home games, but what percentage of Paizo's published adventures are things you should take an infant to?


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
I don't know what goes on in any of your home games, but what percentage of Paizo's published adventures are things you should take an infant to?

None, but two things:

Several sci-fi shows included "family" ships that were put into dangerous situations on a regular basis (most notably STTNG)
He's not in an AP for this story blurb.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
I don't know what goes on in any of your home games, but what percentage of Paizo's published adventures are things you should take an infant to?

With the dms I've had it, I'd say it ranges from 65% to 5%.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
I don't know what goes on in any of your home games, but what percentage of Paizo's published adventures are things you should take an infant to?

Heck the number of times GMs kidnap and other thing to character'set children, spouses, etc. Having your kid with uou on adventures is ultimately probably the safest course.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
John Kretzer wrote:
Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
I don't know what goes on in any of your home games, but what percentage of Paizo's published adventures are things you should take an infant to?
Heck the number of times GMs kidnap and other thing to character'set children, spouses, etc. Having your kid with uou on adventures is ultimately probably the safest course.

Not to mention that Shirren can fit in a bullet proof jar for two-years...


18 people marked this as a favorite.

I for one welcome our fabulous polyamorous perky goth space bug dad communalist overlord.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Slothsy wrote:
Rei wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Slothsy wrote:
THIS IS MY FAVORITE DUMB DAD.
I LOVE OUR POLYAMOROUS SPACE MEDIC DAD.
WE NEED TO START A FAN CLUB.

*gavel sounds*

I call this meeting to order.

Step one: we must decide upon a name.

I totes want in.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Keskodai: Your wound is pretty bad but I wouldn't worry even if you die death is really just a door way.

Patient: Bug dad I'm about to pass out from blood loss can you please stop talking about your religion and work on my chest wound?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Slothsy wrote:
Rei wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Slothsy wrote:
THIS IS MY FAVORITE DUMB DAD.
I LOVE OUR POLYAMOROUS SPACE MEDIC DAD.
WE NEED TO START A FAN CLUB.

*gavel sounds*

I call this meeting to order.

Step one: we must decide upon a name.

KeskoClub!

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