Iconic Evolution: Amiri

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

It's been 12 years since famed artist Wayne Reynolds designed the core iconic characters we've all come to know and love. When we knew a second edition was on the horizon, we asked him to update them for the new era of Pathfinder. Last summer, Paizo's publisher and chief creative officer Erik Mona met with Wayne at Paizo's Gen Con booth to discuss his creative process. Check out this short video of their conversation for a glimpse into the mind of Pathfinder's most iconic visual artist and the first official look at the iconic barbarian, Amiri!

Each week, we'll take a look at a different updated iconic with Erik and Wayne, so stay tuned.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Amiri Barbarians Classes Iconic Evolutions Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Wayne Reynolds
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She looks weirdly thin

Liberty's Edge

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Corrik wrote:
Frailty and weakness should not exude from Amiri.

As my previous post notes, I actually disagree. Amiri should, by her backstory, look unimpressive and unthreatening right up until you see the feral craziness burning in her eyes. Which is a feel I think this version captures quite well.

I mean, she's someone who was never thought by her tribe to be able to be a warrior, and was laughed at when she brought back her sword. They were laughing right up until she went berserk and murdered them all.

This image looks exactly like someone that story is about.

Grand Lodge

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Cole and deadmanwalking nail it. She looks disconcerting, which is in character. She’s not eye candy meant to appeal to our gaze.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
She’s not eye candy meant to appeal to our gaze.

I also agree with Deadmanwalking's take 100% and like the new Amiri very much. I don't think it's fair to characterize the naysayers as wanting "eye-candy to appeal to [their] gaze". That's a pretty disingenuous characterization of their objections. They think she looks too scrawny, or too sickly, or too emo. No one has said they want her to be sexier.


If we're talking about how her looks have evolved, shouldn't there be an example of her older iteration?


Bardic Dave wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
She’s not eye candy meant to appeal to our gaze.
I also agree with Deadmanwalking's take 100% and like the new Amiri very much. I don't think it's fair to characterize the naysayers as wanting "eye-candy to appeal to [their] gaze". That's a pretty disingenuous characterization of their objections. They think she looks too scrawny, or too sickly, or too emo. No one has said they want her to be sexier.

Pretty much. I'm not as fond of her as you, though I do like Deadmanwalking's take.

I actually like the face and the expression a lot. They're what could sell that dangerous part. The body doesn't quite work. Particularly, as I said above, it doesn't convey to me the pear shape he was apparently going for, just small overall. All the bulk seems to be in the armor, even in the legs.

Shadow Lodge

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Bardic Dave wrote:
I don't think it's fair to characterize the naysayers as wanting "eye-candy to appeal to [their] gaze".

If the shoe fits, wear it. If not, kick it to the curb.


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She looks a tiny bit less anime-esque to me, which is a big plus for me.


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shepster wrote:
If we're talking about how her looks have evolved, shouldn't there be an example of her older iteration?

The original introduction of Amiri 1.0.


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Reading through that original backstory (which is fairly dated), the new Amiri definitely fits the look better than the other one. I like her quite a bit, and can see her being the kind who gives no f+**s and takes names when the moments arise.


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Not sure if yet another female martial character who doesn't look like she's capable of holding the weapon she uses is really hitting the "representation" angle, but it's not like the old Amiri hit that mark either.

I don't really get the point of an iconic that "breaks stereotypes". Like, the whole point of an iconic is to be the kind of person that you think of when you think of the class. Amiri sure as hell isn't that. She doesn't even look like she fits in her armor.


But I mean the very point of the Giant totem is that it lets you wield weapons that no one your size would normally be able to wield just because you can get mad enough. No one can wield oversized weapons normally anymore, so if it looked like she'd have an easy time with the sword it might not be reflecting the game properly.

So it's not like she shouldn't look like she can swing a sword, it's that she should be wielding a sword it looks like no one could swing.


I will say also, the new one looks meaner, while the other seems physically stronger. Which is interesting. They both have their merits


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The new design is spectacular - like a deeper reimagining of a story that truly fleshed itself out over the past decade. It keeps the good stuff while reflecting the story behind the character in a more believable manner. Normies may make assumptions based on real-world first glance physics, but given the context of the lore and rules, the extra spice of attention to detail really falls into place. Looking forward to the other designs as well. Hoping 1st Edition minis won't suddenly disappear overnight - I still have quite a few to purchase.


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Honestly, putting the old and new images side by side?

Only serious differences I see are that she's less tanned and her breasts are smaller. Oh, and her facial expression is a lot more intent than in version one.

Her right arm looks slightly thinner in the new version, but that's largely a matter of pose- in the old one, her bulky armor was topmost, whereas now her arm foregrounds it. A lot of these comments about her musculature seem to be confusing armor bulk with body mass.

Oh. And the wind's blowing in a different direction. Can't forget that.

The more I look at it, the more I prefer the update.

Dark Archive

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Amiri never really came across to me as "heroic" figure considering she was always CN <_< Heck in Kingmaker CRPG she is monster killing maniac who is really only interested in killing more stronger things majority of time. So fighting and glory being the only things she really cares about.

Like, I think Amiri is impressive yeah, but I don't think "heroic" is correct word? She is more of anti hero in traditional sense in a way


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It's interesting to hear Waynes comments and the Goal he was looking for (the pear shape), but I have to admit even after he explained it I have trouble seeing it.
But what's done is done, and it's by no means a bad piece of art for a barbarian. The crazy is strong in this one, which is good.
I would still like to see Waynes take on a really muscular Lady - lets see where new Seelah is headed.


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Yeah, don't feed the troll(s), people

Gone back and forth on the artwork. Ultimately, I think the original looked like a barbarian warrior (in the sense of 'someone on the fringes of civilisation'); the new one looks like a Barbarian (in the sense of 'someone Powered by Rage').

I wouldn't want to cross either of them; but the newer one is someone I would feel uncomfortable even encountering... and maybe that's the point.

Silver Crusade

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CorallineAlgae wrote:
Definitely a vampire. While I definitely prefer the original art, now Amiri has more bloodlust than ever.

VRYKUL!!!

Silver Crusade

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Arachnofiend wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

But I mean the very point of the Giant totem is that it lets you wield weapons that no one your size would normally be able to wield just because you can get mad enough. No one can wield oversized weapons normally anymore, so if it looked like she'd have an easy time with the sword it might not be reflecting the game properly.

So it's not like she shouldn't look like she can swing a sword, it's that she should be wielding a sword it looks like no one could swing.

You sound like the people who defended Quiet's design.
Eh, the "I have to breath through my skin so bikini and panty hose for battle regalia" sniper and the the barbarian being a feral saran wrapped bushel of steel cables rather than a bodybuilder model are two very different things.
Quote:
but the fact that the Iconic Barbarian looks waifish is pretty sad.

Not really?

You don't have to the body of a goddess to have rage.

Silver Crusade

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Or she just has pale skin, which is not indicative of physical mental issues or illness. Heck I look like her.

Pride has never been Amiri's thing either if you read her dialogue blurbs throughout Paizo products, it's always more "3, 2, 1, MURDER TIME!"

Liberty's Edge

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I always thought the original art for Amiri made her look far too attractive compared to her low CHA.

Not so the new art. And the more I see it, the more I like it. More depth of character in this one.


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Ehrmagherd.

@Wayne, kudos for moving on. While your new "realism" might find some folks challenged it shows you are evolving as much as your portrayals.

Yes, a lot less proud glamazon and definitely much more feral menace. As a pale European who is more whipcord than bodybuilder I can relate - my workmates call me the Machine even though I'm whip thin. I actually find the sword currently almost believable - rip that sucker in an arc and let the weight do the rest - a good friend of mine used this philosophy when he was getting old and frail - he picked the heaviest hammer he could find to pound metal bars flat - as long as he could lift it up he didn't need to bring it down hard with brute strength, the weight itself would do the rest. Same mad, even whipcorderer than me English bastard who taught me how to invert my blocksplitter midair with the round attached and let the round split itself when the back of the blocksplitter hit the anvilround.

I'm not arguing that I'm right, it's a picture after all, of a fantasy character. Just that it feels incedibly verisimilitudinous and aligns with my own physiology and experience. Except the meth, addiction and undead. Any three of those conditions do not ugly make in and of themselves. Ugliness comes from the heart.

As for healthy, well strength and constitution are strange bedfellows in the DnD/PF world. Amiri just looks wild. Maybe underfed. Possibly couldn't catch a coney or stag this past few days - look she lost her spears trying to pull down a snowdeer. But she's still vital. And quite annoyed by you. And me. Too much talking.


thejeff wrote:

I think it's partly that the more prominent muscles are mostly covered: The arms and legs are all in bulky armor. The flat stomach is visible, but the art style makes it look just thin rather than muscular - not that there would really be much bulk there anyway.

I don't really see the classic pear body shape that Wayne says he was going for. Possibly because the hips are kind of broken up visually by the weapons and stuff she's wearing. To me she just comes across as small and thin, not really pearish.

That and her hips are kinda turned to the side giving a kind of parallax/shortening effect. I do think they do still look slightly broader than her shoulders though both seem fairly dainty.

That said, I suppose this is a different take on the 'barbarian' thing and Amiri was never really depicted as being especially muscular anyway...


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In all honesty, this looks like Amiri in her teenage years, during her emo-phase.

Now, I really don´t care all that much, I have always felt that the barbarian Iconic should look big and strong, no matter the race or gender, really.
But that´s just me.

Grand Lodge

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Just found this on my feed and thought it should be shared. I feel like he should do Quiet.


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L'cutus wrote:
While I understand the representation angle, I will miss when heroic characters were aspirational figures.

That's my preference as well. It's probably just related to where you're at. If you've already put in effort to improve yourself and know it works and how, fantasies about reward without effort seem pretty silly.

Though in my case I have a bit of a grudge against these sorts of fantasies as I'm struggling with a 13 year old who believed that people are naturally good at things and that she shouldn't bother if she doesn't start great. She's grown out of it now that she's good at something, but it took a long time.

All the same, the barbarian fantasy is strength through passion rather than training, so this is a good place for an ill suited hero.


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I think the only thing to keep in mind is that different people find different things aspirational.


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Amiri looked a bit more pear shaped in the old Mammoth Attack art than she does here.

http://www.sassart.com/img/portfolio/traditional/mammoth-attack.jpg

I've always loved that scene. It's great to see heroes in "get out of Dodge" mode.


Will we get a preview of the new Junkie Totems too?

Silver Crusade

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Just found this on my feed and thought it should be shared. I feel like he should do Quiet.

Oh he would be awesome!


Definitely an improvement.


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Rysky wrote:
Or she just has pale skin, which is not indicative of physical mental issues or illness. Heck I look like her.

I mean, my skin is probably paler than hers. While this carries numerous unearned advantages in modern society, I'm sort of afraid people in this thread would try to diagnose me with stuff just because of my nordic complexion.

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Or she just has pale skin, which is not indicative of physical mental issues or illness. Heck I look like her.
I mean, my skin is probably paler than hers. While this carries numerous unearned advantages in modern society, I'm sort of afraid people in this thread would try to diagnose me with stuff just because of my nordic complexion.

*nods*

Due to my sleeping habits if not for the ridge of my nose I'd have a full blown domino mask.


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Wayne Reynolds wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I don't recall her looking quite this waifish. No shoulders, arms and legs super skinny, narrow chest, little visible tappering from lats. She looks pretty fragile.

I kinda like that some people are perceiving her as fragile, in contrast with the huge sword she's wielding. It makes a good visual juxtaposition.

Amiri's body-shape and skin complexion have indeed changed.

A common feedback I receive from speaking with players at conventions (especially female players) is a request for different female bodyshapes. I've been happy to oblige.
Amiri corresponds to what's known as the "classic pear", where the hips are wider, shoulders and bust are narrower.
I wanted to avoid the muscled barbarian cliché. By fortunate coincidence,the upward facing triangle created by the pear body shape fit in visually well with her costume.

Her skin complexion has also changed to correspond with pale complexions common in Northern Europe and South-western Russia. Places that aren't necessarily freezing cold, but don't get a whole lot of sunlight. Her pale skin makes a good visual contrast with the rest of her costume. Otherwise, there'd be just too many shades of tan in there.

That outfit just is not suitable to freesing -50 degree of celcius of russiang winter... just saying.... could she wear something that will keep her alive in hard winter conditions?

Silver Crusade

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Hannibal_pjv wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I don't recall her looking quite this waifish. No shoulders, arms and legs super skinny, narrow chest, little visible tappering from lats. She looks pretty fragile.

I kinda like that some people are perceiving her as fragile, in contrast with the huge sword she's wielding. It makes a good visual juxtaposition.

Amiri's body-shape and skin complexion have indeed changed.

A common feedback I receive from speaking with players at conventions (especially female players) is a request for different female bodyshapes. I've been happy to oblige.
Amiri corresponds to what's known as the "classic pear", where the hips are wider, shoulders and bust are narrower.
I wanted to avoid the muscled barbarian cliché. By fortunate coincidence,the upward facing triangle created by the pear body shape fit in visually well with her costume.

Her skin complexion has also changed to correspond with pale complexions common in Northern Europe and South-western Russia. Places that aren't necessarily freezing cold, but don't get a whole lot of sunlight. Her pale skin makes a good visual contrast with the rest of her costume. Otherwise, there'd be just too many shades of tan in there.

That outfit just is not suitable to freesing -50 degree of celcius of russiang winter... just saying.... could she wear something that will keep her alive in hard winter conditions?

The blood of her enemies.

Shadow Lodge

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Or endure elements.


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L'cutus wrote:
While I understand the representation angle, I will miss when heroic characters were aspirational figures.

... Did I miss something? As far as I can tell, the representation referenced by Wayne was just having different body types. What exactly makes a different body type more aspirational than a pear shape? That seems like saying aspiring to have green eyes. You're just born with a body type; you can't really aspire for it to be different. Most of that's just bone structure.

Unless you mean that she should have more musculature, which can actually be achieved through training many aspire too... But with all the armor on her limbs it seems rather difficult to make any conclusions about the muscles of any version of Amiri, past or present.

Liberty's Edge

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My guess is that it is more a matter of the overall impression that the picture gives. The original was more super-hero standard, while the new one is more realistic, closer to a real person, but farther from an idealized demigoddess.


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Hannibal_pjv wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I don't recall her looking quite this waifish. No shoulders, arms and legs super skinny, narrow chest, little visible tappering from lats. She looks pretty fragile.

I kinda like that some people are perceiving her as fragile, in contrast with the huge sword she's wielding. It makes a good visual juxtaposition.

Amiri's body-shape and skin complexion have indeed changed.

A common feedback I receive from speaking with players at conventions (especially female players) is a request for different female bodyshapes. I've been happy to oblige.
Amiri corresponds to what's known as the "classic pear", where the hips are wider, shoulders and bust are narrower.
I wanted to avoid the muscled barbarian cliché. By fortunate coincidence,the upward facing triangle created by the pear body shape fit in visually well with her costume.

Her skin complexion has also changed to correspond with pale complexions common in Northern Europe and South-western Russia. Places that aren't necessarily freezing cold, but don't get a whole lot of sunlight. Her pale skin makes a good visual contrast with the rest of her costume. Otherwise, there'd be just too many shades of tan in there.

That outfit just is not suitable to freesing -50 degree of celcius of russiang winter... just saying.... could she wear something that will keep her alive in hard winter conditions?

It's not winter 24/7 so they obviously caught up with her in spring.

Also, I personally wear shorts until it gets below zero fahrenheit and my body type isn't much different from hers (minus the boobs and vagina, obviously).


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Ulrich-Alexander Schmidt wrote:
Amiri looks sicks... quick, somebody give her some chickensoup!

Exactly my thought when I first the picture !! But I would rather call a doctor as she is clearly suffering from a severe food deprivation ...

Dark Archive

Meh ... sometimes a picture is just a picture - the draw of fantasy is to escape all of the realworld tripe in which we're inundated. On one hand, hand wringing over realism in high fantasy is a drag and, on the other, there are much more effective means of promoting healthy body imaging than cartooning murder hobos.


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Looking at it, the big reason why the original seems bigger is that all the armour design is incredibly bulky, to the point where she doesn't appear to have elbows.

The new one also has a more dangerous look to her, and I like it.

Scarab Sages

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Making her more sallow-looking doesn't really evoke "Russia" so much as it does "Undead", I think.

I'm not a fan of the new complexion. Especially considering how much exposed skin she has and how much time she spends outdoors, she should at least have a bit of a tan?

I do like the outfit changes though!

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