Iconic Encounter: Red Snow

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

You've already met Amiri, the iconic barbarian, but you've never seen her like this! Enjoy the following piece of short fiction from James L. Sutter in the first of our series of Iconic Encounters—brief vignettes of the iconic characters showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition.

Illustration by Roberto Pitturru

Snow whipped around Amiri as she stepped out from behind the rock, letting her cloak drop away. "That's far enough."

The giant looked down in surprise. Tattoos the color of woad swirled across ice-blue skin as he towered over her, the axes in his hands taller than Amiri herself. Yet she had eyes only for the broken horn on his helm. This was him, all right.

"Hail, Agmundr Jarl." Amiri knew it was pointless to feign diplomacy, but her employers had been insistent. They still thought they could solve this without blood. Never mind that blood was all that ever really solved anything. Even now, White Elk scouts were hiding in the cliffs, watching to see if she could truly do what she claimed. "The White Elk Clan greets you," she said sternly, "and will trade if you wish, but your band may not enter their territory. The council forbids it."

The frost giant stared for a moment, then guffawed, a thunderous shout that threatened to bring down an avalanche and bury them both. The frozen waterfall of his beard split in a malicious grin.

"Forbid?" His voice was the groaning of glaciers. "Prey does not forbid. Prey runs, and the hunter pursues."

"So you agree we're done talking, then." Amiri unslung the sword from her back.

The jarl's grin widened as he took in Amiri's oversized weapon. "A giant's blade! And what will you do with that, little ermine? Shelter beneath it?"

"Stick around and find out."

Amiri hoisted the sword. Immediately, her biceps began to shake, her shoulders cramping. She bit down hard, teeth grinding as she tried to steady her traitorous muscles by sheer force of will. Yet the sword's point still bobbed like a ship at sea.

"You're too weak, little ermine." Agmundr laughed again and spat, the spittle freezing in midair with a crack. "And the time for weakness has passed. The last war is nearly upon us."

There it was, then. War. It had always been coming, as inevitable as the winter snows. Amiri had known that even before accepting the White Elk Clan's offer.

Yet now she knew nothing. Red haze settled across her vision, painting white snow a prophetic crimson. Her heart beat in her temples, a war drum throb that flowed hot through her limbs. Pulsing. Eager.

"Say it again," she growled.

"You're weak." He leered down at her, eyes alight. "Too weak to fight. Too weak to even make a proper slave. Nothing but dripping fat and marrow for the cook fire."

The cold was a distant memory. Inside Amiri's chest, a blast furnace opened its doors. Her ears filled with its roar.

The sword steadied, point going as still as a rock viper.

The giant's eyes widened.

"You're right about one thing, Jarl." She smiled. "War is coming. So let's get started."

Sword held high, she raced up the slanted stone. Axes made to fell watchtowers rose into guard position as the giant stepped back. In her hands, Amiri's giant-made blade sang, its frost-forged steel suddenly light as a willow switch, longing for the blood of its makers.

Around them, the storm shrieked, savage and unstoppable.

Amiri screamed with it.

And leapt.

Check back next week for another Iconic Encounter. Until then, Pathfinders, rage on!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Amiri Fiction Iconic Encounters Pathfinder Second Edition
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Grand Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Heck yes, Amiri greatness!

Grand Lodge

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

A bit flowery for such a shorty story. However I love that she basically dares her foes to insult her to feed her rage.

Liberty's Edge

15 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Say "what" again!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Amiri is both of my kids favourite Iconic. Love it!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Very well done.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Good to get a preview of how Amiri perishes in 2nd Edition.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Nice one, James!

Dark Archive

Desna's Avatar wrote:
Good to get a preview of how Amiri perishes in 2nd Edition.

Ye would think that over 10 years of adventuring and completing all APs, all iconics would be level 20 already but nope, stuck at level 7 at max :D


Rage on?!? I'm raging since 2018 march! Hahahaha!

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Heck yeah, web fiction!!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This blog seems to have different titles here and on the Paizo Blog page. The one on the Paizo Blog page is a duplicated title.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

David knott 242 wrote:

This blog seems to have different titles here and on the Paizo Blog page. The one on the Paizo Blog page is a duplicated title.

This is a caching issue that should fix itself in time.


Yay James! Great scene.

Contributor

24 people marked this as a favorite.

WEBFICTION LIVES AGAIN! MWAHAHAHAHA!

Contributor

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, thank you to Mark and everyone else for letting me come back and play in the sandbox again. I can't wait for y'all to see next week's. :D

Dark Archive

I'm so excited!

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Please please please find a way for this to be a new beginning for Pathfinder fiction again. I love me some web fiction, but I still need more novels set in Golarion (and the Pact Worlds too, to be fair).


Nice scene. The art looks a lot like the player's handbook cover from another game I play. Quite nice.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

"Keep talking, jerkwad."

Ah, Amiri. So delightfully dangerous.

The ermine comparison is actually rather apt... weasels fight like mad bastards when they have to.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This is great!! Oh web fiction, how I have missed thee...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Class Deck Subscriber

Sweet. We all expect to see her 2nd edition pregens with those axes!

Paizo Employee Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.

A fantastic read! Thanks so much for investing such life into Amiri!


CorvusMask wrote:
Desna's Avatar wrote:
Good to get a preview of how Amiri perishes in 2nd Edition.
Ye would think that over 10 years of adventuring and completing all APs, all iconics would be level 20 already but nope, stuck at level 7 at max :D

Don't forget the sheer number of Pathfinder Society missions they've been on.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The name of the giant is Agmundr Jarl ? Or he is a Jarl called Agmundr ? Or he is the Jarl of the Agmundr clan and also called Agmundr ?

Dark Archive

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

I do love the rage narrative.

Cole Deschain wrote:

"Keep talking, jerkwad."

Ah, Amiri. So delightfully dangerous.

The ermine comparison is actually rather apt... weasels fight like mad bastards when they have to.

Is a great deatail, isn't it?


Okay, nice story, cool art. Love a blue giant. But...

"showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition"

I'm pretty sure I could tell this story with my current books?

Contributor

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Draco Bahamut wrote:
The name of the giant is Agmundr Jarl ? Or he is a Jarl called Agmundr ? Or he is the Jarl of the Agmundr clan and also called Agmundr ?

He's a jarl named Agmundr! I just thought it sounded appropriate to have the ordering of his formal address be "Agmunder Jarl," in the same way that in Lord of the Rings, Theoden is addressed as "Theoden King."


6 people marked this as a favorite.
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Tsukiyo wrote:

Okay, nice story, cool art. Love a blue giant. But...

"showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition"

I'm pretty sure I could tell this story with my current books?

So, you want to be critical eh? Okay, then, the announcement does not say anything about these being stories that can ONLY be told in 2e. Take a chill.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Very cool story James!! Hope to see more. Awesome artwork as well.


Judging from her lines, it seems PF2 barbs are coherent enough during rage time to make taunting one-liners. Or was it like that in PF1 rules-wise?

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Tsukiyo wrote:

Okay, nice story, cool art. Love a blue giant. But...

"showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition"

I'm pretty sure I could tell this story with my current books?

You can! Their point is that you can still do so with PF2. Something some people were legitimately concerned about.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lucas Yew wrote:
Judging from her lines, it seems PF2 barbs are coherent enough during rage time to make taunting one-liners. Or was it like that in PF1 rules-wise?

I'm reading that as before rage kicks in. In any case, I'd say that kind of taunting falls under the loose term of "any ability that requires patience or concentration", if maybe less eloquent.

With that thought, now I want to run a barbarian who slings insults like Team Four Star's Gohan when he's enraged.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
FedoraFerret wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Desna's Avatar wrote:
Good to get a preview of how Amiri perishes in 2nd Edition.
Ye would think that over 10 years of adventuring and completing all APs, all iconics would be level 20 already but nope, stuck at level 7 at max :D
Don't forget the sheer number of Pathfinder Society missions they've been on.

I hope Harsk gets his fair share of awesome time next, or at least soon.

But yeah, that's good webfiction.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Theres no diplomacy quite like Barbarian diplomacy :)

What irks me slightly about the picture is that Amiris sword actually looks a bit too small to be a giants blade - if you look at the sword at the Jarls side, it is quite a bit larger, never mind his axes. But perspective is complicated and we don't see the full sword. That was just my first Impression.

Great stuff on showcasing Amiris inner thoughts and how rage empowers her. Specifically her strength being challenged - so quite a bit of Nuance here, introducing the Giant totems anathema very naturally into the storytelling.

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yay! Amiri!

YAY! SUTTER!

James Sutter wrote:
WEBFICTION LIVES AGAIN! MWAHAHAHAHA!

Yay! *glomps froggy*

Also hehe, “little ermine”.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And yet another blog post I so wish I could favorite :-D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

AWESOMENESS

Silver Crusade

16 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
And yet another blog post I so wish I could favorite :-D

WISH GRANTED!

Sutter wrote:

Snow whipped around Amiri as she stepped out from behind the rock, letting her cloak drop away. "That's far enough."

The giant looked down in surprise. Tattoos the color of woad swirled across ice-blue skin as he towered over her, the axes in his hands taller than Amiri herself. Yet she had eyes only for the broken horn on his helm. This was him, all right.

"Hail, Agmundr Jarl." Amiri knew it was pointless to feign diplomacy, but her employers had been insistent. They still thought they could solve this without blood. Never mind that blood was all that ever really solved anything. Even now, White Elk scouts were hiding in the cliffs, watching to see if she could truly do what she claimed. "The White Elk Clan greets you," she said sternly, "and will trade if you wish, but your band may not enter their territory. The council forbids it."

The frost giant stared for a moment, then guffawed, a thunderous shout that threatened to bring down an avalanche and bury them both. The frozen waterfall of his beard split in a malicious grin.

"Forbid?" His voice was the groaning of glaciers. "Prey does not forbid. Prey runs, and the hunter pursues."

"So you agree we're done talking, then." Amiri unslung the sword from her back.

The jarl's grin widened as he took in Amiri's oversized weapon. "A giant's blade! And what will you do with that, little ermine? Shelter beneath it?"

"Stick around and find out."

Amiri hoisted the sword. Immediately, her biceps began to shake, her shoulders cramping. She bit down hard, teeth grinding as she tried to steady her traitorous muscles by sheer force of will. Yet the sword's point still bobbed like a ship at sea.

"You're too weak, little ermine." Agmundr laughed again and spat, the spittle freezing in midair with a crack. "And the time for weakness has passed. The last war is nearly upon us."

There it was, then. War. It had always been coming, as inevitable as the winter snows. Amiri had known that even before accepting the White Elk Clan's offer.

Yet now she knew nothing. Red haze settled across her vision, painting white snow a prophetic crimson. Her heart beat in her temples, a war drum throb that flowed hot through her limbs. Pulsing. Eager.

"Say it again," she growled.

"You're weak." He leered down at her, eyes alight. "Too weak to fight. Too weak to even make a proper slave. Nothing but dripping fat and marrow for the cook fire."

The cold was a distant memory. Inside Amiri's chest, a blast furnace opened its doors. Her ears filled with its roar.

The sword steadied, point going as still as a rock viper.

The giant's eyes widened.

"You're right about one thing, Jarl." She smiled. "War is coming. So let's get started."

Sword held high, she raced up the slanted stone. Axes made to fell watchtowers rose into guard position as the giant stepped back. In her hands, Amiri's giant-made blade sang, its frost-forged steel suddenly light as a willow switch, longing for the blood of its makers.

Around them, the storm shrieked, savage and unstoppable.

Amiri screamed with it.

And leapt.


DerNils wrote:

Theres no diplomacy quite like Barbarian diplomacy :)

What irks me slightly about the picture is that Amiris sword actually looks a bit too small to be a giants blade - if you look at the sword at the Jarls side, it is quite a bit larger, never mind his axes. But perspective is complicated and we don't see the full sword. That was just my first Impression.

Great stuff on showcasing Amiris inner thoughts and how rage empowers her. Specifically her strength being challenged - so quite a bit of Nuance here, introducing the Giant totems anathema very naturally into the storytelling.

I think the giant is also presented as slightly larger than it maybe should be, which plays into that.

Frost giants are supposed to be Large size - 10-12 feet tall and roughly double the girth of a human. This one looks significantly bigger than that - I'd almost call it Huge size.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

The Giant in question is a Jarl. It seems quite plausible that he's Huge, possibly due to magic of some sort. I mean, Enlarge is a spell that exists...

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Nice story, James! I especially like how you rendered "rage." Very cool.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The art is sick!

The giant looks awesome.

Now I want to make a Tiefling Bloodrager from the Land of the Linnorm Kings with the Abyssal bloodline who looks something like that. No horns on the helmet for sure. :)


MaxAstro wrote:
DerNils wrote:

Theres no diplomacy quite like Barbarian diplomacy :)

What irks me slightly about the picture is that Amiris sword actually looks a bit too small to be a giants blade - if you look at the sword at the Jarls side, it is quite a bit larger, never mind his axes. But perspective is complicated and we don't see the full sword. That was just my first Impression.

Great stuff on showcasing Amiris inner thoughts and how rage empowers her. Specifically her strength being challenged - so quite a bit of Nuance here, introducing the Giant totems anathema very naturally into the storytelling.

I think the giant is also presented as slightly larger than it maybe should be, which plays into that.

Frost giants are supposed to be Large size - 10-12 feet tall and roughly double the girth of a human. This one looks significantly bigger than that - I'd almost call it Huge size.

Frost Giants are Fifteen Feet tall according to the bestiary entry, so I think the size is pretty accurate.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is Amiri small (5 feet tall) ? It never occurred to me before

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
Is Amiri small (5 feet tall) ? It never occurred to me before

Even if she is, that pegs that giant at around 20 feet tall. More like 22 feet if she's, say, 5'6" (it's roughly 4 times as tall as her).

I'm pretty sure that's into Huge size and that's fine, as I mentioned previously, but it helps explain why her sword seems undersized for the giant she's fighting, since he's oversized compared to most giants.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Jotunblood. (Or its PF2 equivalent.)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
FedoraFerret wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Desna's Avatar wrote:
Good to get a preview of how Amiri perishes in 2nd Edition.
Ye would think that over 10 years of adventuring and completing all APs, all iconics would be level 20 already but nope, stuck at level 7 at max :D
Don't forget the sheer number of Pathfinder Society missions they've been on.

They're stuck with in an E7 campaign.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

So now we’re using game mechanics to criticize creative narrative? Sheesh, just enjoy it. Great job James and Roberto!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just think of the iconics like you think of super heroes-- different versions existing in lots of different timelines at once.

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