Iconic Evolution: Merisiel

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

STAB! That's a rogue for you, am I right? Sneaking up on unsuspecting victims and picking their pockets or poking holes in them is what they do. Just be glad today's special sneak attack was just a new Iconic Evolution video! In this weekly video series, artist Wayne Reynolds takes Paizo's publisher and chief creative officer, Erik Mona, through his creative process in updating Pathfinder's iconic characters for the game's Second Edition, coming out this August. 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 new version of Merisiel, the iconic elf rogue!

Artist's rendering of a thin elf female with long white hair and dark eyes.

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

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Iconic Evolutions Iconics Merisiel Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Rogues Wayne Reynolds
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6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is absolutely beautiful!
Lord Wayne Reynolds, I love the details of the Elven Physiology, the detail of the armour, the rapier is stunning elegant.
Well done Sir, I love Merisiel evolution.

Liberty's Edge

Huzzah!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

That's some pretty art. Gotta say that the strap from her leg would be annoying as hell slapping around as she walks. Maybe it's part of her scabbard?

Dark Archive

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

Not a fan of this one much preferd the boots the origonal had compared to these slipper things. Also maybe it is just me but one leg looks a bit odd?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, Also not really all that sure about the justification for changing bits of her equipment to be more Elven (Since background is forlorn elf so always felt that wearing more human equipment made sense.)

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Also, Also not really all that sure about the justification for changing bits of her equipment to be more Elven (Since background is forlorn elf so always felt that wearing more human equipment made sense.)

As the only elven iconic, it's important that she serve as an example to our artists of what elven equipment looks like in addition to being the model for Pathfinder elves. Since we've never said in her history that she specifically eschews elven gear, there's no reason that she couldn't outfit herself with it even if she does live among non-elves most of the time.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
That's some pretty art. Gotta say that the strap from her leg would be annoying as hell slapping around as she walks. Maybe it's part of her scabbard?

Pretty sure that IS her scabbard.

Anyhoo.

She looks less human. Therefore, I prefer this one.

LOVE her rapier.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
That's some pretty art. Gotta say that the strap from her leg would be annoying as hell slapping around as she walks. Maybe it's part of her scabbard?

Hrnnnn...Colonel, I’m trying to sneak around,

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Cole Deschain wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
That's some pretty art. Gotta say that the strap from her leg would be annoying as hell slapping around as she walks. Maybe it's part of her scabbard?

Pretty sure that IS her scabbard.

It's definitely the scabbard for the rapier in her hand.


I like the new art. Although I think I prefer aspects of the original. I do like the orignal boots better as Kevin Mack mentioned, also the hanging leather flaps in the front of the torso. She also seems to have lost a few daggers, going from 11 to 9, although there could be some on the back or possibly concealed, but her armor is a bit tight for concealed daggers. Speaking of the daggers, I am glad she's changing it up from just one type, the ones on the back brace. Now she's got a rondel (very popular historically but hightly underrepresented in fantasy art) and that more exotic looking dagger in her left hand. I think I preferred the sketch where she had the rondel dagger out and the alternate rapier. The rapier is also really nice. I liked the old one well enough, but the braiding into the blade is a really cool touch, and the new hilt reminds me a little bit of a schiavona, which is my favorite style of sword. This looks a bit like a mix of a type 1 and a type 2 with some Italian swept-hilt rapier influence for good measure. I'm a type 2B kind of guy personally. Although I think the sketch version of the dagger hilt was even cooler and even more unique, with it's forward facing branches. So I like this art, but I think I liked the sketch version even better. This one might be easier for other artists to work with though.

I do like that she's gotten even less human looking. And she was already fairly non-human looking. She's gotten more uncanny-valley thin and lanky with the narrower head.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Looks like a cricket with hooves, all bound up in red and blue wrapping.

On the good side, the picture explains why the Kyonin are such racist monsters. Everything around them, including their half-human children, would be utterly alien and offensive to them. Though that begs the question of why they keep spawning half-elves.

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I like this version. the increased emphasis on her inhumanity is a definite plus. Her outfit also looks less busy, which is good for the Rogue specifically (she needs to stay unencumbered for the sneaking).


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I always like the Pathfinder alien-Elves, if anything thinking it wasn't emphasized consistently enough.
An insectoid vibe seems especially valid considering that is the trend in other native intelligent races of their home planet,
which I beleive they are distantly related to, although I'm not quite as familiar with all the details of that.
Personally I hope the alien psychology and society/ecology and implications of ultra-long lifespans are better detailed,
for one it seems like they will either be radically less or radically more economically stratified than short lived humans,
but there isn't really much on that level of things AFAIK, certainly not getting into the gritty nuances of it.

Or what I'm saying is, it feels like for all the promise of alien-insectoid-Elves, they rarely get played that way,
alot of people treat them as 'pretty svelte humans', which is aesthetic preference, but IMHO they shouldn't be that at all,
they have no CHA bonus to speak of, and shouldn't be seen as aspirational human ideal by humans...
It's not like there needs to be substantial level of human-elf attraction to explain the number of half-elves existing,
even a tiny occurence of that will result in decent amount of half-elves considering the lifespan of elves.


She looks like a Salarian almost with all the gangly limbs. I like it.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

She's awesome. I love that she, like the other non-human ancestries, looks much less human, and the details of her gear are splendid.

Another fantastic job, Wayne!

Liberty's Edge

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

This picture is great for all the reasons presented above. The alien origin of elves really shines through here. In fact if not for the big ears, she would almost look like a Roswell one

Silver Crusade

6 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! Princess stabbity is back!

I love the new palette, it makes her stand out more. Plus, dagger variety is good :3

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love the alien aspect of the art, even though it's hard to see it at a real game table. People have LOTR elves in mind and I always try to break it off and show Golarion elves lore to them.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Leafar Cathal wrote:
I love the alien aspect of the art, even though it's hard to see it at a real game table. People have LOTR elves in mind and I always try to break it off and show Golarion elves lore to them.

I'm kind of torn. It's neat to see them more alien, less human-like, on the other hand, the more standard elves have deep roots. Not just Tolkien, influential though he was, but back into legends of Faerie and Sidhe. Moving too far away from that takes us away from what people may expect and want from "elves" and off into some other realm altogether.


Leafar Cathal wrote:
I love the alien aspect of the art, even though it's hard to see it at a real game table. People have LOTR elves in mind and I always try to break it off and show Golarion elves lore to them.

I honestly never knew it was a thing, I thought this was new for 2e. From the fiction, PF elves just seemed like the standard collection of jerks and cowards with pointed ears.

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Voss wrote:
Leafar Cathal wrote:
I love the alien aspect of the art, even though it's hard to see it at a real game table. People have LOTR elves in mind and I always try to break it off and show Golarion elves lore to them.
I honestly never knew it was a thing, I thought this was new for 2e. From the fiction, PF elves just seemed like the standard collection of jerks and cowards with pointed ears.

The fiction's been mixed on what they're like culturally, but their alien origins (or at least potential origins) are really well established in Golarion canon anywhere it discusses Elves in detail.


Voss wrote:
PF elves just seemed like the standard collection of jerks and cowards with pointed ears.

Around elves, watch yourselves!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Voss wrote:
Leafar Cathal wrote:
I love the alien aspect of the art, even though it's hard to see it at a real game table. People have LOTR elves in mind and I always try to break it off and show Golarion elves lore to them.
I honestly never knew it was a thing, I thought this was new for 2e. From the fiction, PF elves just seemed like the standard collection of jerks and cowards with pointed ears.
The fiction's been mixed on what they're like culturally, but their alien origins (or at least potential origins) are really well established in Golarion canon anywhere it discusses Elves in detail.

Not just the fiction, but the relatively casual use of elves in adventures and the like tends to present them more generically. And of course the Core Rules. If you dig into the details, it's certainly there, but it's quite possible to play and run PF in Golarion without picking up on it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Yep she looks like a Grey with hair and pointy ears. I like it.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Love it. Merisiel looks like an awesome combination of playful and deadly. Almost kind of cat-like in that way. And as with Harsk and Lini, I love how the non-human physiology is emphasized.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Regarding eyes, this seems like a good time to verify for second edition. Are they entirely single color, or are they just incredibly large corneas with a bit of normal-white Sclera?


This one's just sort of shapeless and flat looking. I wasn't a fan of the old version either though, so maybe I just don't like the character.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
thistledown wrote:
Regarding eyes, this seems like a good time to verify for second edition. Are they entirely single color, or are they just incredibly large corneas with a bit of normal-white Sclera?

I believe it's the latter.


Well. In general, I like Wayne Reynolds' art, he added much to the overall feel of PF.

I understand where he came from, the whole "elves are not human, they are alien" thing and that he wanted to accentuate that with differing body proportions. I also always liked the longer ears and especially the eyes of PF's elves.

Said all that, I'm not a big fan of this. The face, on itself, is good and I like much of the equipment. However, I get the longer legs, the slimmer build and all that, but it's just too much for me. She's not even like an anime figure, or Alita in the movie, which would be celarly not human, but still attractive in an alien way (as it was mentioned above by others, elves are supposed to be attractive to humans). This piece shows her more like having the proportions of a small child, with a seriously underfed trunk (I mean, THAT slim of a waist???), with a too big head and an adult's legs.

I would like to see elves as clearly not-human, yes, but not as children. I preferred the old artwork, though there was several among the sketches shown in the video, which I liked a lot more than the final version, to be honest.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, I always liked the "busy-ness" of Reynolds' artworks, but these new ones are a bit too "streamlined and a bit too, I dunno, bright.

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
PMárk wrote:
She's not even like an anime figure, or Alita in the movie, which would be celarly not human, but still attractive in an alien way (as it was mentioned above by others, elves are supposed to be attractive to humans).

For the record, I still think Merisiel is attractive in this illustration. Frankly, about as attractive as she ever was. She's more alien here, but no less pretty.

Just as a counterpoint to people who think she isn't attractive.

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I also find her as attractive as ever. I prefer the longer eared elves to the more Tolkienesque.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

The longer ears remind me of Record of Lodoss War, which was a part of my childhood, so I pretty much always imagine elves with long ears. XD


It's not particularly the ears. It's the facial structure that looks more uncanny valley to me.

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
It's not particularly the ears. It's the facial structure that looks more uncanny valley to me.

As it was supposed to be. Elves in Golarion have always been like that. Beauty is always relative (since it's a social construction), but imho, what makes an Golarian elf appealing to humans is the mix of "odd" features and it's long lifespan, making them look mysterious, intelligent and sometimes sad, when they stay far too long within a human community.

Grand Lodge

A little bit offtopic: In the playtest book, we have that description of Elven lifespan:

Quote:


Elves typically reach physical adulthood around the age of
20 (though they’re considered by other elves to be fully emotionally mature at close to the end of their first century), and they can live to around 600 years old.

Is that a retcon? If I recall correctly, Elves wouldn't be mature (physically and emotionally) until around their first century, which makes it so painful for an elf to grow up in a human environment, where they see all their friends live and die before they can even reach maturity. Seems like Elves now grow up as fast as a human, but to other elves (and to other elves only), they're still a child until their nineties.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't especially find her attractive, but I never really did. But that feels kind of nice, frankly. Her body shape feels less tailored to... well, I want to say the male gaze, but what I really mean is the human gaze. Old Mersiel felt like a very particular vision of sexy, where as this version just feels distinctive, which is good in my book.

And while thejeff is correct that you could play a lot of Golarion Pathfinder without ever realizing how weird elves were, that strikes me as a good reason to really drive the point home in the core rulebook and art. Especially when we have half-elves as a common thing. If you want a more human looking elf, that's your answer. That also makes half-elves themselves more distinct and easier to picture. I mean, check out the 5e player's handbook. The elves are recognizable as traditional elves, but the half elf pictured just looks like some random dude bro.

I'm a pretty big fan of this art all in all. Might be my favorite of the new looks. There's something sleeker about it, which feels very appropriate for a rogue who may need to slip, squeeze, and escape a lot.


Leafar Cathal wrote:
Is that a retcon? If I recall correctly, Elves wouldn't be mature (physically and emotionally) until around their first century, which makes it so painful for an elf to grow up in a human environment, where they see all their friends live and die before they can even reach maturity. Seems like Elves now grow up as fast as a human, but to other elves (and to other elves only), they're still a child until their nineties.

If I remember correctly elves always matured physically more or less at the same pace as human, it was their psychological maturity that didn't reach adult standards till a century in.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

To me that reads as "elves spend 80 years as teenagers" and suddenly I understand why adult elves are renouned for their patience. :P


2 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:
To me that reads as "elves spend 80 years as teenagers" and suddenly I understand why adult elves are renouned for their patience. :P

So true! XD

Regarding patience, think Kyra's still around? We could use some of her fire magic with some of the usual trolls... ;P


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Roswynn wrote:
Leafar Cathal wrote:
Is that a retcon? If I recall correctly, Elves wouldn't be mature (physically and emotionally) until around their first century, which makes it so painful for an elf to grow up in a human environment, where they see all their friends live and die before they can even reach maturity. Seems like Elves now grow up as fast as a human, but to other elves (and to other elves only), they're still a child until their nineties.
If I remember correctly elves always matured physically more or less at the same pace as human, it was their psychological maturity that didn't reach adult standards till a century in.

It was never explicitly specified. The closest I know was in the rules for child adventurers, where 55 year old elves were given the same stat adjustments (and other rules) as 8 year humans.

There's been many debates about this here. :)

If it's explicit that they grow up as fast as a human now, that's a retcon - or at least a revelation that was strongly implied otherwise.

Seems to me it would kind of kill the Forlorn idea: the elf that grew up with humans would just grow up like a normal human and be treated as an adult (and start adventuring) in their late teens, early twenties just like a human. Other more traditional elves would be weirded out by it, but there's no reason that Merisiel would be over 100 when she started seriously adventuring.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Elves grow up/mature as quickly as humans, but then they slow down a lot. You can still play a 100 year old elf who, biologically, is akin to a 20 year old human, more or less, and it's that sort of elf who is a Forlorn elf if they grew up among humans or other races that grow old and die much more quickly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:
To me that reads as "elves spend 80 years as teenagers" and suddenly I understand why adult elves are renouned for their patience. :P

Also makes me wonder why most new elven adventurers aren't "teenagers" rebelling about being made to sit around like children for decades.

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