Iconic Evolution: Seelah

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It's Tuesday, and that means another Iconic Evolution. This week's entry is a stalwart bastion of goodness, righteousness, and sacrifice, the stoic paladin. 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 Seelah, the iconic champion!

Artist's rendering of a bald tan man dressed in blue, white, and gold weilding a temple sword.

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: Iconic Evolutions Iconics Paladins Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Seelah Wayne Reynolds
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Huzzah!!! Our Glorious Champion of Goodness and Order, Seelah.

I like the new look and I'm a little worried that I may get Smited.

Well done Lord Wayne Von Reynolds!


I like the changes. I still think the shield should be a kite shield but at least the tower shield is appropriate for a heavily armored warrior. I don't understand the choice of a long bow over a short bow.

Shadow Lodge

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Where's the helmet?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

It seems like her skin is lighter in the new art, and I'm not a huge fan of that :(


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Seven Acts of Iomedae?

https://pathfinder.fandom.com/wiki/Acts_of_Iomedae

11 Acts of Iomedae?

Shadow Lodge

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Also, weird pronunciation. Io-Media? I've always heard it as Io-med-ay


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Fantastic rendition. I like how her skin color is warmer, and her expression and facial features are beautiful. Love the shield too. The armor is pretty spectacular as well. I also like the angelic motifs all over her gear, very spot on. Kudos Wayne!


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Cori Marie wrote:
It seems like her skin is lighter in the new art, and I'm not a huge fan of that :(

I think in general, across all art, the general tone of the pallet has been brightened up quite a few notches.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
It seems like her skin is lighter in the new art, and I'm not a huge fan of that :(
I think in general, across all art, the general tone of the pallet has been brightened up quite a few notches.

Yeah, it looks more like she's in better lighting than any actual skin change. At least to me, anyway.


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Looks great. The iconics always feel so intentional compared to the seemingly random images in the 5e PHB. Don't get me wrong, the art in WOTC's books is impressive, but Pathfinder's always feels like it has a more careful thought process behind it. Love the way Wayne incorporates the character's culture, personality and gear into a complete design.

Coming from a 5e DM looking forward to trying PF2.


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Between Wayne not knowing how to pronounce Iomedae, neither Wayne nor Iomedae's creator knowing how many acts of Iomedae there are, and Wayne not knowing how big a tower shield is this one is definitely the funniest entry yet in this series. Also one of the best looking.


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She looks taller somehow? Also, her breastplate isn't a full-on "breast" plate and I very much like that. This has to be my favorite of the new designs.


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Cori Marie wrote:
It seems like her skin is lighter in the new art, and I'm not a huge fan of that :(

I wouldn't say it's lighter. It went from a cool tone to a warm tone.

Liberty's Edge

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I really like this look. That's about all I have to say about that.

Shadow Lodge

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I like it, although I would have appreciated seeing her iconic familiar, Mr. Helmet.


I am looking forward to the short story about her. I couldn't wrap my head around how retributive strike and its latter abilities worked.


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wasnt her helmet kind of important to her story?


What do the keys unlock? Dare I ask?

Liberty's Edge

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

Yet another iconic who IMO looks more like a real person. I feel the facial features give a stronger and more accurate African feel than the original artwork


Her torso looks very narrow, almost as if the armor were a corset. Though it might be the shadows that create that effect.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Nicos wrote:
Her torso looks very narrow, almost as if the armor were a corset. Though it might be the shadows that create that effect.

It looks like the shadows creating the effect to me.

Either way, all of these iconic evolutions are doing a good job of reinforcing to me that the game is honoring its past and that the art for 2nd edition will continue to be awesome.


Another good one. She gets shoulders, I bet that makes the rest of the team a little jealous. Hopefully her helmet is hanging off her belt out of sight rather than just gone. She does look a bit skinny if we assume a bit of thickness from the armor, but that seems to be a universal change across the new designs. Her skin is also much more red than it had been previously, which makes it look lighter.

I still prefer the original, but this is nice too.


Saint Bernard wrote:
I don't understand the choice of a long bow over a short bow.

Assuming they still work like in the Playtest, if Seelah is in shortbow range she's probably better off moving into melee.


Ok, I really like this one. The emphasizing the boob-plate is a good move. Those are silly. That scabbard is cool, even if you can't fully make out the details in this image. The shield is nice, a hand-pavice. Even the flowing cloth of her cloak and such looks slightly more regal. The only real thing I'm not a fan of is the sword. It looks shorter and chunkier now. And I don't think it'd fit in that scabbard.

N N 959 wrote:
What do the keys unlock? Dare I ask?

I don't think it was ever defined officially. Although in the Wayne Reynolds question thread, he says he imagines it being the key to her chastity belt.

Wayne Reynolds wrote:
El Ronza wrote:
Speaking of Seelah, what's the significance of the key that hangs around her right thigh? It's such a captivating little detail, and I've always wanted to know - is there a story behind your choice to include it, or is it just a little visual touch?
I always intended it to be the key to her chastity belt.


Armour's a bit more form-fitting than I'd have liked, but even without the pauldrons she does, at least, appear to possess shoulders so that's something.

Her face looked a bit deformed in the thumbnail too, but it disappeared after clicking on the illustration.


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Saint Bernard wrote:
I like the changes. I still think the shield should be a kite shield but at least the tower shield is appropriate for a heavily armored warrior. I don't understand the choice of a long bow over a short bow.

Unless Seelah's 8-9 feet tall now, that looks like a shortbow to me.


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Crayon wrote:
Saint Bernard wrote:
I like the changes. I still think the shield should be a kite shield but at least the tower shield is appropriate for a heavily armored warrior. I don't understand the choice of a long bow over a short bow.
Unless Seelah's 8-9 feet tall now, that looks like a shortbow to me.

In the equipments sketch in the video, it’s labeled as a longbow.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Ok, I really like this one. The emphasizing the boob-plate is a good move. Those are silly.

De-emphasizing is what I meant, obviously. But I caught it after the edit window has expired.


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This is a tower shield.

This is a pavise.

Seelah's shield isn't perfectly historically accurate (it doesn't need to be), but it looks like half of an elliptical.

(It's also very cool).


That sword looks almost like Seelah managed to get hold of a Gladius sized for a Large creature. In Pathfinder 1st Edition, she'd be kind of out of luck for using it without penalty (although at least being a Light weapon, it converts to One-Handed for her), but maybe 2nd Edition has something for this.


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She looks majestic! :D
It's a nice touch that the armor is shiny and with artful details and the shield is functional. Since shields are consumables in PF2.


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Roswynn wrote:

This is a tower shield.

This is a pavise.

Seelah's shield isn't perfectly historically accurate (it doesn't need to be), but it looks like half of an elliptical.

(It's also very cool).

That's why I said hand-pavise. Or like this one. It's still not a perfect match, because they have that mid-ridge like a full-sized pavise, and I think are strapped differently. But that second one looks a lot like hers, but upside down.

I've never actually been sure what the D&D/Pathfinder "tower shield" was supposed to represent. Sometimes I've seen it used to imply something like the roman scutum. Other times it seems that they meant for them to be any big shield, including Norman kite shields. And other times it's implied to be a pvaise, but for some reason isn't standard crossbowman gear.

Regardless, I think they might be gone from PF2. They weren't in the playtest. Same with bucklers or rather the weird thing that they used to call a buckler that acted completely opposite of what an actual buckler was. (Said to be strapped to the forearm with no grip, as opposed to a historical buckler which was gripped only). I figure true bucklers can fit just fine under Light Shields in the new system, while there is probably still design space for a proper pavise. I'd probably remove the bit about only Fighters having proficiency in them, and instead focus on the ability to set them up as portable fortification for archers/crossbowmen or possibly even mages.


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VerBeeker wrote:
She looks taller somehow? Also, her breastplate isn't a full-on "breast" plate and I very much like that. This has to be my favorite of the new designs.

I think her head is a little smaller compared to the rest of her body height than in the original, which is what makes characters look big or small in a vacuum


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Crayon wrote:
Saint Bernard wrote:
I like the changes. I still think the shield should be a kite shield but at least the tower shield is appropriate for a heavily armored warrior. I don't understand the choice of a long bow over a short bow.
Unless Seelah's 8-9 feet tall now, that looks like a shortbow to me.

Since Wayne thinks she's carrying a tower shield, it seems she is 9 feet tall.

Silver Crusade

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Awesome, loving the reworked breastplate. Also it's a minor thing but i love the laces (for lack of a better term) in the front of her boots now.


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Just about every tweak here works for me.

The facial structure and armor adjustment in particular.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:

That's why I said hand-pavise. Or like this one. It's still not a perfect match, because they have that mid-ridge like a full-sized pavise, and I think are strapped differently. But that second one looks a lot like hers, but upside down.

I've never actually been sure what the D&D/Pathfinder "tower shield" was supposed to represent. Sometimes I've seen it used to imply something like the roman scutum. Other times it seems that they meant for them to be any big shield, including Norman kite shields. And other times it's implied to be a pvaise, but for some reason isn't standard crossbowman gear.

Regardless, I think they might be gone from PF2. They weren't in the playtest. Same with bucklers or rather the weird thing that they used to call a buckler that acted completely opposite of what an actual buckler was. (Said to be strapped to the forearm with no grip, as opposed to a historical buckler which was gripped only). I figure true bucklers can fit just fine under Light Shields in the new system, while there is probably still design space for a proper pavise. I'd probably remove the bit about only Fighters having proficiency in them, and instead focus on the ability to set them up as portable fortification for archers/crossbowmen or...

I've never heard talking of hand-pavises, but then again, I've never heard of half-ellipticals either, so I guess whatever we want to call that shield is okay.

I'm not even sure you strap a true pavise, since you mainly shove it into the ground before you and hide behind it to reload. I've read crossbowmen had hirelings to do that for them.

If we're talking about 1e and 3.5 tower shields, well, any really big shield would work - scutum, dueling shield, anything that covers most of the body would probably be a good fit. And I hear you about bucklers... honestly I hoped this new edition would have been a little more historically accurate... but we can't have nice things apparently ;P

I agree with you regarding light shields being good approximations of necessity for bucklers while leaving design space both for more detailed bucklers and various large shields. And perhaps in the 2e Unchained we'll get some hint on how to build our own arsenals? Just a thought.


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Roswynn wrote:
I've never heard talking of hand-pavises, but then again, I've never heard of half-ellipticals either, so I guess whatever we want to call that shield is okay.

It reminds me in shape and size of Middle/New Kingdom Egyptian shields. Like these two, though certainly not as ornate (they're from the tomb of Tutankhamun). Whether that's a good model to use is another question, but at least it's not another European type.


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The “breastless” plate is definitely an improvement, I’m not a huge fan of the shield but that’s not a big deal. Overall this is probably my favorite so far. She looks beautiful.


Bluenose wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
I've never heard talking of hand-pavises, but then again, I've never heard of half-ellipticals either, so I guess whatever we want to call that shield is okay.
It reminds me in shape and size of Middle/New Kingdom Egyptian shields. Like these two, though certainly not as ornate (they're from the tomb of Tutankhamun). Whether that's a good model to use is another question, but at least it's not another European type.

That's where I had seen that shape - Egyptian shields! Considering Seelah is a Garundi that's not a bad look for her, even though she's from Geb and not Osirion (and Geb could easily have a sort of "undead-ruled Osirion" flavor).

Well done Bluenose, that's a great example!


Raylyeh wrote:
Overall this is probably my favorite so far.

Mine too.


REALLY like this one. Almost certainly my favorite as well.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think this piece of art best shows off the new overall tone. She looks like a knight in shining armour and that is awesome for the Paladin iconic.


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Why would Seelah need a chastity belt? And if so, why does she have the key? I don't think that is how chastity belts were used.


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Zaister wrote:
Why would Seelah need a chastity belt? And if so, why does she have the key? I don't think that is how chastity belts were used.

Chastity belts weren't used at all as far as historians can tell. There's a few humorous references to the idea of them in various texts, but no authentic artifacts. There's also the issue of disease and damage caused by permanent solid underwear which pushes the chastity belt into the realm of myth.

But, fantasy worlds are what they are. There's more than a few fantasy worlds out there that would encourage any warrior to lock their genitals up before combat.


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ErichAD wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Why would Seelah need a chastity belt? And if so, why does she have the key? I don't think that is how chastity belts were used.

Chastity belts weren't used at all as far as historians can tell. There's a few humorous references to the idea of them in various texts, but no authentic artifacts. There's also the issue of disease and damage caused by permanent solid underwear which pushes the chastity belt into the realm of myth.

But, fantasy worlds are what they are. There's more than a few fantasy worlds out there that would encourage any warrior to lock their genitals up before combat.

I think there's a few examples kicking around in museums and private collections, but they're also highly suspected of being 19th century fakes. Yeah, if used long-term they'd mostly just injure, sicken and eventually kill the wearer. Could maybe be a defensive thing for short-term use. But I figure that line was probably mostly intended as a joke, but that's the only word from the artist that we have on the key. And it'd be the Paizo writers who give an official answer. Could be all sorts of things, including purely symbolic.

Grand Lodge

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Maybe the keys are for her gym locker.


Cori Marie wrote:
It seems like her skin is lighter in the new art, and I'm not a huge fan of that :(

Pretty much all the colors are brighter in the newer renditions. So no surprise there, tbh. :P

The colors are more saturated and somewhat brighter. Not sure if I'm a fan of it either, but I'm sure it'll grow on me. Nevertheless, that's all I have a problem with. The art is great as usual. I love Wayne Reynolds' style, so... The colors can be fixed easily, with some kind of editing software. :)

Dataphiles

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Aristophanes wrote:
Maybe the keys are for her gym locker.

She is lawful good. It's very likely they're for manacles or fetters so she can bring in trouble-makers alive so that proper justice can be served.


like her new look....

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