Iconic Encounter: Whispers in the Blood

Friday, May 10, 2019

Some spellcasters study tirelessly to master the arcane arts, such as the wizard Ezren, whose understanding of various treatises on magic was at the heart of his Iconic Encounter a few months ago. Others, however, like the iconic sorcerer, Seoni, gain their magical abilities from their blood, whether that's a hint of an extraplanar power or simply legendary ancestors from ages long past. Enjoy the following piece of short fiction from James L. Sutter in the next entry into our series of Iconic Encounters—brief vignettes of the iconic characters showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition.

Illustration by Mikhail Palamarchuk

The gargoyles hit like a ton of bricks—which they were, more or less. Valeros went flying as the leading statue-beast slammed into him, and if not for Kyra grabbing his leg as he sailed past, he might have tumbled from the roof entirely. Seoni only barely managed to dodge the two that came for her, their stony wings chipping shards from the parapet as they swooped in for the kill.

Valeros didn't bother to stand. From his position flat on his back, he thrust upward with his sword. Steel sparked and screeched across stone pectorals, barely scratching one of the beasts as it glided past, claws raking at his armor.

Behind him, light blazed from 'Kyra's holy symbol, casting long shadows against the dusk.

"It's no good!" the cleric shouted, lashing out ineffectively with her own blade. "They're not evil!"

"You could have fooled me!" Valeros rolled aside as claws gouged stone like bread dough, leaving deep furrows. He barely blocked a second strike with his shield. "Cayden's cup, how do we hurt these things?"

How indeed? Seoni raised her staff, then hesitated. Would fire even touch these stone monstrosities? Or lightning?

Best to be safe. She let her eyes defocus, turning her sight inward—down inside herself, to the roiling core. Across her skin, tattoos flared to life, their blue light feeding back into her, running like ley lines into her soul.

For Ezren, magic was a memory—the struggle to record and remember, his wizardry dry and academic. For Kyra, it was channeling the power the divine, making herself a vessel for the sun goddess's holy flame.

For Seoni, it was both of these and neither. The power came to her like a memory, but it was not her memory. The power that filled her was not a god's, but her own people's, a thousand generations flowing through her veins. With it came their whispers—shards of lives she'd never lived, voices long since turned to dust. Uncounted faces staring back from inside her.

Sigils blazed in the air before her. They spun around her hands, then shot forward like darts, smashing through the gargoyles' stone flesh in bloodless explosions. The monsters screamed in shock and pain, banking away from the tower.

Seoni smiled, but only briefly. She'd proved the creatures could be hurt, but her missiles were too weak to take on all of them singlehanded. Wearing them down would take too long, and already the beasts were wheeling around for another pass.

Yet something about the creatures' twisted visages tugged at her memory.

Or maybe not her memory...

Falling back into the shelter of the cathedral's doorway, she closed her eyes. Shutting out the snarls of the enemy and the shouts of her friends, she sought new voices—those flowing through her blood. They surged louder, surrounding her as she asked her silent question.

A storm of images, whirling and chaotic. Faces familiar and foreign, seasons flickering past like lightning. A flash of stone wings. The glint of a blade too bright for steel...

Seoni's eyes snapped open. "Adamantine! They're vulnerable to adamantine!"

Kyra dodged another claw swipe and looked over at her, her own eyes wide. "Those blades in the crypt! The ones the knights were buried with!"

"Then what are we waiting for?" Through bruises and blood, Valeros grinned. "Looks like the church is going to make a donation to us for a change!"

If you liked this week's Iconic Encounter, be sure to check back next Thursday for another new entry in the series. Until then, Pathfinders, may the power of your ancestors flow through your veins.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Iconic Encounters Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Seoni Sorcerers
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If you're going to get into it over alignment, please take it to it's own thread and remember than alignment discussions contain a lot of subjectiveness.


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An alignment argument on the messageboards? Over something *I* wrote? Perish the thought! :D

(Somewhere in the Paizo offices, James Jacobs just looked up suddenly and said, "I sense something... a presence I have not felt since...")

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Rysky wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Having checked, in terms of Playtest Bestiary Alignments, Goblins have changed from NE to CE, as have Barghests, and Gargoyles are Neutral now.

None of the other creatures listed had alignment changes I noticed, though I don't have every PF1 creature's alignment memorized.

Roswynn wrote:
I think so too, but in that case... perhaps tagging a whole Bestiary entry with the "Evil" keyword might seem a little unfair?
I think having the most common Alignment listed is fine, as long as they make it very explicit it's just the most common culturally for those who aren't Outsiders or Undead (and not universal even among outsiders and undead).

I hope they list that elsewhere than the Tags, and save those for overwhelming/innate Alignment.

For most things in the bestiary we can infer their alignment and actions simply by reading their lore/ecology (one of the stated goals, I believe, was to avoid 1 sentence writeups for monsters in 2e), whereas Bandits 1-5 in area 2 room 3 you can list their Alignment.

Yeah, those tags seem to be better served as an alternative to subtype and the like. Alignment should be separated out of the tags. Especially if alignment is becoming less universal across non-outsider races (which I suspect it is). Alignment could also be listed as tendencies like in 3.5 "Usually CE" or the like.

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James Sutter wrote:

An alignment argument on the messageboards? Over something *I* wrote? Perish the thought! :D

(Somewhere in the Paizo offices, James Jacobs just looked up suddenly and said, "I sense something... a presence I have not felt since...")

. . . two weeks ago?

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