Iconic Evolution: Valeros

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

We did it! We've made it through all 11 updated iconics who will appear in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook in August! There's a twelfth iconic, of course, who didn't get a video because he hasn't evolved from a previous iteration, but never fear—Fumbus doesn't mind sharing the spotlight with his friends, especially not Valeros, who the goblin alchemist is particularly fond of for his ability to drink so much! Sure, it's ale and not pickle brine or strange alchemical concoctions, but Fumbus appreciates anyone with an appetite (or thirst) that rivals his own. Valeros is one of the iconics who changed the most between editions, switching out his second sword for a shield. Check out this short video of a conversation between artist Wayne Reynolds and Paizo's Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, Erik Mona, for a glimpse into the mind of Pathfinder's most iconic visual artist and the first official look at the new version of Valeros, the iconic fighter!

And that wraps up our Iconic Evolutions series. Thanks for taking this journey with us! Next week, we'll start looking at some of the changes to the Pathfinder setting as presented in the Lost Omens World Guide, also releasing on August 1. Stay tuned for a glimpse into the Age of Lost Omens, where your characters are set to embark upon their greatest adventures.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Fighters Iconic Evolutions Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Valeros Wayne Reynolds
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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Yes, we see those heroes every day.
You see weak to average murderhobos every day?

We see heroes that don't have ideal figures every day.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Yes, we see those heroes every day.
You see weak to average murderhobos every day?
We see heroes that don't have ideal figures every day.

Do they regularly engage in life and death melee combat and emerge victorious? Because that's the issue of the people preferring realism - look like you belong here, where "here" is having survived at least a few levels in the PFRPG.

As an alternative I would accept indicators of highly improbably dumb luck, like an iconic holding up a big lottery check.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Realism is unrealistic.


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What in Valeros' physical build makes people think he can't fight worth a damn?

Or are we still discussing Amiri here? And in that case, what's the big difference?


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Realism is unrealistic.

I'm glad to see you so quickly abandon your "real heroes (of the relevant type) look like this" position, at least. Is this your final nihilistic position, or will there be more goal post shifting?

Roswynn wrote:

What in Valeros' physical build makes people think he can't fight worth a damn?

Or are we still discussing Amiri here? And in that case, what's the big difference?

He's relatively scrawny, like Amiri, if he's supposed to be a very strong person who makes a living out of engaging in and winning melee combat regularly. So as it turns out there is no difference.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Realism is unrealistic.
I'm glad to see you so quickly abandon your "real heroes (of the relevant type) look like this" position, at least.

No position has been abandoned, you're just imagining things. As for goalposts, I was not the one changing the definition midstream.


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Xenocrat wrote:
He's relatively scrawny, like Amiri, if he's supposed to be a very strong person who makes a living out of engaging in and winning melee combat regularly. So as it turns out there is no difference.

Okay, I understand he doesn't look str 18, no one really does among the Iconics either new or old, this points have been driven home to the point of exhaustion, but yes, okay.

Still, he does look like a warrior. Who could indeed engage in and win melee combats regularly. His physique is strong yet agile. And in any case it's not just a matter of physical appearance - experience and skill are much more important.

So honestly who cares if the melee fighters don't look exactly like their stats would (stereo-)typically make them appear? They do look like warriors, fighters, combatants. And yes, fantasy heroes, definitely.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Realism is unrealistic.

I'm glad to see you so quickly abandon your "real heroes (of the relevant type) look like this" position, at least. Is this your final nihilistic position, or will there be more goal post shifting?

Roswynn wrote:

What in Valeros' physical build makes people think he can't fight worth a damn?

Or are we still discussing Amiri here? And in that case, what's the big difference?

He's relatively scrawny, like Amiri, if he's supposed to be a very strong person who makes a living out of engaging in and winning melee combat regularly. So as it turns out there is no difference.

A person does not have to look like Bane or Chyna to be strong. Valeros looks plenty strong to me.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Realism is unrealistic.

Right on the money. Just hired a couple young movers the other day who were relatively skinny/“scrawny”, but they were strong as anything! That’s just a quick personal example, but there are a ton of them. Used to wrestle with small skinny guy, who would lay out opponents four times their size. Anyway, tons of examples to be had out there.


Eh, In terms of PF1 New Valeros seems like a solid str 14 to me, aka, a decent built for a warrior.


Cole Deschain wrote:
DerNils wrote:

Also sad to see the mug go - it was a great world-building and character Detail. I'm sure further Images will include it again, but it's still missing.

The mug's right there.

Behind his shield- that's not a scabbard opening, that's his friggin' tankard. Might be he polished it up a bit.

He didn't just polish it up -- he got a newer and bigger (and brighter) mug. Compare old on left with new on right.

Now what gets me is that his shield looks like a kite, but given the increase in the size of his mug, it's easy to understand how he might have picked up the wrong object . . . .


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Kaelizar wrote:
Lastly, the shape of the shield. Since he is the Iconic Fighter, it would have been nicer to see a more..... traditional shield. Something with less of a point at the top, and rounded coming down to the bottom. I'm all for Fantasy getting away from historical designs, but something less "Kite" shaped and more "Shield" shaped. I can only hope that will shields being dented and broken, that Valeros finds something a litter nicer as he levels. :D

It is a historical design. The Italian Targa shields often appear in illustrations and surviving examples to have been that shape and a pretty good match for size. There are older examples too. I think WAR taking inspiration from a wider range of history and culture than previously is a good thing.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Gah, the colors...

I love the style of this image, the shape and detail of his look, but I dearly wish that this picture had been in black and white or sephia tone. Maybe if the shield had been blue instead?

I'm sure it'll look better inside an actual illustration. The white background makes his colors pop out in a way that probably won't come up in most depictions of him.


Bluenose wrote:
Kaelizar wrote:
Lastly, the shape of the shield. Since he is the Iconic Fighter, it would have been nicer to see a more..... traditional shield. Something with less of a point at the top, and rounded coming down to the bottom. I'm all for Fantasy getting away from historical designs, but something less "Kite" shaped and more "Shield" shaped. I can only hope that will shields being dented and broken, that Valeros finds something a litter nicer as he levels. :D
It is a historical design. The Italian Targa shields often appear in illustrations and surviving examples to have been that shape and a pretty good match for size. There are older examples too. I think WAR taking inspiration from a wider range of history and culture than previously is a good thing.

Do you have a link to a historical example of this sort of shield? I can't find anything quite like it. It looks a little like a german horseman's targe, or a fencing targe/buckler, but those appear to be held with a flat end down rather than a point. I'm sure I'm just not seeing it.

That aside, I am digging the muscle cuirass. Very fitting for a wannabe ladies man.


ErichAD wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Kaelizar wrote:
Lastly, the shape of the shield. Since he is the Iconic Fighter, it would have been nicer to see a more..... traditional shield. Something with less of a point at the top, and rounded coming down to the bottom. I'm all for Fantasy getting away from historical designs, but something less "Kite" shaped and more "Shield" shaped. I can only hope that will shields being dented and broken, that Valeros finds something a litter nicer as he levels. :D
It is a historical design. The Italian Targa shields often appear in illustrations and surviving examples to have been that shape and a pretty good match for size. There are older examples too. I think WAR taking inspiration from a wider range of history and culture than previously is a good thing.

Do you have a link to a historical example of this sort of shield? I can't find anything quite like it. It looks a little like a german horseman's targe, or a fencing targe/buckler, but those appear to be held with a flat end down rather than a point. I'm sure I'm just not seeing it.

That aside, I am digging the muscle cuirass. Very fitting for a wannabe ladies man.

This page shows some examples from dueling manuals, where a diamond-shaped shield is held with the point down (and up, of course). I'm pretty confident there's an example from the ancient world, because there are pictures of gladiators with shields like that and the Romans usually had some contemporary examples to draw from. It's also of course a shape used in medieval heraldry for women's coats-of-arms, which if women are often warriors in Golarion/(AN Other PF Setting) could mean our hero took it from a defeated female enemy.


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I see only one example on that page that looks close to a diamond shape, and it's the square fencing buckler illustration.

According to W.R. Lethaby, the diamond shaped shield used in women's heraldry is fairly modern coming up in the 16th century and doesn't have a medieval precedent. The lozange shape was initially used to denote alliances, and was used as the primary shield in umarried women and widows to indicate a lack of alliance, though that use wasn't formalized or enforced. That said, that particular "shield" isn't representative of a literal shield, just a blown up piece of smaller heraldric design.

There are other theories of course. A 16th century heraldric artist believed the lozange shape to be indicative of a spinning wheel's spindle, and wikipedia seems to think they used something that wasn't a shield to avoid weapons of war in women's heraldry, but both ignore the changing use of the lozange shape over time.

As for gladiatorial shields. The closest I can find for any type of roman shield that's close to diamond shaped is the not entirely verifiable roman cavalry or auxilary shield. They look like scutum with clipped corners, but only appear in art with no artifacts to verify they existed.


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Personally, I've looked around for a historical type of shield like the one held by Val, but I haven't found it. It's not that there are no similar shields - there are actually. But they're only... similar. Specifically I found nothing actually diamond-shaped. I think WAR only took inspiration from actual historical shields and decided in this case to give Val something that just looked interesting, without feeling shackled by historical accuracy too much, which, being this a high fantasy rpg, is totally a valid choice if you ask me.

By the way the mail links details on the sleeves and the shading of the gambeson skirt... dammit, Wayne, how much time did you spend on each iconic? This is seriously stunning art.


Yeah, I can't think of any exact matches for that shield either. Maybe he took the term Kite Shield a bit too literally? But all joking aside, it doesn't have to look like a real world shield. I just find that it looks weird, and the distance from the body doesn't seem consistent with a forearm strapped shield. Maybe a holdover from when he was thinking of a boss-gripped shield.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Yeah, I can't think of any exact matches for that shield either. Maybe he took the term Kite Shield a bit too literally? But all joking aside, it doesn't have to look like a real world shield. I just find that it looks weird, and the distance from the body doesn't seem consistent with a forearm strapped shield. Maybe a holdover from when he was thinking of a boss-gripped shield.

You're right, it doesn't seem like his forearm is passing through any enarmes, the position he's holding it is very much like how you would grip a buckler, behind the shield boss. Yet, I do see some rivets on the shield surface which could indicate the enarmes are there, so maybe he's holding it in a relaxed, out-of-combat position, and he can strap it to his forearm when needed?

EDIT: if you look at the b&W sketch shown in the video, he seems to be holding it exactly like a normal shield, forearm pressed to the inner surface, and there's also an enarme or a guige hanging loosely from the thing. I just noticed. (And another thing that's very clear in that sketch is that he's still carrying his mug at his belt, it's very visible).

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