Iconic Encounter: Hold My Beer

Thursday, May 16, 2019

It seems like forever ago that we first introduced the iconic characters who have since come to embody the amazing adventures that make Pathfinder the beloved game it has become. First among them, was the iconic fighter, Valeros, who made his debut just over 12 years ago, on May 7, 2007. Since then, he's gotten a more thorough Meet the Iconics introduction, and featured in three Pathfinder Legends adventure path adaptations and nearly 50 issues of Pathfinder comics, making him one of the most omnipresent iconic characters around. That doesn't mean his story's over, however, as we've got another exciting tale featuring his antics below. 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 Hai Hoang

The soldier had been staring at him from the corner for the last two drinks. Now at last she stood and moved his direction, plate armor hanging heavily from her broad shoulders.

Valeros smiled. Big was good—he liked a woman who could throw him around a little.

Then the two soldiers with her stood, and his smile faded. He could work with that if it came to it, but it wasn't really his first choice.

Then she reached into the shadows beneath a table and withdrew a greatsword, the steel sliding free of its sheath with a whispered song, and Valeros was forced to concede that maybe the night wasn't going his way after all.

"Valeros of Andoran," the woman thundered. "For crimes against the Empire of Cheliax, I hereby place you under arrest."

Damn. Valeros had seen the sigils on their armor, but they were a long way from Cheliax, and he'd thought she'd been interested in his hair, not his history.

He took a sip from his mug and eyed her sword. "I thought we were supposed to check our weapons at the door."

"You are," the woman said, and all three of the soldiers grinned wolfishly. "It makes our job easier."

Valeros sighed. He'd really been hoping for a different sort of tussle tonight. He sagged, folding his arms tiredly over the shield propped against the side of his chair.

"Well," he observed, "good thing this isn't really a weapon, then."

The shield's metal edge slammed up beneath the first soldier's chin, snapping his head back and sending him sprawling across a nearby table. Valeros's chair followed him, spinning out into the other two and fouling them up long enough for Valeros to slip his arm through the shield's leather straps.

He brought it back around just in time to catch the scything stroke of the woman's blade, barely managing to turn it aside. Beer sloshed from the mug in his free hand.

"Hey!" he yelled. "I paid for that!"

"You'll pay for more than that!" The woman hammered the sword down again. The force of the blow dented steel, sending a shock of pain up Valeros's shield arm, followed by a more concerning numbness.

"Yeah, to hell with this." Valeros rammed the shield into the woman's chest, pulling her backward. He started to take a swing at the other soldier, only to remember he still held his tankard. He turned the blow into an elbow strike, slamming his armor into the man's cheekbone.

The huge sword—and really, what kind of overcompensating barbarian fought with something that large?—struck again, crashing down like a falling tree. It was too much for the shield: one of the leather straps popped free, leaving Valeros holding the military equivalent of an oversized serving platter.

"Stupid shield!" Valeros flung it aside, then spun around behind the soldier with the busted cheek, grabbing him in a chokehold and putting him between Valeros and the swordswoman. "Meat's the best shield, anyway."

The swordswoman paused, calculating the probability of beheading Valeros without hurting her comrade. Or possibly evaluating how much she liked said comrade—Chelaxians were a tough bunch like that. Either way, it gave Valeros a moment to breathe, and he took the opportunity to take a drink from his tankard.

And got nothing. In growing horror, he looked down into the empty mug, then at the dark trail of beer across the sawdust-covered floor.

The last of his good mood slipped away. He squeezed his captive's neck tighter, leaning down to speak directly into the terrified soldier's ear.

"You broke my shield," he whispered. "That's annoying, but fixable. That beer, though..." He flexed, and the man's limbs began flailing frantically. "That beer is gone forever..."

If you enjoyed this week's entry into the Iconic Encounters series, be sure to check back next week for the series' conclusion with a story featuring the iconic goblin alchemist, Fumbus! Until then, Pathfinders, keep your shield ready and your tankards full.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Fighters Iconic Encounters Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Valeros
Dark Archive

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Valeros should become a "Drunken Master" monk.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mechanics (possibly) highlighted:
Shields as weaponry (improvised?), and maybe quickly equipping a shield and bashing with it.

Armor-based unarmed strikes with the armored elbow.

Shield damage and breaking.

Grappling someone as a meat shield. Well, just grappling, perhaps.

Out-of-ale rage feat, clearly.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Very nice. The usual vain, womanizing drunkard... it's reassuring to know some things not even death can change.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like it. :)

I've always had a soft spot for Valeros and this story suits him.

In terms of mechanics, I think it's just highlighting the shield mechanicsas shown in the playtest (ie: shield as weapon, how shield blocks work, the fact that shields are disposable to some degree).


Best drunken ever!


Has he been changed by his time in the afterlife, such as with "a slight personality shift, a streak of white in the hair, or a strange new birthmark"?


15 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:

I like it. :)

I've always had a soft spot for Valeros and this story suits him.

In terms of mechanics, I think it's just highlighting the shield mechanicsas shown in the playtest (ie: shield as weapon, how shield blocks work, the fact that shields are disposable to some degree).

Now I want every picture of Valeros to have a different shield. :)

Liberty's Edge

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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Has he been changed by his time in the afterlife, such as with "a slight personality shift, a streak of white in the hair, or a strange new birthmark"?

Well, personality-wise, he decided to be a tad less reckless, grabbing a shield. Beyond that it doesn't seem so.

thejeff wrote:
Now I want every picture of Valeros to have a different shield. :)

I'm in.


Shields aren’t improvised weapons. If you are proficient with martial weapons you are proficient with them as weapons though even with spikes or a boss their damage isn’t fantastic. Also thinking about it, while Valeros has changed to sword and board he can still pretty readily dual wield with the shield as his offhand plus a doubling ring if built right though because the shield isn’t agile it isn’t optimal. Swinging the sword twice is probably a better call.

Liberty's Edge

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Raylyeh wrote:
Shields aren’t improvised weapons. If you are proficient with martial weapons you are proficient with them though even with spikes or a boss their damage isn’t fantastic.

Per the playtest, shields get the -2 Improvised penalty if you don't buy a shield boss or shield spikes (per p.177). No reason he wouldn't have a shield boss, of course, but worth noting.

Raylyeh wrote:
Also thinking about it, while Valeros has changed to sword and board he can still pretty readily dual wield with the shield as his offhand plus a doubling ring if built right though because the shield isn’t agile it isn’t optimal. Swinging the sword twice is a better call.

Actually, Light Shields (which look like what Valeros has per his illustration) are Agile.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Never spill a fighter’s beer.


Thanks I’d forgotten the -2. And good catch on the light shield. Though that does drop it down to dagger damage but it could still work especially as the class feats get expanded.


I do recall they said that light/heavy shield distinction no longer exists, so that will be interesting to see how it turns out later.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Has he been changed by his time in the afterlife, such as with "a slight personality shift, a streak of white in the hair, or a strange new birthmark"?

When did Valeros die?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Quote:
When did Valeros die?

I believe it was in the Spiral of Bones comic series.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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Birmy wrote:
Quote:
When did Valeros die?
I believe it was in the Spiral of Bones comic series.

He got better


spectrevk wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Has he been changed by his time in the afterlife, such as with "a slight personality shift, a streak of white in the hair, or a strange new birthmark"?
When did Valeros die?

Between editions, as an explanation for his change from TWF to sword+board. Which may be his slight personality shift, I suppose. Or the people who write Valeros may not be aware of that new clause in raise dead / resurrect. Or the clause may not have made the final cut to PF2. I won't mourn if it didn't, it left the door way too open to GMs meddling with player prerogatives.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think one of the mechanics shown is damage coming from the character to some degree, not just gear. His unarmed strike seemed effective and the improvised chair strike also.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Never spill a fighter’s beer.

Worshipper of Cayden Cailean too.

Hope he does not kill his captive though. I thought Valeros was Good.

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

Worshipper of Cayden Cailean too.

Hope he does not kill his captive though. I thought Valeros was Good.

Killing people who have come to capture or kill you for anti-slavery activities does not strike me as an Evil thing to do. And that very much looks like what's happening given their nationality and Valeros's religion.

Silver Crusade

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Worshipper of Cayden Cailean too.

Hope he does not kill his captive though. I thought Valeros was Good.

Killing people who have come to capture or kill you for anti-slavery activities does not strike me as an Evil thing to do. And that very much looks like what's happening given their nationality and Valeros's religion.

Yep-yep.

Granted he's probably not gonna shank his shield while he's still using him, that's just dumb.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Valeros: "Thanks for the new shield rules, Bulmahn."

Meat Shield" "This is about the armor spikes isn't it-" *urghk*


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Nice story. Good to read Valeros taking good use of his new shields.

"Now can someone point me where I can find picture of Valeros, Imrijka and small quarter-orcs?
And No, I didn't read Spiral of Bones comic yesterday. Why are you asking that?"

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am pleased that Mr. Sutter or his editor recognized that only one title was possible, and proceeded accordingly.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A little light house cleaning... Valeros style. Nice job!

Scarab Sages

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"Cay'en we't! GE' 'EM, VAL! 'ERES'!"

Translation:
Cayden Cailean weeps at this travesty. I dare say, sir, that their spilling of the blessing of the Drunken Hero deserves attention. Do please visit unto the heretics a fate befitting their crimes!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Considering how much time he spends getting beaten up, it's nice to see him dishing it out in this...


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

Sutter, that was FANTASTIC!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Worshipper of Cayden Cailean too.

Hope he does not kill his captive though. I thought Valeros was Good.

Killing people who have come to capture or kill you for anti-slavery activities does not strike me as an Evil thing to do. And that very much looks like what's happening given their nationality and Valeros's religion.

I consider killing opponents who are at your mercy ruthless, thus in my game at least not Good. I do not remember how it falls under PF2 playtest alignment definitions and of course we do not have the PF2 alignment definitions yet.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
I consider killing opponents who are at your mercy ruthless, thus in my game at least not Good.

I wouldn't necessarily call it Good either, but a Good person (and Valeros is NG) can take non-Good actions regularly and remain Good really easily if they also take Good actions. Evil actions are another matter, but I wouldn't say this particular example is Evil.

The Raven Black wrote:
I do not remember how it falls under PF2 playtest alignment definitions and of course we do not have the PF2 alignment definitions yet.

Fair enough.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I can't wait for 2e Unchained to help me remove most of this Good/Eeebul nonsense that's being attached to the game since its inception. It impoverishes the moral landscape of the setting, robs characters of nuanced motivations and arcs and unnaturally marks whole species as badwrong just because they were the bad guys 40+ years ago.

But... trying to not derail the thread too much and playing by the rules, Valeros is NG, and while killing an enemy just because shouldn't probably be seen as a "good" action (nor an "evil" one... enemy, remember?), the agents of a fascist/infernalist regime, who apparently take a perverse glee in enforcing a manhunt, don't much care about their comrades if they become an obstacle, and are here to capture/kill you, are definitely valid targets to me. They brought it all down upon their own heads. And considering the kind of people they probably are, getting rid of them permanently could be the ethically right solution too - at least they won't live to ruin more people's lives, and sometimes that's all that matters.

Is it good, is it bad? Dunno, don't care. It's pragmatic, logic and it just makes sense. Furthermore, Valeros loves relaxing with a good beer, and they just caused his to spill on the floor - while that would never justify an execution, angry people do lash out, and as long as they abuse individuals who are obviously d++*%eads, and the lackeys of a colonialist/imperialist fascist regime propped up on the back of a multitude of slaves and the torture to death of any dissenters... Valeros has my blessing.

Liberty's Edge

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Roswynn wrote:
I can't wait for 2e Unchained to help me remove most of this Good/Eeebul nonsense that's being attached to the game since its inception.

You probably don't need a book to do that. Based on the playtest, ditching Alignment is probably as simple as ditching the spells that detect it, and having the damage types of 'good' and 'evil' only relevant (beyond being damage) for supernatural creatures with Resistance or Vulnerability.

Roswynn wrote:
It impoverishes the moral landscape of the setting, robs characters of nuanced motivations and arcs and unnaturally marks whole species as badwrong just because they were the bad guys 40+ years ago.

For the record, I disagree with this pretty completely, though I'll leave it at that so as not to derail the thread any further.

I agree with the rest of your post, naturally.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Worshipper of Cayden Cailean too.

Hope he does not kill his captive though. I thought Valeros was Good.

Killing people who have come to capture or kill you for anti-slavery activities does not strike me as an Evil thing to do. And that very much looks like what's happening given their nationality and Valeros's religion.
I consider killing opponents who are at your mercy ruthless, thus in my game at least not Good. I do not remember how it falls under PF2 playtest alignment definitions and of course we do not have the PF2 alignment definitions yet.

Leaving definitions aside, the opponent is only sort of at his mercy.

He's restrained, but not out and his companions are still trying to kill Valeros. Mechanically, he's in a grapple. That's all.

Dark Archive

thejeff wrote:

Leaving definitions aside, the opponent is only sort of at his mercy.

He's restrained, but not out and his companions are still trying to kill Valeros. Mechanically, he's in a grapple. That's all.

Yeah, they are in a fight, and the other dude isn't helpless.

It's not like he's coup de gracing a magically held or sleeping target, which is *also* a permissable thing during a fight...

As for alignment, do what you do, Valeros, and let the GM worry about it, because, in the end, it doesn't matter what *you* think your alignment is. :)


True that. I mean, if you belong to a class that needs to follow a certain alignment, like a champion or cleric, you the player will want to try as much as you can to work out how the alignment would manifest as behavior and stick to that pretty closely, but if not? Just play your character as you envision them and let the GM put a label on that.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
You probably don't need a book to do that. Based on the playtest, ditching Alignment is probably as simple as ditching the spells that detect it, and having the damage types of 'good' and 'evil' only relevant (beyond being damage) for supernatural creatures with Resistance or Vulnerability.

I would prefer to leave the spells in, just limiting them to detecting supernatural evil and good and law and chaos (i.e. outsiders, and their empowered mortal servants - clerics, champions - at the most). I'd still prefer to have official advice in any case, because 1) official, and 2) advice.

P.s. - I think the quote format has changed for the better - thank you to whomever worked on this!

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Roswynn wrote:

True that. I mean, if you belong to a class that needs to follow a certain alignment, like a champion or cleric, you the player will want to try as much as you can to work out how the alignment would manifest as behavior and stick to that pretty closely, but if not? Just play your character as you envision them and let the GM put a label on that.

Actually I know quite a few players who look up the alignments in the CRB, pick one and conform to it as much as they can, no matter what class they play. I tend to be one of these too. But then I do not see alignment as an obligation but as a guideline.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I consider killing opponents who are at your mercy ruthless, thus in my game at least not Good.

I wouldn't necessarily call it Good either, but a Good person (and Valeros is NG) can take non-Good actions regularly and remain Good really easily if they also take Good actions. Evil actions are another matter, but I wouldn't say this particular example is Evil.

The Raven Black wrote:
I do not remember how it falls under PF2 playtest alignment definitions and of course we do not have the PF2 alignment definitions yet.
Fair enough.

I rather appreciated the Edicts and Anathema for the deities in the PF2 playtest more than their general alignments. In this case, Cayden Cailean has an anathema for 'abide slavery', so he's probably not too concerned with the lives of these guys. And at least he's not a dwarf... Torag is LG, but has an anathema of 'show mercy to the enemies of your people'... Torag is all for putting your enemies in the ground.


I really like edicts and anathema too, I think following the creed of your religion is much more sensible, flavorful and logical than having to stick to some nebulous moral commitment. Even the paladin's code in the PT was very good, with its list of priorities and concrete instructions regarding what to actually do to avoid falling from grace. It is indeed a great guide to playing an LG character, but even if, like me, you don't care for alignments, it lets you play a paladin much more as intended than in old editions when some players thought their paladin's code gave them permission to lord it over their teammates or suddenly try to kill the rogue. It is more a problem with the players themselves of course, but still, this time around it should happen less frequently, thank the gods.

P.S.: does Torag have an anathema against letting those abominable bats live? Because I clearly remember Torag's priests really don't like the beasties.

Contributor

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Thanks, everybody! Also, just to clarify: I definitely did *not* intend it to imply that Valeros is killing his prisoner. He's just scaring him a little with a friendly chokehold, as part of a Cayden-approved Teachable Moment about the respect one should pay to an enemy's beer.


James Sutter wrote:
Thanks, everybody! Also, just to clarify: I definitely did *not* intend it to imply that Valeros is killing his prisoner. He's just scaring him a little with a friendly chokehold, as part of a Cayden-approved Teachable Moment about the respect one should pay to an enemy's beer.

Beer is magic.

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