On Completing the Iconics in PACG

Friday, June 21, 2019

If you’ve picked up the brand new Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set and the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, you may have noticed we reached an important milestone: For the first time, every iconic hero developed by Paizo has now appeared in PACG. How we got here was quite a journey.

The Class of 2013: Ezren, Kyra, Merisiel, Sajan, Seoni, Seelah, Amiri, Harsk, Lem, Lini, Valeros

We started, of course, with the "Core Eleven," the iconics representing the classes from the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. In August 2013, the wizard Ezren, the cleric Kyra, the ranger Harsk, the bard Lem, the rogue Merisiel, the sorcerer Seoni, and the fighter Valeros became the centerpiece of the Rise of the Runelords Base Set, and are without a doubt the most played characters in PACG history. For those who wanted a slightly more complex set of characters, the barbarian Amiri, the druid Lini, the monk Sajan, and the paladin Seelah were featured in the Rise of the Runelords Character Add-On Deck.

The Class of 2014: Alahazra, Damiel, Feiya, Jirelle, Lirianne, Oloch, and Seltyiel

As satisfying and… well, iconic as those characters were, we were hot to introduce a bunch more. While we spooled out alternate options for those 11 classes in our first waves of class decks, we introduced a handful of less traditional iconics in August 2014. The Skull & Shackles Base Set gave us the oracle Alahazra, the swashbuckler Jirelle, the gunslinger Lirianne, and the magus Seltyiel, while the Skull & Shackles Character Add-On Deck was home to the alchemist Damiel (more on him later), the witch Feiya, and the warpriest Oloch.

We’d now introduced roughly half the known Iconics, and people started clamoring for the rest. There was a particularly loud drumbeat for the investigator Quinn, whom people presumed would make his debut in our next set. This did not occur.

The Class of 2015: Adowyn, Alain, Balazar, Crowe, Enora, Imrijka, and Shardra

May 2015 launched the Wrath of the Righteous Base Set, where the cavalier Alain, the summoner Balazar, the arcanist Enora, and the inquisitor Imrijka arrived. Those first two mandated a whole new card type, the cohort, to account for their respective warhorse Donahan and chicken-snake eidolon Padrig. The Wrath of the Righteous Character Add-On Deck gave spots to the hunter Adowyn, the bloodrager Crowe, and the shaman Shardra, with Adowyn and Shardra accompanied by the wolf cohort Leryn and the stone spirit cohort Kolo. Quinn, an urban character, would have to wait until we were done sacking the Abyss.

We were nearing the goal line, except the RPG folks were moving the goalposts. Suddenly, there were about to be a lot more iconics.

The Class of 2016: Estra, Mavaro, Yoon, and Zadim

For the next set, we had a choice to make: complete the existing iconics or branch out with a few more story-based characters. The design team was split: yeah, we wanted to wrap up the iconics in a dainty bow, but there were just too many other cool characters we wanted to make. In October 2016, the Mummy’s Mask Base Set featured the slayer Zadim and the first two of our mental-focused iconics, the spiritualist Estra and the kineticist Yoon, along with Estra’s ghost ally Honaire. Another of those, the occultist Mavaro, appeared in the Mummy’s Mask Character Add-On Deck.

But that’s only four new iconics. We slowed our roll a bit, saving room for new non-iconics in our core boxes for the first time: the rogue Simoun (whom we made up), the magus Ahmotep (ditto), the druid Channa Ti (from Elaine Cunningham’s stories), and the cleric Drelm (from Howard Andrew Jones’s stories). This made for a richer story than if we’d dropped Quinn into the middle of the undead-filled desert. We would later follow that inclusion of non-iconic characters from Pathfinder fiction by introducing James Sutter’s Salim in the Inquisitor Class Deck and Dave Gross’s Alase in the Summoner Class Deck. We also added the trio of Dave’s wizard Varian and bodyguard Radovan (both previously seen as a cohorts in Season of the Righteous) and Chris A. Jackson’s lunar naga astrologer Celeste in the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.

At this point, we needed to make some calls. We didn’t have the next base set on the horizon yet, but we wanted to keep bringing out characters. So the practice of only debuting iconics in Adventure Paths needed to be reconsidered. The other obvious place was the class decks, but were we really going to want to write a class deck solely for mesmerists? We needed a new approach.

The Class of 2017: Emil, Lazzaro, Linxia, Nyctessa, Urgraz, and Zelhara

In October and November 2017, we debuted the first character decks united around an Adventure Path. The Hell’s Vengeance Adventure Path features six evil characters—the so-called "evil iconics," even though they’re not technically iconics—and we wanted our players to get to play the baddies too. Hell’s Vengeance 1 Character Deck featured the cleric Lazzaro, the hellknight Linxia, and the antipaladin Urgraz, while Hell’s Vengeance 2 contained the assassin Emil, the necromancer Nyctessa, and the torturer Zelhara. I admit that when I designed the first iteration of this game, I did not expect a torturer character. But hey, it takes all kinds.

The Class of 2018: Aric, Erasmus, Hayato, Meligaster, the Red Raven, Reiko, Rivani, and Zova

In the same design cycle, we did it again, this time with all of the iconics from Occult Adventures. In addition to Estra, January 2018’s Occult Adventures 1 Character Deck starred the mesmerist Meligaster (Lem’s bro!) and the psychic Rivani. The next month, Occult Adventures 2 had the return of Mavaro and Yoon, plus the debut of the medium Erasmus. This approach allowed us to make the occult boons that all of them could use, including all the psychic spells.

And now we were down to stragglers. At this point there were only six iconics left, and no clear plan to deal with them. For example, were we ever going to make the Jade Regent Adventure Path? I mean, maybe? But not soon. So what to do with the samurai and the ninja? A Jade Regent Character Deck? Sounded cool, but I had another idea.

Based on complaints I heard at PaizoCon and elsewhere that the first seven class decks had essentially been lapped by the creations we made afterward, I proposed to Paizo a new line of decks designed to supplement the class deck line. Using the four “Ultimate” RPG books as inspiration, we would make four “Ultimate Decks,” each with a bunch of experimental boons and one character each. That character would be one that we probably never would make a class deck for. For example, with the Wizard Class Deck and the Sorcerer Class Deck already in existence, did we really need a deck with three arcanists in it? One would do. So Enora reappeared in April 2018’s Ultimate Magic Add-On Deck.

But now we had a chance to get three more iconics out: the samurai Hayato in March 2018’s Ultimate Combat Add-On Deck, the ninja Reiko in June 2018’s Ultimate Equipment Add-On Deck, and—in one of the most bizarre things we’ve ever done—the dual-character vigilante Aric/the Red Raven in May 2018’s Ultimate Intrigue Add-On Deck. Which would— Hold on. As we were plotting these out, Erik and Vic let slip that a new book called Ultimate Wilderness was on the way, and it would feature a new shifter class with a not-yet-named iconic. After some quick schedule rejiggering, Zova appeared in the Ultimate Wilderness Add-On Deck in July 2018.

All right, just three to go! I had lobbied that our new versatile base set contain all the Core Eleven iconics done from scratch. My co-designers told me this would be challenging—actually, I think the word they used was “impossible.” No single box before could ever hold 11 characters, but I was sure we could do it. Eleven was tight, but we could just make it.

The Class of 2019: Fumbus, Hakon, Kess, and Quinn

But the folks in RPG R&D had one more surprise first. With the long-awaited Second Edition Pathfinder Core Rulebook underway, they wanted to introduce a goblin iconic. Totally cool by me, I said, and then they said they wanted it to be an alchemist. “But, but… we already have an iconic alchemist,” I said. They would shed no tears for poor Damiel, and neither did I when I saw the crazily goggled nutball they were planning to make. “What’s his name?” I asked. “Oh, he’s still in testing,” they said. “We won’t know that for months.” I don’t draw many lines with Paizo, but this time I had no choice. “Our game comes out three months before yours does,” I said. “So if you don’t name this goblin quickly, he’s gonna be named ‘Gobbo McBoomy.’” Bingo-bongo, the iconic goblin alchemist Fumbus was born. Alongside the other members of the newly expanded “Core Twelve,” Fumbus appeared in May 2019’s Core Set.

Core’s companion Adventure Path, Curse of the Crimson Throne, finally gave us the urban setting we’d been longing for, and we could bring in the last three iconics. Along with a new version of Varian (with Radovan as a cohort), Curse debuted the skald Hakon, the brawler Kess, and, at long last, the investigator Quinn. Iconic collection 100% complete.

That’s 41 iconic characters (since Aric and the Red Raven have separate character cards) plus 6 “evil iconics”, amid—get this—163 total characters and 329 roles. (Why not 326, you ask? At the risk of spoilers, I leave that question for the trivia-minded among you.) It’s been a great journey with a whole lot of great characters. We hope you’ve enjoyed playing each and every one.

Mike Selinker
Adventure Card Game Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Iconics Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

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I am not evil, just misunderstood.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the awesome work! Loving the number of different characters I can play.
Still have lots in my queue and I want to play with all the new ones
Finally I have Quinn :-) First character I ever played under the new rules


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ranzak sad. Ranzak never be iconic.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

My group just started Curse with Fumbus, Hakon, and Quinn. So far it's been going pretty well. I'm enjoying how Quinn stabs enemies with his brain.

I can think of two of the extra role cards offhand:

Spoiler:
There's Blackjack in Curse, and that one scenario in Skull&Shackles where your role card gets replaced by the ghost mage guy. I want to say there's another instance of scenario-mandated/suggested role replacement in one of the OP seasons.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

So when can we expect a "Meet the Iconics" blog post for Fumbus? ;)

Since I just collected all of the info on a big fat spreadsheet, I guess I've become one of the "trivia-minded" among the community. Ryric got the non-character roles right, above:

trivia:
Bikendi Otongu/Ghost Mage (Skull & Shackles 4)
Mnesoset/Spinel Sage (Season of the Plundered Tombs 5)
Blackjack (Curse of the Crimson Throne)

The two main takeaways I got from this blog are that:

  • We're not going to see a Jade Regent AP any time soon (though that may be relative to when the Ultimate Add-On Decks were conceived, so it might be more soon).
  • We're not going to see dedicated Class Decks for the classes that don't yet have them.
Either/both of these, if true, make me sad. :(


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

You guys have clearly run out of things to talk about, so it's time to give the blog slot up for PF2 previews.

Spoiler:
Quinn looks cool and I'll probably use him on my first CotCT game.


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Brother Tyler wrote:
So when can we expect a "Meet the Iconics" blog post for Fumbus? ;)

Like this one?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That's embarrassing. For me. Not you.

Now that you mention it, I recall that I read that, too.

Wow. That's even more embarrassing.

Silver Crusade

Quinn forever!!


ryric wrote:
My group just started Curse with Fumbus, Hakon, and Quinn. So far it's been going pretty well. I'm enjoying how Quinn stabs enemies with his brain.

That sounds... absolutely delightful. Looking forward to getting our copy, might have to play Quinn.

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Brother Tyler wrote:

The two main takeaways I got from this blog are that:

* We're not going to see a Jade Regent AP any time soon (though that may be relative to when the Ultimate Add-On Decks were conceived, so it might be more soon).

This seems likely. Mostly, we have a lot of ideas we'd prefer to do first. But the positive side is that the Core+ format allows us to make Adventure Paths of pretty much any size, so depending on Paizo's interest level in Jade Regent (or anything else), we can now do it a lot easier than we could have. Still, Hayato and Reiko's appearances in Ultimates, plus all of their Eastern-inspired gear, whetted our whistles for Jade Regent for a while.

Brother Tyler wrote:
We're not going to see dedicated Class Decks for the classes that don't yet have them.

This is less clear. We haven't really evaluated whether we're going to do more Class Decks. We are watching the RPG line to see which characters get revived in PF2 and what they look like. Both Valeros and Harsk changed enough in their weapon/armor choices that we will want to make sure we get any new versions of characters right in line with the RPG designers' thoughts.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'd love to see new Character Decks, over Class Decks, personally. Even Character decks that covers 'iconic' classes (like what Pathfinder Tales did).

They provide great value to buyers, since they enable a MUCH wider swathe of characters (especially with the new PACS rules allowing all characters to be used with a deck that features their class), but it can also enable characters that previously weren't supported.

For example, I'd love to see a deception/investigation/secretive themed character deck that features an Investigator, a Spy and an Assassin, or something to that effect. Enabling a new deck for Quinn, Arueshalae and Emil, and printing new characters in those archetypes for a post-Core world sounds like an awesome prospect to me.


They don't all have their character sheets available to play them, even though I have the cards from the sets...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
emky wrote:
They don't all have their character sheets available to play them, even though I have the cards from the sets...

All character sheets should be available here


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Cori Marie wrote:
emky wrote:
They don't all have their character sheets available to play them, even though I have the cards from the sets...
All character sheets should be available here

Based on previous comments; I'm certain emky is referring to the Magus, Hunter, Occult Adventures 1, Occult Adventures 2, Hell's Vengeance 1, Hell's Vengeance 2 and all 5 Ultimate Add-On Deck character sheets (plus Nok-Nok and Reepazo), which in total covers all character sheets that were never officially released by Paizo.

However, as myself and several others have pointed out, these character sheets have been made by enterprising individuals over at boardgamegeek before, which has been linked in the past.


And the community ones greatly pale compared to the official ones: poor font and color choices, odd spacing, and great inconsistency from one to the next. And it's also a matter of Paizo not providing sufficient required support for their products the last couple of years (driving me to avoid PACG 2e and PFRPG 2e) until they clean things up. These things should've been on the website the day they hit stores, if not before. And, even if one is generous, not reached the backlog they are at today.

Paizo Employee CEO

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Frencois wrote:
Ranzak sad. Ranzak never be iconic.

Probably my favorite character to play. Ranzak was my main character for Skull & Shackles and I have played him other times at pick up games. One of my favorite memories of playing him was when Tanis O'Connor let me play him in her all-goblin ACG game at PaizoCon one year!

-Lisa

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The lack of official character sheets for several characters is a big part in why I have no interest in putting any more money into PACG. Within the space of a single year, I'm getting a few too many experiences of "we're moving forward and not supporting you anymore" with products named Pathfinder. RPG is ceasing to support 1e, ACG is jumping past many characters in supplying sheets. Makes me feel unvalued and not wanting to associate anymore.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yoon and Gom-Gom burn it up!


Lisa Stevens wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Ranzak sad. Ranzak never be iconic.

Probably my favorite character to play. Ranzak was my main character for Skull & Shackles and I have played him other times at pick up games. One of my favorite memories of playing him was when Tanis O'Conner let me play him in her all-goblin ACG game at PaizoCon one year!

-Lisa

Ranzak is my favorite too. He needs his own base class so he can make it to iconic status. Iconic Scavenger!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Ranzak sad. Ranzak never be iconic.

Probably my favorite character to play. Ranzak was my main character for Skull & Shackles and I have played him other times at pick up games. One of my favorite memories of playing him was when Tanis O'Connor let me play him in her all-goblin ACG game at PaizoCon one year!

-Lisa

Lisa likes Ranzak? Ranzak less sad.

My Californian boy made an absolutely unique play and roleplay of Ranzak that totally changed our rerun of Skull & Shackles. Since then we consider Ranzak to have an honorary degree in Iconic Character class.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Ranzak sad. Ranzak never be iconic.

Probably my favorite character to play. Ranzak was my main character for Skull & Shackles and I have played him other times at pick up games. One of my favorite memories of playing him was when Tanis O'Connor let me play him in her all-goblin ACG game at PaizoCon one year!

-Lisa

Ranzak is one of the two characters I've duplicated in PACG (the other is Jirelle).

In fact I'm playing him now in CAG II (Dragon's Demand).


"Curse debuted the skald Hakon, the brawler Kess, and, at long last, the inquisitor Quinn. Iconic collection 100% complete."

I guess as an investigator, the first thing Quinn should investigate is why he's an inquisitor instead of an investigator!

But seriously, I've mixed those two classes up over 20 times by now.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Corrected—now he's an investor instigator alligator Eskimo investigator again.

Lone Shark Games

Vic Wertz wrote:
Corrected—now he's an investor instigator alligator Eskimo investigator again.

Wow, I cannot be trusted with anything.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Ranzak sad. Ranzak never be iconic.

Probably my favorite character to play. Ranzak was my main character for Skull & Shackles and I have played him other times at pick up games. One of my favorite memories of playing him was when Tanis O'Connor let me play him in her all-goblin ACG game at PaizoCon one year!

-Lisa

My favorite memory from any Paizocon was playing Skull & Shackles with Lisa as Ranzak. Lisa/Ranzak is just too funny for words! :)


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I think there should be some kind of character pack to get new post-Core versions of all the iconics. There are many reasons for that :

-Physicality : There are no pawns to represent old characters (unless you buy a pawn sets, I suppose, but it would be expensive to do so). And the different graphic design is also perturbing for me.

-Compatibility : The rules for conversion are cool, but a new, up-to-date set of powers, taking truly advantage from the new design space of the rules would be both more satisfying and potentially more creative.

-Accessibility : Some iconics are only accessible in older starter sets, since they don’t have any class deck or don’t appear in Class Deck or non-AP expansion pack. For example Lirianne, Jirielle or Alain. I don’t want to buy one of those older enormous starter sets only to get a physical copies of those characters (and, in the case of Alain, of their support card, which you can’t get with the downloadable character sheet).

I think a good format would be some « Core expansion pack », which would add some new versions of the iconics mixed with cards - with a broad thematic range - to be added to the core pool, possibly expanding it to level 6. That would have the advantage of reinforceing the Core box potential to build your own scenarios and AP. Some new random mission patterns could be added to the mix...

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