Meet The Iconics: Barsala

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Barsala, the iconic kasatha biohacker, brandishes a pistol and a syringe in two of her four hands.

Illustration by Remko Troost

The daughter of a renowned biotechnician and a respected priest of Talavet, Barsala Zharliska Sonari of House Ulanda grew up in Trillidiem, the arcology of bubble-shaped domes that floats above Bretheda’s northern pole. Her parents maintained a household in which discussion and debate were encouraged, with most dinnertime talks focused around the dichotomy between faith and science. Even at a young age, Barsala was included, her questions and opinions treated with respect. As a result, she found herself drawn to studying scientific disciplines, but focused on how they could help her neighbors and her community. Barsala witnessed the power of community early in her life when she lost her lowleft hand due to severe nerve damage sustained in a nasty fall and many of her family’s neighbors came together to help her get used to her new cybernetic prosthesis.

Years later, Barsala earned her doctorate from the prestigious Sui Saolus Academy and landed a job as a junior research assistant at Iratha Incorporated, a biotech firm in Trillidiem founded by a lashunta and a kasatha. Despite barathus nearly dominating the biotech field, Iratha Incorporated is a successful corporation, focusing exclusively on augmentations for humanoids. Barsala was happy with her job, but after several months, she began to worry that her research—though pivotal for reducing implant rejection rates among other things—was far too niche. She wondered if there was something else she could do to aid the community at large.

Explaining her dilemma to a friend, Barsala hit on an idea that sparked her interest: she would start a regular holovid stream in which she would explain the basic concepts of science to viewers in a way that was fun and engaging. Branding herself as “Dr. B,” she rented a small studio, set up a simple lab, donned a white lab coat, and began broadcasting in her off hours. Dr. B’s first holovids featured very basic principles—gravity, magnetism, and the like—and her production values were rough around the edges, but Barsala’s enthusiasm and easy-to-understand explanations quickly gained her a wide audience on Bretheda’s infosphere and beyond.

However, her program didn’t reach the same popularity as reality shows and sporting events until it caught the attention of Thalus Enthremian Damru, the kasatha co-founder of Iratha Incorporated. He saw the show’s potential as a marketing tool but also respected Barsala’s commitment to education. One day, Thalus approached Barsala in her Iratha lab to offer her holovid stream an official sponsorship, which would include a new studio, as well as a small staff to ensure that everything looked and sounded professional. Her new role as “scientific ambassador” was added to her job description, and she soon became the holovid icon she is today.

“Dr. B’s Science Jubilee” is popular with young sentients throughout the Pact Worlds and most of Near Space, thanks to Barsala’s engaging personality and flashy experiments. With Iratha Incorporated’s funding, Barsala has been able to travel across the galaxy to showcase interesting scientific phenomena first-hand, including such topics as the life cycles of unusual flora and fauna, the formation of bizarre minerals and crystals, and the odd interactions between certain fundamental forces of physics. Some of the program’s most shared episodes feature Barsala being introduced to a new species of alien animal (often with hilarious results) and the kasatha putting a scientific myth to the test (usually accompanied by explosions).

Between these on-location shoots, Barsala continues her research on biotech augmentations, and occasionally, topics on her show have led her to small breakthroughs in her work and research. While these advancements have garnered some praise in the scientific community, most people only recognize the kasatha through her holovid work, with some people even believing that the “Doctor” part of “Dr. B” is merely an affectation. Nevertheless, Barsala presses on with both aspects of her job, hoping she can positively impact the lives of people in one way or the other.

Jason Keeley
Developer

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Tags: Barsala Biohackers Iconics Meet the Iconics Remko Troost
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Scarab Sages

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Huzzah!

Also an iconic that's a Mythbuster is amazing. Loving it!

Sovereign Court

Sweet!


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

This is really cool!

Grand Lodge

17 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is...is she basically just Bill Nye with an extra set of arms? Cause I dig it

Silver Crusade

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Is...is she basically just Bill Nye with an extra set of arms? Cause I dig it

"B! B! B! B! B! B! Dr. B's Science Jubilee!"

Grand Lodge

I'm sure there is inspiration from Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, and Beakman's World too.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Does she have a sidekick in a giant squox costume?

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm weirded out that she appears to be kasatha with most human like face O_o;

Like, for example, she is only kasatha who doesn't just have black eyes, there is some white there. So I guess chemicals she takes has shrunk her pupils a lot or something?

...And it goes way beyond that, she is also the only kasatha with eyebrows and eyelashes ._.

Dataphiles

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Nice to see others join in the effort to explain things. I’m a STEMM Pundit myself, having a minor stream of my own and often appearing as a guest on other streams to explain the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics or Magic behind a current news stories.

I look forward to meeting Dr. B sometime!


Starfinder Superscriber

That is AWESOME!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Actually now that I think about it, I think there might be another kasatha pic with eyebrows..

...Anyway, I know its because artists do artists things, but I'm kinda dismayed at kasatha art increasingly having more human like traits when one of reasons why I found kasatha cool in first place was things that made them more alien in first place

But yeah, otherwise no complaint here, her backstory IS awesome.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

OMG I love her

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Apropos of nothing, "lowleft" is lovely terminology and it's going straight into my game usage.

Grand Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I am loving all the setting bits that were casually dropped into this bio!

Hmm

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

SCIENCE RULES!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:

Actually now that I think about it, I think there might be another kasatha pic with eyebrows..

...Anyway, I know its because artists do artists things, but I'm kinda dismayed at kasatha art increasingly having more human like traits when one of reasons why I found kasatha cool in first place was things that made them more alien in first place

But yeah, otherwise no complaint here, her backstory IS awesome.

The eyes might not necessarily be the ones she was born with. Remember, this is Starfinder. Having your eyes ripped out and replaced with technologically-enhanced ocular organs is totally a thing that happens.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ventnor wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:

Actually now that I think about it, I think there might be another kasatha pic with eyebrows..

...Anyway, I know its because artists do artists things, but I'm kinda dismayed at kasatha art increasingly having more human like traits when one of reasons why I found kasatha cool in first place was things that made them more alien in first place

But yeah, otherwise no complaint here, her backstory IS awesome.

The eyes might not necessarily be the ones she was born with. Remember, this is Starfinder. Having your eyes ripped out and replaced with technologically-enhanced ocular organs is totally a thing that happens.

Also as a biohacker no telling what shennigans she is gotten up to in self modification over the years.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

34 people marked this as a favorite.

I still say her show should've been called "Barsala Lasatha the Science Kasatha!"


This is awesome! But I still don't know how to explain why she's an 8th-level Starfinder risking life and limb for the Society? I think many scenarios will have little to do with her research or holovids.

Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Joe Pasini wrote:
I still say her show should've been called "Barsala Lasatha the Science Kasatha!"

Maybe, but Doctor B’s Science Jubilee sounds WAY more Keeley. XD

Nice job on the iconic SFDT!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Syri wrote:
This is awesome! But I still don't know how to explain why she's an 8th-level Starfinder risking life and limb for the Society? I think many scenarios will have little to do with her research or holovids.

Starfinder Society is all about discovering and cataloguing all the vast mysteries and secrets of the universe - where else to guarantee an endless stream of riveting content?

Also, adore this writeup, Keeley. Had no idea what to expect from this iconic, but a Ms. Frizzle in space with a cybernetic hand and injection pistol is better than anything I had hoped for. Good form.


Joe Pasini wrote:
I still say her show should've been called "Barsala Lasatha the Science Kasatha!"

You! Off my planet! There are plenty of others for you to inflict your alleged humor on!

Paizo Employee Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Syri wrote:
This is awesome! But I still don't know how to explain why she's an 8th-level Starfinder risking life and limb for the Society? I think many scenarios will have little to do with her research or holovids.

That is a fun thought experiment left to the person playing the pregen, but science is everywhere!


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

"Hi kids, today we're going to talk about mutations. Ordinarily a mutation takes place slowly over the course of thousands of years but thanks to this neat serum I invented we're gonna see what happens when it happens over a couple of minutes!"

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

An Icon theme iconic? Who teaches science to kiddos across the worlds? Fantastic.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

DR B! Oh my goodness this is incredible

Any idea when we will get these bad boys for play?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am now a hard-core Doctor B fan. She’s beyond awesome.

Bonus points for being an Iconic that I can use as a bit of setting dressing even if she never interacts with the PCs.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I especially love this from a writing perspective. I can imagine what it must be like to adventure as her or with her. There are so many open doors, but a lot less anonymity (and all the headaches that come with that; Dr. B has to keep it family friendly at all times). On the gripping hand, I can very easily picture a mook hesitate if confronted by their kids favourite entertainer (or theirs, for that matter).


I get a Steve Irwin mixed with Bill Nye vibe.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh no, a streamer iconic.

Ventnor wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Actually now that I think about it, I think there might be another kasatha pic with eyebrows..
The eyes might not necessarily be the ones she was born with. Remember, this is Starfinder. Having your eyes ripped out and replaced with technologically-enhanced ocular organs is totally a thing that happens.

It would make her more expressive to viewers born with pupils and irises.


She's Bill Ny crossed with Steven Irwin.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This is where I point out that my 702 is an Irwin-style child science sidekick who grew up to become an actual scientist. Doctor Zee will get along just fine with Doctor B.


*gasp* Bill Nye meets the Mythbusters as a kasatha amputee lady? I... I think Bug Dad might have just been replaced as my favorite iconic.

(the human-esque eyes /are/ weirding me out, though.)


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

HEY KIDS! IT'S TIME FOR YOUR FAVORITE SCIENTIST, DR. B!

Dr. B! Dr. B! Teaching you science from A to Z!
Dr. B! Dr. B! Best science show on land or sea! Dr. B! Dr. B!
Physics! Cybernetics! Genetics! Advanced Memetics!
Dr. B! Dr. B! Stay tuned now cause there's a lot to see!
Dr. B! Dr. B! She teaches science ex-pert-ly!
DOOOOCTOOOOR BEEEEE!


I love her!

I noticed someone pointing out that she looks “not so kasathan and a bit too human.”

Thinking back on it other than the eyes and distended head underneath their mouth scarves Kasathans have very human facial features at least jaw wise.

I also...have never seen a blue and green Kasathan before so...unless that is a skin tone I was just not aware of that could also be a sign of mutations.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
VerBeeker wrote:
Thinking back on it other than the eyes and distended head underneath their mouth scarves Kasathans have very human facial features at least jaw wise.

I mean, the oldest kasatha art implies they don't have noses and more flat faces like Grey Aliens do. Starfinder art is kinda inconsistent regarding kasatha, sometimes they have clearly human like noses, sometimes they have four breasts, sometimes they have two breasts,(we could argue that sometimes they have no breasts at all since apparently female kasatha are hard to tell difference from male ones at least to most species) sometimes they have white sclera and now they have eyebrows and eyelashes too

Like I'm sure if we could see kasatha mouths, some artists would draw them without lips while others would definitely include lips <_<

(I hope we never see picture of kasatha mouths since I prefer them without lips :P)


17 people marked this as a favorite.

Wait, are living parents SFS legal?


I guess they still haven't figured out how to regenerate lost body parts without a spell that almost nobody has access to . . . .

Grand Lodge

Love her and her backstory!

Maybe one day the livestreamer Android, Instructor S-5 (known far and wide as "Inny the Survivalist"), and her can get together and do a holo-video together.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I guess they still haven't figured out how to regenerate lost body parts without a spell that almost nobody has access to . . . .

If you're going to spend a few tens of thousands of Cr on a replacement hand, are you going to grow your old hand back, or are you gonna replace it with a robot hand with an integrated shout projector cannon?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
worldhopper wrote:
I... I think Bug Dad might have just been replaced as my favorite iconic.

It's true that everyone loves Science, and Educators and all, sure, but - let me ask you this - does Dr. B even have a moustache taped to her snout?

The Defense rests, Your Honour. #BugDad4Life


1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Wait, are living parents SFS legal?

No, there's just an exception for Iconics. Like how you can play as Yoon despite the age limit.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Argh, Dr. B stole my "science tv show icon" schtick!

Thus the ratings war between Dr. B’s Science Jubilee and Professor Quid the Science Squid began...


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I was going to make a joke about "Barsala the Science Kasatha", but I think "Dr B.'s Science Jubilee" is actually even better...


Joe Pasini wrote:
I still say her show should've been called "Barsala Lasatha the Science Kasatha!"

And that's what I get for not reading the replies before posting.

Shadow Lodge

Mr. Wizard grew more arms!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Garretmander wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I guess they still haven't figured out how to regenerate lost body parts without a spell that almost nobody has access to . . . .

If you're going to spend a few tens of thousands of Cr on a replacement hand, are you going to grow your old hand back, or are you gonna replace it with a robot hand with an integrated shout projector cannon?

Let’s ask Gaige


Starfinder Superscriber

Wow....

Just...

Wow...

That is my jam.

Paizo Employee Developer

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Behind-the-scenes fact: While writing Barsala's backstory, I listened to They Might Be Giants' "Here Comes Science" on a loop.

Grand Lodge

Jason Keeley wrote:
Behind-the-scenes fact: While writing Barsala's backstory, I listened to They Might Be Giants' "Here Comes Science" on a loop.

I wonder what you would have come up with if your were listening to "Flood" on a loop.

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