Meet the Iconics: Nhalmika

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Nhalmika Ironsight honors dwarven tradition, even as she wanders the surface world far from home. With her wide build, mane of dark hair, and amber eyes, Nhalmika is striking in any setting, but it’s the dwarven scattergun she keeps at hand that her friends and foes most remember.

Nhalmika’s birth was a celebration. The third child of two prosperous dwarven merchants, Nhalmika became the final addition to a family larger than that of most dwarves in Dongun Hold. Her two older brothers doted on her, making simple crafts as presents and as their skill grew, the gifts they made became more artistic. She teethed on gold tiles engraved with the images of ancestors and slept beneath stone carvings of Dongun Hold’s greatest leaders. Nhalmika’s parents arranged for their children to have fine clothes and talented tutors but were too busy to have much to do with her upbringing.

Everyone expected Nhalmika to become either an artisan like her brothers or a merchant like her parents. She had aptitude for neither. She was more skilled at judging art than creating, noticing tiny flaws such as an uneven line in a carving or a hairline crack in a gemstone or statue. She had a weakness for hard luck stories and pleas for credit, and her parents soon learned they couldn’t trust her with preserving the family finances. Her mother complained that Nhalmika’s eagerness to help others would put them out of business.

Nhalmika instead preferred to play physical games and sports. Her athletic build and keen eye made her a natural champion, and her good sportsmanship made her popular with her peers. She surprised her family by declaring she would join the military, serving among the vanguards of Dongun Hold. Military service was an honorable, traditional calling and it seemed to suit her nature well. No one in her family mourned her departure for the training academy as much as Dargrim, a friend of her eldest brother and eager co-captain on most sports she played. Nhalmika had excellent vision, but she didn’t see Dargrim had given his whole heart to her.

A middle-aged dwarven woman with dark, copper skin, amber eyes, and dark brown hair. She stands confidently, with a hand on her hip, the other resting a large dwarven scattergun over her shoulder Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

In her training, Nhalmika gained familiarity with dwarven firearms of all types. She proved particularly adept with long rifles, but considered sniping to be dull and, truth be told, a little unfair. She preferred the noisy blasts of fuse bombs and scatterguns, which put her right in the action where she was needed most. Her family paled to hear her exuberant tales of lobbing grenades, packing enormous canisters of black powder, and taking a cannon’s recoil hard enough to fracture her shoulder.

Only Dargrim appreciated that Nhalmika had found a calling she truly loved, and she found she loved Dargrim for it. The two were married just before her first deployment. Her parents arranged an opulent wedding in a traditional dwarven style and her brothers lavished the couple with necklaces made of her gold teething-tiles. Nhalmika and Dargrim left Dongun Hold as a couple—Nhalmika to serve as a guard to the Bridge of the Gods leading from Dongun Hold to the Grand Duchy of Alkenstar and Dargrim to make their simple quarters a home over the next several years.

The first time Nhalmika became pregnant, she was excused from duty for the birth and first year of her daughter’s life. She’d already earned a nickname, the Ironsight, and her commanding officer was sorry to lose her keen eyes overlooking trouble in the badlands below the bridge. Nhalmika doted on her daughter but was eager to return to duty. Upon her second pregnancy, Nhalmika’s commander predicted she wouldn’t return, but had underestimated her loyalty and integrity: Nhalmika reported the day after her son’s first birthday, ready to face bloodthirsty bandits and berserk clockworks with her scattergun in hand. Nhalmika’s third pregnancy was particularly difficult, and not the celebration her own birth had been. For weeks, the medics were certain they would lose both Nhalmika and the baby girl, yet both mother and daughter survived. Nhalmika’s youngest daughter, Ondla, was always sick and small, but had her mother’s grit. Nhalmika returned to duty a year later but spent all the time she could helping her children grow up. She got used to blasting mutant raiders one day and teaching dwarven history the next.

Nhalmika’s children showed talents she lacked. Her eldest daughter went to carve exquisite statuary under her uncles’ tutelage and her son took up his grandparents’ affairs and proved to be a shrewd but honest merchant. Nhalmika and Dargrim were both proud of their children’s accomplishments, and never hesitant about saying so. Quiet and studious Ondla, whom neither parent would openly admit was their favorite, remained at home to tend to her father. Dargrim began showing symptoms of a serious degenerative disease. His head and hands shook, and he soon couldn’t stand. His decline was swift and his death both sudden and tragic. Ondla found solace and an unlikely romance with a human bookkeeper from Alkenstar, but Nhalmika was alone, and she was devastated. She numbly accepted the proffered retirement from the military, uncertain what she’d do next.

Her grief was strong, but it isn’t in her nature to be idle or eschew serving others. Nhalmika has been a soldier and mother, but both her nation and children are moving on. She knows others beyond Dongun Hold and Alkenstar need her help. So Nhalmika settled her affairs, advised her children to work hard and love well, and left. She brought her dwarven scattergun from her time as a guard, a handful of medals, and a few of the gold teething-tiles her brothers gave her. Nhalmika has lived a full life, but she doesn’t think her best days are behind her—to the contrary, she’s ready to stand up for the downtrodden across Golarion. Her adventuring companions admire her skill with a gun, but they truly appreciate her grit, keen eyes, and motherly guidance.

Ron Lundeen
Managing Developer

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Tags: Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Pathfinder Second Edition Web Fiction
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2 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't really like guns in mah fantasy, dagnabbit, but this is my new favorite Iconic! She looks amazing, and I love that she's a mom, and not a spring chicken. Yay, for some mature heroes!

Horizon Hunters

Wandering Wastrel wrote:
elisaelli wrote:

One year of maternity leave wow!!

But seriously she's wonderful, I like older adventurers who are doing second career / sometimes midlife crises. Can't wait to see her next exploits.

One year is pretty much the standard in every country I've ever lived in.

I love her story, it's a great antidote to the "normal people don't become adventurers" cliche. And Wayne Reynolds' art remains as fabulous as ever. I know that Paizo has accumulated a fabulous "stable" of deeply talented artists (and writers, natch) but for me WAR is the Iconic Pathfinder artist :)

Actually seems pretty short for a Dwarf. How long do Dwarf babbies take to mature?

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm pretty sure for P2 they had all Humanoid Ancestries mature at the same rate so there's no more I'm 60 but I have a preteen mindset for 40 more years, which is weird.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
I'm pretty sure for P2 they had all Humanoid Ancestries mature at the same rate so there's no more I'm 60 but I have a preteen mindset for 40 more years, which is weird.

Nope, dwarves reach physical adulthood at 25, elves 20 (but not considered mature until 100), goblins 7 or 8 and so on. The differences aren't as large as they used to be, but should still be noticiable culturally around the raising of children.

Liberty's Edge

Raising baby goblins is the real exception here.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

While goblins are an extremely outlier, the differences are sill enough. Dwarf is a full 10 years slower than Human. Outside of the crowd things can be faster or slower too.

Grand Lodge

Love the story and the new Iconics in general. Speaking of "meeting the Iconics," is there any news or timeline for when actual character sheets for the new Iconics will debut? To the best of my knowledge sheets for Seltyiel (Magus) and Ija (Summoner) from Secrets of Magic haven't been released yet (the Community Use packet of Iconics hasn't been updated since Sept 2020). Has this been addressed elsewhere?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Doc Midnight wrote:
Love the story and the new Iconics in general. Speaking of "meeting the Iconics," is there any news or timeline for when actual character sheets for the new Iconics will debut? To the best of my knowledge sheets for Seltyiel (Magus) and Ija (Summoner) from Secrets of Magic haven't been released yet (the Community Use packet of Iconics hasn't been updated since Sept 2020). Has this been addressed elsewhere?

I have no public information on new character sheets. A month has not been announced. The APG sheets came out about 4 months after the hardcover. So one might think December, but Secrets of Magic sheets are not listed. I have asked the Powers That Be to look into it.

I am hopeful that new staff being hired might allow the Community Use Package to be updated more frequently.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Per Alex Speidel, there will not be pregens released for the summoner or magus classes:

There will not be pregens for the summoner or magus.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
I love Tank Mama!

I was going to call her Mommamika.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I had no idea that PF2e even had a book like Guns and Gears out on bookshelves in friendly local bookstores! (Happened upon "Secrets of Magic" in pocket edition at Barnes and Noble and could NOT resist, I bought it on the spot (and saw the "ad" for Guns and Gears) and knew, just KNEW that I'd get it (but I'm going to wait for the pocket edition) I think that's my new favorite size/style.

Nhalmika is a fantastic character, kudos Ron for your wondrous weaving of words! I'd love to see an AP cover with Nhalmika and Ija ... I think that'd be cute and awesome (especially if Wayne Reynolds is available to do it)! :)

I've been "away" from Paizo and gaming in general for a couple years (a story for another time) but I feel the pull of Paizo calling me back!

Thank you everyone at Paizo for everything that you do!


Dean; The_Minstrel_Wyrm

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a pocket edition of Secrets already!?

Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Came out the same time as the hardcover I think. Only reason we didn't get G&G pocket edition with the hardcover (I think) was supply chain problems.

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
There's a pocket edition of Secrets already!?

I got my copy of it at the same time I got the hardback subscription copy. That is what they have been trying to do for a while now.

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