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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7 people marked this as a favorite.

Cool! I think this is my favorite iconic, thus far.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Am totally shipping Nhalmika with Barron Ashpeak (nee Redheart)

Horizon Hunters

I love her.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What a great backstory - well done! Amazing artwork as usual Wayne!


23 people marked this as a favorite.

I always appreciate seeing an adventurer who isn’t a scrappy young pup, and I’m still delighted that we keep getting to see Black dwarves. Dongun Hold rules!


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

This just kept getting better and better. WOW. Thanks for this, Ron!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

G+% d%$n. I don't know what to say. I'm speechless. This was a great story.


Phenomenal.

Silver Crusade

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

Adventure Mum! I love her already <3

Sczarni

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Love her!!

And that is a. Very. Big. Gun.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Amazing iconic. I love the story and the character.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

So adventuring is her third career. Huh.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Love this. Great work, Ron!

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Fourth career right? Athlete, Guard, Mother, and Adventurer. Interesting backstory. Looking forward to seeing her grace the covers of APs!

Liberty's Edge

Awesome story. Thanks for this.


Love this character! Thank you for this truly awesome story


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

Yes, a fourth-career adventurer! I love that this highlights a non-traditional family, and I can't wait for Guns & Gears. Pathfinder has done a great job of historical development from the perspective of adventures / scenarios furthering the plot. Now we might be able to see multiple generations of adventurers within the same family develop in Golarion - a very exciting idea!


8 people marked this as a favorite.

My favorite angle for an older PC is a full, happy life with grown children (or none) and a dead spouse. Moving forward into a new chapter in life after traditional fulfillment is inspiring to me. Time's arrow marches forward and the strong march with it.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well done Ron!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

AWWWWW YEAAAHHHH! SHE'S AWESOME! :D


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Cute.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Please tell me I'm not the only one picturing the absolute havoc that both Nhalmika and Omelet would reek if they were fighting side by side?

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.

I love Tank Mama!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
steelhead wrote:
Yes, a fourth-career adventurer! I love that this highlights a non-traditional family, and I can't wait for Guns & Gears. Pathfinder has done a great job of historical development from the perspective of adventures / scenarios furthering the plot. Now we might be able to see multiple generations of adventurers within the same family develop in Golarion - a very exciting idea!

Did her husband die from an ALS like disease? I think that was the only negative dagger in her backstory.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

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.


Thankfully, it seems that the scatter guns are a lot better now. They were basically melee weapons in the playtest lol.

Dark Archive

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

Really cool to see someone live their lives and then picking up adventuring later on. Helps she is also a dwarf, and their longevity certainly helps in that!

Also love her fiery eyes, Wayne depicted them well!


10 people marked this as a favorite.
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 :)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yooo, her backstory is solid and her art is amazing. I love that hand canon and all the intricate carvings it has on the stock. Probably my favorite wholesome iconic you guys have made, 10/10


Adore this iconic's story! Well done, Ron!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Well I guess I have a new favorite iconic.

Shadow Lodge

Great story

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

... Q_Q
Aaaaw! I love her!
Awesome story!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

Anorak wrote:
steelhead wrote:
Yes, a fourth-career adventurer! I love that this highlights a non-traditional family, and I can't wait for Guns & Gears. Pathfinder has done a great job of historical development from the perspective of adventures / scenarios furthering the plot. Now we might be able to see multiple generations of adventurers within the same family develop in Golarion - a very exciting idea!
Did her husband die from an ALS like disease? I think that was the only negative dagger in her backstory.

Not ALS specifically (per Ron), but a tragic early end to love, yes.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed a couple off-topic posts. We don't really want this thread to turn into a back and forth about things unrelated to Nhalmika, so please take that discussion elsewhere!


I'll take one for my adventuring party please! Love her backstory!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Have to say I love an iconic that that is fairly mature (agewise) and a parent as well. Cool

Grand Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I can already imagine the interactions between her and Ija! O_O


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I hate new classes with every bone in my body. But this is one of the most amazing storylines and artwork I have ever, ever seen. Good god. I want to see her hang out with the other iconics so badly. I want her to harangue Alain or Meligaster, or mom the hell out of Merisel!


Excellent piece, Ron! Deepest backstory yet, and the most imaginative. Just what I would expect from you.


Freehold DM wrote:
I hate new classes with every bone in my body. But this is one of the most amazing storylines and artwork I have ever, ever seen. Good god. I want to see her hang out with the other iconics so badly. I want her to harangue Alain or Meligaster, or mom the hell out of Merisel!

I love new classes with all the sinews in my frame, but I hate dwarves (and gnomes and halflings and…) as much as Freehold DM hates new classes…b-but…Wayne has done something stellar here. Nhalmika! Those eyes! That stance. Her general mien. The color scheme. Fantastic.


I'll note that for dwarves a year off for Maternity is actually pretty low. With their life spans being so much greater than humans, and the time to reach maturity longer, that 1 year is relatively less than the 6 months my wife is about to have.

Liberty's Edge

Depends on how quickly babies mature, not on the time required to get to adulthood, nor on life expectancy.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
I love Tank Mama!

This is the absolute **BEST** nickname for her!

Scarab Sages

7 people marked this as a favorite.

This is just *SUCH* the greatest story!
I haven't played since 2e came out, but I still read the Meet the Iconics and other blogs and news posts.

But this story got me to just had to comment!
I absolutely adore her! AsI read, I literally kept saying aloud, "She's a mommy!!" ... and each time another wonderful baby came along, I said it again!

I love the iconics for whom adventuring isn't a first career. She's a military combat veteran, a mom, a devoted wife, and an all-around great person!

Also, I like that this is very much a middle age "I didn't peak in high school" kind of story! She's successful, and has done a lot of things in her life.
It's almost like, "Okay, I'm retiring. I'm gonna go travel the world in an RV, now ... kbye!"

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