Meet the Iconics: Ciravel

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Ciravel’s first—and only—childhood memory is of tasting the stars. Peering through a window into the depths of space, innumerable galaxies stare back at her and glitter their welcome. She remembers that moment, possibilities and potential branching like fractals, infinite possibilities for infinite stars; and yet, six stars shine brightest of all. Someone hands her something sweet that tastes of honey and spices, and the world smells of citrus and the sea. Fragrance embraces her, the sweetness lingering upon her tongue—the past and the present dancing together in a shared instant.

But before and after… Nothing.

And then, in some time or none at all: heat, and the rain on Sovyrian’s canals.

Ciravel’s young adulthood was spent at the university, where she earned impeccably high marks studying xenobotany, while also attending martial arts and combat training. Time rarely seemed to be the issue for Ciravel “But how do you manage it all?” her classmates asked. Ciravel shrugged. “I plan well. I have to.”

And she did need to plan. Multitudes of worlds and peoples mean multitudes of different shapes, sizes, limb configurations, and body structures. For Ciravel, it meant a body which, since birth, has been particularly responsive to varying gravities, atmospheric pressures, and other planetary properties. Some days, and in some places, Ciravel has little-to-no pain and walking isn’t a problem. Other times or places, she manages exhaustion and pain. Like many others across the Pact Worlds and beyond, using a hoverchair, or a cane for shorter distances, helps Ciravel reduce fatigue and makes moving around less difficult and painful. She trained to fight while using her chair, harnessing the thrusters and momentum to dodge and attack, conserving energy, to use her cane to counterbalance and anchor herself. Ways to minimize a bad day amongst the good and maximize a good day amidst the bad. But never knowing what sort of day was ahead meant Ciravel had to learn early how to plan for each possibility. So, she’d examine each potential outcome and prepare for each iteration until it became instinctual.

After graduation, Ciravel’s academic success in xenobotany caught the Sovyrian leadership’s attention, and in time, she was trusted with occasional official journeys to Absalom Station. Each time she boarded a starship, it felt more like home than Sovyrian ever had. It was the end of one of these trips, heading back through the station towards her waiting ship, that she was stopped in her tracks by the smell of crisp citrus in the sea air.

It was a scent she had all but forgotten, and in an instant, she was back in the memory of a window and stars and spiced honey. And in that moment, existing in two times, simultaneously, she understood. She could bend this moment to her needs. She could stretch time—delay her departure long enough to find the source of the fragrance. It wouldn’t last long, and it’d be exhausting, but it would be enough.

Illustration by Remko Troost and Ignacio Bazán Lazcano.
Illustration by Remko Troost and Ignacio Bazán Lazcano. Starfinder iconic, precog, dressed in a black and gold spacesuit and sitting in a floating chair to assist with mobility

She stretched time at the docks and compressed it nearby. Following the fragrance, or perhaps led by it, she found the source—a young woman with golden eyes and swirling tattoos that almost seemed to dance, carrying a bundle under her arm and walking quickly into a small temple with a shattered mirror on the door—the sign of the Gap Recollective. Ciravel peered in, and when the woman drew back the cloth of the bundle, it revealed a truly ancient warhammer engraved with glowing Dwarven runes. Ciravel tasted spiced honey on her tongue. The young woman looked at her. Smiled.

And Ciravel was suddenly back on the ship home.

Years went by, and Ciravel became the default representative for most off-planet xenobotany meetings. Her excursions were always on time, dodged inclement weather, and when her insular life among the elves caused a diplomatic faux pas, it was somehow forgotten by the next meeting. With the arrival of the Idari, Ciravel was invited as part of the elven delegation to the kasathan worldship. She observed adat and was awed to note that after death the kasatha, like she, exist in two aligned points in time. She befriended one of the adata, who wore a pin engraved with a circle and arrow containing a six-star constellation.

The six stars from her memory.

The adata explained it as the symbol of Ibra, The Inscrutable. Guardian of mysteries and miracles, of exploration and discovery and the cosmos. They spoke at length of Ibra and cosmic enigmas swirling like nebulas and questions, but eventually, Ciravel bid the adata farewell and boarded the ship to Castrovel.

Another young woman boards Ciravel’s ship. She smiles at Ciravel with golden eyes as an unfamiliar object peeks out from the bundle tucked under a tattoo-adorned arm.

Citrus and spiced honey and salt flood Ciravel’s senses. Time stops.

Ciravel tastes the stars a third time. And this time, she understands.

Her memory is of the Gap. And either this woman with the golden eyes or this strange object is a link to it.

Ciravel untangles the possibilities—the present and the future, selecting a strand, tracing it forward. She knows this woman, Prindra, will lead Ciravel to the Gap Recollective on Castrovel. That Ciravel will peer into the maelstrom of the Recollective’s esoteric secrets, and someone, or something, will peer back. That they will hunt her, thinking three moves and four dimensions ahead. Ciravel unknots another time-thread and finds people who can help her, who she will help, who will become trusted companions. Ciravel knows she will become Forlorn, but feels no despair, for she will bend time itself for the friends she will make, keeping them safe on new worlds as they explore the mysteries of the stars together. Invigorated, Ciravel takes these strands and twists them together, weaving them into a new, stronger thread. Possibility.

She peers out the window, smiling at galaxies glittering with infinite potential and adventure and possibility, for Ciravel has time.

Despite understanding and manipulating the mechanisms of time, Ciravel is by no means omniscient. She selects the best plan based on the information she has on a given topic, and even when she knows an outcome, she still gets nervous from time to time. She also recognizes that someone may have information that informs a different option than the one she has chosen, so, while she will defend her statements, Ciravel is willing to follow another’s suggested plan. Her humor tends to be dry and occasionally dark, but she is playful and loyal with people she trusts.

Ciravel’s insular upbringing can manifest both as ignorance, condescension, and elitism—she corrects inaccuracies, but lacks firsthand knowledge about much of the galaxy, its peoples, their worlds, and their cultures, not for want of curiosity, but simply from a lack of exposure—more than once, cultural ignorance has put Ciravel into a sticky situation. She can be impatient and often will finish others’ sentences, assuming she knows what they were going to say, and she’s usually right. When all is said and done, there is nothing that thrills Ciravel more than exploring the galaxy, putting together a puzzle, and staring out at the stars with her friends.

About The Author

Jennifer Kretchmer is a Diana Jones Emerging Game Designer Award finalist, TV produce and performer, author (D&D’s Candlekeep Mysteries, Haunted West), streamer, and disability consultant (Skybound Games: The Walking Dead, MCDM) who has been playing TTRPGs for more than 20 years. She appears on several actual play streams including Vampire: The Nightlife (Renegade) and Heroes of the Planes (Demiplane), where her character, Alyndra, is a playable champion in Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. Jen is a Jasper’s Game Day Ambassador and is the creator of the Accessibility in Gaming Resource Guide.

Twitter/Instagram: @dreamwisp
Twitch: twitch.tv/dreamwispjen
Linktree: linktr.ee/dreamwisp

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Radiant Oath

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

Besides, if as a GM you deliberately have enemies target a disabled PC's assistive devices you're kinda being a ding-dong, much like if in a PF game you deliberately had the enemies try to destroy a wizard PC's spellbook or sunder a warrior PC's weapon. It makes the game unfun.

Radiant Oath

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

If I was GMing and I made sure every caster said Fighter encountered opened with rusting grasp then yes, they'd probably quit, and be justified too.

If I populated my Starfinder encounters with nothing BUT gremlins, then yes, I'd expect people wouldn't want me to GM anymore.

Honestly the more I think about it, "I'm just making the game realistic!" feels very much like it's the GM version of the "It's what my character would do!" excuse you'll hear disruptive players give.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

16 people marked this as a favorite.

We are not interested in creating mechanical drawbacks to reflect the diversity of bodies that exist within our science fantasy setting or in the real world. Paizo has made a concerted effort to remove such mechanics from our games, as it is unnecessary and makes for a less welcoming space for gamers who may face prejudice in the real world for their own disabilities--including the suggestion that their disabilities must be reflected mechanically for the sake of verisimilitude.

Comments like these seem to come up every time we include a disabled character in the game, and as we present more representation to that effect, so too do these harmful comments replicate.

Discussions about whether or not someone is valid as a disabled person in a world in which there are scientific/magical "cures" is not welcome on the Paizo forums. Take that somewhere else. All future comments to that effect will be removed.

Wayfinders Contributor

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Thank you, Mark! Paizo's efforts to include diversity of all types are much appreciated. One of my friends is a culturally Deaf GM and he was so excited when he discovered Bjersig Torrsen, an in-universe Deaf Venture Captain in Pathfinder Society. It RESONATED for him, and made him and his players (all native ASL speakers) feel welcomed and a part of the game.

Let's face it. It's a fantasy (or Science Fantasy) roleplaying game. My 55 year old self would be a lousy adventurer, but I still love seeing older women kicking ass in movies, books and as gaming NPCs. I am so here for this representation, and appreciate all the care and thought that went into this iconic.

Yours,
Hmm

Paizo Employee Director of Community

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I've removed a number of posts (and subsequent posts) arguing about realism and representation in the game. Mark sums it up fantastically in his post above. I'm just doing the clean up work.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^. . . and maybe succeed in keeping them long enough to get them repaired to full working order with some future technological improvement.

Plus, you don't want to be dependent for basic life functions on something that is potentially hackable, if you can avoid it. Or to have to be at the mercy of the manufacturer for maintenance and possibly even some End User License Agreement where you basically have to sign part of your freedom over to them.

You forget that regeneration is also rather cheap in Starfinder (Regeneration Serum for 600 credits)


I do apologise if this came up in a different blog but one thing that I have noticed the more I look at this character is that she both in colour outlook, combat style and background is basically the opposite of Merisiel.

Was this something that you did deliberately or was it just a happy coincidence? I do see lots of similarities between the two characters but how those similar affect the character is very different. The Forlorn aspect for example is something that Merisiel had to live with her whole life and affects a not inconsiderate amount of her character while Ciravel chose that path with all the issues that may arise from it.

Dataphiles

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Inqui wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^. . . and maybe succeed in keeping them long enough to get them repaired to full working order with some future technological improvement.

Plus, you don't want to be dependent for basic life functions on something that is potentially hackable, if you can avoid it. Or to have to be at the mercy of the manufacturer for maintenance and possibly even some End User License Agreement where you basically have to sign part of your freedom over to them.

You forget that regeneration is also rather cheap in Starfinder (Regeneration Serum for 600 credits)

600 credits probably isn't cheap for every single person in the universe, to say nothing about being a level 6 item. If you assume the Profession check as a non-adventurer person's amount of weekly income, someone with a +10 modifier (higher than your average level 1 adventurer who is more commonly at risk of losing limbs) makes about 40-50 credits a week. That means three months or more worth of wages for a serum, assuming they don't need to spend any credits on, oh I don't know...housing, food, maintenance, communication, family care, personal expenses, emergencies, or other medical expenses just of the top of my head.

And that doesn't even touch on the serum limitation. Yes, surprisingly, magic still has limits.

First off "When using a regeneration serum, you choose one body part that was severed from your body or one organ that was ruined (such as by the wounding critical hit effect) and inject the serum via syringe to the corresponding region on your body." Note severed limb or ruined organ. This says nothing about a limb or organ that is attached but no longer functions due to neurological damage or other sources of disability. Sure you could just cut the limb off and regrow it, but chances are that won't deal with the actual problem that causes the limb/organ not to function correctly in the first place.

Second off "For 24 hours after injecting yourself with the serum, you require a day’s worth of food and fluids every hour (which you can ingest without any of the normal repercussions of such excessive consumption) or the serum’s effects stop without effect." Meaning, you need to eat nearly a month's worth of food inside a day and that's probably all you do for that day. Now the food isn't that big of a deal creditwise if you just want to have four blocks of field rations on hand (tasty!), but let's look back on that. Really read it. You need to eat for 24 solid hours on the hour. If you try to do that on your own, chances are you'd fall asleep unless you have something that lets you sleep for almost no time (some cybernetics can do that if you have thousands of credits to spare) or are a specific species that doesn't sleep. So chances are you likely need someone to monitor you (or go to a facility where you can have the serum medically administers and where you can be housed to maximize the chance it works) to make sure you eat or else the serum is wasted. 600 credits down the drain.

Of course, the big thing is that we are talking about adventurers for who 600 credits isn't that big a deal, not the average person, right? Funny thing about not being the average person, you don't always act the way the average person would act. Sometimes you make decisions that aren't strictly logical, for whatever reason be it pride, honoring an event, or simply because it doesn't feel right to do the normal logical thing. Maybe they've even gotten so used to the way they function now that changing it would mean they need to relearn and replace certain almost instinctual behaviors they've built for months or years.

I get that some people think that these problems can be simply solved, and maybe they can in some or even many cases. Some or many is not all. And if such people insist on realism, then that cuts both ways. Rejection rates for magic/biotech/cybernetic aid, paying higher than standard amounts for goods or services, supply limits, lack of skilled crafters to make the goods you want or even just not knowing the formula or schematics, all the dozens of different things that are currently a default "Yes, that is available/works/is known how to replicate" for simplicity, GONE for the sake of realism.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

If anyone is intersted: given Paizo has stated they're not putting out stats for new iconic classes, I've taken a stab at stats for an unoffical fan Ciravel at levels 1, 4, and 8 on Starfinder Infinite! Check it out here.

(Do note that this isn't a proper, official, pregen that you can use in lieu of other characters in Organised Play. All of the options are Society-legal, though, and elves are an always-available race, so this could be played as a level 1 character, even in Society games. It could also be used in the one-shots and similar adventures where you can bring your own characters; and, of course, any way you want in non-Org Play settings to get a taste of what precogs are like!)

Wayfinders

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's a sci-fi setting. I was expecting disabled characters.
I didn't in a million years expect to see this kind of chronic illness represented, to see myself represented in an iconic, from the varying use of mobility aids to the daily problem-solving to never quite knowing how able-bodied I'm going to be.
Absolutely stellar work. Ciravel is brilliant, and I really, truly appreciate her inclusion.

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