Meet the Iconics: Thaleon

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Thaleon was born in the deserts of Rahadoum, in a time before the sands had come to claim Manaket.

A member of the nomadic vourinoi, the elves of the desert, Thaleon was born from two worlds: one parent a woman from the forested elven homeland of Kyonin, the other a kala-shei elf who had always called the dunes their home. As a child, Thaleon traveled from oasis to oasis, learning to appreciate the beauty of the passing landscapes. He was taught to navigate by the stars and find safe water, when to travel, and when to hide from the sun, but most of all, he was taught of an ideal almost too abstract for his young mind to grasp—the quest for a moment of clarity his people called the Brightness. Each described it differently—the windsinger spoke of it as a pure note before dawn, the cook said it felt like the first taste of a family meal—but their anecdotes had one thing in common: to find his Brightness, Thaleon would need to wander the world and make his own path.

While Thaleon was still a child, the vourinoi ventured to the coastal city of Manaket, known for its lush gardens and academic learning, to relay a warning. Through their wanderings, they had studied the subtler patterns of climate and weather playing out over decades and centuries, more noticeable over their elven lifespans. In these patterns, they’d seen a rapid spread of desertification in Rahadoum, with long-verdant shelters now exposed to the desert’s wrath. Working together over several years, the vourinoi and various Manaketi scholars predicted a great storm of dust and sand would envelop the city, choking the sky and devastating crops. Yet government officials wouldn’t take their warnings seriously; they were too focused on shorter-term priorities to risk their popularity by proposing expensive measures to prevent some potential future disaster.

While his parents researched, Thaleon was thrilled to explore a new place filled with wildly different peoples, though he chafed under Manaket’s rigid structure. Why should such a trifling thing as a property line tell him he couldn't perch on a roof to enjoy the starlight? Why would one leave an object in a common area if they didn't mean for anyone to pick it up? Why would one hold an interesting conversation in a public place if they wanted it to remain private? The boy was ever inquisitive and prone to getting swept up in the moods of those around him, taking part in their enthusiasm and wonder, as well as their frustration and pain.

Thaleon, the iconic psychic. Art by Wayne Reynolds
Thaleon, the iconic psychic, dressed in white and blue clothes with an orange sash

Thaleon’s teachers were quick to label him a problem child due to his tendency to break rules and encourage classmates to do the same, as well as for the strange incidents that regularly happened around him. Confiscated toys hovered back to his fingers as soon as a teacher’s back was turned. Distracting sounds would fill the room during boring lessons. While unfamiliar to Thaleon’s vourinoi family, his Rahadoumi teachers were well acquainted with psychic power, given the country’s tradition of magic that sprung from mortal will. Though his instructors thought it best to place Thaleon in a strict, isolated program to discipline his mind and powers, Thaleon’s parents realized the boy was too free-spirited to flourish in a regimented Rahadoumi classroom. Instead, they set challenges for their son to channel his energy. Find the fastest way from the city gate to the fountain. Detail the journey of a fish from egg to stewpot. Lure a scorpion into a trap without getting stung. Capture a mirage in bluest ink. This last challenge sung the most to Thaleon’s heart, and the boy quickly took up painting, his portraits filled with vibrant colors and complex expressions that always managed to capture a subject’s deeper feelings, even ones they had only hinted at aloud.

One sunset, while Thaleon was putting the finishing touches on a portrait of a fruit seller, he felt oddly tense, his brush quavering in his hand. As tension deepened into apprehension, then fear, he realized the emotion wasn’t his own. The people in the marketplace turned eastward, staring at an unfamiliar cloud on the horizon, one that rushed toward them with unnerving speed. Street dogs howled and birds fell silent. Thaleon knew instantly what it was. The long-predicted storm, come at last.

Drawing a scarf over his mouth, he tried to direct the crowd to safety, but his voice couldn’t rise above the panic, a thousand scrawls of stark white closing in from every direction. The desire to protect the crowd grew in Thaleon’s mind until it finally spilled forth, unleashing itself in a flash of color. For the first time, Thaleon painted with his mind instead of his brush, and soothing lights flickered into existence, drawing attention away from the storm for a few critical moments. In the momentary calm, Thaleon’s voice had a chance to carry as he directed the market indoors and underground.

To Thaleon’s relief, the crowd took shelter, yet the merchant he’d been painting remained frozen in place as the storm approached. The canopy of his stall snapped, sending a heavy beam of wood straight for his head. In that moment, Thaleon felt only one emotion: the desire to protect his friend. As he dashed to the merchant’s side, colors wove together into a dome of telekinetic force, covering them both. The debris crashed against it just as the storm descended. Sand and wind raged, but the barrier held, and in the swirling reds, blues, and yellows, for the briefest second, Thaleon glimpsed a color he’d never seen before, one he couldn’t describe… but he knew it was bright.

On that day, Thaleon’s power became more than a source of entertainment and whimsy. It became a way for him to make the world a better place. A century has passed since the day Manaket’s gardens withered in the sandstorm, but the spark of Thaleon’s curiosity and his desire to help others hasn’t diminished. Like his parents before him, Thaleon left home to wander the world in search of his Brightness, determined to make his own path.

Linda Zayas-Palmer
Development Manager

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Tags: Dark Archive Meet the Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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20 people marked this as a favorite.

Mind bullets, that's telekinesis Kyle.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

32 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
Yet government officials wouldn’t take their warnings seriously; they were too focused on shorter-term priorities to risk their popularity by proposing expensive measures to prevent some potential future disaster.

completely unrealistic, ruined my immersion, this story is great and I love Thaleon!

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

21 people marked this as a favorite.

Meet Thaleon, everyone! I love Linda's new empathic artist and her insights into vourinoi and Rahadoum ^_^


1 person marked this as a favorite.

That's great! I love how the style is so bright and whimsical.

Scarab Sages

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I like the magical brushstrokes in place or runes, very painterly. I also like the how the text describes a CG alignment.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Thaleon glimpsed a color he’d never seen before, one he couldn’t describe… but he knew it was bright.

A color never before seen on Earth!

Catch that reference.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Pirate Rob wrote:
Mind bullets, that's telekinesis Kyle.

How 'bout the power to move you?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Ahhhhh, wonderful to have some more insights into the vourinoi, they deserve more love, and this is a great story!!


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I love Thaleon! Getting some Vourinoi love and some everyday Rahadoum are both real treats, and you all know hoe much I go for anything psychic - well done!


9 people marked this as a favorite.
VerBeeker wrote:

Thaleon glimpsed a color he’d never seen before, one he couldn’t describe… but he knew it was bright.

A color never before seen on Earth!

Catch that reference.

I hope it's octarine.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

All that's missing is a comically oversized paintbrush as a staff.

Horizon Hunters

May the colors be with you!

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Love these written pieces on the new iconic! Great style.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great!


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

I love that some of the notable traits of the two Dark Archive iconics are Mios distrusting rich people and Thaleon thinking laws are pointless.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
VerBeeker wrote:

Thaleon glimpsed a color he’d never seen before, one he couldn’t describe… but he knew it was bright.

A color never before seen on Earth!

Catch that reference.

John Carter, Warlord of Mars


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
I like the magical brushstrokes in place or runes, very painterly. I also like the how the text describes a CG alignment.

What are you talking about! How do you know it was CG?! He is clearly LE!

;) :P


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

Social commentary and a look at elven culture and a look at Rahadoum? I'm feeling a little spoiled, and I love it. Thank you so much, Linda! This is excellent work!

Wayfinders

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Curious that vourinoi is uncapitalized in this one. Any reason for that? I thought it was a proper name for an ethnic group like Mbe'ke or Ekujae.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
mimp wrote:
I love that some of the notable traits of the two Dark Archive iconics are Mios distrusting rich people and Thaleon thinking laws are pointless.

The psychics are our true comrades!

Horizon Hunters

Ooh, that reads like an Emergency Force Sphere spell ;D


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like Thaleon is Wandering Reverie/Tangible Dream, from what we can glean here.

Liberty's Edge

I felt the Don't look up sentence was a bit heavy-handed, but it did serve the rest of this bright beautiful piece.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
VerBeeker wrote:

Thaleon glimpsed a color he’d never seen before, one he couldn’t describe… but he knew it was bright.

A color never before seen on Earth!

Catch that reference.

As long as it was more fluroescent greenish-yellow-purple, and not saaaaaaay, secretly an ooze.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I've said several times before how much I like the environmental perils (primarily desertification) in the Golden Road, and realized I forgot to shout it out here! I'd love to see those themes touched on in PFS or an AP.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
I've said several times before how much I like the environmental perils (primarily desertification) in the Golden Road, and realized I forgot to shout it out here! I'd love to see those themes touched on in PFS or an AP.

We've had takes on classic D&D modules in the past. Desertification would be a way to do some of Dark Sun without any of the... more problematic aspects of the setting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Cool class, creepy character.

Wayfinders

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Both the design and the writing were absolutely knocked out of the park on this one. I love how nontraditional educational paths were worked into this one, not to mention the really cool look at how different perspectives can inform how we see the world. I really like the idea that elves see long-term climate changes happening over a single lifetime; it makes perfect sense and says some interesting things about their psychology.

Also, psychic painter elf lore good. Beauty, truth, all that fun stuff.

I honestly could look at Thaleon all day. Gorgeous use of colour.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Are the Vourinoi fremen ?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Huh. He literally paints with all the colors of the wind. Neat. :)


Interesting but I am personally tired of the "painter = trouble maker" trope.

(R.I.P. Zeri from Dawngate)


The Raven Black wrote:
Are the Vourinoi fremen ?

Sounds like it, or at least very close to. Now, where'd the Thumpers go? We have some sand worms to run away from...


10 people marked this as a favorite.
nick1wasd wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Are the Vourinoi fremen ?
Sounds like it, or at least very close to. Now, where'd the Thumpers go? We have some sand worms to run away from...

Actually, aside from the association with the desert, I don't see much relationship between the Proud Warrior Race Fremen and the vourinoi elves, who consciously prefer peaceful resolutions and are gregarious and friendly in counter to their inhospitable homeland.

In fact it seems that the vourinoi are in some ways the opposite of the "hard lands make hard people" Fremen and I personally appreciate that more than if they were just another hardened desert dwelling people who disdained the decadence and "softness" of civilization.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
Are the Vourinoi fremen ?

If living in the desert semi-nomadically is enough for you to say that, sure, but I don’t see much of any other parallels between them.

I don’t see Thaleon making anyone spit-coffee anytime soon.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I think I've found my new favorite iconic! ^^ <3

Really looking forward to seeing the Psychic!

Carry on,

--C.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I love that his psychic power is connected to his painting! He's learned to use his mind to paint with the colors of the tapestry of reality to make life better for others! I love it! :D


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Alex Speidel wrote:
Quote:
Yet government officials wouldn’t take their warnings seriously; they were too focused on shorter-term priorities to risk their popularity by proposing expensive measures to prevent some potential future disaster.
completely unrealistic, ruined my immersion, this story is great and I love Thaleon!

Unfortunately, none of our equivalents of Thaleon have super-powers. Must be Earth's anti-magic field . . . .

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Are the Vourinoi fremen ?

If living in the desert semi-nomadically is enough for you to say that, sure, but I don’t see much of any other parallels between them.

I don’t see Thaleon making anyone spit-coffee anytime soon.

It was the completely blue-eyes actually, together with the nomadic people who roam the desert and are wiser to the ways of nature than city dwellers.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Unfortunately, none of our equivalents of Thaleon have super-powers. Must be Earth's anti-magic field . . . .

To quote Pen and Teller, "MAGIC IS FAKE!!!!"

It's nice to imagine a world with magic in it though which is why we have Tabletop RPG. ;)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Alex Speidel wrote:
Quote:
Yet government officials wouldn’t take their warnings seriously; they were too focused on shorter-term priorities to risk their popularity by proposing expensive measures to prevent some potential future disaster.
completely unrealistic, ruined my immersion, this story is great and I love Thaleon!

Unfortunately, none of our equivalents of Thaleon have super-powers. Must be Earth's anti-magic field . . . .

Any astronomer will be able to tell you that this anti-magic field extends well beyond Earth....


Berselius wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Unfortunately, none of our equivalents of Thaleon have super-powers. Must be Earth's anti-magic field . . . .

To quote Pen and Teller, "MAGIC IS FAKE!!!!"

{. . .}

I thought that was supposed to be birds . . . .


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Berselius wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Unfortunately, none of our equivalents of Thaleon have super-powers. Must be Earth's anti-magic field . . . .

To quote Pen and Teller, "MAGIC IS FAKE!!!!"

{. . .}

I thought that was supposed to be birds . . . .

But I thought bird was the word? D:

Grand Lodge

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

Given that the 1st Edition Iconic psychic Rivani was clearly modelled on a south Asian woman, and a few years ago one of Pazio higher-ups (can't recall which at this time) made a big point about seeing a young south-Asian girl and her mother staring open mouthed at the huge poster of Rivani at Gen Con and how important that the representation was, why the change in direction?

Silver Crusade

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

I bet we'll see some more of Rivani in the upcoming Impossible Lands sourcebook. Paizo hasn't retired any of the PF1 iconics, as far as I know.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Are the Vourinoi fremen ?

If living in the desert semi-nomadically is enough for you to say that, sure, but I don’t see much of any other parallels between them.

I don’t see Thaleon making anyone spit-coffee anytime soon.

It was the completely blue-eyes actually, together with the nomadic people who roam the desert and are wiser to the ways of nature than city dwellers.

Vourinoi elves have large pupils but not all of them are blue-eyed. I would say that the defining triat of Fremen is that they're a warrior people. Vourinoi are not.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Given that the 1st Edition Iconic psychic Rivani was clearly modelled on a south Asian woman, and a few years ago one of Pazio higher-ups (can't recall which at this time) made a big point about seeing a young south-Asian girl and her mother staring open mouthed at the huge poster of Rivani at Gen Con and how important that the representation was, why the change in direction?

Two Iconic changes in this edition have replaced women of color with nonhumans. It’s definitely a little frustrating… and I quite like the new Oracle and Psychic!

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Given that the 1st Edition Iconic psychic Rivani was clearly modelled on a south Asian woman, and a few years ago one of Pazio higher-ups (can't recall which at this time) made a big point about seeing a young south-Asian girl and her mother staring open mouthed at the huge poster of Rivani at Gen Con and how important that the representation was, why the change in direction?

It probably has something to do with the fact that the Class is undergoing changes that are so drastic compared to the 1e implementation that it is not reasonably possible for them to justify the difference between what they used to be/represent and what they can actually DO that switching to a new Character makes the most sense given that this seems to be the pattern thus far with Iconics that have been replaced.

In short: The PF1 Psychic isn't anywhere even close to being reproducible using the new Class to the point where if they used the same Iconic it would require canon ret-con. The PF1 Alchemist, Oracle, Gunslinger, and Summoner all underwent that change for what I assume is just this reason given the HUGE shifts in how those classes work, the abilities they have and NEED, but hey, that just my theory.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
A century has passed since the day Manaket’s gardens withered in the sandstorm

Did this happen at the same time Aroden died? Are the two events connected?


keftiu wrote:
Two Iconic changes in this edition have replaced women of color with nonhumans. It’s definitely a little frustrating… and I quite like the new Oracle and Psychic!

I cannot complain about any of the new iconics in isolation. The pattern however is becoming awkward: shifting Rivani and Alahazra out of focus, quietly making Seoni paler and blonder, something Paizo described as an 'evolution', and the subtle reintroduction of biological essentialism through Ancestry options all create an uncomfortable disconnect between the way Paizo talks about these issues and the way they design their products.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
swoosh wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Two Iconic changes in this edition have replaced women of color with nonhumans. It’s definitely a little frustrating… and I quite like the new Oracle and Psychic!
I cannot complain about any of the new iconics in isolation. The pattern however is becoming awkward: shifting Rivani and Alahazra out of focus, quietly making Seoni paler and blonder, something Paizo described as an 'evolution', and the subtle reintroduction of biological essentialism through Ancestry options all create an uncomfortable disconnect between the way Paizo talks about these issues and the way they design their products.

I don’t agree with all that. Paizo is still leagues ahead of the other big d20 company; Tomb of Annihilation and Lost Omens: The Mwangi Expanse are miles apart when it comes to racism. I’m largely content with how Ancestries are presented, even if I wish Ancestry Ability Flaws weren’t a thing.

But sidelining established women of character is a bummer.

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