No More Pregenerated Iconics!


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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Mr Jacobs,

A friend of mine introduced me to the Rise of the Runelords a couple of years ago. That gaming group fell apart and we spent the next year putting another group together. We were 3 modules in before I realized there were Iconic Characters, and while they were fun to look at, much like my grandfather's '68 Chevelle, I never even thought of taking them out of the garage. Use the pages to whatever means you and your staff see fit. While the characters might be missed, no one will cry out in desperation to not see them. The cleverness and thought put into them can most certainly be focused on the AP in general or that chapter specifically.

Currently I am running Crimson Throne and playing Runelords. Both are fantastic trips that could have filled the extra pages easily.

Thank you sir for all that you have given. It has been a pleasure to play in the world of your imagination.

Dark Archive

I like them....

I like seeing how they get statted up at various levels. I've used them for one shots with my group to break up APs for when we have a few more players than usual so don't want to play the AP we usually would.

I certainly wouldn't want to see them go away until all of the AGP Iconics have been done. That way, once I can start picking up the APs again, I'll get them all to see ;)

The Exchange

Also, the iconics are more than jut pre-gen characters. They are used in the artwork and so are quite a big piece of the visual identity of Paizo and in particular Pathfinder. I can see where the OP is coming from but I personally doubt that their impact is significant overall given that they only occupy a couple of pages.


I've only found them useful for Pathfinder Society - the pre-gens download for that is useful.

For home games, I've never used them.

If you free up two pages what I'd like to see is more player handouts/props/player-focused illustrations. That's content that saves time for the GM and is cool for the players.

Spoiler:
So in Burnt Offerings, the pages from Tsuto's Journal would have been extra cool.

Handbills, wanted posters, proclamations, player crib sheets, depictions of items, landscapes etc. More stuff like that (I know there's usually a good amount of prop-worthy illustrations/handouts; but "more is more".)

Shadow Lodge

I'll agree with the people who say put the 1st level versions in the first volume of the AP. Past that they're really unnecessary, and even contradictory if someone who's actually using them doesn't decide to level them like the "official" version.

Dark Archive

Yank 'em out, and use the extra space for larger, higher resolution maps.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

It's ok with me. I like the iconics but the statistics are not so important to me. You can get rid of them with my blessing.

Bran.

PS :What is this Bran "637" o_o ???

Dark Archive

Feel free to remove the iconics to give us more content.

Grand Lodge

Keep at least the 1st level ones. While most posters here will represent the experienced player (I wouldn't use them personally) - they are great for new players.
I use Lini for my daughter and Harsk for my son in Kingmaker. This allowed them to have a backstory, have some stats, fall in love with a figure and play.
My daughter chose Lini because she adored the snow leopard. She has seen the artwork in the rules - and this was the character she wanted. Many here might think - this is the wrong way to chose a character - but if it keeps them happy - if this is their most important aspect in chosing a character - fine with me.

It also helps that I was able to get the minis - and paint them the same way as the artwork.

There is one good alternative - change all the iconics to ensure they are PFS legitimate and add them to the already existing characters there and advertise the link.

On a different note - it was already mentioned elsewhere. I feel paying as a subscriber for four pages of ads - if I count the page with open game license then it's five is wrong. I understand why you do this and respect it. But please cut it down. Having 3 pages total for ads plus Open Game license (I talk AP31) would be enough and would have added the same amount of pages for more content (2 extra) as removing the pre-generated characters.

I didn't count how many pages there are in the other APs - but this is the only bit I'm really upset about as a subscriber in an othervice great product.

Thod


Granted I'm not a purchaser of adventure paths, but...

You might want to keep the iconics in the first part of any series, but drop them from the rest of it. As has been said earlier, they are great for new players, so having them in the beginning of an adventure path makes sense. Reprinting them at ever advancing levels for each installment? Not so much.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If the iconics get replaced, I'd like to see the "best" artwork of the particular AP to get a full page spread in their place. :p

Dark Archive

IMHO you only need stat blocks for the first adventure, if you're buying the second without the first adventure you're already showing that you're an experienced DM. I always saw pregens as a way for new players to quickly get to playing.

I only use them to see what level my players need to be.


Here is my two cents:

I like the pregen characters. I have never personally used them, but it's nice to have some ready-to-go characters in case someone new joins a game, or a PC dies suddenly.

Here's an option (one you may have heard already since the internet demons ate my post attempt yesterday); keep the pregen characters on the pdf releases, not in the print editions. Would that be possible?

DogBone

Dark Archive

Perhaps there can be a pdf containing iconics with slightly more detailed backgrounds than those presented on the blog and with 1st level stats? You can use it for the next years free gaming day?

Sovereign Court

It's very easy for me to say: "Yay, ditch the iconics' statblocks!"

This is because I already have them all, unused but present over all the APs and Modules.

The obvious suggestion is that if you can reformat the old pre-gens into a pdf it could go on my downloads page next to the official character sheet and both could be referenced.

If that is too much work then the Pathfinder Wiki seems to be the natural home for them.

Liberty's Edge

Since Pathfinder AP's came out, I have only seen one iconic used in one adventure and that was because someone wanted to sit in on one of our games and needed a character (early in the campaign and it was level 1). Although it was convenient, I doubt that is sufficient reason for them to stick around.

I agree that having some sort of online resourse for the Core iconics is a good idea, but I don't think that you need all 20 levels. Most AP's so far have not gotten to 20th level and I can't see using a pre-gen in a high-level adventure anyways.

Maybe if you put the four featured iconics at first level in the first module of an AP, then have bonus content online with the character plotted out for the expected starting levels of the modules (eg. an adventure for four fourth level characters) that would reduce the amount of required statblocks statblocks significantly (six per iconic instead of twenty). If you're down by a level or two, the player can level up on the fly (allowing some customization), or just apply the simple advanced template or something.

Thanks for asking us for input. This kind of dialogue between publisher and consumer is one of the great things about Paizo. Keep it up!

[edit] Oh! Why not put the four level one iconics at the back of the free player's guides for each AP? This gives the players a chance to look at a sample character, it's a free download already and you don't make print verions of these anymore anyways.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

As I posted in the other thread, I would like to see the two pages be used to show suggestions for further personalization. The reason the original Dragonlance adventure path was such a huge success was because the pre-generated characters had personalized events that were revealed as the adventures unfolded. These do not need to be fully fleshed out, but a list of brief suggestions, just a few words really, using the iconics presented in the first volume would go a long way. They would demonstrate to new and old GMs the areas that can be used effectively to incorporate a PC's background even more.

It would be great to see how an author envisions some of the captured murderers from Valeros's background being used in an AP, or a comment about a stick in a forest that Lini would find special, or a developing lead that Sajan might follow to his sister.

They would stimulate the GM's imagination, be an example of good adventure path customization, and show the many and interesting ways the iconics are all connected to the world of Golarion.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Xuttah wrote:
Oh! Why not put the four level one iconics at the back of the free player's guides for each AP? This gives the players a chance to look at a sample character, it's a free download already and you don't make print versions of these anymore anyways.

This is a great idea, actually. I second this.


I would also like to see those pages go to more content, especially the adventuring kind. 2 extra pages to help flesh out the author's ideas would be great.


This begs the questions why do we need iconics anyway..it constricts artistic imagination. So I say ditch them entirely.


Further to my earlier posts, I gather that to some extent there actually already are iconics pre-built for PFS elsewhere, so carry on then. :)

Edit:
Back in the days of Rise of the Runelords, until they got to higher levels, all the iconics were fit onto one page, so it seems to me that at least some of the space currently given to iconic stat blocks could be diverted elsewhere...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM Wellard wrote:
This begs the questions why do we need iconics anyway..it constricts artistic imagination. So I say ditch them entirely.

As a GM who reads some adventures just for pleasure rather than to run them (Shock! Horror!) I've fallen in love with the iconics and love seeing them battle their way through the adventure paths.

Also if removing the stat blocks from the back of the books encourages using APG, Ulimate Magus and other potential new iconics in the APs then I'm for it because we'll get more art with the heroes and anti-heroes we root for.

Grand Lodge

I like Pathfinder's iconic characters. It's simply fun to see them again and again, follow their adventures. They're immensely pretty, too. Having stats for them is nice and allows you to get playin' quickly and show new players a rockin' picture of who they're gonna be.

Is an Adventure Path or module the right place for that? I say no. Pages are limited enough and I'd rather have 12 additional pages of real content per AP. There's 3 pages of advertisement in them already, at least in the one book I have here. Understandable, but hey, I buy most stuff anyway, no need to convince me!

The additional space could be used for lots of things as others have suggested already.

I also agree with the idea of having a free or low-cost pdf on the iconics. Perhaps have everybody in there at first level, plus a mid- and high-level version? This way you only have to have their stats once.

Adding them to the AP's Player's Guide also seems like a nice idea.

Now, this is asking for free stuff, of course, but I guess it's not so bad since most of it is already written, right? :)

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

James Jacobs wrote:
Those extra 2 pages would likely NOT result in an increased wordcount for authors. They'd go into a much-needed expansion to our built-in "extra words" for when we need to expand upon the already certainly brilliant (but perhaps a bit disorganized or needing in a bit more explanation) prose of our talented and handsome/beautiful authors...

I may occasionally resemble that remark... :)

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

TerrorTigr wrote:

I like Pathfinder's iconic characters. It's simply fun to see them again and again, follow their adventures. They're immensely pretty, too. Having stats for them is nice and allows you to get playin' quickly and show new players a rockin' picture of who they're gonna be.

Is an Adventure Path or module the right place for that? I say no. Pages are limited enough and I'd rather have 12 additional pages of real content per AP. There's 3 pages of advertisement in them already, at least in the one book I have here. Understandable, but hey, I buy most stuff anyway, no need to convince me!

The additional space could be used for lots of things as others have suggested already.

I also agree with the idea of having a free or low-cost pdf on the iconics. Perhaps have everybody in there at first level, plus a mid- and high-level version? This way you only have to have their stats once.

Adding them to the AP's Player's Guide also seems like a nice idea.

Now, this is asking for free stuff, of course, but I guess it's not so bad since most of it is already written, right? :)

This is a reasonable idea, if the need or desire is there to have them at all; that way you can do them ONCE for the whole AP.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

i'm in favor of dumping the iconics' stat blocks and replacing them with content or comics (i wonder if rich burlew would be interested in returning to the back page of a gaming magazine...)

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:


If that is too much work then the Pathfinder Wiki seems to be the natural home for them.

Because of the wiki's No Crunch Policy this would most likely fit better at d20pfsrd

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Those extra 2 pages would likely NOT result in an increased wordcount for authors. They'd go into a much-needed expansion to our built-in "extra words" for when we need to expand upon the already certainly brilliant (but perhaps a bit disorganized or needing in a bit more explanation) prose of our talented and handsome/beautiful authors...

In that case, I'm 100% in favor of ditching them (as opposed to the 90% in favor I was at the start of the thread).


James Jacobs wrote:
Would replacing these pages with more precious words of adventure fill you with joy? Let us know!

Such a thing would fill me with (relatively speaking) unbelievable joy.

Quote:
Those extra 2 pages would likely NOT result in an increased wordcount for authors. They'd go into a much-needed expansion to our built-in "extra words" for when we need to expand upon the already certainly brilliant (but perhaps a bit disorganized or needing in a bit more explanation) prose of our talented and handsome/beautiful authors...

Whoa. Even better!

Is it, like, Christmas or something?


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Lilith wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
I support ditching the pregens and replacing them with more lovely words and art.
What the Mantis Man said, but I would like to see a free download available with their stats and backstory.

+1

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
DM Wellard wrote:
This begs the questions why do we need iconics anyway..it constricts artistic imagination. So I say ditch them entirely.

From what's been said elsewhere, I think the point of the Iconics is to constrict artistic imagination, or more accurately to give a feeling of connectedness between images that have been produced by multiple people. It's a lot easier to say to an artist 'Valeros (picture attached) and Kyra (picture attached) fight off the dreaded Flumpfh menace' than 'a Fighter and a Cleric fight off the dreaded Flumpfh menace', and if on the next page the characters are in the tavern celebrating their mighty victory, it's better for the same fighter and cleric to be there.


I have used the iconics, as group filler when we were short for a session or three, and as brief 'encounters' with friendly npcs.

I'm neutral on removing them. I find them at least as valuable as two extra pages of monsters or journal would be.


Make all the iconics available from 1 to 20 including the new ones as a section of the paizo site. Now if you could have WAR do a drawing for each one at each level that would be fantastic, but extremely expensive...so nevermind...(although an image at 1/6/11/16/20 would ROCK!)

oh me! ME pick ME!!! I know!!! Make Avatars of them...with their stats posted in separate spoilers for each level...then we can look them up or click on a hyperlink to each one, click the stats we need to look at; and VOILA! You could even do some special programming magick that lets you put JPGs in the Spoiler [paizo only]...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
DragonBelow wrote:
I support this initiative, like it has been said already, you can put them online, that's way more helpful and save precious pages from the AP and modules :D

I would LOVE to put all of the iconics' stats online, with versions of them from 1st to 20th level...

But not only does that require us to figure a new place on the website to present and store that info (the blog won't do—and Paizo's web architecture is not something I really have much input on so I'm not even sure this is something we can or would want to do)... but generating 360 statblocks for something that's not a print product is not something anyone here at Paizo has time to do.

In 3.0 WOTC put out a Rogue's Gallery splatbook which had a ton load of NPCs including some adventuring groups easily classified as "good, bad, and the ugly". At the end of the book, they did 5th, 10th, and 15th level versions of their various iconics. I think those 3 versions of each would serve the purpose well. Given that your APGs only go up to 15 and PFS is locked at 12th, I see no reason to bother with anything higher.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I'd be fine with taking them out, but I'd also like them easily accessible should I want to run a one-shot that needs pre-gens in order to get right into the game. I think a good compromise would be to put some of the stat blocks online as a download. That would only require putting together a PDF of the stat blocks that have already been printed.


As a group that plays at home and never at a gaming store, we never use pregenerated characters. About the only time I can remember using a pregenerated character ever, was at a con in Germany in 1996. The only thing I use them for is a quick power check for magic items. Just compare what the iconics have compared to what my players have.

I say take them out.

Liberty's Edge

Ayronis wrote:


This is a great idea, actually. I second this.

Tanks. It would serve to inspire players for character ideas and give the latecomers/lazybones something to play...for free!

Also, I think that each module in the AP should have a 1" grid battlemat of two of the major encounters (front and back of a sheet). I really appreciated it when they did that in Dungeon and think that it would be a great addition to the game and a DM's toolbox (especially if you're going to do any more adventures with elven architecture...I'm lookin' at you Second Darkness!).


I must say I feel that the Iconics are wonderful and have been great to look at throughout the APs... that being said I would much, much rather have MORE adventure, MORE treasure, MORE of everything you guys do that is so rocking awesome!! So if you have to remove the icons... here is a hug to all of them and then... shoves them out the door to make room for the MORE!!! :-)

smurf


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I vote for dumping them.

That all being said, this might not be a horrible opportunity for a community-driven creation. I think we could likely create the required stat blocks over time. Those could be periodically packaged into a free PDF.

Really, if we did this one iconic at a time, perhaps a week or two per, with volunteers working in small teams, we could likely get this done quickly.

I envision something where teams of perhaps two people would pick a pair of levels. Person A would pick Lem at 1st and Person B would pick Lem at 2nd. Then Persons A and B exchange their statblocks for proofreading. Finally they get posted here for general community review. After any additional errors are corrected, they'd be locked and levels 3 and 4 would be available for the next team to grab.

Scarab Sages

Adding my vote for taking the iconics out of APs.

I'm neutral on the modules (non-PFS). They are nice to have, but the modules are so short, they could use more space.

I don't think adding to the bestiary or journal would be a good use of the space, however. Adding to the adventure via word count or pictures, would. I love showing my players the pictures of the beasties they're fighting, an action shot of the encounter, or what an npc looks like. It makes NPCs much more memorable.

Also, adding my vote for a book of the iconics at maybe 1st and 20th & their stories.

I'd pay for that book/pdf.


Lilith wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
I support ditching the pregens and replacing them with more lovely words and art.
What the Mantis Man said, but I would like to see a free download available with their stats and backstory.

I vote dumping them from the AP books.

I would like you to kept them in modules.

It would be nice to have them online as a free download.


Deidre Tiriel wrote:

Adding my vote for taking the iconics out of APs.

However, I kind of like them in the modules.

Also, adding my vote for a book of the iconics at maybe 1st and 20th & their stories. GMs can de-level/level the iconics to the appropriate level.

I'd pay for that book/pdf.

I would also pay for a book on the iconics.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Just got to thinking the fiction in the APs is something I like but really don't want in there. I'd rather have something else there. I do like how the Council of thieves had put in articles about the Hellknights.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:


So... let me know! Would removing the pregenerated characters from our Adventure Paths and modules break your heart? Would replacing these pages with more precious words of adventure fill you with joy? Let us know!

Hiya James !

My take is : put them as a perpetual download in .pdf in several versions on the website.


James Jacobs wrote:


So... let me know! Would removing the pregenerated characters from our Adventure Paths and modules break your heart? Would replacing these pages with more precious words of adventure fill you with joy? Let us know!

I think not having iconic/pre-gens available somewhere is a mistake.

However, wouldn't a free download with them be an easy solution?

That way if you are ordering at Paizo you could get it gratis (you could have it either at the top of the downloads page, or 'advertised' on each of the Paths' descriptions) while the product itself could simply contain a line or two anywhere therein saying 'iconic PCs and many other useful gamemastery materials are available for download on the Paizo website at...'

So I think that for new players having iconic PCs to 'see how one is made' is useful and should not be thrown out with the bathwater now that many of us have had a chance to wash up so to speak.

But it doesn't need to be included directly, just easily available.

And towards that I would suggest that the format for stat blocks be a bit more friendly for reverse engineering.

I know when first learning a system being able to see where everything comes from is helpful. Paizo stat blocks are much nicer than the WOTC predecessors but still can require some work from very experienced players to decompose.

Anyway, those are my 2 cents,

James

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

I love the iconics as illustrated heroes battling through an adventure path.

I don't need their stats. Feel free to remove them.

Please keep them in the modules, though. It's nice to have them around for one-shots.


I vote in favor of removing the iconics, I do not particulary need to see a version of an iconic in solid stats.

Often the iconics will be used depicted casting certain spells or using certain feats in little pieces of art, more than anyone of them can have probably, the use for iconics is mainly for art purposes and not to be put in an unchanging stat block.

Plain stats won't add anything to the iconics in my opinion, pregen stats are only so useful to some gaming groups fitting a certain style of play, with the APG out you will have to choose between using plain core rules or using feats some people without the APG will not have access to directly. Despite the suggestions to post them online I think they will infact see little use for the ammount of work that will be put into them.

Sovereign Court

What?! I love the iconics....

but after seeing what almost got cut in Sound of a Thousand Screams and had to squeeze into the introduction, I am 100% behind trading them for 2 more pages of content.


Is there any chance of posting the ones you have already publsihed in the APs and GameMastery modules as a free pdf on this site. Then they can be used and looked at if anyone wished


As someone said, 1st level iconic should be kept as they are useful for new players (which often start as 1 lvl character what coincidence!!!) be it in the 1st AP module or in the free player guide.

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