The Iconic Characters

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Havard
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The Iconic Characters

Post by Havard » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:15 pm

How many Iconic characters were there?

While I like the idea of the iconic characters, it felt like they were over used. I missed seeing a halfing that wasn't Lidda and a fighter who wasn't Tordek. I heard there was some kind of hate towards Tordek within WotC, which is why you see him getting killed in every painting.

What do you think of the 3E Iconics and the idea of Iconics in general?

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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by Khedrac » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:18 pm

I remember reading that Tordek was forced on the design team by ?? who wanted a "traditional white male hero" - which is why they killed him at every opportunity...

As for the numebr of them - I think that depends on your definition. I seem to recall that some books had the same characters but gave them different classes - do they count as the same iconic character or a different one with the same name?
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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by Havard » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:50 pm

Khedrac wrote:I remember reading that Tordek was forced on the design team by ?? who wanted a "traditional white male hero" - which is why they killed him at every opportunity...

As for the numebr of them - I think that depends on your definition. I seem to recall that some books had the same characters but gave them different classes - do they count as the same iconic character or a different one with the same name?

Good point.
I think the original Iconics were given different PrCs across the books, but I think new core classes got new Iconic characters presented along with them?

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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by Big Mac » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:18 am

Havard wrote:While I like the idea of the iconic characters, it felt like they were over used. I missed seeing a halfing that wasn't Lidda and a fighter who wasn't Tordek. I heard there was some kind of hate towards Tordek within WotC, which is why you see him getting killed in every painting.
...and...
Khedrac wrote:I remember reading that Tordek was forced on the design team by ?? who wanted a "traditional white male hero" - which is why they killed him at every opportunity...
It wasn't Tordek - it was Regdar. Tordek was the dwarven fighter. Regdar was the human fighter with the armour that was different on the left and right side of his body.

The story is posted in a topic, started by Zeromaru X, called The many deaths of Regdar.

And it wasn't quite that Regdar was forced onto the art design team. It was more that the design team sent a torpedo into the art design team's plan to be inclusive and show lots of characters of different ethnic groups and both sexes. If you see the approach taken in 5th Edition art, where WotC have been a lot more inclusive, that's the exact approach that was planned for 3rd Edition. But, what happened was that the marketing people stuck their oar in and tried to keep using Regdar on all of the promotional material, undermining the plan of the artists.

In fact - here is a radical thing for you - if you check Todd Lockwood's concept art for Regdar, you can see that he was not even supposed to be a white guy! :shock:

If I won the Eurolottery jackpot, I think I'd hire Todd Lockwood to paint Regdar the way that he originally wanted him to look. :)
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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by Big Mac » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:54 am

Havard wrote:How many Iconic characters were there?
I believe it was one per character Class option. Maybe also one per Race option. It was done so that there would be a bit of art for each block of text.

I believe it continued on with Class options in expansion books and Prestige Class options also getting art. I'm not sure if they all had names. I know that the original Iconics all had names and backstories and that the core ones were included in the 3e novels.
Havard wrote:What do you think of the 3E Iconics and the idea of Iconics in general?
If you are going to have art anyway, it kind of makes sense to also have a story that connects different characters. The novel line was fun.

I think that, where the idea starts to break down a bit, it is down to the expansion beyond the core, rather than the core Iconics themselves.

And this isn't just a matter of the new people not having a connection with the likes of Regdar, Tordek, Lidda and the other core iconics. It's also down to the fact that almost all of the expansion products ignore the additional Iconics from other expansions.

When you look at new books and they come up with new Core Classes, Prestige Classes or Races, they are all dead ends. So, rather than say they were "over used" I would actually flip that on their head and say that they were "not properly backed up".

If you look at the Forgotten Realms books for 3e and the Eberron books for 3e (and the excellent third-party Dragonlance products that MWP published for 3e) you will see that Iconics are not there. In there place are NPCs for those campaign settings.

This is where the true destiny of the Iconics has been tossed aside. They are not "generic 3e example characters" - they are example Greyhawk characters. The issue with them is that they have been blandified so much that you can't see their connection to Greyhawk. Even some Greyhawk experts on the forums couldn't spot the connection between the 3e novels (that use the Iconics) and the Greyhawk setting (because it is played down so much that it's almost non-existent).

So - if you ask me if I would like to see Iconics copied for other RPG systems, my answer would be "yes", but only if they were given a decent back-story and included in fiction for those RPG systems.

At some stage, I'm going to try to figure out some Iconics for the SJ3e Conversion Project. :)
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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by Big Mac » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:58 am

Khedrac wrote:As for the numebr of them - I think that depends on your definition. I seem to recall that some books had the same characters but gave them different classes - do they count as the same iconic character or a different one with the same name?
Maybe it would be worth making a "List of 3e Iconic Characters". :)
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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by timemrick » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:16 pm

I think Mac summarizes pretty well how the iconics were used. They were meant to be familiar representations of each class, that could be used to tie together the art over multiple products. It gives the line as a whole a more consistent look, for better or worse.

IIRC, there was one iconic per class in the PHB, with two classes getting two each: dwarf fighter and human fighter, and elf wizard and gnome illusionist wizard.

Paizo has made much more ubiquitous and consistent use of its iconics across all of its Pathfinder products. They only have to tie those characters into one world--Golarion--which is a huge advantage in developing their back stories and keeping that history relevant. Paizo also uses those iconics for pregenerated characters available for use in their organized play program, which means that Pathfinder Society members quickly learn what each of them is capable of--and often have strong opinions about their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Wayne Reynolds, who created the PF iconics' distinctive looks, also painted alternate iconics for 3E (for Dungeon Magazine, IIRC?). Art for those can be seen in his Visions of WAR art book.

Green Ronin has iconic characters for some of their lines. The 1st-level pregens in Death in Freeport frequently show up in art in other Freeport books (especially that done by the original artist, Toren Atkinson), and they've created a new set of iconics for the current line of Pathfinder Freeport products (though not all have been given names, bios, and stats yet). Their Fantasy AGE game also has an iconic for each of its three classes, and two have received profiles on the company blog so far.
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Re: The Iconic Characters

Post by dulsi » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:37 pm

While I understand the benefit of the iconic characters, I'd rather they not be reused in many books. I've created characters and know others who have based on some artwork. By restricting the characters to the iconics, you lose a lot of variety in the artwork which can be good for inspiration.
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