Note that I cheated and associated each Icon with symbols from 13th Age rather than using my own. Also, this is a lot more work than I'd usually do for a short-run campaign. I think you could easily generate a fertile set of Icons with quick descriptions in an hour or so.
When the previous Archdruid died with the coming of the Abyss, Lorthain obtained the title and instruments of the role. He is the youngest to hold the position. Though he is powerful, there’s some question of his wisdom. He’s temperamental and can be wildly enthusiastic one moment and morose another. Ironically, given his mood swings, he bears the title The Balancer of Souls. Some of this may come from his role’s connection to a land which still shifts and changes.
GM Notes: I don't know how well it will work, but I wanted to have an Icon with some mental health issues—and perhaps a self-awareness about them. In particular, I want to see if I can do that and avoid stigmatization. The Archdruid's one of the Icons with the most representation so far.
The Icon of the Banner, Gor Tre-Sorborne, was the sole surviving human Icon from before the Abyss. At the gathering of allied Icons, the Standard cast itself into the wind and wrapped itself around his lover, Lena Nasker, choosing her as its new bearer. This has split the followers of the Banner, a dangerous thing for a figure dedicated to rallying and joining people. Nasker has turned from Gor’s support of existing rulers, using the Banner’s magic to back change and new ways of society.
GM Notes: This may be the one I have the least developed sense of. I like the idea that the Banner's an item and it shifts its role depending on the bearer. Sometimes it supports the status quo, sometimes it smashes it. The Banner changed hands just before the Icons created their alliance against Zavos. I think that's half judgement on the previous bearer's approach and anticipating a new order.
Known as the Prince of Thieves, the Gatherer of Wishes, and the Finder of Lost Loves. When One Hundredth Gavan, the Red Whisper, died defending Snakehold merchants and kings breathed easy for a time. But soon rumors abounded of Blackcloak, a new thief who’d risen to power. When the Red Whisper could be sinister, Dusk is more enigmatic and ambiguous. He plays tricks, steals from the powerful, and aids the lost. He also deals harshly with murderous robbers, earning him ire in some Thieves Guilds. Some say this is an act, luring people in. They suggest Dusk will change once he gets his hands on Red Whisper’s lost treasure hoard.
GM Notes: I've seen the Prince of Shadows Handled as a gentleman scoundrel and as a sinister assassin. I like that ambiguity, but it hasn't always sat well with players. So I appreciate a version of the Icon which leans into the adventuresome rogue aspect. Ironically, this is the first party I've run without a Rogue in it.
Queen of the Elves and other Fae Folk. Spurned lover of Archdruid Lorthain. Dragons once served as the protectors of these folk before the Betrayal of Sundaram. The Empress dwells in the great forest, but now keeps in contact with the many Elven peoples via the Threadweave. She would like to recreate the ancient empire of the Elves by bringing all these folk under her banner. But many of these Elven and Fae kingdoms have resisted or ignored her call. Still she has agents and sympathizers among them.
GM Notes: This and the High Priestess (below) have close analogues in the original 13th Age material. I've heightened the idea suggested in the Microscope session that the Empress wants to bring the disparate Elven cultures and nations under her rule. That suggests some conflicts and contradictions within the Elves. I suspect its a recent maneuver, spurred by the vents of the last two decades.
The war between the Divine Assemblies and the mage kingdom of Sarthos lasted for decades. In the end, several factions, in the name of the gods, took drastic action against the sorcerers, releasing Zavos. In the aftermath, many turned away from the gods and the temples. The High Priestess, once called Singdha Dawn, came from a corner of the realm and re-knit the broken faiths. She did not avoid battlefields, but stood at the front of forces. Today she commands the Grand Cathedral in Nanversi.
GM Notes: There's an interesting untold story of the battle between the temples and the wizards of Sarthos. In our history, the High Priestess has redeemed organized faith after their role in the summoning of the Abyss. How exactly they messed things up isn't clear. I'm hoping to have some tension between the High Priestess and new rulers who might not want a powerful church.
Years ago children in cities closest to the Abyss were born half demon and possessing strange powers. Iden is first born half demon and has demonic wisdom-- he knows things he shouldn't. Though only barely an adult, Iden has gained great power. He often fights against Demons, but just as often uses his allies and network for other, stranger purposes. Iden has the power of Prophecy, acting as an Oracle for powerful people in exchange for favors and services. It is said he can also identify and read the reincarnated souls within a person, for good or ill.
GM Notes: An ambiguous figure. No one in the party chose him as an Icon relationship. I'll probably leave Iden uncertain until directly contacted. Not sure yet what niche this Icon fills.
This Icon can translate and speak for those who cannot. Jask is said to see the hidden truth as well as the hidden past. Jask is the Icon of wizards and those who seek out lore of the past. His independence and denial of divine authority puts him at odds with the faithful.
GM Notes: The shortest of these because I'm still not sure exactly what the Speakers role will be. Sherri created him as the voice of the voiceless. How that actually fits with someone moving and directing things in the world, I'm uncertain about. I suspect he talks to the power of magic itself, given that we don't have a positive figure of wizardry (except maybe Nuala) but she has a different focus.
Luka Jhevari was a scholar before the coming of the Abyss. When the darkness swallowed her school, she set out on the road. Her first and only task has been to re-map the land. She established the first real travel routes and paths, allowing contact between areas. Since then Luka and her agents have traveled the land, seeking out new lore and uncovering secrets. The Cartographer considers herself neutral, dedicating to simply cataloguing. But some accuse her of shaping the stories and glorifying the old empires and ways.
GM Notes: During Session 0 players mentioned they wanted exploration as a major element. The geography of the land itself has shifted massively in the last two decades, meaning old maps don't work. The Cartographer and her agents offer a solid and neutral set of patrons for adventures. I don't think anyone took her as an Icon relationship, however. So she may serve more as a filler than a prime mover.
When Zavos fell to the Alliance of Icons, most demonic forces of the Abyss scattered. Potent demons tried to seize the reins, but soon fell to Vendaga. A mortal commander and student of Zavos, Vendaga has bound together a new underground network of demons. She controls Achuta, now called the Demon City. Humans live there but serve at the behest of Vendaga’s demonic forces. Not all infernals obey the Infernalist General, but she has become a potent force. She accepts scholars and sorcerers who wish to learn infernal arts, and claims she protects the world through her command of demons.
GM Notes: I needed some nasty and ostensibly evil Icons, so this is part of my quartet of baddies. I expect the Abyss looks much like a Hellhole from standard 13th Age. But I also like the idea of a crossroads controlled by demons.
The actual owner and creator of the magic shops across the lands keeps himself anonymous. He appeared, armed with a rich supply of magical items and trinkets, willing to sell them everywhere. He claims to be neutral, selling to anyone. It is said he extracts bargains in exchange for the items they desire. Some believe he’s an escapee from Sathros and that would make sense, perhaps even one of the Sorcerer Icons thought lost when the Abyss opened.
GM Notes: One of the players added a network of magic shops which recently appeared in every city. That's cool and suggests such shops had been rare before. I want this Icon to be solidly neutral.
Centuries ago, the War of the Underworld gave dominion of the lands under the mountains to the Dwarves and elsewhere to the goblinoid peoples (gnolls, goblins, orcs, trolls). Rebels fled the new Ogre Majesty, forming surface tribes. When the Black-Iron Throne fell to the Abyss, the once-linked Underworld empire split. Then the meteorfall destroying cities of the empire. The Ratking is a vermaen who has forged a new empire. His bands of goblinoid adventurers raid the surface to plunder ruins, seize fallen site, and bring powerful treasures into the Underworld to bolster his cause.
GM Notes: I love Skaven so I wanted to introduce some kind of rat folk. I dig the idea of a split between an older goblinoid empire and refugees who settled in the surface world. Both should be dangerous, but that offers a way to leverage one against the other.
Once called Bloody Nail, this former goblin warlord now bears Cursespewer, one of the 7 Great Weapons. Soon after his resurrection he traveled to where the necromantic Icon, The Lich Speaker, had fallen. Some say the Speaker took him over, some that he consumed the dead Speaker’s power. Whatever the case, the Tyrant Ghoul has been a force of darkness across the land for the last two years, opening crypts, summoning undead to seize abandoned locations and carrying out his agenda. Despite his origin, the Tyrant Ghoul bears no love for his people, preying on goblins equally with all others.
GM Notes: This is one of those golden opportunities. Bloody Nail popped up a couple of times on the timeline, so I had to bring him forward. We didn't have an undead figure so he works well. I like that he's not a sinister necromancer or lich but something else entirely. He's probably the most absolutely evil and destructive of all the Icons.
For a century, the Vizier has operated behind the scenes, arranging struggles and conflicts. He wears many masks but is believed to be a half-elf. The Vizier took the role of an icon after arranging the death of The Warsinger. The Vizier is the icon of those who seek power, revolution, and treachery. He loves both conspiracies and wars, though he stayed neutral from the alliance. He buys and sells information, an icon for spying and blackmail. He and Blackcloak Dusk have a mutual loathing.
GM Notes: I like sinister manipulators behind the scenes. I especially wanted an Icon who thrived on conflict and could be found working in civilized places throughout the realm.
DEAD ICONS (named so far): The Naga Prince, The Lich Speaker, The Ogre Majesty, The Warsinger, The Red Whisper, The Binder
In recent 13th Age supplements there's been a focus on lost and dead icons as adversaries and plot hooks. In particular, the Book of Ages offers lots of ideas. I'll probably bring these dead icons in as history, but in play I want to focus on the living ones.
For the full backlog of Age of Ravens posts on Blogger see here.