Discussing Iconics

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  1. #1

    Discussing Iconics

    What does the word "iconic" mean to you? Senior Creative Director Jon Schindehette asks this question and more in this week's Dragon's-Eye View.

    Read Discussing Iconics on D&D Insider here!


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    A fun read. I don't mind the idea of an iconic, but I want to see them done better than in 3rd. In particular, let's not have another Mialee...

    I think the most fun I had with the iconics was seeing how Redgar the Fighter was always put in a bad spot.

    As for the questions posed... Can iconics die? I think they can. I think the art of an edition colors the players' expectations. In 4th Edition, everyone is doing something amazingly heroic, and things play that way too. It's shocking when a character dies. If in 5th Edition, we see adventurers in trouble, or adventurers being slain, it drives home the sentiment that not all adventures end in glory and riches.
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    Hmm, no mention of using iconics as a tool to help players and DM's learn the game.
    If "A" is broken, that isn't a valid reason for "B" to be so, even if they vary in degree.

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    Drizzt. Mialee. Hisssss.

    A few Iconics are great for the core rulebook. But every iconic should have a purpose. Mostly to display the different types of characters.

    The pure mundane PC
    The Combat Only PC.
    The Noncombat PC
    The Noncore four race PC
    The Noncore four class PC
    The Obliviously Multiclassed PC
    The Evil PC
    The Noble/Royal PC
    Last edited by Minigiant; Wednesday, 13th June, 2012 at 11:10 AM.
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    I liked iconics from 3E and missed them in 4E. If anything, I'd like to see more integration. They were rather.. anonymous before. Don't just decide their race/class and what they look like - give them personality. Make an adventuring group out of them, discuss how they interact with each other. They could feature a lot more heavily in the DMG than the PHB to be honest.

    You could even go so far as to give the iconic characters iconic players. The powergamer, the actor, the storyteller and so on.
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  • #6
    It's interesting. I thought the "secret push" behind this set of poll questions was "How would you feel about a single iconic character?" And I think this ties to what they were saying overall about the brand of D&D with previous discussions about the logo, about possibily having a non-logo icon (ala the "dragon swirl" at the top left of the Next character sheets), etc.

    My guess is that they want to use Elminster more heavily, as a "front of the DMG" type character ala some of the 1e books. This is based on the 1 character assumption above, their seeming renewed focus on Forgotten Realms, and the fact that the wizard character may strike them as the most uniquely D&Dish.

    (Though to be frank, if they were going to pick a single iconic, I think a rogue/thief is more iconically D&D. It's the iconic dungeon crawling, kill 'em and take their stuff character class. The guy who's prying out the statue's jeweled eye is a thief, not a wizard.)

    Ultimately, they can do whatever they like with this. I don't know anyone for whom this is makes a serious difference either way. But my preference (as with a lot of things) would be to use a similar approach to what was done in 3e.
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    The gods, why did he have to put Mialee in that article. Haven't we been punished enough already?

    For matters more serious, 3.X style iconics are a good thing, even though they ended up severely overused and there where some real bad ones.

    I think there should be a great number of iconics and they should be equaly used. Some should be heroic, some should look rather ordinary and some should be downright non-heroic. True to DDNs goals, they shouldn't create many new ones, but draw most of them from D&Ds history. Maybe even use some well known villains, like Lareth from the Moathouse (ToEE).

    I think a ratio of iconics in 1/4 to 1/3 interior art pieces would be a good aim, with iconics on book covers being a rarity.

    As a little aside note, while the art style did nothing for me, I quite liked the story of that little comic. Dwarfes mostly expressing their feelings mostly through love letters the length of books (propably carefully anotated for citations of dwarfen legend) for some reason is both amusing and very likely to me.

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    I think Mialee is fine. To be honest, I think "hating Mialee" or "ugly Mialee" is more of an internet meme that folks like to pile onto.

    I liked iconics quite a bit, and hope they make a return.
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  • #9
    An "iconic" that emerges somewhat naturally from the game as it is designed, and then is carefully used to show that aspect of the game, without beating us over the head with it ... great.

    An "iconic" dreamed up by marketing and then shoehorned into the game, and worse even affecting which products are produced or how bits of them are produced ... I don't think I'm allowed to say on this board how that really makes me feel. (Where's the "vomit" emote when you really need it?)

  • #10
    I think iconics are a good tool to be used. Absolutely use them in the marketing, and absolutely use them (sparingly) in the core book to tell an implicit story, and absolutely put them on the cover of the core book if it's a scene of adventurers doing something.

    But don't use them too much, don't use them in situations where they don't make sense to be, and don't put them on too many covers (ok, maybe put the iconic fighter on the cover of Complete Fighter, etc., but don't get carried away). The key is subtle storytelling and brand recognition, not whacking the readers/players over the head.

    Also, design likeable characters with good (non-stupid sounding) names and cool (non-stupid looking) looks. MtG's been doing it right: Sorin and Gideon are infinitely better than Tordek and Regdar. Also they should actually be iconic characters: the paladin shouldn't be wearing brown leather and so forth.

    BTW, what happened to Jon's and Klaus's "one thread with all the art discussion" idea?
    Last edited by GX.Sigma; Wednesday, 13th June, 2012 at 11:20 PM.

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