Since the very beginning of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, the game has been defined as much by its visual style as by its rules and flavor. Some of the key components of the art are the iconic characters who appear on and in books time and again, defeating horrible monsters and performing acts of great heroism.
Originally, the iconics were created so Paizo could have a detailed reference character for each class; that way, if a book needed art showing a fighter, the Paizo art and development staff could send the artist the reference illustration for Valeros instead of having to explain what kinds of armor, weapons, and equipment the fighter should have. The portraits of the iconics by artist Wayne Reynolds graced the covers of the first Adventure Paths, drawing the eye and giving a recognizable face to Pathfinder. The fans clamored for more iconics and for histories of the ones they had already seen, and over time the iconics became a living part of the world. Whether showing off new weapons and armor, blasting foes with new spells, or dodging the attacks of vicious new beasts, they now represent all player characters—past, present, and future—created by the players of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Whether you played an iconic character in a pick-up game or pored over the iconics' character sheets to learn how you could make your own PC even better, the iconics have been the faces of the Pathfinder Adventure Path and Pathfinder RPG since their inception.
This chapter presents stat blocks for the iconic characters of the 11 core classes at levels 1, 7, and 12. These statistics are built for use as player characters rather than nonplayer characters. Each uses the high fantasy (20 point) point buy system, and therefore has higher ability scores than a typical NPC would. The characters' wealth was determined by Table: Character Wealth by Level.
Unlike other NPC stat blocks on this site, which generally do not list mundane gear such as rope and torches, these PC stat blocks include appropriate adventuring gear the character is expected to have—they're ready for immediate adventuring. Of course you may change, add to, or subtract from their gear to suit your campaign, and players may want to alter how the iconics spent their wealth, though the total amount of gear should follow the Character Wealth by Level table.
If you need a PC in a hurry, the iconics give you options at character levels 1, 7, and 12—just grab one of the iconic stat blocks and go. This is particularly handy for games run at game stores or conventions, new players, last minute additions, or when a player has simply run out of prep time or forgotten his character sheet. If you’ve never played a character of a particular class before, be sure to read the Tactics section of the stat block; it includes useful information about how the character prepares before combat and suggestions about what to do while in battle. These characters are also legal for Pathfinder Society play (but see the Pathfinder Society Iconics sidebar). If you use the iconics as PCs, ignore the challenge rating and XP value listed in the character’s stat block—those only matter for monsters and NPCs.
The iconic characters are built as above-average characters, but not the absolute “best” or most powerful characters you potentially could build—they’re more intended to represent typical examples or archetypes of their particular classes. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is very flexible, and thus gives you many different ways to make a character “the best” at something. In some cases that means he or she deals or heals the most damage in a round; in others, he or she has the most hit points, casts the most spells, or has the highest Armor Class. Not everyone agrees on what specializations make a given class the most fun to play, and if you’d rather play a character a different way, you can easily adjust the mechanical choices for these characters to reflect that, increasing some aspects at the cost of others. In general, however, these characters are designed to be well-rounded individuals who have a good chance of surviving level-appropriate adventures. For a new player needing a character on the spot, having a character who survives the first adventure is a much more rewarding experience than having a character who deals a lot of damage but dies before the adventure is finished!
Just like all the other NPCs on this site, you can use the iconics as NPCs for your player characters to fight, study under, or contact for jobs or useful information. However, because the iconics have PC-level gear and use the 20-point ability score buy instead of the heroic array, their CRs are 1 higher than those of NPCs of the same level (1st-level Amiri is CR 1, whereas a 1st-level barbarian NPC is CR 1/2, and so on). These are the CRs listed in the iconics’ stat blocks, and the characters’ XP value is based on this adjusted CR. Feel free to use the iconics as tough leaders of groups of standard NPCs for a little extra challenge.