Faction Evolution

Monday, June 9, 2014


Illustration by Damien Mammoliti

Nearly a year has passed since we introduced the check boxes to scenarios' reporting sheets in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Perhaps you haven"t had the opportunity to GM a Season 5 scenario, so let me recap the idea. Almost every scenario in Season 5 has had four check boxes labeled "A" through "D," and the end of scenario provides instructions of which ones to check off depending on what happened during the adventure. Did the PCs ally with Team 1? Check box A. Did they ally with Team 2? Check box B. If they instead destroyed Team 1 or 2, check box C or D respectively.

The results of those check boxes are included when the organizer reports the scenario online, and we/ve been using that data to watch trends and shape the storyline in increasingly visible ways. For example, the Qadira faction has recruited several trade partners over the past year, but some of their rivalries with one another have required the PCs to choose one to favor over the other. When I looked at the numbers reported from an earlier scenario, I saw the two of the parties were neck-and-neck, so they returned for a rematch in a later scenario. Another example involved choosing where to construct a basecamp, and after collecting data for a few months, I saw that there was a clear favorite. That choice decided the course of a recent scenario. Even seemingly innocuous matters like an NPC surviving a scenario allow you to shape future adventures when we determine what villains are still out there and harboring a grudge.

Data like these also contribute to the ongoing evolution of the Pathfinder Society's eight active factions. Back in April 2013 we revealed that faction goals might change over time. In fact, based on the storyline, character decisions, and player feedback, even a faction's alignment and leadership could change. Over the course of the Year of the Demon, the original five factions have all distanced themselves from their respective nations—some pushed away by troubles at home and others pulled toward greener pastures. No doubt many of you have witnessed these events throughout the season, and blog posts later this month will reveal these factions' new faces and interests.

Of course, any talk about changes to factions stirs up questions. Is my faction changing? Are you eliminating any factions? What if I don't like what is happening to my faction? Can I change factions for free? How long do I have to change factions? In brief, we're aiming to make any transitions as reasonable, painless, and fair as possible. We'll provide more details as we get closer to the new season.

Finally, I'll be appearing on the Know Direction podcast on the Wednesday, June 18th. I'll post more details here and on the Pathfinder Society messageboard as the interview gets closer.

Happy gaming,

John Compton and Mike Brock
Developer and Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Tags: Damien Mammoliti Pathfinder Society
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The Exchange

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Quote:

Finally, I'll be appearing on the Know Direction podcast on the Wednesday, June 18th. I'll post more details here and on the Pathfinder Society messageboard as the interview gets closer.

. . .
John Compton and Mike Brock

It finally happened. Campaign leadership is an Ettin.

The Exchange

On a less flippant note, I do like the changing priorities of the factions. I would like to see them more closely described in the scenarios themselves (so people playing this season in a couple of years have a better idea of what's going on) but the fact that our choices and actions have had an impact has definitely increased my involvement and investment with Season 5.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Looking forward to the big reveal!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Oh man oh man oh man...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This looks like it's going to be interesting. Unless of course Taldor gets the axe, in which case it's the worst thing to happen to Pathfinder Society in it's 6 year history. :p

I'll be watching that Know Direction episode for sure!

Shadow Lodge

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Jim, the last two factions were cut right after I rolled my first LL and second SL characters.

I just registered my first Taldan character. ;)

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I will rightfully blame TOZ for the (potential) demise of Mother Taldor!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think Taldor might actually be getting stronger. They didn't do so well in Season 4, but lately they've been gathering forces for a trip up North. One of their claims to greatness came in the founding of the Shining Crusade. What better way to return glory to the empire than to send a massive force north to push back the demonic hordes (in theory, at least)?

Likewise, I'm wondering what's going to happen with Cheliax - Zarta getting turned on by her own government (even if it was Desmire's doing) seemed to leave a sour taste in her mouth (pun intended), and while she still seems loyal to Cheliax, I'm not sure if House Thrune still holds her 100% support anymore.

These are just my speculations, of course. I *do* really enjoy the evolving story of society play, and how we each can influence it a little bit! Looking forward to finding out what's in store!


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James McTeague wrote:

This looks like it's going to be interesting. Unless of course Taldor gets the axe, in which case it's the worst thing to happen to Pathfinder Society in it's 6 year history. :p

I'll be watching that Know Direction episode for sure!

Yeah me too, If that happens it will be total chaos, I'll take that stupid horn and shove it.... we'll you guys get the picture.

LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!

Silver Crusade

TOZ wrote:

Jim, the last two factions were cut right after I rolled my first LL and second SL characters.

I just registered my first Taldan character. ;)

Man, I'm jealous, I started playing PFS a couple of weeks after the cutoff for Shadow Lodge...

Woo, Taldor! I hope they don't get cut. Them, and the Sczarni.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge

He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.


Rosham Bowe wrote:
I will rightfully blame TOZ for the (potential) demise of Mother Taldor!

It won't be my fault, but you can certainly blame me for it!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CanisDirus wrote:
I think Taldor might actually be getting stronger. They didn't do so well in Season 4, but lately they've been gathering forces for a trip up North. One of their claims to greatness came in the founding of the Shining Crusade. What better way to return glory to the empire than to send a massive force north to push back the demonic hordes (in theory, at least)?

This very notion is the character concept for my first PFS character. Made at Gen Con 2009, he's a Taldan cleric of Iomedadae, fresh from the crusades, trying to get the Pathfinders to work with Taldor to return that nation to glory so they can close the Worldwound with one last Grand Expedition. He switched to the Silver Crusade when he could, but sad to say, he's just now 8th level and hopefully will see some great things out of both his old and his new faction come August!

Silver Crusade

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My Taldan bard would be Silver Crusade if he wasn't so enamored with Lady Gloriana, so I'm a similar boat to TwoWolves!

Liberty's Edge

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Anyone looking to attend the live recording of Know Direction 87 can join the Facebook event to get updates and reminders. Anyone listening live can post questions in the comments section of the YouTube video, and we'll pass them on to John.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Very interested to see what happens. Especially with Osirion.

Scarab Sages

Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge
He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.

Passes around the union collection plate


Cheliax could surely do with a new and more competent leader, one who clearly demonstrates their loyalty to the mighty House of Thrune.

Liberty's Edge

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andreww wrote:
Cheliax could surely do with a new and more competent leader, one who clearly demonstrates their loyalty to the mighty House of Thrune.

I think Cheliax would do better to replace House Thrune with leaders that don't force worship of the Prince of Lies.

And along with "replace," I'll add "violently overthrow and exterminate."

Yeah that's right. I said it.


I'm super excited to hear what changes are coming to factions. Season 5 factions in a lot of ways were a lot better than before. I am confident that the changes coming for season 6 will continue to improve the system and allow for more RP angles.

Paizo Employee Developer

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Belafon wrote:
Quote:

Finally, I'll be appearing on the Know Direction podcast on the Wednesday, June 18th. I'll post more details here and on the Pathfinder Society messageboard as the interview gets closer.

. . .
John Compton and Mike Brock
It finally happened. Campaign leadership is an Ettin.

What can I say? People have been clamoring for more non-human faction leaders.

Shadow Lodge

runs around in circles

itstheendoftheworldtheskyisfallingitsterribleitsruined!!!

Wait.. what have they announced?


[redacted] [redacted] factions [redacted] [redacted] season 6 [redacted] [redacted]. It's going to be [redacted]!

Shadow Lodge

I wonder what the odds of the Grand Lodge faction being removed are...

I'd wager 10gp that they aren't good though.

Grand Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:

runs around in circles

itstheendoftheworldtheskyisfallingitsterribleitsruined!!!

Wait.. what have they announced?

More information on Wednesday, with stuff to come. Nation factions are distancing themselves from their nations.

My desires:
Cheliax is going to work on overthrowing House Thrune, and going back to the worship of Desna.

Taldor is finally going to admit that they don't understand the world, and hold an election.

Andoran is going to invade Galt, and turn it into a true republic, under the leadership of the Red Raven.

Qadira is going to consolidate their mercantile empire, instead of trying to overexpand, and thow everyone into chaos when they cannot meet their commitments.

Osirion is going ot look to the future, and work on creating an aqueduct and qanat system that turns the country green )and drowns all th etomb robbers).

Silver Crusade is going to realize that their leader created the faction as a consequence of the Pathfinder SOciety being split into too many factions, and go "Huh?"

Sczarni are going to move their central base of operations to Magnimar, and work on consolidating all their little Rom gangs into something with real influence.

And, last but not least, the Grand Lodge is going to send a last bunch of pathfinders on a quest to deal with <redacted>, after he gets resurrected yet again. "One more time." With true feeling, this time. And yet more appearances of old "friends" and enemies. And a sky ship.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Wait.. what have they announced?

So far? Nothing. It was basically the announcement of a forthcoming announcement. Apparently that's a thing now.

Shadow Lodge

Needs to apply Godwins law to gamer over reaction...


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Needs to apply Godwins law to gamer over reaction...

*shrug*

Whether you were being serious or not, I'm not a fan of no-reveal reveals. To be fair, I don't really care for it when tech-companies do it, either.

I look forward to there being something substantive to discuss.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Needs to apply Godwins law to gamer over reaction...

*shrug*

Whether you were being serious or not, I'm not a fan of no-reveal reveals. To be fair, I don't really care for it when tech-companies do it, either.

I look forward to there being something substantive to discuss.

It lets me know not to schedule a game for that night and to look for the podcast.

Silver Crusade

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TOZ wrote:

Jim, the last two factions were cut right after I rolled my first LL and second SL characters.

I just registered my first Taldan character. ;)

YOU STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE SILVER CRUSADE

ALSO OSIRION

Silver Crusade

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Mikaze wrote:

YOU STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE SILVER CRUSADE

ALSO OSIRION

I'm sorry, dear.

Scarab Sages

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I'm afraid we're already here.

Silver Crusade

Hopefully it works like inoculation in those cases then. ;)

Silver Crusade

Hell, I've been here from the start!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

If my Qadiran Rogue has to pay taxes on his Dayjob, he's going to assassinate the entire Decemvirate...

Lantern Lodge

Would it be a rebuild the factions? Or a redress of the current ones?

(Stares at the 3 Pathfinder Society books...)

Liberty's Edge

Yahsei wrote:
If my Qadiran Rogue has to pay taxes on his Dayjob, he's going to assassinate the entire Decemvirate...

Bloody be. I reckon ye should. The last time a bunch of'em were gob'd we...well, was waitin' fer sumpthin' more dignified than this 'ere bunch of hooninnies, ye ken? But nooo...

*clears throat and drops accent* *assumes a doe-eyed look on his mug* Oh please Mr Decemvirate, drive us hard! Please milord, a bit to the north, won't you? Oh, the Abyss sure is cozy this time of the year, Mr Valsi...Decemvirate. Gee mister, Lady Ollysta wants to sound the charge? Iomedae vult! Let me tell the rest of the novices and we can go together!

Makes m'sick. Go all out, go! Fer all our sakes.

Shadow Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge
He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.

In a certain recent scenario where you vote on the new head of [redacted], some of us considered writing him in as a third party candidate.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thistledown wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge
He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.
In a certain recent scenario where you vote on the new head of [redacted], some of us considered writing him in as a third party candidate.

Played it last night and thats what I wanted to do but the gm was not really on board with the idea. So we voted for the most qualified one who has not been found hog tied in a closet in a prior scenario.

Grand Lodge Global Organized Play Coordinator

2 people marked this as a favorite.
thistledown wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge
He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.
In a certain recent scenario where you vote on the new head of [redacted], some of us considered writing him in as a third party candidate.

Write him in all you like. The man no longer wants to be a faction leader. I had a beer with him yesterday and he advised he was happy where things were now.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Ryan Costello wrote:
Anyone looking to attend the live recording of Know Direction 87 can join the Facebook event to get updates and reminders. Anyone listening live can post questions in the comments section of the YouTube video, and we'll pass them on to John.

Would it be presumptious of me, to use that podcast as a means of rallying any backers of the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, who have yet to record a vote in the Land Rush?

Considering so many of the listeners will be active players of Pathfinder Society Organised Play events, they may be interested to know there is a group competing in the Land Rush, to bring the spirit of Pathfinder Society to the online game.

Our aim is to secure a settlement on the map, to support online players who wish to explore the Emerald Spire superdungeon, once it is unlocked.
We aim to uphold the ethos of the Pathfinder Society (in game and out), of 'Explore! Report! Co-Operate!', and provide a relatively safe environment, free of griefing and other toxic play-styles.

Mission Statement:
Goal: To further the aims of the Pathfinder Society by establishing a lodge that can support the exploration of the Emerald Spire

Settlement: Claim a staging ground to explore the Emerald Spire

Alignment: We are aligned to the Pathfinder Society. We explore, we report, we cooperate. No open evil acts

Sponsoring Guild: Thod's Friends

Roles wanted / needed:

Explorers and Dungeon Delvers: We want to be among the first to go into the Emerald Spire
Hunters and Monster Slayers: The proposed settlement spot has a lot of nearby monster spawning hexes - so we will have to be on constant vigil against them
Traders and craftsmen: We should get a good influx of loot from monsters - but heroes need equipment to fight
Healers and Wizards: This place will need healing and knowledge

Political positions and allies: We follow the Pathfinder Society first - alliances will be formed if they are not against our ethos and further both groups. We applaud the Rosewood Accord - but we rather follow it in actions as to have a signature being used against us

Some more information OOC:
Settlement spot: Ideally spot V or as close to the Emerald Spire as possible.
Settlement name: This will be discussed after 1st June and to be agreed by majority of members at that stage. We might not get close to V and therefore a name is best chosen if we have an idea how likely we are to succeed.
How can I join: First - you need to be in Early Enrollment. If this is the case, then open an account at Goblinworks.com and join Thod's Friends
Why do I need to become a guild member of Thod's Friends: There needs to be a sponsor for the land rush and for the initial settlement. That is how it works OOC

But what if I want to be in my own guild / have a small guild myself: there is more space in a settlement as for a single guild - so please approach me and I will try my best to work something out. You and your members still would need to 'join' for the purpose of the land rush.

What has this to do with the Pathfinder Society? Any in game relationship will be explored once the game is ongoing. But the group needed a focus and goal and the Pathfinder Society seemed the most obvious to fill this. Thod - the leader of Thod's Friends is a long time Pathfinder Society GM. Also the first 7 members are all PFS GMs - from 1-star to Venture Captain. You should find me or one of our members at almost any convention with PFS play in the UK. As such it seemed fitting to 'align' ourselves with the Pathfinder Society.

What about non-UK? We had to start somewhere - but I would very welcome any non-UK PFS members or even better having someone who likes to organize and join from the US. You might even meet up with me if you are at GenCon as I will be visiting this year. Update - looks we start to get Dutch members already

What if I'm not a PFS member but like what you do? PFS membership isn't needed to join. I mainly reach out to PFS members as I have many likeminded friends in this community. But we are always open to someone new.

Will you prevent others from entering the Emerald Spire? No !!

How much are you RP centered? It seems more as the average guild here. But we are a mixed group ourselves and should be flexible

To contact Thod's Friends either PM me or send me an e-mail
paizo add loesel dot freeserve dot co dot uk

Our membership so far has a pedigree second to none, of highly-starred Pathfinder Society GMs, Venture Captains, longterm forum members, and humble Wayfinder scribes such as myself.

We will make Pathfinder Society a force to be reckoned with, and expand the brand into the digital realm, in a two-pronged assault on the public consciousness, which should serve to recruit further players to both.

Cast your vote for the Pathfinders of the Emerald Spire!
Click the LINK on the Goblinworks forum, and step forward into a bright new dawn of gaming history!


If a certain dragon lady was going to seize control of the Osirion faction, one of my characters would be more than happy to defect his current faction in order to join her cause.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Wait a second...

Was that vote to pick the head of the faction?

I thought it was to pick the head of a prestigious but secret *non-Society* organization.

I would have voted differently if I'd thought I was voting for faction leadership.

Grand Lodge

pH unbalanced wrote:

Wait a second...

Was that vote to pick the head of the faction?

I thought it was to pick the head of a prestigious but secret *non-Society* organization.

I would have voted differently if I'd thought I was voting for faction leadership.

Heh heh heh. Florida election. Of course it gets the Gator.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Belafon wrote:
On a less flippant note, I do like the changing priorities of the factions. I would like to see them more closely described in the scenarios themselves (so people playing this season in a couple of years have a better idea of what's going on) but the fact that our choices and actions have had an impact has definitely increased my involvement and investment with Season 5.

I wonder if this isn't something the fans can't help with? Via Goloropedia, or something like that, but a robust and evolving history of the factions?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kolby Sample wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge
He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.
In a certain recent scenario where you vote on the new head of [redacted], some of us considered writing him in as a third party candidate.
Played it last night and thats what I wanted to do but the gm was not really on board with the idea. So we voted for the most qualified one who has not been found hog tied in a closet in a prior scenario.

Don't let you GM poopoo anything, if the party voted for torch they voted for torch. Having run that module I will say that "other" was a valid option, and there are a lot more unqualified possible others then torch. In fact he may be more qualified then most for reasons specified in the module.


pH unbalanced wrote:

Wait a second...

Was that vote to pick the head of the faction?

I thought it was to pick the head of a prestigious but secret *non-Society* organization.

I would have voted differently if I'd thought I was voting for faction leadership.

No it wasn't a vote to pick the faction head.

But...
Spoiler:
... the current faction head offered the pathfinder's aid in helping to implement the strategy that was democratically selected by the members of this secret non-society organization. (At least that's how I remember it from when I played that scenario)

Since he doesn't personally agree to said strategy, it might make sense for him to step down and hand over control of his society faction to the dragon who did come up with it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
Rawr!!!
Anti-rawr
Rawr?
Write him in all you like. The man no longer wants to be a faction leader. I had a beer with him yesterday and he advised he was happy where things were now.

Well if not as a leader hopefully he will continue to appear in many a bath house to offer his secrets for a price for scenarios to come.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Kolby Sample wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
Rawr!!!
Anti-rawr
Rawr?
Write him in all you like. The man no longer wants to be a faction leader. I had a beer with him yesterday and he advised he was happy where things were now.

Well if not as a leader hopefully he will continue to appear in many a bath house to offer his secrets for a price for scenarios to come.

... until my former-SL cavalier sees him and attacks (be sure to give him a stat block!)

Chartreuse isn't still bitter, no....

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