Faction Overview: Dataphiles

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Illustration by Josef Kucera

Churches, corporations, governments, and other organizations all have secrets. The Dataphiles work to uncover these secrets, deciding what to share and what to store in their vast data vaults inside Archive's Cortex, a sector of the Lorespire Complex in Absalom Station. While not all information is shared beyond the Dataphiles' archives, the simple act of guarding knowledge acts as a guiding light for the Dataphiles. Data comes in many forms, and the Dataphiles employ more than just computer-specialists in their ranks. Those Starfinders skilled at withdrawing information from sentient creatures—either by coercion, discourse, or trickery—are highly valued. As their sites of interest are among the best-defended installations in the galaxy, the Dataphiles also have a pressing need for trained combat specialists—whether to have a strong arm protecting a hacker during a delicate operation, or to have an armed ally capable of getting the prize out alive.

If you have been following Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild news from the start, you have probably heard about the Dataphiles. They are the first faction we announced almost four months ago over on the Know Direction Podcast. It is quite appropriate if you've listened to entire that podcast and are still ravenous for more information on the Dataphiles; after all, the Dataphiles are all about getting as much information as they can!

You can't have a futuristic setting without addressing important things like computers, corporate espionage, the flow of information, and hackers. The Dataphiles specialize in researching, finding, codifying, and controlling any information they can get their hands on (or other suitable appendage... yes that's an ongoing theme in Starfinder descriptions). The organized play team really wanted to have an organization that would appeal to not only computer specialists, but to those characters interested in accumulating vast amounts of key information. We see the Dataphiles as letting us explore some themes from modern organizations, like Anonymous or Wikileaks, while also letting us throw in a scenario or two where the PCs can "Hack the Gibson."

This brings us to the leader of the Dataphiles, the android, Historia-7 (LN female android mechanic). In keeping with the Dataphiles theme, rather than give all the details on Historia-7 and history with the Starfinder Society, I think it's appropriate to present some tidbits of information that might be important to Historia-7. I'll leave it to all you intrepid data seekers out there to figure out what you can from these details.

  • You'll have a chance to meet Historia-7 in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-01: The Commencement. (Ok, easy start)
  • Historia-4 compiled a significant record on the divergence of Corpse Fleet construction practices from those of their Eoxian counterparts, submitting the details for publication in the Starfinder Chronicles.
  • Historia-6 strongly supported the election of First Seeker Jadnura, and was subsequently lost during the Scoured Stars incident.
  • Kuthona.

Illustration by Sebastian Rodriguez

I hope you will all have some fun scrutinizing these tidbits.

Now, it's time for our regularly scheduled boon reveal! This week's boon is something very different from what you've seen with our previous previews. Much like the capstone boon we showcased last week, this week's boon is another informal category of boon that John and I concocted after several cackle-filled meetings. To set the mood, "It was a vibrant and joy-filled PaizoCon when Thurston and John first conjured the idea for the meta boons..."

So here it is!

Digital Presence (Slotless* Boon)

You work to propagate a thriving digital community.

Prerequisites: Dataphiles: Tier 1

Cost: 0 Fame (see below)

Benefit: If you complete a scenario that you played online, such as by using a virtual tabletop or a play-by-post format, you earn 1 additional Fame and 1 additional Reputation with the Dataphiles faction.

Special: You can only benefit from this boon a number of times equal to your current Reputation Tier with the Dataphiles faction (maximum four total times at Reputation Tier 4). Each time you fulfill the requirements of this boon, mark it on your Chronicle sheet along with the associated Reputation Tier. Have the GM sign beside this notation.

*After receiving some editorial and community feedback, we're moving away from the term "Untyped Boon" and are now using "Slotless Boon" instead. This should be a clearer title for how these boons work, and avoid any confusion about how many boons of this type you can slot.

Story time! Each faction will have a boon like the Digital Presence boon. These unique "meta boons" operate outside of regular play conditions, often requiring player-initiated actions to achieve. As you can see with the Dataphiles' boon, we're trying to encourage online play—after all, it seems pretty appropriate for a faction that's all about information and technology. Because we wanted these to be bonuses, rather than things you had to buy to take advantage of, the meta boons are all about giving characters a small Fame and Reputation bump for completing certain out-of-game objectives. But to make it more than a one-time objective, we opened it up so that a character can benefit from these bonuses up to once per Reputation Tier (so, up to 4 times on a high-level character).

Ok, so that's it for our latest faction reveal. Come back next week when we talk about our final Starfinder Society faction: the Acquisitives.

Thurston Hillman
Starfinder Society Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Josef Kucera Organized Play Sebastian Rodriguez Starfinder Society
Scarab Sages **

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Ok, I love that the boon rewards online PBP play!

Sovereign Court ***

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like the encouragement for trying different styles of play.

I'm a little hesitant about what kinds of other "meta" actions will get boons, but (like a good dataphile) eager to learn more!


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Do these factions exists outside of organized play?

Can a regular character belong to one of these factions, without the boons, for roleplaying or backstory reasons?

Silver Crusade

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I don't see why not. "Outside" of Organized Play is anything your GM will allow ^w^

* Starfinder Society Developer

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Pax Rafkin wrote:

Do these factions exists outside of organized play?

Can a regular character belong to one of these factions, without the boons, for roleplaying or backstory reasons?

Absolutely! We've made sure that all our factions and season story lines get reviewed by one or more of the core Starfinder team, just to make sure that stuff lines up.

In fact, my first planned home campaign is going to be a bit of a 'Season 0' game that takes place before our current season, but has a bunch of faction backstory involved. We won't be using the Organized Play rules for that game, since it's ongoing, but we'll certainly be pulling as much of the Starfinder Society flavor as I can cram in! :D

*

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This blog post is missing its relevant tags.

Cool faction, neat boon, and good call on changing the name to Slotless.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Online—VTT aka Hels

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This is wonderful. The online community is thriving at the moment, and with a lack of comparable 'regional incentive' style boons (which would be v v hard to put in place, I admit- although a few of us have ideas ;-) ) this is wonderful. Massive thanks to you guys for recognising the online community, and for something which will hopefully encourage more of people online!

Now, back to 'the bad olive' inn for another evil league meeting for me....

*

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It's appropriate for a faction devoted entirely to signals intelligence that we don't get the full backstory and won't get it unless we hack the answers ourselves.

***** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

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Sort of looks like a sketched outline of the Scarab Sages emblem

Grand Lodge

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Neat! I've been playing a lot recently with the PFSOnline group, and I have found my home. Such a diverse international group of friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable players. Glad they are getting a small shoutout with this boon.

Anyone interested in joining can chat with us on the Discord chatroom 24/7 at http://PFSChat.com

- Clay


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That picture of Historia-7 confirms that you definitely can have an Android made to resemble a Lashunta.

* Starfinder Society Developer

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thecursor wrote:
It's appropriate for a faction devoted entirely to signals intelligence that we don't get the full backstory and won't get it unless we hack the answers ourselves.

Bwahahaha. I figured it would be interesting to provide some tidbits of information for detail-oriented players to obsess over. Also, part of the ongoing strategy of using Starfinder Society to seed in as much new campaign setting material as we can!

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

That boon is impressively meta, and even written in a way that should benefit the GM unless I am missing something.

Very much looking forward to the guide, I have already scheduled SFS games, and I am currently ready and waiting to print and laminate about a dozen sets of SFS pre-gens.


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David knott 242 wrote:

That picture of Historia-7 confirms that you definitely can have an Android made to resemble a Lashunta.

Those look like add-on supports for the data screen bolted on her forehead (have we learned nothing from the original Google Glass??), rather than integral antennae.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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Digital Presence Boon wrote:
You work to propagate a thriving digital community.

Woo hoo! I'm a Dataphile! Do you want to be a Dataphile too? You totally can!

SFSchat.com = Starfinder Society Discord Channel

Castamir's Flaxseed Station = SFS Play-by-Post

Come join us!

Hmm
Venture Lieutenant, Online Play


Would the Starfinder Society welcome a dataphile on their missions or does the dataphile generally hide his affiliation?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Pax Rafkin wrote:
Would the Starfinder Society welcome a dataphile on their missions or does the dataphile generally hide his affiliation?

Dataphiles are a faction within the Starfinder Society. The description indicates that their information repository, the Archive's Cortex, is part of the Starfinder headquarters, the Lorespire Complex, which is similar to the Pathfinder Society's Grand Lodge in Absalom.

Paizo Employee ***** Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Pax Rafkin wrote:
Would the Starfinder Society welcome a dataphile on their missions or does the dataphile generally hide his affiliation?
Dataphiles are a faction within the Starfinder Society. The description indicates that their information repository, the Archive's Cortex, is part of the Starfinder headquarters, the Lorespire Complex, which is similar to the Pathfinder Society's Grand Lodge in Absalom.

Yep, that's right. Although a Dataphile might not broadcast her affiliation to everyone she meets (not everyone likes nosey hackers), it's not something that's secret within the Starfinder Society.

*

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
John Compton wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Pax Rafkin wrote:
Would the Starfinder Society welcome a dataphile on their missions or does the dataphile generally hide his affiliation?
Dataphiles are a faction within the Starfinder Society. The description indicates that their information repository, the Archive's Cortex, is part of the Starfinder headquarters, the Lorespire Complex, which is similar to the Pathfinder Society's Grand Lodge in Absalom.
Yep, that's right. Although a Dataphile might not broadcast her affiliation to everyone she meets (not everyone likes nosey hackers), it's not something that's secret within the Starfinder Society.

So what you're saying is...

The Dataphiles are part of the over all organization but they prefer not to be identified to the general public due to the constant fear of being called out for their work.
Work which can include highly technical methods for securing private data of outside organizations via methods to compromise data systems, network security penetration, and communications code breaking.

And since they are also run the risk of angering some of these outside organizations, the threat of reprisals is very high. No organization, criminal or otherwise, would desire seeing their information systems compromised by a group like the Dataphiles and there would be a serious danger of immediate, physical consequences.

So ultimately they would prefer NOT to be outed for their work. Because as an intelligence organization, there is danger in gaining public recognition.

PS The thirty minutes I spent googling those links are the most joyful I've experienced in a long time.

*

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By the way, I want to focus in on this video because this is totally what happens inside the private strategy sessions of the Hellknight Order whenever the Dataphiles once again penetrate their private servers. Asmodeus hates nerds.

Liberty's Edge *** ⦵⦵

This should be a clearer title for how these boons work, and avoid any confusion about how many boons of this type you can slot.

What do you mean by "how many boons of this type you can slot"?
Does that mean there is a limit to slotless boons, to how many can be slotted?
It seems that if they are slotless you could have as many as you want... "slotted".

I find it a bit disappointing, since I liked the idea of limiting boons used during a game (and not having to make lists of all the bonuses one has in all the accumulated games played) and this system simply adds to what I thought was to be a hard limit on slots (and it seemed fun to try and guess what would be best for the scenario, hoping to not regret one's choice).

* Starfinder Society Developer

Eric Collins - France wrote:

This should be a clearer title for how these boons work, and avoid any confusion about how many boons of this type you can slot.

What do you mean by "how many boons of this type you can slot"?
Does that mean there is a limit to slotless boons, to how many can be slotted?
It seems that if they are slotless you could have as many as you want... "slotted".

I find it a bit disappointing, since I liked the idea of limiting boons used during a game (and not having to make lists of all the bonuses one has in all the accumulated games played) and this system simply adds to what I thought was to be a hard limit on slots (and it seemed fun to try and guess what would be best for the scenario, hoping to not regret one's choice).

The concern was based on the idea that people might misinterpret "Untyped" as being a slot, and incorrectly think that there was a cap on the number of these boons that you could take advantage of.

I do hope you wait to see the final guide (along with the associated boon list and first few scenarios) before becoming disappointed over the system. :)

Liberty's Edge

What is Kuthona?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The month named after Zon-Kuthon I believe.


Ah, now I'm thinking of a certain faction from SMAX. :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Am I alone in saying that each of these blog posts have become a parody of Big Shot in my head? And I mean that in an awesome way.

Liberty's Edge *** ⦵⦵

Thurston Hillman wrote:
Eric Collins - France wrote:
I do hope you wait to see the final guide (along with the associated boon list and first few scenarios) before becoming disappointed over the system. :)

You are right! Should not have jumped the (laser) gun.

Already, I really like the idea of slotting boons (a lot... including the moment where we will probably get all upset we should've slotted that other one!) - and also feel it is nice as it streamlines things.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Captain, North Carolina—Central Region aka Kyrand

Eric Collins - France wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Eric Collins - France wrote:
I do hope you wait to see the final guide (along with the associated boon list and first few scenarios) before becoming disappointed over the system. :)

You are right! Should not have jumped the (laser) gun.

Already, I really like the idea of slotting boons (a lot... including the moment where we will probably get all upset we should've slotted that other one!) - and also feel it is nice as it streamlines things.

I believe (but sadly don't remember where i saw it) that it has been stated that boons won't need to be slotted until after the mission briefing, and that ones especially pertinent to the scenario will be called out during that time, thanks to a sidebar for the GM.

As someone who has missed out on a few neat opportunities in PFS play due to bringing the "wrong" character to use a certain boon, I appreciate this setup. We might still have times where we'll be forced to choose, or even lose out due to not having a particular boon yet, but I'm guessing it'll feel like a lot less of a "gotcha" moment than in does now.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
The month named after Zon-Kuthon I believe.

Correct. Kuthona corresponds to December.

Blog wrote:

...rather than give all the details on Historia-7 and history with the Starfinder Society, I think it's appropriate to present some tidbits of information that might be important to Historia-7. I'll leave it to all you intrepid data seekers out there to figure out what you can from these details.

  • You'll have a chance to meet Historia-7 in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-01: The Commencement. (Ok, easy start)
  • Historia-4 compiled a significant record on the divergence of Corpse Fleet construction practices from those of their Eoxian counterparts, submitting the details for publication in the Starfinder Chronicles.
  • Historia-6 strongly supported the election of First Seeker Jadnura, and was subsequently lost during the Scoured Stars incident.
  • Kuthona.
I hope you will all have some fun scrutinizing these tidbits.

I wish I were better at solving puzzles like this. I'm fairly sure the numbers 4 and 6 are important and the month has to be, but I don't know if that means in a game-world context or in its real-world equivalent. I do note that the next SFS scenario will be the 4th one.

I'm pretty sure I'll just have to wait for someone else to figure it out.


*nods*

I knew it was either December or November.

.... Ooooo! Maybe the Historia's are the same Android body (Historia-1 > Hisotria-2 etc) and this season is about accessing Historia-6's memories to find out what happened during the Scoured Stars incident?

Sovereign Court ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What months correspond to April, June, and July?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

KingOfAnything wrote:
What months correspond to April, June, and July?

Gozran, Sarenith, and Erastus

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

*nods*

I knew it was either December or November.

.... Ooooo! Maybe the Historia's are the same Android body (Historia-1 > Hisotria-2 etc) and this season is about accessing Historia-6's memories to find out what happened during the Scoured Stars incident?

I suppose. The information says that Historia-6 was lost during the events of the Scoured Stars incident, but "lost" can have different meanings, I suppose. Given that we're currently lacking information on what the Scoured Stars Incident was, anything we come up with relating to that interpretation would be pure speculation.

My initial guess is that Thursty is telling us that SFS #1-04 will have something to do with the Corpse Fleet, SFS #1-06 will give us more information about First Seeker Jadnura and what happened during the Scoured Stars Incident, and something REALLY interesting will be happening in December. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The names for these factions strongly remind me of the Divergent's faction names, at least in the French version of the movie :-)

*

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The Raven Black wrote:
The names for these factions strongly remind me of the Divergent's faction names, at least in the French version of the movie :-)

But much better writing I hope.

Sczarni *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Blog wrote:
...controlling any information they can get their hands on (or other suitable appendage... yes that's an ongoing theme in Starfinder descriptions)...

I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this.

As someone who's spent the majority of his posting time in the Rules Questions Forum, and who has several FAQs answered or pending, the possibility of finally having "hands" defined in solid terms excites me.

**

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Kuthona = December = Decemvirate ?

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