2017, A Big Year for Pathfinder Society

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Every year goes by so quickly, yet every year I end up looking back and realizing just how long it's been—and how much we've accomplished—since January. 2017's no exception. All the work that went into getting Starfinder Society going, we've been keeping busy bringing you more stories, adventures, art, and memories in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. While we've enjoyed all of the scenarios, there's a handful that I feel really defined 2017.

This year we tried something new: publishing a new series of quests mid-season. Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-16: House of Harmonious Wisdom really knocked it out of the park, and the positive feedback has encouraged use to launch a similar series in early 2018.

Season 8 was our opportunity to travel to the elemental planes, and we scheduled two scenarios on each plane with an aim to present one urban adventure and one "wilderness" adventure. To me, Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-19: Treacherous Waves by Eleanor Ferron really captured the flavor of the elemental planes and of Vialesk, the foremost city on the Plane of Water, with colorful characters and daring scenes that flit between dry and wet environments.

Illustrations by Hannah Boving, Sebastian Rodriguez, Akim Kaliberda, and Giorgio Baroni

Every season comes to an end, and we try to bring everything together with a bang—often in a confrontation with loathsome foes. Ever since the "All for Immortality" series, we've scheduled at least one Tier 12+ scenario per season. For Season 8 we knew our goal from the very beginning, and we knew it was a worthy challenge for our seeker-level characters: break open the Untouchable Opal and free the being trapped within. The result, Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-25: Unleashing the Untouchable, is a truly epic adventure by Robert Brookes.

Multi-table interactive specials are pretty great, but they're also an immense amount of work to assemble. To both deliver more multi-table content and change up our traditional format, we created a "modular special" with easily replaced parts that we can swap out with new content over time. Pathfinder Society Special #8-99: The Solstice Scar tread new ground with Andrew Hoskins as the author, and we've already finished the next installment that's set to appear at conventions beginning in mid-January.

Speaking of multi-table interactive specials, no retrospective's complete without the Gen Con centerpiece. This year Absalom itself came under attack in Pathfinder Society Special #9-00: Assault on Absalom by Mikko Kallio, and the Pathfinder Society's factions pooled their resources and expertise to help fight off the invasion. This was one of the smoothest-run specials yet!

The Season of Factions' Favor kicked off with a trio of great scenarios, and one in particular really set the tone for Season 9. Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-02: A Case of Missing Persons by Alex Greenshields continues the ongoing saga of Major Colson Maldris, and the looks of disbelief I've seen on people's faces when they play this one... they give me life. The Liberty's Edge struggle this scenario introduces also kicked off our Leaders in Liberty contest and voting. I can hardly wait for the next installment in Spring 2018.

Illustrations by Tom Ventre and Josef Kucera

The elemental planes have plenty of conflict, and conflict begets adventures. Heaven's a different story, as it's easy to think that no matter what happens there, a horde of archons is ready to jump on it. For more than a year we'd been considering an adventure in Heaven an unattainable goal... then we checked the reporting data for a Season 7 scenario and saw that participants had overwhelmingly chosen exactly that. Thus began Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-06: The Shores of Heaven, a delightful and heavenly story that brought out the plane's potential in a compelling way with compelling characters. Cole Kronewitter did an excellent job.

Just as some factions are struggling with leadership or learning to flex their muscles in new ways, others are tackling an internal threat that threatens to destroy the organization entirely. The Scarab Sages got to show off their strength and destroy an ancient evil in Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-07: Salvation of the Sages, one of the most extraordinarily fun and over-the-top scenarios I've had the pleasure to develop in a long while. Just as he helped kick off the Scarab Sages storyline in Season 5 and drive it forward in Season 6, I enjoyed having Matt Duval to tie things together with this adventure.

Ever since The Confirmation, no season's been complete without a new replayable (aka evergreen) scenario. Last year we published the first replayable adventure above 1st level, and we knew that this year we wanted to provide a similarly compelling mid-level experience. Brian Duckwitz delivered with Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path, which delves deep below the eclectic city of Kaer Maga in pursuit of numerous objectives that change with each retelling.

And even with this long list I'm omitting tons of great adventures, from Mike Kimmel's trip under Merab's streets to Crystal Malarsky's archaeological peacekeeping mission to Larry Wilhelm's voyage into a live volcano to many, many more. What were your favorites?

Finally, no season's complete without some excellent artwork. Here are some of our favorites from 2017, compliments of Akim Kaliberda, Giorgio Baroni, Hannah Boving, Josef Kucera, Sebastian Rodriguez, and Tom Ventre. Also, although I don't want to provide spoilers by posting it here, we also adore Sean MacDonald's cartography from Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-20: Torrent's Last Will, for which I've seen some of the most dazzling printed maps.

See you in 2018!

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

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Tags: Akim Kaliberda Giorgio Baroni Hannah Boving Josef Kucera Organized Play Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Society Scenarios Sebastian Rodriguez Tom Ventre
Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Huzzah!

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

It was a phenomenal year, John.

For personal favorites, I adored House of Harmonious Wisdom. Genre-themed quests like HHW and Phantom Phenomena are a true delight. I love all the experiments you’ve tried, too. Creating stories out of the pieces of “From the Tome of Righteous Repose” and ”Beyond the Halflight Path” have been super interesting as a GM challenge. I also enjoyed each and everyone of the scenarios you’ve listed here. They were excellent from a roleplay perspective and great fun.

Thanks for creating such gems for us.

Hugs
Hmm

*****

I think I must be alone in disliking House of Harmonious Wisdom. I am happy to hear it's been such a success and am looking forward to trying the next set of quests like that and hope to like them more though.

Sovereign Court ** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Savannah aka KitsuneWarlock

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This has by far been my best year of PFS to date.

For the first time this year I was able to sink my teeth into Seeker levels with Eyes of the Ten and Unleashing the Untouchable. I'm still completely blown away by how well written the highest level material is and I can't wait to try more!

I built my first terrain, painted my first real miniature and started my first AP. I've had my first games with phenominal GMs, including John Compton and David Shaw. I've felt like a real member of the online collective for the first time, and I was asked to become a Venture Lieutenant! Overall, it's been such a fantastic and memorable year for PFS that I'm a little afraid 2018 might not be able to compare.

Thank you, everyone involved, for creating so many wonderful memories.

Still not a Rakshasa,

KitsuneWarlock

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

House of Harmonious Wisdom was my favourite scenario this year, and has special significance as it was the scenario with which I started my GM career.

A close second though was Champion's Chalice part 1, which forced me to think about my character in a new way and required much brainstorming from the whole group about how we could best use each other's abilities (and not die!)

I also loved the wacky shenanigans of Wrath of the Fleshwarped Queen, and the investigation of Portents Peril, which was my first introduction to the Harrow deck and caused me to create a Harrow themed character.

Thanks to the whole team for the adventures, and here's to next year!

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

2017 was a blast! The year has just flown by. I hope 2018 will be just as awesome.

***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Pirate Rob wrote:
I think I must be alone in disliking House of Harmonious Wisdom. I am happy to hear it's been such a success and am looking forward to trying the next set of quests like that and hope to like them more though.

You are not alone. I think it works fine at low tier. But at high tier, when the players know they only have one fight per day, it is just way too easy.

I have really enjoyed season 8, which I am still finishing up, and season 9 seems to be off to a great start. Thanks to the whole team for your continued excellent work.

Sczarni *****

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've only GMed House of Harmonious Wisdom once, and haven't played it. I'd give it a 4/5. Each of the individual quests is great, as long as the players know their ultimate goal, but the transition between 1-4 and 5 is non-existent and requires a good GM to improvise.

***

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Strangely, no scenarios have yet been solicited for 2018 at all. Usually they tended to be announced about 2–3 months in advance. Why not now?

*

Zaister wrote:
Strangely, no scenarios have yet been solicited for 2018 at all. Usually they tended to be announced about 2–3 months in advance. Why not now?

Maybe it's just end-of-year chaos, what with the various holidays.

Or, with all the Dramatic Faction Stuff going on... maybe they're playing things a little closer to the vest than usual. ^_^

*****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

What a great year of content. 8-19 Treacherous Waves was a highlight for me last year as well, as it was my PaizoCon scenario and really provided some environmental aspects that I haven't seen before. (In both senses of the word: my first PaizoCon table included a player who worked at the EPA, which gave a whole new set of motivations to the PCs.)

Season 9 has been great across the board, which seems ironic for me to say because I was an early proponent of minimzing the faction storylines. All of the stories have been strong, but my favorite has to be Beyond the Halflight Path. You could probably set a whole season in Kaer Maga and it wouldn't get old. An evergreen is the next best thing. Mr. Duckwitz and the development team did a great job.

Looking forward to what 2018 has to offer!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Isabelle Lee wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Strangely, no scenarios have yet been solicited for 2018 at all. Usually they tended to be announced about 2–3 months in advance. Why not now?

Maybe it's just end-of-year chaos, what with the various holidays.

Or, with all the Dramatic Faction Stuff going on... maybe they're playing things a little closer to the vest than usual. ^_^

Our reporting is shifting the upcoming storyline. They are editing scenarios based on what we are doing!

Hmm

Scarab Sages ** Venture-Agent

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can't agree more regarding what a great year 2017 was for PFS. I loved the elemental theme of season 8. This year I made it to PaizoCon for the first time where I also had the pleasure of running Treacherous Waves and playing House of Harmonious Wisdom both of which I loved. It also alerted me to the incredible opportunity of experiencing Assault on Absalom in the Green Dragon Inn at PaizoCon OZ. It really is one of the best specials I've run, and the great setting and players really made it special. So far I have seen very little of season 9, but I really enjoyed what I've gotten to play. Overall its left me really excited to see what 2018 has to offer.

Grand Lodge * Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah! I hope I'll get to write something fun and awesome in 2018, too!

Zach Davis wrote:
It also alerted me to the incredible opportunity of experiencing Assault on Absalom in the Green Dragon Inn at PaizoCon OZ. It really is one of the best specials I've run, and the great setting and players really made it special.

Thanks, Zach!

(And I want to go to Paizocon OZ, too! Maybe next year...)

*****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mikko Kallio wrote:
Huzzah! I hope I'll get to write something fun and awesome in 2018, too!

So do we!

***

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:


Our reporting is shifting the upcoming storyline. They are editing scenarios based on what we are doing!

Hmm

Does that mean that this year we should be trying extra hard to play things soon after they come out?

(Usually, my lodge tries to schedule things a few/several months after they publish so that our people have more flexibility when they go to cons, and our GMs have opportunities to play elsewhere to avoid constantly taking spoilers.)

**

Last Adventure of 2017: Bonekeep, part II. Nice. Fun.
Not too easy.

The Exchange *

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It was a year of first for me! First gaming convention, first year of Society play and first time GMing a Society game , first GenCon and first time GMing there to include two PFS specials and the Starfinder Special, first time my children and I all got to play together at the same table(I've always had to GM), first gaming convention with my wife, and my first GM Star!

Society play has gotten me back into gaming in a big way and has really opened up a very rewarding part of my life that I didn't know I was missing! I've met some great people and made some great friends through Pathfinder Society and hope to meet even more in 2018!

Thank you to everyone at Paizo, the Organized Play organization and everyone here on the boards who have made 2017 a great year of gaming, socializing, and fun for me and my family! Thank you for all you do and keep up the good work!

Explore, Cooperate, and Report!

Sczarni **

Please update the additional resources page there is a new class to play come on already

Dark Archive *

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Please do not.

Please allow the Design Team to review the class and make an educated and focused effort at correcting the many flaws within it, and may we all grow from that learning experience.

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
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Please do not.

Please allow the Design Team to review the class and make an educated and focused effort at correcting the many flaws within it, and may we all grow from that learning experience.

Orrrrrrr add it and if the Design Team decide to change anything allow a free rebuild to the new version.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Please don’t drown this blog in negativity.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I wasn't too thrilled about the elemental theme at first but it turned out all right.
I just hoped for a bit more of focus on Sovereign Court but 2018 might just do the trick...

*** ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

It does seem like this will be a great year for Sovereign Court content! I have a Sovereign Court bard I've only played twice (but otherwise GM-credited up to fourth level), and I'm signed up to play her in a bunch of scenarios in the next couple of months.

Scarab Sages ***

Birthright Betrayed was great fun for my low level Sovereign Court character. My level 7 Bard is looking forward to the forthcoming SC scenarios.

I enjoyed season 8. Unleashing the Untouchable was a great capstone scenario for the season. And I’ve enjoyed season 9 so far. Some of the combats have trended towards the easier end, but I’ve liked all of the stories/roleplaying.

*****

The low tier scenarios have tended towards the easy but looking at the mid and high tier stuff I have seen plenty of challenge. Call of the Copper Gate, Border of War, Salvation of Sages, all of them have had distinctly challenging elements. Even Case of Missing Persons has one potentially quite dangerous encounter in it.

Beyond the Halflight Path is obviously very variable.

Scarab Sages ***

Yeah, it’s mostly been the 1-5s. With the exception of one somewhat random encounter at the 4-5 tier that is unexpectedly tough.

Call of the Copper Gate and On the Border of War are more challenging, for sure. But it really depends on the group and the tier. I’ve unfortunately not been able to get in a game of Salvation of the Sages yet. Good to know it will be suitably challenging.

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