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How the Run Factions?


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Dark Archive *

I have seen a lot of different ways GM interpret how faction should be run an interact. How does everyone handle them.
Different things that i have seen include but not limited to.

-No one knows each others factions unless you have previous knowledge of the other character or you freely give the information to the party(usually what i do)

-everyone know everything

-Not letting others help each other/assist with faction mission EVEN when the faction mission says nothing about keeping it a secret.

-Letting people help each other out if they role-play it out(usually what i do) or course as long and the mission doesn't state that it has to be kept secret.

-Everyone can just help anyone as long as it's not a secret mission...
"anyone have knowledge nature can you role me a check for my faction mission. other player roles....." no explanation just everyone rolling to see if they can get what ever it is.

Would like to here you all's thought on the subject?

-Meghan

Liberty's Edge ****

As long as it is not secret, no problems asking for help, other than dealing with missions that may be alignment infractions...

Secret missions, should be secret, of course.

As a GM, I try to leave it up to the players as to whether they let anyone know their faction. It was very amusing the other day, during a Season 0 scenario, where everyone at the table was either Osirion or Grand Lodge, so they were all trying to complete the same faction mission, but not everyone knew it.

Silver Crusade ****

I usually remind the players that they're helping a rival faction and add emphasis if it's a rival faction.

Shadow Lodge vs. Grand Lodge.

Andoran vs. Cheliax

Qadira vs. Taldor.

and so on, and so on.

Sovereign Court ***

When I GM, as long as the player(s) can justify how they completed their mission (and actually DID complete it in some manner), then I'm content. This varies from "I need a paper from this collection, but can't tell which one it is, so I collect all the books. Clearly one of them is going to be the book I need. I'll just sort them out later." to "Hey, Mr. Alchemist. I've met a number of alchemists before, and have seen a good number of them handling poison. Can you get the poison out of this spider for me?" to "'Hey, everyone. We should buy some robes while we're doing this mission, so the enemy doesn't know we're looking for them,' then plant a note about some faction's moonlighting activity in the midst of the inevitable destruction path behind the 3 Andorans."

If it's a secret mission, my players can totally ask other members to do something. Though chances are, unless they're really craft about it, it's gonna make them fail their mission.

Dark Archive *

Daniel Luckett wrote:

I usually remind the players that they're helping a rival faction and add emphasis if it's a rival faction.

Shadow Lodge vs. Grand Lodge.

Andoran vs. Cheliax

Qadira vs. Taldor.

and so on, and so on.

I would agree with this, it makes total sense, as long and the other play "knows" what faction you are...if they don't then they are sure of the rivalry.

Dark Archive *

I guess the follow up would be in this question is the GM the last call on this in PFS?

Silver Crusade ***

I definitely think requests for help should be handled in character, even if it's just "I know someone back in Absalom who would be interested in this. Can you help me get it for them?"

Liberty's Edge *****

Meghan Schmidt 86 wrote:
I guess the follow up would be in this question is the GM the last call on this in PFS?

Pretty much yes. Players always have the option to complain to the game day coordinator, convention coordinator, Venture-Officer (Venture-Lieutenants or Venture-Captains) if they are different from the coordinators, or Mike Brock (campaign coordinator). However, I would say that 99.99% of the time, the coordinators are going to back up the GMs unless there is an obvious mistake by the GM (or egregious cheating).

Also, faction missions with difficult rolls should not be able to be circumvented by “brute force”. What? I need a linguistics check to figure out which accounting ledger or bill of sale to steal? Fine, I’ll grab all the paperwork! Shouldn’t be a solution. If they want to be creative to find another ability or skill to use instead of linguistics, by all means, try to get around it.

But the way I roleplay faction heads, if they ask you for a specific bill of sale, and you dump a pile of accounting ledgers on their desk, they’ll thank you for getting them the bill of sale, but will not grant you your Fame. Why? Because then they have to find someone else to actually look through the ledgers to find the bill of sale. Your mission was to find the bill of sale. You didn’t complete it. It doesn’t seem to me, that many would think highly of you (Fame) if you always do your job halfway and leave the rest for someone else to do.

Silver Crusade ****

The GM is the last call if they'd fail even if they succeeded the task at hand. In general, if you're in doubt if they succeeded even after they've made their argument why it should succeed. I'd likely side with a fail if I'm still not convinced.


Nothing turns the average player into whiny little !@#%&!@# faster than you can say "them's the breaks" than not getting the bonus prestige from their faction mission.

Pouty faces ahoy!

Silver Crusade ***

Andrew Christian wrote:


Also, faction missions with difficult rolls should not be able to be circumvented by “brute force”. What? I need a linguistics check to figure out which accounting ledger or bill of sale to steal? Fine, I’ll grab all the paperwork! Shouldn’t be a solution. If they want to be creative to find another ability or skill to use instead of linguistics, by all means, try to get around it.

But the way I roleplay faction heads, if they ask you for a specific bill of sale, and you dump a pile of accounting ledgers on their desk, they’ll thank you for getting them the bill of sale, but will not grant you your Fame. Why? Because then they have to find someone else to actually look through the ledgers to find the bill of sale. Your mission was to find the bill of sale. You didn’t complete it. It doesn’t seem to me, that many would think highly of you (Fame) if you always do your job halfway and leave the rest for someone else to do.

While I can see your point, I think this is one of those, "You can do that, BUT..." situations for a GM. I'd be sure to let them know up front that you won't give them full credit, but give them a chance to try and do something about it.

For instance, in your example, if they grab every book because they can't make the necessary skill check, let them know that the faction leader won't like having to assign someone else the task of finding the right pages. When they get back to Absalom, maybe they could hire a linguist for 20 gp to do that work for them, before presenting the books to their faction head.

In general, because so much depends on prestige awards, I tend to lean in favor of finding a way to let the PCs succeed. They can still fail at my table, but I'm always open to creative solutions and giving players second chances if there's any excuse to do so.

Silver Crusade ****

At that moment I ask them have they failed 33% of the time? No? Then you've been lucky so far. Take solace in it.

Liberty's Edge *****

Fromper wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


Also, faction missions with difficult rolls should not be able to be circumvented by “brute force”. What? I need a linguistics check to figure out which accounting ledger or bill of sale to steal? Fine, I’ll grab all the paperwork! Shouldn’t be a solution. If they want to be creative to find another ability or skill to use instead of linguistics, by all means, try to get around it.

But the way I roleplay faction heads, if they ask you for a specific bill of sale, and you dump a pile of accounting ledgers on their desk, they’ll thank you for getting them the bill of sale, but will not grant you your Fame. Why? Because then they have to find someone else to actually look through the ledgers to find the bill of sale. Your mission was to find the bill of sale. You didn’t complete it. It doesn’t seem to me, that many would think highly of you (Fame) if you always do your job halfway and leave the rest for someone else to do.

While I can see your point, I think this is one of those, "You can do that, BUT..." situations for a GM. I'd be sure to let them know up front that you won't give them full credit, but give them a chance to try and do something about it.

For instance, in your example, if they grab every book because they can't make the necessary skill check, let them know that the faction leader won't like having to assign someone else the task of finding the right pages. When they get back to Absalom, maybe they could hire a linguist for 20 gp to do that work for them, before presenting the books to their faction head.

In general, because so much depends on prestige awards, I tend to lean in favor of finding a way to let the PCs succeed. They can still fail at my table, but I'm always open to creative solutions and giving players second chances if there's any excuse to do so.

Oh, I always let them know the odds of something working like that. I don’t just blindside them with a fail.

However, paying 20gp is again, a “brute force” solution. Do you think that Glorianna Morilla really wants some commoner to potentially know Taldor’s business by translating all those ledgers to find a bill of sale damaging to Taldor’s interests?

Probably not. Discretion is 9/10’s of the law with faction missions outside of the immediate pathfinder team sent on the main pathfinder mission. Sometimes that discretion also applies to the pathfinder team as well.

Nobody ever succeeded at a shadow war of politics, favors, and clandestine undermining of fellow factions, by allowing their business to become public.

Sczarni ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Coraith

Andrew Christian wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


...

...

Oh, I always let them know the odds of something working like that. I don’t just blindside them with a fail.

However, paying 20gp is again, a “brute force” solution. Do you think that Glorianna Morilla really wants some commoner to potentially know Taldor’s business by translating all those ledgers to find a bill of sale damaging to Taldor’s interests?

Probably not. Discretion is 9/10’s of the law with faction missions outside of the immediate pathfinder team sent on the main pathfinder mission. Sometimes that discretion also applies to the pathfinder team as well.

Nobody ever succeeded at a shadow war of politics, favors, and clandestine undermining of fellow factions, by allowing their business to become public.

Brute Force is a solution, its not a graceful one, and I usually let them by so long as they have the associated skill that they failed on the check with(when it deals with finding a ledger or something else.) There's nothing that says they cant find a Taldor scribe to read the material and find the correct one.

Liberty's Edge *****

Coraith wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


...

...

Oh, I always let them know the odds of something working like that. I don’t just blindside them with a fail.

However, paying 20gp is again, a “brute force” solution. Do you think that Glorianna Morilla really wants some commoner to potentially know Taldor’s business by translating all those ledgers to find a bill of sale damaging to Taldor’s interests?

Probably not. Discretion is 9/10’s of the law with faction missions outside of the immediate pathfinder team sent on the main pathfinder mission. Sometimes that discretion also applies to the pathfinder team as well.

Nobody ever succeeded at a shadow war of politics, favors, and clandestine undermining of fellow factions, by allowing their business to become public.

Brute Force is a solution, its not a graceful one, and I usually let them by so long as they have the associated skill that they failed on the check with(when it deals with finding a ledger or something else.) There's nothing that says they cant find a Taldor scribe to read the material and find the correct one.

I think allowing “brute force” solutions defeats the intent of creating a faction mission with a difficult skill check. If that becomes the default solution to faction missions, then there is no challenge anymore.

Anyone can say (and it is highly not creative), “Oh, I’ll just grab all of it then.” Or “I’ll just find some commoner to do it”—Taldan or not, a scribe or translator is a commoner and not privy to Taldan political machinations

And before anyone says anything, yes, when I first started playing, I wanted to use that solution, and did not get that PP. I was ok with it.

Dark Archive *

A lot of different resposes to hang with me

I guess I'm just a different player then some of the players that complain about not getting prestige. I know from the gate depending on the character I'm running if I'm going to succeed my faction mission and I'm ok with that "It's the breaks" as someone says. My chelish barbarian is never going to succeed at a mission if it need diplomacy or bluff…and that’s ok it’s her flavor.

I favor creativity when it come to completing your faction missions brute force would just not be accepted. I agree with Andrew is defeats the purpose.

But I also agree with Fromper I think sometimes the Players can be more creative then the scenario gives them creative for, coming up with out of the box ideas that are really great, but still can get the prestige because they failed the X check that was required.

Though If someone comes to my table at high level and say they have never failed at getting prestige part of me would question that. They must be beyond lucky!

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

My favorite interactions are when PC's of the 5 new factions cooperate with members of the earlier 5 factions when playing older scenarios.

The Taldor in my party were actually frightened by the zeal my Sczarni showed when carrying out the Taldor mission in the Many Fortune's of Grandmaster Torch.

Rufalo's still not certain why uncle Guaril keeps sending him out to help Taldor, but figures that Taldan coin spends as well as anyone else's.

Sovereign Court ***

I doubt Jacquo would be adverse to outsourcing his jobs, anyways. Exceptionally so if enough of his actual faction members complain about them.

Liberty's Edge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In one of the recent times when I actually played (instead of GMed) a scenario, I was given a mission that my character, flat out, would not do. The (un)fortunate part was that the other player in the same faction (both of us Shadow Lodge playing as Chelaxians) also would not do once I explained the mission fully. Although we probably could have convinced one of the other party members to do the mission, we just took the loss of the point since both of our characters were opposed to the very idea of the mission.

However, I do have another item to bring in relation to the line of questioning. Do you do anything to inform the player if the secrecy/lack thereof is in disagreement between the player handout and the GM notes. I saw this in several scenarios where the GM notes specified that the mission must be performed secretly, while the player handout made no such mention of that requirement. I've taken to the habit of reading over the handout before I give it to the players just so I know what info they have versus what I have.

-Michael

Dark Archive ****

I leave it up to PCs to Diplomacy and Bluff IRL help, but I don't discourage it. If the CN Cheliax Rogue borderline CE convinces the NG Andoran Cleric to ask the friendly storekeep to give up one of his precious jewels, I have no qualms against that happening. Its an RP opportunity, TBH.

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

I think there should be more "if a PC suceeds in a DC X he realizes that None of these ledgers are the ones he is looking for." to prevent brute force from feeling like an always valid method.... if the PC fails and grabs them all, they won't be looking for it later in the scenario.... but that's just me

Dark Archive *

Michael Madison wrote:

In one of the recent times when I actually played (instead of GMed) a scenario, I was given a mission that my character, flat out, would not do. The (un)fortunate part was that the other player in the same faction (both of us Shadow Lodge playing as Chelaxians) also would not do once I explained the mission fully. Although we probably could have convinced one of the other party members to do the mission, we just took the loss of the point since both of our characters were opposed to the very idea of the mission.

However, I do have another item to bring in relation to the line of questioning. Do you do anything to inform the player if the secrecy/lack thereof is in disagreement between the player handout and the GM notes. I saw this in several scenarios where the GM notes specified that the mission must be performed secretly, while the player handout made no such mention of that requirement. I've taken to the habit of reading over the handout before I give it to the players just so I know what info they have versus what I have.

-Michael

I remember that game. and much respect for not taking the point.

I will remind players once(after that it's on them) that it needs to be done secret or some something like "where are you doing this...are you sure that's a good idea... wink wink" cause as much as I don't like to give the points away for free I don't want to be a jerk about it.

-Meghan

Sczarni ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Coraith

Meghan Schmidt 86 wrote:
Michael Madison wrote:

In one of the recent times when I actually played (instead of GMed) a scenario, I was given a mission that my character, flat out, would not do. The (un)fortunate part was that the other player in the same faction (both of us Shadow Lodge playing as Chelaxians) also would not do once I explained the mission fully. Although we probably could have convinced one of the other party members to do the mission, we just took the loss of the point since both of our characters were opposed to the very idea of the mission.

However, I do have another item to bring in relation to the line of questioning. Do you do anything to inform the player if the secrecy/lack thereof is in disagreement between the player handout and the GM notes. I saw this in several scenarios where the GM notes specified that the mission must be performed secretly, while the player handout made no such mention of that requirement. I've taken to the habit of reading over the handout before I give it to the players just so I know what info they have versus what I have.

-Michael

I remember that game. and much respect for not taking the point.

I will remind players once(after that it's on them) that it needs to be done secret or some something like "where are you doing this...are you sure that's a good idea... wink wink" cause as much as I don't like to give the points away for free I don't want to be a jerk about it.

-Meghan

I've been nabbed once before on something that needed to be done secretly but didn't specify it in the mission briefing. No heads up from the GM that it needed to be done that way either, just a 1 prestige on the paper and a very annoyed me. Table variance and what not.

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I sit down with the expectation that there is some way for me to get the mission. The rest of the shop I play at seems the same way. Faction missions are just minor things for the party to hit on the way. We'll all compare notes near the start, everybody pitches in with Aid Other when we need the check. If we need to get a hireling, we do. There's nothing secret about the missions unless it spells out the need to be. Those haven't come up much luckily, but they're a pain.
I don't think there's been any yet with a philosophical complication. GM's all seem pretty cooperative on this.

Basically, if I can't get the mission, I feel I must have done something drastically wrong for the night.

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