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A message to all true Pathfinders


Taldor

Qadira ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Greetings, Lodge Sisters and Brothers! Please excuse the assumed name above, but I thought it best to travel incognito. I am Pathfinder Aram bin Kaleel, of Katheer, and I beg your indulgence this day on a matter of import to the entire Society.

“Explore. Report. Cooperate.” These are the three Core Tenants of our Society, drilled into the heads of every Initiate that passes through the doors of the Grand Lodge. Yet when they leave again, their training complete, how many Pathfinders are actually qualified to carry out those core tenants?

  • To Explore, a Pathfinder must possess more than lethal skill with a single weapon: one must possess curiosity and skill, self-sufficiency and courage in equal measure.
  • To Report, a Pathfinder must be at the least literate, and able to express themselves coherently in more than monosyllabic grunts.
  • To Cooperate requires a certain level of social grace and tact, which seems largely absent in many Pathfinders today.

In my experience, many Pathfinders seem to be either highly-specialized killers or common thugs. On a recent assignment to represent the Society at the marriage of Michellia Blakros, I shudder to think of the damage that could have been caused by a group of brutish oafs with no use beyond murder. Pathfinders are increasingly being used as nothing more than an army against the Society’s enemies, because that is all many of them are suited for. This intolerable situation is an affront to the memory of those who have gone before, whose tales are immortalized in the Chronicles. So: what can be done?

In my country, we have a saying: “It is better to light one lamp, than to sit and curse the darkness.” To do my part in restoring the honor and traditions of the Pathfinder Society, I have decided to become a Lamplighter, and I invite other Pathfinders of like mind to join with me.

I propose the formation of a voluntary, informal organization within the Pathfinder Society, to be known as the Lamplighters, with membership open to any Pathfinder who meets the minimal requirements outlined in the attached Creed. The Lamplighters will have no hierarchy and no leadership; anyone who meets the qualifications may purchase and wear the Lamplighter’s badge upon showing proof of qualification to the vendor.

Benefit of membership in the Lamplighters is intangible, but significant. When you see another agent wearing a Lamplighter badge, you know that you can count on their support and trust them with your life. Similarly, by identifying yourself as a Lamplighter, you will instill confidence in your companions that you can be trusted to complete the mission at hand. Lamplighters will remind other agents, new and old, what it once was to be a Pathfinder, and put the proper emphasis on resourcefulness and versatility outside of just the combat arena.

Let me emphasize: the Lamplighters are not a “shadow Society” trying to change the Pathfinder leadership or mandate. Neither are we a political faction seeking to twist the Society to our own uses. No Lamplighter will ever ask another to obtain a bauble for their upcoming party or to assassinate a personal rival while on Society business. The Lamplighters exist solely as a positive exemplar of the resourcefulness, wit, and skill that built our Society’s glorious history. As such, it operates above such individual agendas. Membership is open to all Pathfinders who honor the Lamplighter's Creed regardless of other political or social affiliations.

I believe that if more agents were as versatile, resourceful and adaptable as our predecessors, then our leadership would see more use for us than as foot soldiers against the Aspis Consortium and other rivals. Join the Lamplighters, and together we will serve as a guiding light for the Society's future.

With humble thanks for your time and consideration, I remain,

Your comrade,
Aram bin Kaleel of Katheer,
Pathfinder

Qadira ****

In order to codify the qualifications to become a Lamplighter, I have set down my thoughts in this matter. I propose that those who yearn as I do for the Society to return to its glory days, offer their own suggestions, so that we may quickly agree upon a list of minimal requirements.

The Lamplighter's Creed

* A Lamplighter is sound of mind and body, with no physical, mental, or social deficiency which would interfere with their duties.
[ooc: No ability score below 10 except those reduced by racial penalties.]

* A Lamplighter is skilled in diplomacy, tact, and effective communication.
[ooc: A Diplomacy skill of at least +2, whether through ranks, high Charisma score, or other permanent, inherent bonus . Bonuses from magical items do not qualify.]

* A Lamplighter is well-trained, knowledgeable, and resourceful.
[ooc: At least a +1 bonus in at least 5 of the following skills: Appraise, Disable Device, Handle Animal, any Knowledge skill, Linguistics, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Use Magical Device. The bonus can come from any source, so long as it is a permanent, inherent bonus and not a temporary effect.]

* A Lamplighter is always ready for combat, and is trained and equipped for both hand-to-hand and ranged fighting.
[ooc: Proficiency in and ownership of at least one ranged and one melee weapon, even if the character is primarily a non-combat type.]

* A Lamplighter is well-equipped for any eventuality, and ready to travel at a moment’s notice.
[ooc: More of a philosophy than a requirements, since it depends upon budget and prestige. At least some healing that they can use themselves, a back-up weapon with a different damage type, and so on.]

* A Lamplighter puts the success of the mission and the well-being of her comrades ahead of personal gain.

* A Lamplighter keeps no knowledge secret from their Venture-Captain or their comrades.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

Scott Young wrote:

In order to codify the qualifications to become a Lamplighter, I have set down my thoughts in this matter. I propose that those who yearn as I do for the Society to return to its glory days, offer their own suggestions, so that we may quickly agree upon a list of minimal requirements.

* A Lamplighter is sound of mind and body, with no physical, mental, or social deficiency which would interfere with their duties.
[ooc: No ability score below 10 except those reduced by racial penalties.]

How typical for a Qadiran, to prefer a wizard to have muscle tone rather than look to what is truly important--that said wizard is prepared for any situation where lack of muscles would be an impediment. Give me a companion who was born with below-average musculature but carries scrolls of ant haul, touch of the sea, grease, and spider climb over one with merely average strength any day--the former is a clever Pathfinder who knows how to make the best out of what their bloodline has granted them at birth and is vastly more likely to succeed than the latter. When we learn to be inclusive of those less fortunate in their births than we ourselves by educating others how to be the best they can be with what they have, we follow the example of the Eternal Rose, who teaches not to shun those who are less beautiful, but rather to help them make the best of what they have to reveal their inner beauties.

~Marquise Cordelia Livia Cassandra Elysia Perseis

Qadira ****

Aram bin Kaleel, Pathfinder

You honor me with your commentary, Marquise, and I thank you for your insights. If you will note points 3 and 5 of the Lamplighter's Creed, you will see that your excellent suggestions on being prepared for such situations have already been incorporated.

The goal of point one of the Creed is to be prepared for any eventuality, no matter who unlikely it may seem. In my journeys for the Society I have spent time in places where magic functions erratically or not at all. I also deem it wise to be able to function without complete reliance on magical items of a paper nature, which are less useful in certain situations, for example, when one is under water. I have seen a Pathfinder's life hinge on whether another agent of 'below-average musculature' could force open a door without magical aid. Thus, I stand by my suggestion that Lamplighters should strive to avoid physical deficiency.

Please understand that I hold you in the highest regard, and I hope one day to meet you in person. I plan on attending the Grand Convocation this coming Sarenith; perhaps we shall have the opportunity to converse at that point in time?

Your humble servant,

Aram bin Kaleel,
Pathfinder

Taldor **

A public response to Mr. bin Kaleel

I agree with you when you say the Society is more than just a well-funded gang of murderers and thieves. I also try to set a good example wherever I go, trying to prevent the apologies I end up making anyway. Your idea is indeed refreshing, though I don't believe in using custom-made trinkets to identify the more mature of us. Striving for excellence, and assisting others as they ask, is a goal enough.

I know how you feel, though: a while ago, I was sent on a mission with a large man of... mixed heritage, who largely knew how to swing around a large sword and answered only to "Krunch". He did want it spelled that way, so I'm certain he was literate.

Anyway, as we conversed, it happened that he showed a passion for learning and socializing, but nobody had ever consented to teach him. He came a long way, and once, when we encountered an acient Thuvian riddle (don't ask about the circumstances), he wanted to answer it instead of me. I let him, and he figured it out all by himself!

My point is, while assisting our more... violent associates is a good and noble thing, it doesn't have to be our duty. I'll continue to provide what help I can, and if I meet someone who bemoans single-mindedness in her fellow Field Agents, I'll make sure to mention Aram bin Kaleel.

Blessings upon your goal,
Viscountess Elspeth Thisslyn

**

As-salamu alaykum! Your wise words reflect a learning I rarely see among your wandering brethren.

I, Baron Davoliznakamushka, Professor of linguistics, will gladly take your challenge of striving for higher standards amongst our lodgemembers. I can only offer my humble skill with languages to the cause, but I will strive for excellence in all areas. If you ever find yourself at the Kitharodian Academy in Oppara, be sure to look me up; I'm sure I can make arrangements to house a felloe lamplighter.

Davo meets all requirements, and is genuine... but he is also a blade of the lion, Mr. Qadiran ;)

Taldor **

While I can sympathize with railing against to more "blunt instrument" variety of Pathfinder, I often find their sort fairly useful for the more subtle among us to get our jobs done.

I know many Pathfinders who are very cultivated, charming, curious people; I'd like to count myself among them. That said, there are, ever, hosts arrayed against us, organizations and cults of fell purpose, with whom diplomacy is futile. It's worth having "soldiers" among us who can interpose themselves between such forces and those of us who are more genuinely explorers.

My feeling is that your... Lamplighters... is simply a reinvention of the wheel. We are here already, and are, simply, Pathfinders!

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

We shall keep our eyes on this group. They have drawn our......interest.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

Scott Young wrote:


The goal of point one of the Creed is to be prepared for any eventuality, no matter who unlikely it may seem.

A lofty and worthwhile goal, but not one that your first requirement aids you in pursuing. All that glitters is not gold, and one can find a diamond in the rough, things that might not be obvious to a Qadiran.

Quote:
In my journeys for the Society I have spent time in places where magic functions erratically or not at all. I also deem it wise to be able to function without complete reliance on magical items of a paper nature, which are less useful in certain situations, for example, when one is under water. I have seen a Pathfinder's life hinge on whether another agent of 'below-average musculature' could force open a door without magical aid. Thus, I stand by my suggestion that Lamplighters should strive to avoid physical deficiency.

If you are underwater? That is why other Pathfinders that came before us developed the spell book ward. If they are a wizard such as myself, they can also use their bonded item to avoid paper entirely. I cannot quite cast fly or haste yet, but I have around 100 spells in my spellbook, all of them at my fingertips in an emergency. Should a warrior be denied entry to your Lamplighters because they can't provide a feather fall to save a falling comrade?

As to forcing open the door, if the door was stuck hard, with or without average strength the wizard had no business trying to force it open if a life was on the line. Potential better choices included--training in Disable Device to open the door that way, casting knock off a scroll, bonded item, wand, or from memory, cracking out a crowbar to hand to the strongest Pathfinder available and then assisting that Pathfinder, summoning a monster with higher strength, using a spell to get to the other side of the wall like passwall, stone shape, or dimension door, etc. The very idea that the wizard with average strength has a best bet to use brawn alone when a stuck door is menacing the life of a fellow is a misleading one. For instance, my good friend Lasair is a priestess of Shelyn with poor strength, but she has been granted a touch of luck by the Eternal Rose that allows her to essentially double the chance of the best door-basher each time. It's called Bit of Luck I believe. This would be far superior to her own attempt whether she had average strength or below.

Another situation that your first rule treats strangely is a girl I know who is young and slightly immature (OOC: Cha 8) but makes up for it with magic in such a way that she is strictly superior to an averagely charismatic person in all ways that could matter for her on a mission (OOC: she wears a Circlet of Persuasion, so she has +2 to all Cha-based skills).

Furthermore, given your stridence on this point, it is strange that you accept kitsune, for instance, who have the same physical strength as a human you don't accept. Either such a musculature is a hindrance as a Pathfinder, as you believe, or it is not--why make an exception?

Quote:
Please understand that I hold you in the highest regard, and I hope one day to meet you in person. I plan on attending the Grand Convocation this coming Sarenith; perhaps we shall have the opportunity to converse at that point in time?

I may well be at the next Convocation, but if you truly held me in high regard, you would not intimate that I am less prepared than a hypothetical slightly-less-gruff Ezren, who is well-known to be among the worst-prepared wizards in the entire society, simply because he has a different muscular structure.

I think all this back-and-forth may take us nowhere. Let me tell you a story from my childhood that my mother told me, a parable of the Eternal Rose. Perhaps it will convince you where examples will not. But first, a need a glass of wine.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

I've had my wine and I'm feeling better already. Let me tell you that story I promised.

Long long ago, when Qadira didn't even exist as a satrapy, let alone an enemy of Taldor, Kelesh was a smaller kingdom and Taldor stretched its influence from Cheliax in the West to Amanandar in the East. There lived a particular sultan in Kelesh whose prized possession, beloved beyond even his many wives and beautiful daughters, was a magical diamond of enormous size and great beauty. He took it with him everywhere he went, and it was the joy of his world. He was not an evil man, but the diamond meant everything to him, not unlike the love for coin that pervades the Kelishites to the present day.

The sultan lived in happiness and his people in prosperity until one day, tragedy struck. While making a sweeping gesture, he knocked the diamond from its perch, and it fell to ground with a loud crack. Sure enough, a deep crack had formed, all the way to the diamond's heart. The sultan called for all the greatest clerics of Sarenrae, but since the diamond was magical and powerful, their make whole spells didn't work. Filled with grief over his loss, the sultan was inconsolate. He put out a call for the greatest jewelers in his entire kingdom, promising great riches. Three Kelishite jewelers, their hearts full of greed for the sultan's coin, stepped forward, each claiming to be the greatest in the land. The sultan promised them riches beyond their wildest dreams, half his kingdom, and the hand of his loveliest daughter if each could fix the diamond, but he warned that if in their greed they got his hopes up and failed to deliver, they would pay with their heads. Each of them in turn tried ingenious means to fix the fault in the diamond, but the crack was too deep, and one by one they failed and were beheaded.

The sultan let forth a moan of grief. Even his greatest jewelers could do nothing to help him! He called his closest advisors and begged them to find him another way. They promised to search the land for any other jeweler that could help. They were experts in gathering information, and before long, they heard rumors of another jeweler, more skilled than the other three, a simple Taldan man, faithful to the Eternal Rose. They came to the man and asked him if he was the greatest jeweler in the land, and he denied it, saying that he was a simple man whose gifts were granted by Shelyn--for you see, in those days, Taldor truly was the greatest power in the Inner Sea, so Taldans back then had no need for the kind of compensatory arrogance our people show today.

The advisors brought the man to the sultan regardless, and the sultan made the Taldan jeweler the same offer he made the other three. The jeweler shook his head and explained, "I have no need for such things. I moved to this kingdom so I could see my daughter who married a man from Amanandar and my son who is a soldier in Oppara by living halfway between. I have no need for riches. My family is what is important to me."

The sultan was not an evil man, but he fundamentally could not understand the jeweler's worldview or believe his story, figuring that it must be a ploy for greater riches or an insult to the sultan's honor. So he sneered and replied, "So be it! If your family is so important, perhaps they will motivate you to help your Sultan in his time of need! Guards, arrest his family and hold them hostage until he fixes my diamond."

The Taldan jeweler sighed and acquiesced to the sultan's demands, but he had a few stipulations of his own. He needed a month to fix the diamond and he must be able to work in secret without being disturbed until his work was done. The advisors begged the sultan not to allow this, figuring that the Taldan might sabotage the gem out of spite for the sultan's capture of the Taldan's family, but the sultan had seen the measure of the Taldan when the guards went out to take his family, the same look in his eyes as the sultan's own when his diamond was cracked, and he shook his head, "He would not risk his family's safety by attempting this, for surely he knows I would execute them if he intentionally sabotaged the diamond."

So the sultan allowed the stipulations and waited extremely impatiently for a month. On the final day, the Taldan jeweler emerged from his workshop with a box. The sultan immediately lifted the box and stared in wonder. The diamond was more beautiful than ever before, even than before the sultan had dropped it. For you see, the jeweler knew he could not fill in the crack, so he had instead used it as the starting point of a petal and from there, in intricate painstaking work, sculpted the entire diamond into a rose of such immense beauty that the Sultan began to cry. He ordered the family released immediately and tried to shower the jeweler with riches. The jeweler shook his head and requested only that the sultan promise to respect the love for family as much as the love for coin and to establish a temple of Shelyn to thank the Eternal Rose for her inspiration on the project, a temple that, the stories say, still stands somewhere in Kelesh to this day.

So you see, son of Kaleel, this is a story the Eternal Rose uses to teach us something important. We should not overlook people for their surface faults like the cracked diamond but instead see these faults as a chance to release the beautiful rose within. I thank you for listening to this story, and I hope it inspires you to change your mind on this matter, just as the sultan did.

Qadira ****

Again, you honor me with your thoughtful words, Marquise, and doubly so by sharing such a beautiful story from your youth (which surely must not be far distant in time).

I must say that while others have raised the points you make, none have done so as eloquently or persuasively. You are absolutely correct, the "starting point" of physical, mental or social ability is not important, as such things can be offset by proper training or other means.

I have arranged a meeting in Absalom where people with commentary on this proposal may discuss it without being fragmented by political differences, and I hope that you will do me the honor of attending. link

Qadira ****

Aram bin Kaleel, Pathfinder

Tangaraoa: I very much look forward to meeting you. I have great respect for the lion's blades of Taldor; they are fierce warriors. Although I am Qadiran by birth, I was raised in Absalom, and so do not have the same biases that our countrymen have harbored for centuries. I hope you can see past this issue when we meet again.

Violetta: I see your point, although in my own (admittedly limited) experience, the specialist outnumbers the generalist at least two to one, and perhaps three to one. This means that a given team of agents, hurriedly assembled in the dead of night and called to Master Dreng's office, may be missing the key skills required to accomplish their urgent mission.

I see that my proposal requires more refinement, however; the goal is not to water down every agent into a jack-of-all-trades, but simply to ensure that skill in one area does not drive out all ability in others. I will endeavor to choose my words with more care when I help craft the final proposal.

Please, both of you, join us at our meeting in Absalom. You clearly both have much to contribute to this cause.

Qadira ****

Meeting in Absalom: link

Taldor **

A small, grey skinned gnome with brown hair bounces in excitedly.

"Oooh. This is a really great idea! I wanna join, and I meet all the requirements." nods excitedly "Can I get one of those badges?"

Sense Motive DC 28:
[OOC]
Yzarctihstab is a good liar (+11 bluff) and I happened to roll well (17).

While he seems genuinely excited to get a shiny new badge, Yzarctihstab seems to be lying about meeting all of the requirements and caring about the actual cause of the Lamplighters.

Taldor **

what are your true motives Aram, I as a member of the Empire am reluctant to see what a Qadiran has to say but as long as you refrain from Sun Cult talk I will listen.

Taldor ***

Wow that was some bender there was this Qadira guy from Absolom...hey wait a minute he's still here. Not a hallucination.

Oh boy sorry about that. It always happens after one of these suicide free bees I get assigned to. I notice half the time the society doesn't even bother to plan for extraction. So you're on a ship for a solid month swilling rum to stave off the scurvy while the crew of pirates plot your murder. At least they're honest in their villainy. I find the look of surprise when my fellows and I return is another thing entirely.

I think this lamper idea has some merit. Yet as one moves up the channel the water is too fast to simply tread. I choose my friends carefully. Yet a host of magical gear compliments my martial, magical, and skilled prowess.

The marquise's comment mirror mine...although I would add a sense of fashion to be paramount among the traits of any grand assembly. Yet even I admit the necessity of the unskilled clerics, fighters, and others are simply required for survival.

It may be the rum but if you garnered skill in 2/3 areas the spirit of your plan would survive the rigors of the wild. But as we are pathfinders simply send out a dozen teams and see what comes back.

I'm low on rum again, maybe I'll listen in to this meeting.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, California—San Diego

Posting as Requiem (noted Elven clothing designer from Taldor) as VOs can't use aliases

Raising a perfectly plucked eyebrow while looking down a long aristocratic nose "A basic knowledge of how to accessorize is key to any successful endeavor. It is too much to hope that one would also have an eye for silhouette, line and texture. Add those to your little list will you?""

Taldor

Ah, finally a true and noble purpose to strive for. Long 'ave I seen my fellows stuck or hesitate at a point looking t' a role model t' guide them. I can even count meself with them, forgettin' training in times of great stress. Now I 'ave something t' train for, t' work for. I am glad t' 'ave the privilege of meeting you Aram, for we share thoughts on Qadira, and you've shown me a new face of the Society.

Qadira

Through the open window,
the sounds of the buskers
in the streets hawking their wares
murmurs faintly on the breeze.

A high and piping voice rings out above the rest:

"New lamps for old!"
"New lamps for old!"

"Chase the shadows away!"
"Keep out the cold!"

"Light up your lamps!"
"The truth must be told!"

"New lamps for old!"

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