Nixret sighed as she entered the expansive aviary, and immediately cringed at the cacophony of bird calls assaulting her pounding head. She—a kobold with mottled emerald and jade scales, dressed in the plain grays of a Pathfinder initiate—stood before one of the Scrolls’ many gardens of wonder, this one devoted to the production of feather tokens. Her task this morning, much to her dismay, was to tend to it. On her own.
“It’s not even a real garden,” she complained to no one in particular. “Why do they even call it that?” She took a seat on a decorative boulder, nursing her hangover from the night before, one she had yet to even sleep off. It made every merry tweet and call from the countless birds grate on her ears like sharp wire. “Oh, we have to sneak out for Longnight, they said. It’s completely different in the Foreign Quarter, they said. Master Shaine will never know, they said. Cowards. Didn’t even show up, and now I’m the one with extra chores.”
Illustration by Valeria Lutfullina
She gave a brief snort. She’d been so sure that she’d been utterly silent when returning from the revelry of Longnight, but even as she surreptitiously crawled back into the initiate barracks, there Kreighton Shaine had been, sitting right on the other side of the open window. As initiates were not allowed off the grounds of the Grand Lodge except with permission, she had expected a scolding. What she got instead was a series of impromptu haiku, about birds of all things. And just when she thought the eccentric Dean of the Scrolls was going to let her off without even a warning, she was assigned to tend to… this. Alone.
Nixret sighed again as she looked at the countless birds before her. Usually, it took half a dozen initiates to tend to a garden of wonder. All alone, the exhausted kobold dragged herself off her rock and began to collect feathers from the ground.
The Scrollmaster, strange as he could be at times, was always very clear that the materials gathered from the gardens were to be carefully collected and sorted, as Pathfinder agents being sent out on missions would often receive them as gifts to help keep them safe. As she methodically picked up feather after molted feather, her thoughts turned to two and a half years ago, when Nixret, starry-eyed, had dreamed of being one of those adventurers. She’d left the Sewer Dragons to join the Society, practically shouting to the other kobolds that she’d become a legend by the time they saw her again.
She chuckled to herself, picking a golden feather from the floor. “I expected danger and discovery, not lectures and chores. Yet here I am, cleaning up after a flock of enchanted birds.” She shook her head, though immediately regretted the act thanks to her headache. “Hardly the work of a hero-to-be.”
Still. She knew that the agents really did depend on these materials, and even though the task was tedious, she did not want to let them down. After all, within the coming year she would have her own initiation, and then, finally, she would be the one on heroic adventures, her name read across the lands in one of the Chronicles.
Perhaps, though, until then she’d think twice about sneaking out. Master Shaine might be permissive, but he also has an infuriating tendency to be exactly where you least expect to find him. And tending to squawking birds while hungover was worse than any angry lecture she could have imagined.
Pathfinder Society Developer
So, people have asked me “Will Pathfinder Society players get to use the Gardens of Wonder from Pathfinder Treasure Vault? The answer is “You already have been the entire time!” In PFS, every character gets some free consumables for each adventure, usually from the Pathfinder school they’re associated with (Scrolls, Spells, or Swords). These consumables don’t carry over between adventures and are provided so that adventuring Pathfinders always have a little something extra beyond their standard kit, essentially drawing from Gardens built and funded by the Pathfinder Society. The expiration date and non-transferrable nature of the consumables help encourage PCs to use them rather than selling them into the “weapon upgrade slush fund” or holding onto them so long that they pass the level range in which the items would be most useful.
What this all means is that Pathfinder Society players got Gardens of Wonder way before everyone else! “But Mike,” you say, “School consumables in PFS last the whole session and Garden of Wonder consumables last a day, how could these be the same thing?” The answer is that the limitations on how long the consumables last is something that every GM can, and should, feel free to adjust for their players based on the type of game they run. PFS consumables essentially last for “one 4-hour gaming session”, a unit of measurement that’s standardized for organized play, but which doesn’t necessarily work with the playstyles or gaming sensibilities of every home group. If the way PFS handles things fits the adventures you run better than the default presented, use it! They’re the same concept with the same goals, just tailored for different purposes. Don’t be afraid to make the game your own!
Due to the overwhelming demand from our amazing gaming community, our hardcover Pathfinder Core Rulebook is currently out of stock. More inventory is on the way and is expected to arrive in April. Happily, Pathfinder exists in many forms, please check out some of these other options!