Exploring Paizo's Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Part 2

Thursday, June 5, 2008

No barfly at the local tavern who blusters on about his "adventures" shall ever know the heart-pounding rush of facing down the winds of Abendego on the prow of a pirate king's ship, or the majesty of the dawning sun cresting the Sphinx's brow at Sothis.
—Venture Captain Alissa Moldreserva

In Part 1, we unveiled our first faction, Andoran, and spoke a little about the factions system we'll use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. In this segment, we'll talk briefly about faction prestige, how it's earned, and what it means for the world of Golarion as well as what it means for you as a member of the Pathfinder Society.

Missions and Prestige

You gain faction prestige by succeeding in specific missions. In a single scenario there will be one to three missions dedicated to your specific faction, all tasks that if completed give your faction an advantage in Absalom's shadow war. You might need to make sure a crime lord dies, protect an innocent merchant, save a kidnapped child, hand off an important missive, foil an assassination, or steal an important communiqué. Whatever the mission, a positive outcome earns you and your faction anywhere from one to three points of Faction Prestige. Every Pathfinder Society Scenario offers the same potential amount of Faction Prestige to each faction. It's up to you to make sure your faction scores higher than its competitors.

As you advance in Faction Prestige your faction rewards your excellent service. At the same time, the factions with greater prestige gain power and their star rises in the ongoing storyline of the season. Every month a Pathfinder Missive (our monthly newsletter) will let everyone know which factions are increasing in dominance over the city of Absalom and which factions are being nudged ever closer to ignominy and ineffectualness. At the season's conclusion, the faction scoring the most Faction Prestige rules Absalom from behind the scenes, while its enemies gnash their teeth and their kingdoms suffer the consequences. Having a Pathfinder in the winning faction gains that character access to rewards you wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain. (More on rewards later.) Every season ends in June at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH. July is a "bridge" month between seasons during which the loosely connected storyline of the previous season comes to a close while foreshadowing the new season to come. Faction Prestige is reset in July, so that when the next season of Pathfinder Society Organized Play kicks off at Gen Con, every faction once again has the possibility to rule Absalom from the shadows.

And now a sneak peek at Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, and the second unveiled faction for Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

Infernal Empire

Asmodeus himself smiles upon our endeavor and we shall not rest until the entire world trembles before Him.
—Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

When Aroden died, some say the soul of Cheliax perished with him. The once mighty empire tore itself apart, and only through the power of three noble Houses, each steeped in deviltry, was order restored. The empire runs on the backs of fiends now, a perfect machine of hellfire and blood, where morality surrenders to the needs of law and order. It's easy to curse Cheliax as a nation of devil-lovers, but few can argue with the results of their fiend-binding craft. House Thrune, the greatest of its diabolic noble families, has brought the empire under control once more. Cheliax rises like a dark star, as strong as ever, despite the recent losses of Galt and Andoran to rebellious forces.

Asmodeus proves as powerful a divine patron as Aroden ever did, shepherding his people toward glory and dominance of the Inner Sea. His plans reach eons into the future, and the minor setbacks of yesterday are all factored into the cost of doing a devil's business. The Chelish always plan for a long campaign, and never trifle over today's skirmishes. In the end all will burn in hellfire. It is only a matter of time and calculated conquest.

The pale-skinned Chelish believe themelves superior to all other peoples. Their compact with great devils gives them power beyond measure, and no other nation of the Inner Sea can compete with their summoners and warlocks when it comes to trafficking with dark forces. These devils require payment for their service, often offered up in the form of tender flesh and boiled blood. Slaves are an important resource of the Chelish as are artifacts of ancient power whose secrets are revealed to them by their timeless patrons. Even as Andoran revels in its newfound freedom, the tendrils of Cheliax's empire continue to expand. Arcadia lays open before them and Sargava is ready to fall under their hellish sway. The Inner Sea will fall with the rest as soon as Absalom rests firmly in the bloodied hands of House Thrune.

Goals: Hell on Golarion

The Chelish plan to spread the dark influence of Asmodeus across the face of Golarion. They bring order to chaos, quell the troublesome concepts of freedom and self-determination, and leave broken souls eager to accept the bondage of slavery in their wake. The world must come to terms with the order of things. Mortals serve at the knee of greater powers. The devils of the Nine Hells are Golarion's natural overlords and if the rabble gathered along the coast of the Inner Sea can't be made to understand this simple fact, then they will be purged in a torrent of fire.

Methodology: The Kiss and the Lash

A true corrupter can convince a man to hand over his soul, a blissful smile on his face.
—Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

The Chelish are masters of seduction as well as pain. They bring their enemies to heel with promises of aid, riches, and glory, but keep them in line with cruel lashes and hellfire. The Chelish faction wins others to its dark cause with temptation. Lust, power, riches, vanity, the Chelish offer all, and cater to the sinful nature in every man to bring him low. If a foe cannot be seduced, he must instead be scourged. Many missions of the Chelish faction involve tempting upright people into darkness and vice, and then threatening to expose their sins unless they aid the empire as dutiful agents. The tricks of devils have claimed men's souls since time immemorial and they serve the Chelish well in their quest for control of Absalom.

Check the blog again on Thursday for more information on Pathfinder Society Organized Play!

Joshua J. Frost
Director of Sales & Marketing

Nicolas Logue
Organized Play Coordinator

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