The Future of Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Part IV: Freedom and Democracy For All!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The young nation of Andoran threw off the shackles of aristocracy when its liege nation Cheliax adopted an official policy of diabolism after Aroden's death, and has since established itself as the Inner Sea's largest democracy. Though free from the tyrannical rule of Taldor and Cheliax, Andoran hopes to see tyranny in all its forms wiped from the Inner Sea, and its allies strive ever to increase their own presence in Absalom, which they see as the key to ending slavery and oppression's hold on the weak and poor of Avistan and Garund. Through the efforts of the Steel Falcon branch of Andoran's elite military Eagle Knights—especially the work of the naval Gray Corsairs—the nation aspires to advance its ideals abroad through diplomacy and battle.

Congratulations, Andoren Pathfinders! Since the very beginning of Pathfinder Society Organized Play at Gen Con 2008, your faction has been the clear frontrunner in terms of popularity, and with a huge army come huge successes. Though the faction war isn't a zero-sum game, we're happy to call Andoran the clear victor in the first three seasons of Pathfinder Society play.

But, you're probably asking, if Andoran's victory didn't bring about the collapse of Cheliax nor the abolition of slavery throughout the Inner Sea, what was the point? As the first step in making character choices matter and faction prestige count, we'll be introducing several changes to the faction from an in-world perspective to reflect its increasing influence in Absalom.

First, we've given the faction a new symbol, displayed for the first time in this very blog post. While the symbol is changing, shirts with the old faction will still earn players a free reroll per session. This symbol will replace the clip-arty falcon currently displayed on the paizo.com messageboards and Pathfinder Society membership cards.

Additionally, Captain Colson Maldris, the highest-ranking Eagle Knight in Absalom and leader of the faction, will be receiving a promotion for the successful forwarding of his organization's goals—a promotion that should open up additional doors for him among Absalom's complex upper classes and increase his chances of further cementing Andoran's influence in the Inner Sea, that is, as long as his agents in the Pathfinder Society continue to perform with such diligence and aplomb.

We'll also be shifting the faction's alignment from neutral good to chaotic good, to emphasize the less lawful tactics of sabotage, subterfuge, and incitement to revolt the Eagle Knights often employ to see tyrannies topple and democracy thrive. For those Andoren paladins out there, don't fear. With the advent of five new factions next season, Andoran won't be the only obviously good-aligned faction. But if you don't want to change factions and have been doing okay with most past missions, you won't see a huge shift from the Andoren status quo when the faction's alignment officially changes.

Tune in next Monday for a look at the newest addition to the arsenals of both GMs and event coordinators, and a change to our open call submission process to increase authors' chances of being published in official Pathfinder Society sanctioned adventures.

Mark Moreland
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Andoran Factions Pathfinder Society
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Grand Lodge

Andoran FTW!

Silver Crusade

Ok, question. If Andoran's new focus of Chaotic Good is not in tune with my paladin's goals, will he have the option to legally shift to a more appropriate faction if one exists?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

ThornDJL7 wrote:
Ok, question. If Andoran's new focus of Chaotic Good is not in tune with my character's goals, will he have the option to legally shift to a more appropriate faction if one exists?

Yes, starting in season 3, there will be mechanics for switching factions. Note, however, that Andoran's alignment is shifting more to fall in line with the sorts of missions that have been given for the last few seasons. If you've been ok with the faction's flavor up to now, you won't notice any in-game changes to the types of things you're being asked to do to earn Prestige.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

ThornDJL7 wrote:
Ok, question. If Andoran's new focus of Chaotic Good is not in tune with my paladin's goals, will he have the option to legally shift to a more appropriate faction if one exists?

There will be rules for changing factions in season 3, details on rules are not yet released.

Silver Crusade

Mark Moreland wrote:
ThornDJL7 wrote:
Ok, question. If Andoran's new focus of Chaotic Good is not in tune with my character's goals, will he have the option to legally shift to a more appropriate faction if one exists?
Yes, starting in season 3, there will be mechanics for switching factions. Note, however, that Andoran's alignment is shifting more to fall in line with the sorts of missions that have been given for the last few seasons. If you've been ok with the faction's flavor up to now, you won't notice any in-game changes to the types of things you're being asked to do to earn Prestige.

The first one I'd seen was last weekend. Doug Miles and I were a little surprised that Andoran was asking for an assasination. A little dark for my paladin's tastes.

Dark Archive

Mark Garringer wrote:
Andoran FTW!

Big Bullying Boy Scouts in Blue ... MEH.

Silver Crusade

baron arem heshvaun wrote:
Mark Garringer wrote:
Andoran FTW!
Meh ...Big Boy scouts in Blue.

I'll take that as a compliment.

Silver Crusade

Will there be a more paladin friendly faction?

Dark Archive

Azerial wrote:
I'll take that as a compliment.

Please take this + 6 Cursed Sword of Backbiting as well. With my compliments.

Silver Crusade

baron arem heshvaun wrote:
Azerial wrote:
I'll take that as a compliment.
Please take this + 6 Cursed Sword of Backbiting as well. With my compliments.

Sure, do you have directions to the nearest volcano where I can chuck this in? It's dangerous, need to make sure it doesn't fall into innocent hands.

Dark Archive

Mark Garringer wrote:
Andoran FTW!

" Sing your Praises now, you short-sighted fools. This is just the First part of Lord Asmodeus plan. Let Andoran use its "freedom tactics" to weaken the surrounding countries, so we may sweap in and claim them all in the name of Cheliax.... when the time is right...Muwahahaha"

Liberty's Edge

And to all of you not Andoran, like me, I say "neener, neener!"

Silver Crusade

Solarious wrote:
Mark Garringer wrote:
Andoran FTW!
" Sing your Praises now, you short-sighted fools.

Again with the sideways racist cracks. No wonder more and more halflings are making the move from Cheliax to Andoran.

;)

I'm curious about hwo faction alignments are shifting away from the nation's alignment and closer to the goals/methods the faction pushes. Makes me even more curious about what the new factions are, and if there are any other shifts coming for the established factions.


Well, I can't say I'm surprised.

I'm glad that the Church of Asmodeus funded poll-fixing mission was successful, even though it pains my pride to see Andoran 'winning' at anything.

Rest assured, my brothers, that it is better to have Andoran openly recognized as 'victorious' and blessed Cheliax in our rightful place as the true power behind the throne.

All praise to the Dark Prince,

Goatlord

Liberty's Edge

Yes! (though not much of a surprise.)

Actually when I designed my Andoran faction character 1 1/2 years ago, I made him Chaotic-Good, knowing that spreading freedom often calls for breaking rules and laws--and sometime crossing moral lines as well.

Grand Lodge

The alignment shift is gonna play right into my hands for my Andoran barbarian who channel's his 'righteous anger' to defeat his foes. ;)

Dark Archive

Victory indeed.

Let Andoran have their new tarnished symbol, soiled and cheapened by their very actions.

Let their toad Maldri gain a new shinny metal trinket to adorn his breast, let it weigh ever so heavy on him for the fell tasks he himself has put into motion.

Let all the Pathfinder bastard whelps of Almas rejoice in their so called 'prestige' even as they bring Chaos into the inner sea.

It is an Empty and Hollow victory they have claimed for themselves.

We of Cheliax will have to content ourselves with the simple burden of Ruling and bringing Order to the World entire.

Scarab Sages

How long do I have to wait to place my shadow lodge t-shirt order?

Grand Lodge 5/5

ThornDJL7 wrote:


The first one I'd seen was last weekend. Doug Miles and I were a little surprised that Andoran was asking for an assasination. A little dark for my paladin's tastes.

Guess i know that one. Maybe time for a faction change. This was my very first PA I didn't make with my main character. Not because I couldn't do it but because three Andorans on the table refused to do it.

Of importance will be that there is a LG alternative. To late for input now. So I will have to wait and see.

Thod

Shadow Lodge

Freedom to all my in slaved comrades we will once more fight together for the injustice of all Andoran's and slaves alike. Down with all slavers! May you all (slavers) feel the slice of my blade against you throat! Andoran mean Freedom!

Liberty's Edge

Not to sound unappreciative, but how exactly does this help us Andorans do our job better? Will we get additional prestige, equipment, boons, etc. to allow us to continue to dominate the course of the Pathfinders and freedom for all intelligent beings?

The Exchange

Psh, Andorans are lame. Qadira and Cheliax are close to my heart.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Curses!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

There are a lot of people who play "the heir to 3rd Edition D&D" who do want to be the hero. The rules of Pathfinder Society don't support that. ["We're sort of like an organization for Indiana Jones. Scratch that: we're kind of like an organization for Belloq." - Josh Frost] So, choosing Andoran is a vote to play heroes.

Anecdotally, I know of three families who play Pathfinder, and the parents specifically tell their kids that they (in two cases) can't join Cheliax, or (in the other) must join either Andoran or Osirion.

2/5

Tomen X wrote:
Not to sound unappreciative, but how exactly does this help us Andorans do our job better?

Winning the faction race is basically "fluff".

If Paizo wanted to do something useful with this information, perhaps they would somewhat customize scenarios to what people play.

They could:
1) Making the Andoran missions more challenging, so people pick other factions. (This might backfire because players might have less enjoyment or think Paizo is treating Andoran's unfairly).

2) Make the Andoran missions more interesting, because so many people play this faction. (This would promote more people to join the Andoran faction. It's already beneficial to joining the Andoran faction right now because you're guaranteed at least 1 other member has the same faction atm. So this might backfire badly unless Paizo wants everyone to be Andoran).

3) Make the other faction missions more interesting so people play other factions. (This could also backfire because development efforts wouldn't be entertaining the majority of players).

4) Status Quo: Random quality and difficulty in faction missions. Seems like a safe strategy. :)

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Taldans know that it's all Andoran propaganda.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Missouri—Cape Girardeau aka Arnim Thayer

Congratulations to the Andoran Faction, and to Captain Colson Maldris in particular! His promotion makes it possible for my shield throwing Andoran freedom Fighter, Stephan Roghaz, to be promoted to captain!

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Southwest

A student of history would remember that bloody Galt was once just like Andor.

All it takes is a few 'factions' to form and the glorious crusade for liberty will be at risk of becoming a internal fight for moral superiority.

3/5

Mark Moreland wrote:
Note, however, that Andoran's alignment is shifting more to fall in line with the sorts of missions that have been given for the last few seasons. If you've been ok with the faction's flavor up to now, you won't notice any in-game changes to the types of things you're being asked to do to earn Prestige.
ThornDJL7 wrote:
The first one I'd seen was last weekend. Doug Miles and I were a little surprised that Andoran was asking for an assassination. A little dark for my paladin's tastes.

It's unfortunate that it has come to this. I see this 'change in alignment' as poor writing and editing. Nothing more and nothing less. From what I'm reading, and to some extent experienced playing, the authors are having trouble writing interesting, useful, flavorful missions for Andoran that aren't evil. I've posted before that most 'good' characters wouldn't go along with an assassination.

I guess what bugs me the most is that it seems that some authors are deliberately trying to create 'morale dilemmas' for the players. In LG I played one of these type of mods "By Any Means". When four players walk away from the table, and the most happy-go-luck GM is all frowns, you know that the author has missed the point of creating a fun and enjoyable experience for the players.

IMO No faction should have an assassination as a mission. It's just inviting PvP situations. A Paladin's code should require him to stop the assassination attempt if he can. I can think that many other alignments and PCs would not allow an assassination to occur if they knew about it.

Also, in terms of the campaign and 'fluff', I'm sure there are many other factions out there and even many characters that would use the information that certain members of the Andoran faction are requesting assassinations against that person to bring them down.

I don't like your change of view. I know there is nothing I personally can do about it. Another thread has shown that Andoran has been a very popular faction and it's unfortunate that you can't keep the Andoran NG and have the authors change their mission to fit the original Andoran theme instead changing Andoran to fit the authors poor understanding.

That said, generally I like PFS and even the missions and I intend to continue playing PFS.

-Swiftbrook
Just My Thoughts


Go Andoran! Good luck to them. Nice new symbol too.
As for the change to Chaotic Good I think it probably does represent the ideals of the faction somewhat. Anyways we'll have to trust the campaign staff with what they have in mind for the new factions. The campaign is maturing and getting more interesting. Bravo PFS!
Missions and modules and perceived requests for killings are a bit of a problem. In early days I was less fussed about failing missions, but now that PA is tied into purchasing powers for magic items, I am more keen to complete them. I like interesting and dubious missions sometimes and have some characters who they suit. I would like to see the benefits of PA go in different directions and magic item purchasing power based off character level, not PA. i'm not sure what relevance to give PA though. Factions and PA are a powerful concept and some benefit needs to be given to the PA, but I guess I want to be comfartable if, for whatever reason, I fail a mission too. Failure should be ok too.
Back to the start, bravo Andoran. Now that this is resolved I await the new dawn of year three ideas and concepts.

2/5

Swiftbrook wrote:
IMO No faction should have an assassination as a mission. It's just inviting PvP situations. A Paladin's code should require him to stop the assassination attempt if he can. I can think that many other alignments and PCs would not allow an assassination to occur if they knew about it.

Why not? Is it evil to assassinate an evil person? I don't think so.

Are rogues (or snipers in real life) evil just because their targets never really have a chance? I don't think so. But apparently your version of the paladin would be compelled to stop them. Maybe Paladins don't solve problems like that, but they wouldn't actively stop something like that either.

The problem with faction missions being safe is that they're boring. The problem with faction missions being interesting is it can upset some people.

I hope Paizo made a LG faction, for children and people who want to play "good" characters. Then, I hope they allow characters to change factions from Andoran to this new faction, and make Andoran for freedom fighters. Freedom fighters (AKA "terrorists") assassinate people! They do covert actions because they can't strike directly. They're not paladins. Whatever gave people that impression? I guess people can't read between the lines.

Silver Crusade

Swiftbrook wrote:
Said stuff

I agree for the most part. The reason I chose Andoran to begin with is because of that feel that they took the moral high ground, but would rarely be willing to set that aside if neccesary. Now Andoran is saying choosing an unethical action is preferable to a legal and legitimate operation. The ends do not justify the means, and Andoran has shifted in a negative direction with this alignment shift. I like Andoran thematically speaking, but now they have no ethical ground to stand on which bothers me.

Here's a question, what percentage of the chaotic tasks were completed compared to the neutral or lawful tasks for Andorans? Does the shift reflect the actions of Andoran players, or just what the writers want it to be? If our actions in the choice of what PA jobs we completed reflect a chaotic organization then I'd be ok with it, but if it's just the writers saying let's do this for the hell of it, then IMO that's poor form on the writers part since people chose Andoran at least in part because of it's alignment.


Solarious wrote:
Mark Garringer wrote:
Andoran FTW!
" Sing your Praises now, you short-sighted fools. This is just the First part of Lord Asmodeus plan. Let Andoran use its "freedom tactics" to weaken the surrounding countries, so we may sweap in and claim them all in the name of Cheliax.... when the time is right...Muwahahaha"

Haha! You devils' lickspittles are so blinded. You get beaten down, but then your superiors order you to believe you're actually winning. The only thing more funny than that is that you actually obey.

I think it's almost time now to start the Empire Pool: Which moribund, decadent, former empire will totally crumble first: Taldor or Cheliax?

Paizo Employee

All this nationalism is disgusting. I can't wait to change factions.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Andoran has been and will remain a primarily Good faction, but the covert nature of many of the Eagle Knights' dealings mean they have to operate outside the rule of law in other nations. Freeing slaves from Cheliax, where their purchase and sale is completely legal and seen as necessary to maintaining order within its borders, is a chaotic act. Sinking slavers' ships instead of bringing the slavers up on charges when they carry out their actions in Andoren waters is a chaotic act. Sabotaging the efforts of a merchant with clear leanings toward maintaining inequality among the classes would be a very good motivation, but not a particularly lawful one.

Again, Andoran has been NG with Chaotic leanings since day 1. We're just calling it what it is now. That said, all the factions have an alignment, but that doesn't mean your PC has to be that alignment, or even within one step. Nor does it mean that all the faction missions need to adhere to the same alignment restrictions.

I'll repeat that there will be mechanics for changing factions introduced in August, and you'll be able to shift from Andoran to something more your liking if this change in faction alignment is a dealbreaker. You'll have to wait to see what additional options will be available to you at that time.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

ThornDJL7 wrote:
Will there be a more paladin friendly faction?

Yes.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Oh, that Creative Director, always ruining surprises.

Silver Crusade

Ok, James Jacobs and Mark Moreland that makes me a happy camper again. You gave me exactly what I wanted.

Now, what I personally think would be cool is for a way for non-fully supportive characters to support other factions directly. My paladin Azerial does support Andoran as a whole, but could not condone some of their unlawful acts. LG faction doing paladin-esque jobs is where he'd be happiest.

It would be cool though if he could support both simultaneously to an extent. So he'd get LG faction missions, and then also get CG missions, and be able to choose which ones he fulfills based off of his moral code.

This, now that I'm writing it seems kinda over powered for anyone that's not a paladin since everyone else would just go, I do them all. Though I still like the idea.

Silver Crusade

Mark Moreland wrote:
Oh, that Creative Director, always ruining surprises.

I was gonna be pissy till that was revealed. So, he did a good thing in keeping his followers happy IMO.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

There are 6 PFS legal alignments. There are going to be 10 factions very soon. At least half of the alignments should have 2 choices that exactly match their alignment, and the majority of factions will be within 1 step.

Silver Crusade

deinol wrote:
There are 6 PFS legal alignments. There are going to be 10 factions very soon. At least half of the alignments should have 2 choices that exactly match their alignment, and the majority of factions will be within 1 step.

You forget that evil is legitimate for the faction, not the player.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mark Moreland wrote:
Oh, that Creative Director, always ruining surprises.

Maybe I'm just gunshy about paladin players being all cranky and limiting my creative options for story lines? :-)

While I understand that players who favor paladins DO want to be able to play characters as lawful good... I'll go to my grave with the opinion that a paladin who never has to make a hard choice about alignment and what's asked of him or how to solve a tough problem in a game will never know if he's TRULY a paladin, because without the opportunity to fall from grace, there's never an opportunity to uphold one's morals and ethics in the first place.

AKA: You can't have good without evil.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
ThornDJL7 wrote:
deinol wrote:
There are 6 PFS legal alignments. There are going to be 10 factions very soon. At least half of the alignments should have 2 choices that exactly match their alignment, and the majority of factions will be within 1 step.
You forget that evil is legitimate for the faction, not the player.

Is it? Then I suspect there will be at least 1 faction per alignment.

Grand Lodge 4/5

deinol wrote:
ThornDJL7 wrote:
deinol wrote:
There are 6 PFS legal alignments. There are going to be 10 factions very soon. At least half of the alignments should have 2 choices that exactly match their alignment, and the majority of factions will be within 1 step.
You forget that evil is legitimate for the faction, not the player.
Is it? Then I suspect there will be at least 1 faction per alignment.

Currently two out of five factions are N, one LN. I'd predict at least one more from those alignments, matching the tone of the Pathfinder Society as a whole.

A CE faction just sounds like an ongoing source of problems, though I can think of at least one possible faction that would most likely count as NE.

Grand Lodge

Mark Moreland wrote:

Andoran has been and will remain a primarily Good faction, but the covert nature of many of the Eagle Knights' dealings mean they have to operate outside the rule of law in other nations. Freeing slaves from Cheliax, where their purchase and sale is completely legal and seen as necessary to maintaining order within its borders, is a chaotic act. Sinking slavers' ships instead of bringing the slavers up on charges when they carry out their actions in Andoren waters is a chaotic act. Sabotaging the efforts of a merchant with clear leanings toward maintaining inequality among the classes would be a very good motivation, but not a particularly lawful one.

Again, Andoran has been NG with Chaotic leanings since day 1. We're just calling it what it is now.

Spoken with authority as of the Decemvirite itself.

Harken and hear the wise words that define the vile nation of Andoran. These Eagle Knight predators operate beyond the rule of law, sowing the seeds of chaos and destruction. They act with impunity in the lands of others as if they possess the right to dictate the values of others. They destroy private property rather than bring charges in a court of law because they truly understand that their true motivations to destabilize their neighbors with acts of sabotage; They even target simple merchants, with the clear goal of maintaining inequality among the classes. The truth comes out at last. These are no freedom fighters. These people are thugs preying upon the weak and innocent. Andoran is the enemy of civilization, the destroyer of law, the bringer of chaos and the reaper of war. Harken unto these words and find comfort in the stability of law found only in Cheliax. Social order for all shall overcome anarchy.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I wouldn't encourage anyone to spend a lot of time or energy pining for a chaotic evil faction.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

I wouldn't encourage anyone to spend a lot of time or energy pining for a chaotic evil faction.

Thus my original assumption about factions being non-evil.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Congrads to the Andorna faction for out pacing all the other factions for the last three years.

I hope this will mean that we adoran characters will get some fun perks for our hard work.

I am looking forward to learning what the new factions will be, and to learning what more we can spend our prestige points on.


GIVE US ULTIMATE MAGUS PREVIEWS!

NNNNNAAAAAAYYYYYYGGGGGGRRRRRRMMMMMM!

(begins gnawing on Jacob's ankle until he complies)

Grand Lodge

I'm surprised that after this many posts, nobody has mentioned the spiffy new eagle.

Purty.

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