Digging Deep, Branching Out

Monday, December 16, 2013

Illustration by Jon Hodgson

Part of what initially attracted me to Pathfinder Society Organized Play was the archaeological background, which resonated with my academic training and love of traveling abroad. Playing scenarios that explored ancient structures, visited dig sites, or required the PCs to understand a foreign culture made me really get what the Pathfinder Society was all about, so when I began writing support material as a volunteer—in particular the convention boons for Season 4—I made sure to highlight some of the archaeological feel in boons such as Expedition Manager.

Let be honest, though. Even though archaeology has an alluring mystique and can be both enjoyable and rewarding, its virtues don't always translate well in a four-hour time slot. Perhaps one day I'll develop an engaging, short challenge that features the joys of excavation and systematic discovery without boring the socks off of the players. A developer can dream!

Well, let's instead take a look at that other feature of Pathfinder Society: travel. With about 40 countries in the Inner Sea region alone, there's a lot to take in and explore—and only so many scenarios each season to see it all. Ever since Season 3, we've focused on a particular part of the world and explored it in depth. What we haven't done quite as much as a result is travel widely to less understood, less frequented locales to explore, report, and cooperate.

I'm feeling the itch to send Pathfinders to a few exciting places, and I would love to hear your feedback about what regions deserve more attention. Have you always wanted to travel to an island in the Shackles? How about a return to Jalmeray? Does Lastwall call to you? These could be places we've visited before but haven't seen for a long time, or they could be places where no PC Pathfinder has ever set foot.

John Compton

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Tags: Jon Hodgson Pathfinder Society
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Kaer Maga is just itching for more development, I don't want to see Tian Xia forgotten now that the Ruby Pheonix arc has played out- too many things there not to keep working on, finally I also add Vudra as really needing some work (or Jalmarey if nothing else).

Oh, and I want more ties in with the Dark Tapestry... since it's close to Christmas, I suppose I can ask Santa for that, right?

Liberty's Edge

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I want to visit:

  • A Gnome city... with interesting Fey and First World stuff.
  • A city or land where one of the new 'legal' or 'semi-legal' races is the dominant species... (Tengu, Catfolk, Aasimar, Grippli, Ratfolk...)
  • More of Trollheim and the Nordic stuff in the Land of the Linnorm Kings.
  • The Islands off the cost of Varisia.
  • More Egyptian feeling stuff from Osirion... tombs... the Osirion Faction has to have some missions to defend these against raiders... that has to be interesting... a bit of necromancy in a different light.
  • Kyonin - In depth Elven backstory/history/archaeology would be cool.
  • Nex, Ged, and the Mana Wastes would be cool to explore.

Sovereign Court

I'd like to see some new adventures in Numeria, Nex, Alkenstar, The Mana Wastes, and Thuvia.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Hermea! Its one of the places on golarion that you can't describe as "Fantasy ______"

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

I'd love to see expeditions into Mwangi, exploring the ruins of the Shory civilization. (Did I get that right?)

Also: I have to admit, I am quite fond of Absalom/Kortos scenarios. There's something to be said for the regular near-home scenario, especially if characters have any roots there (e.g. vanities).

I'll repeat on what I said on FB.

Numeria!!! It's Expedition to the Barrier Peaks meets Gamma World!!

My second is Lands of the Linnorm Kings.


Galt!! Long live the Revolution!

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Pennsylvania—Harrisburg aka Silvertounge

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Geb, Alkenstar, Mana Wastes, Nex.

In that order.

This is all.

Liberty's Edge

Ill name a couple:

Mediogalti Island. THe Black pearl of the tropics needs some love!

Sodden Lands. You have Yamasa to play with here as well as the nearby Eye and the Ghol Gan. Plus more gms having to learn how weather conditions affect gameplay!

Galt: Put the fear of Final no coming back from a toenail death into the player/characters. In the age of 'Im back!' after selling off my favors, to encounter a device which could literally end a character would be awesome.

Pit of Gormuz in the Windswept Wastes. A long way out of where Pathfinders normally are. Having to deal with Spawn of Rovagug!

The Five King Mountains. Kyonin briefly got a look in this season, why not the Five Rings.. and the nominal heart of the the Dwarven race. Plenty of intrigue there and .. beards.

Scarab Sages 2/5

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In the world guide there is a brief mention of other worlds in the same solar system as Golarion. Let's John Carter it up and go there!

Shadow Lodge

Nex, Geb, and Vudra top my list.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Shadow absalom!


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This actually touches one of the main criticisms I've had of the more recent Pathfinder scenarios - the constant emphasis on overarching season-spanning plot.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's not a bad thing, and I don't have a problem with it continuing.

But, it seems that it's encouraging us to play scenarios in a certain order, and, with the changes to faction missions, with certain characters, moving us away from PFS being 'bring any character, to any table' towards 'you CAN bring any character, but it's best if you bring THAT one': and all-in-all making it harder to find a scenario to play.

The early season 0 - 2 scenarios had less of an emphasis on location, timing or faction, which is something that's been deemphasised recently.

I miss the scenario where you're deployed to a far-off land with various idiosyncrasies, to do a short mission, and something that your faction leader had requested, and then return and report.

Season 2 managed to do this while (in some scenarios) also providing an overbearing nemesis, as the Shadow Lodge was everywhere.

Season 3 moved away from this, towards an emphasis on a far-off nation. Season 4 moved further, with even less non-story missions.

From what I've seen in Season 5, it's still very structured: "Get supplies to Nerosyan".

The challenges we face now are providing context to new players when we run older scenarios.

I imagine that writing scenarios to fit in with the storyline is one of the things that has been consuming development efforts, and constraining both existing and new scenario writers.

Why not open it up, commission more scenarios with less story constraints, and publish one additional, non-storyline-related, scenario each month?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sarusan,Eox, and Arcadia. In no particular order.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

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I would love one set in Gogpodda the Gnomish floating nation in the steaming sea. Just sounds like fun. Though Eox would be interesting, just due to the harsh environment.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

4 people marked this as a favorite.

For any pfs scenario in a world as diverse as golarion, the question should be asked "could this adventure be anywhere else with 15 minutes of serial number filing" and the answer should be no.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

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I'm a big fan of Galt, definitely. I'd like to see something in Hermea or Sargava. I also would like to see some of the other continents on the globe.

Silver Crusade

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Any place with dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs.

Somewhere with pyramids and mummies and curses


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think Hermea is ripe for a Pathfinder expedition. That's got to be on the short list of places the Decemvirate hasn't managed to extend its reach into yet and is one of the few areas of Golarion that feels unique to Golarion. I'd also like to see more of the Mordant Spire after reading what was detailed in Mythic Realms and Elves of Golarion, more of Sovyrian, more Numeria (I think I'm going to get my wish on that front), and more of the Mana Wastes (though I couldn't care less about Alkenstar itself). In about that order.

Grand Lodge

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The Fox wrote:
Any place with dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs.

This, ladies and gentlemen. This a thousand times!

Liberty's Edge

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Akiton! Following in John Carter's shoes (or rather some human from Golarian)...

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I think the Numeria and Alkenstar suggestions would really fill in a void. Being outclassed in technology might be an interesting change of pace for the artifact-rich Society.

I'd love to see more of the darklands too, and I think Shadow Absalom would make for a brilliant scenario. So close to the Grand Lodge, and yet so far.


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Garund: Osirion and The Mwangi Expanse in particular!

Lets bring that original Indiana Jones/ archaeology flavor back to the Pathfinder Society.

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Ahmet Bilal wrote:

This. A thousand times this.

Osirion, Ustalav, the Shackles, the Linnorm Kingdoms, and Arcadia. In no particular order.

Silver Crusade 5/5

I wouldn't mind seeing some more scenarios set in Ustalav, to be honest.

Silver Crusade 4/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Nar-Voth, into the Darklands!

Sovereign Court 3/5

I am quite fond of Land of the Linnorm Kings
But I would also like to see more scenarios in Numeria, Ustalav and Sargava

Silver Crusade 5/5

I'd love to see more of Galt, Ustalav and Taldor (in that order).

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nidal is really intriguing, so that would definitely be worth a scenario, I'd also love to see a trip into the Darklands. My other wish would be a trip to the First World, lots of potential points of entry in Varisia, Lands of the Linnorm Kings, etc.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

All of Garund needs more love if you ask me, but if I had to break it down, I'd say:

The Shackles
Mwangi Expanse

in that order.

Scarab Sages

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Hermea, and golarion low orbit. There has to be some cool science stuff left over from space elves #Lirgen

Fighting ancient aberrations in a failing orbit skymetal processing facility.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Hao Jin tapestry. Right now, we have a single adventure in there that's something other than "Aack! We have an Aspis invasion." There's a lot of really great potential in there, and nobody else at Paizo is writing stories set in the demiplane.

(Honestly, I'd be hopping-up-and-down excited to see an 8-page supplement on the place: who else is in there, how do the heavens work? Who keeps the peace?)


I had a couple ideas, but I realized I basically wanted PFS to touch on locations from APs. We've had plenty of Varisia (which I love - don't stop!), but Rostland, Katapesh, and maybe even Westcrown are calling out for a visit.

Sovereign Court

Hermea Hermea Hermea

Lantern Lodge

Alkenstar and Numeria would be great.

Dark Archive

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Deeper into the Blackros Museum.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

I'm not going to vote for anything (almost all of the suggestions have been good ones). I'm going to vote AGAINST Alkentar/Mana Wastes.

I don't want the headache of spending half an hour basically making a new character sheet with no magic on it (I've put off playing Lost at Bitter End for this very reason).

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington—Spokane

Alikenstar, Numeria, Osirion.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Going to Nex would be pretty awesome too, epecially Quantium itself. Maybe an exploration of the dungeons beneath the Bandeshar?

Dark Archive 2/5

My favs:
* Ustalav
* The First World
* The Realm of the Mammoth Lords (esp. Icestair)
* Cyclopean ruins in the Shackles or mainland Mwangi

5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northeast aka Shivok

Michael Eshleman wrote:
I've put off playing Lost at Bitter End for this very reason.

Play a fighter, I played this at Paizocon 12 and it went smooth barely affected my PC.

Silver Crusade

Arcadia, Nex, and Lands of the Linnorm Kings would be interesting places to play in.

Liberty's Edge 4/5

Andrew Christian wrote:
Numeria or sargava


Huge fan of both.

That said, I'd like Sargava to keep its "backwater" feeling so maybe a mini-arc in Sargava tied to a Shackles meta arc.

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I would love to revisit some of the places we only caught glimpses of in early seasons.

Hao Jin tapestry - I'm with Chris, with all the hype that went into getting the tapestry the only thing the PFS is using it for now is as an express highway

Mordant Spire - Did having to suffer through Sephriel's insanely circuitous ploy pay off?

Mwangi Expanse - there has to be more undiscovered dungeons beneath "Azlant Ridge".

What if we could..:
Use one (or more) of the Azlanti Monoliths against the demons of the Worldwound.

Jalmeray - While I agree "Assult on the ..." wasn't the greatest of title IMO it was a fun scenarios and I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel.

What if...:
the stories Zamir was spreading came true in a sense, and now he has been replaced by a rakshasa. Maybe a PFS and "The Temple of Doom" scenario

The Blakros Museum - Let’s get back to where it all started (for me anyway)

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland— Baltimore aka Qstor

the shackles is a great idea. can I write my first PFS scenario set there?

I want more recurring characters like Grandmaster Torch and the Prince of Augustana. Those two are some of my favorite NPCs


Scarab Sages

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In no particular order:

Continents: Arcadia (Valenhall, Elesomare, Canorus, and Anchor's End), Azlanti ruins and the Sun Temple Colony, Casmaron (Vudra, Iobaria), Southern Garund (Dehrukani, Nurvatchta), Crown of the World

Areas: Darklands, The Mordant Spire, Field of Maidens, Mana Wastes, Mediogalti Island

Cities: Kaer Maga (just because it's awesome)

Inner Sea Countries: Isger, Nidal, Thuvia, Geb, Isle of Jalmarey, Hermea, Alkenstar, Numeria, Druma

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

June Soler wrote:
Michael Eshleman wrote:
I've put off playing Lost at Bitter End for this very reason.
Play a fighter, I played this at Paizocon 12 and it went smooth barely affected my PC.

Magic weapons, armor, stat-boost items, ioun stones, cloaks of resistance, and sundry other magic items make recalculating a martial character's sheet just as much of a pain (if not more so) than a caster.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

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A couple of sleeper ideas I had overnight:

Taldor. So few good scenarios are set in Taldor that really deal with it specifically. I'm really looking forward to Lion in the Library, as I think it will change that, but it's just a shame that practically every Taldor scenario released to date has sent people to *northern* Taldor rather than Oppara and treated the setting as practically any other wilderness setting.

Cheliax. The Society is technically not allowed access right now, but there's been rumbling about that changing. It could be interesting, dealing with wary Hellknights and trying to keep track of all the laws.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

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Arctic wilderness adventures!

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