Faction Evolution

Monday, June 9, 2014


Illustration by Damien Mammoliti

Nearly a year has passed since we introduced the check boxes to scenarios' reporting sheets in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Perhaps you haven"t had the opportunity to GM a Season 5 scenario, so let me recap the idea. Almost every scenario in Season 5 has had four check boxes labeled "A" through "D," and the end of scenario provides instructions of which ones to check off depending on what happened during the adventure. Did the PCs ally with Team 1? Check box A. Did they ally with Team 2? Check box B. If they instead destroyed Team 1 or 2, check box C or D respectively.

The results of those check boxes are included when the organizer reports the scenario online, and we/ve been using that data to watch trends and shape the storyline in increasingly visible ways. For example, the Qadira faction has recruited several trade partners over the past year, but some of their rivalries with one another have required the PCs to choose one to favor over the other. When I looked at the numbers reported from an earlier scenario, I saw the two of the parties were neck-and-neck, so they returned for a rematch in a later scenario. Another example involved choosing where to construct a basecamp, and after collecting data for a few months, I saw that there was a clear favorite. That choice decided the course of a recent scenario. Even seemingly innocuous matters like an NPC surviving a scenario allow you to shape future adventures when we determine what villains are still out there and harboring a grudge.

Data like these also contribute to the ongoing evolution of the Pathfinder Society's eight active factions. Back in April 2013 we revealed that faction goals might change over time. In fact, based on the storyline, character decisions, and player feedback, even a faction's alignment and leadership could change. Over the course of the Year of the Demon, the original five factions have all distanced themselves from their respective nations—some pushed away by troubles at home and others pulled toward greener pastures. No doubt many of you have witnessed these events throughout the season, and blog posts later this month will reveal these factions' new faces and interests.

Of course, any talk about changes to factions stirs up questions. Is my faction changing? Are you eliminating any factions? What if I don't like what is happening to my faction? Can I change factions for free? How long do I have to change factions? In brief, we're aiming to make any transitions as reasonable, painless, and fair as possible. We'll provide more details as we get closer to the new season.

Finally, I'll be appearing on the Know Direction podcast on the Wednesday, June 18th. I'll post more details here and on the Pathfinder Society messageboard as the interview gets closer.

Happy gaming,

John Compton and Mike Brock
Developer and Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Tags: Damien Mammoliti Pathfinder Society
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Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Brock wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kolby Sample wrote:
All hail Grandmaster Torch, bring back the Shadow Lodge
He doesn't want to come back. He is perfectly content turning info into gold.
In a certain recent scenario where you vote on the new head of [redacted], some of us considered writing him in as a third party candidate.
Write him in all you like. The man no longer wants to be a faction leader. I had a beer with him yesterday and he advised he was happy where things were now.

Given GMTorch's normal choice of venue and attire, I am now visualizing this and giggling.

2/5 Venture-Agent, Pennsylvania—Lemyone aka drgnmstr44

Some clarification is needed please. You start the post out in a good tone of we or even just general details, then you shift to first person and sign the post with two names. Grammatical error there fellows. So who is actually going to post more details and who is going to be on the podcast?

On topic, I think what was done with Season 5 and allowing the players to shape the scenarios for later in the season was a good idea. It lets players feel like their choices make a difference.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Snorter wrote:
Ryan Costello wrote:
Anyone looking to attend the live recording of Know Direction 87 can join the Facebook event to get updates and reminders. Anyone listening live can post questions in the comments section of the YouTube video, and we'll pass them on to John.

Would it be presumptious of me, to use that podcast as a means of rallying any backers of the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, who have yet to record a vote in the Land Rush?

Not presumptuous, but our mentioning it will have to wait until after the interview. John's time is precious and I predict a lot of questions in the hour or so we have him.

Sovereign Court Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka Yasumoto

So rad, love how you're taking this source of player feedback to shape future events! It's helped me make it down to a game knowing it'd be my one chance to affect my faction :)

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