To the Society’s Success in 2018!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

When we thought of the topic of today's blog, we intended it to cover a variety of topics. But as we started writing, there were so many fantastic scenarios to highlight that the words just kept coming. So instead of splitting focus, I'll save my words for next week and turn the keyboard to Organized Play Lead Developer John Compton, as he summarizes the highlights from our 2018 Society products. To all our players worldwide, thank you for making our communities vibrant places of play. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Illustration by Benjamin Widdowson

2018 brought a lot of change, and with change comes a lot of work. Thankfully we expanded the organized play team further this year, bringing on board Michael Sayre to develop Pathfinder Society scenarios and power us into Season 10's exciting stories. This has allowed the team as a whole to meet the demand for more Starfinder Society content (increasing our publication rate to two per month), create four Pathfinder Playtest scenarios, develop playtest surveys, and shape the future of Pathfinder Society as a campaign. Starfinder Society wouldn't be what it is without Thurston Hillman's creativity and long hours. All the while, Linda Zayas-Palmer has handled so many scenarios while simultaneously taking the lead on Pathfinder Adventure Card Guild adventures.

It's probably because of all of this new activity and new content that 2018's seemed so long! Let's see some of the highlights!

Pathfinder Society

First off, we had Pathfinder Society's the Season of Faction's Favor to wrap up, and that meant delivering scenarios that addressed ongoing faction storylines in big ways. The Liberty's Edge faction launched a daring raid into Galt as the Exchange flexed its economic muscles at long last to crush an unjust operation in the Mwangi Expanse. The Dark Archive dug into the foundational lore of the Blakros Museum, one of the campaign's oldest touchstones, as the Silver Crusade returned from Heaven (no biggie) in time to crush a fiendish invasion. The newly incorporated Concordance faction's hit the ground running by shutting down extraplanar rifts and cosmic anomalies, and the Scarab Sages have settled on their laurels for the time being after 2017's powerful capstone scenario.

Illustration by Dion Harris

The Sovereign Court had a big payoff in major crossover event with the War for the Crown Adventure Path, culminating in an opportunity to play out one of our most dramatic scenes of the year from multiple perspectives. But perhaps most notably of all, the Society at last tracked down several of its oldest foes, defeating them decisively in the name of the Grand Lodge and Pathfinder Society. There's so much going on that it's hard to really focus any one Season 9 scenario, so follow the links and dig in for a wonderful experience.

Season 10 kicked off in style, and the team's been relishing the opportunity to revisit some of the favorite storylines and characters. Far and away, one of the most dramatic must be Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-09: The Rasping Rebirth by Cole Kronewitter, which not only addresses what the state of the Worldwound is since Season 5, but it also allows the PCs to confront one of the campaign's greatest villains as players have been requesting since, oh, the third scenario I ever developed. We've worked to make choices matter in scenarios, and Cole delivered a scenario that includes one of my absolute favorite and powerful choices in the whole campaign.

This has also been a year for exploring hitherto untouched realms, made all the more possible by Mike Sayre's personal expertise. This really came through in Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-03: Death on the Ice by Scott Young, taking us far north into the Crown of the World to resolve a dangerous issue resulting from bad translations—remember to put a few ranks in Linguistics!

But it's hard to overshadow the season's interactive special debut. Veteran author Mike Kimmel stepped up to deliver one of the sharpest specials yet with Pathfinder Society Special #10-00: The Hao Jin Cataclysm. It kicked off the latest troubles in the Hao Jin Tapestry demiplane with style, allowing us to revisit so many old plot threads in compelling vignettes that collectively told a much bigger story. It benefited all the more from Linda taking the role of development lead and bringing a fresh perspective to interactive specials that made this adventure's energy all the greater.

Starfinder Society

Ah, did someone say multi-table interactive specials? Starfinder Society—driven largely by the development talents of Thurston Hillman—marked another milestone in the young-yet-acclaimed campaign by launching its first large-scale event, Starfinder Society Special #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion by Mikko Kallio. The Scoured Stars even has claimed the center stage in the ongoing Starfinder Society narrative, and Mikko not only gave us one heck of a space opera confrontation but also did so in a way that kept transitions smooth by introducing new opportunities as the House did well, creating an experience in which the players (not the scenario) really controlled the pacing.

Illustration by Graey Erb

When I think of influential scenarios, though, there are some absolute rock stars—literally. Since she wrote the very first Starfinder Society scenario, Eleanor Ferron's had the players demanding more of the in-world pop band Strawberry Machine Cake, and she delivered a spiritual sequel with Starfinder Society Scenario #1-14: Star Sugar Heartlove. I think it's really illustrative of the wonderful real-world tropes we get to play with in Starfinder, and Thursty and I often throw scenario ideas at each that seem like satirical jokes, only to realize that they're perfect for the setting and a few stat blocks away from becoming fan-favorite adventures. The ever-handsome Vossi is truly the mascot of this potential as he stars in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-15: Save the Renkrodas by Vanessa Hoskins, who brought this delightful "Save the Whales" concept to life. Likewise, it seems everyone's trying to be a celebrity after the reality tv show antics of Starfinder Society Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!

But you know what might just win for the most influential scenario of 2018? Which one inspired the cries of "where can I find a mini for this" followed by a hundred epiphanies of "I'll make my own and bring it to PaizoCon"? It's the same scenario that brought us the blubbery majesty of morlamaws, often remembered as "those psychedelic walruses." That's right, it's Starfinder Society Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delights by Kate Baker.


We focus a lot on the authors and stories when we tell these stories, yet we'd be remiss if we overlooked the artists who illustrate our favorite villains, heroes, beasts, and scallywags—and the graphic designers who make our scenarios so beautiful. Senior graphic designer Emily Crowell has led the charge in evolving Pathfinder Society's look and layout, creating so many pregenerated character and Chronicle sheet variants as we've continually tinkered with their design. Her work makes me excited about the Second Edition and the ways in which we can streamline our tracking sheets and make our pregenerated characters more intuitive.

Illustration by Graey Erb

As for illustrators, I've included some of our favorite pieces from the year. I also want to call attention to Graey Erb for his extraordinary work in breathing life into many of our most iconic creatures and characters. Most noteworthy among these is the jinsul, the arch-nemesis of the Starfinder Society during Season 1. Thursty and I came up with a basic visual concept for the jinsuls, all the while praying that our art brief would translate well into the final image, and we were blown away by result. I'm also appreciative of how senior graphic designer Adam Vick has strengthened our campaign's visual continuity by having the same illustrator depict multiple facets of a planet, species, or society. In this way Graey's really made jinsuls his own unrighteous terrors.

Learn about him and our other talented illustrators in our preview blogs (we make a point to credit them), follow them on social media, support their work, and let them know you appreciate their illustrations in the latest scenarios!

It's been a great year, and we're looking ahead to a wonderful 2019!

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

Join us next week for the first Society blog of 2019, which brings our next round of kudos.

Until next time -Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Benjamin Widdowson Dion Harris Graey Erb Hannah Boving Organized Play Pathfinder Society Sebastian Rodriguez Starfinder Society
Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero


Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/55/55/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

Huzzah indeed, and a very big thank you for the amazing adventures in 2018!

Way to go, Kate - my lodge and I love that scenario in a space-odobenus sized way! :-)

3/5 5/55/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

14 people marked this as a favorite.

I am a bit overwhelmed with the kind words for Sanctuary of Drowned Delight! This was my first published adventure, and I appreciate the vote of confidence from John and Thurston, and the great job Thursty did developing it. I also appreciate every story, costume, piece of art, and custom mini that people have shared with me.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am so sad my run of Sanctuary of Drowned Delight was sort of hamstrung by a GM who just... didn't 'get' the Morlamaw.

I am VERY much looking forward to running it for myself to redeem what looks like its quickly becoming a cult hit!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

As someone who has done a lot of winter hiking and climbing, I really enjoyed running Death on the Ice and using the various related environmental effects. Thanks much for that scenario.

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The art in my scenario blew me away! All my visions gorgeously brought to life.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Tineke Bolleman wrote:
The art in my scenario blew me away! All my visions gorgeously brought to life.

we told you not to eat that brownie..

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Tineke Bolleman wrote:
The art in my scenario blew me away! All my visions gorgeously brought to life.
we told you not to eat that brownie..

Try and keep me away

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

2018 was great. Looking forward to 2019.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I loved reading this summary of all the awesome things in 2018, and...


[This transmission to resume when Mike's next writing deadline stops strangling him.]

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

9 people marked this as a favorite.

♫ My choice of diction’s
An affliction
And I’ve always found it best
To share the rhymes that I’ve obsessed
As your parodizing play-by-pest!
With my filking I’ll be milking
Every joke until it’s done
But if my poem-ing
Could use more honing
At least it’ll say
You outshine the Sun!

You’re the top!
You’re Loza’s Wookies
You’re the top!
You’re Tonya’s cookies.
Time to go, you’re on Zo!’s show,
Live Exploration Extreme!
You're an uplifted bear,
You’re Dan Tharp’s hair,
You're forum memes!
You've got style,
You're a Venture Captain
You're the trial of a faction capstone!
I’m a lowly gnome, I should go home and stop...
But if, baby, I'm the bottom you're the top!

You’re no faker, you’re Kate Baker
Babe, you really know how to dream
And I can feel after every scene
The joy supreme --
From our walrus Queen!
Now gifted humans and pirate crewhands
Might think that you’re a fad,
But Songbird Station
Gave a standing ovation
And that’s pretty rad!

You're the top!
You're raised brows from Compton.
You're the top!
You're Vossi chompin’.
You’re the melody
Of SMC, you put ‘em all to shame
You’re new playtest choices
You’re Mona’s voices,
You bring the game!
You’re cool cats
You know the steps
You’re the stats of Jen’s GM prep
I’m a busted moon, an expired boon
From Star Daddy’s workshop
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top!
You’re Keith’s cosplay!
You're the top!
You’ve blown us all away.
You’re card conviviality
You’re Linda’s ACG of fun
You’re fame and glory
Season Ten’s story
You’re number one!
You’re the QED
Of Mark’s analyses
Mental dexterity
Causing munchkin paralyses
I’m edition wars
And forum bores
That Sara Marie must crop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top!
You're additional resources
You're the top!
You're our Venture forces
You’re a duel with spoons,
The smoking ruins from above
The Blakros' cursed museum.
You call em as you see em,
You’re made with love!
You’re bold,
You’re Paizo’s Customer Service
Your hearts are gold,
Here all the joy you deserve is!
I gave Diego a pun
Now I’m on the run,
And I’m about to flop!
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top! ♫

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

2018 was a momentous year for Organized Play. May 2019 be even better.


Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Manitoba

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Honoured to have “Death on the Ice” called out here.. Michael Sayre did a great job putting this together. I have to say, the original pitch from John Compton was inspiring - the idea of an anthropological expedition gone terribly wrong due to translation was amazing, and made me wonder if this is the sort of thing that ever happened in real-world work in his pre-Paizo life. It also got me thinking about Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes (“Shaka, when the wall fell”) in the context of Pathfinder, which led me to become a late adopter of Starfinder... it all links together.

Which reminds me, deadline in three days on the next project! Happy orbital cycle to all, and I can’t wait to see what 4719 will bring!

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