Ambrus Valsin sits down and opens his copy of Absalom’s Anon and Afar broadsheet, scanning it for news of Pathfinder agent activity around the world. An article on the back page catches his eye and he pauses to read.
Art by Riccardo Moscatello
Redacted from an article printed in the 1st Rova 4720 edition of The Serene Mask.
Recently, I had the good fortune to sit down with newly established venture-captain Narsen and ask a few questions about his newest endeavor in the city of Xer, fostering relations between the Pathfinder Society and our beloved nation of Razmiran. His answers, as always, show the glory of Razmir’s blessings on his followers. I encourage my readers to journey to Xer and visit the Lodge for yourself. -Talmat Urndrin
What’s your full name and title?
Narsen, no surname, Mask of the Twelfth Step, Venture-Captain of the Exalted Lodge, Priest of the Living God. For the sake of simplicity and posterity, you may call me simply Venture-Captain Narsen.
How did you become an adventurer?
Adventurer? Me? Oh, I daresay not. I’m simply a scholar and holy man whose service to his god and country requires consorting with a wide array of those who seek knowledge.
How did you become a Venture-Captain in the Society?
I pursued the opportunity myself, petitioning both my superiors within the church and the Pathfinder Society leadership at the Grand Lodge. Fortunately for me, both parties discovered that they had mutual interests and those interests were best served by allowing me to act as the liaison between the Pathfinder Society and Razmiran.
Which School did you train with?
I’m afraid I did not have the opportunity to train at one of the Society’s Schools. I was field commissioned as a reward for my efforts to foster the alliance that allowed my lodge to be created. I have exchanged several letters with the Master of Scrolls, Kreighton Shaine, however. A remarkable man with a fascinating mind; I fancy we might be something resembling friends, though we’ve yet to meet in person.
Did you support any Factions during your adventuring career?
Though I received my commission in the field, I must admit that I’m quite fond of the Grand Archive’s goals and mission. The pursuit and preservation of knowledge has been my own lifelong goal; knowledge, after all, is the power to shape the world in its most basic form.
How do you find that your experience as a priest of Razmir helps you with your job?
Hmmm… I think that perhaps the best way to answer your question is to say that Razmir helps those who help themselves. I receive Razmir’s blessings because I am good at my job, not the other way around.
Who is the most formidable opponent you’ve dealt with?
Oh, Ambrus Valsin, without a doubt. My esteemed superior in the Pathfinder Society received my initial request to open a lodge here with a great deal of skepticism, and I could show you cabinets full of our many correspondences. He is a remarkable intellect and unlike most men who possess such keen minds, he is keenly aware of his own limitations. I daresay I respect him more than any rival, monster, or heretic I have ever had to face.
What is some advice you have for the newest Pathfinder recruits?
Approach the world with an open mind. Every face, every locale, every turn of phrase is a treasure chest containing secrets shaped by generations. Accepting how little you know is the first step in discovering how much the world has to offer.
Who do you see as the Pathfinder Society’s ultimate foe?
Time itself, of course. Each day that passes, the last bearer of a secret that was once widely known passes from the world. A temple built to withstand a millennium sees that time end and crumbles to dust. As an organization that seeks to record the secrets of the world, there is no enemy more capable of thwarting the Society’s goals than time.
What do you never leave home without?
My mask and my wayfinder. I have two allegiances, the first to Razmir and the second to the Pathfinder Society, and I am quite proud of both. I would never deign to be seen without either.
Can you give us a funny story about being a Pathfinder?
I once met a fierce woman who had dedicated her life to Sarenrae. Each time she comes to the Exalted Lodge, she attempts to convince me that I am in need of her goddess’s redemption, and I try to convince her that her zeal and intellect would carry her far in the priesthood of Razmir. One day, she attempted to prove her goddess’s superiority by challenging me to a spell duel. She had apparently come to the obviously false conclusion that Razmir would not grant me magic to rival that given her by her goddess. I acquiesced to her request and gathered witnesses for a formal duel. When the duel began, she attempted to cast her first spell. I commanded her to sneeze in the name of Razmir and she did so, losing her spell. We went through this perhaps half a dozen times before she conceded. I fear she was quite unhappy about how the duel played out, though I must say I found the situation humorous. Power lies not in complexity, but in simplicity, and we should never assume that our beliefs constitute facts. Only the truth is the truth; all else is deceit and conjecture.
What is your favorite Golarion delicacy?
A few months ago, I traveled to Absalom to meet with Ambrus Valsin about some logistical matters. While there, I was introduced to a Vudran baker named Arvya who made the most delicious muffins I have ever tasted. I believe she used saffron and turmeric along with some kinds of seeds and berries, and the taste bordered on the divine. I offered her a job here at the Exalted Lodge but I’m afraid she declined. Apparently, she had already made a quite lucrative arrangement with Ambrus to supply the Grand Lodge with her delicacies while maintaining her business and interests in the city. She also declined to sell me her recipe, though I have Chef Mayar here at the lodge working diligently to unravel it, with full access to all the spices and ingredients I could obtain from the markets in the City at the Center of the World.
If you’re trying to impress someone visiting town, where do you take them?
Why, where else but the Exalted Lodge? A castle built on the bones of history and darker things, forged from the allied fires of Razmiri will and Pathfinder ingenuity. Save for Thronestep itself, there is no place in all of Razmiran as impressive as this hallowed edifice.
What part of your lodge do you most enjoy spending time in?
Our library. As you have no doubt gathered from our conversation, I value almost nothing so much as knowledge, and I daresay there is nowhere within a thousand miles where one can find as much knowledge as in the tomes and scrolls stored therein. Treatises on Razmir’s ascension to godhood, stories gathered from the far corners of the world by Pathfinders of all creeds and persuasion, scrolls retrieved from temples that stood in this region long before the fall of Aroden… I am proud of this collection and avail myself of it whenever I can. I’ve not yet read every piece of writing we have gathered but I certainly intend to do so.
Ambrus finishes reading, folds the broadsheet, then hesitates before adding it to the stack of read papers. He grabs a quill and parchment with which he writes a quick note, then rings the bell on his desk. A gray-robed initiate answers his summons immediately.
“Take this note to the scribes and ask them to send a copy to the quartermaster of every lodge surrounding Lake Encarthan and in the River Kingdoms posthaste. Have the scribes emphasize that finding a copy of the Rova edition of The Serene Mask takes precedence over other tasks. Dismissed!”
The Initiate grabs the note and rushes out the door.
“Oh Narsen,” Ambrus mutters. “What words of yours are they omitting?”
We hope you enjoyed Venture-Captain Narsen’s interview. Read more about Narsen and the Exalted Lodge in the Lost Omens: Pathfinder Society Guide available for pre-order now and releasing October 14th!
We’ll be back next week with more venture-captain goodness as well as using the Pathfinder Society Guide in the Pathfinder Society campaign.
Until then – Explore, Report, Cooperate!
Organized Play Manager
Interview with Venture-Captain Narsen
Thursday, October 8, 2020